By Lew. [Version 2.0]
For Mandii (Made you laugh!), Kerryn (Thanks for the input…), Mad Mick Brown (Manky, yeah!) and my first and (then) only fan, Desanera. (Yes, I'll finish it, someday…)
(Abuse me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or even at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: Ok, everybody knows that Daria is not my creation (Gods, how I wish.) and that MTV owns the souls (or the legal equivalent) of the creators, Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis. Simply, this is the bit that goes in front so that everybody knows that I'm ripping their ideas…
* If you're really twisted, there are endnotes. *
(Begin the typical "Daria" introduction, Splendora wailing away to the trials and tribulations of Daria Morgendorffer. As the last chords fade with the trailing "Laa-la, Laaa-laa…" Daria script: Heroes…)
(Open to Daria Morgendorffer walking to her locker and holding her books to her chest with the background scenery of Lawndale High seeming to be more insane than usual. Music: "I Grieve" - Peter Gabriel. As Daria opens her locker, she moves slightly to the left, allowing a thrown blackboard duster to glance off where her head had been. Taking no apparent notice of the projectile, she replaces some books, grabs her art sketchbook, pockets some black pens and closes the door.)
Sandi: (O/S) Hey! Quinn's cousin, or whatever?
(Daria neatly sidesteps into the corridor, allowing three spitball wads to go sailing past her right shoulder. Not stopping to chat, she strides off. At her heels, a thrown bucket bounces and clatters away, rolling on its side. Camera POV pans back to Sandi Griffin, president of the Fashion Club, with Tiffany and Stacy Rowe, members of the same. Sandi looks distinctly annoyed.)
Tiffany: (The vacuous.) She didn't even wait for the bucket. That's soo wrong.
Stacy: Er, do you think we are getting..?
Sandi: (The vicious.) What Stacy? Predictable?
Stacy: (The cringing.) Oh, no Sandi! It's just that…
Sandi: What? My plans worked perfectly fine in middle-school, are you suggesting that they're not suitable now?
Stacy: Well, it's just that since we're all older, maybe you need to…(Trails off in the wrath of Sandi, who is getting redder. Sandi looks as if she is going to explode, but stops and calms down.)
Tiffany: (The oblivious.) She's getting aw-way.
Sandi: (Very calm.) Don't worry, she has to come back. (Too calm.) And maybe Stacy has a point in that more extreme measures need to be taken.
Stacy: (Flinching agreement.) Okay! (Tiffany nods, slowly.)
Sandi: Although I would like to discuss the lack of solidarity that one of us is experiencing, Stacy?
(Stacy gulps. Tiffany nods, slowly.)
(Cut to Daria walking into the school artroom. Music: "Torn" - Natalie Imbruglia. Jane Lane already there and wielding a broom-sized brush on a canvas that is on the floor in the corner; the canvas is around 20 feet square. She looks up from her paint-splattered plastic overshoes with a worried expression on her face. She tries an encouraging smile at Daria and is rewarded when the usually-blank face shows a spark of interest. Daria changes course, and wanders over to the massive painting. She looks at it interestedly.)
Daria: And what amazes me is how you can still wrangle these special projects out of Mrs Defoe.
Jane: (Genuinely happy.) It's a knack. (Wry.) And since I'd completed the year's slated work by Easter, she had to find me something to do.
Daria: (Mild interest.) What was your final mark? Overall?
Jane: (Dismissive.) A+, as you should well know. (Waves away the importance of the mark.)
Daria: Well, this little black crow had better get busy, I've still got to finish my self-portrait. (Nods to her work-place.)
Jane: Can I watch? (At Daria's look of surprise.) What? Can't a genius enjoy the fruits of other's labours? (She rubs her chin, considering.) Or is it something else? (Looks closely at Daria, noticing a certain tightness around her eyes and the slight dusting of chalk-dust on her shoulder.) Oh god, have those idiots still got it in for you?
Daria: (Takes a seat, slumped.) My main hope is that they remain stupid enough so that they don't realise they're following a pattern. If they do, I'll face a bucket of water over the outside exit door when school ends. If not, I've got some other pain and/or humiliation to avoid.
Jane: Still no idea why they want your head?
Daria: Nope. If I had to wait in line with those Nazis, I counted it as a valuable part of my life lost forever. I've put Quinn to the question a few times, but nothing of use has come out of it. (Beat.) Well, nothing that I could use against the Fashion-fascists. (Arch.) Mom and Dad, they're a different story.
Jane: (Concerned.) You ok girl?
Daria: Yeah, kind of. (To the unwavering look of concern.) Well, I will be in a little while. (The look relents a little.) And if no idiots decide to make my life more of a living hell than usual.
Kevin: (O/S) HEY EVERYBODY, the QB is HERE!!!!!
Jane: (Tiredly.) And who saw that coming?
(Kevin's grand entrance is rather lost when he finds the classroom empty, apart from Daria and Jane.)
Kevin: Oh. (Starts again.) Hey, has anyone told you about…
Daria: (Sounding pained.)…How you scored the winning goal for the Lions and helped win the State Championship? (Pause.) Yes Kevin. You did, every day, for the past three months.
Kevin: Hey, no offence, but I didn't just help win it, I won it. The. State. Championship!
Jane: (Dry.) And I'm sure the rest of the team would like to discuss that point with you. ("Evil Jane" returns in full-force.) Don't you remember what we said we'd do to you if you didn't stop telling us?
(Kevin looks surprised, then squints at Jane's expression, trying to think. (Cue the funky ripple/dissolve effect for flashback.) From Kevin's point of view: Vague memories of him telling Daria and Jane about his winning goal. And then of Daria holding him down with a boot on his neck, holding a "cup" above a smoking beaker. He watches as she dips the "athletic supporter" in the beaker and drops it next to his head. It shatters. Then the images become clearer, as Jane holds the beaker in thick gloves and mimes pouring it on his crotch. She comes closer, closer, closer…He shakes his head, trying to escape the horror. He shrieks soundlessly, then everything goes black.)
Jane: Well. (Looking at Kevin's slumped body, out cold on the floor.) That was fun. (Beat.) Do you think we should wake him up for another round?
Daria: (Looking at her watch.) Why ruin the fastest time so far? (Holds out her arm.)
Jane: Really? (Squints over at Daria's watch.) Wow, a new record! That is pretty cool.
Daria: (Just making conversation.) Yes, soon the negative reinforcement cycle will be so strong that every time he sees us, he will relive his trauma and pass out.
Jane: (Clasps hands together, and raises eyes to the ceiling.) Please, let it be soon.
Daria: What are you going to call it, anyway? (Nods towards the massive canvas on the corner.)
Jane: (Looks over to Kevin's form.) The rate of interruptions I'm experiencing, it's gonna be "Vapour-Lock on the Road to Nowhere". How about yours?
Daria: I was thinking of something unique and striking, like "Self Portrait #1."
Jane: (Pushing motions with her hands.) Whoa, slow down at the creation station, you're scaring me.
Daria: (Rubs eyes.) To be honest, I've kind of lost interest.
Jane: (Smiling.) Not that you had any in the first place.
Daria: (Smirks right back.) True.
Jane: Anyway, I'll be over here if you could do with some moral support.
Daria: (As she turns to her photo-realistic portrait and sets up a mirror.) Thanks Jane.
Jane: No sweat. (Stops where she is in thought.) Hmm, now how would I go about doing that?
(Scene fade out to Daria looking bemused at Jane, who is jumping around on her work while holding a mass of paint-tubes. Jane looks like she is having a great time, so Daria smiles in the slight Mona Lisa way of hers and moves a little way off to avoid flying globs.)
(Open scene with the familiar corridors of Lawndale High, Jane and Daria walking to their lockers. Music: "Don't Wanna Be Left Out" - Powderfinger. As they approach, it becomes immediately obvious that something has been done to Daria's locker. When they reach it, they just stand and stare at it a little.)
Daria: Hmm… (Stands and thinks.)
Jane: (Same voice as the Cat off "Red Dwarf".) What is it?
(The camera POV moves so that the locker is readily visible. The door cracks seems to be filled with something so that the locker is sealed shut. There is a lot of plasma-yellow gunk on the locker, and on the floor underneath it.)
Daria: I assume it is some sort of adhesive, most likely epoxy resin.
Jane: (Arch.) Fascinating Batman, but how are you going to open your locker?
Daria: Hmm. (Looks over to Jane.) Still got that blowtorch?
Jane: (Digs it out.) Everywhere I go! (It's one of those that run off a Butane cylinder.)
Daria: May I borrow it?
Jane: Sure. (Whips out another. Happy Jane.) Can I help?
Daria: (Looking at her, then at the torches.) I won't even ask. You take the right-hand side. (They ignite the torches and start to roast the epoxy.)
Jane: (Louder, over the roar of the burners.) So, why are we doing this again?
Daria: The epoxy needs to cook before I can smash it off. (Beat.) I'm assuming that you still carry around that mallet? 
Jane: (Bends over, torch still active, to recover a large wooden mallet from her "art-supplies" bag.) Here!
Mr O'Neill: (O/S) Ah, Daria, Jane?
Jane: (Looking at the locker, loudly to Daria.) Hey Daria, did you just hear Mr O'Neill?
Daria: (Looking behind her. Loud to Jane.) Probably, he's right behind us. (Turns back to the torch.)
Jane: (Loud to Daria.) Good, I hoped it wasn't the plastic fumes getting to me. (To Principal Timothy O'Neill, still not stopping.) Hey Tim!
Daria: (Not stopping either.) Hey Mr O'Neill. Can we help you?
Mr O'Neill: Ah, yes. (Louder, to carry over the noise.) What exactly are you doing?
Jane: (Loud and still torching.) Someone glued Daria's locker shut with epoxy. We're gonna get it open.
Mr O'Neill: (Instant soppiness.) Oh dear, couldn't Pavlov get it open? He is the school custodian.
(A large bearded man walks into the shot, pushing a floor polisher. It is the elusive Pavlov, school custodial and mentioned only in "Quinn the Brain", a shameful waste of a character! He casts a professional eye over the tableau before him and taps Jane on the shoulder.)
Mr O'Neill: (Surprised by Pavlov's appearance.) Eep!
Pavlov: (Thick Russian accent, deep rumbling voice.) So, is epoxy resin, rrright?
Jane: (Still baking the door. It's starting to look a pretty cooked.) Da.
Pavlov: (In Russian, English subtitles beneath the shot.) You two look like you know what you're doing. (Strokes beard, thinking.) I'll drag away "Mr Sensitive" before he has a fit, how about that? (Nods at O'Neill, forgetting that the girls won't see him.)
Jane: (Also in Russian.) Good idea. Thanks!
Pavlov: (Still in Russian.) No trouble, but when your mother comes back, could you ask her about my brother's samovar? He's driving me crazy, the cultureless bastard. (In English to a dazed O'Neill, his accent very thick.) You! You come with me! Need much talk about. Now! (Grabs hold of O'Neill's arm.) Come!
Mr O'Neill: Oh, what's the matter Pavlov? Can I help? (Voice gets fainter as he is inexorably pulled from the shot.) Excuse me, Pavlov? What's the matter?!
(For a few seconds, only the blowtorches can be heard.)
Daria: (Loud.) That looks about right. (They shut off the torches. Pan back to see the door, the paint smoking and peeling. To Jane.) How many languages do you speak, anyway?
Jane: (Touching torch quickly, then placing it onto the ground to cool.) I dunno. (Shrugs.) As many as I have to, really.
Daria: (Hefting the mallet.) So what were you two talking about? I got the bits about the "uncultured bastard" and a tea urn. 
Jane: Basically told us that we were doing a good job, and that he'd remove O'Neill before he spaced out.
Daria: (Taking a few practise swings, to loosen up her arm.) And the samovar?
Jane: Oh, when he met mom at one of those art and swap meets, she was so impressed she went on a metalworking course and made him one. (Shrugs.) His brother saw it and now must have one too. (Laughs.) Family.
Daria: (Getting ready.) Can't live with them, can't eat them.
(She takes a mighty whack at the door. The carbonised epoxy shatters like ice, but Daria swings a few more time to make sure. Satisfied, she hands the mallet back to Jane and opens the locker. Amazingly, the interior looks untouched. Daria gets her stuff together, and closes the door. It looks very much the worse for wear, burnt, beaten and scarred.)
Jane: (Considering the door.) Very "industrialised". (Beat.) Do you follow the Deconstructuralists?
Daria: (Amused at Jane's encyclopedic knowledge of art.) Never heard of them. Post-modernist?
Jane: Hon, everyone is post-modernist these days. (Winks saucily and dumps the tools into her backpack.) I wonder if we'd have got away with that if Li was still in charge?
Daria: Two chances (Pause.) fat and very thin. (Beat.) I just wish O'Neill would show some backbone, his minimalist "Hands off" policy has pretty much assured the school is boarding the old "rollercoaster to hell" that much more quickly.
(Quinn Morgendorffer, Daria's younger sister, passes by, carried on a lavish litter by Joey, Jeffy, Jamie and Robert, the thick footballer from "The New Kid" & "Daria Dance Party". They appear totally happy doing what they do best, serving Quinn. Quinn pays them no attention, just on a cruise, filing her nails.)
Jane: (Eyes following the litter.) Uh-huh. (Beat.) Boarding, not riding, you said?
Daria: I stand corrected.
(Open to Daria and Jane, walking downs the streets of Lawndale, coming home from school. Music: "The Kids Aren't Alright" - The Offspring. [About the only reason why I'd buy "Americana".])
Jane: …So I said, that's not art, this is ART! And whipped out my banana! (She pauses in her tale.) You don't seem to be your usual sunny self, is anything the matter? 
Daria: (Quiet.) Ever had a day when everyone was against you and you later found out that they were?
Jane: (Knows what she's on about.) Once or twice. (Pause.) Not recently, I must admit. You? 
Daria: (Holds up a hand. Her little finger is heavily bandaged, continuing down to wrap around her palm.) I found a few more surprises. This time, it was a razor-blade in my soap during gym.
Jane: (Shocked.) God, that's... (Flat, worried.) Is there anything anyone can do?
Daria: (Sighs, then ticks them off on her fingers.) Well let's see, Mrs Manson thinks I'm paranoid delusional with a hefty dose of bad attitude. Mr O'Neill curls up into a ball if I mention anything like today. Mrs Barch wouldn't care, since my tormentors seem to be women and DeMartino would advocate my bringing in a high-powered rifle and taking matters into my own hands. (At Jane's stare.) You think I'm kidding? He's already given me a few numbers to phone.
Jane: (She looks pretty disturbed.) That's pretty scary, even coming from you.
Daria: Yeah, tell me about it. At least he's concerned, if mostly about the coming Millennium madness.
Jane: (Distracted.) What are you going to do? (Meaning the "World-Wide Y2K".)
Daria: Well, unlike Mr DeMartino, I won't be buttoned up in a hole I've dug in the backwoods, sitting on my supply of canned goods with a gun across my knees and binoculars to my eyes, hoping to hell I've calculated the airline routes correctly and aren't squatting under any glide-paths. (Jane is a bit amazed at this.) No, I'll probably be dragged off to some god-awful office party with my parents, or even worse, relations, to ring in the New Year and the new Millennium with a resounding yawn. 
Jane: (Her expression: "Okaaay".) No plans then?
Daria: (Vague hope.) Only to avoid whatever horrible fate the parental units have dreamed up for me.
Jane: So, not even going to the Pre-Monthly Millennium Ball?
Daria: Huh? (Suspicious.) Just how close were you to the hot epoxy?
Jane: (Incredulous.) Have you been walking around with your eyes closed for the past month?
Daria: No. I've had my eyes wide open for possible life-threatening ploys originating from the Fashion Club. (Beat.) Anything apart from that has had a low priority, I'm so sorry to announce.
Jane: Oh yeah. Sorry. I forgot. Anyway, There is a huge "pre-insanity" ball for most of the High schools, probably trying to wring the last dollar out of us so that we can't go out and purchase monstrously overpriced and watered-down alcohol from our more "mature" peers. (Arches eyebrows.) Rumour has it that it was something Principle Li and School Superintendent Blank cooked up to develop some more funds that they could dip into. 
Daria: (Agreeing.) Sounds like a Li scheme all right. (Remembering something.) She got ten to fifteen, review at seven, didn't she?
Jane: (Nods.) The good behaviour thing. (Beat.) I'm amazed that Jodie hasn't accosted you for tickets yet.
Daria: I'm amazed that embezzlement and violation of civil liberties doesn't come with a longer sentence. (Beat.) And I'm not saying Jodie hasn't, I just probably forgot as soon as I had to avoid a falling goal-post.
Jane: (Incredulous.) That was you?
Daria: (Not ecstatic.) Avoiding death is not a skill I'm proud of, Jane.
Jane: (Smirking.) But you're so damn good at it.
Daria: (And not about to be "cheered up", either.) Only because of constant and unrelenting practise, something that I didn't ask for and strenuously avoid.
Jane: (Not joking.) Hmm, you really aren't ok with things, are you?
