Sandi tries to put her life back together after the dissolution of the Fashion Club. Daria and Upchuck set up the schools new computer lab. Tom joins Daria and Jane on a school trip. A romance is kindled, but can it survive? Should it? A sequel to "Breaking Strain".
Note: the story takes place immediately after my story "Breaking Strain", in the fall of Daria's senior year. This story continues from events that occurred in that one, so I'd recommend reading it first. However, there's a brief recap of critical events at the start of this script, as a refresher, or in case you haven't read it.
Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks
This story is copyright © 2001 Mystik Slacker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.
Intro, with title 'Daria, in "Strange Bedfellows"':
Interior. Lawndale High School Hallway.
Quinn and Stacy are walking down the hallway, alone.
Superimposed title: "Two Weeks Ago"
STACY: (sighs) Another "D". Mom's going to kill me. Mr. O'Neill said the other day that if I fail English they'll keep me back a year. (beat) I'm beginning to wish I hadn't given up on that tutor this summer.
QUINN: Yeah, it was a pain, but he really taught me how to work on problems. (beat) You know, I'm sure you could hire someone to tutor you evenings. The seniors are all looking for things to pad out their college applications, and tutoring probably counts as an extra-curricular activity.
STACY: Wow Quinn, you think of everything! Your cousin is a senior, could you ask her to tutor me?
Interior. Ms. Li's Office.
Daria and Jodie are seated in front of Ms. Li.
MS LI: (businesslike) Congratulations. The two of you have the highest overall grade averages in the senior class. Because of this, you have been selected to represent Lawndale High in an experimental internship program the county schools are conducting with Middleton College.
DARIA: (annoyed) I don't recall volunteering for an internship.
Interior. School Cafeteria.
The Fashion Club is in line, selecting food to put on their trays.
SANDI: (looking at sandwich plates) Are they trying to poison us? Look at all the processed meats! Those can't be good for our skin!
Sandi picks up a plate, and puts it on her tray. Stacy chooses the same kind of plate, and lifts it. Quinn is still looking over the selection.
Sandi changes her mind, and quickly puts her plate back, choosing another one. Stacy is caught with the old plate just above her tray. She looks at Sandi, then at the plate, and begins to look panicked. Sandi looks pleased.
SANDI: (starting to move her tray down the line) Are you coming Stacy, or are you just going to stand there?
Anger replaces Stacy's panicked look briefly. She looks over at Sandi, and then puts the plate (the original one) down on her tray and moves along. A flash of irritation crosses Sandi's face, although Stacy is not looking at her and doesn't see it.
Interior. Jane's Room.
Jane is on the floor, sculpting clay, while Daria lies on the bed, reading.
JANE: You've been buried in that book for an hour, what's so interesting?
DARIA: It's an overview of how computer networks work. They're more complicated than I thought.
JANE: So, nerd-in-training, are my ears deceiving me, or are you actually enjoying the job you were forced into by Ms. Li?
DARIA: (deliberately flat voice) I never enjoy anything. You must be mistaken.
Interior. Morgendorffer Living Room.
Stacy and Sandi face each other, while Daria, Quinn, and Tiffany look on.
Superimposed title: "Last Thursday".
STACY: (yelling) If you care, then why doesn't my failing English matter? What you care about is that you're number one! No matter what it does to the rest of us!
SANDI: (choked voice) No! I... No!
STACY: (no longer yelling, but still angry and speaking sharply) Well, I've had enough! I only stayed this long because of Quinn and Tiffany! You and I used to be friends, but I don't know you anymore! I don't like who you've turned into! It's over! I'm quitting the fashion club, and you can just go to hell! I never want to see you again, now get out of here and let me finish my English paper!
Sandi crumbles. She doesn't speak, but turns and bolts out the door past Tiffany. As she passes the camera, tears can be seen in her eyes. A door slams outside, and her car is heard speeding off.
End flashback sequence.
Interior. Bedroom - Monday Morning.
Open on a close-up of the back of a head, resting on a pillow. The room is dimly lit (as if by sunlight behind thick curtains). Long, dark brown hair spills across the bed.
Superimposed title: "Monday 6:30 AM, The Present".
An alarm clock rings, and an arm extends out from beneath the sheet and reaches off-screen. It moves violently, and the alarm cuts off.
Fade out and back in on the same view of a head on a pillow.
WOMANS VOICE: (off-screen, distorted through a door) You'd better be out of bed young lady. Your alarm went off thirty minutes ago.
A voice speaks from the bed; it's muffled by the pillow.
WOMANS VOICE: (off-screen) What? I'm coming in there.
A door opens off-screen, and footsteps approach the bed. Curtains are pulled aside, and light spills into the room. The camera pulls back to show Linda Griffin standing in her daughter Sandi's bedroom, next to a window. Linda moves to the bed, and pulls the sheet back, revealing Sandi dressed in an oversized t-shirt, facedown and clutching her pillow as a shipwreck victim clutches a life preserver.
SANDI: (muffled by pillow) Go 'way. 'm sick.
LINDA: (coldly) Yeah, right. Just like you've been "sick" all weekend. That excuse worked Friday, but not any more. I'll be back in five minutes, and you'd better be up and dressed or you'll regret it. You're already late enough that I'm going to have to drive you to school and be late for work. Don't make things any worse than they already are.
Linda turns and walks out. After she's gone, Sandi sits up. Her eyes are bloodshot, and dark lines underscore her eyes. She looks like she hasn't slept well in days.
SANDI: (with anger) That's right, you bitch, show a little sympathy why don't you. My whole damn world is ruined, and you're worried about being late for work. (calmer) Well, if I don't get dressed, she'll probably stuff me into whatever's handy and dump me on the curb in front of the school anyway. If I'm going to be humiliated, at least I'll do it on my own two feet.
Sandi rises and walks out of the room.
Fade out and back in.
Sandi is sitting at her make-up table, dressed in her usual blue top and maroon slacks. She's trying to brush her hair into order, but it doesn't seem to be going well. Linda walks in and stands behind her.
LINDA: (unsympathetically) You look like death warmed over. Finish the hair and I'll put in some eye drops for the redness. You'll need to look your best if you're going to take back the Fashion Club from Quinn.
Sandi turns around and glares at her mother.
SANDI: I've told you a dozen times; Quinn had nothing to do with this. Stacy quit the club, and the others followed her. As far as I know I'm still president, of a club with no members.
LINDA: (scornful) That jellyfish couldn't decide to paint her nails without someone telling her what to do. Take it from me, Quinn's behind this. She's just like her mother, that manipulative...
SANDI: (cutting off Linda) Yeah, yeah, you said that already. Give it a rest. You don't know Quinn. If she were going to stab me in the back, she'd let me know she did it afterwards. She likes to gloat. You just can't accept that I brought this on myself by taking Stacy for granted all these years.
LINDA: (sharply) Don't talk to me like that, young lady! What I can't accept is that any daughter of mine could be such a loser. You let Stacy tear down the club you spent the last three years building. Stacy, for God's sake! Then you lie in bed for three days and cry about how unfair the world is. How did I raise such a failure?
SANDI: (voice over) By example, Ms. Ex-news anchor. You've been whining about the past for my whole life.
LINDA: Now you get to school, and do whatever it takes to put your club back together. You need that club to stay popular. Or do you want to be nobody for the rest of high school?
SANDI: (self-pitying) What did being popular get me? Nobody's ever been interested in me, for me. I don't have any real friends; the others were only there because of the club. Every date I've ever had was only in it for the implied popularity of dating the club president; they weren't interested in me. God, what I wouldn't give for a real boyfriend!
LINDA: (unsympathetic) Well, you aren't going to find one by crying in your bedroom, so get to school.
Interior. Computer Lab.
The Computer Lab is an ordinary Lawndale High classroom, except that the desks have been replaced with tables. On each table are two computers. The room seems to be under construction: opened boxes sit by each desk, piles of wire and half-assembled computers sit on some tables, and a large garbage can, overflowing with cardboard and paper, stands next to the teachers desk. In the front corner, near the desk, is a closet door.
Mr. O'Neill sits at the desk in front of the room and Upchuck stands next to it. Daria walks into the room. All are dressed as usual. Mr. O'Neill is writing on some papers. He stops and looks up as Daria enters.
DARIA: Ms. Li said that you needed to see me?
O'NEILL: Oh, I did? (thinks) Oh, I did! The new computers that Lawndale Cable donated to the school have arrived. Charles has been setting them up with me, but we can't figure out how to make them connect to the cable network. Angela said that your internship has something to do with computer networks, and she thought you could make it work.
Daria's eyes narrow.
DARIA: She pulled me out of History so I could install computers? I see schoolwork is being held in even lower regard than usual.
UPCHUCK: Grrr... Feisty!
Daria glares at Upchuck, who takes a step backwards.
O'NEILL: (uncertain) Um. Well, schoolwork is important. (thinks) But you're doing very well in history aren't you? Missing one class won't mean that much, and nobody else understands how these things work. (pleading) Please?
Mr. O'Neill looks like he's about to cry. Daria looks unsettled at the prospect.
DARIA: (quickly) What's in it for me?
O'NEILL: (uncertain) A working computer lab?
DARIA: I'm going to get that, sooner or later, anyway. Our dear principal just doesn't want to part with the money it would take to hire a real expert to install them.
