On Guard
By: Kemical Reaxion


First, Iíd like to start with my usual disclaimer. I do not own the characters below...although a few of the guest appearances are my creations. MTV owns the rights to Daria, of course, and if I have violated any copyright laws, feel free to sue me for everything I have, which would amount to roughly $1.35 in loose change and a roll of wintergreen Lifesavers. While this fanfic is not the first one Iíve started, it IS the first one Iíve actually finished to my satisfaction, so I hope you like it. If you have any feedback, good or bad, it is always welcome, and you can email me at kemicalreaxion@yahoo.com. Now, on with the show!


Opening scene. Daria is sitting in class, doodling in a notebook. Itís a stick figure of Ms. Barch holding the strings of two marionettes, one in her left hand, one in her right. The two puppets looking suspiciously like Upchuck and Kevin. The intercom clicks on at the front of the room, and Daria looks up from her drawing.

Now, we can see the front of the classroom: Ms. Barch standing by the chalkboard, watching over Mack, who is writing "I will write until my hand falls off" repeatedly on the black-board. Upon hearing the intercom, Mack stops writing, massaging his aching hand. Ms. Barch gives him a dirty look.

Barch: (to Mack) Donít even THINK about taking a break. You MAN!

Mack, fearful for his life, turns back to the board and continues. Ms. Liís voice comes over the intercom finally.

Li: Gooood morning, students. I have some exciting news. This Thursday is Career Observance Day. The Board of Education has set aside this day for every High School student in the area to be paired with a professional in his or her field of choice and spend the entire day with that person. This is an outstanding opportunity to find out first-hand what kind of work is involved in the career you are personally interested in. Participation is mandatory, as the entire school will be excused for this event all day Thursday. Sign-up sheets are in the hallway outside my office. Those not signed up by Wednesday will have a career assigned TO them. Have fun, kids!

About halfway through Ms. Liís speech, Daria has gone back to her drawing, adding a likeness of Ms. Li above Barchís head, holding Ms. Barch on strings like a puppet. Ms. Li has an unsettlingly sinister expression on her face, and dark storm clouds peek through in the background. After the intercom shuts off, the bell rings. Daria collects her books, being sure to take her "artwork" with her, and the class thins out.

Later that day, Daria and Jane are at Janeís locker. Daria has taken the drawing out of her bag and Jane is currently holding it, studying it thoroughly as she leans against the lockers.

Jane: Not bad. Not bad at all. After that little speech by Ms. Li about Career Day, it all makes perfect sense. (hands the paper back to Daria) Nice work, kid!

Daria: Thanks. So what do you make of this Career Observance thing anyway? Do we participate or do we protest on moral principle and face suspension?

Jane: Hmm...as much as I relish a good fight, I canít afford to be suspended one more time. Just think of it, though. We could sign up to observe whoever we want. (thinking) Letís see...something that doesnít require too much work, requires no physical effort or thought...(snaps her fingers as if sheís just gotten the best idea) A-HA! Iíve got it. We could sign up to observe Trent.

Daria: Observe him do what? Shift in his sleep?

Jane: Sounds good to me. Think about it though. Weíd basically get the entire day out of school Thursday to goof off at my house, watch TV, and then to satisfy Ms. Li, weíll watch Trent practice for about half-an hour in between naps. It couldnít get more perfect than that.

Jane slams her locker closed and the girls walk a little ways down the hall as they talk. Eventually they stop by the office at the sign up sheets posted on the bulletin board.

Daria: Alright, fine. But if Trent asks, just remember...this was YOUR idea, not mine. Agreed?

Jane: Agreed. (she takes a pen and scribbles something on the sign-up sheet) This will be great. A whole day with just you, me, and Lover-Boy. You never know what can happen. A little business...a little pleasure. (she raises her eyebrows several times at Daria suggestively, grinning from ear to ear)

Daria: Sorry, Jane. Nothing personal but I donít like you in that way. (Jane scowls at Daria) Letís just keep this relationship between the three of us strictly professional, shall we?

Jane: (shrugs her shoulders as they continue down the hall) Suit yourself.

CUT TO...

Morgendorffer kitchen. The whole family is seated in their usual spots at the table for dinner. Theyíre all sitting in silence for once. Why? Quinn is sitting with her arms bent at a 90 degree angle, sticking up in the air like some life-sized Barbie doll. Sheís silent, expressionless, not even blinking, and doesnít move an inch. The family is staring at her in wonder. Well, Daria is staring, but wonder isnít exactly the word for what sheís thinking. Finally Quinn lets out a huge breath, which she had been holding the entire time, and puts her arms down on the table.

Quinn: Whew! That was hard work! I didnít realize being a live mannequin would be so difficult. But I have to practice as much as possible before Thursday. I want my mentor to be really impressed with my technique.

Daria: Practicing to be a dummy in a store window? Iíd say it was what you were born to be.

