The Artist Formerly Known As The Frog Prince
Part One of the "Barely Tales" series
By Kemical Reaxion

The scene opens with a close-up shot of Daria, asleep in her bed. Everything is in black and white. The light in the room is off, and morning sunlight is beaming in through her window.

Jane: (narrating, VO, in an ominous tone) Youíre traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. (bt, normal voice) Wait a minute, what was I thinking? This is Lawndale. (clears her throat, ominous tone again) A dimension of sight and sound. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination...or possibly just stupidity. Your next stop, "The Lawndale Zone!"

The eerie "Twilight Zone" music plays in the background, and, as it plays, the scene fades from black and white into color. The music stops suddenly as the shrill, piercing *beep* of Daria's alarm breaks in. Daria half-opens her eyes and reaches over groggily to shut off the alarm. The noise stops. Without looking, Daria reaches out to grab her glasses off the nightstand. The camera pulls back slightly to reveal that her glasses are not on her nightstand. Daria slides her hand across the top of the stand. Finally realizing that her glasses are gone, she sits up, a confused look on her face. She looks over at the nightstand and squints.

Switch to Daria's point of view. She's looking at the nightstand, but because she's not wearing her glasses, everything looks extremely blurry. All she can make out is a small green lump at the far edge of the nightstand. Switch POV again to show Daria staring at the nightstand. The green "lump" is now in focus, revealing it to be a tiny frog. Daria still can't tell what it is, but we can see it perfectly...and it's wearing her glasses. Finally, the frog speaks.

Frog: (in a croaking but somewhat familiar voice) You're looking lovely this morning.

Daria jumps as the "lump" unexpectedly speaks. Leaning in a little closer to the frog and squinting as much as she can, Daria finally figures out what the thing is.

Daria: (doesn't seem surprised) Hmm...that's strange. It's been WEEKS since I had THIS dream.

Frog: (grinning, as much as a frog CAN grin) I've been haunting your dreams? Success at last.

Daria: (rubbing her eyes) Well, I suppose since I'm due to wake up any minute now, I'll humor you. What are you doing here?

Frog: Just watching you sleep, my love. Nothing more.

Daria: Okaaaay. And you're wearing my glasses because...

Frog: The better to see you with, my dear.

Daria: Wrong fairy tale. (bt) Wait a second. If this were a dream, then I'd be able to see perfectly. (looking down at herself) And I'd probably be naked. (frog grins a bit at that comment) Alright, what gives?

Frog: (tries to sound innocent, but fails miserably) What ever do you mean?

Daria: I MEAN, mornings are not my best times. When I'm sleepy, I tend to see things. Now, I've seen some very strange things before...but usually they don't talk back.

Frog: Then I must be real.

Daria: I was afraid you were going to say that.

Jane: (VO, ominous) Submitted for your approval, one Daria Morgendorffer. A typical morning for a not so typical teen--

Daria: (interrupts) Would you knock it off already?

Jane: (VO) Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!

Daria: Wrong fairy tale.

Jane: (VO) I know, but I've always wanted to say that.

Daria: (sighs and shakes her head, then turns back to the frog) Uh...can I ask you a favor?

Frog: That depends on what it is.

Daria: Can I have my glasses back?

Frog: Of course. But in order for me to do a favor for you, you must first do a favor for me.

Daria: Great. (bt) Alright, what do you want?

Frog: Kiss me.

Daria: Kiss off.

Frog: Alight, fine. Don't kiss me. But if you want your glasses, that's the deal, sweetcakes. Take it or leave it.

Daria: (frowning) You'd make a nice handbag, you know?

Frog: Now, now. Don't be that way. You know very well you're blind as a bat without these babies. You'd never catch me. (winking) Besides, you know you want me.

Daria: Yes. I want go away.

Frog: Don't deny it, Daria. Musicians are irresistible to women. Everybody knows that.

Daria: YOU'RE a musician?

Frog: Well, I WAS before my unfortunate transformation.

Daria: Transformation?

Frog: Yes, I'm afraid so. 'Tis a sad tale of love and dignity lost. A dark tale of...

Daria: Enough with the dramatics, Kermit. Just get to the point.

Frog: There was an evil, horrible witch who hated all males. I, being the stud that I am -- or rather WAS -- became convinced that I could woo her into submission. So I did. I woo-ed with all my might. I woo-ed her for all she was worth. I WOO-ed her like she had never been woo-ed--

Jane (VO) & Daria: Get on with it!!

Frog: (shrugs...sort of) She called me a slimy little toad. (bt) And then turned me into one.

Daria: Smart woman.

Frog: (slightly wistful) It makes me want her even more. (snapping back to the subject at hand) Anyway, in my new form, holding an instrument has become impossible. Alas! I can no longer grace this world with my music. Your kiss is the only cure.

Daria: Lucky me. (thinks about this for a moment) So, let me get this straight. I kiss you. You turn human again. I get my glasses back.

Frog: Simple, right?

Daria: Like nailing jello to a tree.

Frog: So...whadya say, babe?

Daria sits in silence for a moment, thinking it over. Finally, with a sigh, she shrugs.