Mr. O'Neill fiddles with his pen, trying to avoid talking until he decides how to respond without agreeing.
O'NEILL: How about a pass to let you use the lab after school, until the building closes at five?
DARIA: That, and a pass to let me spend my study hall periods in here writing.
O'NEILL: Oh, well, I don't know. You're supposed to spend study hall actually studying.
DARIA: Do you know any student who does? I spend mine writing. I just do it on paper. I'd much rather use a keyboard.
Mr. O'Neill thinks briefly, then pulls some papers out of his briefcase, and writes out what looks like a hall pass.
O'NEILL: There. How soon can you have it working?
DARIA: I don't know; are you going to help?
He looks at the clock on the wall.
O'NEILL: I'm afraid I can't, I need to teach a class in five minutes.
DARIA: Then it won't take as long. Do we have all the necessary parts and tools?
O'NEILL: I don't know. But Charles can help you find anything you need.
Upchuck smiles at Daria. Daria grimaces.
DARIA: (voice over) I knew there would be a catch. (to O'Neill) I'm sure he will.
Mr. O'Neill stands, puts away his papers, and rapidly makes his escape. Daria turns to Upchuck.
DARIA: Alright, what have you done so far, and what isn't working?
UPCHUCK: Ah, my little chickadee, it will be so wonderful to work closely by your side.
DARIA: Upchuck, if you get any closer to my side than is absolutely necessary, you'll be eating through a straw for the rest of the year. Do I make myself perfectly clear?
UPCHUCK: (not the least put off) Crystal clear, my dear Ms. M. I exist only to serve. (suggestively) In any way you'd like me to.
DARIA: Go to hell, Upchuck. But first show me the equipment and tools.
Begin video montage showing scenes of the two working:
Upchuck, pulling tools, wires and small electronics equipment out of boxes and showing them to Daria.
Upchuck, working on a computer across the room, while Daria stares at an electronic circuit board with a puzzled look.
Daria, running wires along the tabletops, and down along the floor at one side of the room. Upchuck stands about five feet away, watching.
Daria, standing in the closet connecting wires to a box mounted on the wall. Upchuck stands about three feet behind her, apparently offering advice.
End video montage.
Daria walks out of the computer classroom, brushing her hands with a satisfied smile. Behind her, Upchuck's legs can be seen protruding from the garbage can amid the cardboard.
UPCHUCK: (muffled) I was only trying to help! Daria? Daria? Anybody?
The legs continue kicking, as Daria pulls the door closed behind her, cutting off Upchucks voice.
Interior. School Hallway.
Sandi is walking down the hall by herself. Her hair isn't quite perfect, and some of the shadow under her eyes can still be seen. The overall effect is that she looks haggard. Various other students are milling about between classes. Ahead, Stacy is just closing a locker. She is alone. Sandi walks up to her.
Stacy turns to look at Sandi, with a panicky expression.
STACY: Sandi? Uh, hi.
SANDI: Look, Stacy, I wanted to say I'm sorry. You were right about me taking you for granted.
Stacy seems surprised.
STACY: I was? Y... Yes, I was!
SANDI: Look, if you'll rejoin the club. I won't hold it against you. And I'll pay more attention to your needs in the future. How's that?
STACY: (offended) You won't hold it against me? Hold what, telling you the truth? For a minute there I thought you'd actually changed, but you're still as arrogant as ever.
Stacy turns and marches off rapidly. Sandi just stands there.
SANDI: (speaking loudly) Wait, Stacy, I didn't mean it like that!
Stacy keeps walking, as the students turn to look at Sandi. Sandi glares back at them.
SANDI: (haughty) Don't you people have somewhere to be? (voice over) Way to go, Griffin, you really showed her that you wanted to be friends. Now what?
Exterior. Sidewalk - Day.
Daria and Jane are walking along the sidewalk.
JANE: Working with Upchuck, yet another thing Ms. Li will answer for in the afterlife.
DARIA: The phrase "politics makes strange bedfellows" has new meaning for me.
JANE: (teasing) I do hope you don't mean that literally.
DARIA: As Quinn would say, "Eww!" (beat) Don't even joke about that.
JANE: Speaking of whom, do you think anyone ever rescued him?
DARIA: Should I care?
JANE: Well, if he suffocated in the trash, the smell would make the room really unpleasant to work in.
DARIA: You have a point. (beat) Mr. O'Neill said he was going to the lab after I told him that I'd fixed the network, so I expect he found Upchuck.
JANE: You wouldn't have suggested he visit, would you?
DARIA: Who, me? I categorically deny it, and there were no witnesses, so you can't prove I'm lying.
JANE: Softie. (beat) So, did you see the notice on the bulletin board?
DARIA: The one about the school trip next month? What about it?
JANE: Want to go? It's only $25 for an overnight trip to the mountains, with a night at a real ski lodge.
DARIA: In the off-season, with two days of hiking up hills and nature walks. Have you gone completely insane? You remember what happened the last time we went to the mountains, don't you? This time I won't let my mother bribe me to go. (beat) Last time I had to bribe you to come with me, why the change of heart?
JANE: I've been painting landscapes lately, and I want to sketch some mountains for reference.
DARIA: So, you want me to come, spend my days hiking with the usual idiots, and my evenings watching you draw madly? Explain to me why this is better than staying home with a good book.
JANE: Because it's a school sponsored trip, but it's open to any student. You could invite Tom. Just think, a romantic weekend in a ski lodge, with your sweetheart.
DARIA: Jane, there's something really sick about you trying to fix me up on a romantic weekend escape with your ex-boyfriend so you'll have company while you draw.
JANE: Hey, I'll do anything for my art.
Daria just looks at Jane.
JANE: So, will you go? I really don't want to be the only non-outdoorsy type on the trip. I need someone to bury my dehydrated corpse by the trailside after I expire from two days of hiking.
DARIA: What a pleasant thought. A romantic weekend with Tom and your corpse. What the hell. I'll ask Tom. If he doesn't think you're too crazy to be near, we'll go.
JANE: I knew you'd see it my way.
Exterior. High Hills Park - Tuesday Afternoon.
Sandi is sitting, alone, on a bench next to a path alongside a grassy field, watching a flock of birds peck at the grass. She's eating french fries out of a paper bag. Occasionally she throws a handful of fries to the birds. Although she doesn't look as haggard as yesterday, she's still not her usual elegant self.
UPCHUCK: (seductive voice) The divine Ms. Griffin, skipping school. And eating fatty foods. What has the world come to?
Sandi starts, and looks up to see Upchuck walking down the path towards her.
SANDI: (unwelcoming) Charles. What are you doing here?
UPCHUCK: (more normal voice) Avoiding Ms. Barch's class; I've had enough pain for one week.
A grin flits across Sandi's face, then disappears. Upchuck walks over, and sits down on the bench. He leers suggestively over at Sandi.
UPCHUCK: (back to the seductive voice) I know a few ways we could pass the time...
SANDI: (disgusted) Grow up Charles. I wouldn't shake your hand if you were the last man on Earth, much less do anything else.
UPCHUCK: (normal) Can't blame a guy for trying.
SANDI: Yes I can. Haven't you ever heard of sexual harassment?
UPCHUCK: (suggestive) Errr... Feisty!
SANDI: Give it a rest already!
UPCHUCK: (normal voice) So, where's the rest of your mob? I don't see any clothing stores around here.
SANDI: (defensive) There's more to me than just fashion! I can enjoy an afternoon in the park without clothes. (beat) Uh, that didn't come out right. I mean, I can enjoy things other than fashion.
UPCHUCK: (suggestive) Grr... I liked it better the first time. (normal) Still, I come here fairly often, and I've never seen you. You're risking a suspension if you're caught off school grounds. Is something wrong?
SANDI: (self-pitying) Why would you care? I've never been nice to you once.
UPCHUCK: You're the only student in the whole school who uses my real name, and you've never stuffed me in a trashcan. That counts as "nice" in my book.
SANDI: But I only use it because I can't stand gross things, and your nickname is gross.
UPCHUCK: Hey, don't blame me. I didn't pick it. Anyway, while you may never have been nice to me, there's always hope, and you've never hurt me.
SANDI: Then you're probably the only one in school who can say that. My supposed friends all hate me, and I can't really blame them. I've been a real bitch.
UPCHUCK: (apparently genuine curiosity) How so?
Sandi stops to think briefly before speaking.
SANDI: I got caught up in keeping the fashion club popular, but I lost track of why I created it in the first place, as a way to spend time with my friends, doing things we liked. I wanted people to like me, but I never showed them "me", just the club president. Now Stacy, my best friend since kindergarten, hates me because I thought the clubs popularity was more important than her passing O'Neill's class.
UPCHUCK: Well, I can't say that I blame her. That's no way to treat a friend.
SANDI: (annoyed) Oh, like you have lots of experience with how to treat friends. Do you even have any friends?
UPCHUCK: (hurt) No. But if I did, I'd know better than to take them for granted.
SANDI: (contrite) I'm sorry, that was mean of me. But, why don't you have any friends? I know why girls avoid you, but don't you get along with the guys?
UPCHUCK: No, they think I'm weird too. I'm smart, and I'm not into sports, and they know how unsuccessful I am with girls. Pure geek. (bitter) And my parents only buy me these geeky clothes. Who wears slacks and dress shirts in high school?
