Over Viagra Falls




Do You Feel a Draft?




©2010 The Angst Guy (theangstguy@yahoo.com)

Daria and associated characters are ©2010 MTV Networks



Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: theangstguy@yahoo.com


Synopsis: In the wake of a bizarre medical disaster, the military draft is reinstated—but it’s for women as well as men. And Daria has a problem with that.


Author's Notes: Losdia began a rotating PPMB Iron Chef called "Angst Lord Time-Trials Redux" in June 2009, and one of Doggieboy’s challenges was this: "Because of a new law, young women have to register for the draft. As a matter of principle, Daria Morgendorffer refuses to register. As a result, she is turned down by more than 90 percent of the colleges and universities in this country, and cannot get financial aid for the ones she would be accepted at... except certain religious/pacifist-type colleges.” And here’s the result.

       Special typography note: This story makes use of a free type font for the title, for aesthetic value. The font is Denmark Regular, which resembles the type used for the Viagra logo. The author feels it improves the look of the tale. The font can be downloaded (again, for free) at AbstractFonts.com.


Acknowledgements: Thank you, Doggieboy!










Jane Lane pushed open the door of Pizza Place that evening and spotted her best friend Daria Morgendorffer within moments. Daria sat by herself in a booth in a faraway corner of their favorite hangout, stirring her Ultra-Cola with a straw and gazing into her carbonated beverage with a weary, depressed air. In other words, she looked the same as she always did of late. Jane could hardly blame her under the circumstances.


“I must say I'm honored you've chosen to spend your valuable Saturday night with me,” said Jane as she walked up to the table and took a seat across from her dour friend. “What happened, amiga? Did you get a night off from nursing duty?”


Daria looked up for a moment before looking into her soda again. “Mom’s moved her home office into the bedroom to be near Dad,” she said. “She has so much work since she made partner she can’t keep all the records in her office downtown. As a bonus for babysitting Dad all week while she worked late, she gave the unpaid nursing assistants the night off. Quinn and I almost killed each other trying to get out the front door at the same time. I guess we both craved a bit of sisterhood, just not with each other. She’s with the Fashion Club, helping with the recruiting drive at the high school. They’re probably still there.”


Jane’s eyebrows went up. “You’re kidding. The Fashion Club wants to become the Fight Club?”


Daria shook her head. “It’s a little more complicated than that. They’re trying to trick—I mean, trying to encourage seniors to sign up with Selective Service or actually join one of the armed forces by acting like they’ll exclusively date anyone who will. I’d bet that—wait.” She paused to flag down a waitress to get a drink for Jane and take their pizza order.


“Thanks,” said Jane. “My treat tonight, by the way. I sold two poster designs and some artwork to LysiStrategy.”


Daria looked up from her drink with a puzzled expression. “Is that the same group that—”


“The Lysistratas, yeah. They voted to change their name this morning, just haven’t told everyone yet. They’re going national on Monday. Funny to think that a college group in Lawndale of all places is about to make the big time.”


“How did they do that?”


“They talked four other Chesapeake-area anti-draft groups into joining forces with them. I think the Lawndale State group was more organized and aggressive than the others. The protest at the Pentagon last month also put them in the spotlight. I might be doing regular work for them soon.”


It was Daria’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Oh?”


Jane smirked. “They need an art director for their propaganda wing. I put in a bid for the job.”


Daria began to smile in spite of herself. “Do they know you’re still in high school?”


Shhh! Loose lips sink ships, Morgendorffer.” Jane took a sip of her own Ultra-Cola, freshly delivered by the waitress, then pointed at her companion. “How about you? How are those college applications coming along?”


When Daria’s face fell, Jane winced. “Sorry, amiga.”


“I’m not an actor,” Daria said, looking into her drink again. “I can’t pull off the Alice’s Restaurant deal and make the recruiters think I’m too crazy to serve.”


“I could give you insider advice. The mouth full of fake blood tipped the scales in my case.”


Daria sat back in her seat. “You know what it is? I don’t want to play the game. I used to write all this violent revenge stuff with secret agents who kill without thinking about it, but the truth is that I don’t want to have anything to do with the military. I don’t want to have anything to do with killing people, no matter how much I fantasize about it. If someone, male or female, wants to volunteer to fight a war, fine, go for it, be my guest. But just because a few million guys wanted a foot-long hot dog to share with their girlfriends and wound up with bad hearts instead is not enough reason for me to support the draft, especially if they want me to fill in for some bozo who can’t drive his tank anymore because he wasn’t happy with his wiener.”


Jane laughed and promptly choked on her soda.


“I mean, look,” Daria continued after the tabletop was wiped off. “What happened to my dad was one thing. Mom told me—” She reddened as she spoke “—that Dad had been having ‘problems’ because of his heart medication, and they both agreed to give that damn Essence a try. It wasn’t like—it wasn’t like he was trying to be a ‘playa’ or anything, like certain people we know. He was just—oh, the hell with it, he had E.D. and sex is such a big thing with them, they just wanted to keep it going. The point is, he didn’t go out and force other people to do his job because he couldn’t leave the house to work any longer. He started a new consulting business online, and he’s managed to get a little work. No one has to see him shuffle around in a bathrobe and bunny slippers pulling an oxygen tank behind him. It isn’t much, but he’s still in there trying to make it. Do you see what I mean?”