Daria: Jane, some sick bitch decided that it would be an great idea to break into my locker, take out my soap, shove a razor blade into it and wait for the ambulance to arrive. (Jane winces.) No, I'm not happy. Happy is probably the last emotion I'm feeling about now, all right?
Jane: Right. But I'd like some extra seasoning on my foot next time I eat it.
Daria: That's fair. Do you mind if I…?
Jane: (Smiles fondly.) Walk on? Nah, knowing you, you'll probably come up with some brilliantly fiendish plan that will turn the tables on your dastardly adversaries! (She finishes almost shouting, hands raised for strength and vengeance. When she finishes, she walks on as if nothing has happened. Daria stares at Jane, then shakes her head.)
Daria: (As Jane goes to walk away.) You still haven't answered my question yet.
Jane: (Turns, a bit surprised.) What question was that?
Daria: Just how close to the epoxy were you?
(Open to the Morgendorffer red brick monstrosity. Music: "Hail, Hail" - Pearl Jam, open with the chorus. Daria's goes to open the front door but before she does so, she hears some muffled voices.)
Sandi: (O/S.) So Quinn, when is "that girl who is staying with you" coming home?
Quinn: (O/S, sounding very puzzled.) Uhh, like I'd notice, Sandi. Sometime around now, I'd guess. Unless she's gone over to that Joan girl's house, she does that a lot.
Daria: (Carefully backing away, so she doesn't make a noise. To herself.) And it looks as if I'm going to be doing it again.
Sandi: (O/S, suspicious.) What was that? (There is a faint <Bing!> noise.)
Stacy: (O/S) Popcorn!
(Various appreciatory noises follow as the Fashion Club vacate the front room for the popcorn in the kitchen. Sandi waits a little, but is lured by the promise of the no fat, no salt microwaved goodness.)
Daria: Or maybe not.
(She cautiously opens the door, looks around and pulls it shut. She quickly makes her way up the stairs and into her room, dumping her books and backpack. A little shocked at how shaky she feels, she goes into the bathroom and washes her face and hands. On her way out, she runs into Quinn.)
Quinn: ("What are you doing here!?" tone.) God! Don't come down, I thought you'd be over at Joans!
Daria: (Thinking quickly.) Well, don't I have downstairs viewing privileges this week?
(Quinn starts to look panicked.)
Quinn: (Fear of fashion ostracism evident.) You wouldn't!
Daria: (V/O: Maybe, but you don't know that.) I'm open for negotiation.
Quinn: (Hurriedly.) You get my time, next week, no argument.
Daria: (Dismissive.) I'm going to get my comfy pillow, now.
Quinn: Alright already! (Pause.) The next three weeks, and twenty in cash.
Daria: (Smirking.) You should really get used to life in a seller's economy, Quinn. (Beat.) No deal.
Quinn: (Hopeful.) Four weeks, and twenty-five?
Daria: Six and fifty, or you'll be watching what I want to watch…
Daria: I'm waiting, but not for long…(Goes to walk out.)
Quinn: Here, polyester clothe your soul! (Digs out some bills.) I get the rest of the week though?
Daria: Yes Quinn. (Quinn leaves.) Enjoy your fleeting taste of TV freedom…
(Daria returns to her room, and thumbs on the remote. The familiar green Bullseye rubberbands into existence, then is quickly replaced with some pretty, but ferocious-looking girls. They all have a vague resemblance to Sandi.)
TV Announcer: They go to school, but they can only spell trouble! "Jailbait" tattooed on their thighs! Next! On Sick Sad World!
Daria: (Thumbs off TV and stares at the ceiling) Cable, thou art forsaken me? (Collapses on bed.)
(Open to a Lawndale High scene montage. Music: "Heaven" - Iva Davis & Icehouse, originally performed by Talking Heads. Daria walks up to the main doors of Lawndale high and is pushed aside by a large male student. Cut to Daria stepping over a heavy lump of wood and the prone form of the guy who pushed pash her and preceded her entrance. In doing so, he received the brunt of the booby-trap that was primed for her. Daria looking at her locker, noticing the water that still trickles out from between the hinges. She unlocks it, allows a cascade to flood out into the corridor. She takes her sodden books without expression.)
(Class with Mr DeMartino, she's sitting pale and composed while he screams at Kevin. Walking with Jane, she moves suddenly to move both of them out of way of a hurled paint-container, it flying further on down the hall. Andrea comes running up, covered in paint and about to crack open a big can o' whoop-ass on whoever did the deed. Jane points behind them. Andrea waves a hand at them as she goes by. Daria doesn't even nod. Jane looks over, concerned.)
(Daria and Jane in Mrs Diane Bennett's Economics class, Jane struggling with the ungodly mess of X's and 0's on the board. She looks across to Daria's book and finds that the lessons have been copied out into eerie order. As Mrs Bennet goes on, Daria starts to draw stars in her book, the type done using only 1 line. Not lifting her pen, she starts to connect them with more drawn stars, making a jagged enclosure around the information. Jane is looking even more worried.)
(Phys-Ed and Daria looks as enthused as ever. She dodges a thrown ball, it impacting further on. She raises an eyebrow as it comes sailing back, ducks and allows it to pass on over. At a commotion behind her, she turns to see Sandi flat on her back, clutching her bloodied nose. The fashion club are all fluttering about their prone leader. Andrea mooches by in basketball gear, dusting her hands. Daria smiles slightly at her. Jane smiles at both of them.)
(Daria at lunch, not showing much in the way of emotion. She's behind Jane in the line waiting to be served when she perks up, looks around and then drags Jane out of the queue. Jane looks surprised and confused, but understanding hits when the line is forced to fall over, domino fashion, by someone pushing at the end. People look very pissed, covered in other student's lunches. Jane looks to Daria with the dawning of greater respect. Daria carefully places her laden tray on the nearest empty table and sits down. Jane does the same.)
Jane: (Breaking the silence.) So, is this what your days are usually like?
Daria: (Becoming more "human".) Well, today's been pretty good. (At Jane's expression, she explains further.) Since the Fashion Club is becoming less focussed in their attacks, they're affecting more people with their "splash damage". Sandi's already been hit twice by Andrea; and if anyone connects them with that domino display (Nods to the pile of students still trying to pick themselves up and wipe off various splattered food.) there are going to be a lot of people howling for their blood.
Jane: (Depressed.) That makes sense, in a sick sort of way.
Daria: (Dry.) So, by your count, how many times today have you seen me dodge "enemy action"?
Jane: (Counts on her fingers.) Ahh, including that one, six?
Daria: Ten since I walked in here this morning. I did think the superglue in my shampoo bottle was a nice touch.
Jane: (Leans forward, eagerly.) Now's the bit where you inform me of the strange chemical reaction that forms when superglue and shampoo are mixed?
Daria: (Slightly cheered.) Sorry to disappoint you, it only causes the glue to set instantly.
Jane: (Disappointed.) So, no shampoo?
Daria: But no scalping either.
Jane: (Faux puzzled.) I though it was against the rules for you to look on the bright side of things?
(Daria is saved from answering when Jodie Landon, key member of the Student Council and all-round saint, sits next to them.)
Jodie: Hey guys. (A bit uneasy.) Daria, is there something that you'd like to share with me?
(Daria looks puzzled.)
Jane: (Ditto for Mlle Lane.) Why, what have you heard?
Jodie: There are some nasty rumours going around and I thought that you'd like to know about them.
Daria: (Light dawns.) Ah. Let me guess; I'm a bigot, I'm pregnant, I'm a drug user, I abuse small boys, I abuse small animals, I'm a lesbian, I'm a man in woman's clothing, I drink the blood of virgins and that I worship Satan by sacrificing goats and rubbing their still-steaming intestines over my naked body?
Jodie: Uhhh, yeah. Kind of. (Looks a Daria, more than a bit worried.) Except for the goat thing…
Jane: (Explanatory.) The Fashion Fiends have it in for Daria, so I bet you could probably trace the more lurid tales back to their pit. (Pause. Evil grin.) Except for the goat thing…
Jodie: (Not reassured by Jane.) Well, they seemed to be too obvious to be true, but considering the average student's intelligence here, you can understand my concern. (Rubs eyes.)
Jane: (Wickedly.) Why Jodie, isn't the criticism of your fellow sheep immediate grounds for loss of your "Upstanding Student" image?
Jodie: (Looking up, semi-seriously.) Not if they can't understand me. (Beat.) But there is something that Mack is dying to know…
Mack: (O/S)…What the hell have you done to Kevin?
(Enter Michael Jordan Mackenzie, the captain of the school football team, all around good guy and Jodie's other half. [Apart from 'shipper interruptions, anyway.] He sits down next to Jane (Jodie sat next to Daria.) and looks interested in any forthcoming explanations.)
Daria: (Slowly, at Jane's smirking, hand waving and rapidly winking encouragement.) Well, do you remember when Kevin got his goal?
Mack: (Dry.) How could we forget, it was the beginning of all creation?
Jane: (Smirking at his humour.) Exactly.
Daria: ("Harken, friend, to this tale of woe…") I don't know how sick you guys got of listing to his play-by-play breakdown of his life leading up to the fateful day..?
Jodie: (Tiredly.) Don't get me started. (At Jane's look.) I have to be nice, remember? It's a bitch.
Jane: (Continuing the story.) Finally, Daria and I were fed up. During science, when Mrs Barch was dismembering some poor male freshman, we made our move…
Daria: …Jane decked him…
Mack: ("Been there, done that" tone.) That doesn't work for long.
Daria: …Then making sure he could see, I dipped an "Athletic Supporter" into the liquid nitrogen we'd "borrowed" from the day's experiment…
Jane: (Gloating.) …Made it so cold it shattered when Daria dropped it…Tisch! (Makes explosive glass motions with her hands and eyebrows.)
Daria: And then Jane went to pour the rest of the beaker down his pants. (Jodie and Mack are staring, mouths wide open.) What? She didn't do it. (Mack and Jodie look relieved.)
Mack: As nasty as that was, why does he faint if he bothers you guys too much?
Jane: Aha! (Proud.) That, my friends, is the sole and well-crafted handiwork of someone who is held highly in our school's collective esteem. (Performs a flourishing bow towards Daria.)
Daria: (Shrugs.) I hypnotised him. (Beat.) Every time he sees us, he is forced to remember the trauma we inflicted on him and that throws him into a cycle of negative reinforcement. I predict that soon, just seeing us will trigger the cycle.
Mack: (In disbelief.) You're kidding. (The female members at the table look at him.) Right? (The girls shake their heads.) Oh.
Jodie: (Flat.) Absolutely diabolical. (Admiration shining through.) It's brilliant!
Mack: (Worried.) Hang on, what if he receives psychological treatments? Won't that stop things?
Jane: Nope. (Evil Jane.) And the reason "why" is so simple, it really is scary.
Daria: (Explanatory.) The hypnotic command only triggered the response a few times. After that, the response his brain was trained to follow goes off without the command stimuli. The subject forgets the command within a few days, leaving long lasting, sudden and effective results.
(Mack and Jodie grin at the duo for a few more seconds, then make like Alice Cooper fans. Ie: worshipping motions.)
Mack & Jodie: (In unison.) We are not worthy, we are not worthy!
Jane: (Eyebrow action present.) Well? (Holds out hand.)
(Daria frowns, but takes hold of the offered hand and stands with Jane to make a bow before Mack and Jodie.)
Jane: (Waving regally at the cafeteria, sotto voice.) Always knew we'd make beautiful music together.
Daria: (Worried about posing for the unwashed masses.) As long as that's the only thing we make…
Jane: (Grabs hold of Daria's other hand, forcing Daria to face her.) What do you think? Should we?
Daria: If it's to do you what you're thinking of doing, forget it. (Beat.) Forget it Lane!
Jane: (Raises her eyebrows suggestively. "Seductive voice") Forget them, I'm here now, waiting…
Daria: (Acid.) You sound like one of those commercials that are on PBS at three in the morning…
Jane: Darlink! (False swoon and Jane flutters her lashes.) Take me now, or lose me forever!
Daria: Aww, hell. (To Jodie and Mack, who are watching and trying not to laugh.) Hold these, would you?
(Daria takes off her glasses, folds them carefully and gives them to Jodie. She then unzips her jacket, revealing her burnt-orange t-shirt and black skirt. As she removes the jacket, giving it to Mack, Jane whips off her red jacket/shirt and throws it high into the air. Mack catches it easily.)
Daria: (Ignoring, for the moment, the stares of most of the cafeteria.) So, table?
Jane: Sounds good to me! (She jumps up onto the empty table next to theirs and holds out hers hands for Daria. Daria grabs hold, steps up and is swung into a circle by Jane.)
Daria: (Softly, as Jane stops for a necessary break from laughing.) Hey Jane, ready?
Jane: (Wry, amused.) So, who gets on top? (Pause.) Since Trent would have lead…(Eyebrow action.)
Daria: How about leaving a Lane to follow, for once? (She tosses back her hair, letting it flow free.)
Jane: Hey, whatever floats your boat! (Jane leans back, stretching out with Daria holding on to one hand, like a spin taken to full extent.) The audience is primed, ready to go…
Daria: Lets do it.
(They hold their poses for a second, then Jane spins neatly into Daria and places her face very close to her best friend's.)
Jane: (Very softly, very devilishly.) So? What are you waiting for, an invitation? Whooooa!!
(With a spin, Daria starts doing the twist with Jane! They're really getting it down in the style of "Pulp Fiction", grooving away, no music needed. The cafeteria is totally dumbstruck, amazed at what the school outcasts are doing. As they reach the end of the table, Daria stops abruptly, and starts to stomp her foot. Jane looks happily surprised and strikes a pose. With Daria marking the beat, Jane begins a flamenco, snapping away with her fingers. Daria starts on the men's side with zapateado (Basically, really intricate heel-toe tap.) and they spiral into each other again. Jodie and Mack have the beat and are marking it with their claps. Andrea joins in with a hefty foot stomp, right on time. Jane is making like "Queen of the Gipsies" so Daria starts her "Antonio, the clever but crafty toy-boy" act. When Jane comes to the end of her movement, Daria takes the beat, stomping a 1-2-3, gesturing Jodie and Mack to take it up. They do, grinning. Jane stops, a bit off-stride. When Daria steps over and bows, Jane takes her hand in sudden comprehension and they settle into a waltz. Not having much space to manoeuvre on the table, they proceed off it, still in time, and begin to swirl around the cafeteria. They step gracefully over bags and cases, swirl around clumps of stunned students and twirl right over to the motionless cashier line. They drops some bills over and end their dance in an exquisite bow before Jodie and Mack.)
(The cafeteria goes insane.)
Jane: (Still in bow.) Encore?
Daria: (Same.) Nah, their heads would explode. (They straighten up.)
Jodie: (Over the cheers and applause.) You guys, that was fantastic!
Daria: (Dusting off her shoulders.) Hmm? What?
Jane: Daria! (Pretends she's shocked, but still waves at the laughing crowd.)
Daria: (Quiet.) Mmm, thanks. (Accepts glasses off Jodie and jacket off Mack. Mack holds out Jane's coat, and she accepts it with what would have been a fine curtsy, if she wasn't wearing shorts.)
Jodie: (Still in awe.) That was the most incredible thing I've ever seen out of you two! When did you learn to dance like that?
(Jane elbows Daria.)
Daria: (Sighs.) My parents sent me to dance school last summer, while they were in a "spice up your marriage" phase. (Beat.) Knowing that scraping roadkill off highways would be more enjoyable than hearing my elders spanking each other (Group wince, shudder.) I didn't see a conflict of interest. Imagine my joy when I found that I was the school's only student. (Beat.) For a whole summer. (Shrugs.) To my surprise, I seem to have retained more than a little of their teachings…
Jane: Even though dance is a well-know form of self-expression?
Daria: (Glares.) You'd better watch out next time I dip you.
Jane: My turn. (Brightly.) One fine autumn day, quite by accident, I saw Martha Graham here prancing around…
Daria: Prancing? What about the time I found you covered in pink paint with nothing on but a…
Jane: (Hurriedly.) Anyway. After laughing myself silly, I realised how good she was and managed to survive long enough to tell her how cool it looked.
Daria: To cut a long and potentially deadly story short, (Glares over to Jane, who is still grinning.) Jane wanted lessons for a certain leather-clad musician (Jane loses grin.) and we had to drag another person in to make a group of four. (Shrugs.) Basically, it started from there.
Mack: How did it go?
Jane: (Reflective.) Jesse had two left feet, on each foot. And Trent, my brother, was unconscious more often than not. (Pause.) So I was the only one to benefit from Daria's genius. (Graceful bow to Daria.)
Daria: (Defensive.) But Trent learnt to dance quite well!
Jane: When he was asleep, Daria. (Dry.) Slow dancing like that doesn't count.
Daria: That was supposed to be a gavotte. Remember, 4/4 time?
Jane: (Grinning.) Nah, nah, nah. (Waves hands.) I'm starved, shall be eat?
Daria: (Looking over at the zoo in the cafeteria where some hipsters have started an impromptu mosh with a boom box blaring. Music: "Rock Is Dead" - Marilyn Manson.) Maybe somewhere quieter?
