The Last Straw
A Daria Fan Fiction by the Alchemist
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?
Front exterior, Morgendorffer residence. Daria and Jane are heading up to the front door from the sidewalk. As they do, Daria slows down momentarily and cocks her head at the driveway.
Daria : Well, it would appear that we are free of tiresome parental entanglements.
Jane : (confused) What?
Daria : (pointing at the driveway) Theyíre not home.
Jane : Ahh.
Daria opens the front door to reveal Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany sitting around a table covered with stacks of paper. Quinn lifts a paper from the top of the stack, looking at it briefly before passing it off to Stacy. Stacy and Tiffany both look at the paper for a moment before turning to face Quinn. The three pay no notice to Daria and Jane. Daria and Jane look at each other briefly, look back at Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany, and close the door.
Daria : Jane?
Jane : Yes, I saw it too.
Daria : Since when does the fashion club do anything resembling work?
Jane : Since Quinn took over?
Daria : But so soon? (Bt) I have a feeling that something sinister is going on Ö
Jane : And this would be unusual how?
Daria opens the door again and walks up to Quinn. As Daria approaches, Quinn notices her and stands up, moving only slightly away from the couch.
Daria : Quinn? Paper dresses come back in style?
Quinn : Ewww ÖDonít even joke about something like that!
Daria : (shaking her head) So, what are you and your little friends doing here? Preparing for life as a secretary?
Quinn : Daria! Weíre evaluating potential new members for the fashion club.
Daria : New members? (baiting tone) Werenít you against new members last month?
Quinn : And how would you know that?
Daria : I could hear the Ďdiscussioní upstairs.
Quinn : (subdued) Oh. (more animated) I thought that we could improve our image while reaching out to those who we can still help. (Bt) Donít worry, you donít count.
Daria : Once again, your sisterly empathy overwhelms me Quinn.
Quinn picks up a sheet of paper and offers it to Daria.
Quinn : Well, if you want to fill out an application Ö
Daria : Thanks, but no thanks.
Daria turns and walks over towards the front door, where Jane is waiting.
Jane : So whatís up with Quinn and the fashion drones?
Daria : (heading upstairs) Picking new members.
Jane : MORE of them? Why? Isnít three enough?
Daria : I suspect that its some form of popularity stunt Ö
Jane stops for a second just outside of Dariaís room as Daria opens the door and begins to enter.
Jane : Should we be worried?
Daria : Definitely. There was a time when I had hoped that this Ďnew Quinní would be able to rise above that sort of petty one-upmanship. But once again, my faith in humanity is renewed.
Jane : Faith?
Daria : Or lack thereof. (Bt) The old self-centered, manipulative Quinn was bad enough. Add in intelligence and confidence, and youíd get Ö
Daria looks at Jane for a moment, then turns away and leans against the door frame.
Jane : You get Ö who?
Daria : (somber) My mother.
Cut to Helenís office. Helen is at her desk, working slowly but steadily, and is obviously pre-occupied.
Helen : (thought VO) Thank god for billable hours Ö Instead of productive ones.
Helen picks up a piece of paper, studying it briefly. Placing the paper back on the desk, Helen taps her pencil on the desk and stares at the far wall of her office.
Dissolve to the interior of a courtroom. Helen is standing in front of the bench, presenting her case to a stereotypical old English magistrate, with a full powdered wig and dark black robe.
Helen : So I move that this case be dismissed, based on the fact that my clients have an easily apparent inherent pre-disposition towards sub-optimal performance.
Judge : Would you care to re-phrase that in English?
Helen : (coldly) Theyíre a bunch of brainless idiots, and anyone stupid enough to partner with them deserves what they get.
Eric : Helen!
Snap back to Helenís office. Eric is now standing in the doorway, looking at Helen expectantly.
Eric : Helen? Are you OK?
Helen jerks slightly as Eric interrupts her daydream. After collecting herself for a brief moment, Helen taps her pencil back up into her hand and turns to Eric.
Helen : (embarrassed) Um, yeah Ö I was just thinking about the latest case, and, uh, considering possible strategies Ö
Eric : Well, if you have time, the closing arguments in the big case are today. (hinting) All the partners will be there Ö
Helen : (thought VO) Partners Ö (out loud, hint of reluctance) Of course Iíll be there Eric! Iíll just, um, stay late to finish up.
Eric : Thatís my girl. (offhand as he leaves) Keep this up and youíll make partner in no time.
Helen : (to no-one in particular) Wonderful.
Fade to a bar interior. There is a smoky atmosphere, and the clacking of billiards can be heard in the background as Jake approaches the bar.
Jake : (motioning to a bartender) Another pitcher please?
A young female bartender notices Jake and makes her way over.
Female Bartender : Hey Mr. M, your buddies here already?
Jake : (sheepishly) Um, yeah Ö
Female Bartender : What can I get you?
Jake : Oh, the usual, I guess.
Taking a pitcher, she begins to fill from the Budweiser tap.
Female Bartender : I still donít see how you can drink this stuff. Sure I canít interest you in something better?
Jake : Thanks, but no. I just lower my standards until this stuff tastes good.
Female Bartender : You can only go so low though.
Jake : You would think, wouldnít you?
Female Bartender : (sympathetic) Tough day?
Jake : Tough life.
Female Bartender : (handing him the pitcher) Ouch. Hey, sorry Ö
Jake : (taking a $20 from his wallet and handing it to the bartender) Hey, thanks. Keep the change.
Female Bartender : Really, I canít.
Jake : Donít worry about it. (to self, under breath) Money I have. Respect? Sympathy? Thatís another story.
Interior of Dariaís room. Daria and Jane are watching SSW when Quinn opens the door slightly and pokes her head through the door.
Quinn : Daria? Would you two want pizza tonight?
Daria : Pizza? What ever happened to frozen lasagna?
Quinn : Momís working late again, and I havenít seen Dad Ö
Daria : That makes two nights in a row Ö
Quinn : Youíd prefer Dadís cooking?
Daria : Iím no masochist. Itís just unusual, thatís all.
Quinn : So, like, what type of pizza?
Daria : Hmmm Ö How about pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, onion, and mushroom?
Quinn : Ewwww, Daria! Canít you go for something a little less, like, fattening?
Daria : Pepperoni and sausage?
Quinn : Pepperoni.
Daria : Deal.
Quinn : (not entirely pleased with the outcome) Fine. Iíll call you when the pizza guy gets here.
Quinn heads out of the room, dialing a number on the cordless phone as Jane turns to Daria.
Jane : Daria? Arenít you always complaining that the band puts too much crap on their pizza?
Daria : Well, yes. But if Quinn had her way, weíd get a no cheese pizza, which quite frankly tastes like crap.
Jane : And youíd prefer the other extreme?
Daria : I am secure in the knowledge that Quinn would never let that happen Ö
Jane : Devious. I like it.
Daria : Iíve got to have some way of dealing with my family.
Jane : (probing) Um, not to pry, but is everything OK with them? I havenít really seen much of Helen or Jake Ö
Daria : (hint of concern) Theyíre each mad at both themselves and each other, and are too stubborn to apologize. My dadís still mad that my mother managed to drive out the best potential client heís had in a while, and I seem to have precipitated a mid-life crisis in my mother.
Jane : Much the little home-wrecker I see.
Daria : Now donít you start too.
Jane : I would have thought that you would be excited about the peace and quiet Ö
Daria : (hint of sadness) Much to my surprise, I am not completely immune to their suffering.