Helen: Daria! Be more supportive of your sister. (to Quinn) I think itís wonderful that you chose to study under Elise Bentham. Sheís one of the most widely renowned models in the state. She has alot of connections. She could really jump-start your career. (Quinn has once again donned her silly Ďmodelí pose, holding her breath and not blinking, so after a few moments of silence, Helen turns to Daria) What did you chose sweetie?

Daria: Unemployment.

Helen: Now, really, Daria. Who will you be working with?

Daria: Mom, Iíve decided that my life-long dream of becoming a stripper is finally within my reach. So, Iíll be working with Bunny Bon-Bon down at the Hot Spot.

Helen: (sighs) Daria...

Daria: Oh, and Iíll be legally changing my name to Sierra Nevada, if thatís alright with you and Dad.

Jake: (who hasnít really been paying attention, hears her say ĎSierra Nevadaí and ĎDad,í and joins the conversation) Thatís great kiddo. I think thatís a super idea! I hear itís beautiful there this time of year!

Helen glares at Jake, giving the shut-up-youíre-not-helping-the-situation look. Jake slumps down in his seat, deciding for the moment that staying out of the line of fire is his only option. Quinn, who has been holding her breath the whole time, turns blue and passes out, falling out of her chair onto the kitchen floor. Daria dons her Mona Lisa smile.

CUT TO...

The next day at school. Mr. OíNeill is up front, sitting on the edge of his desk, lecturing. Daria, Brittany, and Kevin are among the students in the class. Jane is not among them. Mr. OíNeill drones on about Oscar Wildeís "The Picture Of Dorian Gray."

OíNeill: ...so, as the painting of the young man, Dorian Gray, becomes progressively uglier and more sinister, the man himself remains young and beautiful in outward appearance. What conclusions can we draw from this? (he looks at Kevin, who is grinning back at him with his usual clueless expression. he looks at Brittany, who is equally clueless but tends to hide it a little better than Kevin) Brittany?

Brittany: (twirling hair around her finger, in a desperate attempt to think) Um...it means, like, those artists just want to make you look fat and pimply-faced and stuff, right?

OíNeill: (pauses momentarily, unable to believe her answer. Finally he gives up and goes to...) Kevin? Can YOU draw any conclusions from this?

Kevin: (confused...obviously) Buuuuut.....I donít HAVE art this semester.

OíNeill: (sighs and goes to Daria as a last resort, like he ALWAYS does, pleadingly) Daria???

Daria: (called on once again to pull OíNeillís butt out of the fire) The grotesque visage of the man in the painting was a direct reflection of the manís own dark soul. His life was nothing but vanity, greed, hatred, and hypocrisy...all the ugly things that can be contained within a person. Every time he looked at the painting, that snarling, evil face, he was reminded of how despicable he himself had become. Thus, the search for external beauty eventually drove him to madness, and, ultimately, to suicide.

OíNeill: (very pleased) Very good, Daria!

Daria: (not finished yet, of course, smiles ever so slightly) One could make the connection between this novel and the time-honored quest for beauty in todayís society. Teens today are constantly bombarded with fashion magazines and television ads selling beauty and popularity rather than actual product and substance. (OíNeill nods in agreement but is getting uncomfortable, almost as if he knows that Daria is preparing for a zinger) Intelligence, kindness, and inner-beauty are last on the list of priorities. Ironically, the ones that are so beautiful on the outside are the ones who end up overdosing, starving themselves, or committing suicide. Perhaps, crushed under societyís unreasonable expectations of beauty and popularity, one day our beloved Fashion Club will be following in Mr. Grayís footsteps.

Mr. OíNeill looks pleased, sort of, but just kind of sighs and agrees. He seems to be sorry he asked her in the first place.

OíNeill: Um...thatís a very...astute observation...

He is interrupted by the clicking of the intercom. Ms. Liís voice booms over the speaker.

Li: Attention please. Would Ms. Jane Lane please report to my office immediately. Jane Lane to my office...now!

Daria: (to herself) Oh, boy. What did she do this time?

CUT TO...

Later that day. Daria is seated alone outside the school at her usual spot on the lawn, reading "Beowulf." From behind her, Jane walks up and sits down, dropping her bookbag on the ground beside her. Daria looks up, closing her book and setting it down on the grass by her outstretched legs.

Daria: (looking up) Itís about time. What took you so long?

Jane: Ms. Li and one of her long-winded lectures on responsibility. Or participation. Something like that. Iím not sure. I wasnít really paying attention.

Daria: So, what bug crawled up her butt this time?

Jane: Letís just say Ms. Li wasnít exactly supportive of our idea to follow my brother around for a day.

Daria: Oh. You mean YOUR idea.

Jane: Whatever you say, sister.

Daria: Well, I canít say I really expected Ms. Li to let us get away with it. But why did she just call YOU into her office. I canít imagine her missing an opportunity to slowly chip away at my self-esteem.