Me O'Neill: (O/S, via loudspeaker.) Uhh, could Daria Morgendorffer please come to the office, please?
Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) His master's voice?
(Cut to the Principal's office, with the closed door. Music: "Here Come The Rain Again" - The Eurythmics. It's looking a lot like Daria's locker, burnt, scarred and covered in various types of manky crap. Daria walks up to it and goes to rap on the door, but thinks better of it. She kicks the wall next to the door.)
Mr O'Neill: (O/S) Arragh! Who is it!
Daria: Daria. Daria Morgendorffer.
Mr O'Neill: (O/S) Oh that's right! (Movement noises from inside.) Just let me get this open, would you?
(Daria waits patiently as Mr O'Neill unlocks the door. As he opens it, it makes an unpleasant sucking noise. He looks over his threshold, a bit amazed at the crud that has accumulated.)
Mr O'Neill: Come in, come in! And what can I do for my prize academic pupil?
Daria: You called me here. (Steps over the threshold. The office looks a lot like it did when Li was still ruling, but there are posters with uplifting messages on the walls, a dying pot-plant and a swaying pile of reports in an "In" box. The happy-luck Budda is still present in the background.)
Mr O'Neill: Oh? Oh! Did I? (Searches his desk. for something or other. Looks up.) Ahh, do you know why you're here? (He looks over like he is going to check the report stack, but decides against it.)
Daria: (Eyeing the stack as well.) Assuming this isn't a philosophical discussion, no. (O'Neill's face falls.)
Mr O'Neill: Oh, dear. I was hoping you would. (Steeples his fingers in a thinking pose.)
(Twenty seconds of no conversation.)
Daria: Excuse me, Mr O'Neill?
Mr O'Neill: Ooo! Sorry, drifting away there!
Daria: (V/O: How could you tell?) So, you don't have any idea why you called me here?
Mr O'Neill: Uh, no. I don't, do I?
Daria: (Deciding to leave that one alone.) May I leave now?
Mr O'Neill: Oh, of course. (Gets up and lets her out, waves her goodbye.) Thanks for coming around! My door is always open! (Chain rattling noises.)
Mr O'Neill: (O/S) How does this go? Aha! Here we are!
(Daria just shakes her head and keeps on walking.)
(Jodie comes hurrying up to Daria from an office further down the hall.)
Jodie: Hey Daria, there is something else I wanted to talk to you about the Pre-Monthly…
Daria: …Millennium Ball? What?
Jodie: It's just that Jane said that you might want to…(Trails off at Daria's expression.) I've been set up again, haven't I?
Daria: Do you really need me to answer that?
Jodie: (Sighs.) No. (Gives Daria a hopeful look, which wilts quite quickly against the bastion of impassiveness.) So, I take it you're not interested? It's in 2 weeks? (Daria's expression hasn't changed.) I have to ask, it's in my job description.
Daria: Better luck elsewhere Jodie.
Jodie: Don't I know it. (Sighs.) See you around. (Trots off in the opposite direction of Daria.)
(Open to Daria walking into Art. Music: "Running Up That Hill" - Kate Bush. Mrs Defoe is standing by the door, obviously waiting for Daria. Jane is pacing around her. The usual class is there, Kevin, Brittany, Upchuck, Andrea and a nameless extra. [I don't think I've missed out on anyone, small class, eh?])
Jane: Daria! (Daria looks up from her musings. She looks to be a bit surprised at the welcoming committee.)
Mrs Defoe: (Quietly.) Jane. (Takes Daria's hand.) Daria, I have some bad news…
(Daria is led over to her work area, where it becomes obvious that things aren't right. The camera POV shifts around and we see the remains of Daria's self-portrait. It was photo-realistic representation of her face, but now someone has shredded it. Her mirror, broken, is behind the propped-up picture; it reflects the ruined work and Daria's expressionless face. Jane comes over, tears in her eyes.)
Jane: I came in here after lunch and I found it here…
Mrs Defoe: (Very apologetic.) Daria, I'm so very sorry. This is my fault. I usually leave the art room open for other students to…
Daria: (Very quiet, but very clear.) Forget it.
Mrs Defoe: (Not sure she heard right.) Pardon?
Daria: (Totally emotionless.) Unless you wielded the knife, this isn't your fault.
Jane: Daria? (Daria ignores her, doesn't even look at her.)
Daria: (Same voice.) I assume that no other damage was done?
Mrs Defoe: (A bit disturbed at the calm that Daria is exhibiting.) Er, no, it looks like your artwork was the only one to be…(Trails off when Daria turns to fully face her. In her years of teaching, Claire Defoe has never seen such pain so well masked. Only Daria's eyes betray her feelings.)
Daria: (Still spookily calm.) It's good that no one else was affected. (Not looking over.) Jane, stop fretting. (Faces Mrs Defoe again.) I assume that I will have to submit another piece of assessment?
Mrs Defoe: (Truthful.) Actually, from what I saw of your portrait, I could grade it as finished.
Daria: ("Calm" voice. It's starting to get to everybody.) Do you need another piece of assessment?
Mrs Defoe: Er, no, Daria.
Daria: I would like to go home then. (Pause. Patently false.) I am not feeling well.
Mrs Defoe: Of course. (Half-second pause.) Jane, would you like to accompany Daria?
Jane: (Interrupts Daria before she can speak.) Gone. (Dives over to where she left her stuff, throwing it together.)
Upchuck: (O/S) And if you are in need of comforting, be assured that Charles Rut…
(Upchuck clams up when he is immediately grilled by stares from the rest of the class, except for Daria, who appears to have ignored his line. As Mrs Defoe turns back to Daria, Andrea simply grabs her painting (Something bloody and nightmarish.) and flattens the little toad. Since she was painting on 9-ply marine-grade plywood, it makes a noticeable impact.) 
Upchuck: Arragh! (Falls to the floor, clutching his head.)
Andrea: (To Mrs Defoe, while still standing and holding her painting over Upchuck.) It slipped.
Mrs Defoe: (Looks at Andrea, sighs, then turns to Upchuck.) Charles, would you like to visit Mrs Barch in detention, with a note explaining your actions, and these circumstances? (Upchuck goes very pale, but manages to nod "no".) Then be quiet and sit over there. (Points at the corner opposite the entrance.)
Jane: Daria? I'm ready?
(Daria walks out of the classroom, followed by Jane at her heels.)
Mrs Defoe: Brittany! I expect that I won't be hearing gross exaggerations about this afternoon's events in the halls tomorrow? And you Charles?
Brittany: Absolutely not! (She squeaks on the "E's".) Especially not from me! (Gives Upchuck the stare of a thousand deaths.)
(Upchuck shrinks away and huddles further into his assigned corner.)
(Cut to Jane, trying to walk Daria home. Music: "Burn" - The Cure. [And play the whole song, not just the truncated abortion that gets airtime. Ie: include the prelude of funky seagull-like string noises.])
Jane: (Almost in tears. [Cue funky seagull-like string noises.]) Daria!
Daria: (Expressionless.) Go home Jane. It's what I'm going to do.
Jane: (Sniffling.) Aren't you even going to speak to me? (Wipes eyes.)
Daria: (Slightly lighter tone.) Jane, I really don't feel like talking now. Maybe later, but not now.
(Daria speeds her pace slightly and Jane takes the hint.)
(As the Cure thunders in, pan alongside Daria, just walking as she passes through Lawndale. Show her walking through the Mall carpark and into the Mall itself; being harassed by the nutty nut-stall owner/manager. Now walking past the nut guy, who is curled up in a ball, clutching his crotch, sobbing. Sitting outside the pet store; sitting outside the Music Mart; sitting outside the "Food Fair" with a drink of some description. The same setting, much later; chairs are up on all of the other tables - same posture, same expression, same drink. Daria walking out of the closing Mall. Daria walking through Degas Street, looking at the shops, not with interest, but as something for her visual receptors to do. Walks past a group of wanna-be punks, who look like they're trying to get the courage to go into Axl's Piercing Parlour; the same punks running away and trying not to be sick as Daria slowly pushes a big safety-pin through the webbing of her hand. Show her in Axl's, getting some disinfectant, Axl looking worried. Daria in the Zen, Axl in the background, she is watching the band play (not the Spiral) and is still not showing any emotion. Show two drunken guys coming on to her. Next scene: Bar staff dragging away the battered bodies of the two guys, not even looking at Daria. Show Daria sitting at a table in the Zen. The camera pans back, and we see that even though the club is packed, no one is brave enough to stand within fifteen feet of her, let alone sit. Show Axl offering Daria a ride home (In a car that makes Trent's look safe.), Daria shaking her head. Show a big blond guy with some vague resemblance to the drunken guys she damaged, he's pointing his finger at her, then at Axl. Cut to Monique coming out of the Zen, obviously annoyed at the big guy and protective of Axl. Big guy pushes over Monique and goes to slam Axl. Show Daria waiting by the side of road outside the Zen, blue and red lights from an ambulance reflecting off her glasses. Monique is holding a blanket on Axl, who is white and shivering. The paramedics are rolling somebody by in a stretcher. By the few remnants of hair on his bloodied scalp, it's the big guy. He's strapped down, screaming and covered in bandages. Daria giving a statement to a police officer, Monique and Axl in the background, as well as sightseeing regulars from the Zen. Daria walking dark streets alone. Daria letting herself in. Daria showering and brushing her teeth. Daria in bed, lying on her back…)
(Just before the scene fades to black, we can see a single crystal tear glitter on her cheek.)
(Open to Jane's room, a bazaar of old art supplies, conceptual art and running shoes. Music: "Experiment IV" - Kate Bush. Jane is absently painting a white canvas black with her fingers and a tube of acrylic paint. Pan back, and it's obvious that she's been doing this for a while, judging by the piles of "black" paintings scattered about her room, drying, and the used tubes of paint. Her phone rings. She shakes her head to clear the cobwebs and picks it up with a strip of painting rag.)
Jane: Yo? (Fumbles the paint cap back on the tube, looking a bit surprised at the accumulation of paint on her fingers. Preoccupied, she moves them so that they make a sticky popping noise.) 
Monique: (The phone slash thing, so that both can be seen on the same screen.) Hi, Jane. Is Trent in?
Jane: Sorry Monique, the Spiral are out touring interstate for at least another month. Or that's what they said a last week. (Pause.) They might have sobered up by now. (Beat.) Anything I can do for you?
Monique: Actually, it's more on behalf of Axl than me.
Jane: (Still doing the finger thing.) More tattoo designs, or did he staple his "you-know-what" again?
Monique: (Incredulous.) He actually told someone else about that?
Jane: (Chuckles slightly, but her heart isn't really in it.) Who do you think had to help pry him off our kitchen table? (Tries to wipe off the excess paint. It doesn't work very well.)
Monique: Ha! But I was wondering if Trent would know the phone number of that girl who got her navel pierced with him one time?
Jane: (Laughs slightly again.) That really narrows it down, the number of…(All amusement is wiped from her face when a sick suspicion bursts forth. Hoarse.) …You aren't talking about Daria, are you?
Monique: That sounds about right. We're still worried. (Pause.) Axl didn't sleep too well either.
Jane: (Still hoarse.) We're talking about Daria Morgendorffer? 5'2, auburn hair, glasses, green jacket?
Monique: Didn't catch her last name, I was recording my statement at the time…
Jane: (Calming herself.) Ok, I want this from the beginning. (Shouts.) What in hell happened!?
Monique: Ow! (Pause for ear rub.) Well, for me, Axl was being hassled by that dumb-ass bruiser that the Trendies Nightclub sometimes keeps around…
Jane: (Squints in recollection.) I kind of know him. Big, blond, brainless?
Monique: Yeah, anyway, someone had roughed up his two little brothers earlier and he'd got it into his head that Axl had done it. Axl totally denies anything to do with the two morons, said they were bothering women in the Zen and one of them beat nine colours of…
Jane: I get the picture.
Monique: Well, I'd had a few and was feeling protective of the limey git. I was getting into things when the "Human Tree" pushes me on my ass and goes to smack out Axl.
Jane: Ok. What?
Monique: I'm not too sure what happen then, but Axl was sitting on his butt looking as surprised as I was when that little Daria chick starts breaking that bouncer's arms.
Monique: (Flat.) She broke both of his arms and most of his ribs, Jane. Not to mention that he was almost scalped by something. (She shrugs.) God knows what, we saw nothing and we were right next to her the whole time. Axl went into shock when he saw the damage and I had to put sickly bastard to bed with a crowbar. I'm phoning because Axl is still in a tizz, but that girl has some major issues to work out, and I mean major.
Jane: Well, her life pretty much sucks. (Beat.) And yesterday, you don't want to know how bad it got.
Monique: I think I saw some of it. (Indistinct noises.) Hang on. (Murmured background conversation.) Just his royal pain-in-the-assness. Wanted you to know some more ... (More conversation.) Ok. Axl said she came into the shop with this weird hole in her hand, asked if she could have it disinfected. Naturally Axl is always a sucker for a potential sale and remembered her from Trent - something about being the strangest piercing job in a long while? (More conversation.) What-ever. You know how Axl is, but she scared him, right off the bat. He couldn't explain it to me, and I was attempting to put the nervy twerp to bed most of the night. (Background noises again.) Yes, you were! Anyway, he keeps trying, but every time he goes to describe how she makes him feel, he'll go all pale and nervous.
Jane: This is Axl, Monique. He is pale and nervous.
Monique: Not this nervous.
Jane: So, Daria went into Axl's to get a cut fixed?
Monique: Then she went into the Zen, stayed there 'till 11:00…
Jane: Whoa! When was she at Axl's?
Monique: I'll ask. (Indistinct conversation.) About 8:00.
Jane: (Flat.) The last time I saw her, it was 2:00 in the afternoon.
Monique: (Thinking aloud.) Six hours unaccounted for, got to wonder what she was doing with them…
Jane: (Same.) Too late. (Beat.) She left the Zen at 11:00, then what?
Monique: Ah, she beat up the bouncer, phoned an ambulance, waited around, gave a statement, dunno what happened after that…
Jane: Well, when was the last time you saw her?
Monique: Hmm, I was holding up Axl, must have been around a quarter to 12.
Jane: Did you see her go? Which way?
Monique: (Not helpful.) Like I said, I was holding up Axl…
Jane: Oh. Well, thanks Monique.
Monique: No problem. Maybe when she's sorted out her issues, we can all go out sometime?
Jane: (V/O: The hey?) What?
Monique: Hey, I owe her for saving Axl's butt, and maybe mine too. She seems nice enough...?
Jane: (Lump in throat.) She's probably my best friend.
Monique: Wow, really? (Beat.) That's kind of cool, in a sickeningly-sweet, pre-teen sorta way.
Jane: Bye Monique, make sure Axl doesn't rust.
Monique: See you 'round.
(Jane thumbs off the call and speed-dials the Morgendorffer residence.)
(Cut to Helen walking around in her "weekend" clothes waving arms and threatening dire things over her mobile. In the background, Jake is reading the paper while Quinn lies on her belly in the living room, on the phone to a prospective boyfriend.)
Jane: Damn, engaged! (Thumbs off the phone again. She looks around at the stacks of paintings with some surprise. She wipes hair back from her head, leaving a black smear. She then stares at her hand as if wondering how it got sticky. Looks around again, shakes head.) I've really got to stop doing this.
(Open to the Morgendorffer home, almost dusk. Music: "On The Outside " - Sheryl Crow. [Yet another reason to buy "Songs In The Key Of X"] Zoom to Jane knocking on the front door. Jake opens it.)
Jake: (Not looking.) Qu-iiiinn! Your date is…(Faces forward.) …not here.
Quinn: (O/S) God Dad, don't scare me like that!
Jane: May I see Daria?
Jake: (Opening the door up wide, all hale and hearty.) Sure thing Jane-o! Haven't seen much of her today, think she might be coming down with something?
Jane: (V/O: Nothing that being an only child wouldn't cure.) No idea. I'll just go on up, shall I?
Jake: (Closing the door.) Sure, if you want dinner, just give a yell and I'll set up another place at the old kitchen table!
Jane: Thanks, Jake. (V/O: And half of Daria came from this?) I'll go see if she's hungry.
(Jane wanders up the stairs and knocks gently on Daria's door. "Quinn getting ready" noises are audible from next door. Jane taps louder, to carry over the noise.)
Daria: (O/S) The number you have called is disconnected. (Beat.) This has been a free call. 
Jane: Daria, It's me, Jane. I'm coming in. (She open up the door and goes in, closing the door behind her.)
(Daria's room, padded cell or "Fortress of Solitude", you decide. Music: still Sheryl Crow. The curtains are drawn, letting in second-hand light. A vaguely human lump is sitting upright in Daria's bed. Jane walks over to it and is shocked to find that it's the plastic skeleton, wrapped in blankets.)
Daria: (O/S) Over here Lane.
(Jane spins, and finds Daria sitting against the opposite padded wall with her legs outstretched. She has an exercise book open next to her and is holding a pen awkwardly. She waves, slightly.)
Daria: (Light.) And what brings you here?