Jane nodded solemnly. “Don’t you think a lot of other guys who took 2m-Essence were in the same situation, though? Older guys especially get E.D. for all sorts of reasons. Not that I know anything about it personally, but my brother Wind complains about everything to anyone and he won’t shut up.”


“I’m not criticizing that,” said Daria. “I also know a lot of guys took 2m-Essence because they thought it would turn them into sex stallions, like Mister QB. Whatever the reason, their problem is not my problem.”


“You don’t approve of the draft because you don’t have a wiener,” interrupted Jane with a grin. “At least none that I’ve noticed while showering with you after gym.”


“And I don’t have some natural urge for aggression, except against certain football players and occasionally you. The fact that a pharmaceuticals company came out with a drug that was supposed to make men bigger where they thought it counted, and instead produced a drug that caused irreversible heart damage and left a huge number of guys in this country and elsewhere either bedridden or partly so, that’s not reason enough for me to start doing stupid things like fighting in stupid wars just because men can’t do so many stupid things now.”


“I take it you still haven’t registered with Selective Service.”


“No. On the good side, Mom and Dad are behind me all the way.” Daria bit her lower lip. “That was kind of weird. We talked about it, and they don’t think I should register, either, no matter what. It must have brought out their inner student radical. I almost thought about registering just because they agreed with me, to restore the cosmic balance.”


“Are you still getting letters from the SS?”


“Every week, reminding me of all the benefits of registration, plus the joy of patriotism from serving my country.”


Which brings us back to college.


Daria fell silent again. The pizza arrived at that time, which allowed the two of them to fill the quiet spaces with chomping and munching and slurping noises. Daria paused after the first two slices, glumly poking at a third piece with a finger.


“Selective Service keeps emphasizing that draft registration opens the door to getting federal student loans,” she said. “If the College Access Bill passes next week, my applications won’t even be looked at by any university that gets state or federal funds. That’s about ninety percent of all colleges worth attending, not counting military schools. Mom and Dad said they can get me through the first year using their savings, but even with Mom’s promotion and Dad’s medical expenses being taken care of by the class-action bailout, the home budget is still pretty bad. I had another talk with them about that last night. I told them not to bullshit me, just tell me exactly what they could afford, and to my surprise they did. The money flows out almost as soon as it flows in. They can’t save a thing.”


“You could work your way through school.”


“Yeah, but as I said, admissions offices won’t even look at me if I haven’t registered.”


“So what are your options?”


“I’ve got only one: not going to college.”


For a moment Jane stared at Daria with huge eyes, frozen in the act of biting into a pizza slice. She then carefully withdrew the slice from her mouth and put it back on her plate. “I’m sorry, the acoustics in here are bad. It sounded like—”


“I’m not going to college.”


Jane’s stunned silence prompted Daria to continue. “It isn’t worth it. The only universities left are either private ones that get no outside funding, which cost over a bazillion dollars a semester to attend, or the pacifist-religious ones that churn out naïve dopes. I couldn’t stomach going to school with thousands of future Mr. O’Neills.”


“I never saw you as a conscientious objector-type anyway.”


“I’m not. I can see that some wars, awful as they are, have to be fought. Most don’t, but some do. That’s not my point. I’m not a Buddhist or Quaker or peace-signing neo-flower child. I just completely resent it that because the manpower pool went down the drain over a thing like erectile dysfunction, I have to throw out my own dreams and risk being made into cannon fodder. It’s not fair, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”


“Were you the one I heard yelling that line about eleven o’clock last—”


“That was me. I screamed it out my bedroom window after talking with Mom and Dad about college.”


“Hey,” said Jane, gesturing at Daria with her Ultra-Cola, “I’m not going to college either. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t go to college in the same town? We could meet like we are now to eat pizza and complain.”


Daria picked up her third piece of pizza. “You’re not going, either?”


“Everything you said applies to me, too. Mom and Dad left enough money for me to go to school, but now that I’m the only one living at home, someone has to stick around and take care of the place. And I like the idea of making money more than I like the idea of not making money. That LysiStrategy job is not a volunteer thing. They're going to pay pretty well.”


“Speaking of being home alone, how’s Trent like Montreal?”


“He likes it a lot. He called this morning and said the music scene was great, and the ‘ethereal transference was electric,’ or something to that effect. He and Jesse are going to start a new band.”


“The Mystik Draft Dodgers?”


“That’s funny, because he said something just like that. The Mystik Resisters, that was his idea for a new band name.”


Daria snorted. “Maybe the Canadians will have a deeper appreciation of their music than the Americans did.”


“I doubt that. Canadians have ears, too. Oh, I was going to tell you, Kevin Thompson’s out of the hospital.”


Daria rolled her eyes. “Not that I care, but how is he?”