SANDI: Don't you get an allowance? Buy clothes you like. Besides, your clothes aren't that bad. It's your attitude that scares people off. Although a polo shirt and leather shoes would look better with those pants than the dress shirt and sneakers.
UPCHUCK: Heh, fashion tips for the outcast. You could write a book and make a killing. (beat) My father is on the school board. If I changed what I wear to school, he'd hear about it fairly quickly. This is his idea of what a "successful young man" should wear.
SANDI: God, and I thought my mother was a controlling bitch!
Sandi sits and looks at the birds, throwing them a few fries to keep their interest. After a while, Upchuck speaks again.
UPCHUCK: So, I understand why Stacy's mad at you, but what about the others?
SANDI: Well, I blamed Quinn and her cousin for Stacy's behavior. Quinn gets defensive about her cousin, although she's the first one to complain about how annoyingly she behaves at home. I don't know what's up with Tiffany. She keeps hanging up when I call.
UPCHUCK: Quinn's cousin? What cousin?
SANDI: You know, the weird girl who always wears that horrible green jacket. What a fashion disaster.
UPCHUCK: You mean Daria? Quinn's sister?
SANDI: (dismissive) Like hell! They don't even look alike.
UPCHUCK: I'm serious. How could you not know? Everyone knows who Daria is.
SANDI: (worried) No! Quinn told me... (pauses, with a thoughtful look) Oh, another lie.
Sandy leans forward, and puts her face in her hands, and appears to be crying. Upchuck has no idea how to react. He starts to lean towards her.
SANDI: (muffled) Don't touch me!
Upchuck backs off.
UPCHUCK: Sorry. (he waits, while her sobbing subsides) So, did you try making up with Stacy?
Sandi looks up, with the tracks of tears on her cheeks.
SANDI: Yes. I apologized, or at least I tried to. But I said it wrong, and she thought I just wanted to get her back in the club.
UPCHUCK: So, why do you need the club? Why not just try to be friends with her?
SANDI: But the club is what makes us popular!
Sandi sits up, pulls out a tissue and compact, and begins fixing her makeup.
UPCHUCK: Do you want to be popular, or do you want to be friends with Stacy? Maybe you should pick one, and try for it first, before you work on the other.
SANDI: You mean scrap the club and just be friends?
UPCHUCK: Well, you said you wanted people to like you for yourself. It seems like that would be difficult if all they see is a club president.
Sandi gets a determined look on her face.
SANDI: Yes, you're right. Stacy first, the others later, and then the club if I still want it. (she turns to Upchuck) You know, you can be almost human if you try. If you try more often, maybe someday someone will be willing to shake your hand.
Upchuck is taken aback.
SANDI: When hell freezes over, maybe, but don't count on it.
UPCHUCK: (chuckles) Fair enough. But I'm not giving up.
SANDI: I'd be flattered, if you didn't say the same thing to every female in the school.
UPCHUCK: Oh, I don't restrict myself to just the school.
SANDI: Ugh! Charles, I'll let you in on a big secret. Women like men who make them feel special. You make a woman feel like the tenth side of beef in a meat locker. Pick someone, preferably someone who's never met you before, and treat them like an individual. You may be surprised.
Sandi puts away her makeup, stands up, and throws the remainder of the bag of fries to the birds.
SANDI: Thanks for talking to me Charles, it helped.
UPCHUCK: Anytime. (he leers at her) Anyplace.
Sandi chuckles as she walks away. Upchuck's leer fades, and the sits there with a thoughtful look on his face.
Interior. Pizza Place - Evening.
Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany sit in a booth, eating no-cheese pizza. The three J's (Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie) sit in an adjacent booth, although they are also eating pizza, they seem to be trying to listen to the girls' conversation. Jamie sits across the table from the other two, furthest from the conversation. The view zooms in on the booth with the three girls.
QUINN: So, like, it's a real ski lodge, with a fireplace and oil lamps and everything. I found a brochure at the travel store in the mall.
STACY: Wow, Quinn, that is like, so cool.
TIFFANY: Yeah. But it's too early to ski, isn't it?
QUINN: Tiffany, dear, the purpose of going to a ski lodge is to be seen enjoying yourself, not to actually do anything.
Tiffany frowns, seeming to doubt this statement, although Stacy is nodding right along.
TIFFANY: (wistful) I don't know, I think I'd like to learn how to ski. It must be fun to go flying down a mountain. Like sledding when we were kids.
QUINN: But think of what windburn would do to your skin. (shudders) Besides, it's too early to ski, there's just hiking and stuff.
Cut to: the adjacent booth.
Joey and Jeffy are listening closely, Jamie appears to be too far away to hear what's being said.
JAMIE: (quietly) What was that, did Quinn say she wanted to learn to ski?
The other two make "shushing" motions at him, and continue trying to listen. Then they turn back and lean over the table to talk.
JOEY: (quietly) No, Tiffany wants to learn to ski, Quinn wants to hang out at the lodge.
JAMIE: (quietly) That's great, I can get her a hot chocolate!
JEFFY: (less quietly) No, I can!
Cut to: the girls' booth.
Sounds of conflict come from off-screen. The three girls have stopped their conversation and are listening to the sounds. Quinn is smiling.
STACY: (to Quinn) Sounds like your fan club is at it again.
QUINN: (dreamily, and not loud enough to carry to the boys) No, guys, stop it. You can all get me hot chocolates.
TIFFANY: But Quinn, hot chocolate is SOO fattening.
QUINN: (practical) I didn't say I'd drink them.
The other two nod at this wisdom.
Interior. Ms. Li's Office.
Sandi is standing before Ms. Li's desk. Ms. Li is sitting behind the desk, with an annoyed expression on her face.
MS LI: (upset) What do you mean you're dissolving the fashion club? What about the winter fashion show you were going to give in November. (quieter) I've already had the tickets printed, dammit.
SANDI: (cool and collected) There isn't a club to give a fashion show anymore. The others all quit, and there's nobody else in the school qualified to join. I'm sorry to let you down, but I can't give a show all by myself.
MS LI: You're the president of the club, you're supposed to keep the rest of them in line. That's what being the boss is all about. How could you let this happen?
SANDI: Being the boss is how I got them to quit. They aren't even talking to me now.
MS LI: (thoughtful) I'd heard that you had been absent from several of your classes lately. Is that because of this split?
SANDI: (upset) I can't sit next to them! Everyone would know we weren't talking!
MS LI: I doubt "everyone" cares, but that's beside the point. We can't have you skipping class. I'll arrange to have your seating changed, but you need to go to class.
SANDI: Thank you, I'll be there if I don't need to sit with them.
Ms. Li picks up a sheet of paper from a pile on her desk and reads it briefly.
MS LI: However, we still have the problem of the money we've already spent for the show. How were you planning to pay back the school?
SANDI: (surprised) But I didn't spend it, and I don't have any money to pay you back!
MS LI: Well, it just so happens we're short one volunteer for the school trip. How would you like to be a trail guide? Or shall I tell your mother about the absences?
SANDI: Uh, I guess I could do that. It's just walking, right?
Interior. Computer Lab.
Upchuck is setting up the last couple of machines in the back of the room. The trashcan is no longer present. His usual shirt has been replaced with a blue polo shirt. Daria enters.
DARIA: Hello Upchuck, Mr. O'Neill said you had some more systems ready to be set up, and needed my help. I thought you were watching what I did last time so you could finish the others yourself. If this is just a ruse, you're going to have fond memories of that trashcan.
Upchuck looks up, and speaks in a strangely polite (for him) and businesslike voice.
UPCHUCK: No Daria, I'm really having a problem with these two. I put the cards in the way you did, and the software seems right, but I'm not even getting a link light on them.
Daria seems surprised at the absence of his usual behavior. She walks over and looks at the back of the machine, pulling a cable out to examine it.
DARIA: Hmm, did you try another cable?
UPCHUCK: No, these are the only two cables long enough to reach this far.
Daria looks at the cable, and then walks into the closet in the front of the room.
DARIA: (off screen) Ah ha!
She walks out and over to the toolkit, pulling out a plier-like tool and walking back to the computer.
DARIA: It's the wrong kind of cable. This is one you'd use to connect two computers directly for gaming, not the kind you need to build a network.
UPCHUCK: Then we need to get another cable?
DARIA: Nope, we just need to fix this one.
She quickly clips the connector off the cable, strips some wire, and puts a new connector on the end.
DARIA: I made a couple of these the other day at work, so I should remember how it goes. (she plugs the new connector into the computer) Try it now.
Upchuck types on the computer, and looks up.
UPCHUCK: You fixed it!
Daria smiles, and holds up the tool, blowing on the end like a gunfighter blowing smoke from the barrel of a pistol.
DARIA: (fake western accent) Dern tootin, Tex.
UPCHUCK: Could you show me how to do that?
DARIA: Sure. (suddenly suspicious) But you keep your hands to yourself, got it?
UPCHUCK: (holding up his hands, palm out) No hands! Promise!
Daria pulls the cable from the second computer.
DARIA: Okay, see how the little wire colors go? The two ends should be the same, but they aren't.
Fade out and back in.
Daria is sitting on the desk, watching Upchuck fix the cable and connect it to the computer.