Jane: Too bad you donít HAVE any self-esteem.

Daria: Yeah...jokeís on her.

Jane: I assume Ms. Li thought that by getting me alone, she could break me, wear me down. (balls up her fist and shakes it dramatically in the air) That Iíd crumble under her iron fist. That, without you there to back me up, Iíd crack under the pressure.

Daria: So what happened?

Jane: (putting her hand down, shrugging her shoulders) I cracked under the pressure. (Daria smiles, not surprised at all) But not before getting in a few jabs of my own. She said that we couldnít follow Trent around because what he does canít really qualify as a job. I pointed out that he does actually get paid occasionally for all his hard work.

Daria: Ah, clever. What did she say to that?

Jane: (doing her best Ms. Li impression) "So, do hookers and drug dealers, MS. Lane!"

Daria: And she knows this from personal experience?

Jane: Thatís what I asked her.

Daria: And?

Jane: And I believe Iím that much closer to bringing about a massive stroke.

Daria: Iím so proud.

Jane: Yeah, well, donít celebrate just yet. She still won out in the end. Sheís tougher than I thought. (reaches into her bag and pulls out a white envelope with Dariaís name scribbled on the front.) So, instead of giving us another chance to find some poor schmuck to follow around, she assigned us each one herself. (handing the envelope to Daria) Here.

Daria: (takes the envelope, opens it and pulls out a piece of paper, reading outloud) "Dear Ms. Morgendorffer. Due to your inability to come up with an acceptable mentor for Career Observance Day, I am hereby assigning you to work with Mr. James Crumwall. Mr. Crumwall is a (stressing the next 2 words out of shock) CROSSING GUARD for Lawndale Elementary. You will spend the entire day working with him, learning first-hand the duties and responsibilities of his job." (Daria looks up from the paper, disgusted) And you will bring stupidity and humiliation to yourself and to Laaaawndale High.

Jane: (laughing, quite amused) A crossing guard? Gee, now itís MY turn to be proud!

Daria: Very funny. Alright, Chuckles. Who did you get assigned to?

Jane: (looking at her own assignment sheet) Mrs. Gloria Rothfelder. Interior designer extraordinaire!

Daria: (looking even more upset) Lucky you. At least you got something remotely interesting.

Jane: Yeah, I canít wait. Iíve got so many ideas to pitch to this lady.

Daria: Maybe you could show her some photos from that "Jackson Pollack" dance you did. That was some impressive decorating.

Jane: Hmm...good idea. (pause) So are you excited about your assignment?

Daria: (thinking) Well, I suppose itís better than being assigned to observe Ms. Li...or my mother. And it gives me a chance to corrupt the minds of small children and encourage them to play in the street. So far, the only downside I can see is that I have to wear an idiotic orange vest and hold up a cheap plastic stop sign. Maybe it wonít be as bad as it sounds.

CUT TO...

Itís Thursday!!! Close-up of a large sign driven into the ground. The sign reads "Lawndale Elementary" in large letters, and in slightly smaller, italic print underneath, it says "Go Lemmings!" Pan up to Daria, who is standing in front of the sign, which is posted on the front lawn of the grade school. The school becomes visible in the background. Daria looks less than thrilled.

Daria: (to herself) The Lawndale Lemmings? (beat) Hmm...oddly appropriate.

She sighs and heads off in the direction of the front door of the school building.

CUT TO...

Daria is walking slowly down the hallway, passing classroom doors, all of which are decorated in colorful paper. Some have fish on them, others are illustrating various literary gems, such as "Green Eggs and Ham" or "Little Red Riding Hood". Still others are adorned with numbers, letters, or shapes. You get the picture. She walks by all this, finally stopping at a door that reads "Office" above the doorway. The door is slightly ajar, so she hesitantly pushes the door open and enters. A woman in her 50s is seated behind the desk, typing, her small bifocals perched neatly on the end of her nose. The small name-plate sign on her desk reads "Cynthia Burns: Principal." Daria clears her throat to get the womanís attention. The lady looks up and stops typing, slightly annoyed at being interrupted. Then, seeing this to be a new, obviously non-elementary-student face, she smiles sweetly.

Burns: Hello. May I help you?

Daria: My nameís Daria Morgendorffer. Iím here to observe Mr. Crumwall. (pauses, slightly embarrassed) The crossing guard.

Burns: Ah, yes. Crumwall. Sweet, sweet man. (she glances at the clock) But Iím afraid youíve already missed him. He usually goes out to the corner rather early.

Daria: To catch the strays?

Burns: (ignoring Dariaís comment) You can find him at the corner of Ridgeway and 4th. Just a few blocks east of the school. Heís expecting you. He sounded MOST excited at having a young prodigy observing him today. You must be VERY excited as well.

Daria: (deadpan) Overjoyed.

CUT TO...

