Have Daria, Will Travel
By Kristin Wegner
PART 1: School is out for the summer, and Daria is at Jane's house discussing summer plans.
Daria: Well Jane, should we start the Sick-Sad World Marathon now?
Jane: Nah. Let's save it until we're really bored.
Daria looks blankly at Jane. Jane looks blankly at Daria. Daria turns on the TV.
TV: How dangerous can paper cuts be? The ancient Egyptian papyrus curse, next on Sick, Sad World!
Jane: So Daria, what do you have planned for this summer?
Daria: Well, that "Pickling Watermelon Seeds for Fun and Profit" correspondence course sounded interesting. How about you?
Jane: I'm taking a cross-country trek to our nation's most picturesque landmarks in search of the meaning of life.
Daria: Sounds like you've got your summer all squared away.
Jane: Yeah. Trent's coming, too.
Daria: Wait a minute, you're serious?
Jane: Yeah. My parents have instituted a very bizarre form of punishment.
Daria: I'll say. Why?
Jane: Well, basically, my parents threatened to send Trent back to college if he didn't get out of the house and do something this summer. Trent tried to defend himself, but when he said, "I do plenty of stuff that you don't know about," he dug himself in even deeper.
Jane: Yeah. And since I was in the room at the time, guess who they picked as his sidekick.
Daria: Stand back - it's Super Jane.
Jane: Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of the Shadow. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of parents? Jane knows." They gave us a big list of all the places they want us to go. It's gonna take almost three weeks.
Daria: Three weeks? What am I gonna do in the meantime? Maybe you can hide out at my house, Jane.
Jane: What about Trent?
Daria: Oh. Um...
Jane: I don't think he'll fit in your closet. Besides, we have to bring back souvenirs from each place to prove we've been there.
Daria:Wow. That means....
Jane: My parents are getting smarter.
Daria: Not a good sign.
Jane: No. But they did say that if any of our friends were crazy enough to want to come along....
Daria: For instance, to escape their families.....
Jane: You got it. Trent managed to drag Jesse into this.
Daria: And you're dragging me.
Daria: So let me get this straight -
You want me to get back into "The Tank",
Spend 3 weeks visiting regions of the United States that are completely devoid of people,
Hike through forests that harbor bears, mountain lions, and escaped convicts,
And all in front of Trent.
Daria: (grinning) Cool. Count me in. Partners in crime.
Jane: You mean, partners doing time. We'll be shipped off in a week.
Daria: All right. But I'm not too fond of sitting on a trunk for three weeks.
Jane: You won't have to. Trent and Jesse found one of the bench seats. Their drummer was using it for a couch.
Daria: So where are those two? Packing?
Jane: Nah, they're in the basement saying good-bye to their electric guitars.
Daria: But we don't leave for a week.
Jane: Trent said it was a long and involved process. I decided not to ask.
PART 2: A week later: Jane, Trent, and Jesse are packing the van. Daria walks up carrying her backpack and a sleeping bag.
Jane: Is that all you're bringing?
Daria: Nah, I've got moving truck coming over in a few minutes.
Jane: Did you pack what I told you?
Daria: Yeah - warm clothes, bug spray, large wooden club, hunting license... I'll be back in a minute with my suitcase and pillow.
Jane: What's in the bag?
Daria: My hobbies. You know, my journal, a pad of paper, stuff to write with, deck of cards, camera-
Jane: For those Kodak moments with...
Daria: (frowns and continues) snacks, and the road map.
Jane: Why the extra paper?
Daria: You'll see. (She puts her stuff down and returns in a few minutes with the rest of it)
Daria: I decided that since you're getting me away from my family, I should take some responsibility for this trip, too.
Daria: I took the list of places we have to go and plotted them on the map. That way we cut down on actual hours in the van and make sure we see all the stuff your parents want you to.
Jane: So, we kinda have a plan. Did you leave space in the schedule for unexpected stops?
Daria: To do what?
Jane: Well, I was thinking of something along the lines of calling certain people collect from distant phone booths, leaving the phone off the hook, of course. How long do you figure that will detain Brittany?
Daria: Hours. (They both smile)
Trent: Hey, Janey, have you seen the tents? Oh, hey Daria.
Daria: Hi Trent. Hi Jesse.
Trent: I was hoping you'd come, you know, so Janey would have someone to talk to.
Jesse: Yeah, sure, that's it. (Trent frowns at him and steps on his foot) Ow! All right, I'm getting back to work. (They head to the garage)
(Jane and Daria exchange looks)
Jane: Trent's being defensive. Does that mean what I think it does?
Daria: Don't start.
Minutes later, Trent runs down the list of supplies.
Trent: Ok, Jesse, back me up...
Jesse: (referring to Mystic Spiral) That's my job.
Trent: (rolls his eyes) Ok- we packed the two tents and the tarps,
Jesse: Yeah, I see 'em.
Trent: Food in the cooler, portable TV and VCR, extra blankets, my guitar,
Jesse: Keep going.
Trent: Your guitar, Janey's art supplies, toolbox with Janey's glue gun,
Jesse: It's all in there.
Trent: Walkmans and tapes, and does everybody see the rest of their stuff?
Daria: Wait, Trent, we forgot the bear traps.
Trent: (grinning) I guess we'll have to pick some up later. Ok, that's it then. Prepare to leave the civilized world.
Daria: Jane, can any of the people in this neighborhood be classified as civilized human beings?
Jane: No way. One word: Upchuck.
They head to the van. Trent hops in the car. Jesse yells, "Shotgun!" and climbs in. Trent frowns at him again. Jane and Daria sit on the bench seat.
Trent: Ok, everybody ready?
Trent: Well, good-bye cruel world.
Jane: Hello trees.
Daria: Good riddance, family.
Jesse: Hello more trees.
Trent pulls out of the driveway and drives around the corner. He continues around the block until they're in front of the Lane house again. He stops the van.
Trent: Um, Janey?
Jane: Yeah, Trent?
Trent: Where the hell are we going?
PART 3: Having consulted Daria's map, our four unwilling adventurers find themselves headed to the Grand Canyon. After spending several hours in the van, they enter an Arizona desert.
Jesse: (searching for radio stations) Hmm...Oldies, no...static, more static...Country, no way... static...
Jane: Maybe it's not static. It could be the kind of music they listen to around here.
Trent: Around where? I don't see anything, do you?
Trent: Hey Janey, if you want to work on your driving skills, now's the time. There's nothing out here to hit.
Jane: What do you say we work on your driving skills, Trent? "But honest, Dad, I don't know where that dent came from."
Trent: (frowns) Aw, Janey, come on. It was a simple mistake-
Jane: It was a telephone pole.
Trent: Ok, Ok - I give up. (grins) But I sure got him to fall for that one, didn't I?
Jane: Trent? Tell me again why we're on this "mission" ? I forgot.
Trent ignores her, turns on a music tape, and blasts the air conditioning.
Daria: (writes in her notebook and passes it to Jane) Jane, quit picking on him.
Jane: (writes back) He's my brother, Daria. I have to pick on him. It's my Constitutional right as an American citizen. So, this is what you brought the paper for, huh?
Daria: (writes) Yeah. How else are we gonna discuss stuff that we don't want them to hear?
Jane: (writes) Well, we could wait 'til they fall asleep. But by that time, the car would be careening off the road and we'd all burst into flames. So, I guess this is a pretty good way to communicate.
Trent: Hey, Jess - you wanna take over? I'm gonna get some sleep. (Jane and Daria exchange looks)
Jesse: Sure. Pull over.
Trent stops the van and everybody gets out. Daria and Jane walk into the desert and look around for awhile.
Daria: Well, see any rattlesnakes?
Jane: Nope. You?
Daria: No. How come nothing interesting ever happens to us?
Jane: Oh, I wouldn't say that. Look over there.
They look and see Jesse and Trent standing on top of the van, looking back at them.
Jane: Why do guys do anything?
Jane: Ten bucks says they can't figure out how to get back down.
Jesse: (yelling) Don't come any closer!!!
Jane: (yelling back) Why!?
Daria: How come I miss all the cool stuff?
Jane: (yelling) What do you want us to do?!! Just stand here?!!
Trent: (yelling back) Walk around to the other side of the van and get in the driver's seat!!
Jane and Daria make a big circle around the area and quickly hop in the van. Jane finds the keys in the ignition and drives for a few yards. She pulls over again and Trent and Jesse climb off the roof.
Daria: What happened?
Trent: Well, Jesse and I were wandering around over by those rocks and we came across a bunch of snakes. So we ran back to the van.
Jane: How did you guys get up there?
Jesse: Well, let's just say walking into a nest of rattlesnakes can have strange effects on your momentum.
Jane: I guess.
Daria: Um, just for the record, guys, once you're out of striking range, you can out-walk a snake.
Trent and Jesse stop still. Daria and Jane try not to laugh.
Jane: And how far out of striking range would you say the van was, Trent?
Trent: Well, um, never mind. At least we got to see something alive in the desert.
Daria: Besides the mirages of course.
Jane: (finds Daria's notebook and writes) See? It's more fun to pick on 'em.
Jesse pulls onto the road and drives away. Trent flops on top of the old trunk in the back and falls asleep almost immediately.
Daria: (writes) How can anyone sleep like that?
Jane: (writes) Trent can sleep anywhere. You should have seen the time he fell asleep lying across his guitar. It took him a week to straighten out his back. (Daria smirks and puts the notebook away)
Jane: Hey, Jesse?
Jane: When you and Trent were running from the snakes, why didn't you just get inside the van instead of on top of it?
PART 4: A full day of driving has brought our "heroes" from Lawndale to a campground near the Grand Canyon. They begin to unload the Tank as a storm approaches. Soon, they spread out the tarps set the tents up on them.
Trent: Hey, Janey - you and Daria take the blue tent. That's the one that's the most waterproof.
Jane: No, Trent, the waterproof tent is the green one. Last time we went camping, you and Dad got flooded out of the blue tent, remember?
Daria: (to Jane) Your family went camping?
Jane: (to Daria) Yeah. It was one of those bizarre parental attempts at bonding. Scary.
Trent: Janey, Dad and I had the green tent. That's the messed up one.
Jane: Trent, I distinctly remember the color of the leaky tent was blue. I'm an artist, remember? I can keep track of colors. Daria and I will be fine with the green tent.
Trent: Janey, come on, it's no problem - Jesse and I can sleep in the van. Right, Jess?
Jesse: Yeah. We'll stay in there until we can find an extra tarp to throw over our tent.
Jane: Trent, I know I'm right. Daria and I stand by our decision. Right, Daria?
Daria: Uh, you bet, Jane.
Trent: Well, I guess if you don't mind getting wet, Jesse and I might as well take the other tent. No sense letting a dry tent go to waste. Are you two sure about this?
Jane: Yeah. You know how sure I am? Watch this.