Jane : Why Daria, are you displaying an actual emotion?
Daria : If youíre not careful, Iíll display it all over your shoes Ö
Jane : You do realize that youíd have to clean you room afterwards, donít you?
Daria : Damn!
Fade to the next day at Lawndale High, were Daria is taking her books from her locker before class.
Daria : So my dad got in pretty late, and even more drunk.
Jane : I canít imagine that Helen would take that very well.
Daria : That would involve Helen being home.
Jane : Big case?
Daria : Beats the hell out of me.
As the two are talking, Brittany and Kevin walk up to Daria.
Kevin : Hey Daria! Were you, like, in a fight or something?
Daria : Huh?
Kevin : I heard from some guy that Sandi beat you up Ö
Daria : No, I let her hit me.
Kevin : Um, no offense, but thatís, like crazy Ö
Daria : (condescending) I knew what I was doing.
Kevin : Hey, you canít help it that youíre just a girl. (Daria scowls) Here, let me show you how a man would do it.
Daria : (defeatist) Kevin, thatís really not necessary Ö
Kevin : Donít be afraid Daria. I wouldnít REALLY hit a girl. Thatís, like, roughing the kicker. Youíre not, um, supposed to hit him, since heís a scrawny little guy Ö
Daria : (attempting to extricate herself) Uh, Kevin, we have to get to class soon.
Kevin : (not listening) Here, Iíll punch slowly, and weíll see what you would do. Then Iíll show you what I would do.
Kevin steps forward and starts a slow uppercut. Sighing, Daria puts her bag down and steps into the punch, swinging Kevinís arm around and pinning him against the lockers.
Kevin : Hey! Howíd you do that? (Bt) Youíre just, like, a girl!
Brittany : Daria!
Daria : True. But so is Sandi.
Kevin : (sudden realization) Oh yeah. (Bt) Um, Daria? Could you let me go? Itís, like, embarrassing for the QB to be pinned by a girl.
Daria : (releasing Kevin) Ms. Barch may have a point Ö
Kevin : (rubbing his arm) What?
Daria : Nothing.
Kevin shrugs and walks off to class with Brittany.
Jane : You realize that with him pinned, you could have had your way with him Ö
Daria : I thought of that, but where could I get that much quick-set epoxy?
Jane : Wal-mart?
Daria : Now you tell me. (picking up her bag) Come on, we wouldnít want to be late for class Ö
Jane : We wouldnít?
Daria : Well, we shouldnít, anyway.
Mr. OíNeilís classroom. Daria and Jane walk into the classroom and sit down. Jane glances off to the side for a second, grimacing slightly.
Jane : Donít look now, but Mr. OíNeil seems to be heading your way.
Daria : Well, it could be worse, I guess.
Jane : (surprised) What?
Daria : (fatalistic) Whenever I think that things canít get worse, they do. I was just hoping that my mere words would cause him to turn back to hiding behind his desk. But I guess the universe just hates me.
Jane : Took you this long to figure that out?
OíNeil : (walking into the field of view) Oh Daria! I just wanted to congratulate you on how well you dealt with Sandi. It takes a very confident child within to do something like that.
Daria : (sardonically) I donít think of it that way. I just got in touch with the punching bag within.
Jane snickers in the background
OíNeil : Hmm. I never thought of that. Iím just glad that someone realized that brute force never resolves anythingÖ
Daria : Actually, violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor Ö
Kevin : (VO) Hey babe, she said Ďnakedí!
Jane : (to Daria) Stalin?
Daria : (to Jane) Heinlein.
Jane : Ahhh.
OíNeil : (walking away) That gives me an idea Ö
Daria sighs and lays her head down on her desk.
Jane : Problem?
Daria : He has an idea and itís my fault. Three to one odds that he assigns us a paper related to the use of force right now.
OíNeil : Class Ö
Jane : No deal.
OíNeil : Based on, um, occurrences at this school lately, I thought it would be a good idea for everyone to investigate the potential benefits of non-violent conflict resolution.
Daria : (to Jane) Whereís a weapon when you need one?
OíNeil : Iíd like each of you to look at a situation that was resolved without the use of force, and to expound on the likely results if force was used instead. Itís a combination of investigative analysis and creative extrapolation. (excited) This will be great!
Jane : Thanks Daria.
Daria : How is it that his assignment on non-violent confrontation makes me want to shoot him?
Jane : Poor teaching skills?
Daria : Well, he is teaching at Lawndale Ö
Cut to a room in Lawndale High. Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany are sitting at a desk in the front of a classroom. "Welcome Fashion Club Members" is written in large letters on the blackboard behind them. As the new members enter and take a seat, Quinn sits, rubbing her hands.
Quinn : (to Tiffany and Stacy) Why canít chalk come out of hands well?
Quinn looks up at a moderately full classroom. Picking up a piece of paper, she looks over the room, checking off members as they arrive. After a few minutes, she stands up to address the class.
Quinn : Now that you are all here, I would like to welcome all you new members to the first meeting of the new fashion club, and to congratulate all of you on meeting our stringent membership requirements.
Tiffany stands up and reaches below the desk to pick up a bulging plastic bag. Walking around the desk, she begins handing booklets to the members.
Quinn : Our club treasurer Tiffany is handing out a booklet containing the fashion club oath, duties, and constitution Ö
A girl in the audience raises her hand
Quinn : Yes, um Ö
Girl : Melissa.
Quinn : Melissa. Do you have a question?
Melissa : Like, whatís the point of all of this stuff? I mean, do we really need all this?
Quinn : (smiling) Interesting question. You see, by creating a constitution, we can register as an official school-supported club.
Melissa : So, what good is that?
Quinn : Well, besides allowing us to use a classroom for meetings, we are also permitted to organize events for the school in general with administrative permission. Stacy?
Stacy : Oh, thanks. Like, weíre arranging to have a big fashion show here at the school, with the fashion club, like, in charge of getting everything set up.
Tiffany : Yeah Ö And if we do a good job Ö They said that we could get stuff Ö uh Ö like, at cost Ö
Murmurs of surprise and approval ripple through the new members as they mull over the possibilities. Quinn sits down slowly, with a look of satisfaction and success on her face.
Morgendorffer residence, kitchen. The entire family is seated at the table as Helen reaches into a brown paper bag to serve dinner.
Daria : Um, mom? What did you get for dinner? It, um, smells Ö interesting.
Helen : (not really paying attention) Huh? Oh, I went to that new place down by my office Ö
Daria : (with a sense of dread) You mean the new English/Scottish place?
Helen : (distant) I guess Ö
Daria : Great.
Quinn : (gushing enthusiasm) Oh Daria, donít be such a downer.
Daria : And why are you so disgustingly cheerful tonight?
Quinn : We just had a big fashion club meeting, and it went, like, really well. Everyone seems to be interested, and we managed to get permission for that big fashion show and all, so I just KNOW that theyíre all glad they joined Ö
Daria : Um, Quinn? What fashion show?
Quinn : Weíre arranging a big fashion show over a weekend at the school. You know, to like show people that weíre trying to help them, even if they arenít a member or anything. Iíll bet they could even find YOU somethingÖ
Daria : (sardonically) What a generous offer. (suspicious) Doesnít Ms. Li have to approve all events at the school?
Quinn : Oh, she wasnít a problem. She loved the idea.
Daria : What?
