Power Struggles

A Daria Fan Fiction by the Alchemist

Episode #505

 

DISCLAIMER Ė Daria and cast are wholly owned by MTV. I am merely borrowing them for the duration of this work. I try and have them back on time, but I make mistakes sometimes. What? You thought that it was MTVís fault that they cancel Daria showings at the last minute?

Morgendorffer Residence, kitchen. Daria enters the shot, walking up to the cabinet and removing a box of cereal. Opening another cabinet, she removes a bowl and a glass, and fills the bowl with cereal and replaces the cereal box in the cabinet. Opening the refrigerator, Daria proceeds to fill her glass with orange juice and pour some milk into her cereal bowl. Removing a spoon, a tired-looking Daria turns towards the kitchen table when she stops with a surprised look on her face. As the camera pans around, we see Jake at the table, with papers spread across the table, hard at work.

Daria : Dad? What are you doing up this early? (looking around) And whereís the paper?

Jake : (distracted from his work) Huh? (looks up to see Daria) Oh, hi kiddo! The paperís probably still outside. (confused) Isnít a bit early for you to be up?

Daria : Um, I have the completion ceremony for that self defense class, remember?

Jake : Oh, yeah! Congratulations!

Daria : Thanks. (looking at the table) Big client?

Jake : Yeah! (thinking, excited) Hey! You need a ride?

Daria : Well, I was going to drive myself Ö

Jake : (disappointed) Oh.

Daria : (sighs) Would you like to drive me there dad?

Jake : (perking up) Sure thing, kiddo!

 

Cut to the interior of the Lexus. Jake is driving, and Daria is sitting in the passenger seat. Reaching into the back seat, Daria picks up a booklet. The back of the booklet is clearly stamped with a "Property of Jake Morgendorffer Consulting" marking. Daria turns the booklet to reveal an embossed cover reading "Lawndale Regional Power Authority Ė Nuclear Power Plant Proposal and Environmental Impact Statement".

Daria : Uh, dad? (holding up the pamphlet) Is this your big client?

Jake : (glancing at the pamphlet) Yeah! Isnít it great?

Daria : (confused) Dad? Didnít you and mom march against nuclear power?

Jake : (sheepishly) Well, yeah. (Bt) But you see, these guys are really being careful to preserve the environment. (proudly) I even had an independent expert review their plans, just to be sure. (gesturing at the pamphlet) Take a look for yourself. Iíve got extras.

 

Daria looks at her father with a mixture of surprise and admiration, having rarely seen Jake both excited and coherent at the same time.

 

Cut to Casa Lane, exterior. The camera moves up to the door and continues through into the living room. Trent is asleep on the couch, and there are a few stacks of paintings next to the television.

The camera continues up the stairs to the hallway outside of Janeís room. The hallway is cluttered with an easel, sculptures, and another stack of posters and paintings.

Panning around, the camera continues through Janeís door, revealing the interior of Janeís room. The room is stripped bare, without a single poster on the walls or painting in sight. Moving into the room, we see Jane dressed in her normal outfit collapsed on her bed, asleep. Suddenly, a shrill beep is heard as the alarm clock goes off. Jane stirs briefly, reaching out and yanking the alarm clock until the cord is pulled from the wall socket. Dropping the clock on the floor, Jane drops back onto her bed and falls asleep.

 

Law Firm Interior, hallway. Jake and Daria walk down the hall, stopping in front of a set of double doors marked ĎAuditoriumí.

Daria : Here you go dad. I have to head down this way. (pointing down the hall) They have a special section reserved for us.

Jake : Well, OK. (waiting)

Daria : Um, (resigned) thanks dad.

Jake : No problem kiddo! Glad to do it!

 

Daria sighs as Jake heads into the auditorium, obviously not used to focused attention from Jake. Shaking her head, she walks down to a second set of doors when she comes to a sudden halt as her eyes go wide. The camera pans around to reveal a bulletin board for company announcements. The camera centers on a bulletin reading "The Lawndale Ecological Preservation and Education Rotary Society (LEPERS) is proud to announce that they have retained the consul of Vitale, Davis, Horowitz, Riordan, Schrecter, Scherecter, and Schrecter Attorneys-At-Law to contest the Lawndale Power Authorityís proposed nuclear power plant. We are pleased that such an esteemed firm Ö"

Daria : (VO, concerned) Oh, hell.

 

Interior of the auditorium. There is an announcer at the podium, and a moderately dressed instructor standing on the stage with a table full of certificates alongside.

Announcer : Ms Daria Morgendorffer Ö

 

Daria walks up on stage, approaching the instructor to get the certificate.

Instructor : Here you go Daria. (shakes her hand) And if I may say so, well done.

Daria takes the certificate from the instructor, looking slightly uncomfortable.

Daria : Um, thanks. (Bt) It wasnít quite as bad as I expected.

Instructor : From you, thatís high praise. Good luck out thereÖ

 

Daria walks off the stage, looking slightly uncomfortable. As she walks off, she sees Jake in the audience looking proudly at his daughter. Noticing this, and a small smile forms on her face.

 

Cut to later in the car. Daria is reading through Jakeís booklet as they drive home.

Jake : Wow Daria! I didnít know you found that type of stuff interesting Ö

Daria : Well, you know, power to the people and all that.

Jake : (uncertain) Um, amusing?

Daria : (looking up) Youíre really excited about this, arenít you?

Jake : Why do you say that?

Daria : Well, youíre up early, interested in what Iím doing, havenít read the paper yet, and you are getting my jokes. Something must be up Ö

Jake : (sheepishly) Well, yeah. (Bt) Sorry about, well, you know.

Daria : (smiling slightly) Donít worry about it. (softly) Thanks for coming this morning.

Jake : No problem kiddo!

As Jake continues to drive, Daria looks at him with a combination of surprise and respect.

 

Later that day, Lane Residence. Daria walks up to the front door and knocks. Trent answers, dressed only in a loose shirt and boxer shorts. Daria looks at him in surprise and bemusement for a second before saying anything.

Daria : Um, Trent? Most people put on clothes before answering the door Ö

Trent : (half asleep) Huh? (looking down at self) Oh, yeah. Sorry. I was kind of asleep on the couch.

Daria : Sorry I woke you. (Bt) Was there a reason you didnít use your bed?

Trent : (thinking) Um, yeah. But I canít remember why now. (disappointed) It was a really good reason tooÖ

Daria : You know Trent, go back to sleep. Is Jane in?

Trent : I think so. Check upstairs, I guess.

 

Daria walks through the door after Trent, entering the living room. For a moment, she simply stands in the now closed doorway, staring at the piles of pictures scattered about the room.

Daria : (turning towards Trent, questioning) Um, Trent?

 

As the camera turns with Daria, we see Trent, already asleep on the couch. Daria silently shakes her head and walks upstairs. Reaching the hallway, Daria spots the easel and the pile of posters and pictures. As she turns to investigate the rest of the hallway, we see concern slowly spreading across Dariaís face. Gathering herself up, she knocks on Janeís door.

Daria : Jane? Are you alive?

 

Daria waits for a few moments, and is about to leave when Janeís door opens to reveal a disheveled Jane standing at the door.

Jane : (tired and depressed) Daria?

Daria : For now, at least. (noticing the bare room) Jane? Are you OK?

Jane : Just peachy Daria. Couldnít be better.

Daria : Jane?

Jane : Daria, I donít want to talk about it.

Daria : (confused) Uh, OK Ö (cautiously) You want some pizza? Iím buying.

Jane : Iím not really hungry. (Bt) Iíd just like to be alone for a while.

Daria : (concerned) Jane? Is something wrong?

Jane : (angry) I said I donít want to talk about it. Iíll see you later.

 

Daria looks hurt and uncertain as Jane closes the door. As Daria walks off, we cut to the inside of Janeís room, where Jane is leaning with her back to the door, her expression one of a frightened rabbit.

