Life is not a smooth flow like the river, nor it is straightforwardly comprehensive like an ABC book. Sometimes, events that change our lives are triggered by something very small and insignificant, even something that in other instances wouldn't - and didn't - affect us at all.

One such event is happening now. Linda Griffin is passing by her daughter's room, and hears the latter talking with her friends...

Daria and others are property of MTV, Noggin, and related people and corporations. The Greek myths, belong to the Greeks I guess. The "excerpts" were inspired by Jacob Golosovker's "Tales of the Titans" published in Moscow in 1955.

A classic case of collapse and rebirth


In the "Theogony" of Hesiod, there are hints of the initial, beautiful appearance of the Grey sisters, as well as the touching epithet of Medusa the gorgon as "she, who knew grief"...

Life is not a smooth flow like the river, nor it is straightforwardly comprehensive like an ABC book. Sometimes, events that change our lives are triggered by something very small and insignificant, even something that in other instances wouldn't - and didn't - affect us at all.

One such event is happening now. Linda Griffin is passing by her daughter's room, and hears the latter talking with her friends...

...By now, the arguments between FC's members - in other words, between Sandi Griffin and Quinn Morgendorffer - were rather a routine event. Even jittery Stacy has learned - or at least began to - accept those arguments with a grain of salt. So what if two of her best friends tended to secretly call each other names that would probably cause the Devil to blush and constantly argued between themselves? They were just two best friends underneath!

Now, to keep things fair, it should be pointed-out that Linda too usually didn't spend too much time listening-in to her daughter. She had no doubts that Sandi would in time crush Quinn on her own, without Linda's help. (Besides, she didn't really want to get involved because she secretly was worried about Helen Morgendorffer's possible counter-strike - it's never a good thing to anger a lawyer.)

However, by some bit of bad luck Linda had experienced a similar event today. Ever since she had taken-on a new head accountant, things have been slipping out of her control, as the newcomer slowly asserted herself and didn't seem to be as much intimidated by Linda as she should have. Admittedly, Linda could have fired her, but the damn woman was quite good in her field of work, and besides, she didn't have any grounds to do so, either.

Furthermore, lately the members of the janitorial staff at Linda's company were threatening with a union strike and other "delights" of such nature. And so, needless to say, when Linda heard Sandi engrossed in an argument that was rather similar to her own, she... well, she hadn't exactly snapped, but came close.

"Hey girls, what are you arguing about?" she asked, sticking her head into Sandi's room.

"Oh, we're not arguing," Sandi said. "Quinn was just telling us about Texas and her trip here, nothing special."

"I'll say," Linda snorted. "Me and your father have been to Mexico once, to Guadelupa, even brought home a souvenir!"

"Really? What was it?" Quinn politely asked, ignoring Linda's attitude.

"Was? Quinn, it still is. Sandi, why don't you take your friends and I'll show you my plaque with the certificate?"

Now curious despite their expectations, the four girls followed Linda into her study, and once they were inside the study, Linda smugly pulled off the wall a rather impressive-looking bronze plaque with the certificate with something written on it in Spanish. "See?" Linda said proudly. "This is what my husband got me on our honeymoon trip!" Linda said proudly. "Isn't it fine, Quinn?"

Quinn didn't say anything; in fact, while Stacy was chattering way some congratulating gibberish and Tiffany nodded in agreement, and Sandi beamed with pride, Quinn had fallen silent, muttering something in nearly inaudible whisper, and even counting something on her fingers. Needless to say, Linda's question had rather startled her, too.

"Hah-? What-? Oh, Mrs. Griffin, my mom certainly doesn't have anything like that; in fact," Quinn paused, looking at Linda, "can I go home and talk to her about it?"

Now, on any another day, if Linda was more careful, she would've noticed that Quinn looked flustered and worried, rather than cowed and intimidated (what in Linda's world passed as impressed). But today that didn't happen.

"Sure, why that's a great idea," Linda nodded, almost serenely.

Quinn left so fast, that she almost flew away.

...Under the influence of the adherents of the Olympic pantheon, however, both the Gorgons and the Graias became the monsters that we know about.

