Citizen Lane


Cupping her hands to block out the sunlight, Daria peeked through the glass in the door. “It looks like he’s closed for the day.” she said. “I guess he’s gone home. At least I don’t see any movement. Although with Trent that’s never been an indication he wasn’t there.”


Laughing, Jane said, “Sad but true. Let’s go by his house. If he’s left, he should be home by the time we get there.”


When they got to Trent’s house, Daria, Jane, and Miranda all piled out of the minivan and went to the front door. Since Jane got there first, she knocked several times. When Trent didn’t acknowledge her poundings the first time she gave it a second try. It was just as successful as the previous attempt.


Jane finally had enough of knocking. She saw Trent’s car in the driveway so she knew he was home. Taking her key, she opened the front door and she, Daria, and Mandy all went in.


Jane yelled out, “TRENT!” After no response, she shouted again. “Trent! I have company!”


After no reply, she figured he had probably got home and fallen asleep while trying to remove his shoes. It was a common occurrence for him. Knowing the best way to get him up, she led the trio down the hallway to his bedroom to see if they could rouse him back to the world of the conscious.


As they approached his bedroom, Miranda noticed the bathroom light was on and the door was open. Walking over to turn the light off, she noticed Trent lying across the bathroom floor, his head leaning against the commode.


In shock, all she could say was, “Uncle Trent!”


Hearing her daughter scream her brother’s name, Jane ran over to see what was wrong. When she saw Trent prone on the floor, she looked at her daughter and said, “Call an ambulance right now.” When Miranda didn’t move, Jane was preparing to repeat the order when Daria said, “I’ll do it. You see if he’s okay.”


Once Daria had left, Jane and Miranda went over to see how Trent was. Both knelt down to see if he was still breathing. Luckily, they quickly noticed he was so they tried to see if he was conscious.


“Trent?” Jane asked.


After no reply, she made the decision to shake his shoulder slightly. She knew it was dangerous to move an injured person but she needed to see if he was still coherent enough to let them know what happened. Carefully she took her hand and shook his shoulder slightly.


“Trent?” she repeated, “Can you hear me.”


Slowly, Trent opened his eyes and looked at the two people in front of him. “Nnnnnh.” was all he said.


Both Jane and Miranda were relieved to see he seemed to be able to do that much.


“Trent?” Jane asked. “Can you hear me? What happened?”


Trent looked at the person talking and tried to form some words. As he tried to gather his thoughts, Jane saw what he was attempting and leaned forward so she could hear him better.


“Yes Trent?”


Finally he managed to work up a response. As the two women listened intently, he said,  “leen on” and promptly passed out again.


A second later, Daria returned to the bathroom.


“The ambulance will be here in a few minutes.” she said. Looking at Jane, she asked, “How is he? Did he say what happened?”


Jane looked at Daria, shook her head and said, “Not exactly.”


At the hospital, all three waited in the emergency room for the doctor to let them know how Trent was. After about an hour, she came out. Walking over to Jane, she asked, “Are you Mr. Lane’s sister?”


Jane nodded.


“Yes. How is he?”


“He’ll be fine. He suffered a concussion and twisted his ankle but other than that he’ll be fine.”


“Thank goodness.” Jane said. “Did he say what happened?”


“When he finally regained consciousness he mentioned something about picking up the shampoo bottle.” she said. “More than likely he tripped on something and hit his head on the commode. Most accidents do happen in the home you know.”


“Yea. I’ve heard that.” Jane said. “So how long will he be here?”


“We’d like to keep him a few days. The ankle is fine but he did take a nasty blow to the head and we’d like to keep him here a little while to make sure he’s really okay. When he woke up, his speech was slow and he seemed very incoherent.”


Jane just smiled at the doctor.


“Oh that’s just how he is. I’d be more worried if he wasn’t that way.”  


“Ah I see. Well regardless, we’d like to keep him under our care until a neurologist can see him.” the doctor said, “We’ll be moving him up to a room in a little while. Until then you’re free to wait here.”


“Thank you Doctor.” Jane said.


Smiling back, she said, “You’re welcome.”


After she left, Jane turned to look at Daria and Mandy. “That’s a relief.” she said. “I guess the only question is what to do with the guitar shop.”


“Guess it’ll just stay closed until he gets back.” Daria said. “Lane and Quinn can’t come home from school to open it for him.”


“Well I can open it Saturday if he’s not out of here by then.” Jane said. “Until then, the musicians of Lawndale will have to make do with the strings they have.”  


Miranda decided this was a good time to chime in with her opinion.


“I could keep it open tomorrow after school. After all, I’m going to help him over spring break.”


Both Jane and Daria looked at her.


