Little Green Riding Hood
by: Kemical Reaxion

The scene begins with a wide aerial shot of a quiet, suburban neighborhood. The camera zooms in on one specific house -- the Morgendorffer house -- as Jane narrates.

Jane: (VO) Once upon a time there was a girl everyone called "the misery chick." Well, not everyone called her that. Just the brain-dead losers did. (bt) Ok...that is pretty much everyone. Anyway, she lived in a clean, average neighborhood, in a boring little suburb called Lawndale. But her family was anything but average and boring...

Camera has finally zoomed in on the Morgendorffer front door. Just as Jane stops talking, the door flies open and Helen zips out the door, cell phone at her ear. She heads straight for her red SUV as she talks frantically into the phone.

Helen: I can't believe you didn't call me sooner. You know this is a big case for me, and we can't just let it fall by the way-side. It's my baby, and I need to be apprised of any changes in the situation immediately. This is not something that can be taken lightly. Now, get all your paperwork together and meet me at the office. I can be there in five minutes if I hit all the lights.

She continues ranting as she climbs into the driver's seat and shuts the door. Her words become muffled whenever the door shuts. She starts the car door, peals out of the driveway, and speeds out of sight.

Jane: (VO) And that's just the tip of the iceberg. With a psychotic father and self-absorbed sister, it's a wonder the girl turned out as well-adjusted as she did.

Camera cuts to a shot of Daria sitting at her computer, typing. She's dressed in a long orange jumper with a white collared blouse peaking out at the top. There is a long green, hooded cape slung over the back of her chair.

Jane: (VO) Ah...there's the little honor student now. Probably working feverishly to finish a paper for O'Neill's class. Perhaps even filling out a college application or two.

Daria stops typing and stares at the screen for a moment, then grabs a thesaurus off the desk.

Daria: (flipping through the pages, talking to herself) Need another word for "destroy." Let's see... (reading aloud) "demolish," "eradicate," "exterminate"...ah, yes..."obliterate." That should do nicely. (sets the book aside and starts typing) " obliterate the sexist she-devils, eye-bulging psychopaths, and neurotic "win-at-all-costs" tyrants that plague Lawndale High."

Jane: (VO) Okaaaay. Probably not a college application, but doesn't she have an extraordinary grasp of the English language? Although, personally I probably would have gone with "exterminate."

Daria: (continues typing) Bite me, Jane.

Daria stops typing as a small email notification box pops up on her screen. A cutesy little bell rings from the speakers.

Computer: You've got mail.

Daria: What now?

After clicking the mouse a few times, she pulls up an email message on the screen.

        I left my briefcase on the kitchen table and I need it for       
        a case I'm working on. Please bring it to the office             
        immediately. Looks like it's going to be another all-nighter.    
        You and Quinn will have to nuke the lasagna yourselves.
        Please keep your father away from the microwave this time.
        We don't want a repeat of last night. Thanks, sweetie.   

Daria frowns and starts speaking to the computer as if it is her mother.

Daria: How the hell am I supposed to get there? You've got the car.

Daria scrolls the screen down a bit and reveals more of her mom's message.

        P.S. I've got the car, so you'll have to walk. Sorry.             

Daria: Great. The coldest day in Lawndale history, and my mother needs me for her own personal courier. It's so nice to know that she doesn't care whether or not I freeze my ass off.

She scrolls down a little more.

        P.S.S. It's cold out, so be sure and wear your cape. 
        And do try and watch your language, Daria.

Daria frowns even more.

Daria: I hate when she does that.

Cut to:

Daria, wearing her green hooded cape and carrying her mother's briefcase, is walking down the street. She passes house after house in silence as a frigid wind whips at her face. She reaches with her free hand and pulls the cape around her tighter. She mutters to herself, obviously displeased with her mother's orders. Finally, she glances down at her watch as she walks.

Daria: At this pace I'll never make it back in time for the "Sick Sad World" special, "When Good Sisters Go Bad."

Suddenly, she stops and glances to her left. Camera pans around to show that she is looking down an over-grown, dirt path through a dark wooded area.