Quinn : Oh, come on. A group of students arranging a fashion show attracts the media. Great human interest story that contributes to the glory and honor of ĎLawndale Highí. That, and the fact that all proceeds from drink sales go directly to the executive discretionary fund to defray the schoolís cost.
Daria : Thatís, um, very Machiavellian of you Quinn.
Quinn : Is that supposed to be an insult or something?
Daria : (sighing) Go figure out what it means, and then you can decide for yourself.
Quinn : You can be so difficult sometimes Daria. Why canít you (grimacing) what IS that SMELL?
Daria : (slowly closing her eyes) That would appear to be dinner.
Quinn : Ewww Ö
Dariaís room, interior. Daria is sitting on her bed, writing in a notebook when someone knocks at the door.
Daria : Abandon all hope, ye who enter hereÖ
Tom opens the door and enters the room.
Tom : Never had any to begin with. (looking at the notebook) Writing?
Daria : Homework. Figured I may as well get started Ö
Tom : What happened to procrastination?
Daria : Iím putting it off Ďtill tomorrow.
Tom laughs briefly.
Daria : Tom? Would you mind going out for pizza?
Tom : Is this the same girl who said yesterday that even lasagna would be a welcome change from more pizza?
Daria : Thatíll teach me to tempt the forces of fate,
Tom : How bad could it be?
Daria leans over and whispers into Tomís ear.
Tom : Thatís just, um, ewww. Come on, my treat.
Daria : And people say chivalry is dead.
Tom : Wounded and lying bloody on the steps, but not dead.
Cut to Pizza king. Daria and Tom are entering the restaurant when they encounter Jane at the front door. Jane looks quizzically between Tom and Daria for an uncertain moment when Daria breaks the awkward silence.
Daria : Jane? What are you doing here?
Jane : I could ask you the same question.
Daria : (as they enter the restaurant) Weíre just out for a nice pizza. But we decided to settle for what they serve here.
Jane : Sure you are. Would you believe that I got tired of my artistic isolation and decided to seek out the invigorating company of my classmates?
Tom : Come on, even I wouldnít believe that.
Jane : Iím moonlighting for a major news network and doing an expose on the cultural nexus of Lawndale?
Daria : Too much personal interaction required.
Jane : OK, Trent unplugged the refrigerator for an extension cord after the fuse blew in the basement, and ever since the Velveeta incident in fourth grade, Iíve abstained from eating anything that moves when exposed to light.
Daria : You know, you could just visit the grocery store on a regular basisÖ
Jane : I donít know. That seems awfully drastic. (Bt) I thought your mother was getting dinner tonight?
Daria : Unfortunately, she went to Olde Mac Donaldís.
Jane : Whatís wrong with burgers and fries?
Daria : No, not McDonaldís, with the silly clown. Olde Mac Donaldís, the English/Scottish takeout place. You havenít lived until youíve had haggis. And a double order of bangers and mash for variety.
Jane : Does that taste as good as it sounds?
Daria : You know, I couldnít tell you. (smirking) But if you want to stop by later, Iím sure thereís plenty left.
Daria, Jane, and Tom sit down in a booth, with Daria sitting next to Tom. Jane looks at the two of them and briefly looks saddened, but quickly hides it before Daria or Tom notice.
Jane : So I take it the familyís still problematic?
Daria : Theyíre always problematic Ö
Jane : Well, more so than usual.
Tom : Given that I wasnít bombarded with the usual interrogation when I arrived, Iíd say yes.
Daria : And as if my family situation wasnít enough, life once again decides to kick us when weíre down Ö
As the camera pans, we see Kevin walking up to the table with a goofy grin on his face.
Kevin : Hey Daria, Jane. (looking at Tom) Youíre, Don?
Tom : Thatís Tom. (Bt) Grand High Llama of Lawndale Tom to you.
Kevin : (uncertain) Like, Mr. Llama high guy?
Tom : (sighing) Just Tom.
Kevin : (confused) Oh Ö
Tom : (whispered to Daria) Is he for real?
Daria : Much to our dismay, yes Ö
Kevin : Like, uh, Tom?
Tom : (reluctantly) Yes?
Kevin : Whatís your secret?
Tom : Huh?
Kevin : I mean, Brit never goes for that mťlange stuff Ö
Jane : A pithy French word for a mixture?
Daria : Jane, I think he means mťnage. As in mťnage a trois?
The camera pans around as Tom and Jane turn in surprise. Kevin is still looking on with limited comprehension, but both Tom and Jane are skewering Daria with an incredulous stare. Daria, for her part, simply has a look that says Ďwhy me, why now?í
Jane : (fighting laughter) You have got to be kidding.
Tom : Hey, sounds good to OUCH! (to Daria) Those boots hurt!
Daria : (menacing) Just remember that Ö
Kevin : Hey, can I get in on this too?
Daria looks away from Kevin with an apathetic stare, when a look of inspiration comes across her face. She turns slowly to Kevin, visibly composing herself and trying (with limited success) to fake enthusiasm.
Daria : Well, I guess I would be OK with it, since you ARE the QB Ö
Both Tom and Jane jerk around in shock and simply stare at Daria. Tom looks slowly from Daria to Kevin and back, trying to determine exactly what is going on.
Daria : Ö But I donít really think that youíre Tomís type.
Kevin : Wait, Iím not, like Ö I didnít mean Ö
Jane smiles, fighting a laugh, as Kevin tries in vain to correct Dariaís Ďmistakení impression of him. Tom, for his part, looks slightly relieved, although he still appears somewhat uncomfortable with the whole discussion.
Daria : What would the football team think?
Kevin : (pleading) But Ö Iím the QB!
Dariaís face sets in a take no prisoners expression as Kevin pleads with her. Softening her face slightly, she looks straight into Kevinís eyes locking him in a loaded stare.
Daria : (negotiating tone) Kevin, do you want the team to know about this?
Kevin : But I didnít Ö
Daria : (leading) Would it matter?
Kevin : Uh, no?
Daria : How about a deal?
Kevin : Deal?
Daria : Yes. I wonít say anything about you and Tom Ö
Kevin : But Ö
Daria : If you donít say anything about tonight. You never saw us here, right? Can you just forget that tonight ever happened?
Kevin : (relieved) Yeah! Coach says I can forget more than anyone on the team. You can count on me!
Daria : Good. Oh look, youíre pizzaís ready.
Kevin : Cool! And I didnít even order yet!
As Kevin walks off, both Tom and Jane are stare at Daria. Tom looks vaguely bothered by the entire exchange when Jane starts laughing softly.
Daria : What?
Jane : What was that?
Tom : And why couldnít you leave me out of it?
Daria : I needed something that would really scare Kevin. I really donít need any more complications in my life right now. I had to work with what was available Ö
Jane : And you really donít think heíll tell?
Daria : Kevin may have the IQ of a brick, but he at least knows when heís in a losing situation Ö
Jane : Like whenever he steps into the classroom Ö
Tom : Well, hopefully this will all blow over Ö
Jane : (to Tom) Of course, even if it doesnít, YOU still get a killer reputation out of it.
Tom : (sheepishly) Well, yeah, but what good is a reputation if youíre not alive to enjoy it?
Jane : (to Daria) Youíve trained him well Ö
Daria : Well, you broke him in for me.
Jane : Hey!