Meanwhile, as Linda proudly continued to demonstrate her trophy to her daughter, and her daughter's friends, Quinn's sister Daria was reading her own book, completely uncaring of those events.

Until Quinn came bursting into her room, slightly out of breath. "Daria!" she gasped.

"What?" was the nonchalant reply.

"How's your Spanish? Mine's a bit rusty, I'm afraid."

"What makes you think that?"

"Well, Sandi's mom has a plaque with the certificate. From Mexico. In Spanish. I've looked at it, and read this word on it." And Quinn promptly wrote the word in question on some paper.

Daria looked at her - and her usually indifferent gaze widened noticeably. "Quinn," she slowly said, "your Spanish must have gotten rusty, 'cause there's no way that Linda Griffin would put that word on a plaque with the certificate!"

And fate had chosen that moment for Helen Morgendorffer, the sisters' mother, to walk past Daria's room, and hear the last sentence. "Daria, Quinn?" she said, surprised, since she knew that her daughters hardly ever got along. "What is going on?"

"Uh, mom? I think Quinn's got a tale to tell," Daria said, leaning back and relaxing. "Quinn, care to tell us what's Sandi's mom, Spanish, and a plaque with the certificate have in common?"

"Well, me and Sandi were arguing, what's better - Texas or Massachusetts, and then we got distracted, and Sandi's mom overheard us, and started to sound all braggy, and the next thing I know, she's showing us this plaque with the certificate, claiming that Mr. Griffin - Sandi's dad - got it for her on her honeymoon."

"Really? Just like Linda," Helen muttered, her resentment towards Linda soaring to a new high, for not unlike Linda, Helen's day didn't go too well either. She still wasn't made partner, and she swore that a few hairs of hers had turned grey during the yester-night. Needless to say, the mere thought of the younger, slimmer Linda didn't put her into a very good mood.

"Yeah, and that's when I came back here," Quinn continued. "Mom, you remember Highland? The whole Spanish-English deal, right?"

Helen nodded. She remembered this whole matter much better than either of her daughters. In Highland, a tiny Texan town located rather near the Mexican border, Spanish was almost as fluent as English, forming a rather unique lexicon, composed mainly of curses, swear words and insults. As a lawyer (an aspiring one, anyways), Helen didn't appreciate this situation, and did her best to remedy that situation by relocating as far as possible, to the northeast states of New England. Admittedly, it was no bag of truffles either, but at least such aberrations as that Beavis boy and his friend didn't wander in the streets.

Smiling in satisfaction of finally getting over their Texan past, Helen looked down - and the aforementioned past just reached-up and bit Helen on the metaphorical arse.

When Helen Morgendorffer finally looked away from the cursing piece of paper and at her daughters, both Quinn and Daria shifted back a bit - just in case. "Quinn Louise! Daria Marie! What is the meaning of this?" Helen's voice rumbled like the roar of a puma.

"Mom! That is what is written on Mrs. Griffin's plaque with the certificate!" Quinn's voice went almost ultrasound.

Helen's eyes narrowed. "Oh, is it? Girls, get into my car - we are going to pay Linda a little visit!"

Daria and Quinn took a good look at their mother and hurriedly ran downstairs into her car.

Helen herself had joined them in a few minutes, carrying a big book alongside with her.

It was a dictionary.

...the incomplete knowledge of the ancient languages can cause some tragic misunderstandings. Thus, some people translate Phorcus as the "old man of the sea", and Ceto as the "sea-abyss". This is incorrect. Phorcus is translated as "sea-hog" (and later became a "porpoise, marine animal that looks like a dolphin"), while Ceto is a "sea-monster" - like the ones that had plagued Ethiopia and Troy...

When the Morgendorffer women had arrived at the Griffin household, the excitement there was just starting to die down. Linda was almost smiling as Stacy and Tiffany chattered (sucked-up) to her Sandi, especially so that Quinn - the main new rival for Sandi and Sandi's popularity - had fled with her tail between her legs...

Linda smiled in satisfaction. Her mood was actually improving - to the point where she felt smug and superior, as she made her husband Tom learn as soon as he had come in and asked what was up. Now, Tom was sitting in his study room, trying not to appear in Linda's field of vision too often.