The corner of Ridgeway and 4th. Close-up of the street sign. Pan out to show a second-hand bike shop in the background. There are several chairs outside the shop and many old bicycles scattered around in various stages of rust. A man looking to be in his late 60s is sitting in one of these chairs. Heís wearing an orange vest, and a small, red, faded stop sign is setting in his lap. The chair is faced towards the street and heís watching the passing traffic thoughtfully. Daria walks up behind him.

Daria: Mr. Crumwall? (the man turns around in his chair to look at her) Iím...

James: DARIA! (he stands, setting the sign down on the chair, he shakes Dariaís hand firmly) Iím so glad youíre here. I canít tell you how excited Iíve been about this. Itís the highlight of my week.

Daria: (sarcastic, releasing Crumwallís hand) Yeah, mine too.

James: (reaching under the chair he had been sitting at, pulls out another orange vest and stop sign) Well, first things first. (hands the vest and sign to Daria) Here ya go. Canít be a crossing guard without the proper equipment.

Daria takes the sign and vest. She puts on the vest reluctantly and feels very, very ridiculous. Itís bright, glow-in-the-dark orange, of course, and sports a Ďstylishí hand-drawn name-tag. The tag says "Daria: Junior Crossing Guard" and has a little smiley face beside her name. Daria, again, does not look at all pleased.

Daria: (to herself) Itís going to be a long day.

Commercial Lead-In: Quinn passing out at the kitchen table, which I imagine to be even more amusing in slow-motion!

Jane is seated in a huge, extravagantly decorated office. Sheís sitting in a rather plush, oversized purple velvet couch, toying nervously with a loose thread on the armrest. Finally, after a few moments, Janeís Ďconcentrationí is broken when she is approached by a tall, thin, almost anorexic-looking woman. Sheís dressed in a long leopard-print skirt, black granny boots, and a black, form-fitting short-sleeved top. Her wavy black hair falls down to the middle of her back and she appears to be in her mid-30s. She walks over to Jane and glares down at her. Jane looks up and attempts a smile.

Gloria: (in a slightly hauty voice) Hello! Iím Gloria. Sorry to keep you waiting, but I had a minor emergency to attend to. Ivana just ordered a new sofa and had absolutely NO window-treatments that would work with it. Oh, that woman is a pain in the ass. But, sheís good for business. So! I take it youíre Jane.

Jane: What was your first clue?

Gloria: (turning towards her large, dark oak desk. She walks over to it and sits down in the black leather swivel chair as she talks) Well, letís see...my FIRST thought was that only an inexperienced, immature High School kid would show up to a place of business of this stature (gestures towards Janeís every-day ensemble) wearing THAT. (Jane frowns, taking this comment as an intentional, malicious insult). Anyway, enough chit-chat. Time to get down to business. No time to waste. First order of business, the rules of this office. Rule number one: Call me Gloria. None of this "Mrs. Rothfelder" or "Maíam" crap. Makes me feel like a grandma. Rule number two: No laughing. My business is very serious. Itís art. Itís expression. Itís life. Life is no laughing matter. Rule number three...

Jane: (politely interrupting, although her patience is wearing thin) Excuse me, I have a question...

Gloria: (perturbed) Rule number three: No interrupting. You are a guest here and you have no business speaking unless you are addressed and are asked to do so. Understood?

Jane sits silently, frowning. Gloria looks at Jane expectantly. When Jane doesnít answer, Gloria leans across the desk, sitting on the edge of her chair.

Gloria: (more pronounced this time) Is that UNDERSTOOD, Ms. Lane????

Jane: (feigning surprise) Oh, were you speaking to me? Iím just a guest here, and I wasnít aware that I was being addressed and allowed verbal privileges. My mistake.

Gloria: (sitting back in her chair) Rule number five: That smart-ass mouth of yours will have to go. I simply wonít stand for it in....

Jane, seeing this as a challenge, raises her hand, much like one would to answer a question in class. Gloria is slowly losing her temper.

Gloria: ...my office. (snaps) WHAT?!?!

Jane: (puts her hand down) I believe you skipped Ďrule number fourí(grins to herself)...Maíam!

Gloria and Jane exchange impenetrable expressions. Gloria looks just plain annoyed and angry. Jane looks pleased with herself, and is ready for a fight.

CUT TO...

Outside the bike shop again. Crumwall has pulled up an extra chair for Daria, and they are both seated, again facing the road. Both of them are sitting in exactly the same position, left arm on the arm-rest, right hand stretched out across the stop sign which is sitting in their laps. Daria looks bored. Crumwall just looks inquisitive, although thankfully his initial joy has faded considerably.

James: (glancing over at Daria) Have any questions about what I do?

Daria: Actually, I was kinda wondering...where are all the kids? Shouldnít school be starting soon? We havenít seen a single kid all morning.

James: Oh, thatís not unusual. Itís not a real busy intersection. Most of the people living around here are either twenty-something slacker troublemakers or elderly women who are too scared to leave the house.