UPCHUCK: It's working. (he looks up smiling) Thank you, Daria.
DARIA: No problem, Upchuck. Now O'Neill has one less reason to waste my time.
UPCHUCK: (less happy) True. Um, could you call me "Chuck"?
Daria reacts with surprise.
DARIA: Keep behaving like a human, and I'll think about it.
She gets up, and walks out of the room. Upchuck gazes fondly after her.
Exterior. High Hills Park - Two weeks later.
Fall has come to the park, and the trees have begun to shed their leaves. The ones that remain are a riot of bright colors. Upchuck is sitting on a park bench, still wearing a blue polo shirt rather than his usual dress shirt, with a light jacket over it. Sandi approaches, wearing her blue hooded sweater (from "Groped by an Angel") over her usual clothes. She is back to her normal fashionable appearance. Some small children are playing in the distance, but nobody is nearby.
SANDI: (ironic) Hi Charles, what a surprise to see you here.
Sandi sits on the bench, a couple of feet from Upchuck, who laughs briefly, and mimes flicking the ashes off a cigar.
UPCHUCK: (bad Groucho Marx voice) We've got to stop meeting like this!
Sandi laughs, a remarkably carefree sound.
SANDI: (still amused) What WOULD people think?
UPCHUCK: (serious) Nothing good. And with my reputation, nothing like the truth.
SANDI: (serious) Yes, well, we just have to not let them find out. (introspective) Who would have thought you and I would have anything in common?
UPCHUCK: Being ostracized?
SANDI: (confused) Ostrich sized? I don't have a long neck.
UPCHUCK: No, ostracized, it means being an outcast.
SANDI: (downbeat) Oh. I wish you wouldn't remind me how dumb I am by using words only a brain would know.
UPCHUCK: A weak vocabulary doesn't make you dumb, just uneducated. That's something you can fix.
SANDI: (annoyed) Don't patronize me. I know I could learn stuff if I wanted to, I just don't think I need to. You learn all these useless facts that you'll never need to know again, and what does it get you? Knowing that stuff doesn't make you better than anyone, and I don't want to be the kind of person who thinks it does. (ironic) I'm quite capable of being arrogant without it.
UPCHUCK: And how is your reconciliation with Stacy going? Still getting the cold shoulder?
SANDI: Well, she'll talk to me in class now. But she won't accept any of my invitations to go out for pizza or shopping together. I guess it's progress, but not much. She's going on the trip this weekend, and Ms. Li forced me into being one of the volunteers, so maybe we'll be able to talk alone then and patch things up.
UPCHUCK: Oh, I didn't know you were going on the trip. I'll be there also. (beat) Daria's going.
SANDI: You're really serious about her, aren't you?
SANDI: You know she has a boyfriend? And the only person in school who likes you less than her is that Goth chick.
UPCHUCK: Yeah, I know. It's pretty hopeless, but I have to try. (beat) I only hope we don't end up climbing any real mountains.
SANDI: (humorously) You're not the athletic type, are you?
Upchuck chuckles, taking the jibe in good spirit.
UPCHUCK: No, that's not it. (he hesitates, then speaks cautiously) I'm afraid of heights. I can't even climb a ladder without getting nauseous.
SANDI: I didn't know that.
UPCHUCK: Nobody knows it. If I told anyone, they'd use it against me somehow.
SANDI: But you're telling me?
UPCHUCK: I trust you. If you were going to pull something, you wouldn't have pretended to be my friend for this long.
SANDI: (bluntly) I'm not your friend, we're just fellow ostriches, or whatever. (beat) But your secret is safe with me anyway.
The two sit quietly, looking at some children playing with a ball in the distance. Sandi wears a thoughtful look.
SANDI: (hesitantly) Charles, being on this trip with Stacy and the others is my big chance to win her friendship back. Promise me you won't talk to me, or do anything that would make people think we like each other. Please?
UPCHUCK: (bitter) You know I wouldn't do anything to hurt you.
SANDI: (quietly) I know, and I'm sorry, but I had to be sure.
Interlude (a video montage with music):
Stacy walking away from Sandi in the hall.
Upchuck's legs protruding from a trash barrel.
Daria and Jane walking down the sidewalk.
Sand and Upchuck sitting on the park bench, watching children play.
Establishing shot: Exterior. Cold Springs Ski Lodge - Early Saturday Morning.
The lodge is a rustic, three story wooden building, with a vaguely log-cabin look, with a railed porch on the front. It backs up against a small lake. Over to the right is what appears to be a marsh, to the left rise mountains, with a small ski lift (chairs hung from an overhead line). The tops of the mountains are snowy, but around the lodge the ground is clear. A thin trail of smoke rises from the chimney at one end of the lodge.
Interior. Lodge Lobby.
The scene opens with a slow clockwise pan around the main room of the lodge, which occupies most of the ground floor. We begin at a small staircase, pan right past a fireplace containing a small fire, in front of which are a pair of couches and numerous chairs and end tables. We continue to the front door, then past it to a lounge area with tables and chairs, set for a meal, a bar is against the far wall. The pan continues past another staircase, a mirror image of the first, to end on the reception counter. From the carpet runner on the floor, we can see that the counter is opposite the front door.
A late-middle-aged man, the manager, stands behind the counter. Bill, the lodge handyman, stands in front of the counter, wearing overalls and a tool belt. He's younger than the manager, but not by much. He's wearing boots, and wet footprints trail from him to the stairs on the left. Bill speaks in a matter-of-fact tone, while the managers emotions are more volatile.
BILL: It's a right mess. The water leak didn't just soak the third floor hallway, room 203 was practically a swimming pool. It's going to take days to dry it out.
MANAGER: (nervously excited) But we need that room for the school kids! They're due in another three hours! We'll have to open another room!
BILL: There ain't no other rooms to open, least not with double beds. And the others are all up on three anyway, I thought you wanted to keep them all on the second floor.
MANAGER: (still excited) God yes, I need to keep them near their chaperones. Can you imagine the trouble a busload of high schoolers could get into on their own? (decisive) Okay, open up the honeymoon suite.
BILL: But it's only got one bed.
MANAGER: (exasperated) Then put in one of the trundle beds, for God's sake! Do I need to tell you everything?
BILL: Calm down. There's plenty of time before they get here. We'll be ready.
Exterior. Lodge - Noon.
A school bus full of Lawndale High students arrives in front of the lodge. Mr. O'Neill staggers out, looking ill. Ms. Barch jumps down, full of energy, and the students begin to stream out.
BARCH: Okay folks, let's keep it organized. Two lines, girls over by the door, and you males back there. Leave your luggage on the bus for now, you can pick it up after you get your room assignments. (to O'Neill) Skinny, you get them ready, I'll go talk to the manager.
O'Neill leans on the front fender of the bus, fumbling with his inhaler.
O'NEILL: Okay, Janet, as soon as I get my breath. (gasp) Gas fumes on the bus. Too much pollen out here.
BARCH: Pollen? In October? Gods above, skinny. (she turns to Sandi) Ms. Griffin, time to start earning your pay. Get these people organized. Draft some of the males to unload the luggage from the bus, and then stick with it to make sure the right people get the right bags.
Ms. Barch marches into the lodge, as Sandi turns to the three J's.
SANDI: Joey, Jeffy, Jonathon. Unload the bags and stack them over there (she points to the porch of the lodge).
JAMIE: It's Jamie! Why can't anyone ever remember my name?
JOEY: I'll get Quinn's bags!
JEFFY: No, I will!
SANDI: I'm sure she has enough for all of you to carry one each, just unload the other bags too.
Cut to: Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany, standing in line.
TIFFANY: Looks like Sandi's found a new reason to boss people around.
QUINN: Well, it's not like Ms. Li gave her any choice. She had to do this because we broke up the club. In a way, it's our fault too.
Cut to: Daria and Jane, elsewhere in the line.
JANE: So, Upchuck was being very polite to you on the bus, and I didn't hear a single lewd suggestion out of him the whole trip. (teasing) Somebody's got herself an admirer.
DARIA: The lake out back looks deep and cold; they'd never find your body.
JANE: Hey, I wasn't suggesting you do anything, just making an observation!
DARIA: (serious) Yeah, he's been like this for weeks. It was easier to deal with the old Upchuck. I can't cripple someone for being polite.
JANE: Why not? Obnoxious is obnoxious, no matter how he sugarcoats it.
Daria just looks at Jane.
BARCH: (off screen) Okay, girls first. It's two to a room, so if you want to pair with someone, stay together. Otherwise we'll pick someone for you. And no changes once you get a room assignment, we're only here for one night anyway.
The line begins to move.
Fade out and back in.
Sandi is standing by a very small pile of luggage. Ms. Barch walks up.
BARCH: Okay, that's the last of them. Here's your room key, you're in room 200, just at the top of the left set of stairs. We're having lunch in a half hour, then a hike. You're off-duty until the hike begins. Go get settled.
SANDI: Thanks Ms. Barch.
BARCH: Thank you, Sandi, you did a good job keeping the luggage organized. (bitter) Unlike a certain man.
Interior. Honeymoon Suite.