Jane rummages through her supplies and pulls out some canisters of paint and some brushes. She takes out a square piece of wood and paints "Jane and Daria's Domicile" on it. Placing it in front of the green tent, she takes the brush and scrawls JANE across the tent in blue paint. She hands the brush to Daria who adds her name. Trent and Jesse exchange surprised looks.
Jane: Come on, guys - grab a brush and paint your tent, if you think it's such a castle.
Trent: Hmm, that gives me an idea.
Trent confers with Jesse, who nods. Taking the brush from Jane, he paints "Jesse and Trent's Castle" on another piece of wood and puts it in front of the blue tent. Jesse takes the brush next and paints MYSTIC SPIRAL on it in large letters. Trent adds some more paint to the doorway, then returns the brush to Jane.
Daria: Hey, Jane, I think something's missing from our tent.
Daria takes the brush and paints "Enter our Sick Sad World" on the doorway.
Jane: Perfect. (thunder cracks) And just in time, too.
Trent: Well, I guess that's all for today. Janey, if your tent starts to float away, we'll open the van for you.
Jane: That's Ok, Trent, we plan to stay in our tent the whole night.
Trent: So do we.
Jane: All right then.
Trent: All right then. Good night, Daria. Happy sailing, Janey.
Jane: Good night, Jesse. Shut up, Trent.
Daria: Good night, guys.
Jesse: Good night, girls.
Jane: Good night moon. Good night trees. Good night mountain lions.
The rain comes down hard that night. It begins to slow in the early morning (of course, nobody notices - all are asleep.) Late in the morning, Daria and Jane get up, get dressed, and exit the tent in search of food.
Jane: Well, Daria, did you float away?
Daria: Nope. That's the driest tent I've ever seen. So I guess that means...
They hear a groans as Trent and Jesse stumble outside. Trent stops to pour water out of each of his shoes, and Jesse wrings out his hair. Both are completely soaked and frozen.
Jane: So, how was your night, brother of mine?
Trent doesn't say a word. He digs around in the van for Jane's paints. Trent walks to the sign, crosses out "Castle", and replaces it with "Shack"
Jane: Is that so?
Jesse takes the brush from Trent, crosses out "Shack", and replaces it with "Cave".
Jane: Hmm, not quite accurate.
Jane takes the brush and replaces "Cave" with "Lake".
Jane: There. That should do it.
Jesse: Man, it's freezing out here.
Trent: No, the problem is it was freezing in there. Well, give us a few minutes to dry off and we'll head to the Canyon. (he and Jesse head back into the tent)
Daria: (to Jane) Ten bucks says all their dry clothes were in the tent with them.
Trent: (from inside the tent) Uh, Janey? It's gonna take a little longer than we thought.
Daria and Jane exchange looks.
PART 5: After drying off all their belongings, Trent and Jesse consult the map to find out which road goes to the Canyon. All four get in the van, leaving the tents to dry.
Trent: (shivering) Oh, man. It's cold in here, too. (he turns on the heater)
Jane: We're in the middle of Arizona, and my brother turns the heat on. I'm ashamed.
Several minutes later, they exit the car and head to the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Jane: Yikes. It's hotter in the van than it is outside.
Trent: (frowns) Well, Janey, how many times have you slept inside a waterfall?
Jane: Not as often as you, apparently.
The four head to the lookout point.
Jane: Well, it certainly is grand.
Daria: And canyon-like.
Trent: Janey, there's no people here. How do we bring back a souvenir?
Jane: Daria has a camera. You wouldn't mind helping me and Trent with our "homework" would you, Daria?
Daria: Um, no problem. Why don't you two go stand over there by the lookout? (Trent and Jane line up and Daria snaps a picture)
Trent: Are you a "traditional" photographer, Daria?
Daria: Not really. It's just a hobby of mine.
Trent: Cool. So you won't mind if I do something like this?
Trent whips out a squirt gun and starts firing at Jane, who tries to hide behind Jesse. However, Jesse also has one and quickly turns on her. The two guys are laughing until Jane pulls a third gun from her vest and starts chasing Trent. Daria can't help laughing (or snapping pictures). To keep from getting any wetter, Trent grabs Jane and holds her so Jesse can soak her. Jane manages to free one arm and shoot Jesse in the face. Unable, to see, Jesse starts firing at whatever moves.
Trent: (splashed in the face) Hey, you're missing! (he snatches Jane's squirt gun and tosses it to Daria) Hey, Daria, help us out! (he starts tickling Jane)
Jane: (through laughter) Don't ....listen to him....Daria!
Daria: That's Ok, Trent, you seem to have things under control.
Trent: Oh, come on. Jump in!
Jane: Trent, I surrender!!!
Trent: (releases her) Ok, Ok... hey Jesse!
Jesse: Yeah? (he turns and gets sprayed in the face) That's it, man, you're dead!
Trent takes off running and yells, "Come on Daria!" as Jesse follows.
Daria: What was that about, Jane?
Jane: (out of breath) Why do guys do anything? Aren't you going to follow him?
Daria: Should I?
Jane: King Trent summons thee.
Daria: Jane, might I remind you that I'm holding a weapon?
Jane: As if a little more water is gonna make a difference. Go on. I'm gonna dry off.
Daria hides behind a boulder and shoots Jesse as he runs past. Trent sees her and grins.
Trent: I knew you wouldn't let me down. Let's trap him.
Daria and Trent corner Jesse against the Tank and he surrenders.
Trent: All right! Undefeated. Nice work, Daria.
Daria: Thanks, Trent.
Jane: The only reason you're undefeated is because you've been too much of a coward to attempt something like this before.
Trent: Or is it that you've been too much of a coward to accept the challenge?
Jane: What challenge? I don't recall any challenge.
Trent: Who's wet now?
Jane: Well, you and Jesse still are.
Trent: I'm willing to overlook that right now. Time to pack up. Let's head back to camp.
They return and pack up the tents. On the road again, Trent and Jesse discuss routes to the next site.
Trent: Um, Daria? Where are we going again?
Daria: Well, your parents' list said Washington D.C.
Trent: You mean, the city of perpetual politics? Aw, man.
Jesse: The President, and all those people...they work. That's all they do in that city.
Jane: That and built absurdly large statues of historical figures.
They drive past a sign that says "Flagstaff next exit"
Jane: Hey, Trent, doesn't Wind live in Flagstaff?
Trent: Hey, yeah, he does. Maybe he has some ideas to get us out of this.
Jane: It's worth a shot.
Trent follows the signs to Flagstaff.
Daria: (writes) How many siblings do you have, anyway?
Jane: (writes) Oh, they come and go. Well, this should be an interesting side trip.
Jane: (writes) You'll see. Brothers act weird around each other.
PART 6: Some time later, Trent pulls into the driveway of a smallish house with a bizarre sculpture in the front yard (like the one in front of the Lane house in Lawndale). Everyone gets out and Trent rings the doorbell.
Voice from inside: Man, this better be good. You woke me up.
The door opens to reveal Jane and Trent's older brother, Wind. He is a slightly shorter, more built version of Trent. He wears a sweatshirt and jeans without holes, and his hair combed (at least, in comparison to Trent's).
Trent: Hey, is that any way to treat family?
Wind: Jane! Trent! What the heck are you doing here? (looking at Trent) You used to be a lot shorter, man.
Trent: Yeah. Well, we were in the neighborhood, so...
Wind: Uh, why were you in the neighborhood?
Jane: That's gonna take some explaining. (pointing to the sculpture) Still got that old thing lying around, huh?
Wind: Who knows? Maybe someone will see it and I'll become famous.
Trent: And someday, cats will fly. (Jane, Jesse, and Daria watch the ensuing battle of wits)
Wind: Hey, look who's talking, "Mystic" man.
Trent: Are you mocking my band? Don't touch the band.
Wind: (grinning) I think you're touched in the head.
Trent: (confidently) Hey, watch out. I'm the tall one now.
Wind: Yeah, but I can still catch you.
Trent: Right. I'd like to see you try.
Wind: Sounds like an easy win to me.
He tackles Trent, and they scuffle on the lawn for a few minutes.
Jane: Where's a camera when you need one?
Daria hands her camera to Jane, who snaps a few pictures. Jesse, Jane, and Daria can't help laughing as Wind manages to pin Trent to the ground.
Jane: This is what I had to grow up with, Daria. Brothers. Who needs 'em.
Hearing Jane, Trent and Wind come to an abrupt halt. Trent mumbles something and Wind nods. They start chasing Jane, who sprints to the backyard. All burst out laughing.
Wind: Man, you got stronger since I saw you last. (smugly) But not strong enough.
Trent: (glancing at Daria, slightly embarrassed) I wasn't ready. I demand a rematch.
Wind: Nope. Sorry. Limited time offer. I'm retiring undefeated. So, who are your friends here?
Trent: You remember Jesse, don't you?
Wind: Sure do. You still hanging around with this loser?
Jesse: You bet.
Trent: This is our friend Daria. She was kind enough to accompany us on our exile.
Wind: Nice to meet you.
Jane: (pokes her head around a corner) Is it safe?
Wind: Yeah, come on out. So, why are you all here, anyway?
Trent: Mom and Dad.
Wind: Uh oh. What did I do this time?
Trent: Not you. Me.
Wind: This oughta be good. Come on in, I want to hear the details. Hey, have you guys had lunch yet?
Over lunch,Trent and Jane relate the entire story, while Wind shakes his head in amazement.
Jane: So, basically our parents decided that Trent was too much of a recluse and kicked him out of the house.
Trent:(defensively) Hey, I go plenty of places.
Jane: If dreams count as places. (Trent frowns at her)
Wind: Well, I see you two are just as agreeable as ever.
Daria: Like oil and water. (everybody laughs)
Trent: (grins) Don't start about the water.
Jane: Trent and Jesse-
Trent: Got wet. Never mind.
Wind: So, I heard from our cousin Mitch the other day-
Trent: What's he up to now?
Wind: He's a photography teacher in Chicago.
Trent: (raising his eyebrows) A teacher? Weird.
Jane: It's hard to imagine a Lane doing anything constructive.
Wind: He said something about getting a camera that hooks up to a computer. I wasn't really paying attention. So, you guys are going to D.C. next, huh?
Trent: Yeah. I don't like the idea. Too many people.
Jane: People making important, boring policies.
Jesse: Boring policies that somehow control our lives.
Daria: Lives that our government uses to test new forms of important, boring policies on.
Wind: (laughing) Well, you four sound enthralled. Sorry, Trent, but I honestly can't think of anything to get you out of this one. Mom and Dad seem pretty much determined to get some culture in you somehow.
Trent: Culture scares me.
Jane: Anything beyond the shelter of the basement tends to give Trent hives.
Trent: (frowns) Aw, Janey...well, we should probably get going. Got a long drive to D.C.
Wind: Where are you guys gonna stay?
Trent: We're camping.
Wind: Well, don't forget to pick up an extra tarp, Trent. That blue tent really isn't waterproof.