Daria: Scared the twenty-something slackers may turn violent? Steal their walkers, perhaps?

James: (grinning a little) I suppose. Besides, I actually prefer it this way. I donít really like kids anyway. I didnít even like kids when I was a kid.

Daria: I can respect that. (after a long pause) So...Mr. Crumwall?

James: Please, call me Jimmy.

Daria: Um...I have a hard time calling a grown man ĎJimmy.í

James: James then.

Daria: I can live with that. So, James, what exactly do you DO around here, since there donít seem to be any children in need of crossing...or guarding, for that matter.

James: Well, weíre pretty much doing it. This is it. Except usually Iím out here by myself. Iíd much rather have someone to talk to. It gets kind of lonely after awhile. Sitting alone all day with no one to share your views with.

Daria: I know what you mean.

James: So, Daria. Do you have a beau?

Daria: (amused) Beau? As in Ďboyfriendí?

James: Beau. Boyfriend. Significant other. (beat) Lover. (beat, glances at Daria) Girlfriend? (Daria shoots him a death look.) Hey! Donít take it personal. It was just a joke! But seriously, isnít there someone special? A pretty young lady like you must have someone.

Daria: (blushes at the Ďprettyí comment, and at the thought of Trent that crosses her mind) Oh, I don't know...

James: C'mon, you can tell me. It's not like I'm going to rush out and blab it to all your friends.

Daria: (reluctantly) Well, there is...kinda...somebody I like, but he barely even notices me.

James: No kidding? He must be totally oblivious. (Daria smiles and nods in affirmation) So, who is the lucky fella?

Daria: (after a moment of hesitation, sighs) Heís my best friendís older brother. Heís in a band.

James: Band, huh? You better watch those musicians. They can be pretty wild. I outta know.

Daria: Why? Were you in a band?

James: No, but my late wife was. (obviously thinking about the good olí days) Ah...Laura. Crazy as hell. Cussed like a sailor. Could drink any man I know right under the table. But, what a woman!

Daria: (enjoying this little glimpse into Jamesí life) Was her band any good?

James: They were alright. Called themselves "Blue Seasons." Played jazz. The band itself wasnít terribly spectacular, but Laura had the voice of an angel. (leans over and lowers his voice, as if telling some big secret) Iíll let you in on a little bit of advice about musicians. From my personal experience I can tell you, they may be wild and crazy and get into trouble. They may be penniless and jobless and even lack ambition at times. But ainít NOBODY better in bed than a musician!

Daria: (shocked, doesn't quite know what to say) Uh...Iíll keep that in mind.

CUT TO...

Close-up of the outside of Gloriaís office door, which is closed. The words "Gloria Rothfelder" and "Interior Design Consultant" is painted on the smoky glass pane in the door. Zoom out to show Jane sitting in a waiting area outside the office. There are several chairs and a few coffee tables, which are strewn with various home design, art, and fashion magazines. Jane is seated in one of the chairs with her sketch pad in her lap. She is drawing something we canít quite see and is very intent on her work. Across from the waiting area is a small desk with a young lady, mid-20s, seated there, on the phone. The woman, Gloriaís secretary Cassandra, has long brown hair which is pulled back in a loose ponytail. She has tiny, blue-tinted oval glasses on her face and is wearing a dark blue jacket with a plain white collared shirt barely visible beneath the jacket. She is also wearing a navy, knee-length straight skirt and comfortable-looking navy flats, although we canít see this until she stands up a bit later. She reminds Jane a little of Daria, in appearance. As she talks on the phone, in a kind, semi-cheerful voice, she occasionally types something on her keyboard, glancing at the computer screen.

Cassandra: (finishing up her conversation, punching a few keys) Mrs. Rothfelder has an opening for you next Wednesday at 2pm. Is that acceptable? (pause, more typing) Excellent. Weíll see you then, Mrs. Griffin. You have a nice day. (she replaces the receiver and quickly loses her fake smile and cheerful voice) God, I hate being nice to that woman. (notices Jane looking up from her sketchbook at her) Sorry, I just had to vent. I feel much better now.

Jane: (not quite sure what to think of this woman yet) Uh-huh.

Cassandra: Arenít you supposed to be working with Gloria?

Jane: Yes.

Cassandra: Wouldnít that be a lot more productive and educational if you were actually INSIDE her office.

Jane: It might, but after I tried to show her some ideas I had for redesigning her office, I was downgraded to working OUTSIDE her office.

Cassandra: (curious, she gets up and walks over to sit beside Jane) Wow, were your ideas really THAT hideous?