Lane: (Truthfully.) Raging concern for my good friend.
Daria: (Surprised.) Good friend?
Jane: (Winces with false pain.) Ok, best friend, but only because you twisted my arm.
(Jane walks over and sits next to Daria.)
Daria: (Honestly shocked.) Wow, I don't think I've had a best friend before.
Jane: (Mild.) How does it feel?
Daria: (Quiet.) Don't know yet, have to get out of "comfortably numb" first.
Jane: So. (Softly.) Want to tell me about it?
Daria: (Lightly.) Well, I tried to write some humorous anecdotes, but I couldn't focus on the paper…
Jane: (Gets up and recovers Daria's glasses from the nightstand. She gives them to Daria.) These might help?
Daria: (Normal.) Yeah, funny about that. (Puts them on.) Nope, they still don't do the trick.
(Jane turns back from her survey of the room to look at Daria.)
Jane: (Hushed.) Daria, you're crying.
Daria: Damn, now I remember why I had to take these off! (She removes her glasses again, fishes out a tissue from the box next to her and wipes her face.) Don't worry, at some point my body will run out of available moisture and I’ll stop, probably while falling unconscious.
Jane: (V/O: Okaaay.) So, how long, so far?
Daria: (Wipes face again.) What time is it?
Jane: Well, by your clock-radio, it's 8:20, a.m.
Daria: ("Duh".) That doesn't sound right, you're awake.
Jane: There is that. (Beat.) When I arrived, the sun was going down, so that would make it..?
Daria: (Thinks for half a second.) At least seven hours so far.
Jane: ("Whoa!" expression.) Your family noticed anything yet? (At Daria's look.) Sheesh, forget I asked.
Daria: (Relenting.) Dad's knocked on my door a few times, that's about it.
Jane: Wanna talk?
Daria: (Scathingly.) Do I have a choice?
Jane: (Sincerely.) Since I left my Sodium Pentothal at home, yes.
Daria: (Weakly shaking her fist. False anger.) Damn you Lane, you leave me no option!
Jane: (Kicking things off.) I left you at around 2:00 to go home?
Daria: (Slowly.) Well, mostly I walked around a lot, stayed at the Mall until it shut, walked around some more…
Jane: Degas street?
Daria: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I ended up there. (Frowns.) I remember Axl from the piercing parlour…
Jane: (Wry.) He sure remembers you.
Daria: (Concerned.) Nothing permanent, I hope?
Jane: Actually, you saved him from what would have been a mighty butt-whipping.
Daria: (Rubs eyes with tissue.) Good. I wasn't tracking too well at that point. (Frowns.) I remember Monique too, would that be right?
Jane: It's your story.
Daria: (Raised eyebrow.) But you seem to know it so much better than I do. (Balls tissue and tosses it.)
Jane: I've read the book. (Beat.) Monique phoned. Apparently Axl wanted your number so that he'd know if you'd got home safely.
Daria: (Distracted.) Hmm, that might have been difficult. (She looks over into the corner.)
(Jane's eyes follow Daria's stare. In the corner, a figure has been made out of electrical wiring and is hanging from the curtain-rod by a noose. Music: "The Trick is to Keep Breathing" - Garbage. Barely recognisable fragments of Daria's red phone lie underneath the unsettling shape, hinting from where the wiring originated.) 
Jane: (Professionally.) Hmm, I'm thinking Giacometti? 
Daria: Bloody murder actually. (Beat.) It was the phone, or I would have hunted down Sandi like an animal and would now be using her spine as a toothbrush.
Jane: (Raises eyebrow.) Scoring high on the potential visuals here.
Daria: (Tired of it all.) Well, I managed to find the phone first, so why bother?
Jane: Hey Daria? (Puts a hand on Daria's shoulder.)
Daria: (Turning to Jane.) Yes Jane?
Jane: Just shut up a while, hey?
(She hugs Daria. Daria flinches, then falls into Jane's embrace. She starts to cry uncontrollably, leaving huge wet patches on Jane's shirt.)
Jane: Hey there kiddo, it's going to be fine, somehow. (Pats Daria's head and back.)
Daria: (Through huge wet sniffles.) Oh yeah, how?
(Jane starts to rock Daria back and forth, still hugging her.)
Jane: Absolutely no bloody idea. (Hugs Daria tighter.) But no matter how alone you feel, I'll be hanging around, somewhere.
Daria: Hold on a bit? (Jane lets Daria go. Daria grabs a big bunch of tissues and empties the contents of her nose into them.) God!
Jane: What, did you see the Virgin Mary? (Nods towards the wadded tissues.) 
Daria: (Weak smile.) No, I think I've just emptied the contents of my head, that's all.
Jane: Again on strong visuals, (Lightly.) although somewhat lacking in wider appeal…
Daria: (Wiping face again, still smiling weakly.) Sorry to go all weepy on you like this.
Jane: (Shrugs it off.) Hey, no sweat.
Daria: No. (Wiping her face some more, looks disgusted.) Just plenty of mucus.
Jane: There is that, I must admit. (Pause.) Want a shower? (No response.) I'm buying?
Daria: (Looking at her hands.) Well, I don't exactly feel human right now…
Jane: My place? (Throws in some eyebrow action.) Tonight?
Daria: Fine, I can't say "no" to that, but how am I going to get by the Morgendorffer Cerberus? (At Janes slightly blank look.) The guard-dog of Hades, three heads, ever-watchful for escaping lost souls?
Jane: Yeah, I was just trying to remember the context, but I got stalled in Neo-Classicism.
Daria: (Give Jane "the look" - she's almost back to normal.) You know, you make me wonder if there is a sort of art equivalent for savantism. (Jane has a puzzled expression.) You know, idiot-savant?
Jane: (Shakes head.) Sorry, I was on a totally different track.
Daria: Fine. (Beat.) But how am I going to get past them? (Wry.) I haven't exactly been my normal bubby self…
Jane: Simple, get some clothes together and we'll fade when it's time to.
(Cut to downstairs, Jane entering the Morgendorffer kitchen. Music: "Hyperballad" - Bjork & The Brodsky Quartet. [Buy "Telegram" for that single track!] Helen is on the house walk-around. Since Jake is sitting at the table with a hangdog expression, a bandaged hand and a pot of some something awful steaming gently in the sink, Helen is probably ordering food. Quinn is nowhere to be seen.)
Jane: Hey, Jake, Mrs M. (Looks at Jake. She notices Jake's expression and her eyes slide to the sink.) Anyway, I just came down to tell you that Daria will be staying over at my place tonight, so you don't have to worry about food.
Helen: (Looks up from phone.) Oh, I didn't know you were here Joa- Jane!
Jake: (Trying to inject some "fun" into the conversation.) So, you're having a sleepover, right?
(Jane just looks at Jake in astonishment. Helen rolls her eyes. Jake looks puzzled.)
Jake: (Turns to Helen.) Kids still have sleepovers, don't they?
Jane: (Concentrates on Helen.) So, you don't have to worry about us, right?
Helen: (Coos.) Sure thing Jane.
(O/S: Front door slams.)
Helen: (Puzzled.) What was that?
Jane: (Absently.) Probably Daria wanting to get a head-start. Night! (Waves and leaves.)
Jake: (Concerned he's losing his "Street-cred". Musing to himself.) Have I lost touch?
Helen: (Puts down the phone, thinking. A familiar look blossoms in her eye.) Jake? I know someone who'd like a sleepover…
Jake: Who? Oh! (Looks at Helen with eventual understanding.) Quinn's on a date tonight, isn't she?
(Helen comes over and sits on the table next to him, "Bar Singer on Piano" style. She trails her hand through his hair and draws her fingers along his jawline, tipping his head up.)
Helen: (Throaty.) Yes, she is, isn't she?
Jake: (With his "Sly Old Dog" expression.) Race you to the couch?
(They run laughing into the Living Room.)
(Outside the Morgendorffer residence. Music: still Bjork. Daria looking pale and wan on next-door's lawn. Jane come jogging out of the house over to where Daria is waiting.)
Jane: You ok? (Frowns. Does a bad "Italian mafia thug" impression.) You don't look so good.
Daria: (Exhausted.) Probably food, the lack of.
Jane: (Grabs Daria's bag.) Time to get you into bed girl.
Daria: (Leaning on her friend.) Batting both teams again, Lane?
Jane: Ha! Whatever happened to "Don't ask, don't tell?"
Daria: I'm not sure, but get me behind that bush over there, would you?
Jane: (Arch.) You're not usually so forward. (Beat.) Is there something I should know?
Daria: (Nods at car approaching them from behind.) I think Quinn is coming home early.
(Jane manages to get them concealed in time. The car pulls up outside the Morgendorffer home. There is some indistinct conversation, broken off with a shriek of annoyance. Someone manages a healthy door slam and a figure is seen storming up the garden path.)
Jane: (Heavy dread.) Uh-oh.
Daria: (Lying on her back, staring at the sky.) What, she saw us?
Jane: (Flat.) Worse. Quinn's pissed at something, and I left your parents alone…
(O/S: Front door bangs open.)
Daria: (Realises what's about to happen.) Oh god.
Helen & Jake: (O/S) Aaah! Eeek!
Quinn: (O/S) EHHEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWwww!!!!! I'M BLIND, I'M BLIND!!!!!
(Running footsteps, a slamming of a door and the sudden burst of water from an upstairs shower.)
(The front door closes, quietly.)
Jane: (Into the resulting silence.) Well. Someone is going to need counselling after tonight's efforts…
Daria: (Being helped up by Jane.) I just hope they have the couch cleaned by the time I get back.
Jane: (Makes a face.) Something I did not need to hear.
Daria: (Turns to her.) Why do you think I always watch TV in my room?
Jane: Bleugh! (Their voices fade away as they proceed down the street.)
Daria: Have I told you of the time that I accidentally found Mom's "little school dress" in my laundry?
Jane: Enough already!
Daria: I didn't think it was in any way erotic, but I could see my Mom as a slow learner…
Jane: I'm not listening!
Daria: And there is always the time that I walked in on…
Jane: La La-la, La La-la, La-La, La, La-la! 
(Open to Casa de la Lane, Jane kicking open the front door. Music: "Keep On My Side" - Ammonia.)
Jane: (Hauling Daria.) For someone who is so small, you sure as hell weigh a lot.
Daria: That's because you've been carrying me for the last three blocks.
Lane: Oh, yeah. (Drags Daria into the kitchen. Plops her on a chair.) Sit. I find food.
Daria: Oh goody, I get to starve to death. (Pause.) What fun. (Jane goes out of shot.)
Jane: (Cut to her, head in fridge.) Since Trent is on tour, maybe not!
Daria: (Back to Daria again.) How are they going? (Background rummaging noises.)
Jane: (O/S, indistinct.) No idea: They've only phoned once, but they haven't asked for any money. Yet.
Daria: (Settling back.) So, you're saying this is a good thing?
Jane: (Cut to her again.) Must be. Trent bums handouts from Mom and Dad even when he has money. (Looks over to Daria.) It’s not malicious or anything, he's just so used to having nothing that he forgets to stop when he does. (Edges fridge door shut with a free elbow.)
Daria: Once again, the dizzying financial skills of the Lane family installs awe.
Jane: Or is it sick fascination? (Comes over laden with food.)
Daria: That's what I said, wasn't it? (Casts an eye over the pile.) You can lose the heavy meats, I'd just throw them up two minutes later. (She looks at the pile.) And Jane, I really hope that isn't tongue I see?
Jane: (Grabbing offending meats. And the tongue.) No, that might have been a…performance art prop?
Daria: It would not be performance enhancing, that's for sure.
Jane: (Opening a can of peaches.) So, what do you desire from the Lane cornucopia? (Slurps a few.)
Daria: Fluids and easily digested foodstuffs. (Tries to open a bottle of juice.)
Jane: (Takes the bottle in Daria's hand, replaces it with another.) Try this one, it's not as acid.
Daria: (Reading label.) Mango nectar? (Shrugs, opens it, drinks it. Nothing on her face for about seven seconds, then she cringes and makes a horrible face, tongue out.) Gah! (Gestures for the bottle she had earlier, snatches it out of Jane's hand and starts to drink. She stays in the "Chug" position for quite a few seconds, until she puts the empty bottle down onto the table. Big gasping breaths.)
Jane: (Looking stunned.) Uh, you ok?
Daria: (Massaging her face, slack jawed.) Jane, I think you may have just made me diabetic. (Frowns, then picks up and reads the nutritional label on the side of the "Mango Nectar".) This is one-third sugar!
Daria: (Rungs tongue around mouth, swallows and winces.) Got any cheese? (Jane holds out a hunk of Edam. Daria removes the red wax coating and gobbles the lot.) Could I have an apple? (Jane hands one over and Daria starts to munch on the fruit. She chews for a bit and swallows, looking relieved.) God! That's better, none of the aftertaste. (Finishes apple and throws the core into the kitchen bin.)
Jane: (Watching the trajectory.) Feeling better?
Daria: (Closes eyes.) Yes. (Opens them again.) But I'd better have that shower while this sugar rush lasts.
Jane: You know the route, I'll tidy up in here.
(Upstairs at the Lanes. Music: "Shimmer" - Fuel. Jane is looking in at her room, frowning. Daria come around the corner, dressed in a blue gown and rubbing her head with a towel.)
Daria: What's the matter? (Hoicks out an ear.)
Jane: (Distracted.) Hmm, I forgot something.
Jane: That! (Waves a hand into the room. Camera view: over their shoulders. Jane's room is in more of a mess than usual, but every flat surface is covered in the black paintings she had been doing earlier. By every flat surface, I mean every flat surface; walls, floor, ceiling, cupboards, bed, stereo, windows…)
Daria: Oh. (Looks very tired.) Well, I suppose we could clear a space so that I could sleep at, uh..?
Jane: Forget it girl, you're going to keel over if you stand there for much longer. (Jane snags her sleeping shirt from behind a drying painting.) Come with me.
(Cut to Trent's room, looking cleaner than it ever has. You can see the floor, no clothing, pizza boxes or CD's scattered about and his bed is neatly made.)
Daria: (In doorway.) What's wrong with this picture? (Shocked.) What happened?
Jane: (Jane walks past, dressed for bed.) Since Trent wasn't going to be here for a while, I cashed one of Mom's blank checks and nuked his room.
Daria: Nuked? (Checks out the ceiling.) Did you irradiate it, or should I be worried about various forms of bone cancer?
Jane: Nope. (Walking to the bed.) Just a regimen of power-scrubbing, wall steaming, carpet cleaning, a pest-management kill-frenzy and even (Whips back the bed covers.) the purchase of clean sheets!
Daria: I'm not reassured. (Looks around at the walls.) Are you sure that this is a good idea?
Jane: (Organising pillows.) Well, we could have bed down in the guest rooms, but Mom is on one of her "Grail quests" for that elusive glaze combination, and those rooms are now packed with bags of god-knows-what. And since sleeping in my parent's bed would scar me forever, this is the best option.
Daria: The couch downstairs? (Considers for a bit, then shakes her head.) What am I thinking?
Jane: It's big enough for two. (Pats bed invitingly.)
Daria: (Examines the floor.) It's really quite strange, seeing his room clean. (Rubs eyes.)
Jane: (Lying down on the side closest to the duck phone. Laughs, remembering something.) You should have seen the expression of the new power-scrub guy! They obviously didn't warn him before he came in. (Daria's wandering around, looking at various things.)
Jane: (Lightly.) Just browsing, or do you have something in mind?
Daria: It's strange, walking around without needing boots. (Looks at the closed cupboard door.) Or a respirator (Goes to open the cupboard door.) Or a protective suit.
Jane: (Hurriedly.) Don't do it! (Ducks under the covers.) You really don't want to know what's in there!
Daria: (Looking at the bed, then back at the cupboard door.) I think my voyage of discovery has just run aground. (Jane peeps an eye out, then the rest of her head, relieved.)
Jane: Forget Pandora's Box, that cupboard contains scarier things. (Grins at Daria. "Come hither" voice.) Sleeping alone? (Writhes against the blankets.)
Daria: (Gives Jane "The Look".) I will be, after I smother you with a pillow.
(She gets into bed on the opposite side. As she lies down and relaxes, it creaks alarmingly and both girls freeze.)
Daria: (Matter of fact.) Jane, if anything amusing happens to me, I will kill you.
Jane: Hang on a bit. (She sits upright, then kind of bounces where she is. The bed makes a sharp crack, and sinks about two inches.)
Daria: (Holding on for dear life.) What was that!?
Jane: Nothing sweetie. (Lays down again, punches pillow.) It's just that the bed frame swelled and popped out of its proper place.
Daria: (Still upright.) You're sure?
Jane: Well, it's funnier when it happens to Trent when he's sleeping, but it's the same thing. (Rolls over.) Do you see me worrying?
Daria: Fine, fine. (She takes off her glasses, placing them on the brown sock drawer next to her.) Oh, the lights!
(Jane holds up one hand, and claps loudly. The lights go off.)
Daria: (Eyes seen in the dark.) I don't believe you can do a "clapper" with one hand.