Trent: (Jane looks at him smugly) Um, yeah. I'll try to remember that.
Wind: I think I might have one lying around. You want it?
Wind, Trent, and Jesse head to another room to find the tarp. Jane and Daria finish lunch.
Daria: It must be weird having so many older siblings.
Jane: Yeah, but for the most part, it was just me and Trent in the house growing up. When we were kids, we even had to share a room. Wind was a teenager then, and he wanted his space. That's probably why he left home as soon as he could.
Daria: Why didn't Trent?
Jane: Well, he may be in a band, Daria, but Trent's actually a pretty shy guy. He didn't want to face people in general, I think. I guess we're kinda close for siblings - Trent argues with the rest of the family, but he puts up with me. Maybe he didn't want to leave me home alone with our parents.
Later, everybody heads to the van. Wind gives Jane a hug good-bye. He turns to Trent, gives him a punch in the arm, and says, "Go for it." Trent shrugs nervously and gets in the van. He pulls onto the road.
Jane: Go for what, Trent?
Trent: (kinda flustered) Uh, nothing. Luck for the trip, I guess.
Daria: Trent, what was that Wind said about your cousin in Chicago?
Trent: He's a photo teacher. Man, I wish we were going to Chicago. I bet there's fewer boring people there.
Daria: Maybe we can. I've got an idea.
PART 7: Daria explains her plan.
Daria: So, since he's a photo teacher with access to a computer, we could take pictures of you and Jane and superimpose them over pictures from Washington. That way, we won't even have to go to D.C., and we can hang around in Chicago.
Trent: (smiles) It's a good thing we brought you, Daria. You don't mind doing all the thinking, do you?
Jane: Nah, Daria's always wanted to be the brains of the outfit, haven't you?
Trent: And now you have an outfit.
Daria: Don't applaud - just throw money. (everybody laughs)
Trent: All right, onward to Chicago.
Jane: Hitch up those wagons, ye pioneers. Go East, young man.
Daria: (writes) So this time, instead of being trapped in a car with Trent and Jesse for four hours, we'll be trapped in a car with them for four days.
Jane: (writes) The fun never stops in the Lane family. Trent was awful nervous about something back there. I wonder what he and Wind talked about...
Daria: (writes) Don't start Jane. I can't think that. It might not be true.
Jane: (writes) You mean, too good to be true.
Daria: (writes) Shut up Jane. I'm gonna get some sleep.
Jane: (writes) Ooh, defensive, are we?
Daria: (writes) Considering our present situation- (she gestures at Trent in the driver's seat right in front of her) - sleep is about the only option I have.
Jane: (writes) I'm surprised you don't stay awake just to stare at him.
Daria: (writes) I'm not sinking to your level.You can keep on staring at Jesse. I'm sleeping.
Trent: Hey, Janey- why don't you set up the TV?
Jane: Because you might drive off the road.
Trent: Nah, I'll just listen. I promise.
Jane rummages around for the TV and puts it at an angle where she, Daria, and Jesse can see it. Daria puts in a Sick Sad World tape.
TV: Are farmers trying to take over the world by using super intelligent cornstalks? Megalomaniac veggies, next on Sick Sad World.
Jane: Good thing we're in a desert.
Daria: Gotta keep an eye on that corn.
Jesse: And to think my mom used to get mad when I didn't eat my vegetables.
A few hours later in a New Mexico desert...
Trent: (yawning) Man, I've about had it. (he stops the van) Anyone want to take over?
Jane: (whispers) How about you, Daria?
Daria: (whispers) Only if I get to tie you to the bumper, Jane.
Trent: What Daria? You want to try?
Daria: That's Ok, your drummer might not like the idea of somebody else driving his van.
Jesse: Nah, he doesn't care. Just as long as it runs when we give it back.
Trent: There's no one on the road. Come on, Daria, I'll teach you.
Daria: Well, I, uh...(Jane shoves her forward)
Trent: Cool. All right. Jess, why don't you sit back with Jane?
Jesse: Sure. (Jane looks slightly pleased)
Daria switches to the driver's seat, looking decidedly nervous.
Daria: Um, are you sure I should be doing this?
Trent: Why not?
Daria: I've never driven before.
Jane: Daria's parents are forcing her to lead a rather sheltered life.
Trent: All the better reason for you to learn how.
Daria: Uh, Ok.
Trent: Just turn the key, put it in drive, and pull out onto the road. (Daria follows his instructions and soon has the van up to speed) See? Nothing to it. You're a natural.
Over the course of the next half hour, Trent teaches Daria the basics. She makes a mental note not to blush at his compliments. She pulls over to let Jesse take the next shift.
Trent: That was great for a beginner. We'll have you fluent in no time.
Daria: Thanks, Trent.
Trent: Hey, Jess, wait til we get to Wyoming and Montana - most of those roads have no speed limits.
Jesse: Cool. How much father til we stop for the night?
Daria: (checks the map) Looks like another hour or so.
Trent: I think I'll get some sleep then. (falls asleep in the passenger seat)
Jane: (writes) Ooh, he taught you to drive. Things are getting interesting now.
Daria: (writes) Did I mention that I hate you?
Jane: (writes) Yes, several times now. Hate is an integral part of any working friendship.
Daria: (writes) It truly is a sick, sad world.
PART 8: Four days of rather uneventful driving bring our travelers to the outskirts of Chicago. Having warned cousin Mitch Lane of their arrival, Trent heads to the Sears Tower, the most noticeable landmark in the city, to meet him.
Trent: This city is pretty cool. I think I like it here.
Jane: Just point me to the art museums, thank you.
Jesse: Hey, we get to sleep indoors tonight. Cool.
Trent: No sense in rushing things. Let's stay for a few days.
Jane: (as they pass the Art Institute) Let's stay for a few years.
Daria: Neat lake.
Trent: Yeah, I almost forgot about that.
Jesse: What's by the lake?
Jane: Sand, water, boats, people in ugly swimsuits falling off jet-skiis - you know, the usual.
Several minutes later, they park and look for Mitch.
Mitch: Yo, Trent! Over here!
Trent: Hey. Nice city you got here.
Mitch: You don't know the half of it. Come on, I'll show you around. (he turns and heads into the building)
Jane: Where are we going?
Mitch is about Trent's height, with a bleached buzz cut. They enter the giant elevator, and it takes off for the top of the Tower. Daria looks decidedly queasy as they exit.
Trent: Hey, Daria? Something wrong?
Daria: Um, I'm fine. (turns to Mitch) Do all the elevators in this city do that?
Mitch: Nope, this is one of the world's fastest. How else are we gonna get up this high?
They head to the windows, and Mitch points out all his favorite hang outs.
Mitch: ...and the Museum of Contemporary Art, well, you'll have to see it to believe it, Jane. So, when do you guys want to start on this little "project" of yours?
Trent: How about tomorrow morning?
Trent: Really late.
Mitch: Works for me. Well, back to the apartment, everybody. (he heads for the elevator)
Everyone enters the elevator. Daria looks rather apprehensive, but at a sympathetic look from Trent, she seems to relax.
Jesse: So, any good places to eat around here? (Daria groans at the mention of food)
Mitch: How about Planet Hollywood? (at the mention of "Hollywood," everybody cringes) Ok, maybe not. (he gets in the shotgun seat of the van, and Jesse sits on the trunk) Hey, did any of you bring a camera?
Jane: Daria has one.
Mitch: How much photo do you know?
Daria: Just the basics. Push the button and it shoots. (Trent and Jesse laugh)
Mitch: (pulls out a Pentax camera) Ever used one of these?
Daria: No. Why?
Mitch: Cause I'm a photo teacher, remember? These are the kind my students use. You can borrow it while you're here.
Daria: Um, Ok. But it looks complicated.
Mitch: You'll like it, trust me. I can teach anybody can use one. (smugly) That's why I'm the school's favorite photo teacher.
Trent: (somewhat annoyed) You're also the school's only photo teacher.
Later that night...
Trent: Hey, Janey, you and Daria take the fold-out couch.
Jane: Are you sure?
Trent: Yeah, Jesse and I will be fine on the floor.
Jesse: (mumbles) Could have asked me first. (Trent steps on his foot again) Ow!
Daria and Jane place their sleeping bags by the couch. Trent and Jesse unroll theirs on the floor of the same room, since the apartment is so small.
Trent: I wonder what kind of night life they have around here.
Jesse: Let's ask Mitch. (they exit the room to find him)
Daria: Jane, this is really weird.
Jane: What? Being in Chicago? Or is it sleeping in a room with-
Daria: Shut up!
Jane: Touchy, touchy- just kidding. Don't you think I'm having similar thoughts?
Daria: Yeah, but Jesse actually acknowledges your existence. Trent is-
Jane: A loser?
Daria:(frowns) No, less aware of his surroundings.
Jane: Oh, not entirely - Trent doesn't leave the house for just anyone, you know.
Daria: What do you mean? He's doing this because he has to. So are you.
Jane: Yes, but Trent's the one who suggested I bring you.
PART 9: Trent and Jesse return after consulting Mitch about Chicago's night activities.
Jesse: Hey, you two wanna catch a movie or something?
Jane: Art museum?
Trent: I think they're all closed now, Janey.
Jane: Tomorrow then. Maybe we could rent something, Trent. You and Jesse would probably sleep through a movie after all that driving.
Trent: Nah, we're Ok, aren't we, Jesse?
Jesse: Yeah. But if you girls want to stay in, we will.
Looking through Mitch's movie selection, the group decides on "The Shining."
Jane: A guy goes insane from lack of human contact and goes after his family with an axe. Gotta love that story line.
Daria: How come I don't get to go after my family with an axe? (Trent, Jesse, and Jane laugh)
Jane: I guess you need multiple personalities first. Isn't that right, Trent?
Jane: Hmm. 'Trent, put down the axe. Back away from the axe.' Nope, it doesn't work. You're too rational to go on a murderous rampage.
Trent: (pretending to be angry) Wanna bet? (smiles) Just kidding.
Trent decides to sit on the end of the couch. Jesse sits in the middle and Jane sits next to him. Trent elbows Jesse, trying to make him get up and move.
Daria: I'll be back. Let me pull in a chair.
Trent: Hey, we'll make room. Scoot over, Jesse.
Jesse moves, but closer to Trent. Not wanting to loose her seat, Jane moves toward Trent too, so that Daria sits on the end by her. Trent mumbles something that only Jesse can here. Jesse ignores him and starts the tape. Trent crosses his arms and scowls.
Jane: Hey, this movie looks modern. This must be a remake.
Trent: Yeah, I've heard about this one - it's like six hours long.
Mitch: (from the kitchen) Four hours. I thought the first part was boring, so I recorded over it. The other two parts are still there, though.
Trent: Ok. (Mitch heads back to his room)
Jane: The paper said they took out the axe and replaced it with a croquet mallet. This is gonna be lame.