“No way young lady.” Jane said. “You haven’t even worked one day there yet. Until you have more experience, there’s no way you’re going to be left there alone.”  


Miranda bowed her head slightly and said, “Yes Maam.”


Turning her attention back to Jane, Daria decided to change the subject, “Did he say anything when you woke him up?” she asked.


Shaking her head, Jane said, “Not really. When I asked him if he was okay, all he said was, ‘leen on’ and passed out.”


“What does that mean anyway?” Miranda asked.


Both Jane and Daria shrugged.


“Don’t know.” Jane said. “He was stunned so it was probably nothing.”


“Maybe. Maybe not.” Daria said. “He might have been thinking about Sean Lennon again.”


Miranda looked at Daria and asked, “Who’s that?”


Turning her attention to Mandy, Daria said, “Yoko Ono’s son.”


Miranda nodded to indicate she understood now.


“Ah Okay. So what does that have to do with Uncle Trent?”


“Well it was about a week after Mystik Spiral broke up for good. Trent was feeling pretty bad about what had happened. Your mom was still on her honeymoon with your dad so I went over to see how he was doing.”


Daria knocked on the bedroom door. She heard music so she knew he was in there. He was probably asleep.

“Trent?” she asked.


After no reply, she slowly opened the door and peeked in. To her surprise, Trent was wide-awake and sitting on the edge of the bed. It looked like he hadn’t slept in days. Looking up from the floor, Trent noticed Daria in the doorway.


“Hey Daria.”


“Hi Trent. Mind if I come in?”


Trent sighed, “Yea, I guess.”


She went over and sat next to him on the bed. “I just heard what happened.” she said. “So how are you holding up?”


“Okay I guess. I just can’t believe it’s really over.” Pausing for a second to collect his thoughts, he continued, “I mean, we’ve broken up more times than I can count. It was never real until now.” Shaking his head, he said, “And we were about to get that Landon guy to sponsor our tour.”


“Andrew Landon?”


Trent just nodded.


“He was going to sponsor you for a tour?”


“Yea. But that’s over now. That’s life I guess.”


Looking up at him, Daria asked, “So what are you going to do now?”


Trent shook his head.


“Try to become normal I guess.” Looking over at Daria, he asked, “How does that work exactly?”


This amused Daria a great deal. “I don’t think that’s something you can describe exactly.” she said. “You just sort of have to do it and hope for the best.”


Trent nodded in understanding, “Oh. Okay.” he said. “Well if I have any trouble can I call you for advice?”


“For all the good it’ll do. I’m having a problem with real life too. But I’ll try to lend a hand whenever I can.”


Smiling, Trent said, “Cool.”


The two sat there in silence enjoying the moment. As they were enjoying each other’s company, Daria finally noticed the music playing in the background.


“What is this music?” she asked.


Without hesitating, Trent said, “Sean Lennon.”


“So you’re the one who bought that cd. Why are you listening to it?”


Shrugging, Trent said, “After I got back from the gig I was so bummed I just grabbed a pile of music and loaded them into the player. The changer got stuck on this and it’s been playing ever since.”


“And how long has than been?” Daria asked.


“Don’t know for sure. What day is it?”




Taking a second to do the math, Trent finally said, “Since Monday I think.”


Daria couldn’t believe it. “Why didn’t you get up and change it?”


“After a while it got comforting. I guess I should have changed it but after a while it seemed to be easier to just leave it alone.”


Getting up, Daria went over and turned the player off. “Well I think you’ve heard enough of that.” she said.


Nodding, Trent said, “You’re probably right. I guess I need to begin assimilation now.”


“You believe he was thinking about a crappy cd?” Miranda asked. “Why would he have done that?”


“Well he was out of it after he bumped his head.” Daria said. “In moments of great distress, it’s been said that your life flashes before your eyes. Perhaps he was remembering a moment from his life.”


“I don’t know.” Miranda said. “It seems too easy.” Thinking for a second, She looked at Daria and asked, “You mentioned someone named Landon. That sounds a lot like ‘leen on’. If he was out of it perhaps he wasn’t able to say the whole name.”


Jane interrupted the conversation. “Maybe but I don’t think so. It seems something of a stretch. I mean why would he think of Jodie’s dad? He barely had anything to do with him.”


Miranda looked at her mom. “Jodie’s dad? You mean Lisa’s grandfather?”


Nodding, Jane said, “Yea.”


“I wonder if he would know anything.” Miranda said.


“Doubtful.” Jane said, “Why is this bugging you so bad anyhow? It’s not like it means anything.”


Mandy shrugged.


“I don’t know for sure. It just seemed like a weird thing to say at a time like that. It has to mean something.”