Jane flips back a few pages in her notebook and hands it to the secretary. A close-up of the paper reveals a sketch of the interior of Gloriaís office as Jane imagines it should look. The walls are padded like Dariaís bedroom. There are bars over the expansive picture windows and no furniture except for a cot in the corner. Jane has sketched in a likeness of Gloria, disheveled, messy hair, crazed look in her eyes, one shoe on, the other shoe tossed on the floor, sans shoelaces. Gloria is standing on the cot with the missing shoelaces in her hands, tied as a noose, and is preparing to hang herself. Cassandra studies the drawing intensely, an amused expression on her face.

Cassandra: (handing the notebook back) I love it. (beat) So I take it you two arenít getting along?

Jane: Whatever gave you that impression?

Cassandra: (in an understanding voice) Just a few words of wisdom. Gloria doesnít get along with ANYBODY. Donít take it personal. If you dwell on it too much, YOUíLL end up in a straight-jacket instead of her. Iím already well on my way to padded cell Heaven myself.

Jane: (smiling) My best friend is already way ahead of you. (gets a questioning look from the secretary) She was kind of the inspiration for this piece.

Cassandra: Ah, I see. (looks at her watch) Hey, itís almost time for my lunch break. You want to go with me? My treat.

Jane: Do you think Gloria will care that her two little peons have escaped her grasp for a whole hour?

Cassandra: No, sheíll be thrilled that weíve stopped invading her space. More oxygen for her. (stands) Iíll just buzz her and let her know Iím leaving. (walks to her desk and pushes the intercom button on the phone, this is followed by a short buzzing sound) Yo, Gloria.

Gloria: (voice snaps over intercom) Yes, Cassandra?

Cassandra: (whom I will hereby refer to as Cass, Ďcuz Iím tired of typing ĎCassandraí over and over) Iím outta here. Donít miss me too much.

Gloria: (voice) Whatever.

Cass: (releasing the button and grabbing her purse off the back of her chair) Címon girl. Letís get out of here before her kindness and generosity rubs off on us.

Jane smiles and stands to follow Cass out of the office.

CUT TO...

Bike shop corner, again. Daria and James are still sitting by the street talking. Daria looks slightly more interested than she did when she first arrived. She has since slipped the stop sign under her chair. The scene starts with James in the middle of a conversation about his wife.

James: I did alot of travelling back then, with the band. We went all over. They did gigs everywhere possible, anywhere that would let them play, but they didnít make a whole lot of money.

Daria: Obviously.

James: (grinning) Are you insinuating that I wouldnít be working this job if my wifeís band had made more money?

Daria: Well, youíre not doing this out of the goodness of your heart....are you?

James: (laughs) Yeah, right. Thatís a good one! (Daria smiles) Hey, you wanna get out of here for a while? (pointing at the convenience store across the street) Iíll buy you a soda.

Daria: Sure.

James: Besides, I could really use a cigarette.

CUT TO...

Outside the Stop ĎN Spend convenience store across the steet. Daria and James walk in the front door. The tiny bell above the door Ďdingsí softly as they walk in. Upon entering the store, "Love The One Youíre With" by Stephen Stills is playing overhead (yes, I realize itís an old song, but hey, itís a convenience store. Whatíd you expect? PUFF DADDY??) They walk past the counter, hearing a female voice from the back room, behind the counter.

Female voice: (aggrevated) Charles! Put down that damn magazine and go up front with the customers! NOW!

Daria glances over in time to see Upchuck emerge from the back room, carrying a copy of "Eyeful." He walks up to the register, turning back to make one final comment to the woman.

Upchuck: Rrrr....FEISTY! (upon seeing him, Daria tries to hide behind a large display of snack cakes, but is spotted anyway) Daria! (Daria comes out from behind the display, slightly embarassed. James gives her an inquisative look) It appears my favorite Lushish Lady has come to pay me a visit.

Daria: (glances around the store, pretending to be looking for someone) Really? That's funny. I donít see anybody.

Upchuck: Oh, come now, my sweet. Admit it. You couldnít stand being deprived of the Chuckster for an entire day, could you?

Daria: Did you say Ďdeprivedí or Ďdepravedí?

Upchuck places his magazine under the counter and starts rearranging the other racks of Ďadultí magazines on display by the register.

James: (to Daria under his breath) Who IS this guy? Austin Powers?

Daria: (whispering to James) He wishes. Actually, heís Charles Ruttheimer: The Hormone That Ate Lawndale.

Upchuck: (still straightening the magazines, occassionally taking a peek) So, what DO I owe the pleasure, madame?

James: Daria here is my deputy crossing guard for the day.

Upchuck: (noticing the orange vest on Daria) Rrrrr....I never could resist a woman in uniform.

Daria: Then you should be in Heaven when youíre finally sent to prison after violating one of the many restraining orders against you. (pause, considers not asking, but does anyway) So, why on earth would you chose to work in a convenience store all day? Is this the only place in Lawndale that you HAVENíT been banned from yet?

Upchuck: (frowns) My father OWNS this store. He asked the manager to let me work with her for the day. Sorta taking me under her wing, so to speak.