Daria: (deadpan) Gee...what a coincidence. Here I am on the way to my mom's office, and there just happens to be a shortcut, which just happens to go straight through the middle of a dark, mysterious, potentially-dangerous forest. Considering there is no forest in Lawndale, I'd say that is quite an interesting, if somewhat contrived, development. (sighs) Oh, it goes. (turns and heads down the dirt path)

Cut to:

Woods. It's getting darker outside, and Daria is walking slowly through the path in the woods. The trees and bushes are dense and block out most of the light, making the trail seem more than a little frightening. An owl hoots up in a tree as Daria passes by. She is still lugging her mother's briefcase at her side. It is obvious she is straining, having carried the heavy thing for quite a while now. Finally, she stops along the side of the trail and sets the case down with a thud.

Daria: (wiping her forehead with the back of her hand) God, what does my mother keep in this thing, anyway? It's like hauling a ton of bricks.

Daria kneals down beside the case and flings it open. She reaches in and starts removing items from the case. The first things she pulls out are two bricks. She stares at them for a moment, frowning, before tossing them behind her over her shoulder. The bricks fly into some bushes off-screen and the sound of a cat howling in pain soon follows. Daria winces at the sound, then continues pulling things out of the briefcase. First, she removes a stack of folders and a small address book. She sets them aside, then glances back into the case and wrinkles up her nose in confusion.

Daria: What the...

She pulls out a pair of shoes, a bowling ball, a potted plant, then finally a tall floor lamp, a la Mary Poppins. She sets all these items aside and continues. Next, she pulls out a bottle of wine. Staring into the bottle, she seems to be considering this for a moment before shrugging her shoulders and tossing it behind her into the bushes. The sound of breaking glass and the same cat howling can be heard off-screen. Fade to black.

Fade in. It's the same location as before. Some considerable time has passed, and the sky above is pitch black. Daria is still knelt down beside the open briefcase. She is surrounded by various strange, rather large items, such as a pair of skis, a television set, a ten-speed bike, and a set of golf clubs. There is a kayak in the background right behind her. Finally, she picks up the open briefcase, turns it upside down, and shakes it. A pencil falls out onto the ground. The case is finally empty. Daria reaches down, picks up the pencil, and tosses it into the case. She closes and locks the case, rising to her feet.

Daria: (holding the case at her side) Much better.

Daria continues down the trail, leaving all the other items behind. After only a few steps, she stops again as something catches her eye. Trent, dressed in an extremely cheesy wolf costume, is propped up against a tree by the side of the trail, asleep. Daria stares at him for a moment, then shrugs her shoulders and continues walking.

Daria: Well, that was nice. Completely unnecessary, but nice.

Daria walks off-screen to the right. The sound of leaves rustling can be heard off-screen to the left, and Jane walks on-screen from that direction. She is dressed in a cheap-looking cat costume and is rubbing her head in pain.

Jane: First bricks, then wine bottles...what next? (sees Trent sleeping, Jane rolls her eyes) Oh, for crying out loud. (kicks Trent's leg, waking him) Yo, Sleeping Beauty! Wake up!

Trent: (still groggy) Sleeping Beauty? I swear, officer, I was nowhere near that spinning wheel.

Jane: Wrong fairy tale. (Trent stands and stretches) What's the matter with you, Trent? You're supposed to be following her.

Trent: (confused) Who? Sleeping Beauty?

Jane: No! (points down the trail after Daria) Little Green Riding Hood.

Trent: (looks in Daria's direction, squinting) Funny. Just looks like Daria to me.

Jane: (mocking tone) Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

Trent: Huh?

Jane: That is Daria.

Trent: But I thought you said...

Jane: Nevermind. Would you just follow her already?

Trent: Why?

Jane: Because! You're big. You're bad. You're a wolf. (regards Trent's cheesy costume) Well, sort of.

Trent: So?

Jane: So.... (thinks for a moment) So, that's just how the story goes, ok? Now, go talk to her!

Trent: About what?

Jane: (sarcastic) Gee, I don't know, oh brother of mine. Why don't you try winning her over with your razor-sharp wit and irresistable charm?

Trent: (shrugs and starts down the trail) Ok. (walks off-screen)

Jane: (shakes her head) Wolves. Yeesh!

Cut to:

Daria is still walking down the trail, but looks much better now that the briefcase is practically empty. Trent ambles up beside her. Daria looks at him and is a bit shocked by his sudden appearance.