Jane : (overwhelmed) Now why did I do that? (walking over to her bed) Oh yeah. (heavy sarcasm) Iím an artist. Weíre SUPPOSED to be moodyÖ

 

Cut to Pizza King. Daria is sitting in a booth alone, eating a slice of pizza as Quinn and the fashion club enter and sit in a nearby booth.

Daria : Great. The whole fashion club in one place, and me without my sword.

 

Pan over to Fashion Club, enjoying a no cheese no topping pizza.

Sandi : So then he took me out in his BMW to Chez Pierre, and even ordered everything in French Ö

Stacy : But, didnít they move here from France last year?

Sandi : (vexed) And exactly WHAT are you implying Stacy?

 

Stacy looks nervously at Sandi, retreating slightly

Stacy : (meekly) Sorry. I just meant that, well, it was neat that he could speak French and all Ö

Sandi : (smirking) Yeah, it is. (looking at Quinn) How was your date Quinn? What did he drive?

Quinn : Oh, pretty good. I think he drove a Taurus or something. (wistfully) Heís really pretty interestingÖ

Sandi : Quinn Morgendorffer. As a member of the Fashion Club, you should know that someone who drives such a, ugh, plain car is beneath your status as Vice President. I fear that I may have to call a vote on your standing if this behavior keeps up.

 

Quinn looks concerned at Sandiís latest threats, and Stacy looks uncertain. Tiffany looks on with a bit more attention than usual, but is relatively disinterested in the whole conversation. Before Sandi can continue, Daria walks by, tossing her empty plate and napkins in the trash, where she notices a poster for a rally against the proposed power plant. Staring at it for a moment, she mumbles something under her breath and shakes her head. Sandi, noticing Daria, turns her attention temporarily to her.

{BGM : Metallica Ė Master of Puppets}

Sandi : (arrogantly) Well, it figures that you would be here alone. That guy you were seeing finally came to his senses?

Daria : (turning to Sandi) No, heís out with his friends today. I was hungry, so I stopped here for a slice of pizza.

Sandi : So heíd rather be with his friends than you? Canít say I blame him.

Daria : (calm and controlled) Unlike some people, Iím not a controlling manipulative bitch. I have no problem with him spending time with his friends, and he has no problem with me enjoying a slice of pepperoni pizza on my own.

Sandi : Pepperoni? Donít you know that pepperoni goes straight to your thighs?

Daria : Thatís what a plate is for SandiÖ

Sandi : (annoyed) Why are you still here?

Daria : Well, I usually donít leave when people are talking with me. Although you do give me reason to reconsider that policy.

Sandi : Huh?

Daria : To put this in terms you can understand, you are obnoxious and boring.

 

Daria walks out of the picture, leaving an annoyed Sandi glaring at her as she leaves.

Sandi : Quinn, why does your sister think that she can talk to me like that? Who does she think she is?

Quinn : (sardonically) Why donít you ask her?

Sandi glares at Quinn, but declines to say anything more on the subject, instead reaching for a slice of pizza. Quinn smirks slightly, but hides it from Sandi.

 

Cut to the mall, where the Quinn and the Fashion Club are walking through the mall with an assortment of bags with them. As the camera zooms in, the group is passing by the Books By The Ton store.

Sandi : Hey, look! Itís Quinnís favorite store!

Quinn : But Cashmans Ö (notices the store) Very funny Sandi. Just because I want to have a life after high school doesnít make me an egg-headed freak or anythingÖ

Sandi : If you say so Quinn. (looking at Stacy) But it seems to be spreading. (Bt Ė faux thinking) I seem to remember that when people got sick with diseases that spread, they put them in quinineÖ

Stacy : (thought VO) Thatís quarantine (out loud) But SandiÖ

Sandi : (hostile) Yes Stacy?

Stacy : Um, nothing! Sorry!

 

As the fashion club continues through the mall, they walk past a bench where we see Jane sitting with a sketchbook.

Sandi : So Quinn, what DOES a BRAIN feel like?

Jane : (VO - disinterested) Soft, warm, and squishy, like a bowl of cooked spaghetti.

 

Sandi stops and looks at Jane, who is totally ignoring her. Getting no response of any kind from Jane, Quinn and the Fashion club head off into the mall as the camera stays with Jane.

Jane is sitting on a bench, looking out over a fountain surrounded by a ring of flowers. Zooming in on Janeís sketchbook, there is a pencil drawing of Jane standing alone on a moonscape, her hand reaching out towards the blue-white marble of the earth in the distance. As Jane refines the sketch, we notice that Jane is missing an ear. Sighing, Jane closes her sketchbook and stares at the fountain.

Begin Flashback Sequence

IIFY, at the art colony.

Daniel : (standing in front of sculpture) When I unveiled Paper Plate Genocide in 1991, it was hailed as intriguing, provocative, and brilliant, and not just by me. (artists laugh, except for Jane) No, we all know that critics tend to get carried away. But was I thinking when I created a work that was both seminal and semiotic?

Jane : I can't believe I'm getting away with it?

Paris : Excuse me, Mr. Dotson?

Daniel : Please, Paris isn't it? Call me Daniel.

Paris : Daniel, I just want to say I think you're the greatest living artist of our time.

Jane : And not just because I have no taste.

Artist : I was wondering, where do you get your inspiration?

Allison : My alimony bills.

Daniel : I don't sit around and wait for inspiration. I grab it, in the glint of the sun on a frozen peak, in the pain of an arthritic's hobble, in a lover's whisper in the dark. So I'd have to say my inspiration comes from life itself.

Artist : Wow!

Daniel : Well, that's enough of the old windbag's ramblings for today. We'll pick up here tomorrow. (artists groan their disappointment, then applaud)

 

Cut to later at the Art Colony

Man : And Daniel, that man is brilliant!

Paris : He said my white on white painting was a stroke of inspiration.

Man : I'll bet you two have explored all sorts of strokes together. (Paris and AnaÔs laugh) Oh well, I suppose genius does have its prerogatives.

Jane : Well I don't know if Daniel's a genius...

Paris : No offense Jane but, aren't you still in high school? How much can you know about art at this point?

 

Cut to restaurant, Jane and Allison sharing a booth

Allison : You and your future, me and my so-called career, I guess we've each got something the other would love to have.

 

Cut to camp exterior

Allison : Who's looking for romance? I just want to have a little fun.

Jane : And if it's with someone who can introduce you to a few gallery owners, that's not so bad either, eh? I think I'm beginning to see how the art world works.

Allison : God, high school. It's all such a big deal to you guys. You take everything so seriously. (leaves)

Jane : Like someone telling you Ďyou give off gay vibes just so because they're trying to get into your pants!í

End Flashback sequence

Sighing, Jane shakes her head and walks off.

 

{BGM : Billy Joel- Shades of Grey}

 

Cut to Morgendorffer Residence, living room. We see Jake sitting on the couch with a martini nearby, looking very somber. The camera pans slightly to reveal Daria coming down the stairs into the living room. As Daria turns, she spots Jake on the couch, noticing his mood. Confused, she walks into the living room towards Jake. Suddenly, she stops and turns toward the kitchen with a look of surprise on her face.

Daria : Mom? (surprise) What are you doing home?

Helen : (VO) Oh, hi Daria. (Bt) I just got assigned to a big case starting tomorrow, so I thought that I would come home early today to spend some time with my family.

Daria : (sense of dread spreading over her face) What case is that?

Helen : (VO - offhand) Oh, nothing you need to worry about. Just a case against a proposed nuclear power plant that the Power Authority is looking to build here.

Daria : (concerned) Why did they assign you to the case?

Helen : (VO) Oh, itís a big, high profile case, and the Power Authority doesnít take too well to legal action.

 

Daria simply stares at the kitchen, then slowly turns to look at Jake. Jake looks at her, his face drowning in sorrow, and shakes his head from side to side. Seeing this, Dariaís expression turns to a mixture of pity and concern as she heads back upstairs to her room.

Interior of Dariaís room. Daria is sitting at her computer, alternating between reading Jakeís pamphlet and working on her computer. Shaking her head, she reaches down for a notebook when someone knocks at the door.