Sandi opens the door with her arms full of bags, as it swings in we see the number "200" on the door. The room is large, with a bureau and king-sized, heart-shaped, canopy bed on the right, and a small sitting area with a couch, table, and two chairs on the left. At the far end of the room are large windows and a sliding glass door onto a balcony. A Jacuzzi and a small table and chair can be seen through the glass. Across from the bed, a louvered door opens into a bathroom, where water can be heard running. Just past the bathroom door, a small rollaway bed has been placed against the wall.
Sandi walks in, and kicks the door closed behind her.
SANDI: Hello, anybody here?
She walks over to the couch and drops her bags, as the running water cuts out, and Stacy emerges from the bathroom.
STACY: (dismayed) Sandi? You're my roommate?
SANDI: Looks like it. You don't need to sound so unhappy, it's only one night. (beat) So, you mind if I take the small bed?
STACY: (confused) You want me to take the big one?
SANDI: Hey, a beds a bed to me, but I know you like canopy beds.
STACY: Oh. (smiles) Thanks Sandi.
The students are forming up in a rough line, two-by-two, in front of the lodge. Ms. Barch is walking around organizing people.
Ms. Barch moves to the head of the line.
BARCH: Okay, Mr. O'Neill needs to lie down and recover from the trip. Like any other man; never there when you need 'em. I'll be leading this hike. We're going to go around the lake. It's all level ground, so I don't expect anyone to fall behind. Ms. Griffin will be bringing up the rear to make sure we don't lose anyone. Anyone who doesn't keep up will answer to me. Got it? (beat) Let's go!
The line starts to move. Sandi stands at the back of the line, alone and looking forlorn. As the line moves out, it reveals Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany standing by the corner of the lodge. They wait until Sandi walks up, and then fall in alongside her.
STACY: We decided you could use some company.
QUINN: Barch is really working you hard, isn't she?
SANDI: (touched) Thanks, guys. I really appreciate this. (to Quinn) Well, it is my job, and it's not really difficult. I've had lots of practice being bossy.
Tiffany laughs outright, and Quinn and Stacy chuckle.
TIFFANY: Stacy was right; you have changed.
This is the first time Tiffany has spoken in Sandi's presence since the club broke up, and Sandi is surprised by the change in her behavior.
SANDI: I don't seem to be the only one.
Tiffany looks blank, then realizes what she means.
TIFFANY: I don't need to be afraid of you kicking me out of the club if I think for myself now.
SANDI: (unhappy) Oh. (beat) You must hate me.
TIFFANY: I did. But I also miss going shopping with you. I'm willing to give you a chance.
SANDI: Oh. Thanks. (looks at Quinn) And you?
QUINN: I never hated you Sandi, but I do like you better this way.
Sandi looks up at Stacy, thoughtfully.
SANDI: You already told me how you felt. (looks around at all three) I just want to apologize to all of you for being such a bitch. It's what I thought I needed to do, to keep us popular. (beat) It's what my mother told me I needed to do to stay in charge. I'm sorry.
QUINN: It's okay, Sandi. We're just four friends now, with no club to make us argue.
STACY: Yeah, and when we get back home, we can go shopping again. Cashmans is having a mid-week sale.
Quinn and Sandi both smile.
Cut to: The middle of the line.
Daria is walking with Tom and Jane. Upchuck is a short distance ahead of them.
TOM: So that's the infamous Upchuck? He seems civil enough.
JANE: He's been on his best behavior lately.
Daria darts a sharp look at Jane.
DARIA: (quietly) Deep and cold.
JANE: (quickly) So, any bets on how many people fall out before we're done?
DARIA: With Ms. Barch leading? Nobody's going to stop moving until they die. We might as well be on Baatan.
TOM: A famous march of allied prisoners of war in World War II. Thousands died.
JANE: That's it, you two talk. I'm drawing.
She stops and lifts her sketchbook, and quickly sketches an outline of the mountains on the far side of the lake. Daria and Tom stop a ways off, and look out over the lake, as the line moves slowly past them.
DARIA: Sorry you came yet?
Tom links his arm through hers.
TOM: Not as long as you're here.
Daria smiles, and rests her head on his shoulder. Up ahead, Upchuck looks back, unnoticed, with a sad look on his face.
Interior. Lodge - Evening.
The students are sitting around the fireplace. Some are playing various board games, while others sit and chat, a few read. Bill the handyman, now wearing some kind of waiters uniform, moves about, refilling snack bowls. Mr. O'Neill seems to be recovered, and sits by the fireplace, stoking the fire. A guitar leans against his chair. Ms. Barch is in an overstuffed chair near the fire, apparently asleep. Quinn and Stacy sit talking, while Tiffany and Sandi are leafing through an issue of Waif together. The three J's hover around Quinn, who ignores them. Daria and Tom are sitting together, reading separate books. Upchuck sits alone, off to one side. Jane is nowhere to be seen.
Outside, the wind gusts, rattling the windows. Rain can be heard pelting the side of the building. There's a sudden crack of thunder, and the lights all go out. The fireplace dimly lights the room. Pandemonium ensues, with everyone talking at once. Bill's voice rises above the noise, talking loudly in a carrying voice, but not shouting.
BILL: Now just be calm kids. This happens all the time. They'll get the lines fixed in the morning once it's light out. We'll get the oil lights lit, and you won't even know we've lost power.
Cut to: Tom and Daria.
DARIA: Unless you brought an electric toothbrush, like Quinn.
TOM: She didn't!
DARIA: Plus a hair dryer, and a back massager. But she's traveling light; she left the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner at home.
DARIA: You think I'm joking?
TOM: No, I was just wondering what it would be like if she ever had to really rough it.
DARIA: You mean, go somewhere without a mirror?
Tom dissolves in laughter.
Cut to: Tiffany and Sandi.
SANDI: I guess we can't finish that article.
TIFFANY: I'm not sure it's a loss. The writer didn't seem to understand the difference between brown and auburn hair for coordinating hair clips.
SANDI: You think? I thought she was just saying that similar colors could be used with both if you were careful.
TIFFANY: No, it was pretty clear from the colors she listed in the sidebar that she was confusing the two.
SANDI: Hmm. That's a good point.
Jamie walks up.
JAMIE: Excuse me, Tiffany?
TIFFANY: Yes, Jamie?
JAMIE: Hey, you remembered my name!
TIFFANY: Of course I remembered your name; it's not that confusing. What do you want?
JAMIE: Well, I was going to ask you if Quinn... Never mind, uh, can I get you a diet cola?
TIFFANY: Thank you, but why don't we go get something together, that way you won't have to carry drinks back across the room in the dark. (to Sandi) Catch you later, huh?
SANDI: (smiling) Sure.
Tiffany rises, and walks off towards the bar at the far end of the room with Jamie.
Cut to: Tom and Daria.
Bill and the manager are moving around the lobby, bringing out and lighting oil lamps, some in wall holders, others free-standing on tables. The resulting light is dim, insufficient for reading.
TOM: Well, so much for reading tonight.
DARIA: Jane has a battery operated camping light we could use, if she's through with her drawing.
TOM: Actually, I'd like to talk to you, but away from all these people. That Upchuck fellow keeps looking over here, and I either need to get away from him or do something about it.
DARIA: Okay, lets go, (smiles) but no funny stuff.
O'NEILL: (off screen) Who wants to sing campfire songs?
Daria and Tom walk quietly down the hall. Tom is leading, holding an oil lamp. They approach a door.
TOM: We can talk in my room.
Tom opens the door, and we see Tiffany and Jamie sitting on the bed, kissing. They're too involved in each other to notice the door opening. Tom quickly closes it.
TOM: Or maybe not, my roommate seems occupied.
DARIA: My room should be free of passionate idiots.
The two walk down the hall. Daria opens her door, and we see Jane, with her back to the door, drawing madly with pastels as she looks out the window at the moonlit landscape. Daria closes the door.
DARIA: Okay, another kind of passion. We shouldn't disturb her while she's creating.
TOM: (smiles fondly) No, she gets very cranky when you do that. (beat) There's a private balcony off the honeymoon suite. We can use that; everyone's downstairs.
Daria shoots a doubtful look at Tom.
DARIA: If you're planning some passion of your own, don't even think about it.
Tom pulls back from her, and raises his left hand, palm outwards (he's still holding the oil lamp in his right hand).
TOM: (quickly) Furthest thing from my mind!
Daria, annoyed, glares at him.
TOM: Uh, I didn't mean it like that!
Daria walks off down the hall. Tom, with the light, follows.
TOM: Daria, please don't be upset. I do think of you like that, I just don't want to push you... (he trails off, as Daria glares at him over her shoulder)
DARIA: Tom, just give up before you put your foot any further down your throat.
TOM: Right. (beat) Here we are. (he opens the door, and they enter)
Interior. Honeymoon Suite.
The suite is mostly dark. Dim moonlight filters in from the balcony window.
Daria and Tom enter, and close the door behind them. They quickly walk to the balcony, on the way Tom grabs a blanket off the rollaway bed in the corner. At the balcony, Tom opens the sliding door. An overhanging roof above the balcony keeps the rain off, and the main storm seems to have moved away, only a faint breath of wind can be heard. They exit onto the balcony, leaving the door open.
Sandi walks down the hall, pointing a flashlight at the floor. Her face is dimly lit with reflected light. Upchuck steps out from an open door. Reacting in surprise when he sees her, he looks around quickly to see if anyone else is about. Sandi looks around herself.