Jane: (Same eye-thing. Shrugging movement.) Flexible joints or something. (Beat.) I've always been able to tick off those pseudo-intellectual types who ask if I know of "The sound of one hand clapping" thing.
Daria: (Dry.) Yet another hidden talent floats to the surface.
Jane: Ahum. (Vague interest.) Anything exhibiting over at the Morgendorffer sideshow?
Daria: Apart from Quinn and her trained monkey-boys? Well, (Softly.) I'm double-jointed.
Jane: (Not believing a word.) Does that mean you can put your ankles behind your neck?
Daria: (Softly, embarrassed.) Er, and what if I said yes?
Jane: (Now very awake.) What?!
Daria: (Now totally embarrassed.) God, never mind.
Jane: (Loudly.) You can put your ankles behind your neck? That is so cool! Just wait until I tell… (Jane's eyes disappear. Indistinct muffled sounds.) Mummuph! Mummuph! Mummuph- Pah! All right! I won't tell anyone…now; will you not smother me? (Eyes come back into the shot.)
Daria: ("Complete the mission" voice.) It's the only way I'll be certain of your silence…
Jane: (Laughing.) All right, I swear I won't tell anyone!
Daria: Which is fine if you're a cybernetic organism, but I'll need more than that. 
Jane: (Warningly.) Lose the pillow, Morgendorffer!
Daria: (Tired.) You'll keep until morning.
(Silence for a little.)
Jane: (Irritatingly.) Yeth Darwea?
Daria: (Ignores that.) Is part of the ceiling glowing?
Daria Should I be worried?
Jane: (Explanatory.) It's that glow-in-the-dark stuff. A long time ago, Trent asked me to paint some things up there, so he could watch them if he couldn't asleep.
Daria: (Thinking.) So Trent's probably never seen them at all, has he?
Jane: (Agreeing.) I have to say the chances are pretty good on that one.
Daria: (Worried.) Do you ever get tired of being creative?
Jane: (Retorts.) Do you get tired of breathing?
Daria: Well, sometimes things flow out of me on to the paper, other times…
Jane: (Fills in the blanks.) It's gut-wrenchingly hard and achingly
unrewarding? Yeah, but the good times overcome the bad. (Beat.) And I can
usually incorporate my mistakes into a collage of some description.
(Daria starts to whistle "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". After a while, Jane hits her with the pillow.)
Daria: Umhp! Well, goodnight to you, John-boy!
Jane: 'Night. Sleep now, good…(Slight snore.)
(Music: "Cover Me" - Bjork & Dillinja. Trent's room, later that night. You can see their eyes in the dark, but that's it. There are some strange slurping noises.)
Daria: (Sleepy.) Whaa?
(Some more of the "slurping".)
Daria: (Sharply.) Jane!
Jane: Mmmm? (Still sleepy.) Uh, go away, I'mmhaviingsucha nice dreeeeam…
(Dead silence for a few seconds.)
Jane: (Very quietly.) Uh-oh.
(Daria claps and the lights come on. She is sitting bolt upright in bed and has a very wet ear and shoulder. Jane recoils and shields her eyes from the light.)
Daria: (Very calm.) Jane, you are my best friend, and I love you deeply, but would you please stop nibbling my ear?
Jane: (Horrified, sits up with her patented "bed-hair".) Oh god! I thought you were Jesse! We were…
Daria: (Very calm.) Jane, I think I'd like to sleep now. (Claps and the lights go out.)
Jane: (Still apologising.) I'm sorry! You were Jesse and that…
Daria: His head was a lollypop?
Jane: (Taken aback.) Uh, yes. How did you know?
Daria: Lucky guess.
(Silence for a few more seconds. Then…)
Jane: (Hesitantly.) Er, I wasn't whispering anything to you, was I?
(Silence, Daria's not answering.)
Jane: Oh. (With great feeling.) Crap.
(Cut to late morning, some fragments of light escaping through the curtains. Music: "On The Day You Come" - Powderfinger. Two indistinct shapes in bed. The camera angle is where it usually is for Trent's room, ie: high in the corner, security-cam style.)
(A heap of blankets moves slightly, disgorging Jane's head. She squints out at the light with a disgusted expression, then at Trent's clock radio on top of his amp in the corner. The clock's not working, probably because of a screwdriver driven through it. She frowns at this. Jane slowly looks back to the light coming in; obviously gauging it's strength and intensity. She goes to shift some blankets away from her, but slowly looks down with the most peculiar expression on her face that we have ever seen.
Jane: (Still looking down.) Hmm, okay. (Pause.) To tell her, or not to tell her?
(The other lump, Daria, moves so it becomes obvious that she's now "spooning" Jane. One of Daria's arms is clutching a pillow. Jane cranes her neck, looking back, but Daria doesn't seem like she is going to stir any time soon. Jane moves some more blankets, carefully raises her arm, drags down her shirt [No, you don't get to see any T&A you perverts!] and moves Daria's other hand back on "her" side of the bed. Once she's done this, Jane carefully eases herself out of bed and staggers out of the scene.)
(Cut to Jane, looking half-way normal, coming in with a huge tray of food. She walks around the bed to Daria's side and deposits the tray on the wooden sock drawers. Jane goes back and returns to the scene bearing a milk delivery crate filled with bottles. It rattles slightly when she sets it down. The remaining mound reacts slightly to this. Jane sits on the bed, her back to Daria, while she fishes out a big thermos.)
(As Jane pours herself a big cup of coffee, Daria's head pops out, similar to Jane's awakening.)
Jane: (Looking over.) Morning. (Smells coffee, winces.)
Daria: (Squints at the light.) Bleugh. (Works mouth, gathering saliva.) Morning?
Jane: (After a slug of the coffee.) Well, for a few more minutes, at least.
Daria: (Fumbling for her glasses, gets them on.) God, no wonder I'm so hungry. (Sniffs.) Is that food?
Jane: Sure. (She goes to get the tray, but Daria holds out a hand.)
Daria: I'll have to visit somewhere before anything else. (She totters upright and staggers out of the shot.)
Jane: (Musing to herself as she takes another swig of coffee.) Should I, shouldn't I? (Beat.) Hmm…(Gets up and steals a sausage, eating it with her fingers.)
(Daria comes back and collapses on the bed, face down, ala Trent. Jane politely taps her on the shoulder.)
Daria: (Rolling over onto her back.) Ick?
(Jane waves a hand at the selection of various drinks and beverages that she has set up. Daria struggles and sits upright, mounding the blankets on her lap to provide a stable resting place for the tray that's coming down. It's huge.)
Daria: (Looking at the tray.) Fried eggs, fried bread, fried sausages, fried ham, fried bacon, fried tomatoes, hash browns and onions. (Looks up to Jane.) I'm beginning to see a pattern here.
Jane: (Shrugs.) Quick and nasty. (Snaffles a hash brown.) Hello crispy goodness! (Drops it into her mouth.)
Daria: First it was diabetes, now I'm going to face heart-disease. (Picks up a knife and fork and digs in.)
Jane: (Around the hash brown and coffee.) Sleep well?
Daria: (Finishing off a sausage.) Well, apart from a certain incident last night, yes, I slept like a log.
Jane: (Grinning away, can't help herself.) And why do logs need to sleep?
Daria: (Thinking.) I had some weird dreams though. (Beat.) And Jane? You need more coffee.
Jane: Good point. (Pours herself another one.) What would you like?
Daria: Anything that will cut through the grease. (Stabs a piece of fried bread, sops up some egg.)
Jane: (Hands over a bottle of juice. Idle interest.) So, what'd you dream about?
Daria: (Takes juice.) I can't really remember. (Frowns.) Jane, you haven't done any nudes recently?
Jane: (Eyebrows shoot up, but she retains a level voice, barely.) No, why?
Daria: I kept having these strange dreams about breasts. (Gestures to her front.)
(Jane chokes on her coffee.)
Daria: (Worried.) You ok?
Jane: Yeah. (Goes to thumps chest, then stops, very quickly.) Hash brown express. (Coughs.) Expresso.
Daria: (Handing over a napkin.) What's with the breakfast?
Jane: (Shrugs, wipes mouth.) Sometimes I like to cook, and cooking for two is easier than cooking for one. (You can see the question burning in her mind. Very casually.) So, any ideas on what gave you the breast fetish?
Daria: No idea. The cheese, that mango nectar from last night? (Shrugs.) Probably from sleeping in a strange place.
Jane: (V/O: If you only knew how strange.) Any plans for today?
Daria: Nothing much, o cryptic supplier of food. You?
Jane: You got me.
Daria: I had enough of you last night. (At Jane's expression.) Did I say something wrong?
Jane: (Shakes head.) Nah, nah, nah, you're fine. (Tries to keep a straight face, but bursts out laughing.)
Daria: (Raised eyebrow.) Jane, have you been eating the cheese you found under the grill again? 
Jane: (Waves away the suggestion.) That was Trent, remember? I just thought of something funny.
Daria: (Obviously doesn't believe her.) Right.
Jane: You almost finished?
Daria: (Looks down, surprised at the disappeared food.) Ah, yes. I hope you had enough.
Jane: Why do you think I started cooking breakfast? (Burps.) Urrp! Excuse me. (Winces.) Ohh, bacon isn't so good the second time around. (Daria scowls and fans away possible "Bile 'n Bacon" breath.)
Daria: So, how about we tidy up the mess you left downstairs, then moulder in front of the TV?
Jane: And how do you know there is a mess downstairs?
(Quick jump to the Lane kitchen. There's a stack of greasy pans in the sink, eggshells everywhere, unwashed cutting boards and all the general "dirty kitchen" clichés.)
Jane: I might have cleaned up as I went along?
(Daria looks over at Jane, who tries to act innocent.)
Daria: Let's just say that I find that unlikely.
Jane: (Smiling.) Ok, you know me too well. We clean up, then TV?
Daria: (Gets up with the tray.) Lead on, Lady Lane.
(Open to the Lane living room. Jane comes into the shot carrying a pile of her "Black" paintings. Music: "Intermission" - Offspring. Daria follows, arms also filled. Jane places them carefully along the walls, and directs Daria to do the same. They're both dressed normally.)
Jane: (Dusting hands.) Good, at least we can now actually watch TV.
Daria: Or more likely, you watch me watch TV, while you go and paint your fever-dreams. (Waves a hand at the stacks of paintings, 8 deep along all of the walls.) Going through a "Black" period? 
Jane: (Heading up the stairs.) Actually, yes.
(Daria looks a bit puzzled, but follows Jane.)
(In Jane's room, looking much tidier. Music: "You Look So Fine" - Garbage. Jane sets up one of her black canvasses while Daria thumbs on the remote. Janes stands at the easel, staring blankly past the surface. Daria looks over.)
Daria: Waiting for inspiration to hit?
Jane: (Shakes her head, then turns to Daria.) What tipped you off?
Daria: You're poised with a brush, but you haven't any paint.
(Jane looks down and is surprised to see that Daria's right.)
Jane: Looks as if the ol' "flight of the imagination" needs it's wings glued back on. (Beat.) Hmmm! (Scheming look.) Oh, Daria?
Daria: (Wary, she knows the tone.) Yes Jane?
Jane: (Reaching down and grabbing a huge sketchbook.) Pose for me.
Daria: Ok. (She sits where she is. Jane rolls her eyes.)
Jane: I was looking for something more unusual…
Daria: (Really wary now.) And?
Jane: Remember what you told me last night?
Daria: (Expressionless.) "Stop licking my ear Jane, I'm not Jesse?"
Jane: No. (Waves.) Before that, about you being double-jointed…
Daria: (Imagine the expression.) Oh no. No way. Absolutely not…
Jane: C'mon! It'd be a fantastic chance for me…
Daria: ("Time to die" voice.) …To end up in traction, in a full body-cast.
Jane: Look, no mention of Trent to you for two months!
Daria: Yeah, right. (Turns away.)
Jane: (Desperate now, she can feel the inspiration urge draining away.) Three months! (Holds up hand.) On my goldfish's grave, I swear!
Daria: (Looks back at Jane.) You're really hung up on this, aren't you?
Jane: Three and a half months!
Daria: Absolutely no mention of Trent, even if it costs you a bitten tongue?
Jane: (Her hand is still up.) I do so swear and affirm.
Daria: (Musing.) I'm not sure…
Jane: Please? Four months?
Daria: (Sighs.) All right. (Looks up.) How do you want me?
Jane: Hang on! (Runs over to her closet, grabs something and throws it to Daria.)
(Daria catches it, it's flesh-coloured and flimsy. She looks at it, puzzled.)
Jane: Well, put it on!
Daria: (Rotates it, looking for some identifying marks.) And what in hell is it?
Jane: (Setting up.) A body stocking. (At Daria's expression.) What, did you want me to paint you nude? 
Daria: Absolutely no freaking way Lane!
Jane: (Hurt.) Hey! Remember, our agreement?
Daria: I assumed that it was going to be something tasteful, not one of Upchuck's fantasies!
Jane: (More hurt.) It will be! Honestly!
(Daria just looks at the mass of filmy fabric in her hand, then at Jane's pleading expression.)
Daria: (Flat.) I reserve the right to destroy anything that I don't like, agreed?
Jane: (Not liking it.) Well, all right.
Daria: (Very serious.) And I mean it. My daily quota of humiliation is full enough without glossy copies of your paintings floating around school.
Jane: (Conceding the point.) Ok. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will leave this room without your say-so.
Daria: Right. (Looks at the stocking.) But I'm gonna need some help in figuring this out.
(Jane ponders for a few seconds, then rummages in her drawers again. She throws over a bare slip of slinky fabric. Daria catches it easily and rotates it open.)
Jane: (Shrugs.) You might need it.
Daria: (Daria holds up a "flesh-coloured" G-string. Expressionless.) Jane, never tell me, okay?
Jane: It's all perfectly reasonable…
Daria: Never. (Beat) Got somewhere I can warm up?
Jane: Just shove anything out of your way that you need to.
Daria: (Dry.) I would, but I don't like tetanus shots. (Pause.) Even the necessary ones…
Jane: (Disgruntled.) Fine, fine, go change. (Daria leaves the shot. Calls out after.) I'll act the wench. (Muttering, she shifts stuff out of the way until a lot of the floor can be seen.)
Daria: (O/S) Wench is waitress.
Jane: Whatever. (Finished, she taps her foot impatiently.)
(Daria comes back into the shot, head and shoulders only. She's looking nervous.)
Daria: Any wisecracks and I kill. (Takes her glasses off and puts them on the stereo.)
Jane: Jeez, relax. You think that you're my first life study? (Casts an eye over her, professional admiration.) And you don't work out? (Shakes head.) Don't know how you do it.
Daria: It's the constant intake of lasagne and greasy pizza.
Jane: (Smiles slightly.) You've also got a better attitude than some of my so-called professional models. (Grabs a handful of drawing tools.)
Daria: (Looking uncomfortable at the compliments.) Too many trips to the bathroom for ipecac syrup?
Jane: Nope, they just whined. (Throws down some fast and dirty lines.) A lot.
Daria: (Surprised.) What are you doing that for? I haven't done anything yet.
Jane: Loosening up my hand and getting in some quick practise. (Flaps out fingers.) Go ahead. (Poised with pencil.)
Daria: Here goes. (Hurriedly.) I'll have to do some stretching first, you understand?
Jane: Fine with me.
(Daria drops out of the shot, meaning that the camera remains at a fixed height whenever it cuts over to her. Cut over to Jane, who winces, then applauds.)
Daria: (O/S) What? I haven't started yet!
Jane: You haven't started? (Bursts into a frenzy of motion, hands clutching pens, pencils, charcoal, crayons, anything.) God girl, you’re incredible!
Daria: (O/S) Can I move? I haven't really got the kinks out yet.
Jane: (Almost hidden by the sketchbook.) Sure, sure. This is great! Can you…oh, you can! Cool.
(Almost a minute goes by with Jane throwing everything she's got into quick "study" sketches.)
Daria: (O/S) Ready?
Jane: Hit me. (Several seconds silence.) Wow. (Stares a little, then bends back to her page.)
Daria: (O/S, after a minute or two.) How is it?
Jane: Fine, apart from the fact that no one will believe that it's a life-study. (Stares, really hard.) How in hell can you do that? Doesn't it hurt?
Daria: (O/S) No, but it's pretty fun trying to breathe in a few positions. (Grunts.)
Jane: (Admiring, then frankly amazed.) That's pretty wild there girl. (Shakes head, sketches faster.) So, how did you find out that you can do this?
Daria: (O/S) Watching TV. Bored. Stretching. (Beat.) Dad freaked when he walked in.
Jane: That doesn't sound good.
Daria: (O/S) Dad thought that I'd broken my back, and was trying to get to help. (Reflective.) It took Mom about half a bottle of tranquillisers to calm him down enough so he'd stop screaming.
Jane: (Distant.) Sounds pretty normal, no offence.
Daria: (O/S) None taken. (Beat.) Could you turn the channel over?
Jane: (Does so, than goes back the sketching. Crap ads can be heard slightly in the background. Jane looks over.) You watched TV like that? Heh, no wonder Jake had a heart attack.