 

Daria : (turning towards the door) Yes?

 

The door opens to reveal a nervous looking Quinn standing at the door. She cautiously walks through the door, closing it behind her.

Quinn : Um, Daria? Could I ask you something?

Daria : Itís a relatively free countryÖ

Quinn : How do you deal with Sandi so well?

Daria : I donít. I try not to deal with Sandi at allÖ

Quinn : Well, this afternoon, she was being like, really mean to you, but you just ignored her. (Bt) How can you do that?

Daria : Do you really want to know my secret?

Quinn : (excited) Yes!

Daria : (matter of fact) I donít care.

Quinn : (slightly hurt) Hey! If you donít want to tell me, then donít tell me. But you donít have to lead me on like that.

Daria : (sighs, looks up at Quinn) Quinn, I wasnít leading you on, and I did tell you. The reason I can deal with Sandi is that I donít care.

Quinn : I donít get it.

Daria : (disappointed) Look. I donít particularly like Sandi, and she doesnít like me. So why should I care what she thinks?

Quinn : But arenít you worried that sheíll talk about you? Spread rumors?

Daria : Again, I donít care. If someone is ready to judge me based on rumors and hearsay, then I donít particularly want them as my friend.

Quinn : (not fully understanding) But, you really donít care about what people say? Or the rumors? How can you just let people think youíre a loser?

Daria : (loaded) Iíve lived with you for almost seventeen years Ö

Quinn looks devastated at this, but makes no attempt at a retort. She turns to leave, opening the door.

Quinn : Daria? (meekly) Iím sorry.

Quinn walks out, closing the door behind her, leaving an uncertain Daria still sitting in her chair. She slowly turns, returning to her computer and back to work.

Daria : (to self) You know, she was so much easier to dislike before she found a conscience Ö

 

Restaurant Interior. Daria and Tom are seated at the table, each with a burger and french fries in front of each of them. Tom looks a bit uncomfortable, and Daria looks annoyed and preoccupied.

Tom : Daria? Is everything OK? (Bt) You look Ö concerned.

Daria : (flatly) Iím fine.

Tom : (warily) OK, but, well, thatís about all youíve said to me all night.

Daria : Itís been an, um, eventful day. Iíd prefer to forget all about it.

Tom : Is there anything I can do?

Daria : (annoyed) I donít feel like talking about it Tom.

Tom : (defensive) OK, OK! (Bt) Could you at least tell me if itís my fault?

Daria : (sighing) Look, itís been a long day. I think Iíd just like to go home. Iíll call you later.

Daria gets up from the table and leaves the restaurant, with a very confused looking Tom remaining behind.

Tom : (to no one in particular) Well, that was interesting. (Bt) Did anyone catch exactly what happened here?

 

Lawndale High, the next day. Daria is at her locker, removing her books for class. As she moves to close her locker, we see brief movement at the edge of the screen.

Daria : (turning her head) Morning Jane, howísÖ

Daria stops and stares at Jane as the camera pans around. As Jane comes into view, we see that she is dressed quite differently, wearing a pair of blue jeans, a purple shirt, and a pair of sunglasses. Her usual earrings are gone, and she looks a bit depressed.

Daria : Um, Jane? Run-in with the fashion police?

Jane looks at Daria for a second, her face covered in uncertainty, before turning and heading off to class.

 

Mr. DeMartinoís classroom. The board is covered with notes relating to the buildup to the Korean War. Mr. DeMartino stands in front of the classroom as class begins. Daria looks over at a distressed looking Jane, who is in an almost zombie-like state.

DeMartino : OK CLASS, would ANYONE like to SURPRISE me by outlining the geopolitical CONCERNS that led up to the KOREAN WAR, as OUTLINED in your assigned reading? (scanning the class for volunteers) How about you BRITTANY?

Brittany : But this is history, not geography Ö

DeMartino : Let me put the question a DIFFERENT way, Brittany. Why did the UNITED STATES get involved in the SOVIET-BACKED civil WAR between the DEMOCRATIC South Koreans and the COMMUNIST North Koreans?

 

Brittany thinks for a second, twirling her hair

Brittany : Um, because they wanted cheap takeout food?

 

Shaking his head in disappointment, Mr. DeMartino searches the class for another volunteer. Seeing a hand raise, he looks up with a slight air of approval.

Jodie : The US entered the Korean Conflict (Mr. DeMartino winces slightly at the word Conflict) in the hopes of containing the spread of communism in the Asia-Pacific theatre.

DeMartino : THANK YOU, Jodie. Now I SUPPOSE that it would be FRUITLESS to ask if ANYONE knows if these GOALS were actually REALIZED through AMERICAN MILLITARY INTERVENTION, but, since I CHOSE to become a TEACHER, I must ask you ANYWAY. (scanning class) Jane! Can YOU answer my question?

Jane : (flatly) No.

 

Mr. DeMartino looks at Jane with surprise, clearly not expecting such an overt negative response.

DeMartino : And if I may ASK, WHY not?

Jane : (matter of fact) Because I didnít read the chapter.

 

Daria looks at Jane with a mixture of concern and shock as Mr. DeMartino looks uncertain as to how to proceed. Noticing this, Daria raises her hand, attracting Mr. DeMartinoís attention.

DeMartino : Yes Daria?

Daria : The Korean War was not a decisive victory for either side. While the communist advance was halted and reversed at times, it had little effect on further communist expansions.

Mr. DeMartino looks at Daria for a second, not having expected her response. Giving a final glance at Jane, he turns his full attention to Daria.

DeMartino : So what WAS the major effect of the Korean War?

Daria : (deadpan) War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death.

Fade to the next scene as Mr. DeMartino briefly shakes his head and walks back to the front of the class.

 

Casa Lane. Trent is on the living room couch, strumming a few chords and jotting down notes in his songbook as Jane enters through the front door. Jane still looks downcast and uncertain as she looks at the stacks of paintings piled in the living room.

Trent : Hey Janey.

Jane : (somber) Hey Trent.

Trent : You OK?

Jane : (obvious lie) Yeah, Iím fine.

Trent : Hey, whereíd you go off to after that gig Sunday? I thought you were coming with us for burgers Ö

Jane : (detached) Oh, nowhere. I wasnít hungry Ö

 

Begin Flashback Sequence

Interior of the Zon. Mystik Spiral is on stage, performing Icebox Woman. Jane is standing alone near the bar when sheís approached by two young men.

Paul : Hey there. Iím Paul, and this (gesturing) is Mike.

Jane : Jane.

Mike : (slightly inebriated) So Jane, what do you think of the music?

Paul : Its really quite Ö

Jane : (interrupting) I should probably tell you that the lead singer is my brother.

Mike : Oh. I didnít mean Ö

Jane : (smirking) Yes you did. (Bt - teasing) But I suppose Iíll talk to you anyway.

Mike : Gee, so generous of you. (Bt) You want a drink?

Jane : (slightly hesitant) Sure, why not.

 

Mike walks over to the bar to place an order as Paul moves slightly closer to Jane.

Paul : So, this is your brother?

Jane : Yep.

Paul : Does the band have a studio or something?

Jane : Our basement?

Paul : (faux amazement) Wow! And you can still hear?

Jane : (loudly) What?

 

Paul laughs as Mike returns with a beer for Jane. Jane takes the beer with trepidation, although Mike and Paul seem not to notice.

Jane : Hey, thanks. (sips beer) (thought VO) OK Jane, next time youíre flirting, remember that you donít like beer

Mike : No problem. So, are you a musician too? Do you have a band?

Jane : After seeing the glorious life my brother gets to live? (Bt) No. Iím not.

Paul : So what do you do? College?

Jane : Nope. Senior at Lawndale High. Unfortunately. But Iím an artist.

Mike : (jokingly) Isnít art something you do when you canít decide a major in college?

 

Jane shoots Mike a dirty look, but Mike fails to pick up on it.

Mike : (slightly drunk) Hey Paul, what was the name of that art chick from our freshman year?

Paul : (discouraging tone) Uh, Grace I think?