SANDI: It's okay Charles, everyone's downstairs singing with Mr. O'Neill.
UPCHUCK: (sympathetically) Ugh. (in a suggestive voice) So, what brings you up here in the dark? A romantic tryst with someone perhaps?
SANDI: God Charles, I really don't know why I like you. Knock it off!
UPCHUCK: (contrite) Sorry. It's just the way I am.
SANDI: You've managed to be polite to Daria and her friends for three weeks, you could at least try to do the same for me. Look, we can't talk here, but I'd really like to talk to you about Stacy. We can go in my room, but you have to behave.
UPCHUCK: (hurt) You can depend on me!
SANDI: That's what I'm afraid of.
Interior. Honeymoon Suite.
The two enter the room, and walk towards the balcony.
Cut to: The balcony.
It's a small second-floor balcony, perhaps twenty feet long, with a Jacuzzi to one side of the sliding doors, and some large potted plants and a small table to the other side. There is no exit other than the door. Below, the surface of the lake stretches out behind the lodge. Tom and Daria are sitting quietly on the floor behind the Jacuzzi, with their feet hanging off the edge, looking up at the sky. The oil lamp is beside them, but it's been turned off. The rain has stopped, although distant rumbling thunder can be heard across the lake. The clouds have partly cleared, and the stars can be seen overhead. Daria sits with her head on Tom's shoulder, and his arm around her, the blanket is over their shoulders for warmth. Light from a flashlight flickers on the windows behind them, but they are looking away.
TOM: And if you follow the two stars from the big dipper in a line, you can see the north star, which isn't really at true north, although it's close, at least for now...
DARIA: Tom, you're babbling, relax and enjoy the stars.
Daria snuggles closer, and turns her face up to Tom, who leans in for a kiss, as we hear:
SANDI: (off screen) We can talk out on the balcony, it's private out there.
Tom and Daria pull apart and, look at each other in panic.
Cut to: the honeymoon suite.
Sandi and Upchuck walk past the bed, and the door to the hall behind them begins to open. With a shocked look on her face, Sandi grabs Upchucks arm and pulls him into the bathroom as she turns off her flashlight.
SANDI: (urgent whisper) Quick, Stacy can't see us together!
Kevin and Brittany enter the room, and Kevin sets an oil lamp down on the bureau by the door.
BRITTANY: (perky) Ohh, this is soo romantic Kevvy!
KEVIN: Aww, Babe.
BRITTANY: But what if Sandi or Stacy comes back?
KEVIN: Everyone's downstairs singing with Mr. O'Neill. (Beat) Hey, check out the shape of the bed!
BRITTANY: (passionate) Ohh Kevvy!
Cut to: The balcony. Tom and Daria are still sitting behind the Jacuzzi, but we can hear muffled sounds of smooching coming from the open door. The two look at each other and shrug.
TOM: (whispering) Now what?
Cut to: The bathroom.
Sandi and Upchuck stand by the sink, their faces lit by light from the oil lamp in the other room, filtering through the louvered door. To one side of them are a vanity table and a sink. On the other is a large, claw-foot bathtub, with a shower and a curtain hanging from the ceiling around it. The curtain is pulled partway around the tub.
UPCHUCK: (whispering) Now what?
SANDI: (whispering) We wait for them to leave.
Upchuck goes over, and peers through the louvers of the door.
UPCHUCK: (whispering) Works for me.
Sandi looks at him in disgust.
SANDI: (whispering) Charles!
He turns to look back at her, with a sheepish expression, and then moves over to sit on the edge of the tub, facing her.
Fade out, and back in.
Sandi is leaning on the sink. Upchuck sits facing her, on the edge of the tub.
SANDI: I haven't heard anything for a while. Do you think they've left?
UPCHUCK: Either that, or they've fallen asleep. Shall we leave, madam? (he offers her his arm).
SANDI: Just go! (but she smiles as he turns to the door)
Upchuck opens the door, and as he's about to step out, the hall door in the other room opens. He quickly jumps back, leaving the door partly open.
Cut to: The honeymoon suite, as Quinn and Stacy enter.
An oil light flickers on the bureau just inside the door, throwing long shadows across the room. Blankets are piled on the heart-shaped bed, but the whole bed is in shadow. Stacy holds an oil lamp, which glows dimly. The two walk towards the balcony.
BRITTANY: (off screen, muffled by blankets) Kevvy! Did you leave the door open? I'm cold.
KEVIN: (off screen, muffled) I'll warm you up, Babe!
Quinn and Stacy exchange shocked looks, and Quinn grabs Stacy's arm and pulls her into the bathroom.
Cut to: the bathroom, as Quinn and Stacy run in.
The bathroom is empty, but the shower curtain now completely surrounds the tub. Stacy sets down the oil lamp on a small table, and Quinn runs to the sink.
Cut to: inside the tub.
Sandi and Upchuck are sitting at opposite ends of the tub. Upchuck looks amused, but Sandi is looking in terror towards the curtain.
QUINN: (off-screen, disgusted) Eww! I think I'm going to be sick!
Sandi's look of terror is overlain with amusement, as she jams her fist against her mouth to keep from making any sounds.
Jodie and Mack walk down the hall. Mack holds a flashlight.
JODIE: Thanks Mack. One more verse of Puff The Magic Dragon and I'd have broken that guitar over his head!
MACK: We'd better not go to my room, I saw Kevin and Brittany sneak off earlier, and they're probably still there.
JODIE: Let's check out the honeymoon suite, Stacy said it was really nice.
MACK: What if someone's in there?
JODIE: Then we'll apologize and say we opened the wrong door in the dark. Where's your sense of adventure?
MACK: (resigned) All right, if it will make you happy.
Cut to: the Honeymoon Suite. Jodie and Mack enter, and look around.
The oil light on the bureau throws a dim light across the room. The bed is shadowed, but the half-open door of the bath and the door to the balcony can be clearly seen. Mack turns off the flashlight, and the two head across the room, passing the bed.
BRITTANY: (off screen, muffled) Eep! Kevvy! Watch your hands!
KEVIN: (off screen, muffled, entreating) Oh, Babe. Please?
Jodie and Mack run for the nearest exit, the balcony.
Cut to: the balcony.
Daria and Tom are still sitting behind the Jacuzzi. They seem to be suppressing laughter. They look over in shocked surprise as Mack and Jodie run out, and dive behind the potted plants on the other side of the balcony. Mack and Jodie look up, and see them, and are also nonplussed. All four look back at the room, then at each other, and begin laughing quietly.
BRITTANY: (off screen) That's enough, Mr. Busy-hands!
KEVIN: (off screen, pleading) Aww, babe...
BRITTANY: (off screen) No. I won't be a forlorn woman just because you can't control yourself.
KEVIN: (off screen) But I've got protection!
BRITTANY: (off screen) Football pads aren't the kind you need!
KEVIN: (off screen, puzzled) They're not?
Their voices trail off, and a door opening and closing is heard. After a brief moment of quiet, Jodie and Mack move over to Join Tom and Daria.
JODIE: Well, what are you two doing out here?
DARIA: I could ask you the same question.
JODIE: (grinning) But I asked first.
MACK: (nervous) Could we save the twenty-questions until we get out of here?
TOM: But is it safe to leave? That room's been pretty busy tonight.
JODIE: There were others?
DARIA: Not quite the same, but there have been quite a few people wandering through.
TOM: Let's go out two at a time, then if someone else comes in we have a chance of hiding under the bed or something.
DARIA: (dry) Oh, that would be a big improvement over being caught.
JODIE: Well, it sounds reasonable. You guys were here the longest, so you should probably leave first.
DARIA: I won't be sorry to see the last of this place. I was beginning to wonder if jumping to my death in the lake would be an improvement. (to Tom) Let's go.
Daria and Tom head for the room entrance.
Cut to: the bathroom.
Stacy and Quinn are standing in the bathroom. Stacy picks up the lamp.
STACY: They're gone, c'mon.
The two open the door and walk into the main room.
Cut to: main room of the suite.
Tom and Daria are halfway across the room, in the dark, as Stacy and Quinn enter with the oil light. All four stop, and look at each other in total surprise.
QUINN: Daria! That was you? I thought it was Brittany! Arrrrgh! I can't take this! I need a shower!
Quinn runs from the room, Stacy looks at Tom and Daria.
DARIA: (uncertain) Uh, I can explain, but I need to talk to Quinn before she talks to anyone else. Excuse us.
Daria runs for the door, pulling Tom after her. Stacy follows at a walk, carrying the light.
Cut to: the balcony.
Mack and Jodie have been watching the whole scene through the windows.
JODIE: (suppressing laughter) Oh, she's never going to live this down! Poor Daria.
MACK: (nervous) Well, the same thing could happen to us if we don't get out of here. Aren't you worried about your reputation at all?
JODIE: Why? My reputation will survive a few misunderstandings.
The two sneak quietly through the room.
Cut to: the tub.
Sandi and Upchuck are sitting at opposite ends of the empty tub, with the curtain around them. Both look at each other.
SANDI: And Quinn thinks it was Daria... (starts to laugh, and bites down on her knuckles to keep from making any noise).
Upchuck is holding his hands over his mouth, his shoulders shaking with suppressed laughs. After a while, he looks up.