And it was in that field of Linda's rhapsody, that in came Helen Morgendorffer, followed by her children.

"My, that's an unexpected surprise, Helen," Linda said in her smug voice, and that pretty much did Helen in.

"Linda," she said in her best lawyer voice, with the smoothness outside covering the rolls and peals of thunder inside. "I'm so sorry of me barging in like that, but I heard that you have some sort of an... award, and I wanted to see it myself - to, you know, ensure that Quinn hasn't mixed-up or anything."

Tom Griffin didn't want to confront with his wife today or tonight. She was in one of her "queen-of-the-world" stages, during which everybody should stay out of her way.

However, he needed that reference volume, and so he came downstairs, to brave Linda's wrath, only to hear her say:

"Mix-up? Helen, how could your Quinn mix-up?"

And Helen's voice, as smooth as a cat's: "Well, Linda, you know that we're hailing from Texas, right straight from the Mexican border, so we've got ourselves learning smidgens of Spanish here and there, and besides, I still have my old Spanish to English and vice versa dictionary!"

Tom had heard enough. He turned onto the door and barged in.

Both Linda and Helen ignored him, now fully looking at each other. "So what does your fancy dictionary say?" Linda said, vary now, rather than smug.

"Let's see," Helen said. "The plaque with the certificate, please?"

"No! Linda!" Tom Griffin gasped, but was ignored, as Linda once again showed the plaque with the certificate.

"Here!" she said, now smug once again.

"Good," Helen nodded, turning towards the document in question. "Let's see. My Spanish is a little rusty, but it says... 'The owner of this license is free to... prostitute herself in the country of Mexico'!"

"What?!!" Linda exploded. "Tom!"

And so the titaness and the goddess looked at each other for the first time. Lightning bolts shone in Medusa's eyes, but the sun glowed in Athena's. The scythe had come onto a stone - and neither was going to give-in without a battle.

Linda's gaze, almost glowing from rage, had settled onto her husband. "Tom," the words practically dropped like acid drops from her mouth, "what is the meaning of this?"

Tom paused and sighed. There was no use in lying anymore. "Well," he said, "remember our honeymoon?"

"But of course! I was wearing the nicest little number, and-"

"You were waiting for me to come down. Unfortunately, a member of the local law enforcement decided that you were waiting for a potential client instead."


"And when I came down, he mistook me for that client. We argued. My Spanish was barely better than his English, and so he instead decided that I was your... employer."

There was silence throughout the whole house now, except for Tom Griffin's voice.

"Well, I realized that this wasn't the place nor the time nor the position to argue with him about it, so I agreed. We went to the local police district - or whatever it was called there - and got you this certificate that you later put onto a plaque."

Utter silence fell. Daria and Quinn exchanged glances and slowly began to edge outside the study. After a brief inner struggle, Helen followed suit.

They weren't fast enough. As they moved out of the room, Linda Griffin erupted.

"So," she said, almost shouting. "This what you got me for my honeymoon? A license to whore, Tom? A license to-"

"Dear, please-"

"Don't dear me. You lied to me. You have humiliated me in a foreign country, and you have lied to me! You... you bastard!"

"Well, excuse me! But I have to admit - that cop did have good reasons to get confused! That clothing-"

"-was the type that you enjoyed, Tom, you bloody, bloody parasite!"

"Parasite?! I carried us afloat while you pretended that you were news reporter, Miss Weather-woman! You couldn't even give weather reports, and yet you're putting-on airs. Now, your business-"

"Say not a word about my business!" Linda snarled. "I've got my a bunch of unionist parasites who want to have raises for a bunch of smiles, and I seem to be threatened with a take-over as well! So Tom Griffin you shut up!"

"You know, if you've just listened to me some times, you wouldn't be in such messes!"

"No, I'd be your... employee instead! Pimp!"

"Whore! Why did I ever marry you?"

"Certainly is a mystery to me! Got to Hell!"

At that moment - silence returned and re-descended upon the Griffin household. A heavy silence; silence of people who had said too much, revealed too much to each other, and now knew not what to do with this knowledge.

Helen slowly looked at her daughters; they looked at her, and together, they left the Griffin house.