Mike : Man, she knew how to show you a good time. Good old Amaziní Grace Ö

Jane looks at Mike in disgust, and Paul in annoyance. Mike, for his part, hasnít realized what heís done yet.

 

Trent : (VO) Janey? You OK? (Bt) Jane?

End Flashback Sequence

 

Jane : Yeah Trent, Iím fine. I just have some, uh, work to do.

Trent : Oh yeah. High school stuff. (proudly) Glad thatís done with.

Jane heads upstairs as Trent laughs briefly and resumes working on his music.

 

Morgendorffer Living room. Jake is asleep in the couch, a martini on the table next to him. Daria enters through the front door, and looks at Jake with pitying concern.

Jake : (in sleep, mumbling) Who cares if you want pizza Jake, you father wants steak Ö I donít care if you wanted to go to tennis camp, you need to toughen up in military school Ö What about what Jake wants?

Daria shakes her head and walks over to the hall closet, removing a blanket when she notices a box hidden in the back of the closet. Reaching down, she peers into the box to reveal a pair of platform shoes, a battered notebook, and a powered bullhorn.

Daria : (softly, to self) Whatís this? (examining the bullhorn) I thought Mom got rid of this after the move from Highland. (thinking) Although it DID seem to motivate the workmen Ö

Daria takes the blanket over to the couch, covering Jake. As she does, Jake turns in his sleep and seems to calm slightly. Looking at the table, Daria picks up the martini, swirling slightly as she stares at the glass. Shrugging, she takes a tentative sip, her face quickly registering extreme disgust. She quietly puts the glass down and heads towards the stairs.

Daria : (softly) God! How can anyone drink that?

 

As Daria begins to head upstairs, there is a knock at the front door. Turning reluctantly, Daria opens the door to reveal Jane, still dressed as she was in school.

Daria : Jane?

Jane : Hey Daria.

Daria : Um, Jane? Would you like to come in?

Jane : (slightly embarrassed) Uh, sure.

 

Cut to Dariaís room, interior. Both Daria and Jane are sitting on the bed. Daria looks concerned, and Jane simply looks exhausted.

Daria : If you donít mind my asking, whatís with the new outfit? Shaking up your image?

Jane : (sarcastic) Yeah, as if I need that.

Daria : Um, Jane? Is something wrong?

 

Jane looks at Daria for a moment, and hands a folded sheet of paper to Daria. Daria looks at the paper, which turns out to be an application for art school. Midway down the page is a highlighted question Ė "Why do you want to be an artist?"

Daria : (warily) Um, OK Ö

Jane : I donít know how to answer it.

Daria : Well, why do you want to be an artist?

Jane : Um, well, Iím not that certain that I do Ö

Daria : (surprised) What?

Jane : Did I ever tell you about this summer?

Daria : Parts of it Ö

 

Fade to later, same setting

Jane : So thatís about when you came down with TrentÖ

Daria : I didnít realize that the summer was so ... interesting for you. (Bt Ė thinking) So let me get this straight. Do you still like art?

Jane : Yes.

Daria : But you donít really like artists?

Jane : No.

Daria : And youíre not sure that you want to be identified as an artist, given what you now know.

Jane : Correct.

Daria : (curious) But why now? You seemed OK with it when you got back Ö

Jane : Well .. (softly) Can I just say that I had a little, well, conversation with a couple of guys during one of Trentís gigs?

Daria : (teasing) Would these be guys that you (Bt) appreciate?

Jane : Oh, shut up. Once this one guy found out I was an artist, he seemed to think that I was, well, easy.

Daria : (concerned) You didnít!

Jane : (shocked) Daria! (Bt) No, I didnít do anything. I left, came home, cleared out my room and fell asleep. I just needed to think Ö

Daria : And you came up with that fashion combination?

Jane : Quiet you.

Daria : So, what are you going to do?

Jane : (getting up) I donít know. But thanks for listening.

Daria : (resigned) No problem.

 

As Jane gets up, she notices that Daria appears somewhat preoccupied.

Jane : Daria? Are you OK?

Daria : (depressed) No. But Iíll be fine.

Jane : Daria?

 

Daria just looks at Jane, with a concerned but depressed stare. Jane looks at Daria with sympathy, trying to give Daria an opening.

Daria : Donít worry Jane, Iíll be fine. Really. (Bt) Until the furies arrive, that is.

Jane looks somewhat uncomfortable with this, but decides against pressing the issue any further.

 

Cut to a large field, where a protest is in progress against the proposed power plant. An environmental activist is standing at the podium, speaking to a reasonably large crowd.

Activist : And so, do we want this nuclear power plant? With the nuclear waste? The danger to each and every one of us?

Crowd : No!

Daria : (VO, loud) Yes, we do.

 

The announcer looks surprised, and scans the crowd for the new voice. As the camera pans around, we see Daria standing on the edge of the crowd with the bullhorn. Upon seeing Daria, the activist smiles slightly before going on the offensive.

Activist : (arrogant) Will all due respect little girl, what do you possibly know about the nuclear waste that this proposed plant will produce?

Daria : (annoyed) Well, I know that the Power Authority has contracted to deliver the waste to a research lab that has been doing some very promising work on reprocessing and accelerated breakdown of dangerous materials.

Activist : Nuclear waste is nuclear waste, no matter where you ship it.

Daria : (undaunted) I ALSO know that the coal-fired plant that they wish to replace spews out more radioactivity per kilowatt than the proposed nuclear plant, not to mention sulfur, carbon dioxide, and other contaminants.

Activist : Now where did you figure this out? (condescendingly) The local library?

Daria : (annoyed) No, from the official environmental impact statement submitted to the EPA.

Activist : Propaganda to satisfy the corrupt administrators.

Daria : (proudly) A statement that was INDEPENDENTLY CONFIRMED by the very same auditing agency that you have repeatedly used to verify your own claims?

Activist : Well, anyone can buy a report justifying their opinion Ö

Daria : And exactly what does that say about you?

Activist : Um Ö

 

Before the activist can come up with a response, two security personnel approach Daria from either side.

Guard #1 : OK Miss, Iím afraid youíll have to leave.

Guard #2 : Youíre not authorized as a speaker at this demonstration.

 

Daria begins to leave, and the guards start to walk back towards the podium when Daria turns suddenly.

Daria : (sarcastically) Well, it would appear that this is not a demonstration, but a propaganda meeting. How wrong of me to assume that dissenting opinions would be considered in a rational manner. I leave you to slander in peace.

 

Before the guards can get back, Daria turns off the bullhorn and walks away. As she does so, a murmur goes through the crowd, and several small groups begin to leave, despite the best efforts of the activists. Unseen to Daria, a calm man in a full suit and tie is looking at her as she leaves, taking notes as she goes.

 

Mall interior. Quinn and an unidentified male student are sitting at a table in the food court. Both are eating dinner, Quinn is eating Chinese food, and her companion pizza.

Quinn : So Andrew, what did you think of the movie?

Andrew : Oh, not bad. Plenty of explosions and cgi work, but not much of a plot.

Quinn : CGI?

Andrew : Computer Generated Imaging. Most of those high-speed action scenes involved CGI.

Quinn : (confused) But, how did they get the people in? Were they, like, computer generated?

Andrew : Some were. Some are real people. Why do you ask?

Quinn : Oh, I just never thought about it before. (hyper mode) You know, like Jurassic Park, where they have all those neat dinosaurs and everything. I mean, I know that they couldnít REALLY be real dinosaurs, but I never really thought how they did them because they just looked neat, but a little scary Ö

 

{BGM : Natalie Imbruglia Ė Donít You Think?}

Quinn is about to continue when she spies Sandi with shopping bags in hand. Quinn turns in an attempt to avoid notice, but her action draws Sandiís attention. As the camera shifts to Sandi, we see her eyes narrow and a smirk form on her face as she turns towards Quinn and Andrew.

Sandi : Quinn? (glaring at Andrew) Is this your ride today?

Quinn : (nervous, but attempting to seem confident) No, Ďthisí is Andrew, my date.