Trent: Hey there, Little Green Riding Hood.

Daria: (a bit skeptical) Hey.

Trent: (grins, raising an eyebrow) You sure are lookin' good.

Daria cocks an eyelid and says nothing.

Trent: You're everything that a big, bad wolf could want.

Daria stops walking and stares at Trent, as if she's waiting for something. Trent just stares back at her, saying nothing.

Daria: Anything else?

Trent pauses, thinking. Suddenly he throws his head back and howls like a wolf, but the howl soon turns into a raspy cough. As he coughs, doubled over, Daria watches him with slight concern, as he appears he may keel over at any moment. Finally his coughing subsides.

Trent: (clearing his throat) Sorry about that.

Daria: No problem. But you might wanna consider putting your lung back in.

Trent: (grins) You're funny, Daria.

Daria: Thanks. (bt) What are you doing out here?

Trent: I'm not sure. Jane said I was supposed to talk to you or something.

Daria: (rolls her eyes) Figures. (starts walking)

Trent: (follows) Can I walk with you?

Daria: I guess I can't stop you.

Trent: Where are you going?

Daria: Over the freeway and through the burbs to mother's law firm we go.

Trent: Really? Must be pretty far.

Daria: (as they reach a clearing) Nah. It's right over there.

Cut to a shot of a large law building. The sign over the front door announces it as "Vitale, Davis, Horowitz, Schrecter, Schrecter, & Schrecter." Daria and Trent walk up to the door. Trent is staring up at the sign, and his brow creases as he tries to read all the names.

Daria: (notices him struggling with the sign) Don't bother. Greater men than you have tried and failed. (sets the briefcase down beside the door) Ok, let's go.

Trent: That's it? (bt) You're just going to leave it there?

Daria: Why not? Nobody'll steal it. There's nothing in it anyway. (Trent looks confused) You hungry?

Trent: Always.

Daria: Let's get out of here then. Being out here is making my skin crawl. This part of Lawndale is just buzzing with thirsty blood-suckers.

Trent: Mosquitos?

Daria: Lawyers. (bt) Pizza alright with you?

Trent: (smiles) Always.

The two walk off-screen together. After a few beats, Jane emerges from the bushes beside the building. Brushing a few stray leaves out of her hair, she turns to watch Trent and Daria walk away.

Jane: So far, so good. (grins slyly) My evil plan is almost complete.

Suddenly, Tom walks on-screen, carrying an ax and wearing a plaid button-down shirt, blue jeans, and clunky hiking boots. Jane regards him suspiciously.

Tom: Hey. Nice costume. Going to a Halloween party?

Jane: (bitingly sarcastic) Hey. Nice flannel. Going to a meeting of Lumberjacks Anonymous?

Tom: (grin) Well, I am ok...but no. I'm not a lumberjack. I'm the woodcutter.

Jane: The difference being...

Tom: Lumberjacks sleep all night and work all day.

Jane: Well, I guess I can't argue with that stellar piece of logic.

Tom: I'm here to rescue Daria from being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf.

Jane: Eaten? Please, Tom! This is a children's story.

Tom: Excuse me, from being, consumed...uh.... (flustered) Oh, you know what I mean. I'm supposed to save the day and rescue her from the wolf. I'm the hero. I do that kind of thing, you know.

Jane: I don't think you should.

Tom: Why not?

Jane: I just don't think you should go running after Daria and rescuing her all the time. That kind of stuff doesn't impress her, believe me.

Tom: But that's what I'm supposed to do. That's how the story goes.

Jane: Well, what if something....unfortunate...happens out there?

Tom: (skeptical) You're concerned for my safety?

Jane: No, not really. But think of it this way. Say you run off and rescue her from Big Bad Trent. The two of you start talking, one thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, you're making out with her in the front seat of your pimpmobile.

Tom: (pause, frowns) That was uncalled for.

Jane: (smirks) Just a hypothetical situation, Tom.

Tom: Sure. (sighs) Ok, then. What do you suggest I do?

Jane: I don't know. You're a woodcutter. Why don't you go find an old redwood to chop down. (Tom shrugs and exits, Jane mumbles to herself) Or a nice twig to naw on. (grins) Well, I guess I took care of that bit of unpleasantness.