Bar interior. Jake hands a bill to one of the bartenders, who hands him a glass. Taking the glass from the bartender, Jake takes a drink as the bartender heads to the register. As he turns to look at the growing crowd, the bartender returns and hands him his change.
Jake : No, go ahead. Keep the change. Itís not like I need it for anything.
Male Bartender : Um, OK Ö
Jake : (as the bartender walks away) Of course, everyone leaves me. Poor little Jakey Ö
The female bartender from earlier comes over to Jake.
Female Bartender : Youíve been putting away an awful lot of those, Mr. M
Jake : Jake, please.
Female Bartender : (reaching for a bar bill) Well, this is going to have to be the last Ö (looking at the bill) Coke?
Jake : (sheepishly) I have to drive home.
Female Bartender : (placating tone) Just settle down. Weíll have enough real drunks to worry about out here soon.
Jake : (embarrassed) Sorry Ö
Female Bartender : Oh, donít worry too much. Stick around until 2 or so, and youíll see how many drunks will fit in a taxi Ö
Fade to Lawndale high, the next morning. Daria is alone at her locker when Quinn approaches. Quinn looks briefly around the hallway, then walks up alongside Daria.
Daria : No, I wonít take the test for you.
Quinn : Thatís not why Iím here. The teachers would know that itís not me Ö
Daria : So youíre looking for some fashion advice? (condescendingly) Itís not too late. I can still help you Ö
Quinn : Ick, no. I have some standards. This is, um, about you.
Daria : Yes?
Quinn : (softly) Thereís a rumor going around that you, um Ö
Daria : (warning tone) Quinn Ö
Quinn : Ö like women. (Bt) As, um, more than just friends?
Daria looks at Quinn for a moment, with an almost entirely emotionless expression. Turning towards her locker, she closes her eyes for a second, the pressure and frustration dripping off her face. Opening her eyes, she composes her face into an eerie calm, and turns back to Quinn.
Daria : I see. And what about Tom?
Quinn : What about him? (Bt) Um, Daria Ö
Daria : (firmly) No, Quinn, itís not true. (shaking head) And I thought life couldnít get any worse.
An uncomfortable Quinn starts to slowly move away when Daria turns to her.
Daria : Quinn? Could you do a favor?
Quinn : (uncertain) OK Ö
Daria : Could you tell Jane what you just told me?
Quinn : Why donít you tell her?
Daria : Do you think it would be a good idea for me to grab Jane when she walks in and take her someplace private to talk?
Quinn : Oh ÖBut what if people get the wrong idea about me?
Daria : (sardonically) Then youíll be even MORE popular than you are now Ö
Quinn : (thinking) Hmmm Ö
Daria : Quinn? Ö It was a joke?
Quinn turns to leave, pausing after a few steps to turn and smirk at Daria.
Daria : Damn obnoxious siblings.
Cut to later that morning, in the halls of Lawndale High. Quinn is in the bathroom checking her hair when Sandi enters the bathroom.
Quinn : (noticing Sandi in the mirror and turning) Oh, hi Sandi. How are you?
Sandi : How do you think Quinn? Thanks to you, my life is ruined.
Quinn : Why?
Sandi : How can you ask that? You ganged up on me and threw me out of the clubÖ
Quinn : (calmly) No, we didnít Sandi.
Sandi : (annoyed) Like hell Quinn. I donít even know why Iím talking to you Ö
Quinn : As far as weíre concerned, youíre still a member of the Fashion Club.
Sandi : As what? Coffee girl?
Quinn : Of COURSE not Sandi. Coffeeís like, so bad for your complexion. (Bt) But if you want, thereís an opening for executive coordinating secretary Ö
Sandi : What, I get to take notes at meetings?
Quinn : No, you would get to coordinate members in setting up big events like the fashion show weíre doing.
Sandi : Fashion show? (Bt) So Iíd work for YOU until we graduate?
Quinn : (thought VO) IF you graduate (out loud) Well, according to the new constitution (Quinn reaches into her bag and hands Sandi a copy) officer elections will take place every spring. If you want, you can run against me Ö Just give it some thought, OK?
Quinn leaves the bathroom, with Sandi looking confused but hopeful. As the door shuts, Sandi begins looking through the constitution, with an interested look on her face.
Cut to Mr. DeMartinoís classroom. Daria and Jane are seated in their usual seats as Mr. DeMartino enters the classroom. Around the class, people sporadically look at Daria and Jane with curiosity. Jane seems to be taking the whole incident in stride, but Daria seems visibly annoyed at the world in general.
Daria : I assume you caught up with Quinn?
Jane : (looking around in annoyance) Yep. Do you think it was Kevin?
Daria turns to look at Kevin, who immediately cowers and shrinks back in his seat. Mr. DeMartino notices this and smiles in amusement.
Daria : I doubt it. He hasnít tried to apologize, and is frightened as hell. I think someone beat him to it. Do we hope this passes, or do we try and do something about it?
Jane : We could kill everyone whoís heard the rumorÖ
Daria : That would be everyone in this school.
Jane : But Iím sure thereís a downside.
Daria : Who would we engage in our stimulating intellectual debates during class?
Jane : Mr. Coffee?
Daria : Well, youíve sold me.
DeMartino : OK class. Could SOMEONE be so KIND as to INform your CLASSmates as to what HISTORIC event was in yesterdayís ASSIGNED READING?
The class is silent. As Mr. DeMartino looks down the row, the students are quick to avert their eyes to avoid direct contact. Brittany, however, is distracted by Kevin, and looks up just as Mr. DeMartino glares down her row.
DeMartino : Brittany. Can you tell me?
Brittany : (twirling hair) Um, woodgate?
Mr. DeMartino looks at Brittany disdainfully. Brittany flinches slightly under his intense glare. Chuckling lightly to himself, he turns his glare on an oblivious Kevin.
DeMartino : Perhaps your INTELLECTUALLY challenged STUDY partner could enlighten us? Kevin? Can you tell us what the small STEP for man was?
Kevin : Um, the tango?
DeMartino : (moving in for the kill) Kevin, where OTHER THAN EARTH did people walk in July of 1969?
Jane : (teasing) Kevin! Try the moon!
Kevin : Naw Jane. It couldnít be the moon - it only comes out at night. Itíd be too dark there. They must have gone to the sun.
DeMartino : (shaking his head in disbelief) If only I could send you there too. Would anyone ELSE like to VENture a guess?
Jane raises her hand.
DeMartino : Yes Ms. Lane?
Jane : Man walked on the moon.
DeMartino : Very good. Itís nice to know that one of the SINGLE most IMPORTANT events of HUman history is so well known in the FUTURE leaders or our nation. (Bt) And their janitors as well Ö
Fade to a hallway in Lawndale High just after school has ended. Daria is walking towards the door when she hears footsteps behind her. Turning her head, we see Sandi Griffin walking quickly towards her.
Sandi : Like, Quinnís sister? Could you, like stop moving? Running is SO bad for my clothes.
Daria stops and turns to Sandi. Sandi looks nervous, leaving silence between the two.
Daria : Do you want something?
Sandi : Iím supposed to, like, apologize to you or something Ö
Daria : Why?
Sandi : (annoyed) Because my stupid anger management counselor says I have to.
Daria : Anger management counselor?
Sandi : Some deal my mom worked out to keep that whole fight thing off my, like, permanent record or something.
Daria : It wonít work.
Sandi : What, you donít think that I can do it?