Trent: I don't know, croquet can be scary.
Jane: At a family reunion, yes. In a movie, no.
As the movie rolls on, scary things begin to happen. Jane repeatedly ducks behind Jesse, more for show than from fright. Daria stares at Trent. As she looks away, Trent glances over. He shakes his head, sighs, and turns back to the movie. On the screen, a ghost lady is chasing a boy through one of the hotel rooms. The boy makes it to the hallway and stops, catching his breath. Everything is quiet, until a pair of green arms shoots out and pulls the boy back into the room.
At the suddenness of the boy's disappearance and the volume off the music, Trent is startled and falls off the couch. Jane pauses the tape, and she and Jesse crack up. Daria bites her lip to keep from laughing.
Trent: (mad at himself for looking so stupid) Yeah, yeah, laugh it up.
Jane: Is the movie too much for you, Trent?
Trent: (dangerously) I don't know - you're the one who keeps hiding.
Daria smirks, and Trent looks at her and winks. Once Trent sits down again, the movie resumes. Some time elaspes...Jane elbows Daria and points to Trent. His eyelids slowly sink, then close as he falls asleep. They stifle a laugh. Daria points to Jesse, who is also getting tired. His head sags low and soon he is snoring softly. Jane turns off the TV.
Daria: Poor guys. Too much driving I guess.
Jane: They just don't have our stamina. Aw, guys look so cute when they fall asleep.
Daria: Jane? We have a problem. They're on our bed.
Jane: Oh, well. I guess we're stuck with the floor tonight. My brother doesn't take waking up kindly. I'm not gonna bother him. (she puts a blanket over Trent) Dork.
Jane and Daria unroll their sleeping bags and are soon asleep also.
Monday morning comes early. Light streaming in the windows reveals Jane and Daria still asleep. Jesse is sprawled out face down on the couch with one shoe missing, and Trent seems to have rolled off onto the floor again. He has a pillow over his face. Nobody's moving. Several hours later...Daria sits up and looks around. Seeing the guys asleep, she nudges Jane. Jane looks around and grins. She grabs Daria's camera, marches over to the couch, and snaps a picture. The guys still don't move, so Jane picks up Trent's pillow and whacks Jesse over the head with it.
Jesse: Huh? (rolls over) What's up?
Jane: We've got work to do, remember?
Jesse: Oh yeah. Where's Trent?
Jane: Down there.
Jesse: Hey, Trent. Trent! (Jane hits Trent with the pillow)
Trent: (sleepily) No, Aunt Bernice, put down the croquet mallet...(Jesse and the girls start laughing. Jane smacks him again) Ow! (Trent opens his eyes)What the...Janey, don't do that. (rolls over and sighs) What?
Jane: Time to put our plan into action.
Trent:(sleepily) Does that involve movement? I don't think I'm capable of moving right now.
Jane: Did you mess up your back again?
Trent: Nah, I'm Ok. Give me a few minutes. (his eyes close) (Jane hits him with the pillow)
Ow! Ok, Ok, I'm getting up. (Mitch comes in to check out the noise)
Mitch: What's the matter, Trent? Are these ruffians beating on you again?
Trent: No. Man, you guys have early mornings out here.
Mitch: No earlier than usual. It's noon.
Trent: That's exactly what I mean.
PART 10: After everybody wakes up, Mitch prepares for the "project."
Mitch: Time to step into my studio and get to work.
Jane: You have a studio?
Daria: Studio, closet, what's the difference? (everybody laughs)
Mitch has all four stand against a white background and takes several pictures.
Jane: What purpose does this serve?
Mitch: Well, these are the pictures I'll scan into the computer. You guys can go wander the city while I fix up these prints. Lawndale may be out for the summer, but Hersey has another couple weeks of school. Today was an institute day, so I ditch- uh, took the day off.
Trent: So, that's it?
Mitch: For now.
Trent: Ok. What kind of stuff do you do in this city for fun?
Mitch: I hang out with my friends. (smugly) You know, pick up girls...(Trent looks skeptical)
Jane: You have friends? (she looks at Trent-he rolls his eyes and shakes his head)
Mitch: Um, why don't you check out that art museum now?
Jane: Cool. Let's roll, Trent.
Trent and Jesse sit up front, and Daria and Jane sit in back.
Trent: So, Janey, how do we get the this art museum?
Jane: It's down by Watertower Place.
Trent: Where's that?
After taking several wrong turns, Trent manages to find the MCA. Inside, Jane looks excitedly at everything, dragging Daria, Jesse, and Trent every which way.
Trent: What's that?
Jane: Cool! Somebody made a giant fried egg!
Jesse: I'd hate to run into that chicken in a dark alley.
Daria: Close encounters of the poultry kind, next on Sick Sad World. (Trent chuckles)
Jane: Maybe my art will be here someday.
Jesse: That would be cool.
They pass by a curious exhibit on the floor. A mattress is flung across a stuffed, human-sized doll. A woman's face is projected on the head of the doll, and she begins to talk, seeming to ask passersby for help.
Jane: Looks like she had a worse night's sleep than you did, Trent.
Trent: (grins) Nah. At least she had a mattress. (Daria and Jesse laugh)
Trent and Jesse climb to the top of the museum's unusual staircase and look down.
Trent: Hey, cool. It's a spiral.
Jesse: A mystic spiral.
Trent: Yeah, this definitely qualifies. (he watches Daria stop to read a plaque on the wall below)
Jesse: (following his line of sight) Oh, so that's what you're looking at.
Trent: Shhh- shut up. They might hear you.
Jane: (walks up behind them) Hear what?
Jesse: Trent was saying-
Trent: (flustered) I was saying that the neon sculpture down there is kinda weird. Jess is right - I should watch what I say. The security guards might get mad.(he frowns at Jesse)
Jane: (looking down) I don't know, I kinda like it.
Jesse: Hey, I see Daria down there.(Trent stomps on his foot. Hard.) Ow!
Jane: (turns her head) What?
Trent: Jesse tripped.
Jane: (looks at the empty floor) Over what?
Jesse: Uh, Trent's foot.
Jane: (raises her eyebrows) I think you guys are losin' it. (heads back downstairs)
Trent: Man, that was close. Don't ever do that again. (he starts down)
Jesse: Touchy, touchy. She's just a another girl, Trent.
Trent: (stops and turns) No. She's more than that.
Having gone over the museum several times, the group heads back to the van. Trent seems strangely quiet.
Jane: Hey, Trent, guess what's next? (he doesn't respond) Trent? Yo, Trent!
Trent: (sighs) Sorry. What?
Jane: The Art Institute.
Jesse: How many museums are in this city?
Jane: (reading a brochure) Zillions. They have a planetarium - that might be cool, a giant aquarium - yeah right, let's go stare at some fish, your basic museum of ancient stuff-
Trent: In other words, culture.
Trent: Let's stick to the art.
Jesse: Good idea.
PART 11: At the art museum, Jane teaches Daria and Jesse how to look at Monet's paintings.
Jane: Ok, now back up, squint, tilt your head a little, and concentrate...
Daria: Why are we doing this?
Jane: Cause people will think you're smart if you stare at Monets like this.
Daria: I already like his style. And I already am smart. Jane: We'll move on then. Coming, Trent?
Jane locates the huge pointillism study of Seurat - the entire painting is made up of small dots of paint. Daria glances at Trent, who is staring at a Picasso painting of a guitarist. He looks at it for a long time, then wanders away, clearly lost in thought. The group breaks up - Jane wants to keep looking around, Jesse wants to find some food, and Daria sneaks away to find Trent.
Daria: Hmm, where to look? (she passes a sign that reads "Modern Art") That should do.
Few people are in this wing, making it an ideal place for Trent to hide. Daria wanders through the exhibits; they end with a giant marble staircase. Trent sits on the stairs, resting his chin on his fist as he stares at a huge Georgia O'Keeffe painting that is hung on the wall. Stylized clouds fill up the blue sky of the painting, which is done on a truly grand scale.
Daria: (mumbles) "Sky Above Clouds". How fitting. Looks like
Trent's mind is somewhere up there.
Daria shyly approaches him. She stands next to him, focusing on the painting for awhile. Trent doesn't even look up.
Daria: I wonder how long it took to finish that.
Trent: (somewhat startled) Huh? Oh, hey Daria. What are you doing here?
Daria: Just wandering. Same as everybody. What are you doing here?
Trent: Oh, you know...thinking.
Daria: Well, don't think too hard. This is your vacation, remember?
Trent: Vacation...yeah. Listen, I'm sorry Janey and I dragged you on this trip.
Daria: Don't be sorry, I'm having fun. I never get to have fun. (Trent cracks a slight smile) Seriously, Trent, what's up?
Trent:(sighs) I just need some time to myself, I guess. I'll catch up with you guys later, Ok?
Daria: Trent, are you sure?
Trent: I'm fine. Go on.
Daria reluctantly leaves. In few minutes, she locates Jane examining a statue.
Daria: Jane, I was wandering around, and I found Trent-
Jane: Gee, I bet that was just a coincidence.
Daria: (frowns) Have you noticed anything strange about him lately?
Jane: His hair always looks like that, Daria. What do you mean? Daria: He was off by himself, sitting on the staircase. I tried to talk to him, but he clamed up. He said he needed some time to himself.
Jane: Just moping around, huh? Well, Daria, maybe he's just trying to write a song or something. That always takes him awhile.
Daria: It seemed like something more serious.
Jane: He's just in one of his moods again. You know he hasn't been getting his usual 16 hours of sleep per day. I wouldn't worry about it.
Jane, Jesse, and Daria head to the gift shop, where Jane buys two art books. They wander the museum for awhile looking for Trent. Finally, they give up and head to the van - Trent is asleep in the back.
Jane: (whispers) See? Told you. (Daria frowns)
Jesse drives to Mitch's and parks the van. Daria and Jesse get out, while Jane attempts to wake up Trent.
Jane: Yo, Trent. Wake up! (she shakes him)
Trent: Huh? Oh. What's up, Janey? Jane: We're back.
Trent: (sleepily) In Lawndale? Jane: No, at the apartment. (Trent still looks confused) Chicago?
Trent: Oh yeah. I'm coming.
Once inside, Jane, Jesse, and Daria decide to finish the movie. Trent takes his guitar onto the balcony and strums it softly for awhile. Later, over dinner, Mitch shows everyone the pictures. Mitch: Well, what do you think? Not bad, huh?
Jane:Yeah. It looks like we really went to D.C. These are great! Right, Trent?
Trent: (only half listening) Uh, yeah. We appreciate you faking our trip. Of, course, most of it has been fake anyway.
Jane: Giant fried egg?
Trent: You got it.
Jesse: That would make a cool song.
Trent: Yeah, but no one would understand it except us.
Mitch: Hey, that's right, the band. Are you guys performing on this trip?
Trent: It's not a concert tour, Mitch.
Jane: It's more of a parental condemnation..