Daria: (O/S) Dad hasn't seen me do this since I've was eight. Mom finally asked me to stop; it was too traumatic for him.
Jane: So why do you do it now?
Daria: (O/S) Four months of blissful silence from you, remember?
Jane: Touche! (Interested.) Have you ever felt the need to fold yourself into a box?
Daria: (O/S) No, but I have felt the urge to place a certain Lane in a pine box, many, many times.
Jane: Ha. (Whips sketchbook around so that Daria can see.) What do you think?
Daria: (O/S, frank.) Well, if I wasn't wearing that G-string, it'd be pornographic, that's for sure. (Beat.) Do I look that freaky? It's pretty grotesque.
Jane: I find it fascinating. Did you do gymnastics?
Daria: (O/S) I had a shocking sense of balance, so I quit, a long time ago.
Jane: Oh? Could you move…yeah, but a little more…whoa! Can you hold that? (Blurs back into action.)
Daria: (O/S) This is easy.
Jane: (Not looking up.) So why'd you stop? The gymnastics?
Daria: (O/S) Overall boredom and despair. Every time I went to the classes, I was the freak who would be competing for America in the next Olympics, if only I worked on my balancing skills.
Daria: (O/S) So as soon as I dropped from the lessons, the parents started me on the flute.
(Jane stares into space for a second, then shakes head and continues drawing.)
Daria: (O/S) Bad choice of words, or scary mental image?
Jane: Don't ask.
Daria: (O/S) Anyway, when they were testing my hearing for music, they found I'd had some weird blockage, and gave me this course of drugs to undertake.
Jane: So ear trouble gone, sense of balance returns?
Daria: (O/S) Not that I'd let on.
Jane: (Finishes in a flurry of strokes.) I think I've got that one. Anything else?
Daria: (O/S) Well…
(We see stockinged toes come into the bottom of the Daria shot, followed by her heels. The top of her head rises slightly into the frame.)
Jane: God! Hold it, would you? (Makes bold, sweeping strokes on the paper.)
Daria: (O/S) Just hurry this one up, it's difficult to hold against gravity and my own weight.
Jane: (Muttering to herself.) Simple lines, simple lines.
Daria: (O/S) Ready?
Jane: Uhh, yeah? (Looks over, and eyes go really wide.) Ho!
(We can see a calf and foot in the Daria shot, then a hand joins it. She grunts.)
Daria: (O/S) And I call this one "dammed near impossible to do".
(Jane doesn't answer, she's got both hands in action, smoothing, inking, rubbing, anything to get Daria's position down on paper.)
Jane: (While working.) That has got to be the most unlikely thing I've seen the human body do. (Throws a blunted pencil over her shoulder, snatches up a handful of willow charcoal.) What on earth gave you the idea to do that?
Daria: (O/S) Skiing accident reports. Full colour photos.
Jane: Hmm, I can see it now. (Finishes off some detailed areas.) Are you sure you don't want to go on "Sick, Sad World, The Eye-watering episodes?"
Daria: (O/S) If I did, you'd be the horrifying product of a ritual slaying, later seen on "Hard Copy".
Jane: Ha! (Turns around her finished sketch.) Hmm?
Daria: (O/S) Whoa. You mean I look like that?
Jane: Scary, huh? (Smirking.) Ready to do the sideshow circuit?
(There are slithers and thumps, obviously Daria getting out of whatever contortion she was in. Her head pops back into the "head and shoulder" shot.)
Daria: (Flushed.) Where do you think we got Quinn from? (Rubs back.)
Jane: I thought she was switched at birth, you know, from "Barbie's First Teen Pregnancy".
Daria: That's Brittany.
Jane: Good point. (Goes to another sheet.) Just stand there a sec, would you?
Daria: (Sighs.) The things I do for art. (She stands normally.)
Jane: (Mock-severely.) No talking!
(Daria just stands there for Jane. Unknowingly, a slight expression of happiness emerges on her face.)
Jane: Right. What do you think? (She holds it up, and we get to see this one. It's just a minimal sketch of Daria's face, slightly flushed and with a slight version of her infamous smirk. It looks a lot like the head and shoulders of the end-of-episode representation of Daria in spiky leather gear and with helmet.)
Daria: Hmm, the one I can show my parents?
Jane: But will you?
Daria: Oh. (Surprised.) May I?
Jane: (Smiles.) It's yours. Just let me fix it? (She rummages at her feet for a second, then comes up spraying the sketch.) Done. Just leave it on the bed until it dries, eh?
Daria: Ok. Bored yet?
Jane: Are you kidding? (She flicks through the sheet's she's finished.) These are brilliant! You were brilliant! I'm brilliant!
Daria: (Dry.) So, in conclusion, everyone's brilliant. (Beat.) Want to finish up?
Jane: (Disappointed.) Well, only if you want to.
Daria: I must be coming down with something, but (Soft.) not really.
Jane: (Grabs a fresh sketchpad. Rubs hands together eagerly.) Inspire me!
(Cut outside of the Lane household.)
Jane: (O/S) Holy mother of GOD!
Daria: (O/S. You can hear the smirk.) Inspired yet?
(Open to Daria walking in through the Morgendorffer front door, dusk. Music: "Hammering In My Head" - Garbage. No one's in the lounge as she goes into the kitchen. She opens the fridge, grabs a can of soda and pops the top. As she closes the fridge, she discovers a note on the door.)
(Cut to note, closeup on the neat copperplate handwriting.)
Helen: (V/O) "Dear Daria, your father and I are taking the day off to go see the Mall of the Millennium with Quinn. Help yourself to the fridge and there's frozen dinners in the freezer. Bye sweetie, Mom."
Daria: (To herself.) Well, I can guess what forced the parents into taking Quinn to the Mall, but I wonder what she's got out of it?
(Quick cut to earlier in the day. Helen, Jake and some nameless boys all carrying Quinn purchases like it's some sort of safari, Quinn leads wearing sunglasses and a scarf.)
Daria: Something astronomical, that's for sure. (Pause.) And why am I talking to myself? My usual tormentors aren't at home.
(O/S: <FX> Car pulls up outside the garage. We can easily hear car doors slam with unnecessary force.)
Daria: I spoke too soon. (Wary, she waits at the kitchen bench.)
(Enter Helen and Jake Morgendorffer. Helen looks tired and extremely irritated. Jake looks like he's run a marathon, he's that exhausted and rumpled. Quinn sweeps into the room, noticing Daria on the way.)
Quinn: (Casts an eye over, then ignores Daria.) And I'll be getting ready for Chez Pierre, so don't bother about dinner for me, right? (Sweeps out again.)
(Helen and Jake kind of collapse at the kitchen table, wasted. Daria looks at them for a little, then deposits her drink on the bench and walks into the living room. She comes back with an assortment of bottles, an ice-shaker and a glass pitcher. She starts to mix something while her parents sit there, oblivious. She gets some ice cubes from the freezer and a bottle of olives from the fridge. After measuring, mixing and shaking, she strains the end results into two large Martini glasses, puts the remainder in the pitcher and places olives on the toothpicks in the glasses. She walks over to the table and gives them to her parents.)
Jake: (Very subdued.) Thanks kiddo. (He plays with the olive a little. Helen simply drains the glass.)
(Daria brings over the rest of the pitcher, tops up Helen's glass. Jake swigs his, then hold his up for a refill. Daria does so.)
Daria: (Mildly.) Rough day?
Helen: (Staring into the table.) Daria, don't get me started. (Taps glass.) Thanks.
Daria: Well, I'm going to my bedroom. Goodnight all.
(She leaves Helen and Jake staring at each other, then at the pitcher on the table.)
(Open to Daria and Jane walking to school. Music: "Push It" - Garbage.)
Jane: Wow, so she actually managed to break the "five figure" barrier?
Daria: I don't think my parents really understood the awful force of nature Quinn becomes when let loose in a mall. At any rate, I think they've discovered the perfect form of contraception.
Jane: At over ten G's a pop, I think I'd expect something more than an old couch…
Daria: (Quickly.) Don't go there Jane. (Pause.) Unless a crate of money falls from the sky, it won't be cleaned until Quinn's kids go through college.
Jane: ("Ouch" expression.) Next time, we watch TV in your room, no question.
Daria: Mom was already begging for more work at the office, so I can expect burnout within the month.
Jane: (Bigger wince.) Not a good weekend at the Morgendorffer household then?
Daria: They've had better.
Jane: (Puzzled.) They?
Daria: Oh, did I forget to tell you? I've been sold as a dancing girl for some Arab prince, he'll be picking me up later this week. I am now "Jasmin, Western Pearl of the Desert Sands".
Jane: (Reflective.) I wish I could find it within me to laugh, but for some reason, I can't. (Beat, concern showing.) Are you going to be ok?
Daria: (Not joking that much.) Fancy adopting me?
Jane: I can't, you'd be sister to Tren - Damn! (Smacks fist into hand.) Accursed bargain!
Daria: (Looking down.) Jane?
Jane: (Still smarting at not being about to torment Daria with Trent.) Yeah?
Daria: You've also got paint on your boot.
(Cut to Lawndale high. Music: "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" - Brian Ferry, from the "Legend" soundtrack. Daria and Jane walk in, avoiding Jodie, who is besieged by students wanting tickets for the "Pre-monthly Ball". As they proceed through, posters advertise the fact that it's theme is to be "Alternate-Lifestyles". Cut to people who are clustered around Andrea, who looks disgusted. Some are taking notes.)
Jane: Well, the "Fascist Four" haven't shown up yet.
Daria: (Dead/distant tone.) They're here.
Jane: (Trying to cheer Daria up.) A disturbance in the force?
Daria: The scent of "Chanel #5" (Turns to Jane.) Quinn bought a quart bottle of it yesterday. 
Jane: (Slowly.) You weren't kidding about the 5-figure thing, were you?
Daria: (Calm.) Did you think I was?
Jane: (She looks more than a bit sickened.) I though you may have been exaggerating, to stress a point?
Daria: (Monotone.) I would, if I had to. (Chill.) But my life leaves no prisoners.
(Jane gives Daria's shoulder a reassuring squeeze through the jacket.)
Jane: It'll get better.
Daria: Before or after I'm charged with homicide?
Jane: (Avoids the question.) So, going to the Ball?
Daria: (Dry.) Sorry fairy-godmother, me no losa. 
Jane: (Sceptical.) And who's the linguist here?
Daria: Look, even if I wanted to participate in the "Drunken Kegger" ambience that the Ball is promising, I'd have to run the gauntlet of asking my parents for permission.(Jane doesn't look convinced.) And to top it off, there is now no way they, or I, could spring for the tickets. (Beat.) Unless I started to dance for strange men, but I'd rather leave that option open until college tuition fees become an issue. 
Jane: So I can't change your mind?
Jane: (Eagerly.) Yes?
Daria: It'd have to involve some very highly specialised medical tools. And some top neurosurgeons.
Jane: Ha. (Smiles briefly.) No chance then? Ok, fair enough. (Frowns and looks down.) Hang on, I have to wash this gunk off my boot before it dries further. See you in class?
(Jane jogs off around the corner, leaving little red patches. Daria shrugs, then walks off.)
(Open to the Girl's bathroom, Jane balancing on one leg, washing some red paint off her boot. Music: "Mota" - The Offspring. She hears the quick patter of footsteps, a stall door slam shut and rack to locked. There is some heavy breathing from the stall, obviously someone trying to catch their breath. The door unlocks and opens slightly.)
Jodie: (O/S, hiss.) Jane!
Jane: (Drying her boot under one of those hot-air "handi-dri" things.) Talking toilet, you may address me as Lady Lane. (Turns.) Oh, hey Jodie.
Jodie: (Head poking out. Quietly, but intense.) Not so loud!
Jane: (Quieter.) Well, why are you in the stall perilous?
Jodie: (Surprised.) Eh?
Jane: (More to herself than for Jodie.) Arthurian reference, from the "Grand Tradition".
Jodie: (More puzzled.) What?
Jane: (Smiles slightly.)It's a game Daria and I play. (Focuses on Jodie.) What can I do for you?
Jodie: (Depressed.) Can you save me from an angry mob?
Jane: I told you to stick to selling that "Cure-all tonic", but did you listen? (Beat.) What's up?
Jodie: Well, after advertising and selling maybe four tickets for the last two months, people now suddenly want in on the Ball. (Sighs.) I'm totally out of singles, but people don't want the "couple" option.
Jane: ("Tough luck" expression.) If they were stupid enough to wait until nothing was left…
Jodie: (Interrupts.) I can't say that!
Jane: You could cut the couple's ticket in two, and sell them as two singles?
Jodie: (She's been thinking about it.) The couple's tickets are cheaper, so I can't do that…and anyway, they're specially printed, limited run designs.
Jane: Hmmm. (Thinking.) The couple's are cheaper?
Jodie: Per person, yes. That's what I don't understand, why get bothered about paying for a single when it's cheaper for two to team up and pay together?
Jane: Hmmm! (Rubs hands and cackles fiendishly.) I have a cunning plan…
Jodie: (Looking even more wary of Jane than Daria was.) Ok, I'm listening.
(Cut to Jane and Daria walking home. Music: "Ray of Light" - Madonna. Daria is looking at Jane with awe and admiration.)
Daria: So you persuaded Jodie to cut the couple's tickets in half…
Daria: …Unevenly, so that they'd be able to find their partner by the unique shape of their tickets?
Jane: (Gloating.) Yes.
Daria: And then you got Jodie to sell the modified tickets for more than the original singles?
Jane: (Airily.) Making the Student Association a very tidy profit.
Daria: While ensuring that there is going to be an in-built icebreaker for the night. (Beat.) You look happier that I'd expect you to be, even if you have derailed the bureaucratic machine. What don't I know?
Jane: (Monotone.) I was assigned the cutting and subsequent organisation of the tickets.
Daria: (A bit worried at the voice.) So?
Jane: (Evil grin.) You'll have to wait until the night, or on the news reports afterwards.
Daria: I have a VERY bad feeling about this.
(Jane's cackle bursts out on to the afternoon.)
(Open to Janes' room. Music: "Galapogos" - Smashing Pumpkins. Jane is re-surfacing one of her "Black" paintings. Daria is looking interestedly at Jane's wall. Pan and we see a variety of footwear, covered in paint, heaped on some protective plastic at the base of a large series of canvasses. On the canvasses, there are a variety of footprints, or what may have been footprints. Red paint is evident.)
Daria: Hmm. Going through another Pollock phase?
Jane: (Not looking up.) He did pour paint over his boots and stomp over his work, didn't he?
Daria: According to that documentary we watched during art.
Jane: (Head still in her work.) Well, I was aiming for some more freshness in my abstracts…
Daria: Freshness? And you used those shoes?
Jane: ("Lady Jane" voice.) A poor jest, you may amuse me further. (Waves a hand out at Daria.)
(Daria looks at Jane, then goes over and opens up the windows, wide. A cold wind rushes in.)
Jane: (Looks up.) Hey!
Daria: I know you're using acrylics today, but I'm now a bit paranoid whenever you start acting weird while painting. Remember your "surrealist" oils phase, not too long ago?
Jane: Yah, yah, yah! Just close the window already. (Daria does so.)
(Jane goes to sit down on the bed, then frowns at something and rummages around in her pockets. A fascinating collection of artist's supplies, bits of fluff, old sweets and assorted flotsam emerge. Finally, she takes out a large stiff card, heavily folded. Daria come over, to see what lives in Jane's shorts.)
Daria: When was the last time you cleaned these out? (Nods to Jane's turned-out pockets.)
Jane: Last night, same as always. (She unfolds the card, and puts it under some heavy tins to straighten.)
Daria: (Curiously.) What's that?
Jane: (Mysteriously.) The wages of sin. (Goes back to her painting.)
Daria: (Sarcastically.) It didn't look like a rumpled twenty. An IOU?
Jane: Aha! That, my lovely, is for me to know, and you to find out.
(Daria looks at Jane for a few seconds, then goes and opens up the windows again.)
(Outside shot of the Lane house.)
Jane: (O/S) HEY!
(Cut to Daria, walking downstairs from her room. Music: "Death Scene" - from the score of Romeo & Juliet, softly. She's obviously looking for something and finds it when she picks up the walk-around mobile. As Daria goes to dial, she can hear voices raised in argument.)
Daria: (Wry.) Let's see what's behind door number one.
(Daria rounds the corner and finds Helen in a roaring argument with Jake, Quinn sitting off on the periphery, examining her nails. No one notices Daria's entrance.)
Helen: What do you mean "you couldn't believe what I'd done!" I didn't enjoy it! I had to do it!
Jake: (Concerned/worried anger, not just the humorous "Jake going postal again" anger.) Helen!
Helen: What?! Daria's going to get a scholarship; and we will replace the money when we can!
Jake: (Gasping.) That fund was held in trust for Daria! Do you have any idea of the penalties that will be levelled against the total balance of the fund?!
Helen: (Cold, deadly.) Yes, I do know. I found that out today, when Am-Ex phoned me up in the middle of a very important meeting. Do you have any idea how humiliating that was?