Sandi : (zooming in for the kill) Your Ďdateí is taking you to dinner at the FOOD COURT? (Bt) Quinn Morgendorffer, I do not believe that you are acting in the best interests of the Fashion Club.

Quinn : I donít remember the Fashion Club having ANY say in who I date and when! (menacing) I donít criticize the way you whore yourself to anyone with a nice car Ö (thought VO) just like I used to do Ö

Sandi : I DO NOT! I am simply very selective of my dates.

Quinn : (under breath) A rose by any other name Ö

Sandi : (not quite catching it) What was that? (looking at the table) And what are you eating?

Quinn : Tangerine Beef. With lo mein.

Sandi : Ick! Thatís, like, full of fat! How can you eat that stuff?

Quinn : (mocking) Oh, itís quite easy. Watch. You take one chopstick like this Ö

Sandi : Thatís not what I meant!

Quinn : Whatever. Donít you have more shopping to do?

Sandi : Youíre lucky I have a date tonight. (taunting) But I think the whole fashion club needs to hear about this tomorrow Ö

Sandi walks back to the mall interior with a victorious grin on her face.

Quinn : Oh, great.

Andrew : Who exactly was that?

Quinn : That would be Sandi. Head of the Fashion Club. And threatened by my mere existence.

Andrew : So why do you put up with it?

Fade to the next scene as Quinn looks at Andrew with a curious look, pondering his question.

 

The next day, in the halls of Lawndale High. Daria and Jane are talking in front of their lockers. Jane is still dressed unusually, although her earrings have been replaced.

Daria : So, any progress on your essay?

Jane : Well, Iíve written a lot, some of it might actually be legible Ö

Daria : That doesnít answer my question, you know Ö

Jane : No, it doesnít.

Quinn walks up to the two, looking at Jane and her outfit a bit strangely.

Quinn : Um, Daria, Jane? (nervously) Could I ask you something?

Daria : I suppose. (Bt) Arenít you afraid of the Fashion Nazis?

Quinn : Theyíre in the bathroom. Iíve got a while. (softly) Um, how do you know when you, um, like a guy?

Daria : Quinn?

Quinn : Like, how did you know that you liked Tom?

Jane : Which one of us are you asking?

 

Quinn looks worried for a second, and seems to be considering leaving. Hesitating a moment, she shores herself up and resumes her questioning.

Quinn : Um, Iím not really sure Ö

Daria : Quinn? Whatís going on here?

Quinn : Well, (looks around nervously) I was eating at the food court with Andrew last night Ö

Daria : Andrew?

Jane : Food Court?

Quinn : Well, its like, he doesnít have a great car or lots of money, and heís not really popular and all, but heís sort of, like, interesting or something. I mean, I donít know if I really like him in THAT way, but I donít know why Sandi is making such a big deal of it.

Jane : (laughs softly) You know, Daria didnít much like Tom when I first met him.

Daria : Stop sugar coating it. He was right up there on my list with the Fashion Club Ö

Quinn : Hey! (Bt) So, uh, what did you do?

Jane : Well, we fought for a while, but we both managed to get so mad at my brother that we kind of just worked it out Ö

Quinn : So things just got better?

Jane : Well, it took a while, but yes. (Bt Ė teasing at Daria) Before I knew it, my boyfriend and my best friend were making out in his car in front of your house.

Daria blushes and retreats slightly as Quinn looks at her with a mixture of amazement and respect

Quinn : You mean, the rumors were true? (Bt Ė realization) That morning? You were serious?

Daria : Yes Quinn. (deadpan) Iím a vicious backstabbing bitch who stole her best friendís boyfriend.

Jane : (teasing, with a touch of hurt) Hey, at least you missed the vital organs.

Daria : Iíve been trained now. My aim will be better next time.

 

Jane glares at Daria with a hostile but playful glare as Quinn looks on nervously.

Quinn : Um, guys? (worried) What do I do?

Daria : Quinn, do you want Sandi to arrange your dates for you?

Quinn : Uh, no Ö

Daria : Then do whatever you want. If Sandi is really your friend, she should understand. If not, sheís just using you.

Quinn : Oh Ö

 

A confused Quinn walks off as Daria and Jane exchange surprised gazes.

Jane : The great Quinn Morgendorffer asking US for dating advice?

Daria : Iím expecting to wake up any day now Ö

 

Elsewhere in the halls of Lawndale High, Quinn walks up to join the rest of the Fashion Club as they head down the hall as a group.

Sandi : Quinn! How nice of you to join us. Tired from your date last night?

Quinn : Of course not Sandi.

Sandi : (baiting) I suppose not, as heís OBVIOUSLY not very popular Ö

Quinn : Sandi, are you trying to imply something?

Sandi : Quinn, would I do something like that? Iím only looking out for your best interests Ö

{BGM : Dave Matthews Band Ė Donít Drink the Water}

Quinn looks annoyed and angry at Sandi. As she looks over, Sandiís face takes on a small grin at Quinnís predicament. Once Quinn sees this, her face takes on an air of hardened determination.

Quinn : (hostile) I think that you would do anything that makes you look good at our expense.

The Fashion Club stops in the hallway, with Sandi skewering Quinn with an angry glare. Stacy and Tiffany are looking on in shock, uncertain as to what is going on.

Sandi : (angrily) Would you like to explain yourself?

Quinn : Whatís to explain? You menace poor Stacy anytime she acts as anything other than your yes-girl. You constantly look for ways to tear me down in front of my friends and classmates, and you treat Tiffany as if sheís a three year old.

Sandi : I most certainly do not!

Quinn : Even you canít possibly believe THAT.

Sandi : (angry and frustrated) Well, (without thinking) if youíre so smart, maybe we should make YOU the president.

Quinn : OK by me. (To Tiffany and Stacy) All opposed?

Neither Tiffany nor Stacy raises their hand. Sandi looks confused at first, then, as she realizes exactly what she has done, her face contorts into an expression of outright rage.

Sandi : (yelling) You canít do this!

Quinn : (with great satisfaction) I just did. (to Stacy) Stacy, I appoint you as the new Vice President. (to Tiffany) Tiffany, if you would accept, Iíd like to offer you the position of Treasurer.

Tiffany : Um, OK.

Sandi : You canít do this. Just ask anyone! Theyíll tell you that I, Sandi Griffin, am the President of the Fashion Club!

 

To prove her point, Sandi turns and grabs a random passerby. Unfortunately for Sandi, we see that the passerby is Jane. Jane takes in the situation, none too happy with being dragged away from her business, and notices Quinnís smug look.

Sandi : Excuse me, like, whoever you are. Could you tell me who the RIGHTFUL president of the FASHION CLUB is?

Jane looks at Sandi, hesitating a moment before answering.

Jane : (attempting to be flippant) Oh, that would be Quinn. She IS the most popular after all, and smart too.

Sandi : (outraged) WHAT!

Sandi mumbles a few incoherent words under her breath, and storms off in anger. Jane looks bemused at the whole exchange, and walks away from the remains of the Fashion Club.

Tiffany : So, if youíre the President now, when do we go to Cashmans?

Quinn : Tiffany, you donít need to ask me if you can go to Cashmans.

Tiffany : Uh, but why not?

Quinn : (sighing) Because as president, I am saying that as of now, you can go to Cashmans whenever you want.

Tiffany : Oh, thanks Ö so when do we go to Cashmans?

 

Morgendorffer residence, later that day. Daria is in her room, reading Stranger in a Strange Land, when Helen opens the door and enters the room. Daria looks at her mother, and noticing the serious look on her face, closes her book and stands up.

Daria : Can I help you?

Helen : (business-like) You know, there was a protest against the proposed nuclear power plant the other day.

Daria : (suspicious, but reserved) Oh? Is that so?

Helen : Our firm of course had a number of Ďobserversí in the crowd, judging public opinion and whatnot.