Daria : (matter of fact) That has nothing to do with it. You donít want to do it. You donít like it, so it wonít work.
Sandi : (annoyed and striking back) Donít you have like, a date with that Jane chick?
Daria : What? (Bt) No, I donít.
Sandi : But everyone at school Ö
Daria : Are idiots. Sandi, if I were interested in women, wouldnít I have asked you first?
Sandi : (arrogant realization) Oh, yeah Ö But I donít date girls Ö
Daria : (sourly) neither do I.
After a brief moment of awkward silence, Sandiís watch, located conveniently in her purse, begins to beep.
Sandi : Iíve like, gotta go. Thereís a fashion club meeting Iím sitting in on.
Daria : (as Sandi leaves, to herself) Fashion club? Sandi? (pinches herself) Nope, I guess itís not all a dream. Damn!
Daria turns back towards the door, pushing it open and leaving the hallowed halls of Lawndale High. She walks by a group of boys just outside the door. As she does so, one of the boys leaves the group and jogs to catch up with Daria. As he comes closer, we see that it is Jamie.
Jamie : Can I walk with you?
Daria : Itís a free country. Or so Iíve heard.
Jamie : Um, there are these rumors floating around Ö
Daria : Et tķ Jamie?
Jamie : I just wanted to hear from you. Is it true?
Daria : No.
Jamie : Didnít think so. Although Kevin seems scared out of his mind Ö
Daria : (curious) How so?
Jamie : Well Ö whenever he hears someone spreading the rumor, heís like, right there to claim that itís not true. (suspicious, looking at Daria) Itís like heís afraid of you for some reason. Why?
Daria : I canít tell you. But if you see Kevin, tell him that since heís kept his part of the deal, Iím still going to keep mine. But Iíll be watching.
Jamie : (confused) Um, OK, I think.
Daria : He should understand that. If not, Iíll draw some nice pictures for him.
Jamie : You know, heís really not such a bad guy, just a bit, um, slow Ö
Daria : Jamie, I know you mean well, but this is not a day for compliments from me.
Jamie : And that would be unusual how?
Daria : (slight smirk) Why is it that everyone I know are jerks?
Jamie : Because youíd rather be insulted than complimented?
Daria looks at Jamie for a second, then shakes her head.
Daria : I hate everyone.
Jamie : (walking away from Daria as they reach a corner) Oh, thatís original. Later.
Daria : Uh, OK. (to self sarcastically as she continues home) All I ever wanted was omnipotence so I could smite all those who displease me. Is that too much to ask?
Sloane residence, exterior. As the camera slowly zooms in on the door, Daria walks up, still carrying her school pack. Looking around the front yard briefly, she rings the bell. Inside the house, we hear someone walking down the stairs and unlocking the door, which opens to reveal Tom.
Tom : Daria?
Daria : Movie. Dinner. Now.
Tom : Um, isnít that Tarzanís line?
Daria stares at Tom.
Tom : Um, alright then. Just let me tell my family, OK?
Streets of Lawndale, interior of Tomís car. Tom is driving, and Daria is sitting in the passengers seat, staring out the window. Tom glances over at her periodically, with obvious concern as to her condition. After an awkward interval of silence, Tom clears his throat and looks slightly towards Daria (as much as driving permits)
Tom : Daria? Whatís wrong?
Daria : Last night.
Tom : Takeout leftovers?
Daria : This has nothing to do with the food.
Tom : Oh. (thinking for a second, followed by an uncomfortable instant of realization) Oh. I see. Kevin?
Daria : No. At least I donít think so. (frustrated) Why canít I just have a good day once in a while?
Tom pulls the car over to the side and puts it in park. Reaching over to Daria, he pulls her over and gives her a hug. Daria leans into him, half-collapsing in his arms for a long moment. Slowly, she straightens up and gently pulls away from Tom.
Daria : (attempting unsuccessfully to repress her emotions) Thanks Tom. (edge of annoyance) Apparently, I needed some human contact. (under breadth) Lousy biology (ironic tone) And Jane wouldnít exactly help my cause any Ö
Tom : Um, howís she taking it?
Daria : Better than I am. But then again, the whole damn school seems to be talking about me. What ever happened to blissful anonymity?
Tom : Itís just the rumor. They donít really care who its about, just that it spices up their dull lives. I wish I could take your place Ö
Daria : No you donít.
Tom : Yeah, youíre right. But Iím obligated to say it anyway.
Daria : Such pure, noble motivations Ö
Tom : Promise you wonít tell anyone?
Daria : (chuckling slightly) Donít worry. Your dark secret is safe with me Ö
Cut to later in the night. Daria and Tom are walking down the street when Daria stops and looks through a window. As the camera follows her, we see that she is looking at Jake through the window. Sighing for a second, she turns and continues walking down the sidewalk.
Tom : Problem?
Daria : For my dadís liver, yes.
Tom : Huh?
Daria : As far as I know, heís been out at the bar almost every night this week. And my Momís been working more hours than a med student at the firm.
Tom : Oh. Iím sorry.
Daria : Thanks. But itís not your fault. (under breath) Itís mine Ö
As Daria and Tom walk away from the bar, Daria looks back with concern. Sighing briefly, she looks away and takes Tomís hand. Tom looks down, surprised, but says nothing.
Exterior of Lawndale high, the next day. As Daria is walking towards the front door, she is approached by Melissa, from the fashion club meeting. Melissa looks nervous and apprehensive, watching Daria for a moment before saying anything.
Melissa : Um, youíre Daria, right?
Daria : (stopping and looking at Melissa with a curious gaze) Not by choice Ö
Melissa : Iím Melissa. (nervously) Um, if youíre not busy tonight, would you want to do something?
Daria looks at Melissa for a second, then sighs in frustration.
Daria : Iím not interested in women. Really.
Melissa : (worried) But the rumors Ö
Daria : Are wrong.
Melissa : (thinking fast) Um, I was just trying to figure out if they were trueÖ
Daria : No, you werenít.
Melissa : (nervous and scared) Are you going to tell anyone?
Daria : Why would I do that?
Melissa : (uncertain) Youíre not all creeped out?
Daria : Why should I care what you do? I may not share your leanings, but that doesnít mean that I hate you or anything.
Melissa : Oh. (apologetic) Well, like, you know how it is Ö Sorry about, well Ö
Daria : You have nothing to apologize for.
Daria looks at Melissa for a second, thinking. As she does, her outward mood changes from one of frustration to one of anger.
Daria : I have had about enough of all this crap. Itís not fair to me, itís not fair to you, and Iím not going to stand for it any longer.
Melissa looks with extreme uncertainty at Daria. Daria looks off into the distance, where a group of students have gathered and are talking. After watching them for a while, she turns to Melissa.
Daria : Would you do me a favor?
Melissa : (righteous) And if I donít, youíll tell people about me?
Daria : No, itíll just be a lot more work before I find what I want.
Melissa : Which is?
Daria : The twerp responsible for all this.
Melissa : Thatís not going to be easy.
Daria : I know. But itís the only way to end this now.
Melissa : And if I say no, you really wonít do anything to me?
Daria : (disappointed) No, I wonít.
Melissa : Then Iíll do it. (to Dariaís surprised look) I donít like blackmail.
Daria : You know, for a Lawndale student, youíre surprisingly decent.
Melissa : Thanks, I think Ö
Daria watches as Melissa heads into the school, shaking her head at the whole situation. Slowly, with a clear aire of annoyance, Daria heads into the school as well.