Jake: (Shocked.) You haven't already done it!? I could have, could have…
Helen: (Cold/tired.) What Jake? Mortgaged the house? Again?!
Helen: After our reserves were wiped out the helicopter rescue? And your heart-attack? How?
Jake: Anything would have been better than…
Daria: (O/S) …Emptying my college trust fund because you overspent trying to buy off Quinn?
(Screech cut, merging to the new music: "Gas Station Scene" - from score of Romeo & Juliet. While Tybalt arrives and has his little say, everyone is frozen. Helen looks shocked, Quinn looks surprised and Jake looks incredibly guilty.)
(Daria looks like "Violent Death" incarnate.)
Helen: (For once, lost for words.) Well, I, that is to say…
Jake: Yes. (Stands, holding Helen's hand.) We did.
Daria: (Knife-edged scorn.) Lovely picture of solidarity Dad, I heard everything. (Her fists are clenched and she looks to be holding back a lot of pent-up, bloody rage.) Did it even enter your pathetic little minds that you could have returned most of Quinn's bribes? Or is that simply too hard, to go against the tide of "Everything for Quinn?"
Jake: (Trying to placate.) Daria, I…
Daria: (Shouts, very loudly.) Just shut the fuck up! (Walks over carefully, like she's not too sure that she's touching the floor, or if she's going to go straight through.)
Daria: I. Have. Had. ENOUGH! (Her hands clench involuntary, and there is a sharp cracking sound. They all look down, and see that Daria has broken the phone, destroying the plastic casing. Her hand spasms open, and pieces fall to the carpet. Glares over.)
Daria: What's wrong mother dear? Can't buy your way out of a little bad parenting? (Loses the rest of the phone in an underhanded sling. It embeds itself in one of those large-size family-portrait shots, this one of the Morgendorffers when they moved out of Highland and into Lawndale.)
Helen: (Getting annoyed at the constant attack, and at the damaged picture.) Daria! Now Daria, I…
Daria: What? WHAT? Have become so tired of ruining my life, such that it is, you've decided to try for my future?!!
Helen: (She's the lawyer, has to argue.) I haven't ruined your life! We needed…
Daria: (Awful rasp.) More money, in order to pay off your credit-card bills.
Helen: (Defensive.) It's more than that!
Daria: Then tell me. Why did you spend so much? (Jake goes to open his mouth, but shuts it. Daria notices.) Ah, a miracle! Jake Morgendorffer manages to keep his foot out of his mouth!
Helen: (Protective of Jake.) Hey!
Daria: It's nothing that you've never said to Dad, Mom. Why bother pretending? You were so embarrassed being caught on the couch by my sister that you went the route you always do, buying off potential problems. But this time there's nothing left to spend, and the bills are gonna start coming in. (Softly, vicious.) So, what to do? You can't take the bribes off Quinn, oh no. So, you go to your other daughter, the dutiful one, the one who never makes a fuss, the one who has a college fund. And you drain it, to pay off the favourite daughter.
Daria: (Chill, at Helen's negative motions.) Don't you dare shake your head at me. (Pause.) Once you've stripped off the thin layer of gloss that ensures your precious consciences never get bothered, that is exactly what you've done. (Helen looks up, red in face.)
(Daria catches Helen's incoming slap with ease. She holds Helen's wrist at eye height for a few seconds, then forces it down.)
Daria: (Really scary now.) What, having trouble with the truth? You suck as a mother. Now, is that really so hard to understand? (She abruptly bends back Helen's wrist and forces her to the floor.)
Daria: And isn't resorting to force the first signs of a lost argument? (Lets go of the wrist.)
Daria: (Walking over to Jake.) So, tell me Dad, do you remember the last time that I actually bought something for myself?
Jake: Uhh, that poster? Kafka?
Daria: (A bit amazed.) That's right Dad. Well done. Can you remember how much it cost?
Jake: Something like $18 dollars, wasn't it?
Daria: Good. Now, think of all those presents, gifts and assorted tribute that Quinn receives from you in a month.
Jake: Uhh, ok. (He's backing away slightly from her monofocussed stare.)
Daria: Do you understand what I'm getting at?
Jake: Uhh, no. (Looks defeated.)
Daria: YOU SPEND MORE ON QUINN'S NAILPOLISH IN A MONTH THAN YOU DO ON ME IN A YEAR! (Stops shouting, deadly pause.) Have you even looked in my room, I mean really looked?
Jake: Uhh, uhh…(Looks about to cry.)
Daria: (Turning. Hiss/rasp.) And you. (Quinn shrinks back into the seat she's on, very pale.) Don't even think of making me come over there…
Helen: (Very tired voice, rubbing her wrist.) Well, what would you have us to do? You don't ask for help, or clothing, or money, or anything, Daria. You don't show us how you feel, and you don't like showing yourself to us. (Stands beside Jake.) I think that Jane knows you better than we do.
Daria: (Clenched teeth.) I'm "emoting" now, aren't I? (Helen ducks her head.) But you're probably right Mom, about one thing. (Beat.) Jane may know me better. And do you know why? (The last is in a drawn-out hiss, really ferocious.)
Daria: (Very softly.) It's because she actually cares. She doesn't feel obligated for giving birth to me, or even being related to me, she just cares.
(She goes into the kitchen and leaves the rest stunned. She walks out 2 seconds later, carrying Helen's yellow mobile. She dials a number into it, and waits.)
Daria: (Into phone.) Hey Jane. (Pause.) No, not really. (Pause.) May I stay… (Pause.) Yeah, I'll tell you later, when I get over there. (Pause.) Thanks. (She turns off the phone and lets it drop onto the infamous couch.) I'm packing to go over to Jane's, probably for some time. You have until I walk out the front door to try and think of something that would make me come back.
Jake: (Rather helplessly.) We love you kiddo.
Daria: (Eyes narrow.) And if you ever call me "Kiddo" again, I will burn down this house.
(Daria goes upstairs.)
(Music: "Bullet on Butterfly Wings" - Smashing Pumpkins. Cut to a short time later, Jake removing the walk-about from the picture. The whole Morgendorffer family unit come with it. He looks like he's going to cry again but takes down the picture for repairs. Daria comes walking down the steps, carryall in hand and school bag on her back. She looks at the entranceway/house foyer. The floor is covered in baby-photos, happy-snaps and scenes from Daria's childhood. She looks at them all briefly, then walks out over them. Helen comes out, to stand next to Jake. Daria stands on their cherished physical memory of her childhood, unconcerned.)
(Jake comes over, horrified tears in his eyes, but stops when he gets to around four feet of Daria. He tries to say something, but is choking. Daria just looks at him, unreadable.)
(Daria turns to Helen, who looks angry and hurt. Helen goes to say something, but clams up when the calm gaze of her eldest stabs at her.)
Daria: So. (Looks at the picture Jake has taken down, briefly.) I expected more than this, but why am I not surprised? (Beat.) Dad, there's a sale on home phone walkabouts at Radio-Shack, I've left money enough to cover it's purchase. Helen (Helen looks up, surprised at Daria's voice.) - I'm calling you that because right now, I'd rather not think of you as my mother - come closer.
(Helen comes closer to Daria. She goes to hug her, but is put off by the hostile body-language.)
Daria: I just wanted you to know something. (Daria's hand snakes out faster than her parents can see it, Helen is knocked down on the ground. Daria come over and squats next to her.)
Daria: (Low and vicious.) If you had even asked me about the college fund, I would have been all right. If you had even thought a little about me, for a moment, it would have been all right. If you had even talked to me about your reasons for favouring Quinn over me, it might have been all right. (Stands.) But you didn't and so I curse you all to whatever hell that will have you.
(She exits over the photos, crushing them under her boot treads. She open up the door, right in the rather surprised faces Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany. Daria stops.)
Sandi: (Noting the bags.) Well, Quinn's cousin, or whatever, are you leaving the Morgendorffers now?
Daria: [Think of the scariest tones out of anyone you've ever met, then multiply by about 60.] Get out of my way before I kill you all…
(As Stacy leaps back at Daria's rasped threat, Daria shoulders her bag, knocking Sandi to the ground.)
(Daria walks off into the night, Sandi's curses and threats floating out behind her.)
(Open to a montage of Daria's life. Music: "Genius" - Frenzal Rhomb. [Oz punkers, "coughing up a storm". It's very Australian.])
("Walking by myself, wondering how such an asshole, can be, so strong. It didn't have to happen, if I bought myself a gun, I wouldn't have been on the run, with Bonn. Because he's a fu*#en genius… He's a genius, a fu*#en genius…")
(Daria walking to school. Kids avoiding her, Jane at her heels, trying to tell, or get her to tell, something. Jodie looking over, concerned for Daria. The 3 J's cornering Daria, looking like they're demanding answers. Jane running over. Daria walking over the moaning and weeping forms of the 3 J's, Jane looking shocked at the carnage. Daria in front of O'Neill. O'Neill blubbering. Daria in front of the school psychologist, Mrs Manson. Daria walking through the corridors, kids giving her a wider berth than before. Daria in Jane's room, obviously the subject to one of her famous "Cheering-up" sessions. It's not working.)
(Daria walking into school, kids avoiding her like the plague. Robert, blocking her path. Robert on his knees, slowly bowing down, clutching his groin. Mack looking concerned for Daria, then disgusted at Robert. Mrs Barch looking disgusted at Robert, then surprised at Daria. Mr DeMartino, looking spooked by Daria. Mrs Bennet, looking spooked by Daria. Brittany looking concerned for Daria as she walks by. Daria at lunch, no one sits within ten feet of her, except for Mack, Jodie and Jane. Daria walking home, ignoring Jake driving alongside of her.)
(Daria walking to school, kids running away from her. Mrs Barch, looking unsettled at Daria. Kevin looking at Daria, kind of concerned, then his eyes roll up and he falls over in a faint. Daria at lunch, her ring of exclusion expanded to twenty feet. Mrs Defoe, looking concerned at Daria, then pleadingly at Jane. Jane trying to talk to Daria. Jane blankly shocked. Jane amazed. Jane red faced and furious. Cut to Helen, at court, representing a client. Helen has a huge black eye. Jake, talking very animatedly into a phone. Daria sitting upright in the Lane kitchen. Cut to Jane, still flushed with fury, painting with a palette knife and lots of red.)
(Daria walking to school, kids still avoiding her, but not so much. Mrs Defoe looking concerned at Jane, who is flaying a slab of clay, obviously fuming, then worried at Daria, who is sitting there and making pinch pots. Daria at lunch, the exclusion zone is shrinking. Andrea looks over, vague concern on her face, before she glares at a freshmen taking "notes" with her patented "flat stare of death". Jodie trying to talk to Daria. Quinn with the Fashion Club, looking distracted. Jodie trying to talk to Jane. Jane talking. Jodie looking furious. Jodie talking to Mack. Mack looks appalled, then angry. Jake talking on the phone, typing on the computer. Helen at her office, rubbing moisturiser into her face, looking disgusted at the pile of work in front of her, then incredibly depressed. Daria walking home, Mack, Jane and Jodie all trying to talk to her. Jake, late at night, still on the phone and typing on his computer.)
(Daria watching TV in her "sleep" clothing, the camera shifts and we can see that it's not on. Jane, painting something angry with pinks, greens, purples and lots of black. Cut to Jane's phone ringing, Jane picking it up, answering. Jane holding the phone, shaking it, obviously something wrong on the other end. Jake, on phone, still in the same clothes and with a 3 day growth, typing on the computer. Helen, alone at the office, consulting thick legal tomes. Her black eye is fading. She looks at some photos on her desk, then at one that is lying down. She lays her head down and cries. Jake on phone, looking excited, then exultant and then grateful. He replaces the phone into the cradle, looks around at his office, rubbing his chin. Jake looks over at the family photos on the wall. His face screws up, and he cries, unashamedly. Quinn at home with the Fashion Club, looking very distracted. The livingroom TV is on. The couch is missing. Daria cooking something in the Lane kitchen. Jane throwing it down with gusto, many expansive arm movements. Daria expressionless, wearing an apron. The kitchen phone rings and Daria picks it up.)
Jake: (O/S, unusually subdued.) I'm sorry.
(Morgendorffer home, Daria opening up the front door. Music: "Bang & Blame" - R.E.M. Daria closes the front door, noticing as she passes that the front room couch is missing. She walks into the kitchen. Jake is alone at the kitchen table. He has two plates of lasagne in front of him. Daria gets a glass of water and sits opposite.)
Jake: (Looks up from the food. Quietly.) Thanks for coming. Dinner? (At Daria's stare.) Maybe not.
Daria: (Relenting a little on the stare.) I've already eaten, thank you.
Jake: Can I say something? (Daria doesn't react, but Jake goes on anyway, looking like he needs to say this.) You know, sometimes I wonder how stupid I can really be. It's not simple things, like forgetting to follow the recipe instructions, or eating the wrong type of berries, or eating too much guacamole, but big things, like forgetting important stuff. (Stops for a minute, figuring out what he said.) What I'm trying to say is that I'm not just sorry for, "you know", but for not picking up sooner.
Jake: (Looks at the food in front of him. He picks up a fork, plays with it a little, then puts it down again.) I'm sorry Daria.
Daria: (Puts her hand on the table. Jake looks at it a moment, then covers it.) Apology accepted.
Jake: (Tired smile.) Thanks, ki-Daria.
Daria: (Allows herself a small smile.) Well done Dad. (Beat.) What happened to the couch?
Jake: (Looking sheepish.) I burnt it.
Daria: This is something I don't need to know about, right? (Jake looks over, nods thankfully.)
(There is a comfortable silence.)
Jake: Will you be staying?
Daria: I don't know. It depends on the other people who live here.
Jake: (Thinking aloud voice.) And you don't want me to say anything, right?
Daria: Dad, sometimes you do get the important things, first time.
Jake: Good, I need the practise.
(Daria laughs lightly, but continues when Jake joins in.)
(Cut to the Morgendorffer front door, and Daria closing it softly behind her she walks down the front path, and sees a familiar red-haired figure sitting by the side of the road. Music: "Deuce" - The Cardigans. Daria walks beside Quinn, and sits. It is a still, almost crisp, night. The stars burn brightly in the sky, unhindered by the reflected light of the town or the late-rising moon.)
Quinn: (Into the silence.) It's not all my fault, you know. It's just that you never actually stand up and shout for what you want, so when I get up and shout they can only hear me. I mean, even when there is no competition, I've got to stay in training, I've got to practise. (Beat.) I've got to be the best I can be. (Shrugs.) I've got to be me.
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: If you're wondering, I've returned most of the stuff that I got with Mom and Dad. I don't really know why I bought most of it when I look back at what I got, some of it was so old, so quickly. I mean, lavender lipstick, with a mauve top, what was I thinking?
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: But you should have seen Mom and Dad freak! I don't think I've seen them act that weird since, eeew, the last time they were, you know…amorphous? Anyway, after all the shouting stopped, Mom went to work and Dad kind of went funny, ironing old photos for some reason. Then he went to work. He was muttering something about a possible break in the weather, whatever that means. I think that he may have been having one of those "flashbacks" I see on TV, you know, before the Fashion Hour comes on.
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: And Sandi! Whatever you did to her, she's been the world's biggest psycho-bitch since Monday. I mean, Stacy shouldn't have worn those blue sandals with her aqua dress and that ice lipstick, but Sandi didn't have to be such an overbearing tyrant. Talk about a little Hitler!
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: So, would you please get over whatever is bothering you; living here with Mom and Dad being weird is worse than when you were living here being weird.
(Daria says nothing.)
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: Oh yeah, sorry for being such a , well, me, I suppose.
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: I'm glad we've had this talk, aren't you?
(Daria says nothing.)
Quinn: Well, I tried.
(She gets up and goes to walk away.)
Daria: (Not facing Quinn.) Apology accepted, Quinn.
(Daria gets up and walks away from the Morgendorffer house, headed for Janes.)
Quinn: (Raising her voice slightly.) Well duh, aren't you going home?
Daria: (Turns.) More than one person lives here, Quinn. (Flat stare.) Remember that.
(Open to mid-morning, Jane's room. Music: "Petals" - Hole. She's got some freaky abstracts hanging around, which probably aren't doing anything good for the chi of the room. She's lying in Daria's patented "gnawing at your soul pose", while Daria is behind an easel. Daria has her jacket off, and is wearing an artist's smock.)
Jane: (Still in pose.) Well?
Daria: (Hefts a plastic mixing palette, covered in paint.) Once again, I'm amazed at you ability to talk me into doing things that go against my better judgement.
Jane: Look, could we just see if it works, so I can know if I should grow my hair?
Daria: The things I do for friendship. (She shakes out a lock of her hair, twirls it and dips it in the paint. She bends over and starts on the canvas.) Looks like you'll need a lot of hair to do this properly, unless you've got a chiropractor as a relative.
Jane: Three actually. (Closes eyes.) And two physiotherapists.
Daria: (Still behind the canvas, dabbing away.) Any shrinks?
Jane: (Opens eyes.) Only one, and he's lost his license. (Beat.) So, how'd "it" go?