Daria : (warily) OK Ö

Helen : One of them reported an unscheduled member of the audience who had a "significantly detrimental effect on the credibility of our clients and their claims"

Daria : Last I knew, the right of peaceable expression was covered by the clause "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

Helen : (ignoring the comment) One of our observers said that this audience member was a "woman, probably a college freshman, wearing a dark colored skirt, glasses, and dark green jacket." (friendly but dangerous) Would you like to tell me what you think of this?

Daria : Obviously, a girl with excellent fashion sense.

Helen : Daria, where were you yesterday afternoon?

Daria : I believe that I will exercise my fifth amendment rights.

Helen : (annoyed) Daria, you know how important this case is to me. Why would you go and do something like this?

Daria : Because they were wrong. They were making claims that were not true, and I exposed them.

Helen : (defeated) OK. How much?

Daria : What?

Helen : How much do you want to leave this alone?

Daria : Mother, they are wrong. Not inconvenient, not merely differing in opinion, but plain wrong. This is not a matter of money.

Helen : Twenty.

Daria stares at Helen in a poignant silence

Helen : Thirty

Daria : (disgusted) No.

Helen : Fifty.

Daria : No.

Helen : One hundred.

Daria : The answer is still no.

Helen : (pleading) Daria, what can I give you to convince you to stop?

Daria : A Writ of Certiorari?

Helen : (angry) Well, I never! (Bt) Daria, you are grounded.

A distressed and annoyed Helen exits the room in an angry huff. Daria looks on with concern and annoyance.

Daria : Well, that went better than expected Ö

 

Living room, Casa Lane. Trent is working on a song in the living room as Jane enters from the kitchen with a sandwich in one hand.

Trent : Janey? Whereíd you find that?

Jane : Huh?

Trent : The sandwich.

Jane : I made it. You know, bread and peanut butter Ö

Trent : Mmmm Ö Wish Iíd thought of that.

Jane : You know, thereís more food in the kitchen. (Bt) You should enjoy it while it lasts.

Trent : Yeah, but Iím working on my song.

Jane : Trent, youíve been working on that song since tenth grade.

Trent : Hey, if you give up, youíll never know what could have been.

Jane looks at Trent in contemplation.

Trent : This could be the song that makes it big for us. Just think platinum.

Jane : Instead of blunt cranial trauma?

Trent : Cranial Trauma Ö Hmmm Ö That could make a really good song Ö

Jane : (Monty-Python style) Run away! Run away!

Jane heads upstairs smirking slightly as Trent takes out his song notebook and begins to write down song ideas.

 

Interior of Cashmans. Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany are trying on outfits in front of the mirrors. Quinn looks a bit frazzled as Stacy turns to her with an outfit in hand.

Stacy : Quinn?

Quinn : Yes Stacy?

Stacy : (holding up a potential outfit) Does this combination work?

Quinn : (looking at the Stacy) Well, what do you think?

Stacy : Huh? (Bt - concerned) Does that mean that you donít like it?

Quinn : Um, no. But youíre going to be wearing it.

Stacy : So?

Quinn : (sighing) So shouldnít you decide if YOU like it first?

Stacy : (uncertain) But Sandi always said that the president must approve of all fashion decisions. And since youíre the president now Ö

Quinn : (slightly offended) Sandi is not the president anymore. I trust the members of the fashion club to exercise their best judgment with regards to their choice of wardrobe.

Tiffany : Uh, I donít get it Ö

Quinn : You can choose your own outfits. You may ask me if you like, but you donít need to ask me before you decide.

Tiffany : Oh Ö Does this make me look fat?

 

Quinn looks at Tiffany, who is dressed in a dark purple dress with a cutout at the navel and another in back, from the shoulder blades to the small of her back. The dress is at least two sizes too small, and is obviously very tight on Tiffany.

Quinn : (hesitant) Um Ö Yes, it does. (Bt Ė uncertain) Try one (looking at Tiffany) one or two sizes bigger maybe?

 

Tiffany turns to look at Quinn, who appears a bit concerned. This concern turns to confusion as she sees that Tiffany has a slight smile on her face.

Tiffany : Uh, thanks.

 

Interior of Dariaís room. Daria is lying on the bed staring at the ceiling when the phone rings. Reluctantly, Daria sits up and answers the phone.

Daria : This is Daria Morgendorffer, head inmate at the looney bin. All of the other inmates are currently in electro-therapy, but if youíll leave a message, Iíll carve it into my arm for fun Ö

Tom : Head looney? Getting delusions of grandeur are we?

Daria : Way to be the sensitive and supportive boyfriend Ö

Tom : One of the benefits of being male.

Daria : Iíll tell Ms. Barch you said so. Did you want something, or were you just taunting me?

Tom : Well, I tried being nice last time, with disappointing results, so I thought Iíd try a different angle.

Daria : (somber) Look Tom, Iím sorry about that. It was kind of a hard day, and I just needed to be alone. Itís not your fault.

Tom : Um, is this one of these things I should just accept?

Daria : Yes.

Tom : (uncertain) Well Ö are you free tonight? Pizza? Iím buying Ö

Daria : (slightly embarrassed) Um, I canít. Iím, well, grounded.

Tom : Grounded? What did you do?

Daria : (heavy sarcasm) I chose to exercise my first amendment rights in a manner that was inconvenient to my mother.

Tom : And thatís a grounding offense?

Daria : Well, even a perfect child makes enough mistakes to justify grounding them if you look hard enough.

Tom : I can just imagine how easy it was with you then.

Daria : (outrage) Hey! (Bt Ė bemused) You calling me easy?

Tom : Hmmm. ĎEasy Morgendorfferí Ö Nope, I think Daria sounds better.

Daria : Gee, thanks. (Bt Ė sincere) And thanks for calling.

Tom : No problem. Hope I didnít interrupt anything.

Daria : Iíll call back and let you know the results of the ceiling crack recount effort. Assuming I donít fall asleep, that is.

 

Cut to the next day, in the halls of Lawndale High. Daria and Jane are standing around the lockers, talking. Jane has reverted to her usual mode of dress.

Daria : So the magical morphing wardrobe has disappeared?

Jane : Actually, I just got tired of it. (Bt) You know, this is just, well, who I am. Iím an artist, like it or not.

Daria : Jane Lane, philosopher extraordinaire?

Jane : Since when is a wardrobe change considered philosophy?

Daria : You just had to say it, didnít you?

Jane : (confused) What?

Daria : (pointing) Something wicked this way comes Ö

 

The camera pans to reveal Sandi walking up to Daria. Sandi approaches Daria with an angry gaze, completely ignoring Jane.

{BGM : Billy Joel Ė Pressure}

Sandi : YOU!

Daria : (looking around) Um, me?

Sandi : Yes, you! If it werenít for you, I would still be the fashion club president.

Daria : (utter confusion) Wait a minute. Who is the president now?

Sandi : Your sister Quinn. Who you turned into a brain to destroy my life.

Daria : Sandi, you may not believe it, but not everything revolves around you. I had nothing to do with Quinn and her coup.

Sandi : Her what?

Daria : (condescending) I didnít convince her to take over the fashion club. (matter of fact) In fact, I didnít know until just now.

Sandi : Do you really expect me to believe that, you brain?

Daria : (exasperated) Honestly, I couldnít care less about you and the Fashion Club, or what you believe.

 

Daria turns to leave the scene as Sandiís face flushes red with rage. Suddenly, Sandi makes a fist and swings at Daria. Drawn by the motion, Daria turns her attention back towards Sandi just in time to catch her fist on the side of her face. Thrown off balance, Daria stumbles down on one knee, facing away from Sandi. As the camera zooms in on her face, we see first a look of pure, uncontrolled fury on Dariaís face, which is quickly replaced with a look of absolute calm and control. The camera zooms out to show a growing crowd as Daria stands and turns to face Sandi, who looks ready to fight.

Voice in Crowd : "Fight! Fight!"

Sandi : Come on, you brain. (incredulous) Are you just going to stand there?

Daria says nothing, merely staring coolly at Sandi. Jane moves to assist Daria, who waves her off surreptitiously. Sandi again swings at Daria, connecting with her lower jaw. Prepared, Daria barely moves her head, and only minimally acknowledges that Sandi has even struck her.