Slightly later, inside of Lawndale High. We see Daria turn a corner and walk up and tap someone on the shoulder. As he turns, we see that it is Jamie.
Jamie : Daria?
Daria : Jamie? Could I ask a favor?
Jamie : Um Ö what is it?
Daria : I want to know who started this rumor Ö
Jamie : Uh Ö
Daria : I know it isnít easy. Just see if anyone knows, OK? Oh, and you may want to ask Kevin. Tell him that if I find who started the rumor, heís safe Ö
Jamie : (worried) Ok Ö
Daria : (walking off) Relax Jamie. I wonít kill anyone unless absolutely necessary.
Cut to Helenís office. Helen is at her desk, still looking unsettled. Her desk is scattered with papers with little evident organization. A yellow legal pad sits in the middle of the desk, with a variety of line drawings gracing the page. Marianne is sitting nearby, but appears to be doing very little actual work, instead trying to preserve the appearance of work by filing, organizing, and transcribing anything she possibly can.
Helen : Marianne? Why donít you get some coffee or something?
Marianne : (mouse-like tone) Sure Helen. What would you like? Cream? Sugar?
Helen : No, no Marianne. Get some coffee for yourself.
Marianne : Oh, no thanks. Iíd have to go all the way downstairs Ö
Helen : (perplexed) Just get some from the executive cafeteria down the hall.
Marianne : But Iím not an executive Ö
Helen : If someone asks, you can just say its for me, OK?
Marianne : (confused) Um, thanks?
As Marianne leaves, Helen looks after her with pitying concern.
Helen : Has she always been this malleable?
Just as Helen turns back to her work, Eric enters the room.
Eric : Helen! Glad I caught you. I wanted to congratulate you on getting caught up so quickly after the big trial yesterday.
Helen : (pre-occupied) Oh, it was nothing.
Eric : Helen? Is something wrong?
Helen : Huh? No, no, Iím fine. I was just thinking about Marianne Ö
Eric : (looking around the room) What, is she giving you trouble? Would you prefer a new assistant?
As Eric is speaking, Marianne comes to the door, but stops just at the edge, frightened and uncertain.
Helen : What? No, Marianne is more than fine. I couldnít ask for a better assistant.
Outside, Marianne smiles as she listens in on the conversation.
Helen : Itís just been a long week. You know how it is.
Eric : Yep, Iíve been there myself. (Bt) Take the rest of the day off Ö
Helen : But the case Ö
Eric : We both know that this case will be settled by the weekend. Go home for the afternoon Ė full pay Ė and come in tomorrow ready to go.
Helen : Um, thanks Eric.
Eric : Donít mention it Helen. (as he leaves) You bring in more income than any two of our other lawyers combinedÖ
As Eric leaves the office, Marianne walks briskly around the corner. Waiting a few moments, she retraces her steps and enters Helenís office.
Helen : Marianne, Iíll be leaving shortly to take the afternoon off.
Marianne : Donít worry Helen. Iíll keep on top of things here for you.
Helen : Youíre going home too.
Marianne : What?
Helen : You work almost as many hours as I do for less pay. You deserve this even more than I do. Go home and be with your family Ö
Marianne : (uncertain, but afraid to question Helen) Um, thanks Helen.
Helen : (to self, under breath) If only my family were so simple Ö
Cut to the halls of Lawndale High. Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany are walking through the halls when Sandi comes up to Quinn.
Sandi : Like, Quinn? Could I talk to you?
Quinn : (to Stacy and Tiffany) Iíll see you guys in class, OK?
Stacy : Sure! See you there!
Quinn : Yes Sandi?
Sandi : Iíve decided to help you with the fashion club. I simply couldnít live with myself if I let you face the enormous pressures on your own, without any experience in group leadership.
Quinn : Thanks Sandi. We have regular meetings twice a week. At the next meeting, Iíll formally introduce you, and you can meet with all the volunteers working the fashion show!
Sandi : Donít worry Quinn. Iím sure that the volunteers will realize my natural leadership abilities, and everything will go smoothly Ö
Quinn : (faux sincerity) Oh, thatís great Sandi. Itís so good to have you back.
Quinn and Sandi head off towards class, an awkward silence between them as each tries to gauge the depths of the otherís intent.
Cut to Mr. OíNeilís class. Daria and Jane are seated towards the front of the class. Daria has a determined look on her face, and is clearly ignoring any and all comments and glares from her classmates. Jane takes out her notebook, and remembers the assignment by Mr. OíNeil.
Jane : When is that silly assignment due?
Daria : You know, he didnít set a date. Good thing too, as Iím having a bit of trouble with it.
Jane : Whatís the problem?
Daria : Well, I chose the Cuban Missile Crisis, but recently, Iíve been having trouble seeing complete thermonuclear annihilation as a bad thing.
Jane : Rumor mill still in full force?
Daria : Could it be any other way? (Bt) Why arenít you bothered by this?
Jane : (chuckling) After last summer, itíll take more than just a rumor to bother me.
Daria : Hopefully, this rumor will be short-lived.
Jane : Counting on your luck?
Daria : No.
Jane : You have a plan?
Daria : I will either see the end of this rumor, or have my vengeance. (smirking) Both work for me.
Cut to the girlsí bathroom. We see Melissa talking to a girl. The girl looks uncertain, but Melissa manages to mollify her concerns. After a minute or two of discussion, Melissa thanks the girl and heads out.
Exterior of Lawndale High, near the front door. Jamie walks up to a pair of football players who are smoking out of sight of the windows. After a brief conversation, they shrug and point off in the distance. Jamie looks momentarily, and starts walking.
Cafeteria, Lawndale High. Melissa walks up to a group of girls, asking questions. They look at her strangely for a moment, but soon begin to talk in earnest, often interrupting each other. Melissa looks on, trying to put together a coherent picture.
Dariaís locker, Lawndale High. Daria is putting away her books and preparing to head home when Melissa comes up to her. Daria looks over her shoulder, and noticing Melissa, turns expectantly.
Melissa : Well, it wasnít easy, but I think that Christy was one of the first to spread the rumor.
Daria : Christy?
Melissa : Come on, Iíll point her out. She wouldnít say anything to me though.
As Daria and Melissa head down to a different corridor, Jane notices them, and follows at a discreet distance. Just after turning the corner, Melissa points at a girl. Jane moves within hearing distance as Daria approaches the girl.
Daria : Christy?
Christy : (turning around) Who wants to know? (seeing Daria) No, I will not go on a date with you.
Daria : Iím not looking for a date. I heard that you were the one to start that false rumor.
Christy : I was not!
Daria : (sweetly) Then you wonít mind telling me who told you?
Christy : I canít do that!
Daria : And why not?
Christy : I promised!
Daria : I didnít. And if you donít, Iíll walk over and give you a nice, big kiss, right in front of all your friends and classmates.
Christy : But then everyone will know that the rumorís true!
Daria : (moving slightly towards Christy) Everyone already seems to believe that. But this way, you get to share in the fun too.
Christy : (desperate) You wouldnít dare!
Daria : If Iím going down, Iíll be damn sure to take you with me.
Christy : (dejected) Fine. Just donít tell anybody where you heard it, OK?
Daria : Deal.
Christy : I heard it from someone who was also in the pizza place. A guy. Thatís all I can tell you.
Daria : I suppose thatíll do, for now. But if I donít figure it out soon, Iíll be back.