Daria: Against her will, no doubt. Just tell me what she did to deserve such a fate so that I may remember never to repeat her horrible mistake.

While Daria is talking, Upchuck holds up one of the magazines sideways and the centerfold falls opens. He grins and does his usual sleezy growl. He obviously didnít hear Dariaís last comment...he was a tad destracted.

Upchuck: (to the magazine) Heeelllloooo, you beautious blonde bombshell. Come to Daddy Chuck. Rrrrrrr....

Daria and James exchange annoyed glances. Theyíre obviously ready to get the heck outta Dodge!

James: (to Upchuck, pointing to the cigarette case behind him) I donít mean to break your concentration, Sleeze Boy, but could I get a pack of Lites? (beat) TO GO!

CUT TO...

Exterior shot of the Lawndale Mall, which soon cuts to Jane and Cass walking side-by-side through the mall. The annoyingly happy "Show Me Love" by Robyn is playing quitely over the loud-speakers overhead. Jane and Cass each have a large soft pretzel in their hands and are eating as they walk.

Jane: (mumbling through a mouthful of pretzel) Thanks for lunch, Cass.

Cass: No problem, J. Itís nice to have a few moments away from that witch back at the office.

Jane: True enough. (lifts her pretzel up slightly) And, of course, no meal is complete without a big-ass wad of dough, tied in a knot and coated with a substance that somewhat resembles salt.

Cass: (grinning) Of course.

Jane and Cass keep walking and approach a Cashmanís display window where Quinn is sitting alone, positioned in one of her idiotic model poses. Jane stops dead in her tracks, a smile spreading across her face. Cass stops and looks in the window where Jane is staring.

Cass: (confused) What is it?

Jane: "It" happens to be my best friendís annoyingly popular, self-absorbed sister.

Cass: (squinting, still staring at Quinn) Just looks like a dummy to me.

Jane: Thatís what I said. (Cass smiles and Jane gets an idea) Want to have a little fun with her? (Cassís smile broadens and she nods her head in enthusiastic agreement)

Jane and Cass walk up to the class display window where Quinn is sitting. She is being very diligant, not blinking or moving at all. The two walk up to the window and start making faces at Quinn through the glass. Quinn remains emotionless. This goes on for a little while longer, enough time for a rather large crowd to form around Jane and Cass. Theyíre all watching Quinn in expectation, waiting for her to blow it and react to whatís going on. But, dammit! She STILL doesnít react. Jane, undaunted, takes a huge bite of her pretzel, chews for a moment, then opens her mouth, exposing the partially chewed pretzel bits to Quinn. Quinn almost loses it then, you can see it in her eyes, but she hasnít moved yet. Cass turns around and presses her navy-skirt-covered butt up against the glass. Quinn is still not moving yet, but sheís close to the breaking point. Finally, Jane glances around, an evil expression on her face, checking to make sure thereís no security officers in sight. Then, she lifts her shirt and flashes Quinn, just for a second, but it is just enough to finally break Quinn. Quinnís eyes widen in horror and shock and her jaw drops. A kid standing beside Jane starts laughing and pointing at Quinn.

Kid: She moved! She moved!!!

At that, everyone around them starts laughing and cheering, pointing at Quinn also. Quinn, unable to contain her anger, leaps out of her chair, red-faced and furious, but also incredibly embarassed at all the people laughing at her.

Quinn: (screeching at Jane, waving her fists in the air) WHY YOU LITTLE.....

Mid-insult, Quinn lunges at Jane, intent on beating her ass, forgetting that they are separated by a glass window. Quinn slams into the glass, her face smooshed up against the glass. She reels back, stunned, as the crowd outside laughs even harder...her lipstick prints still on the glass. Quinn is absolutely mortified. She lets out a little aggrevated squeal, throws her hands over her face to cover her shame, and runs out of the store, through the common area, and into the ladies room. Jane and Cass watch her go, then exchange glances, both donning mischievous smirks, their arms crossed firmly across their chests.

Commercial Lead-In: Split screen. On one half, Jane is flashing Quinn. The other half, Quinn is looking completely mortified.

Outside the Stop ĎN Spend, Daria and James have just exited and go to sit on the curb outside the store. Daria is drinking soda from a can, James quickly lights up a cigarette.

James: Well, wasnít HE the little stud-puppy.

Daria: Yeah, Upchuckís a legend in his own mind.

James: (beat) Um...can I ask you something?

Daria: Sure.

James: Donít take offense, but...that Charles guy...heís not the one you have a crush on, is he?

Daria: (appalled at the thought) No. HELL no. Although, the word Ďcrushí does come to mind whenever I see him, but not in the same context.

James: (visibly relieved) Thank God. I was afraid youíd completely lost your senses.

Daria: Not completely. Iíd personally rather hurl myself off a cliff and plummet to my death than let that weasal invade my space.

James: Somehow, I get the feeling your untimely death wouldnít stop him from hitting on you.