UPCHUCK: (quietly) I haven't heard anyone recently. I probably better get out of here before Stacy comes back and sees me with you.
Sandi calms herself enough to talk, but she's still very amused by recent events.
SANDI: (reluctant) Yes, Charles, you'd better go. We can talk later.
UPCHUCK: Just call me "Chuck", it's the way I prefer it.
SANDI: Chuck, eh? Charles does seem too formal for friends. (beat) Oh, I just can't get over Quinn...
She starts to shake with laughter, this time aloud, as Upchuck stands up. She holds up her hand towards him.
SANDI: (between laughs) Help me up. (chuckle) I'm laughing too hard to get my balance.
Upchuck gives her a hand, and as she stands she loses her balance and falls against him. He steadies her, with an odd look of affection on his face.
UPCHUCK: Careful. This is a cast-iron tub. If you fell you could hurt yourself.
Sandi, leaning against Upchuck, looks down at him with an affectionate smile of her own.
SANDI: (softly) I don't need to worry with you here.
She leans forward, and kisses him on the lips. The kiss lasts some time, then the two recoil from each other in surprise.
UPCHUCK: (panicky) I better go!
He flails the curtain aside, and runs off. Sandi remains standing, with a look of shock on her face.
Interlude II (a video montage with music):
Sandi ordering the three J's about, outside the bus.
Jane sketching mountains, while Daria and Tom look on, talking.
Sandi and Tiffany reading Waif in the lobby.
Sandi and Upchuck, sitting in the bathtub, laughing.
Exterior. Lodge - Sunday Morning.
The students are milling about in front of the lodge, Ms. Barch, Mr. O'Neill and Sandi are standing off to one side talking. The former fashion club is in a cluster, accompanied by the three J's. The three J's appear to be arguing over who gets to carry Quinn's backpack (a big hiking pack, unlike the small daypacks most students are wearing). Upchuck stands off to one side, watching Daria and Tom covertly.
BARCH: I'm going to take the serious hikers up the mountain trail. Skinny, you handle the nature walk down by the marsh, and Sandi, you lead the group hiking on the easy trail.
Mr. O'Neill and Sandi nod.
BARCH: Remember, you need to be back here by three to board the bus, and make sure you take a headcount periodically so you don't lose anyone.
The three break up, and start organizing separate groups.
Fade out and back in on Sandi leading a group along a trail.
The trail has a mild upward slope, and goes through a wooded area. The camera watches the group file past. Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany follow Sandi, with the three J's close behind. Mack and Jodie follow them, with Daria, Tom, and Jane behind them. Upchuck brings up the rear alone. The camera zooms in on Daria and Tom.
TOM: That Upchuck fellow is really starting to get on my nerves. I think I'll go have a talk with him.
Daria looks thoughtful.
DARIA: No, Tom. I appreciate it, but this is my problem to handle. You stick with Jane, and I'll talk to him.
TOM: Are you sure?
DARIA: (abrupt) I managed to cope with him for two years before I met you, I think I can handle it.
Tom is a little put off by her tone.
TOM: Fine, deal with him, I'll talk to Jane.
Daria steps to the side of the trail, and waits for Upchuck to walk up. When he catches up to her, he stops.
UPCHUCK: Is something the matter?
DARIA: We need to talk.
Upchuck takes a step backwards.
UPCHUCK: (nervous) I didn't do anything!
DARIA: That's not quite true. You've been very well behaved, but this constant staring is starting to drive Tom nuts. And I'm not exactly thrilled by it either.
UPCHUCK: (downbeat) Oh, that obvious, huh? Sorry. I can't seem to do anything right.
Daria seems surprised by his response.
DARIA: So, what gives?
UPCHUCK: What do you mean?
DARIA: There seems to be something other than your usual pursuit of everything female going on here. I'm giving you an opportunity to explain it before I decide to let Tom deal with you.
UPCHUCK: Oh. (beat) I know you have a boyfriend, but do you think we could be friends?
DARIA: That isn't what you really want.
UPCHUCK: (downbeat) No, but it's the best I could hope to get, isn't it?
Daria sighs, and turns to look up the trail.
DARIA: Come on, we should walk so we don't get further behind. (beat) Look, you seem like a decent person now. But I've known you for two years, and that's not the person I think of when I see you. I really can't see us being anything more than casual acquaintances. We've got nothing in common except that we're outcasts from the general student population because they see us as "brains". Tom and I, or Jane and I for that matter, get along because we share things to talk about, and a way of looking at the world.
UPCHUCK: Yeah. I think I'd realized that the other day when I saw you and Tom by the lake. (beat) Um, you're not mad at me, are you?
DARIA: No, Chuck. Just cut out the staring.
DARIA: I told you I'd use your name if you managed to act like a human. As long as you can keep acting like one, you'll be "Chuck".
Up ahead the trail opens out into a field, and the students are milling about, taking a rest break. Sandi appears to be counting heads, and seems surprised when she sees Daria and Upchuck walking together. Daria separates from him, and walks over to Tom and Jane. Upchuck walks off by himself.
DARIA: Problem solved.
JANE: And? Inquiring minds want to know!
DARIA: There's nothing to know. I told Chuck to stop it. He said he would.
DARIA: As long as he behaves himself, he's Chuck.
Jane shakes her head, and decides it's time to do some drawing. Daria looks off at the crowd, and notices Sandi staring over at Upchuck.
Cut to: Sandi.
Sandi is standing, looking over at Upchuck with a pensive look, as the other three girls walk up.
QUINN: Are we going to be stopped here long? The wind is really blowing my hair around.
SANDI: (distracted) That's good.
Sandi starts, and realizes she said something wrong. She turns to Quinn.
SANDI: Sorry Quinn, I was thinking about the hike. What did you say?
QUINN: (still irritated) Gee, Sandi, I didn't know it took a lot of effort to think about walking.
Sandi's eyes narrow as she looks at Quinn.
SANDI: (haughty) Quinn, honey, don't start. I may not be a brain on history tests, but I can out-bitch you any day of the week.
Stacy and Tiffany walk up, with the three J's following.
STACY: (worried tone) You two aren't fighting, are you? I thought we were through with that.
Sandi looks at Quinn, and lifts her eyebrows in a silent query.
QUINN: No, Stacy, that's just the way Sandi and I talk.
STACY: Oh, the same way your sister is never serious about anything.
Sandi looks surprised by this comparison, but not as surprised as Quinn.
QUINN: I'm not like her at all!
STACY: Okay Quinn, don't go postal, huh? (to Sandi) So, when are we going to start moving again?
SANDI: We'll just give people a couple more minutes. We're just getting started, and I don't want anyone getting too tired to keep up later.
Fade out and back in.
The sun is high in the sky; it's probably close to noon. The group is moving down an open hillside, more spread out than earlier. At the bottom, the trail crosses a narrow wooden footbridge over a small ravine. Beyond, the trail goes up over a ridge. Sandi and the three girls are out in front. The three J's have fallen a ways behind, and seem to be getting tired. Upchuck follows them at a safe distance, and Jodie, Mack, Daria, Tom, and Jane have not yet come out of the woods at the top of the hill.
Cut to: Sandi, crossing the bridge.
The bridge is only wide enough for one person. Sandi leads the three girls over.
STACY: What a cute little stream down there!
The girls stop, and look down. A small, but fast, mountain stream flows through the bottom of the ravine, about twenty feet below the bridge.
TIFFANY: Yeah, I wish I'd brought a camera.
SANDI: Come on, we should be getting close to the outlook. There's supposed to by a couple of picnic tables there we can use for lunch. Let's not spend too much time here.
The group begins to move. As they exit the bridge, Sandi looks back at the group, just in time to see Mack, Jodie, Daria, Tom, and Jane exit the woods. They've fallen quite far behind. Jane pulls out her sketchbook and the others stop to talk while she draws. Sandi turns to look at Upchuck.
Cut to: The three J's, approaching the bridge.
JOEY: Oh man, I'm bushed. What does Quinn have in this pack anyway?
JAMIE: Probably something useless. She hasn't paid any attention to us all day, so it can't be too important.
JEFFY: Hey, Sandi's looking back at us. Maybe Quinn wants something.
Joey looks at Sandi, and then back behind him.
JOEY: No way, she's looking at Upchuck.
JEFFY: Why would she be looking at Upchuck?
JOEY: Maybe he's been bugging Quinn.
JEFFY: How? He's back there, and Sandi doesn't care about Quinn anyway.
JAMIE: Hey, if we did something about Upchuck, maybe Quinn would pay more attention to us.
JOEY: Yeah, we could tell him to go back and join the other brains, and not follow us so close.
JEFFY: Yeah, but lets wait 'till he's on the bridge, then he has to listen to us.
JAMIE: Good idea.
The three walk out onto the bridge. Upchuck follows, about fifteen feet back. When they reach the far end, they stop, and turn back towards him. Upchuck doesn't notice at first, because he's carefully looking at where he places his feet, and holding the railing on both sides of the bridge. He's clearly unnerved by being on the bridge.
JOEY: Hold it. Stop following us.
Upchuck, startled, stops and looks up.
UPCHUCK: Huh? We're on a bridge, where do you expect me to go?
JOEY: Go back and hang out with the other brains. We don't want you bothering Quinn.