Mitch: You could perform, if you wanted to. Some of these coffeehouses have open mike nights.
Jesse: Well, we did bring our guitars. What do you think, Trent? Trent: Hmm...I don't know-
Jane: Go for it, guys. Daria and I will come along for moral support. We'll make an evening of it. What do you say?
Trent: Well, I guess so.
Mitch: There's one tonight at Coffee Depot. That's right around the corner.
PART 12: At the Coffee Depot later that night, Trent and Jesse sign up to perform, while Jane and Daria secure a table. Mitch orders everyone's coffee.
Jane: Hmm...coffee plus late night equals...
Daria: Excessive hyperactivity.
Jane: Daria plus Trent equals...
Daria: Jane plus large blunt object equals...
Jane: I always knew math was painful.
Mitch: (returning with a tray full of coffee cups) Ok, who ordered what?
Trent: (returning from the stage with Jesse) Ok, we're fourth. Right before you two.
Jane: What? Daria and I are performing?
Trent: Well, you said you'd support us.
Jane: I'd said we'd come for moral support, not oral support. Trent: (looking at Jesse) Oops. (they start snickering - obviously they did it on purpose)
Jane: What are we supposed to do? Trent, you know I hate people.
Trent: You'll never see any of these people again, Janey. Who cares? Say whatever you want. State your artistic thesis - I'm sure you'll think of something.
Daria: Don't worry, Jane. I have a plan. (she pulls out a poetry book) Look at these.
Jane: (thumbing through the pages) Hey, that is a good idea.
When the time comes, Trent and Jesse head to the stage to perform. They play "Icebox Woman," which sounds considerably softer without electric guitars. Loud applause follows their song, and as Daria and Jane step forward, Trent whispers, "Beat that, Janey." Jane takes Daria's book and reads "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe. The crowd applauds loudly again. Daria reads a poem by e.e. cummings.
Daria: (finishing the poem) "Listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go."
The audience loves that last line, and some give Daria a standing ovation. Daria heads back to the table.
Trent: That was a cool poem, Daria. Good job.
Daria: You guys were great, too. Jane: I haven't done anything that bizarre in a long time. (somewhat hyper from the coffee and performance) I'm never gonna sleep now. How many movies do you have, Mitch?
Mitch: Not many.
Jane: (rapidly) Well, that's Ok, we can always have more coffee. Trent: (grins) No, I think you've had enough, Janey. Come on, let's go hang out somewhere less caffeinated.
Everybody heads back to Mitch's. He manages to locate the original "Shining", so they decide to watch that.
Jane: This movie will complete our history of the Overlook Hotel - one man, the figments of his imagination, and his beloved axe. Trent sits on the end of the couch again, but this time Jesse moves over in the opposite direction. Jane sits on the other end of the couch next to Jesse. Jesse mumbles, "Satisfied?" Trent nods. Mitch comes in from the kitchen and sits in the space between Trent and Jesse. Trent frowns and thumps his fist on the arm of the couch. Daria sits in the recliner by Jane. Despite the coffee, almost everyone begins to nod off an hour later. \
Jane: Daria. Hey, Daria.
Daria: (jerks awake) Huh?
Jane: Come on, help me wake everybody up.
Jane: (tugs on Mitch' shirt sleeve) Hey, wake up!
Mitch: Huh? Oh. (gets off couch) See ya. (leaves)
Jane: (taps Jesse's shoulder) Wake up, Jesse.
Jesse: (sleepily) What's going on, Jane?
Jane: It's late. Time to get some real sleep.
(Jesse shuffles to his sleeping bag and falls asleep in minutes) Daria, help me wake up Trent.
Daria: Um, how?
Jane: You coward. I'll do it. Trent. (tugs on his sleeve) Trent, wake up.
Trent: (doesn't open his eyes) What is it, Janey?
Jane: Time to go to sleep, Trent.
Trent: I am asleep. Go away.
Jane: You are not. Come on, get up. (she grabs his arm and jerks him to his feet)
Trent:(shocked awake) Huh? What time is it?
Daria: Later than we should be up, if we're leaving tomorrow.
Trent: (bleary-eyed) Oh, that's right. Crud. (yawns) Well, we better turn in, then.
Jane: That's what I just said.
Trent: That was you?
Jane: Who did you think it was?
Trent: That guy with the axe. (Jane chucks a pillow at his head, but he ducks it) Just kidding, Janey. 'Night.
Jane: Yeah, yeah. See ya.
Jane and Daria unfold the couch and unroll their sleeping bags. Soon, everyone is asleep.
PART 13: At 5:30 AM, a loud buzzing alarm goes off. The room is pitch black.
Jane: (only half awake) No, not school. Not again. Not this early.
Daria: The cake is done. Somebody turn the oven off.
Jesse: (pulling a blanket over his head) What is that thing? A smoke alarm? (the alarm stops)
Jane: No, an alarm clock.
Trent: Haven't heard one of those since...(he trails off, having fallen asleep again)
Mitch comes into the room a half hour later, unable to see. As he fumbles for the light switch, he trips over Trent's foot and hits the ground. The lights flash on, blindingly bright.
Trent: (reacting as Mitch lands on his ankles) Ow! Talk about a rude awakening. (he opens his eyes) Ow! (Daria and Jane can't help laughing)
Jesse: If you wanted us to get up, all you had to do was say so. (he blocks his eyes with a pillow)
Trent: No kidding. (he sits up, squinting) Mitch, how do you live like this? Does the whole city get up this early?
Jesse: And is it always so bright?
Mitch: Sorry about that, guys, but I've got to get to work today. Official business.
Jane: Vital to our nation's well-being, of course.
Mitch: Uh, whatever. Anyway, you guys go back to sleep. If you're not here when I come back, I'll assume you headed back to California.
Jane: No, not California, we're going to...where is it again, Daria?
Daria: (she's been staring at Trent) Huh? Oh, um, Mount Rushmore.
Mitch: Ok. Have a good trip, guys.
Jane: Thanks for conducting our photography fraud.
Daria: Yeah. And that was a cool camera you lent me.
Mitch: No problem. That reminds me, I have to take it back to school.
Trent: Thanks for the room and stuff.
Jesse: Yup. Mitch: Sure. See ya. (he leaves the apartment)
(Jane pounces on the light switch)
Jane: Finally! (the room is dark again)
Trent: Nice work, Janey.
Somewhere around noon, everybody wakes up and makes preparations to leave. Trent and Jesse start packing the van, and soon they are on their way out of the city.
Jane: That was an interesting side trip.
Daria: Better than D.C. any day.
Trent: That was definitely a cool plan, Daria.
Daria: Thanks. As long as this trip continues to be devoid of education, we'll be in pretty good shape.
The trip continues as before. Two days of driving bring the group to the Badlands in South Dakota. They enter the park and stop several minutues later to look around.
Trent: And I thought Arizona was devoid of life.
Daria: (looking at a brochure) Actually, a lot of things live out here. Buffalo, antelope, mountain goats, assorted criminals avoiding the law... (Trent and Jesse laugh)
Jesse: Hey, I bet we could climb that ridge there.
They start up the trail. Jane looks at Daria and shrugs. The girls follow. Upon reaching the top, Trent and Jesse yell for Jane and Daria to hurry. Daria sees the view and pulls out her camera. Mountains, valleys and canyons lay below the ridge, spreading off in all directions and colors.
Jane: That's it. I'm moving out here. (she eyes the red ridges dipped in shadows) Let me at that landscape with my paint. Wow.
Trent: Looks like it's already painted. Hey, Daria, is this on the checklist?
Daria: No, but maybe they'll give you extra credit. (she takes a picture)
They continue on the road, curving up and down through the mountains and canyons of the Badlands.
Trent: Now this is fun driving. (he accelerates up and around a corner)
Jane: (laughing) Trent, slow down. This isn't a theme park.
Trent: Come on, you know you love it.
Two hours of driving and stopovers bring them to the end of the Badlands and Wall Drug, SD - a town built completely around one drug store. It is a souvenir town - commercialized to the last. They stop for lunch.
Trent: (pointing to a room full of taxidermied animals) Why?
Jane: I guess stuffing antelopes is what they do for fun around here.
They pass a puppet band that is playing country music.
Jesse: (wincing) Country music.
Trent: That's an insult to everything music stands for.
Daria: That's an insult to everything America stands for.
After a truly bizarre lunch in the town, they drive on toward the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.
Jane: I think the people of Wall Drug ran out of viable oxygen a long time ago.
Jesse: (from the driver's seat) Yeah. Viable liquid, too. Ugh.
Jane: You didn't drink the water, did you?
Jesse: What water? That thermos of brown stuff was coffee, wasn't it?
Trent: I asked Jess - they were out of coffee.
Jesse: Man, I didn't need to here that. (everybody laughs)
PART 14: The rest of the day passes uneventfully, and soon they arrive at the appointed campground in the the Black Hills. Trent, as driver, is the only one awake at the time.
Trent: Hey, everybody, we're here.
Jane: (yawning) Where? Oz?
After setting up camp, they decide to get the pictures out of the way before dark. Trent parks at the monument, and everybody hops out.
Jane: Yikes, that thing is really up there.
Trent: Well, where did you think it was, Janey? (Daria smirks) Ok, Madame photographer, where do we stand for the pictures?
Daria: (looking through the view finder) I can barely see it from here. We'll have to get closer.
Jesse: I think there's a trail down that way. They pause to inspect the sign. "Rushmore Trail - Viewpoint 1 mile"
Jane: That's a long hike. Trent: It shouldn't be that bad. Let's do it. Or are you not up to the challenge?
Jane: What challenge? I run, remember?
Trent: Come on then.
The group follows the path through the woods and into the Rushmore amphitheater. Trent comes to a stop and looks down - the massive bleachers seem to go on forever and it's a long way down the hundreds of steps to the bottom.
Trent: Uh oh. Looks like we got more than we bargained for.
Jesse: Man, that's like the step-aerobics from hell.
Daria: All aerobics are from hell. (Trent and Jesse laugh)
Jane: Trent, you wuss. It's just stairs. Oh, wait, I forgot - you've never left the basement. How would you know about those? Trent: (frowns) Ok, Janey, you're on. Betcha I can beat you down.
Jane: You? No way. But, if you insist... (she starts running down) (Trent takes off after her)
Jane is down the stairs in no time flat. After tripping a few times, Trent lands face down in the dirt at the bottom. Daria and Jesse reach him a few moments later.
Jesse: Hey man, are you Ok?
Trent: (groans and rolls over) Yeah, I'm all right. (he looks up at Daria, feeling stupid again)
Jane: (jogging back to them) "And Trent came tumbling after..." Come on everybody - we've still got a long hike ahead of us. Several minutes of climbing up the paved trail bring the group to a wooden walkway.
Jane: All, right, where is it? (Trent taps her on the shoulder and points up) Oh. Well how do you expect me to identify the presidents by looking up their noses?