Daria: Hmm...I know heís not the pickiest guy in the world, but necrophelia?

James: Hey, itís probably the only kind of woman he could get, besides the inflatable kind.

Daria: (smiling slightly) Good point.

CUT TO...

Interior of Cassís car, mall parking lot. Jane is sitting in the passenger seat, finishing off the last little piece of her pretzel. Cass starts the ignition and immediately "Iíll Stick Around" by the Foo Fighters comes blaring out the speakers. She and Jane both look very triumphant after embarassing Quinn. Before backing out of the lot, she looks over at Jane.

Cass: So, how do you get to your house from here? Iíll drop you off on my way back to the office.

Jane: (a little stunned) Really?

Cass: Sure, why not? The fact that I have to go back is bad enough. Thereís really no sense in you suffering unnecessarily. I mean, youíre not even getting PAID for this.

Jane: And what happens if Gloria asks where I am?

Cass: Most likely she wonít. But if she does get suspicious, Iíll just tell her youíre out conducting a meeting with some of her most important clients.

Jane: Boy, that would scare the hell out of her.

Cass: (grinning) Thatís what Iím counting on. (pulls out of the lot) So, whatís it gonna be? Take a personal leave of absence or sit through another 4 hours of being ignored by Satanís personal decorator?

Jane: (grins, pointing ahead of them as they travel down the road) Turn left at the next light.

CUT TO...

Jane and Daria walking home from school the following day. They are discussing their Career Observance experiences.

Jane: So how was the crossing guard business?

Daria: Booming. The only one we helped across the street besides ourselves was a German Shepard. And he actually didnít need much help.

Jane: And how was old Crumwall?

Daria: Old.

Jane: Wow. Sounds like a blast. So, did you tell him off? Insult him? Leave him questioning his place in life? Or did you just make him want to quit his job and run screaming into the night?

Daria: (sighs) None of the above. The guy was too damn nice. I didnít have the heart.

Jane: Damn that conscience of yours, woman!

Daria: Yeah, I know. So howís Mrs. Rothfelder?

Jane: Resting peacefully in a shallow grave, with any luck.

Daria: I take it things didnít go well?

Jane: Oh, no, she was FABULOUS! All except for her personality, that is. I swear, the woman could peel paint off a concrete wall with that attitude.

Daria: A tad abrasive, was she?

Jane: Was she ever! She could have Barch and DeMartino BOTH in tears within five minutes. Luckily, people like that donít bother me.

Daria: Yeah. Sheís just one of those people placed on this earth for the soul purpose of showing us how wonderful WE really are. Letting us know that things are bad, but they could always be worse.

Jane: No, not really. I just enjoyed messing with her mind a little. Then, when I realized there wasnít one to mess WITH, I skipped out and took early retirement.

Daria: I can find no fault in that.

Jane: So, how is Lady Quinn recovering from her modeling experience?

Daria: Iím not sure. She got home right after I did, stormed upstairs and locked herself in her room. I didnít see her all evening, although I could hear her mumbling your name and some choice explatives in her sleep last night.

Jane: Excellent!

Daria: Even better is the fact that your exploits at the mall yesterday have caused her serious psychological trauma. I couldnít have done better myself.

Jane: Sounds like a job well done. Iíd say after all our hard work yesterday, we deserve a reward. What say we go out for some pizza? Iím starving.

Daria: Nah, you go ahead. (smiles) I have someplace I need to be.

CUT TO...

The corner of Ridgeway and 4th. Daria and Crumwall are sitting in the same chairs they had been in the day before. Daria, minus her vest and sign, looks fairly content. Theyíre both holding a handful of small pebbles in their hands. A car drives by and Crumwall lobs a small stone at the vehicle.

James: Damn. Thatís the third miss in a row. Could I be losing my touch?

Daria: Nah. Must be the wind. (another car passes and Daria tosses a stone at the car, also missing) Damn!

James: Donít worry, there are plenty more chances. (pointing down the road to their left) Hey, here comes another one.

Daria looks down the road and spots the yellow convertible carrying the Fashion Club. Quinn is in the passenger seat looking at herself in a compact, trying to cover up a slightly noticable black eye with concealer. Sandi, of course, is driving, and keeps glancing over at Quinn. Sheís smiling a bit, looking rather pleased at Quinnís misfortune. Tiffany and Stacy are crammed into the back seat, just looking uncomfortable and confused as always.

Daria: (deadpan) Great. Itís my sister.

James: (grinning, glancing at Daria) You want to take this one?

Daria chooses a larger stone out of her pile and tosses it up in the air, then lets it fall into the palm of her hand, waiting for her prey to approach. She smiles a subtle, sinister little grin.

Daria: With pleasure, James. (grin widens a bit) With pleasure.

End Credits and Alter-Egos roll as "Sabatoge" by the Beastie Boys plays. What can I say...it just seems appropriate!