Christy : (concerned) But I CANíT Ö
Daria : (as she walks away, menacing) We have ways of making you talk, lilí Miss.
Daria leaves a shaken Christy, and as she moves away from the crowds, Jane slides in alongside her. Daria gives her a brief glance as she continues down the hallway.
Daria : Hey Jane.
Jane : Remind me never to play cards with you. You have one hell of a poker face.
Daria : Poker face?
Jane : You could barely tell that you were bluffing.
Daria : Who says that I was bluffing?
Jane : (looking at Daria with an uncertain gaze) You werenít?
Daria : I am going to get to the bottom of this. It will end. Soon. And it will go badly for whoever decided to start it.
Jane : Whoa! This is really getting to you.
Daria : Iím just sick and tired of all this crap. Itís obnoxious, unfair, and places me in a very uncomfortable situation, and I will not stand for it any longer.
Jane : Damn! Ö Hell hath no fury like a Morgendorffer scorned!
Daria is about to respond when Jamie taps her on the shoulder.
Jamie : Hey Daria? Iíve asked around, and I think that the rumor was started by someone in the booth behind you.
Daria : Huh?
Jamie : No one seems to know who started it, but a few people heard the rumor as "This guy was sitting behind Dariaís table Ö"
Daria stares off into space for a second, and the scenery fades back to the pizza place. Daria, Tom, and Jane are walking towards the table when they suddenly freeze. Alongside, an additional Daria appears.
Daria : Hmmm Ö (looking at Jane) I wonder Ö
Suddenly Jane changes from her usual garb into a full 18th century dress, with a parasol over her shoulder.
Daria : (bemused smirk) Enough play, time for business Ö
Daria turns and walks towards her table. To one side, she sees Jodie and Mack.
Daria : Not likely.
Turning her head, she looks at her empty seat. Barely visible over the seat back is a lock of orange hair.
Jane : (VO) Daria?
Cut back to the hallways of Lawndale High. Jamie is looking on with concern, and Jane is gently shaking Daria.
Jane : Daria, are you OK?
Daria looks at Jane for a loaded moment.
Daria : Upchuck.
Jane is briefly confused, then realizes Dariaís meaning.
Jane : It was THAT creep?
Daria : (to both Jane and Jamie) You two should be sure to come in to school tomorrow. I promise you wonít regret it.
Daria turns and walks off, leaving Jane and Jamie staring at her as she goes.
Jamie : Do you think Ö
Jane : She wonít do anything illegal, and he wonít be physically harmed. Other than that, beware Upchuck, beware.
Fade to the Morgendorffer residence, kitchen. Helen enters with a bag of groceries, then looks at the clock. Shrugging, she removes a gallon of milk from the bag, placing it in the refrigerator.
Helen : The girls should be home soon.
Helen reaches into the bag and removes a roast.
Helen : Now, where did I put that cookbook?
Helen searches through a few cabinets, finally removing a dusty old book. Wiping it off reveals the title Ė Cooking When you Have Spare Time. As Helen opens the book gently, there is a slight groan from the binding.
Helen : I thought I used this a bit more recentlyÖ
Helen searches through the kitchen, finally coming up with a potato peeler and a few small spice containers.
Cut to the exterior of a bar. Jake is standing at the door, staring at the entrance. Inside, a deep, penetrating bass boom can be heard, and a number of silhouettes can be seen dancing through the window. Jake looks longingly, caught up in the motion of the dancers. From his right side, a young woman opens the door, shaking Jake out of his absent-minded state. Jake looks slowly to either side.
Jake : (thought VO) I could go home, I suppose. But Helen will probably be at work all night, again Ö
As Jake stands at the door, a male figure comes up behind him.
Man : Hey, Jake! Good to see you here. Hey, you wanna come in and share a drink?
Jake : Um, (faux excitement) sure, why not?
With some trepidation, Jake follows the man through the door and into the interior of the bar.
Morgendorffer residence, living room. Quinn is sitting in the living room when Daria enters the front door.
Daria : (looking around) Something smells really good in here Ö
Quinn : Yeah, momís been cooking a really nice dinner or something.
Daria : Mom? Our mom?
Quinn : Yeah. I think she like, got the afternoon off Ö
Daria : Well, where is she?
Quinn : Sheís, um, a little mad. (Bt) Daddy isnít back yet.
Daria shakes her head.
Daria : This has gone on long enough. Iíll be back.
Daria drops her bag against the wall, and leaves the house, pulling the front door shut with a loud bang.
Fade to the bar entrance. Daria is talking to the bouncer at the entrance as the second bouncer continues to check IDís.
Bouncer : Look, I canít let you in if youíre not 21. Those are the rules.
Daria : I can see my father. Heís sitting right there. You can come with me if you want. I just need to talk to him for a few minutes.
Bouncer : I canít take the time to escort everyone who needs to go running to daddy. I have real work to do.
Daria : So you can sit here and argue at the door for five minutes, but you canít watch me for thirty seconds while I ask my father to step outside?
Bouncer : I canít leave this door, and I canít let you in. Those are the rules.
Daria : (conspiratorial tone) If you canít leave the door Ö
Daria pushes buy him and into the bar, slipping out of his attempt to block her.
Bouncer : Hey!
Bouncer #2 : Just let her go and give me a hand with this line.
Pan over to Jake sitting at the bar with a male bartender talking to him.
Male Bartender : What can I get you?
Jake : A glass of something on tap. I donít much care what.
Male Bartender : How about the local micro-brew?
Jake : Whatever.
The bartender pours the beer and hands it to Jake. As Jake passes a bill across the bar to him, Daria comes up alongside him.
Male Bartender : (barely glancing Dariaís way) Whatís your poison babe?
Daria : Strychnine.
Both the bartender and Jake turn to look at Daria. Jake appears to be sizing Daria up, attempting to decide if it is really his daughter.
Jake : Daria?
Male Bartender : Um, miss? Arenít you a bit young?
Daria : I just came for my father. (to Jake) Dad, mom has a nice dinner all prepared, so you will come home.
Jake : Helen? Whatís she doing home?
Daria : She got the afternoon off, and came home to make dinner for us.
Jake : Helen? Home?
Daria : (grabbing Jake by the arm) Come on dad. Itís time to leave.
Cut to dinner at the Morgendorffer residence. A very impressive-looking dinner is on the table as Jake and Daria enter the kitchen. Helen looks up slowly, but perks up dramatically when she sees Daria and Jake. Although she doesnít say anything, it is clear from her expression that she is grateful for Dariaís assistance.
Jake : (surprised at the dinner) Wow Helen! This looks great!
Helen : (abashed) Um, thanks Jake. Girls, how was school today?
Quinn : Well, Sandi agreed to come back to the fashion club to coordinate the fashion show Ö
Daria : Wait a minute. Sandi, the same girl that treated you like hired help, and who you finally got the guts to oust, is just being let back in? In a position of power? Arenít you afraid that sheíll try and kick you out?
Quinn : Nope. There are elections in the spring.
Daria : (confused) Do you WANT her to take over?
Quinn : Daria, Daria. You simply donít understand. If I didnít let Sandi back in, sheíd either try and replace me, or start a competing club and try and diminish the Fashion Club. So I had to let her in.