Sandi : What, too chicken to fight? Or are you just afraid? I should have known that you would be a total wimp Ö

Sandi swings again, this time striking Daria in the stomach. Again, Daria simply stares at Sandi with a cool, detached glare. Sandi stares at her for a moment, trying to figure out what exactly is going on.

Sandi : (cocking fist Ė arrogantly) I should have figured that a brain would be too scared to even speak when there are no books to hide behind.

 

Sandi moves to punch Daria again when she finds her arm suddenly immobilized. Surprised, she turns to see Mr. DeMartino, looking harshly at Sandi, her forearm locked in his grasp.

DeMartino : Miss GRIFFIN, may I ASSUME that if I RELEASE your ARM, that you will DESIST from your current course of ACTION? Or would you PREFER that I DRAG you down to Ms. Liís office AS YOU ARE.

Sandi : (meekly Ė worried) Iíll stop. (accusatory) She started it Ö

Jane : (approaching Daria) What, by attacking your fist with her vicious head-butts?

 

As Jane speaks, Sandi first looks confused, but suddenly recognizes Janeís voice and Jane, despite her Ďnewí outfit. Riding a wave of adrenaline, Sandi first crushes her foot over Mr. DeMartinoís right arch. Mr. DeMartino releases Sandi, jumping back in pain and surprise, as Sandi charges headlong at a startled Jane. Jane merely stares at Sandi, frozen like a deer in the headlights. Just before Sandi reaches Jane, Daria steps to her side and sweeps out her legs with a kick almost too fast to follow. Sandi falls forward, and is starting to get to her feet when Daria grabs her arm, wrenching it behind her back as she lifts Sandi to her feet. Sandi struggles briefly until Daria forces her arm slightly more, eliciting a squeal of pain.

Daria : (absolutely clam, devoid of emotion) You will leave Jane alone. If you do not, I will show you in detail how to dislocate a shoulder.

Sandi : (uncertain) Youíre lying again, you wuss. (hostile) You donít have the guts.

Daria raises Sandiís arm slightly, eliciting another squeal of pain from Sandi.

Daria : You will leave Jane alone.

Sandi : (annoyed) Fine.

Daria releases Sandiís arm

Sandi : But you are another matter.

Sandi swings at Daria again, but this time, Daria dodges effortlessly. Sandi looks on in shock as Mr. DeMartino unceremoniously grabs her by the arm and begins to drag Sandi down the hall.

DeMartino : Ms. Morgendorffer, if you are not overly BUSY, you will FOLLOW me down to Ms. Liís office THIS INSTANT.

Daria : (walking off after Mr. DeMartino) Well, since you asked nicely Ö

 

Interior of Ms. Liís office. Daria and Sandi are seated in front of Ms. Liís desk, although both are making a concerted effort to maintain their distance from both the desk and each other. Mr. DeMartino is standing to the side of Ms. Liís desk, closest to Daria. A door closing is heard off-screen as Ms. Li moves behind her desk and sits down, a serious, concerned look on her face.

Ms. Li : Ms. Morgendorffer, Ms. Griffin, need I remind you that fisticuffs are NOT an acceptable happenstance at this educational institution? (directed at Daria - smugly) Unless some other arrangement can be reached, I am afraid that I will have no choice but to suspend both of you and place a notice in your permanent record.

Daria : (calm) May I ask what the reason for my suspension is?

Ms. Li : (righteous) Ms. Morgendorffer, it is well known that fighting is cause for immediate suspension.

Daria : (matter of fact) I did not fight Sandi. I simply let Sandi hit me. Surely, I cannot be accused of fighting if I did not participate in the fight in any way?

Ms. Li : (edge of worry entering her voice) I was informed that you threatened Ms. Griffin with bodily harmÖ

Daria : AFTER Ms. Griffin assaulted Mr. DeMartino and attempted to attack my friend Jane Lane, I restrained Sandi in a manner that removed her ability to take action against Jane without causing permanent harm to her person. By threatening her, I was able to dissuade her from taking action against Jane without requiring any overt physical harm, which is well within the purview of self-defense statues in this town.

Ms. Li : (slightly angry) Mr. DeMartino, is this true?

DeMartino : While I did not have the PLEASURE of witnessing the ENTIRE INCIDENT, I must state FOR THE RECORD that Ms. MORGENDORFFERíS version of events are indeed ACCURATE to the BEST of my KNOWLEDGE.

Ms. Li : (confused) Ms. Morgendorffer, am I to understand that you allowed Ms. Griffin to strike you, despite the fact that you were fully capable of defending yourself?

Daria : Yes.

Ms. Li : Do I dare ask why you chose such an Ö unorthodox course of action?

Daria : When not in danger, do not fight. Sandi presented no real threat to me. She did present a threat to Jane, and so I was forced to restrain her.

 

Sandi glares at Daria with an angry gaze, obviously none too happy at being described as Ďnot a threatí. Daria sits back in her seat looking calm and controlled. Mr. DeMartino is looking at Daria with a curious gaze that slowly turns to a look of respect. Behind the desk, Ms. Li looks somewhat annoyed at the realization that Daria truly is innocent.

Ms. Li : Well, it would appear that you are free to go Ms. Morgendorffer. (turning to Sandi) As for YOU Ms. Griffin Ö

 

Hallways of Lawndale High, as school is getting out. Daria and Jane are leaving the building.

Jane : Um, thanks for stopping Sandi for me. You didnít have to, you know.

Daria : Well, yeah, but if I let you fight her, youíd be in trouble and sheíd probably be hurt.

Jane : Yeah, I wouldnít want to be in trouble right now Ö

Daria : Again.

 

Quinn walks up to Daria and Jane cautiously, with a look of uncertainty on her face.

Quinn : Daria? Is it true?

Daria : Iím afraid Iíll need a little more information than that Ö

Quinn : Were you in a fight with Sandi? Did you let her hit you?

Daria : Yes, and yes. Anything else?

Quinn : Um, why didnít you fight back? I mean, you could have stopped her, couldnít you? (uncertain) I mean, you did take that self defense class Ö

Daria : (deadly serious) Quinn, I probably could have killed her.

 

Quinn stops and stares at Daria, a frightened look on her face.

Quinn : (scared) Um, Daria?

Daria : Quinn, why do you think I just let her hit me?

Quinn : Uh (Bt - nervously) You were tired of pinching your cheeks?

Jane : (laughing) Not likely. After all, Sandi could have smeared Dariaís makeup.

Daria : Oh, shut up Jane. (turning slightly) Quinn, what would have happened if I fought back? What would Sandi have done when she realized that she couldnít hurt me?

Quinn : Well, she would have gotten really mad at you, (thinking) and probably would (realization) Oh. (Bt Ė impressed) You did this because you didnít want to hurt HER?

Daria : (to Jane) You know, itís kind of nice having a sister who can think from time to time Ö

Jane : I wonder what happened to the real Quinn?

Quinn : Hey! (Bt) Um, Daria? Didnít you WANT to fight back? To hurt her for attacking you?

Daria : An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Quinn : Huh?

Daria : (resigned, instructional tone) The world is full of problems and conflict Quinn. I realize that I canít fix everything, but Iíll be damned if Iím going to make things worse if I can help it.

Jane : Come on Daria. Chances are youíll be damned anyway.

Daria : (sarcastically) Youíre right Jane. Letís go find Sandi.

Quinn : Very funny Daria. Um, Iím glad that you werenít hurt. Iíve, uh, gotta go Ö

 

An uncertain Quinn walks off, leaving Jane and Daria looking after her.

 

Morgendorffer Residence, later that day. Daria is in her room when she hears a door slam loudly down the hall. Exiting her room, she looks down at the empty hall. Hearing the TV in the living room, she heads down the stairs and sits on the couch, staring at the TV. As she stares, the camera zooms in on the TV.