And Pallas has laughed - with such a laughter that she deafened all birds, and flowers, and trees, and waters. From that day on, silence descended onto that place, neither bird nor flower, neither tree nor water sounded there.


By now, it is wide-known by everybody that Medusa became a monster due to her pride (and the wrong place to have a tryst with Poseidon). This, however, came into knowledge due to the influence of the classical Roman writings (like the Metamorphoses of Ovid). The ancient Greeks, however, had believed that Medusa (and her two older sisters, forgotten by the same Roman authors for the sake of convenience) had been born as monsters to begin with... However, the Roman version is much more romantic...

"So, let met get this straight," Daria's friend Jane Lane asked, after hearing about this incident as she and Daria were walking to Lawndale High on Monday. "Mrs. Griffin had hoisted herself on her own petard?"

"Pretty much so," Daria nodded, gravely, still thinking about that incident herself. "Mrs. Griffin showed Sandi and others that certificate, Quinn saw it and fled home to share it with me, rather than mom, to give her credit. But mom overheard it anyways and exploded in a rage."

"Eh, why?"

"Well, I guess it reminded her of our home back in Highland - you know? Small town, not-too-big on culture, close to the Mexican border - the vocabulary that circulated through its' streets, especially the more beat-down ones was generally not the one that could be used in Congress. And I guess mom figured out that the more we stay in live in Highland, the less our chances are to ever move out there and live a better life. I don't know, of course, if any of our aunts - or grandma Barksdale - had anything to do with it, but here we are."

"And seeing this word on Saturday was an equivalent of flashback?"

"It'd be better to say that it triggered one - a loud one, complete with a little song and dance number. Me, Quinn and dad didn't have a fun time this weekend, believe me, hearing mom rant and rave." Daria paused and added. "But whatever else had happened to our household this weekend was probably nothing compared to what had happened in the one of the Griffins. That had been a classical example of hubris."

"Of what? Is it something like debris?"

"No, "hubris" means senseless pride, boasting senselessly - especially before your superiors - like, say, a coyote puppy taking-on a really old rattlesnake."

"Or Linda Griffin taking-on your mom?"

Daria paused, silent. "Sorry, bad analogy. 'Hubris' is a word of ancient Greece, and it rather means 'bragging to the gods'."

"And that's bad?"

Daria nodded. "Yup. Most Greek myths that include angry deities usually end-up with the offending mortal turned into something else - a tree, a rock, a flower, an animal - or even a monster."

Jane raised an eyebrow. "You seem to be well-versed in such matters, oh young maiden of Athena," she said, half-joking half-serious.

Daria shrugged. "Eh, what can I say. I once talked dad into taking me to see 'Clash of Titans'."

"And? How it went?"

"You can put into your personal and private and non-disclosable files that the Medusa in that movie had scared me so much, that I couldn't sleep properly for the rest of that week."

"Is that so?" Jane said, uneasily.

"Eh, I was younger then than Quinn is now... Anyways, that movie was scary. Not as scary as that September 11th, of course, but still - very spooky," Daria said uneasily. "Anyways, back to the Griffins - Quinn received the news that when it all came down, Stacy and Tiffany were in the receiving zone - and promptly reported it all to their parents. Only, given their reliability and their memories-"

"-Sandi's now going to be as popular as a barn owl that had blundered into a copse of full of crows, rooks and ravens," Jane finished.

"Oho! Nice imagery! Seen it?"

"No, but one of Summer's boyfriends had. His dad used to have a pet owl and used it as bait to kill crows and rooks. You see, he had a corn farm, and those damn birds tended to be bad for business."

There was a pause as the two partners looked at each other. "Hmm," Daria said. "So how did it work, exactly?"

"Boyfriend's dad would tie the owl to a post and when the crows and co. flew out to attack her, bang would go the shotgun. Why do you ask?"

"I don't know," Daria admitted. "But... some thoughts of an idea are moving in the back of my head..." She shook her head. "Let's go, or we'll be late."

...the associations of the gorgons with snakes makes them a part of Chthonic pantheon, of the darkness. This - in more fancy wording - can equate to an anti-, fallen deity, fallen angel...