Daria: Well, as disgusting as this proposition is, at least I'm not in danger of losing my lunch, since I haven't even had breakfast yet. (bt) Let's get this over with.

Frog: Yeeeeeesssssss!!!!!

Daria leans over her nightstand and slowly edges closer to the frog. Squinting her eyes shut to block out the sight, Daria kisses the frog quickly on the lips, then backs away. Brushing the back of her hand over her own mouth, Daria opens her eyes.

Frog: (unchanged, hands Daria back her glasses) What? No tongue?

Daria: (mildly disgusted) Oh, God. (slips on her glasses)

Suddenly the frog starts to glow. A soft light encircles his body and he starts shaking as the transformation begins. The light starts flickering and flashing, then suddenly becomes so bright it completely whites out the entire screen. After a moment, the light dims to reveal the frog in his new human form. It's Upchuck, and he's holding an accordion!

Daria: (extremely disgusted) Oh.....GOD!

Upchuck: (looking down at his now-human form) Wow! I'm a real boy!

Daria: Wrong fairy t--- oh, to hell with it.

Upchuck: So... (raising his eyebrows) does this turn you on?

Daria: No, but it does turn my stomach.

Upchuck: Denial does not become you, Daria my sweet petal. How 'bout a little mood music?

Upchuck starts playing the accordion and singing to the tune of "Bella Notte," the love theme from "Lady and the Tramp."

Upchuck: (singing horribly off-key)
      Oh this is the night, it's a beautiful night
      And we call it bella notte
      Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes
      On this lovely bella notte.

Daria holds her hands over her ears.

Upchuck: (still singing) Side by side with your loved one--

Daria: (interrupts) Hey, Judy Tenuta. (music stops) Do you take requests?

Upchuck: (shrugs) Whatever you desire, my fragile flower.

Daria: Would you mind playing "Far, Far Away"?

Upchuck: (doesn't get the joke) Hmm...I don't believe I know that one. Anything else?

Daria: (gets an idea, grins slightly) Actually, there is one more thing that comes to mind. (stands and walks over to him, motions towards the accordion) Mind if I hold it?

Upchuck: Now, THAT'S an unusual request. (hesitant) Well, it IS a delicate instrument, but if you promise to be gentle... (Upchuck hands over the instrument to Daria)

Camera cuts to the hallway right outside Daria's open bedroom door. Daria grins evilly and walks towards the camera to her bedroom door. Slowly, still grinning, she closes the door. Camera focuses in on the outside of the door as the voices of Daria and Upchuck can be heard behind it.

Upchuck: Closing the door for a little privacy, eh? Excellent idea my lov-- hey, what are you doing? (voice becomes panicked) Daria, d-d-don't do that. That hurts! Ow!

Upchuck screams like a little girl as a cacophony of accordion noises can be heard through the door. This goes on for some time, then finally, the noise stops. The door opens to reveal Upchuck. He has a pained, embarrassed expression on his face. He walks out through the doorway and down the hall. He's walking funny and the sound of an accordion can be heard with each step he takes, even though the accordion is not visible.

Upchuck: (through extreme discomfort, and about 2 octaves higher) Rrrrr...feis---ty. (limps off-camera)

Daria walks to her bedroom door.

Daria: (preparing to shut the door) Now THAT'S what I call a happy ending.

Suddenly, the eerie music starts up in the background again, as Jane speaks in that same, ominous tone. As Jane speaks, Daria looks slightly perturbed and rolls her eyes.

Jane: (VO) An enchanted kiss, gone horribly awry. It's the stuff that fairy tales are made of, but not just any fairy tales. These are the stories you stub your toe on in middle of the night. The kind you stumble over as you walk down a dark, overgrown path....through th--

Daria: (looking upward) Excuse me, but could you possibly wrap this thing up before the next Ice Age?

Jane: (VO, normal voice) Well excuse ME, Miss Cranky Britches!

Daria: Just say it already so we can all get on with our lives.

Jane: (VO, after a beat) You're just sucking the fun right out of this, you know that?

Daria: Jane....

Jane: (VO) Fine! (clears her throat, sing-songy) And they ALL lived happily ever after! The end! (bitter) happy now?

Daria: Elated. (slams the door)

Jane: (VO, muttering) That's time, I'm working with Goldilocks.

Scene fades to black as the Twilight Zone music cues up one more time.

THE END. (No, really...we mean it this time!)

Authorís notes:

Hope you enjoyed this, the first ficlet in my Daria fairy tales series entitled Barely Tales. You can look forward to more fairy tale ficlets in the future. Hopefully, if all goes according to planned, the next one I release will be Do Right and the Seven Dorks, but as my muse has gone wonky lately, I canít make any promises! You can certainly expect SOMETHING in the way of fairy tale wackiness to follow-up this one! Iíd love to hear your thoughts on this one, so if you have any comments on my first ficlet in the series, send your fairy dust (or poison apples if the comments are bad) to Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank all my beta readers (yes, I actually used beta readers for this one!) Your input is deeply appreciated and was very helpful. Thanks a heap!