Daria: This should be Ok. You three stand right there. (she backs up a bit and snaps a picture) That should do it.
Jane: We better head back. It's getting dark. (thunder rumbles)
Trent: And it's not just the sun. Looks like we're in for some serious weather.
They quickly start back down the trail. The rain starts to come down, so Jane starts jogging. Trent, Jesse, and Daria run to keep up. As they reach the amphitheater, Trent sits down to rest.
Jane: Yo, Trent, what are you waiting for? Gotta get up those stairs.
Trent: (groans) I forgot about that part. Gimme a minute. (thunder cracks) Ok, I'm coming.
Half way up the stairs, it starts hailing. Everybody hurries up as marble-sized chunks of ice fall. Trent pauses to look up at the sky and gets hit with a piece of ice.
Trent: Ow! (he stops, rubbing his eye) (the lightning and thunder are getting worse)
Daria: Come on, Trent, we gotta get out of here. (she tugs his sleeve and pulls him forward)
Jesse grabs Trent's arm and guides him up the stairs. Soon, they climb back into the van and Jesse drives back to camp.
Jane: This just isn't your day, is it, Trent? (she wraps some ice from the cooler in a towel and hands it to him)
Trent: (places it over his eye and winces) I guess not.
Jesse: Looks like you've got a black eye, man.
Trent: (frowns) Great. Well, I guess you'll be driving for awhile then.
Jesse: No problem. How do we get back? Trent: Keep on this road.
Fifteen minutes later...
Jane: It's coming down hard. I can't read the road signs.
Jesse: Where are we anyway?
Trent: I bet we already passed it.
Jesse: We don't know that for sure.
Jane: This is great. The only person who knows where our camp is can't see.
PART 15: Having become lost in the blinding rainstorm, the group starts grasping at straws to guess their location. Jesse sees a turn in the road ahead and follows it.
Jesse: Maybe this is it.
Several minutes later, the group ends up somewhere on a road in the woods.
Jane: This isn't our campsite. Where is this?
Trent: I can't tell. My eye is swollen shut. Daria, do you have the map?
Daria: Yeah, but unless we find out what road this is, we're lost.
Jesse: It's raining too hard to see. I think we should stop here. Wait til it lets up.
Trent: I think we're gonna have to.
Jesse pulls over to the side and turns off the engine.
Jane: Yikes. Rain is loud.
Jesse: Man, I hope the roof doesn't leak.
Trent: I hope our tents don't leak.
Daria: I hope our tents are still standing.
Trent: Well, why don't you girls try to get some sleep? Jesse and I will take turns keeping watch til the rain stops.
Jesse moves back to the bench seat next to Jane so he'll be more comfortable. Daria rests her head against the window and watches Trent for awhile. Despite Trent's promise, the rain soon lulls everyone to sleep. Jane falls asleep on Jesse's shoulder, Daria against the window, and Trent in the passenger seat. An hour later, Daria wakes up to silence. Rousing the others, she pulls out a map and prepares to steer them back. Jesse drives back to the main highway and finds the camp by Daria's directions. Jesse: Whoa. Look at that mess. (the site is a mud slide, covered with puddles)
Trent: At least the tents held up. Let's get some decent sleep. Morning comes, and after breakfast at the campground cafeteria, they pack up and hit the road.
Jesse: (yawning) How far is it to this Demon's Point thing anyway?
Daria: Devil's Tower? Not far. About four hours.
Trent: Can you make it?
Jesse: Sure. How's your eye?
Trent: It's been better, but it's all right. At least I can see now. So, where is this place we're going?
Daria: It's an 865-foot high rock that juts out of the ground straight up in the middle of nowhere.
Jane: I see. What do we do once we get there?
Daria: Stare at it, I guess.
Jesse: Can we climb it?
Trent: That'd be cool.
Daria: Not without ropes. It's a total vertical ascent. They let you climb to the base of it, though.
Trent: Cool. Who's up for that?
Jane: Count me in. Jesse: Me too.
Trent: How about you, Daria?
Daria: Um, I don't know. I haven't had much practice with that kind of thing.
Trent: None of us have. It'll be fun..
Daria: Uh, Ok.
After they enter Wyoming, Jesse follows the signs to the Tower. Upon parking and climbing out of the van, the group is confronted by the massive rock that looms out above the trees.
Jesse: We're gonna climb that? Cool.
Daria: (flipping through a brochure) No. They won't let anyone climb to the top without a permit, a guide, proper climbing gear...
Jane: A last will and testament, oxygen tanks...
Daria: Anyway, we have to stop at the base.
Trent: No problem. That's still a lot of rock. Let's do it.
Heading up the trail, they soon reach the boulder field. It rises for hundreds of feet until it meets the base of the rock. At that point, the rock curves up completely perpendicular to the ground. They begin to climb, hopping from boulder to boulder. Jesse yells as a rock rolls out from under his foot and he falls. Trent helps him out of the hole.
Trent: Watch it! Some of these rocks aren't stable.
Jane: Are you all right?
Jesse: (standing up) Nothing broken. I'll live.
Daria: These volcanic rocks are the worst for climbing - they're really sharp and they break easily.
Jesse: No kidding. Ok, show's over. Let's see how high we can go. Jesse goes a bit slower this time, and Jane hangs back with him. Daria takes a slightly different way up, looking for good pictures. Trent looks back to see Jane tending to a scrape on Jesse's arm. He mumbles, "How does he do that?" and heads after Daria.
PART 16: Twenty minutes of climbing bring an end to the boulders and the most of the trees. Now, the Tower itself is all that remains. Trent watches Daria stop with her camera and quickly catches up to her.
Trent: Hey Daria. Going any higher?
Daria: I don't know how much higher we can go. It looks like the end.
Trent: Nah, it still slopes. I think I saw a path back that way. We could go higher. (he looks at the ground and shoves his hands in his pockets) You know, if you wanted to. (scuffs his shoe in the dirt) I bet you could get some cool pictures.
Daria: (somewhat flustered) Uh, sure, I guess so.
Trent: (grins) Cool. I bet we can get higher than those two. (he points to Jane and Jesse, who are helping each other up the rocks below) Come on, I think it's this way.
Trent heads up the rough curve of the rock, with Daria close behind. They climb up for several minutes, finally stopping by a lone tree to rest for a few moments.
Daria:Yikes, we're really high. (she turns and snaps a picture)
Trent: (sitting down on a fallen tree) This is a lot more fun than I thought. (he looks down) Hey, Daria - look at this. Trent points to several names that have been carved in the bark. Daria starts reading.
Daria: Jim Jones, 1985. Wow. That was awhile ago. Trent: Yeah. (he stares off into space then looks back up at the rock) You know what?
Trent: I want to go higher.
Daria: How high?
Trent: Until I can't get any higher. To that big yellow part (points) right there. I want to touch Devil's Tower.
Daria: Ok. But why, Trent?
Trent: (he smiles) Just because I can.
Daria: Cool. Let's go.
Trent: (surprised) You don't have to come, if you don't want to.
Daria: No, I do. (they pause, looking at each other. Concealing her thoughts, Daria quickly adds-) You know, so I can get some pictures. Trent: (hiding his feelings as well) Oh, of course. Well, let's do it.
The climb becomes much tougher. The rock gets steeper and has fewer footholds. Bracing himself on a particularly dizzying ledge, Trent turns to face Daria as she pulls herself up. A rock sheers out from beneath her foot. As she slides down, Trent catches her arm and helps her up. She silently watches the rock tumble down the mountainside, still gripping his arm.
Daria: (sheepishly drops his arm) Thanks, Trent.
Trent: No problem. You Ok?
Daria: Yeah, just startled. Good thing I'm wearing jeans. That coulda cut my knees up pretty bad.
Trent: (concerned) We can stop here, if you want.
Daria: Nah, I'm fine. Let's go.
They press on, finally reaching the vertical slope. Trent touches the base and looks up.
Daria: (following his actions) Yeah. (turning) Yikes. Look at the view. (she gets the camera)
Trent: You mean, don't look down. (he looks) Well. That's certainly...far. Daria, how the hell did we do that?
Daria: I don't know. But we did. Cool, huh? (they sit down on the slope)
Trent: Yeah. I like it up here. I feel like I've finally done something for myself.
Daria: Yeah. Who needs elevators, anyway? (he laughs)
Trent: (yells) This rules!!! (his words echo) I wish I'd done this sooner. I feel like I could climb a thousand of these right now.
Daria: Me too.
Trent: I guess as long as you keep going, you'll eventually get somewhere, huh?
Daria: Sounds like somebody learned something.
Trent: Uh oh. I did, didn't I? (frowns) Daria, does this mean my parents were right? Trent looks at Daria. Daria looks at Trent.
Simultaneously, they say, "Nah." They both start laughing.
Trent: Hey, look at that.
A small plant grows out of the middle of the rock, covered with intricate purple flowers. Trent reaches over and picks one of them.
Trent: I wonder how these got up here. (he hands it to Daria, trying to be casual)
Daria: I don't know. It's really neat, though. Thanks. (she tucks it inside her camera case)
Trent: Well, Jane and Jesse probably think we got lost. How do we get down?
Daria: Um, very carefully.
They begin to descend, sliding down the rock and bracing themselves in cracks. Soon they arrive back by the tree. Trent: Hey, I think our names deserve to be on that tree. We made it, too.
He takes a rock and carves "Trent Lane, 1997" in the bark. Daria adds her name below it. They continue their descent, reaching the trail some time later. Jane and Jesse are back at the van, rummaging through the cooler.
Jane: Where were you two? We got back a long time ago. How high were you?
Trent: Well, do you see that tree up there? Now look at that yellowish spot above it.
Jesse: No way, man. That's impossible.
Daria: That's the truth. Why is that impossible?
Jesse: Jane and I tried to go higher, but some park ranger guy said we weren't supposed to go past the boulders.
Trent: But the sign said "the base".
Jane: That was the base. Trent: (looking at Daria) So, that means...
Daria: (looking back) We accidentally climbed part of Devil's Tower.
Jane: (laughing) How can you "accidentally" climb anything?
Trent: (sheepishly) Well, I guess we touched it, huh?
Daria: Walked all over it.
Trent: (grinning) Showed it no mercy.
Jane: Showoffs. (she sticks an ice cube down Trent's back and he jumps)
Trent: Hey! Enough with the water already. (he scoops up a handful of ice cubes and starts pelting Jane with them.)
Daria: (shaking her head) Kids these days...
PART 17: Daria and company are en route to Yellowstone National Park, the final place on the list.
Trent: (driving) I like these vacant roads. Less traffic to worry about.
Jesse: Yeah. So, Daria, after this trip, we're done, right?
Daria: Yeah. The exile comes to an end.
Jesse: (pokes Trent) Only a few more days, huh? (Trent glares at him) Not much time to- (Trent's next look silences him)
Jane: What Jesse?