Jane shook her head and laughed.


“Just give it a rest. It doesn’t mean anything.”


Mandy looked at her mom and smiled.


“I guess.”


The problem was, the more Miranda tried to forget Trent’s words, the more they bugged her. The next day after school she went to Andrew Landon’s office to see if he might be able to shed any light on her uncle’s cryptic comment. When she got there she was informed that he was very busy and couldn’t see her. She was about to leave when fate stepped in. Jodie walked through the foyer and saw her daughter’s friend. She immediately got Miranda past the receptionist and into her father’s office.


When he saw the young lady enter his office, Andrew stood up and shook her hand.


“Hello. I’m Andrew Landon. It’s nice to meet you. I understand you’re a friend of Lisa’s.”


Miranda nodded and said, “Yes.”


Sitting down, Andrew gestured for her to do the same. Once they were both comfortable, he looked at her again.


“So to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?” he asked.


Not entirely certain of what to say, Miranda just started talking and hoped it made sense.


“My uncle got hurt yesterday.”


“I’m very sorry to hear that.” he said. “I hope he’ll be fine.”


“He’ll recover okay.”


“That’s nice. I hope I don’t seem rude but what does that have to do with your visit?”


“Well while we were waiting for the ambulance he said something that sounded like ‘leen on’. A friend of my mom’s told me a story but it didn’t make much sense. In the story though, your name came up and it sounds like what he said so I thought I’d see if you had any idea of what it meant.”


Andrew leaned back in his chair. He doubted he could help her any but decided to humor her some.


“I see.” he said. “So who is you uncle?”


Miranda looked at him to see if there was nay reaction when he heard it. “Trent Lane.” she said.


Looking at the ceiling, Andrew tried to recall the name. After a few seconds, he returned his attention to Miranda.


“I’m sorry.” he said, “I don’t recall the name.”


“He was in a band called Mystic Spiral. He said you were going to sponsor them.”


That clicked on the memory for Andrew. “Oh yes. I remember now.” he said. ”Yes. After a very nasty tax season I was looking for a good shelter. I had heard that there was a local band looking for a sponsor for their tour. After hearing them I realized they would meet my needs perfectly. I spoke with your uncle about it and he seemed open to the idea but a few days later, when I went to see them perform, he informed me they had just broken up for good.”


“That’s it?” Miranda thought. “So you never really had anything to do with my uncle?” she asked.


“I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help.” he said. Suddenly he remembered something. “You know, one of the members of the band works in the accounting firm on the sixth floor. Perhaps he might know what your uncle meant.”


“Oh.” she said. “What’s his name?”


“Nick something I believe. I’ve seen him in the cafeteria from time to time.” Sitting up in his chair, he continued, “If you like I’ll call down and see if he’s in.”


Miranda nodded. “Yes. If you don’t mind.” she said.


Andrew smiled.


“My pleasure.”


After thanking him for his help, she took the elevator to the sixth floor. Once there, the receptionist let her into the office and she soon found Nick’s cubicle.


“Hello. Are you Nick?” she asked.


Nick nodded and said, “Yes.” Leaning back he looked at her. “So you’re Trent’s niece. How is he? I haven’t seen him in years.”


Miranda bowed her head.


“He was hurt yesterday in his house.”


Nick was shocked. “I’m sorry to hear that.” he said. “Is he okay?”


Nodding, she said, “Yes he’ll be fine but, when we found him, he said something that bothered me and I wondered if you might be able to help me figure it out. For some reason I feel it has something to do with the breakup band you guys were in.”


“That was a long time ago.” Nick said. “But I’ll try to help. What did he say?”


“It sounded like ‘leen on’.”


Swiveling back and forth in his chair, Nick kept repeating the words and trying to figure out what it could possibly have to do with the breakup of Mystik Spiral. A few seconds later, he thought he might have an idea of what it could possibly mean. Stopping the chair he returned his attention to Miranda.


“This may not be it. But that sounds very familiar to something that happened on the night we broke up. We had just finished up our first set and were backstage, actually the alley, taking our break when the owner came out to talk with us.”


“That was a great set guys.”


Trent turned to look at the owner.


“Thanks. We felt pretty good up there.”


“Great.” the owner said. As the band looked at him they could see he was uneasy. Even Trent saw something was up.


“What’s going on?” Trent asked.


“I don’t know how to tell you guys this except to just come out with it.”


Jesse looked at the owner. “What is it?” he asked.


“Uh well, the club isn’t going very well as it is anymore so I’m closing after tonight for two weeks to remodel and reopen as a new place.”