Jane is left standing outside the law office all alone.

Jane: (looking around) Figures. Alone again. (bt) Now what am I gonna do? (looks down at the briefcase by the door, seems to think about it for a moment, then shrugs) Well, I guess if you want something done right... (picks it up and enters the building)

Cut to:

Outside one of the many offices. The name 'Helen Morgendorffer' is painted on the glass in the door. Jane, carrying Helen's briefcase, walks up to the door and reaches for the knob.

Jane: Never send a Morgendorffer to do a Lane's job.

Jane pushes the door open and peaks into the office. Helen's chair is turned around so that the back is to the door, and the chair is rocking slowly. Jane steps into the office and shuts the door.

Jane: Uh, Mrs. Morgendorffer? I brought you your briefcase. Your daughter has been...unavoidably detained.

The chair continues to rock, but there is no answer. Jane steps closer to the desk and tries again.

Jane: Mrs. Morgendorffer?

Still no answer. Jane walks over and sets the briefcase down on top of Helen's desk, then walks around to the other side of the desk. Grabbing the chair, she spins it around to face her, expecting to see Helen sitting there. She is not prepared for who she comes face-to-face with. It's Upchuck, wearing a red business suit, reddish-brown wig and red pumps, just like Helen. A disturbing image, to say the least.

Jane: (leaps back, shocked) Aah!!

Upchuck: Hello, there.

Jane: What the Hell are you doing here, Upchuck?

Upchuck: (high feminine voice, trying to impersonate Helen) Upchuck? I don't see any Upchuck.

Jane: (regards Upchuck's hairy, scrawny legs) Well, you're about to. Look, Charles. Ditch the act already. The hairy legs and flat chest were a dead give away.

Upchuck: Darn. (removing the wig, tossing it on the desk) I knew I should've taken that fake boob when I had the chance.

Jane: Ok, then! Now that we've finished our rousing game of "Name That Crossdresser," would you mind telling me what you're doing in Mrs. Morgendorffer's office?

Upchuck: (slurred, muffled speech, a la Marlon Brando) I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse.

Jane: (rolls her eyes) Offer? Upchuck, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. I am not lending you my underpants. Not even for five minutes.

Upchuck: (pouting) You're no fun, Jane.

Jane: I'll take that as a compliment.

Upchuck: (notices the briefcase, perks up a bit) Why, Jane. Do my eyes deceive me? It appears you have brought a basket of goodies to share with me.

Jane: I don't share my goodies with anyone, Upchuck. Especially you.

Upchuck: C'mon! Live a little. (stands, now eye-level with Jane) You know, I've never noticed this about you before, but...what big, beautious blue eyes you have, Miss Lane.

Jane: (takes a defensive step back) Ooooh, no you don't. Don't even start that crap with me.

Upchuck: (ignoring her, immitating a female voice) The better to see your sexy, manly frame with, my dear Charles.

Jane: Dear, God. This is not happening.

Upchuck: (regular voice) And what full, sensuous lips you have.

Jane: Maybe you should be telling all this to your therapist.

Upchuck: (steps toward her, feminine voice) The better to kiss you with, you fine hunk of man, you.

Jane: (backing up as Upchuck gets closer) Back off, weasel breath. (holds up her hands in a karate stance) These hands are lethal weapons. Don't make me kill you.

Upchuck: (grabs her hands, regular voice) And my, what long arms you have.

Jane: (pulls away) On second thought, do make me kill you.

Upchuck: (steps closer again, feminine voice) All the better to wrap around your studly body.

Jane: You're asking for it, Upchuck!

Upchuck: (looks down at Jane's chest, regular voice) And my my my, what big b--

Jane has finally had enough. She balls up her fist and decks him square in the face. He drops to the floor like a rag doll. Jane stands over him, rubbing her knuckles.

Jane: The better to pummel you with, my dear.

Cut to:

The pizza place, exterior. Jane is walking past the restaurant, holding an ice-pack on her fist. As she passes by the window, she stops and peers inside. Sitting side-by-side at a table in the corner are Daria and Trent. They are discreetly holding hands under the table. Daria is blushing slightly. Outside, standing at the window watching, Jane grins.