“He didn’t take as much 2m-Essence as some people did, but I heard he picked up a heart murmur from it.”


“So he’ll be stuck in Lawndale with you and me. Oh, joy.”


Jane sighed. “Hadn’t thought of that. Damn. We may have to move.”


“I can’t.”




Daria took a deep breath. “Mom can’t take care of Dad by herself. She’s making real money now.” She made a face. “Quinn and I talked about it. We’re both going to stay home and help out. The only difference is that she doesn’t mind registering for the draft because she plans to be married and pregnant as soon as she can find someone she can stand to mate with. She’s also thinking about going to Lawndale State. She can get the loans I won’t be able to.”


Jane blinked in astonishment. “Quinn, in college? What’s she going to major in, Cosmetics?”


“Business, marketing, sales, something like that. She’s a people person.”


They sat in silence for a while, staring at the uneaten remains of their dinner.


“Weird how this all turned out,” said Jane. “Someone makes a drug to compete with Viagra, captures the market, and it totally blows up in everyone’s crotches and destroys all claims of male superiority. The Schrecters get heart disease so your mom makes partner, half the football team goes into intensive care so now girls’ athletics dominate the sports pages, Gore becomes president, and all the guys who were healthy or self-assured enough not to take 2m-Essence have run off to Canada. It’s a sick, sad world we live in, Morgendorffer. And speaking of sick, sad, and Canada, Tom called from Winnipeg.”


“He wants you to join him in exile?”


“No, he’s got a new girlfriend. It figured he would. He just wanted to touch base with the ex-g.f., see how I was doing, brag about how good the weather is up north—I know he’s lying there—and he asked how you were.”


Daria groaned. “I hope you told him I was dead.”


“I think he likes you. You were a lot more his type than I was.”


“He and I aren’t even the same species.”


“I thought it was Kevin who was a different species.”


“Kevin’s from a different kingdom, but I can’t tell if it’s vegetable or mineral.”


“Too bad we aren’t lesbians. That would solve everything.”


Daria made a yuk face. “Jane, eww! Not while I’m trying to eat, okay?”


“You’re no fun.”


“I hate fun.”


“You’d be perfect for a job with LysiStrategy, then. They’re no fun, either. You could write ad copy.”


“That would mean I’d have to take sides and be a joiner.”


“Oh, right.”


Daria hesitated. She appeared to be in deep thought. “They really need someone to write ad copy?”


Jane tried not to grin. “They’re go-getters, but they’re not terribly clever. You could write rings around their whole media wing.”


“Hmmm.” Daria ate another slice of pizza. “Mom and I were talking the other day, in the three minutes of parental bonding time she had, and we figured out there were four kinds of women today.”


“I would have said one, but I got a C in biology.”


Daria raised a hand and began ticking off fingers. “There are the Lysistratas, who won’t register for the draft and don’t want anyone else to register, not even the men. Then there are the Amazons, who are skipping the registration part to join the Armed Forces directly and replace the men who can’t, um, perform any longer—”


“Like Brittany.”


“Right, and there are the Nightengales, who don’t mind registering but intend to apply for non-combat and support positions with the military, usually in medical or admin—”




“Bingo, and last but not least there are the Rosies, after Rosie the Riveter, who want the government to force industry to turn over all its good men to the military so women can take their jobs. Rosies don’t want women to register, they want men to register and women to shore up the home front in case we get into a bigger mess than in Bosnia, Kosovo, or wherever. Quinn and the Fashion Club are Rosies. They’re getting guys to join the military so they won’t have to. Basic self-interest.”


“Ah, now I get their devious plan. Very, very devious indeed.”


“Mmm.” Daria looked at the few slices left and sighed. “I’m not hungry. You can take the rest home.”


“Thanks. Trent’s out of money, so maybe I could mail the leftovers to him. It’s cold enough in Canada now, it wouldn’t spoil.”


"He can have the last garlic breadstick, too."


“So, tell me, amiga,” said Jane, crossing her arms as she sat with her elbows on the table. “Who are we going to date with all the eligible men either gone north or in nursing homes? And don’t say Upchuck, I’m not finished eating yet.”


Daria cleared her throat. “Well, uh... there’s, um... Mack Mackenzie.”


“Uh-huh. Jodie says she has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it.”


“She can’t be everywhere at once.”


“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.”


“And on that note,” said Daria as she got to her feet, “let’s call it a night.”


After stuffing one last slice in her mouth, Jane got the bill, paid it, packed up the leftovers, and left a tip. They walked out the door of Pizza Place together into the cool night air.


“The United States of America,” said Daria as they headed home. “Mightiest superpower in the history of the world, undone by wiener wars.”


 “You really need to drop by LysiStrategy. I’m telling you, they’re going to freak when they see your copy.”


“I... I might do that. Maybe. I don’t know.”


“Monday after school, four p.m., Lawndale State student center, room one twelve. Bring yourself and your attitude. The rest will be history.”


“Damn it.”


Jane grinned. “That’s my amiga.”







Original: 06/22/09, 11/02/09, 03/27/10, 05/10/10