Jesse: Uh, nothing.
The group stops for lunch at one of those small town diner/gas station/post office outposts scattered throughout the West. Daria and Jane sneak off to the rest room to talk.
Jane: My brother was being defensive again.
Daria: Must be the driving. I'm sure it's nothing.
Jane: Driving Miss Daria.
Daria: Jane, would you like to walk home?
A few more hours on the road bring them to the Rocky Mountains. The roads curve in every direction, winding up and down the mountains. Trent has a lot of fun with this - especially accelerating around the corners to scare Jane. One moment, the height of the road is dizzying, the next it plunges back to the valley.
Jane: Ok, Trent, are we going fast enough? My ears just popped.
Trent: (grins) Man, how come I never get to do this back home?
Jane: Cause we have police back home, Trent.
Trent: Come on, Janey - when's the last time you saw a speed limit sign?
Daria: He's got you there.
Trent: (looks back at Daria and winks) Uh oh, the van's out of control! (he takes the wheel and jerks it side to side, causing the van to zig zag across the lane)
Jane: (tossed to the floor) Yikes! Trent! (Trent, Daria, and Jesse laugh) (sitting down, she rubs her knee for a moment) And what was that brilliant maneuver called?
Daria: Car-dancing. (Trent and Jesse laugh)
Trent: Works for me. (he puts in a tape and cranks the volume up) Hey, good song - hang on Janey! (he starts moving the van again)
Trent: Yeah, what?
Jane: Speed limit sign. (she points out the window)
Trent: (pauses for a moment) Well...screw that. (he speeds around the next corner)
Jane: My brother, a fine upstanding citizen...
Trent: (grins) Sounds like somebody wants to walk home. (he turns back to driving)
Daria: (writes) I said that. Weird.
Jane: (writes) Aw, they even talk alike.
Daria: (writes) I respectfully decline from comment.
Jane: (writes) What? You're letting me get away with that?
Daria: (writes) Jane, there are certain insults that are too tasteless to write. Even for me.
After spending a cold night camping in the mountains, the group rolls into Yellowstone blasting the heat.
Jane: See Trent? It gets cold in the mountains, not in the desert.
An hour of driving brings them to their campground.
Trent: This park is pretty big. It's gonna take us awhile to find the stuff we're supposed to see.
Jesse: Hey, look - the showers and stuff are across the street this time. No more half an hour drives to find water.
Trent: What's with these strange looking garbage cans?
Daria: They're bear proof.
Jesse and Jane: Bears?
Trent: Cool. So, uh, what do we do about the bears?
Jesse: Yeah. You know, a bear from a distance is cool. A bear in your tent is not such a good idea.
Daria: Lock all the food in the van at night.
Jane: Well, first, we need to buy food. We're gonna be here a few days.
Trent: (hopefully) Well, maybe you and Jesse should take care of that while Daria and I get the tents set up.
Jesse: (missing the cue) Nah, why don't we all go? Save some time at the store. (Trent looks somewhat aggravated)
Everyone heads to the van. Trent kicks Jesse in the shin as they get in. Jane points at them, tugging Daria's sleeve.
Daria: That's just guy stuff. (Trent leans over toward Jesse and says, "Man, we need to talk.")
Jane: (raises her eyebrows and whispers) Is it really?
* Suddenly, a strange, disheveled man appears on the horizon. He is wearing a worn, blood-spattered overcoat, and is tall and pale. He doesn't look much older than Jesse and Trent. The man is carrying an axe attached to a noose inside his coat.
Daria: What's that?
Jane: I don't know, but it's really freaking me out. (Jesse puts his arms around her)
Jesse: I'll protect you, Jane.
Jane: I can protect myself, thankyouverymuch. I'm used to psychos. After all, I am a Lane.
Trent: Don't make eye contact...
The man coughs several times and approaches the group. He begins to speak in a voice with a heavy Russian accent.
Man: I don't think I'm in Petersburg anymore. (Peers at Daria) Sonia! (Peers at Jane) Dounia!
Daria: Who in the hell are you?
Man: My name is Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov. I'm looking for Sonia and Dounia. (Motions to Trent and Jesse) Are these two Zametov and Razumihin? Is Petrovitch or Svidrigailov around?
Jane: Er, this isn't Petersburg. You're in Wyoming.
Daria: Wait a minute! I know who you are. This is the main character from Fyodor Dostoevsky's stirring psychological novel Crime and Punishment. (To Raskolnikov) Rodya...
Raskolnikov: Yes, Sonia?
Daria: It's Daria. Anyway, you're in the wrong work of fiction. You ended up in the book Kristin's WRITING, not the one she's READING. Hop off about page 15, and then make a left by the filing cabinet.
Raskolnikov: Bless you, Daria. And will you pray for me? Pray for "thy Servant Rodion."
Daria: If you say so.
Trent: What was that?
Daria: Chalk it up to a mirage. Maybe it was that can of "Vladimir's Home On The Bread Line Old-Fashioned Russian Borscht" that we had a day or so ago.
Jane: Okay... *
PART 18: Having procured supplies, the group arrives at camp, ready to unpack. Trent and Jesse unload the tents while Jane and Daria scout out good places to put them.
Trent: Hey, Janey?
Trent: Could you and Daria set up the tents? Jesse and I kinda wanted to check out that lake a few miles back. What's it called?
Jane: Yellowstone Lake. Gee, you catch on fast, Trent.
Trent: (stealthily) Anyway, we're gonna look around, that is, if you don't mind.
Jane: Fine with me. Daria?
Daria: Uh, sure. (the guys get in the van and drive off) Jane, what was that about?
Jane: I think you know. Jesse is Trent's best friend. Jesse is teasing Trent in front of you. Trent doesn't want to look stupid, so he's gonna tell Jesse to knock it off.
Daria: Jane, that's purely speculation. Who knows how Trent feels about this, er, situation?
Jane: Daria, how could you doubt it? I mean, the hike, the flower...isn't it obvious?
Daria: (frowning) Jane, I was gonna slide down the trail. He pulled me back up. No big deal. I would have done the same for him...I mean, you.
Jane: Sure, that's it. Daria, don't you see what's happening? My brother hasn't had this much fun in years. I've never seen him act like such a dork before - he's never aspired to do anything; he's never teased me like this - Daria, at home he's not even awake half the time! And Trent is never this defensive. Hello, you fool - he loves you!
Daria: But if that's true, why doesn't he say anything?
Jane: Because he's nervous. (Daria looks skeptical) I'm serious, Daria. You've seen him - there's been times on this trip where he was almost blushing. Same with you. And maybe you haven't noticed, but you've been laughing, Daria. You don't do that.
Daria: (sighs) Well, I suppose you have a point. But I don't want to set myself up for a fall, Jane - I just can't believe it's true unless he tells me.
Jane: (thinking out loud) So, let's give him the opportunity to tell you.
Daria: What was that?
Jane: Oh, nothing. Forget it. Let's get these tents up.
An hour later, Trent and Jesse return. Jane and Daria have since set up the tents (adding the signs, of course) and started a fire. Jesse sits down by the fire with the girls. Trent, looking decidedly miserable, shuffles into the blue tent and doesn't come out.
Jane: What's with him?
Jesse: Well, Trent sorta fell in a bog.
Daria and Jane: What?
Jesse: Yeah, well we were hiking around and he thought he saw a bear, so we walked out on this grassy stuff to get closer. We didn't figure out the grass was floating on top of the lake until Trent fell through.
Jane: That is precisely why people don't hike in bogs. It's kinda dangerous.
Daria: Is he Ok?
Jesse: I think so. Just kinda shaken up. It took me awhile to get him out.
Jane: Uh, how long?
Jesse: I don't know. A good twenty minutes.
Jane: Yikes. (hatching a plot) If that lake water was cold -
Jesse: It was.
Jane: ....he might get sick. Jesse, you and I should try to find some cough medicine or something for him.
Jesse: Uh, you think so?
Jane: (pointedly) Yes, I do. (she begins to enunciate her every word) Daria can stay here and keep an eye on him.
Jesse: (taking the hint this time) Oh. Yeah, that is a good idea.
Daria: (panicked - she realizes what Jane is thinking) Jane, he's your brother, maybe you should stay with him.
Jane: Oh, well, um...Trent is sorta, um, (scrambling for a response) allergic to-
Jesse: The wrong kinds of medication, and uh-
Jane: And we need Jesse to drive.
Jesse: Yeah. (he gets in the van)
Jane: Honest, Daria, we'll come back. (she gets in)
Daria: (frowns) I bet you will.
Jane: (out the window) Just talk to him. (they drive off)
Daria sighs and looks around. It is beginning to get dark and cold. She stares into the trees for awhile, then shivers suddenly.
Daria: Well, I can't just leave him there. Here goes nothing.
She puts her jacket over the sweatshirt she is wearing and walks over to Trent's tent. As she gets closer, she hears him coughing.
Daria: (hesitantly) Trent?
Trent: (coughs) Yeah? (his voice sounds a bit hoarse)
Daria: Uh, can I come in?
Trent: Sure. (she enters, and he sits up, still wet and covered in mud) What's up? (he coughs again, then looks down at his muddy clothes sheepishly) I guess Jesse told you what happened.
Daria: Yeah, he did. Are you Ok?
Trent: (sighs, sounding anything but Ok) I guess so. (coughs) Man, I never want to do that again.
Daria: It's getting cold out. Maybe you should dry off. (she gets up to leave, and he follows)
Trent: (coughs) Yeah. Probably. Guess I should wash all this mud off, too. (he picks up a duffel bag and shuffles across the road) I'll be back.
Daria: (to herself) Yeah, that's what Jane said.
Stay tuned for the SHOCKING, EARTHSHAKING, UNBELIVABLY ASTOUNDING CLIMAX (story ending, you perv...what were YOU thinking?)
*Everything at the end of Part 17 between the 2 stars wasn't written
by Kristin. It was written by me, Katherine. I want to see if she's paying
PART 19: Daria heats some water to make hot chocolate. Trent shuffles back a while later, still looking cold and miserable, but having cleaned the mud out of his hair and found dry clothes. He sits down in the lawn chair next to Daria, shivering despite his sweatshirt and non-ripped jeans.
Daria: Maybe you should have taken a warm shower, Trent.
Trent: (coughs) I did. But it's still cold out here. (she hands him a blanket) Thanks.
Daria: No problem. This stuff will be ready in a bit. How are you feeling? (Trent doesn't respond, he just stares at the fire) Trent?
Trent: Yeah? (coughs)
Daria: You've been really quiet. What happened to you out there?
Trent: (avoiding her eyes) Some stuff I'd rather not remember. Well, it's kinda like this...(coughs) Has anything ever happened to you that kind of...well...scared you?
Daria: Sure. Like Devil's Tower the other day. It's a good thing you were there. Even though I only would have been scraped up if I fell, it was still kinda scary.