Jane: Well, it looks like my job here is done. (walking away) And if that's not a happy ending, I don't know what is.

Cut to:

Helen's office. Helen's briefcase is still on top of her desk, but Upchuck has since vanished. Helen walks in and spots the briefcase there.

Helen: Finally! (crosses to her desk, unlatches the briefcase) Daria sure took her sweet t--

Just as Helen opens the case, a familiar voice can be heard coming from inside.

Upchuck: (VO, from case) older woman.

Helen: Aaaah!!!

Helen screams, shuts the lid and flings the case across the room. The briefcase bounces off of the far wall and lands on the carpet with a dull thud. Helen runs from the room in a panic. Cut to close-up shot of the closed briefcase.

Upchuck: (VO, from case) Rowrrrr....feisty!

Dissolve to:

The Guptey house. Jane, dressed in her normal everyday clothes, is sitting on the edge of a bed, holding a copy of "Little Red Riding Hood" in her lap. In the bed, asleep, are Tad and Tricia Guptey. Jane has been telling them a bedtime story. Camera pulls back slightly to reveal Daria sitting on the other side of the bed, looking displeased with Jane's story.

Jane: The end.

Jane closes the book, reaches over and slides the book back onto the shelf with the rest of the Guptey's books. Among the other books on the shelf are "Cinderella" and "The Frog Prince." Jane looks over at the sleeping children as Daria continues to glare silently at her.

Jane: Finally. I thought the little ragamuffins were never gonna go to sleep. (finally notices the death-glare on Daria's face) What?

Daria: I will have to kill you for that last story, Jane. You realize that, don't you?

Jane: Oh, c'mon, Daria. It was just a silly children's story. No harm done, right?

Camera pans back further to show the rest of the room. There's a chair across the room, where Trent is sitting, asleep. On the floor beside the chair, Tom is curled up, also asleep.

Daria: You'd just better be thankful the guys slept through this one. If they had heard your story, I'd have you eating your dinner through a feeding tube.

Jane: Daria, Daria, Daria. Have you no respect for creative storytelling? I know you're over Trent and all, but can't you at least let me enjoy one last jab at you and your ill-fated teenage crush?

Daria: Hmm...let me think about that one. (bt) No.

Jane: (shaking her head) Nope. No respect at all. (grins) Look, don't worry. I know these boys. They're the two soundest sleepers on the planet.

Daria: I'm not even going to ask how you know that.

Jane: Don't get your undies in an uproar over it, Daria. Those two didn't hear a thing. Trust me.

Just then, as if on cue, Tom opens his eyes, sits up, and looks over at the girls.

Tom: Would you bet your life on that assumption? (Jane and Daria look over in shock) 'Cos you know what they say when you 'assume.'

Daria: (frowns) You make an ass out of yourself?

Trent: (opens his eyes, joining in) That was some story, Janey.

Jane glances sheepishly over at Daria. Daria looks back at Jane, narrowing her eyes.

Daria: Got anything to say in your defense before I pronouce sentence?

Jane: Umm...they all lived happily ever after?

Daria: Don't hold your breath.

The End

Author's notes:

Since it has come to my attention that nobody gives a crap about author's notes, I'll keep this short.

Yes, now you know. The three fairy tales you've read in the series, assuming you've read the other two fics, were just bedtime stories for the Guptey children. This last part was actually the first thing I wrote in the entire series. The rest of this fic and the other two fics got worked around it. Oh, and I've always liked the word "ragamuffin." Just never had a chance to use it 'til now!

Did you notice that Upchuck got beat up in all three fics in this series? Not a coincidence. I really enjoy writing scenes involving the little sleaze, but now that I have that image of Upchuck wearing a red business suit permanently etched in my brain, I may never be able to sleep again!

This fic is the third and final tale in my "Barely Tales" series, but it may also be my last piece of fan fiction...period. I've thoroughly enjoyed my foray into Fanficland, but my muse seems to have taken a permanent leave of absence, so I guess I will too. You never know, though. My muse is fickle, so she may surprise us all! In any case, thanks so much for reading my work. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. As always, feedback is strongly encouraged. I'd love to know what you thought of this or any of my other work. You can email me at Ta-ta for now! :-)