UPCHUCK: (annoyed, and still nervous about the bridge) I'm not bothering Quinn. Get out of my way.
Joey walks up and shoves him.
JOEY: I said, go back!
Upchuck, with a panicked look in his eyes, stumbles backwards, and grabs one of the rails with both hands.
Cut to: Sandi.
Sandi still looking backwards from about halfway up to the ridge, sees Joey and Upchuck on the bridge. She stops with a gasp of shock. The other girls look at her, then look backwards.
STACY: What are you looking at Sandi?
SANDI: (distracted) What are those boys doing?
QUINN: Looks like they're fighting with Upchuck. So?
SANDI: So? Someone could get hurt. A bridge is no place for fighting.
QUINN: They won't hurt him, Sandi. Besides, Mack will put a stop to it when he gets to the bridge. Why do you care? It's Upchuck.
SANDI: Why? (thinks) Because I'm the trail guide. I'm responsible.
TIFFANY: But it's just a small bridge, and he's near the edge. Even if fell he probably wouldn't be hurt.
SANDI: (decisive) No, I can't let this go on. Chuck's afraid of heights; he must be terrified.
Sandy heads towards the bridge at a run. Quinn turns to Stacy.
QUINN: Did she just call him "Chuck"?
TIFFANY: That is sooo wrong.
Stacy doesn't say anything, but she watches Sandi with a thoughtful look.
Cut to: the bridge.
Joey is still pushing Upchuck, while Jeffy and Jamie stand just off the bridge and laugh. Sandi comes running up.
SANDI: Joey, stop that! What kind of an idiot are you, fighting on a bridge?
Joey turns to her, surprised.
JOEY: Sandi! We weren't fighting, we were just fooling around. Right Upchuck?
Upchuck clings to the rail, far too terrified to speak. In the distance, Tom and Mack can be seen running towards the bridge.
SANDI: The three of you should be ashamed of yourselves! Get moving, and if I have any more trouble out of you, you'll be hearing from Ms. Barch when we get back.
JOEY: (a little worried) Honest, we were just fooling around.
SANDI: Just go. Now.
The three boys turn, and head towards Quinn and Tiffany. Sandi turns to Upchuck.
SANDI: Chuck, are you okay? They're gone, and it's just a couple of steps to the end of the bridge.
Tom and Mack run up, as Upchuck looks up at Sandi.
UPCHUCK: (quavering voice) Th... Thanks, Sandi. Just give me a moment.
TOM: (to Upchuck) Are you okay? What were those idiots doing?
SANDI: (bitter) Being idiots. (normal voice) Can you help Chuck? I need to get back up front.
TOM: Yeah. (to Upchuck) Here, lean on me.
MACK: And I can go beat some sense into them. Being team captain has some perks.
Upchuck leans on Tom, and begins to walk.
MACK: (off screen) You three are a disgrace to the football team!
JOEY: (off screen) Hey, we weren't doing anything!
MACK: (off screen) Don't give me that! All three of you, drop and give me twenty!
ALL THREE: (off screen) What?
MACK: (off screen) I mean it! Now! Or do you want me to get really creative at the next training session?
ALL THREE: (off screen) Aww, man.
Exterior. Scenic Outlook - Lunchtime.
The group is sitting around three picnic tables, eating sandwiches. Sandi sits with the other three girls, while the three J's have a table to themselves, now they look even more tired than before. Everyone else sits at the third table.
STACY: (teasing voice) How's "Chuck"?
SANDI: (surprised at the question) How should I know? I haven't been walking with him.
STACY: Well, you knew he was afraid of heights.
Sandi looks uncertain.
SANDI: Umm, that's just because I'm the guide. Mr. O'Neill told me.
STACY: (teasing voice) Are you sure that's all it is?
QUINN: Eww, Stacy! Don't even joke about something like that.
Cut to: Upchuck.
SANDI: (off screen, haughty) Stacy, I don't know what you mean. I would never have anything to do with... (she stumbles briefly over the name) ...with Upchuck. You should know me better than that.
Upchuck, who wasn't looking all that happy to begin with, looks stricken when he overhears her use his nickname.
Cut to: Sandi.
Sandi sees Upchucks reaction, and looks sad herself, but doesn't say anything.
Fade out and back in.
The hikers are staggering down the final leg of the trail. In the distance can be seen the Lodge, with a school bus parked in front of it. People are milling about near the bus, not quite ready to depart. Sandi and her friends lead, with the main group behind them, and the three J's, obviously exhausted, trailing. Upchuck walks slightly ahead of the main group, well behind Sandi and her friends.
Upchuck walks with a distracted air, not really paying attention to his surroundings. He occasionally stumbles over roots, or rocks. The impression is of someone deep in thought. Mack comes forward to walk with him.
MACK: Charles, are you sure you don't want me to tell Ms. Barch about the bridge? Those three deserve to catch some hell.
UPCHUCK: I'm sure. Besides, I think you gave them enough hell already. Thanks.
MACK: No problem. (beat) Jodie told me you'd been acting civil to the girls the last few weeks. One good turn deserves another.
Interior. Lawndale High School Hallway - Monday.
Sandi, Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany are walking down the hallway together.
QUINN: I'm glad that's over with. My legs are still sore from all that walking.
STACY: Well, it wasn't that bad, but I'll be glad to have a couple of days to rest before the sale. Won't you, Sandi?
SANDI: I'm just happy I'm done with leading hikes. I paid off Ms. Li, and she even let me keep a little money because Ms. Barch said I did such a good job.
QUINN: Wow, Ms. Barch said that? (beat) So, what are you going to spend the money on?
SANDI: Well, I was thinking of taking the three of you out for no-cheese pizza after we go shopping, if you're interested.
STACY: Gee, Sandi, you're a real friend.
QUINN and TIFFANY: Yeah!
As they say this, Sandi notices Upchuck standing by his locker up ahead. Sandi gets a thoughtful look.
Begin flashback montage.
The following are similar to earlier scenes, but they are seen from Sandi's viewpoint this time.
Chuck, sitting with her, while she feeds the birds in the park.
Chuck, watching children play in the park.
Chuck in the bathroom of the honeymoon suite, turning away from the door and sitting on the tub after Sandi told him to behave.
Chuck, looking terrified on the bridge.
Chuck, looking sad at the scenic outlook.
End flashback sequence.
SANDI: (thoughtful) Yeah, a real friend. (businesslike) Excuse me, I need to talk to someone.
Sandi walks quickly up to Upchuck. The other three can be seen watching in the background with various looks of surprise.
SANDI: Chuck, I wanted to apologize for what I said yesterday. I wasn't thinking.
UPCHUCK: (looking over at the other three, worried) Sandi, your friends can see us.
SANDI: (confident) If they're really my friends, they'll get used to it. (diffident) Um, I was wondering, could I take you to Chez Pierre tonight? To say thanks for all the help you've given me this fall.
Upchuck seems stunned, in the background Quinn seems to have overheard Sandi, and is equally stunned.
UPCHUCK: S.. Sure. If you really want to.
SANDI: I want to. Pick me up at seven, okay?
Cut to: The other three girls.
Quinn holds her hands to the sides of her face, with her mouth open in a soundless scream (think of the painting, The Scream, by Edvard Munch, the one with the wavy purple figure).
TIFFANY: This is soo weird.
Stacy has an approving expression on her face.
STACY: I don't know, I think it's sweet.
The camera freezes on Sandi and Upchuck, talking, and the credits roll.
The germ of this story came when I decided to see if I could write a bedroom farce without making it a sex comedy (that idea, in turn, came from the opening scene of A Shot in the Dark, the second Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie). That, coupled with a desire to explore the effects of losing her position as club president on Sandi, led me to decide to write a romantic comedy, with Upchuck as the not-so-innocent victim. Two misfits, thrown together by fate, both with plans that don't involve the other, catalyzing change in each other, is the stuff of which such comedies are made.
What happened to the Fashion Club, and why would Daria know anything about computer networks? I told you to read Breaking Strain first, didn't I?
The title - I chose this title because of the original meaning of the quote, people who wouldn't normally associate with each other are sometimes thrown together by circumstance. That it also helps to confuse things, but implying something else, didn't hurt either.
Upchuck and Daria - See Upchuck's Gallery of Feisty Babes in the Daria Diaries (Pocket Books, 1998) for confirmation (or at least a strong suggestion) that he holds a special place in his heart for Daria.
Linda Griffin - If Sandi's problem is insecurity, rather than a simple hunger for power, as I suggested in Breaking Strain, then something has to be the cause. I'm presuming it's Linda, trying to succeed through her daughter, where her own life has been less rewarding than she'd like. The comment about "ex-news anchor" comes from the Family Portraits entry in the Daria Database (Pocket Books, 1998), where it's noted that Linda tends to dwell on her brief career as a news anchor, twenty years ago. Linda's idea of motivation here verges on child abuse. Unfortunately, I've met parents like that. Fortunately, neither of mine is among them.
Sandi - It's difficult to be true to Sandi's inherently self-centered character and still make her a sympathetic protagonist. I've tried to do that by showing that she's aware of her behavior, and regrets it even as she continues to behave that way. I've also tried to show some gradual change in her character over the course of several weeks as a result of the loss of the club and her realization that it was ultimately her fault. I'd be interested in feedback on how true to Sandi this story felt.