Sandi Griffin walked slowly to Lawndale High, thinking that she should be feeling like she was on the Green Mile, or something.

But however - she didn't. Rather, she actually felt free.

Throughout her entire life so far, Sandi Griffin had been pressured to follow her mother's expectations and instructions, while her father remained quietly uninvolved on the sidelines. Consequently, Sandi found herself involved in one activity after another, and every single one of them usually did something that she wasn't even interested at, starting from starting a Fashion Club, and ending with getting Quinn Morgendorffer to join it.

Conversely, of course this meant that Sandi became very well equipped in dealing with social and political situations - at least on a high school level, at any rate. However, not even that was for free - Sandi realized that she had also developed a hauteur worthy of her mother's, and if truth to be told, Sandi Griffin bore little actual love for her mother.

And then, on Saturday, something happened. Something scandalous. Something terrible. Something unbelievable.

But it was something that had set Sandi Griffin free.

Oh, Sandi had no doubt that this new-found freedom will come with a cost - she had no doubts of that. But it was a cost that she was expecting to pay, and in fact, as Brooke made a great show of going over to hear, was even expecting to enjoy it in some cases.

"Hello, Sandi," Brooke said, smiling like a hyena. "My, how you look fallen."

"Buzz off, Brooke," Sandi said.

Brooke ignored it. After all, she had the power. "Sandi, you know what is the difference between, say you and me?"

"That unlike your mom, mine's got a certificate?" Sandi instantly turned bristly.

Brooke's eyes closed with a snap, her beady eyes looked like they might kill. Finally, after behaving like a cross between a wild boar and fish out of water, she found her voice again. "Now who do you think you are?" she said, hissing. "Don't you know who I am?"

Sandi stared down at her; considering that she was physically taller to begin with, it was easy. "Pretty much the same people we were a weak ago - neither of us has grown an extra head or anything like that," she said, flatly.

"No, but you no longer have the power! I do!" Brooke shrilled.

Sandi smiled. It looked kind of macabre. "What you actually have, Brooke, is miles of bills of that nose-repairing job. Nobody can have any claim to power after having their looks alternating from Pinocchio to Skullface."

That did it. "Don't touch the nose!" Brooke yelled and burst into tears.

And then she lashed-out and gave Sandi a good one.


Ms. Li looked with an unidentifiable expression at the girl sitting in her office - Sandi Griffin. "Now, Miss Griffin, I don't really know nor care what had happened in your house but this behavior at school is unacceptable!"

"I'm sorry," Sandi said, avoiding the principal's gaze. "I must've forgotten about poor Brooke's feelings towards her nose."

Ms. Li winced. After the two girls have been separated, Brooke went on rumbling about her nose to the point when Ms. Li sent her to Dr. Manson. The latter person emerged pretty quickly, and dialed the girl's parents, suggesting that some therapy was required for their offspring. Judging from the haste with which the parents arrived and took still raving Brooke from school, this suggestion wasn't too much out of place, apparently.

This left Sandi Griffin to take care of. But looking at the rather miserable-looking girl, Ms. Li didn't feel too wrathful. "Very well," she finally. "Since this is your first real transgression, you'll just spend the recess at the study hall. Understood?"

While thanking Ms. Li, Sandi made her escape.

The study hall, Sandi discovered was quiet and boring - like a quagmire. One could visit it, but living in one was definitely a crazy thing.

Sandi sighed. She was crazy to think, let alone say it - but she actually missed the girls. They might've been crazy little chatterboxes, but at least they kept boredom away.

"Say, have you perchance read Milton?" a female voice spoke to her left.

Sandi jerked around, startled. "What is going on?" she said, frowning. "Hey, aren't you Quinn's sister? What are you doing here? Oh wait, this is study hall. I gotcha."

Daria's eyes narrowed in thought. "So, have you read Milton?"

"Say who?"

"Never mind. Eh, look. I came over to apologize for the Saturday. I mean, this whole thing was started because of us."

Sandi shook her head in semi-disgust. "No, this whole thing started when mom stuck her nose into something that it didn't belong into - as usual." She paused. "Anyways, it's not so bad. Mom and dad have never really cared about me - they only had those expectations." Sandi's facial expression shifted from neutral to definitely macabre. "And now I can throw that into their faces!"