TV announcer : And in a surprise announcement, the Lawndale Power Authority has decided not to proceed with the proposed nuclear power plant, citing excessive litigation, ballooning legal expenses, and determined public smear campaigns. When asked about future plans, the Chief Operating Officer has stated only that they are Ďexamining all optionsí.

Daria stands in disgust, turning off the TV. As she heads into the kitchen, we hear the front door open. Helen walks into the now empty living room, not noticing that Daria has just left.

Helen : Hellooo Ö Anyone home?

Daria : (VO - annoyed) I think you can figure that out for yourself.

Helen : The case I was on got dismissed, so I was able to leave early today! Isnít that just great?

Daria : (VO - sarcastic) Yeah, wonderful.

 

Daria re-enters the living room with a can of pop. Walking over to the couch, she grabs her backpack and heads upstairs.

Helen : Daria! Are you still mad at me for grounding you?

Daria : (controlled anger) No, I am angry at you for engaging in a witch hunt.

Helen : Young lady, I think you should explain yourself before you find yourself grounded for lifeÖ

Daria : Mom, did you even look into what the power company was proposing before you accepted the case?

Helen : Daria, I was on the prosecution, and the case hadnít even gone to court yet.

Daria : And yet you never thought to make sure that the case you were supporting was justified?

Helen : Daria! It was a nuclear power plant. Your father and I marched against nuclear power. I think we know the problems.

Daria : And we all know that problems can NEVER be solved, donít we.

Helen : Daria, why is this such a big deal for you? You never displayed any interest in nuclear power before this Ö

 

Daria looks at Helen momentarily, then reaches into her backpack, removing the Lawndale Power Authority pamphlet and handing it to Helen.

Helen : Daria, where did you get this? You realize that this is mere propaganda Ö

Helen flips through the pamphlet, and is about to hand it back to Daria when she notices the "Property of Jake Morgendorffer Consulting" stamp on the back cover. Looking up at her daughter, we see her face pale in realization.

Helen : But Ö he never asked me Ö how should I be expected to know Ö

Daria : (angrily) Did you ASK? Did you even consider that your clients might be wrong?

Helen : How could Jake Ö why would he be for the power plant Ö

Daria : Dad had the foresight to not only look at the official proposal, but also to get independent verification of their figures. (ominous calm) What did you do, mother?

Helen : (rationalizing) Its not like they wouldnít have found someone else Ö I mean, it happens all the time Ö Itís just another unfortunate incidentÖ

Daria : (turning towards the closet) Crimine abuno disce omnes

Helen : What?

Daria : (removing toggle coat) From a single crime, know the nation.

 

Helen shrinks back, clearly hurt as Daria puts on her coat and heads out the front door.

Daria : Iím going out for a while. You can ground me when I get back if you want.

Daria closes the front door, leaving a stunned and speechless Helen sitting on the stairs, staring at the brochure.

Helen : (softly) OK Miss Lawyer, what do you do now?

 

{BGM : Pink Floyd Ė Comfortably Numb}

It is dark outside. We see Daria sitting at the edge of a cliff, her legs hanging over. In the darkness, we cannot see more than the very edge of the precipice. Reaching down, Daria picks up a rock. After studying it for a second, she throws the rock off the edge. As we hear the rock ricochet down the cliff face, a figure can be seen coming up behind Daria, and soft footfalls are audible. Daria slowly turns towards the figure, as it approaches.

Brittany : Daria? What are you doing here?

Daria : (thought VO) Oh, if you only knew (out loud) Hi Brittany. (sarcastic) Am I not welcome at Loversí Lane?

Brittany : Well Ö (nervously) Um, Daria? Are you OK? (Bt) Youíre not planning on, um, Ö

Daria : (deadpan) Iím fine Brittany. Iím not going to jump or hurt myself in any way. I just wanted to be alone to think for a while.

Brittany : But (gesturing at the edge) arenít you afraid of falling?

Daria : (sarcastically) Falling never bothered me. Itís the landing that has me worried.

Brittany : Huh?

Daria : (downcast) Never mind.

Brittany : Oh, like skydiving! The falling was really fun, and the instructor was like, sooo dreamy, with those big boots and strong muscles Ö

Daria : Brittany, you may want to stop now.

Brittany : (squeaking) But why?

 

Daria picks up a small rock and throws it into a nearby bush.

Upchuck : (VO) Ouch! (Bt) Feisty!

Daria : Thatís why. (Bt) Brittany, if you donít like this cliff, why are you here?

Brittany : Well, I WAS up here with Kevin, but heís like, a total jerk! He just doesnít know how to treat a lady right! I mean, we were making out and all Ö

Daria : (thought VO) Please, I DONíT want to know

Brittany : Ö when he called me Debbie! (squeaking) So I just HAD to get away from him, so I went for a walk through these woods Ö

Daria : Brittany, if Kevinís such a jerk, why do you keep going out with him?

Brittany : Because heís the QB! And Iím the head cheerleader! Itís, like, the rule or something Ö

Daria : Of course. How silly of me.

In the background, the sound of a car being started is heard.

Brittany : (angry) I need to go catch that rat Kevin before he leaves, unless I want to walk home. (uncertain) Youíre, um, Ö

Daria : Brittany, I promise that I wonít do anything to hurt myself, OK?

Brittany : Um, yeah Ö

 

Brittany walks off, pausing a few times to look back at Daria in concern.

 

Later that night, still at the cliff edge. Daria is still sitting along the edge, looking pretty much apathetic. Hearing a slight sound, she turns slightly.

Daria : That you Upchuck? Done with your photo-op?

Tom : (VO) Nope. Itís Tom.

Daria : Tom? How did you find me here?

 

Tom walks up behind Daria, stopping just behind her.

Tom : Well, I called your house, and your mother said you were out. She didnít seem very happy. I tried Jane, but she wasnít home. So I checked the pizza place, where I found Brittany in full squeak.

Daria : I hope youíre OK.

Tom : Iím fine, but I think some of the dogs in the area are scarred for life. (Bt) Brittany was worried about you. Are you OK?

Daria : Figures. Iím fine. Just thinking Ö

Tom : Is there room for one more over there?

Daria : Sure. Misery loves company.

Tom : (sitting down next to Daria) Is there anything I can do?

Daria : Why does life suck so much?

Tom : (uncertain) Are you looking for an answer, or should I just shut up now?

Daria : Itís like theyíre taunting me. Just when I think that things are going well, everything goes straight to hell.

Tom : OK Ö

Daria : I mean, I actually think I can make a difference, and fall flat on my face.

Tom : Um Ö

Daria : Why do I even bother?

Tom : Because you care?

 

Daria looks at Tom with a glare that says Ďyou have five seconds to explain yourself, or elseí

Tom : (sighing) You pretend that you donít give a damn, that you are above the whole rat race.

Daria : Uh, I suppose Ö

Tom : But as Iíve gotten to know you, I realized that you do. You keep trying. You reach out, even though people rarely return the favor. In your own way, you try and make the world a better place.

Daria : (blushing Ė reserved) Well Ö yeah.

Tom : And hasnít this year been pretty good so far?

Daria : Well, ignoring your shameless effort at self promotion (Tom smirks), Iíd have to say yes, it has been better than most.

Tom : Donít let a few bad days get you down.

Daria : (bemused sarcasm) Everything will work out in the end?

Tom : Actually, I was going to say that shit happens, and thereís not a damn thing we can do to stop it all. Sometimes you lose, and you just have to deal with it.

Daria : (sarcastically) Youíre one hell of a motivational speaker.

Tom : Humor. Good sign.

Daria : Whatever.

Tom : So, are you going to be OK?

Daria : Yeah, I think so. Thanks.

Tom : Anytime.

Daria : How did you get so good at this?

Tom : Long story Ö

Daria : We have plenty of time.

Tom : Well, when I was thirteen, my parents sent me off to a summer, uh, camp of sorts. One of these all-purpose Ďimprove your beingí camps, staffed by people who make OíNeil look aggressive. They figured that it might help improve my attitude. They were wrong. But it was an interesting summer Ö

Daria laughs briefly as we fade out to the credits.