Trent’s eyes got very large. “Whoa!” was all he could say for a minute. After he had given the news time to sink in, he asked, “So we’re going to need to find a new gig? That won’t be easy. You’re our first job in two months.”


“That’s what I wanted to talk to you guys about.” the owner said. “I’m gonna have a house band. If you’d like it, I’m offering you guys the job.”


The four members all looked at each other and nodded in agreement. Once they had a consensus, Trent looked back at their new boss.


“That’s cool. Sure.”


The owner smiled. “Great. Now the new club will be a little different so you’ll have to learn some new stuff.” With that, he handed Trent a list. “I’ll need you guys to learn these songs before we reopen.”


Trent looked over the list.


“Sorry man. Mystik Spiral doesn’t do covers.”


Nick and Max looked at each other. Then they both looked at Trent.


“We will if it’s a steady paying job.” Nick said.


Wadding the list up and tossing it on the ground, Trent said, “Not me. It’s our stuff or nothing.” Looking at the owner, he said, “Sorry man but we’ll have to pass.”


That was too much for Nick. Standing up, he looked Trent in the eye.


“Why are you speaking for all of us? I thought the band was a group. Not just you.”


This outburst took Trent by surprise. “Huh?” was all he could say.


“I mean, we’ve all been at this for over ten years.” Nick said. “Now that we finally have a break you’re ready to throw it all away without seeing if any of your partners have anything to say.”


“Sorry man.” Trent said. “But you don’t know what the list had on it. Do you really want to play ‘Lean On Me’ every night for the next few years? “


Nick looked Trent directly in the eyes and said, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’d play backup for Wayne Newton for the rest of my life.”


Trent shook his head, “Not me.” he said. “I’m not selling out… and neither is the Spiral.”


Nick had finally had enough.


“That’s it. I’ve had enough of this. I quit.”


Going back into the club, Nick came out a minute later with his guitar. Looking at Trent, he said, “I hope you had fun playing tonight. Because it’s my last gig with you guys.”


Nick looked at Miranda.


“When I spoke to Max the next day I understand they all got into an argument and never finished the second set.” he said. “After that we never played together again. I eventually went to college and the others went their own ways as well.”


“So you believe Uncle Trent was thinking about the song ‘Lean On Me’?”


Max shook his head, “Probably not.” he said. “I was reaching when I told you the story. More than likely he was just rambling.”


Miranda sighed, “You’re probably right.” she said. “It’s probably nothing. I just thought it was odd.”


“Well are you going to see him soon?” Nick asked.


“Yea. I’m going to stop by on my way home.”


“Then why don’t you just ask him what he meant?”


Embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of that herself, she turned red and said, “I’ll do that. Thanks for the suggestion.” Getting up, she shook his hand. “Thanks for the help anyhow. It was nice meeting you.”


“It was nice meeting you too.” Nick said. “Perhaps I’ll stop by and see Trent later. It’s time to bury the hatchet.”


Miranda gave him a smile.


“I’m sure he’d like that. Bye.”


A half hour later, Miranda stuck her head in through the door of Trent’s room. Looking over to see his niece, Trent smiled and said, “Hey come in.”


Walking over to the bed, she sat down and asked, “So how are you feeling?”


“My ankle still swollen and my head still hurts a little but I’ll be okay.”


Smiling, Miranda said, “That’s cool.” Pausing for a moment, she continued, “Uncle Trent?”




“Mind if I ask you something?”




Turning the chair so she could see him better, she began.


“Yesterday when we found you, you muttered the words ‘leen on’. What does that mean?”


Just like Nick, Trent repeated the words several times as he tried to figure out what they meant. Finally he had to admit the truth to her.


“I was pretty loopy after I tripped. I don’t recall anything. I was probably just babbling. Sorry.”


She smiled at her uncle.


“That’s okay. You’re probably right. Thanks anyway.” Looking around, she asked, “So I thought Mom was coming by.”


“She and Daria were here earlier.” Trent said. “They left to go clean up the bathroom for me.”


“Oh okay.” Mandy said.


Back at Trent’s house, Daria and Jane were just beginning the task of getting the bathroom back in shape. Leaning down, Daria picked up the shower curtain and tried to hang it back up.


“Does Trent have another curtain?” she asked Jane. “This one’s ruined. All the little holes where the hooks attach are ripped. They must have torn when he grabbed it while falling.”


“Knowing my brother, I’d say no. That one probably came with the house when he bought it. Throw it in the bag. I’ll buy him a new one tomorrow.”


“Okay.” Daria said.


As she wadded the curtain up and put it in the garbage bag, neither woman noticed the label.


Machine Washable

60% Linen

40% Nylon


The End


As always, Daria and all related characters belong to MTV. This was written for my own amusement.