Trent: (coughs) Yeah. But...have you ever been afraid...(he meets her eyes)...seriously afraid...that you were gonna die?
Daria: Well, I can't say that I have.
Trent: (he continues, white as a sheet) It was dark down there. Blacker than the blackest night. I've never seen anything so dark. Never felt anything that cold. (coughs) And Jesse couldn't pull me out, cause the hole I fell through just kept getting bigger. (Daria moves her chair closer to him) We had to rip a path through the weeds back to solid ground so he could get me out. There was all this stuff wrapped around my ankles, and it kept pulling me down. It seemed like I was in that black water for years. (coughs) I was...terrified. (he shudders)
Daria: (shyly puts a hand on his arm) It's Ok, Trent. It's over now.
Trent: (sighs) I know. But still...the whole thing just weirded me out.
Daria: It happens, Trent. Everybody gets scared sometimes. That doesn't make you any less of a person. (removes her hand and hands him a cup) Here. Maybe this will help you stop coughing.
Trent: Hot chocolate. (smiles slightly) We don't get much of this in California, do we?
Daria: Nope. (they sit in silence for a few minutes as he drinks it) Better?
Trent: (slight smile) Yeah. I'm all right. Now. (holding up the cup) That was good stuff. Do you cook much?
Daria: Uh, not really. My family's cuisine pretty much revolves around the microwave.
Trent: (chuckles, coughing slightly) Yeah, mine too. Janey can't cook.
Trent: Yeah. She burns everything 'cause when she's painting she forgets about the oven. (puzzled) Hey, where is Janey anyway? And Jesse?
Daria: They went to the store. Jane thought you might need cough medicine.
Trent: (coughs) That might be nice. But why didn't she just send Jesse?
Daria: Jane said something about you being allergic to almost everything. I guess she wanted to supervise the purchase.
Trent: (frowns) Allergic? That's news to me. I wonder...(he and Daria look at each other) She and Jesse wanted to be alone...uh oh.
Daria: Ten bucks says they forget the cough syrup.
Trent: (smiles) And Jesse comes back wearing Janey's lipstick. (they laugh) You know, Daria, falling into a bog makes you think about a lot of things.
Daria: Like what?
Trent: Like how lucky you are to have friends to pull you out of it. (he looks at her and smiles) And how lucky you are to have somebody to talk to afterwards. (he leans closer) A lot of people wouldn't have understood what I had to say. But you did. (Daria notices that he seems strangely happy about something) You're a pretty cool friend, Daria. (he swallows nervously) So I guess that's why I -
Trent sighs, frustrated, and slumps in his chair. Jane and Jesse get out of the van and join Daria and Trent at the campfire. Jesse has a bit of lipstick smeared across his face, which he quickly wipes off with the back of his hand.
Jane: (cheerfully) What's up guys?
Daria looks at Jane blankly, then gets up and shuffles off to her tent. Trent looks at Jane, then Jesse. He gets up, kicks Jesse in the knee, and heads to his tent. Jesse and Jane exchange looks.
Jane: Was it something I said?
Jesse: Trouble in paradise. I guess your little scheme didn't work.
Jane: We left them for an hour, and neither of them could advance any sort of comment? What's wrong with these people? I realize Trent is a bit of a recluse, but this is ridiculous.
Jesse: I'll try talking to him.
Inside Jesse and Trent's tent...
Jesse: Hey, Trent.
Trent: (looks up, miserably) Yeah, what? Haven't you done enough? (rests his head in his hands)
Jesse: What happened?
Trent: (his head sags, hitting his guitar case with a thump) Five more minutes, Jess. Five more.
Jesse: Aw, man. I'm sorry. I mean, if I'd have known, we could have waited-
Trent: (sighs) It's not your fault. It never was. Maybe it's me. I'm no good at this kind of stuff. I guess it was never meant to happen...
Jesse: Come on, don't talk like that.
Trent: But what if it's true? I mean, this trip has been a disaster. I keep arguing with Janey, I got a black eye and couldn't find our campsite, and now I fell in a bog. Where will it end, Jesse? (he stretches out on his sleeping bag)
Jesse: Well, sleep on it. At least think it over before you give up on her.
Trent: (sighs) I guess. (coughs) Where's the cough syrup when you need it?
Jesse: We kind of...
Trent: (frowns) Forgot. I know. (he sighs) Skip it. (he pulls a blanket over his head, ending the conversation)
Inside Daria and Jane's tent ...
Daria: Jane, that was a cruel joke.
Jane: Joke? We tried to give you some time...
Daria: Trent can't be forced into things, you know that. Neither can I. (sighs) Maybe I should just give up on the whole idea. (she frowns at Jane) At least one of us had some fun tonight.
Jane: Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. Come on, get some sleep. Things will work out.
Daria: Easy for you to say. Stuff worked out for you a long time ago. (she turns her back to Jane and falls asleep)
The next morning, Jane and Daria start a campfire and rummage around for breakfast. Daria sits down in a lawn chair, and Jane sits on a log. Jesse shuffles out a bit later. He sits next to Jane and puts his arm around her. Daria gives Jane a deadly look, and Jane brushes off his arm.
Jane: Where's Trent?
Jesse: I dunno. I figured he was out here.
Jane: Haven't seen him. Maybe he went for a walk. The van's still here.
Jesse: Yeah, but his guitar is missing.
Jane: (puzzled) That's odd. And Trent never gets up early, either.
Jesse: Yeah. Don't worry, though. I'll stick around. (he smiles and puts his arm around her again)
Jane: (she permits him this time) I'm not worried. He'll be fine. (they start to lean closer...)
Daria (with a sickened look): I'm outta here.
PART 20: Daria wanders off into the woods. She finds a hill and begins to climb it. When she reaches the top, she sits down on a rock in the woods and stares off into space, lost in thought.
Daria: I can't believe this. I had nearly two weeks to talk to Trent. He had two weeks to talk to me. And nothing happened. All Jane has to do is sit there, and she gets Jesse following her around like a lovesick puppy. (sighs) And here I sit, alone in the woods, pondering my fate. This is pathetic. I've sunken to the level of Thoreau on Walden Pond - staring at the trees as if they hold some great secret. (she thinks for a moment) Did I just compare myself to Thoreau? Ohhhh...(shudders)...that is very disturbing.
She hears something and stops still. The sound picks up again, a bit louder this time. It sounds somewhat musical.
Daria: If I didn't know better, I'd swear that was a guitar. Hm...Trent? (another chord plays) Well, either that or one of the escaped convicts brought his harmonica.
Daria gets up and follows the sound, twisting through the trees. Up ahead, she sees a clearing. Trent sits on a fallen log, bent over his guitar. She sits down close enough to hear him, but not close enough to be seen.
Trent: (strumming the guitar and singing softly)
Why do I feel the way I do?
Why can't I say the things I want to?
How much longer, how far
Until I love you?
If only I knew what to say,
If only these eyes would not betray,
If only I knew what I meant to tell you.
How much longer before I fall,
Before you become my one and all,
How long do I have to wait
Until I love you?
(he sighs and hangs his head) Oh, who am I kidding? Daria's never gonna like it.
Daria: (walks into the clearing) You don't know that for sure. Why don't you ask her?
Trent: (jumps up, startled) Daria! What are you doing here?
Daria: Pondering life's inner meaning by moping around in the forest.
Trent: (chuckles) No, really...(he remembers what he had been singing and reddens) Uh, how much did you hear?
Daria: Enough. (she sits down next to him) Trent, why didn't you tell me sooner?
Trent: I never found the right time. Everything on this trip has gotten screwed up. The hailstorm, all the rain, Jesse and Jane's comments, the bog...(he sighs)...and I can't even give you the song right. I wanted it to be a surprise.
Daria: It was. (she looks up at him, smiling)
Trent: I guess so. Uh, what did you think?
Daria: I liked it. And you know what?
Daria: I like you.
Trent: (sighs, relieved) Really?
Daria: Yeah. (smiles)
Trent: Cool. Well, you heard the song - I like you, too. (smiles) I guess things sorta worked themselves out, huh?
Daria: Yeah. As a good friend of mine once said, "As long as you keep going, you'll eventually get somewhere."
Trent: (smiles) That sounds vaguely familiar. (he puts his arm around her) I wish we could have figured this out sooner.
Daria: Yeah, it would have saved so much trouble for both of us.
Trent: I get the strange feeling we've been involved in a drama of some sort.
Daria: Somewhere, out there, I bet somebody's laughing at us. (they glance around the clearing)
Trent: Probably Jesse and Janey.
Daria: Can you believe that little plan they invented to get us together while they drove somewhere to make out?
Trent: What can I say? I take no responsibility for the things Janey does when her mind is on vacation. (they laugh) Well, I guess we get to enjoy the rest of our trip together, huh?
Daria: Sounds like a good plan to me.
Trent: Hey, Daria?
Trent: Are you one of those "traditional" girls?
Daria: Nah, I don't like conforming.
Trent: (smiles) So, you wouldn't mind if I were to do something like this? (he bends down and kisses her. They hold for a few moments)
Daria: (smiling) Not at all. (she reaches over to ruffle his hair and gives him a hug) There. I've been meaning to do that for a long time. (he smiles)
Trent: Well, I guess we should be getting back. Lots of stuff for you to photograph, huh?
Daria: Yeah. (they walk back down the hill and into camp, holding hands)
Jane: (looks up from making coffee) Well, well, what have we here?
Jesse: I told you it was possible.
Trent: Sorry we're late. I was spending some time with two of my favorite things. (he puts one hand on Daria's shoulder and one on his guitar)
Jane: What about sleep?
Trent: (grins) It's a close runner-up.
Jane: Daria, do I have this straight? Trent, the hermit from the nether-reaches of the basement, got up the guts to tell you? (she pauses) He must have. You're smiling.
Daria (still grinning stupidly): What can I say? This has been a great vacation.
Trent: Yeah. The ultimate road trip. I just wish we had more time.
Jane: Wait a minute - did I just hear Trent say he didn't want to go back home?
Trent: Well, yeah. I guess so.
Jane: Isn't that the reason we got sent out here? Because you didn't want to leave home in the first place?
Daria: It's strange how things can become interesting, if you just give them a chance.
Trent: Yeah. I don't mind traveling so much anymore.
Jane: So, does this mean I can convert your room into an art gallery?
Trent: (grins) I didn't say I'd be leaving the house that often. Every great musician needs his sleep, right Jess?
Jesse: (yawns) You got that right, man.
Trent: However, I think we can make certain exceptions. (he puts his arm around Daria)
Jane: Trent was capable of broadening his horizons. Who knew?
Daria: I did. (she and Trent smile at each other)
And so, our four adventurers ride off into the proverbial sunset, as it were. Thus, our tale is ended. The weeks that followed - the return to civilization, the broadening of many horizons, and the years of sun rises and sun sets to come - I leave that for the reader to compose because that is another story. (And indeed it is! -ed)