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Synopsis: Sandi Griffin courts disaster at the French Open tennis tournament, and nets a ton of trouble.


Author’s Notes: The Ranting Klown posted a PPMB Iron Chef (“Nice Backhand”) at the end of May 2006, asking for stories having “a Daria character involved in either the French Open or the upcoming World Cup in some capacity.” I was specifically forbidden to mention penguins in this story, so I haven’t. [cough]

       This tale, like many of my sillier stories, makes use of a free font called Jester for the titles and subtitles. This delightful, useful font can be easily acquired from and


Acknowledgements: My thanks to the Ranting Klown for the challenge!










       The only thing that novice television reporter Jodie Landon hated more than having to cover the French Open on the hottest day in Paris, with no chance whatsoever to go shopping or clubbing afterward, was having to report on the French Open on the hottest day in Paris, with no chance whatsoever to go shopping or clubbing afterward, with none other than Sandi Griffin as her co-anchor.

       “Can anyone get me another bottle of water?” Sandi called around the sweltering press booth for the fifth time that hour.

       “Get your own,” someone muttered.

       Sandi mumbled a string of curses and wiped her eyes on her soaked-through blouse sleeve.

       “Try to look like you’re having fun,” whispered Jodie out of the side of her mouth. “We could be back on the air at any moment.”

       “I’m not having any @#$%ing fun because the $#%$ing temperature is almost a hundred $#&#$ing degrees in the shade,” Sandi responded, not bothering to whisper. She looked out at the court. The next two players were walking on to the cheers of the crowd. One of the players was the reason that Jodie and Sandi had been sent to the French Open by Sandi’s mother as representatives of the TV station she worked for. It would have been a dreamy summer job for two college-going girls—but Sandi could sour milk with a glance.

       Jodie moved her foot and tapped Sandi’s nearest foot, their agreed-upon signal that they were live. “The next match is a special one,” said Jodie, smiling at the camera pointed at her face, a green light lit above the lens. “Facing the current champion is an old friend of ours, Quinn Morgendorffer from the United States. Quinn is still new to the game at nineteen, over the hill as far as some experts are concerned, but she’s dynamite on the courts today. If she wins this set, she’ll be the top female tennis player on earth. They’re ready to start—and there they go!”

       The green light on the camera went off. Jodie blew out her breath.

       “Look at her,” Sandi sneered. “Her red hair’s still bouncy and she hasn’t a drop of perspiration on her. I bet she’s taking drugs.”

       “Shut up!” Jodie hissed.

       “Oh, shut up yourself,” Sandi grumbled. “I hate this. She’s going to be a millionaire, and I can’t even pay off my college loans. She doesn’t deserve this. I hope she soils herself right on the court on live TV.”

       “Knock it off!”

       “Bite me.”

       Jodie gave up and left the booth, signaling for the cameraman to follow her to another spot at courtside. The match was short, savage, and sweet—Quinn hammered her way to victory through every set, a tennis Cinderella in the flesh. The crowd went wild. American flags waved everywhere.

       Jodie fought her way onto the court after the last set. “Congratulations!” she shouted over the riot, trying to catch Quinn’s attention through the well-wishers.

       Quinn saw her and shrieked, then ran over and threw her arms around the reporter. “Thank you for coming!” she cried after the hug. “Is anyone else with you?”

       “Sandi’s in the press booth!” Jodie shouted back. She made a motion to the news crew to cut back to the booth, then turned back to Quinn and gave her another victory hug—as the transmitter in her left ear cut to the press booth and Sandi’s voice.

       “—little bitch thinks she’s all that. Look at her jumping around in that little skirt, showing everyone that perky little Morgendorffer ass. I can’t believe that tramp stole all my boyfriends in high school. I bet she’s slept with every judge in this tournament just to get here. She’s probably slept with all the female judges, too. She pisses me off so much. I’d like to get hold of her and tie her naked to a bed, then show her a few special punishments I learned when I was in that sorority. First I’d start with the—”

       “What are you doing?” Quinn asked Jodie, who was slashing her finger across her throat, desperately trying to get the news crew to cut the live sound feed from the press booth. The news crewmen grinned at her, taking no action at all. They were savoring the moment, hanging on in shocked delight to the abusive anchor’s every word.

       Heedless of the disaster about to swallow her career, her reputation, and her life’s savings, Sandi Griffin ranted on until she noticed everyone around her was pointing at her and laughing. As the judge told her later, in a different kind of court, “You played foul, but justice was served.”

       She never forgave him the pun.





Original: 05/31/06, modified 06/03/06, 09/18/06, 11/05/08, 05/05/10