"Before you can go on planning your next move, can you, ah, do me a favor?" Daria said, guardedly.


"Well, I'm writing this little novella, and I've just finished a part of it. Can you, ah, beta-read it, while we're both in here?"

Sandi's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Couldn't your art chick friend do that?"

"Not her cup of tea, I'm afraid. Please? I'll give you a couple of bucks."

Sandi shrugged. "Why the Hell not? Lead on, MacDuff."

Daria raised an eyebrow. "You know Shakespeare?"

"You forgot? For our school he's obligatory."

"Oh right."

The gods of Olympus are intimidating and vengeful. The darkness is sinister. In the subterranean darkness, like the tree-roots, serpents grow, and take root in the body, hiss, and sting, and form rings. Who is doomed to the subterranean darkness, he is destined to become snake spawn. They'll change their wonders appearance to the one of a monster. Their legs will turn into a snake's tail, their hair will rise, swirl into snakes, and from the thighs and neck snakes will grow. Skin will shine with the scales. Fangs will come from the mouth. The arms will turn copper. And the eyes... best not to see those eyes.

Terrible is the image of the former beauty. And when the wings and clawed paws will grow, and the monster will rise as a man-eating dragon, who will recognize in it a formerly beautiful titaness? Willingly or unwillingly has she turned into a winged serpent - the end result is the same: the titaness is gone. All will forget about her former beauty and her heart, strong with the truth, hard as a diamond. Her former name, when she will be a joyful titaness will be forgotten, and a new name will be stuck to it, a terrible and a disgusting one, and it will be used to scare the children: "And the Gorgon will come, and the Gorgon will take you, and the Gorgon will eat you - leaving not even the bones." And terrible tales will crawl about her ferocity and invincibility - even though nobody has seen her personally. And the black truth - slander will flood her face, mutilated and slandered by the malice and vengeance of a god, who didn't forget insubmissiveness. And indeed, the black truth will do its' job. In the mighty heart of the titaness a black fire of ferocity will flare on, a return malicious reaction to the malice of men and gods. The heart will go feral, the mind beastly, the words become growls. Return vengeance, return hatred will become sweet. And in the monstrous image a monstrous soul will be born: a dragon in a dragon, a man-eater in a man-eater.

So let a heroic savior, who knows no fear, be born and slay the monster. The time will command, and the hero will come.

"Wow! That was interesting," Sandi said, looking back to Daria. "You know, is it one of your double-meaning things? You know, like that poster your friend had drawn for contest?"

"Hah?" Daria said, not quite acting surprised. "What do you mean?"

Sandi's eyes rolled in irritation. "Oh, you know? Beautiful is popular, like Quinn, but without popularity image is nothing - reputation is the key! You know, you're parodying the modern society or something!"

Daria flatly stared. "Uh, Sandi? I'm trying to re-tell a myth from ancient Greece here!"

Now it was Sandi's turn to stare. "But it describes our school so perfectly!" She paused. "I guess this means that popularity is forever!"

Daria paused, remembering the Trojan War. "Hey, maybe you're right. I mean, even a war got started once because of it?"

Sandi's eyes lit-up from excitement. "Ooh! A war? When and where?"

At that moment, of course, the bell rang, signifying the end of recess and the study hall. "Drat! And I wanted to hear so much about that popularity war!"

Daria shrugged. "Well, I can tell it to you after school, if you are interested."

Sandi smiled. "Well, I am interested. And free from whatever objections my mom may raise!" and she smiled a shark-like smile. Then it faded a little. "But about your sister and others?"

Daria looked a bit glum too. "Oh yeah. I think the club has kind-of broken-up, but they still making shopping trips together."

Sandi's face fell some more, but then apparently she had some private thought, and it brightened a bit. "Oh well. So, after school?"

"Deal," Daria nodded.

The two girls shook their hands and went their separate ways.

The end? Or just the beginning?

P.S. ...and people have forgotten that there have been three Gorgon sisters: one was Sthenno - "the strong one"... second - Euryale - "the far jumper", and the third... Medusa "the ruler"... but the people called them the Gorgons - "lightning-eyes.