Quinn reaches out and takes a sip of her water
Quinn : But Sandi likes to be in charge, in control. And she knows that most of our members will be helping with the fashion show. What she doesnít realize is how unpleasant she is to those beneath her. Not only will she alienate almost all the members, but she gets to give all the hard, unpopular decisions that come about in organizing the show. On top of that, sheíll be far to busy organizing the show to be able to bother me for a while. By the time elections come, Iíd be surprised if she has any office at all, and she has only herself to thank for it.
Daria looks at Quinn in amazement.
Helen : Why sweetie! Iím so proud of you! Youíre finally learning how to deal with people.
Daria : I take it back. Machiavelli had nothing on you.
Fade to Helen and Jakeís room. Helen and Jake are sitting on the bed talking to each other. Both look very serious, and more than a little frightened.
Helen : Jake? Why didnít you just tell me that you got the power plant account? Why did you let me wait until it was too late for me to do anything?
Jake : Would it have made a difference?
Helen : (abashed) No, probably not.
Jake : (deadly serious) If I told you, and you went ahead anyway, wouldnít that be worse than if you didnít know at all? If I wanted that kind of rejection, I could relive my childhood. (shaking fist) Damn you old man!
Helen : Jake, please! (seriously) Jake, Iím sorry Ö
As the scene fades out, Jake reaches over to take Helenís hand in his.
The next morning, interior of Lawndale High. Upchuck is walking down the hall when Daria comes up behind him and grabs him by his ear. Upchuck attempts to twist away, but Daria maintains her grip, causing Upchuck to yell in surprise and pain.
Upchuck : Hey, Ow!
Daria : Listen closely Upchuck. I know that you were at Pizza King, and I know that you started that rumor. You are going to tell the school exactly what you did and why, or I will make your life a living hell.
Upchuck : But I didnít Ö
Daria : Yes, you did. Now letís go see Ms. Li.
Upchuck : (concerned) Ms. Li?
Cut to Ms. Liís office. Angela Li is sitting at her desk as Daria drags Upchuck into her office. Ms. Li looks up contemptuously, and is surprised to see Daria and Upchuck in her office.
Ms. Li : Ms. Morgendorffer. What is the meaning of this unwarranted intrusion?
Daria : Ms. Li, no doubt you have heard the various rumors floating around the school?
Ms. Li : Ms. Morgendorffer, I simply do not have the time to bother with the pedantic dealings of the student body Ö
Daria : Well, this (gestures to Upchuck) student has started a rumor regarding erroneous sexual behavior on my part that has created an unfriendly environment at this school. According to the school code, you are obligated to take Ďany reasonable actioní to prevent such sexual harassment at school.
Ms. Li : And what would this reasonable action be?
Daria : Charles wishes to address the school to inform them as to the error of his statements and beg forgiveness.
Ms. Li : If I refuse?
Daria : I will be forced to file a public complaint based on a violation of the school code exposing everythingÖ
Ms. Li : You do realize that youíll simply be spreading the message to a wider audience. Is that really what you want?
Daria : I want this to end. I do not wish to be the object of speculation and rumor, and I have no desire to limit my contact with my friends to avoid jeering and innuendo. The best way to do that is to cut the rumor off at the source. Will you help me, or not?
Ms. Li : Permitting student use of school equipment for personal reasons is most unusual, Ms. Morgendorffer.
Daria : Ms Li. Either you let Charles speak now, or I leave this office, walk down to the payphone, and call my mother to have her contact our lawyer. What will it be?
Ms. Li : (reluctantly) Very well Ms. Morgendorffer. But if this is a trick, youíll be in detention for the rest of your term here at Lawndale.
Daria : Charles, itís all yours Ö
Charles picks up the microphone and depresses the button, causing a slight squeal to go over the intercom.
Cut to Mr. OíNeilís class. Jane is sitting next to an empty seat as the squeal begins. The whole class stops to listen for the announcement.
Upchuck : (VO, nervously) Um, this is, uh, Charles Ruttheimer the Third. Iím here because I made a mistake, and, um, need to do something about it Ö
Jane looks curious and amused, listening attentively to the unexpected announcement. The rest of the class whisper softly amongst each other, unaware of the nature of the announcement.
Cut to Ms. Bennetís classroom. Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany are seated in a group, and are exchanging glances with each other.
Stacy : Upchuck?
Upchuck : (VO) I was in Pizza King earlier this week, where I heard someone make a joke in poor taste about Ms. Morgendorffer and Ms. Lane. This was only a joke, and was quite obviously false Ö
Quinn looks up at the intercom, and a small smirk forms on her face.
Cut to Ms. Barchís classroom. Ms. Barch is listening with a bemused expression on her face. Both Jamie and Melissa are listening intently.
Upchuck : (VO) But my own imagination and lack of any, um, social interactions caused me to become obsessed with the possibilities. This obsession led me to start the false rumor that has unfortunately caused Ms. Morgendorffer and Ms. Lane so much trouble.
Cut back to Ms. Liís office. Daria and Ms. Li are watching with great interest, and Upchuck looks as if heís about to collapse.
Upchuck : I am sorry that my pathetic imagination has caused so much trouble.
Upchuck releases the button and places the microphone back on the desk. Silently, he walks out of Ms. Liís office, closing the door behind him.
Daria : Thank you Ms. Li. Iíll return to class now.
Cut to Mr. OíNeilís class. The door opens as Daria enters. As she does so, the class begins clapping. Daria looks around in surprise, and sits down next to Jane.
Daria : Are they clapping for me?
Jane : I think theyíre just glad to see someone put Upchuck in his place.
Daria : You know, I think thereís more to it.
Jane : I donít follow you.
Daria : Upchuck was very hard on himself. Far more than necessary to be convincing.
Jane : So?
Daria : So I can only think of one explanation, and it bothers me.
Jane : What is it?
Daria : That he was sorry. Genuinely sorry. And he intentionally punished himself to make up for starting it.
Jane : Oh.
Daria : Yeah, oh.
Jane : Almost makes it hard to hate him Ö
Daria : Yeah, almost Ö
OíNeil : Class? Can we get started? We have such a fun and exciting day ahead of us!
Fade to the Morgendorffer living room. Daria and Jane walk in, and hear Helen and Jake in the kitchen.
Daria : (to Jane) Would you head up to my room and warm up the TV for me? I should check on those two Ö
Jane : Daria the chaperone?
Daria : Oh, just shut up!
Jane heads up the stairs as Daria walks into the kitchen. Inside the kitchen, Helen and Jake are sitting at the table talking. Noticing their daughterís entrance, they stop and turn to Daria.
Jake : Hey kiddo!
Daria : Hey dad, mom. Everything OK?
Helen : Not really. But at least weíre talking about it, and we realize that there are problems.
Jake : And knowing is half the battle!
Daria : Dad, please donít quote GI-Joe to me.
Jake : So THATíS where thatís from!
Helen : Daria, we just wanted to say thanks. We were both too stubborn to just say what was bothering us. You probably did more good than any of our marriage counselors.
Daria : Does that mean I can ask for the same hourly rate?
Helen : Donít push your luck.
Daria : I hope youíre not expecting some big emotional scene here.
Helen : Daria, give me a little credit. Weíre not expecting anything really.
Jake : Yeah, we just wanted to, um, thank you.
Daria : Well, uh, youíre welcome.
Daria walks out of the kitchen, turning and leaning against the wall just out of sight of the kitchen. As the scene fades out to the credits, Dariaís face takes on a look of happiness, a big smile slowly stretching across her face.