Daria: So far? (Looks up, then down again.) Dad went well. (Pause.) Quinn was as well as could be expected. (Beat.) Sometimes I'm surprised at Dad's uptake of things.
Jane: I do wonder…
Daria: (Tiredly.) Yes, I'm his daughter. The Morgendorffer temper is an inherited trait. (Sighs.) I just hope Dad can keep calm more often, I had the worst headache of my life, afterwards.
Jane: (Expansive on the "strange") Strange as it was, you "showing emotion", how was it?
Daria: The scariest ten minutes of my life; like looking down on them from a thousand feet and trying not to think of killing, or maiming, or crushing, or cutting their little…
Jane: Enough information, thanks. (Raises eyebrow, which looks incongruous upside-down.) So, is the "demon rage" exorcised?
Daria: (Sadly.) Merely lying in wait for another opportunity to break free, I'm sorry to say.
Jane: Just give me the opportunity to reach minimum safe distance, please?
Daria: Trust me, as much as you irritate me on occasion, it takes family to bring out the worst in us.
Daria: Daria Morgendorffer. Wanna see so far?
(Jane jumps up and runs around. She stops, rubbing her chin.)
Jane: (Musing.) Hmmm.
Jane: Could you please just squat down a sec? (Daria does so, moving behind the painting.) Thanks.
Daria: Ok, what are you doing to my hair? Jane? Ow! Not so tight!
Jane: (Concentrating voice.) You had the right idea, but needed different motion and stroke method.
Daria: Which I'd be fine in discovering without…ow!
Jane: Sorry, could you get up a little? Thanks.
Daria: (Can't see.) So, how's it looking?
Jane: (Distracted.) Interesting.
Daria: Going to grow long?
Jane: Nahh. (Using two hands again.) I have enough trouble with my hair in things when I don't want it. But do you mind if I borrow you on occasion?
Daria: Depends on how easily this stuff washes out.
Jane: Artist's acrylic, come out easy with soap and warm water. Hmm, some more viridian…(Squirts a tube of green gunk onto the palette, dabs some more hair in it and goes off again.) Well, there are some advantages and disadvantages with using hair as a brush.
Daria: Apart from how it feels?
Jane: (Nods, she'll give that one.) Well, even though you've got a built-in method of application and there is a lot of it, accidentally mixing colours could be a problem.
Daria: (Dry.) Not to mention the clean-up.
Jane: Yeah, having to stop and wash my hair in the middle of a work would drive me crazy.
Daria: (To herself.) Short trip. (Louder.) May I see?
Jane: Sure. (When Daria gets up she looks like a Rasta whose head had been used for paint-ball practise.) But before you do, would you please lie your head down on that canvas there? (Points to a yard square of canvas on the floor.)
Daria: After this much? (She lays down carefully, face up. Jane comes over and arranges Daria's hair. Then she brings out a small container of hot soapy water, and a squeegee. Daria looks more than slightly worried.) Jane, I'm not going to have to hurt you, am I?
Jane: Relax. (Lubes up the squeegee and stands poised above Daria.)
Daria: I would, if you quit with the Norman Bates impression. 
Jane: Sorry. (She leans over and starts doing arcane things to Daria's head, obscuring most of our view.)
Daria: (Shocked.) Whoa.
Jane: (Concerned.) I'm sorry, I didn't think it would hurt!
Daria: (Sounds surprised.) No, no, it's just that I had a big deja-vu/flashback thing. Weird!
Jane: Oh, ok. (Goes back to whatever esoteric stuff she's doing to Daria.) What about?
Daria: Those strange dreams I had when sleeping in Trent's bed.
(Cut to outside the Lane Residence.)
Daria: (O/S) Ow! Jane! Get off of me!
(Morgendorffer Home, Helen pulls up in her SUV. Music: "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" - Smashing Pumpkins. Jake is cheerfully washing his "Lexus". He waves at her, turns his hose off and pulls out a chamois. Helen gets out, lugging her briefcase, dressed in her "weekend" clothes. We can see the SUV interior; it's piled high with legal documentation.)
Jake: Hi Honey!
Helen: (Smiling a little.) I just couldn't face any more of the office on a Sunday as beautiful as this. (Looks at him closely.) You seem to be in a good mood?
Jake: ("Happy Jake", you know the expression.) Yeah, I had some great news!
Helen: (Hands on hips, smiling.) Well? Aren't you going to share it with me?
Jake: Oh, maybe. (Pause in wiping. Smiles.) And I also got the Holdings-Combine Company account!
Helen: (Actually happy.) Jake, that's wonderful! Which one, the radio or the magazine advertisements?
Jake: Uhh. (Looks sheepish.)
Helen: ("That" look crosses her face.) Jake, please tell me you at least got the Mid-West radio?
Jake: Actually, I got all of it. The entire domestic portfolio. Surprised?
(Helen's mouth slumps open. Her briefcase drops to the ground. Jake jogs over and retrieves it from the approaching water. Jake looks up, concerned at Helen.)
Jake: Helen, you ok? Helen? (Helen's mouth is working like a landed fish. [BTW, yes, fish do actually do this.]) Uhh, Honey, would you like to go into the house? Out of the sun?
Helen: (Stunned.) The entire domestic!
Jake: Uh, yes. They phoned Saturday.
Helen: (Shocked.) And you didn't tell me!
Jake: Well, you came home so late, I didn't want to…(Trails off as Helen stares at him, flabbergasted.) Well, you looked really tired. And this morning, you'd gone by the time I was up.
Helen: (Still shocked.) And you didn't phone!
Jake: (His "I don't think I've done anything wrong…" look.) Uhh, no.
Helen: Didn't fax, e-mail or even telegram!?
Jake: (The look is getting worse.) Uhh, no. I didn't think…
Helen: This is the biggest account in your entire career, and you didn't think…
Jake: Well, I was waiting for the right time to tell you, when you were awake and in a happy…(Worry enters his voice.) You are in a happy mood, aren't you?
Helen: Sure, it's just that the smallest thing starts to get you excited and I was expecting…(Jake's look of pleased and admiring devotion is starting to wear her down. She stops, then takes a deep breath.) Jake, I'm handling this all wrong. It's fantastic! Well done!
Jake: (Grins a little.) Thanks.
Helen: Do the girls know..? (Trails off, self-consciously.)
Jake: (Loses grin.) Well, Daria does. Quinn had to go over to the malls to return stuff.
Helen: (Avoiding the spiky topic of Daria for the moment.) Quinn, returning things? (Pause.) Jake, did Quinn hit her head, recently? 
(You can see Jake pondering this, as her turns off the hose at the tap. Helen waits.)
Jake: I don't really think so, Helen. She was quiet for a few days, but now she's back to her usual self! She said something about "being in poor taste the first time", uhh, "what was she thinking"?
Helen: Oh. So, how much was the advance?
Jake: (Smiling to himself.) Pretty big.
Helen: (Warningly.) Jake..?
Jake: Well put it this way; after bills and some other things, come Monday, no more mortgage!
(Jake and Helen hug on the driveway, then twirl around ie: happy cheesy "Sound of Music".)
(Open to the Fashion Club, striding along the mall concourse. Music: "Polyester Girl" - Regurgitator. Sandi is point, Tiffany and Stacy bringing up her train. They enter "Cashmans" and come across an unexpected sight, Quinn returning dresses. There are a few boxes on the counter, filled with clothing.)
Quinn: (Distance soft.) Well, here's the last of them. (Sighs.) Oh well, easy come, easy go. (Turns and sees Sandi coming towards her, looking totally evil. Quinn does the "deer in the headlights" thing for a few seconds, then casually accepts the cashier's envelope. Sandi strides over more quickly, sensing blood in the water. Her Droogs hurry to catch up. [A "Clockwork Orange" reference. Go read a book! Duh!])
Sandi: Why Quinn, what an unexpected pleas-ure. Whatever brings you here?
Quinn: (Decides on the truth, until she can turn the encounter to her best advantage.) Actually, I had to drop off some things. (Cashier disappears into the backroom.)
Sandi: Oh really? Whatever for?
Quinn: Unfortunate budget cuts. (Tiffany looks blank.) My parents freaked when they saw the gold card bill.
Tiffany: Ohh. (Nods slowly. [See "Hellmouth in Lawndale" for my comments on Tiffany and lead during childhood. Author's shameless plug.])
Stacy: (Yes-man nod.) Oh yes! Don't you hate it when…
Sandi: (Cutting off Stacy.) I'm sure Quinn doesn't want to hear the trials of your disadvantages, Stacy. I'm sure that she has enough of her own.
Quinn: (Faux grateful.) Thanks for caring Sandi. (Normal Quinn.) But what are you doing here? I'm pretty sure the most of the good dresses sold out last week, when people finally decided to go to the ball?
Sandi: I'm sure they did, Quinn. But as Fashion Club President, I thought ahead and pre-ordered additional supplies.
(Murmurs, "Good idea, master" and "Yes master" noises emerge from Stacy and Tiffany. Quinn simply looks surprised.)
Quinn: (Mild.) Well, I'm sure that you'll enjoy choosing your costumes for the night.
Sandi: (Faux friendly.) Oh, not staying to help us make an informed decision?
Quinn: (Faux gushy.) I'd love to Sandi, you know that. It's just that my parents have roped me into a prior commitment, so I have to be home (Checks watch. It's got a smiley face on it.) five minutes ago. Bye!
(Quinn proceeds quite quickly out of the store. Sandi stares out at her, wondering if the encounter went better for her, or for Quinn. She looks over at a few items on the bench, which she assumes came from Quinn, then at the boxes of clothing, which she assumes are her "additional supplies". Looks around for a cashier to ask, but decides to forge her own path. She picks up a box, a reasonably light one.)
Sandi: Well, come on, get a box and let's start! (Tiffany and Stacy collect boxes (Stacy with a noticeably heavy one) and they all troop off into the bowels of the store.)
(Cut back to the cashier's desk, behind it. There are two small boxes, labelled "Sandi Griffin.")
Open to the Lane residence, Daria looking strangely at Jane. Music: "Don't Pick It Up" - Offspring.
Both are on the bed. Daria's obviously washed out some of the paint, but her hair is still stiff and looking oddly tinted.)
Daria: (Ticking points off.) You know something that I don't. Something to do with the night that we (she does the "finger quote" thing.) "spent together" in Trent's bed. Something that you find unsettling, surprising and inexplicably amusing. And you won't tell me what it is.
Jane: (Grinning.) Yep.
Daria: And you won't tell me?
Jane: (Grinning.) Nup.
Daria: Was it drooling?
Jane: (Grinning.) Nup.
Daria: (Faint look of horror.) I wasn't talking in my sleep, was I?
Jane: (Grinning.) Nup.
Daria: And I didn't sleepwalk, lose control of my bodily functions or give you a "Dutch oven".
Jane: ("Any happier and she'd be a cartoon character" smile.) Nup.
Daria: (Flat.) You're evil.
Jane: Yep. (Beat. False concern.) But why would you be worried about talking in your sleep?
Daria: (Looks a trifle trapped.) Uh, disclosure of world domination plans?
Jane: Not something like, "No officer, we're wearing protection, thanks for asking?"
Daria: (As if only just realising.) You are evil. (Pause, annoyed.) And I thought no "Trent" jokes for four months?
Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) Did I mention his name? (Comic suggestive.) Is there something I should know?
Daria: (She knows she fell into that one.) No.
Jane: (Grinning.) Well then.
("Where are my flesh-eating insects?" look from Daria.)
(Downstairs <FX>: Lane doorbell.)
Jane: Who could that be? 
(Cut downstairs, to Jane opening the door to Helen Morgendorffer. Her black eye is fading nicely. Jane's face goes blank.)
Jane: (Turns to call upstairs.) It's Helen! (Jane stands waiting at the door, obviously not going to invite Helen in.)
Helen: (Trying to break the silence.) Well, how are you today, Jane?
Jane: (After she gives Helen a flat, unfriendly stare.) Fine.
Helen: Oh. (Tries again.) How was school?
Jane: (Same stare.) It's Sunday. (Pause.) I'm non-denominational.
Helen: Oh. (Tries to work that out. Decides to get on Jane's good side.) How is Daria?
Jane: (Not relenting on the stare.) Find out.
(She opens the door wide and Daria walks on through. Music: "To Forgive" - Smashing Pumpkins. Daria looks a Helen a moment, then walks on. Helen hurries to catch up. Jane closes the door behind them with a definite and final click.)
Helen: (After they've walked for a little.) Your father got a big account yesterday.
Daria: (Quiet.) Yes, he told me. Yesterday.
Helen: And Quinn has apparently taken back a lot of what she bought.
Daria: (Quiet.) She told me last night.
Helen: (Coming to grips that Quinn would be on talking terms before her.) Oh, I didn't know that.
(Daria grunts, non-commitedly.)
Helen: Anyway, I took the rest of the day off. I couldn't face the office the entire week.
(Daria grunts, non-commitedly.)
Helen: So, I decided to see how my daughter was.
(Daria says nothing, but there is a noticeable drop in conversational temperature.)
Helen: After all, it's been almost a week since…
(Daria says nothing, letting her accusatory silence fill the void.)
Helen: (Decides to change the subject.) So, what did your father talk about?
Daria: (No tone, no emotion.) Lasagne, the couch (Helen flushes), when I'm coming home, his job, the domestic portfolio…
Helen: (Clutching for conversational straws.) When are you coming home?
Daria: (Continuing.) …and how it would affect the family, what's wrong with TV these days, how to enter in numbers for speed-dial on the new phone…
Daria: (Continuing.) …how betrayed I felt and…
Helen: (Sharply.) Daria!
(Daria walks along, saying nothing further.)
Helen: (After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting Daria to restart her side of the conversation.) How is Jane? I got a funny reception from her this afternoon.
Daria: (Absolutely no tone, ditto on the emotion.) Jane thinks that you are the lowest scum on earth.
Helen: ("Okaaay" expression on her face. Humouring her.) And why is that?
Daria: [Look, just guess the emotional content of her voice, hey?] Because after she badgered me for three days on what made me want to stay at her place, I finally told her.
Helen: (Lawyer speaking.) Well, I'm sure that the interpretation of events of her version could be…
Daria: …Mistaken or in error? (Beat.) No. (Beat.) I simply told her the facts. (Pause.) All of them, without censure or abridgement, I left any emotional decision on her part. I did not sway or otherwise influence her in any way. She's adult enough to determine if she wants to listen, or pass judgement on other's actions.
(Daria says nothing, looking out at the late afternoon sky. After a little, so does Helen.)
Helen: (Casually.) So, how many have you told?
Helen: Oh. (Looks relieved, but a nasty thought hits her.) And how many has Jane told?
Daria: I don't know. (Helen gets a funny look on her face, but drops the line of inquiry.)
Helen: Oh well. (Sighs.) So when are you coming home?
Daria: It depends.
Helen: (Growing tired of pulling answers like sore teeth.) On?
Daria: You. (Pause.) And Me.
Helen: In what way?
Daria: It depends on if I can get over the years of neglect, the occasional sessions of guilty "Quality Parenting" and the enormous sense of betrayal I feel. (Pause.) And if you can afford me.
Helen: (Stung by "the neglect" comment.) Oh, why wouldn't we be able to afford you?
Daria: (Softly.) Because this time, I'm not going gracefully into the dusky night. This time, I'm going for all I can get. This time, you'll find out how shallow, mean-spirited and downright nasty I can be.
Helen: (Faintly.) And why would you do this?
Daria: Satisfaction. Revenge. Justice. (She shrugs.) And since you don't seem to be able to parent effectively without throwing money about, I may as well get my share. 
Helen: ("Oh?" drawl.) Fair share?
Daria: As I said, if you can afford me.
Helen: (Looks very tired.) And if I sued for damages with this? (Waves at eye.)
Daria: You'd lose. (Beat.) And I'd divorce you. (Cuts Helen off.) Don't bother to protest, I've already had offers come in for the case. MacKinnis & Drake? West, Nashua, Smart and Marbig? They've been the most reputable, so far.
Helen: (Looking sick) Oh. (Sighs.) Terms?
Daria: Simple. Whatever Quinn gets, I get. Equal value deposited into the account of my choosing, or cash. (Beat.) I'm thinking that I could funnel it into my college account, if Dad hasn't already returned the monies "borrowed".
Helen: (Cautious.) That sounds fair…(Daria barks a bitter little laugh.)
Daria: Think on the amount of money that you'll go through trying to placate both children... (Starts with an uncanny impression of Quinn.) Mo-oom! Daria's ruining my life again! Oh, and could I have $80 for this really cute sweater I saw today? Thanks! (Chuckles again, coldly. Normal monotone.) By this time next year, I could probably buy the Doctorate of my choice.
Helen: (Dead voice.) What else?
Daria: I need something for the neglect, for the betrayal…
Helen: And what would that be?
Daria: (Looks at Helen, unreadable for a few seconds.) I'll let you figure that out - you had all of the answers last Monday. (Beat.) Until you do, I'll be staying at Jane's. (Walks off in the opposite direction.)
Helen: (Calling out.) Your room redecorated? Your own car? What!?
Daria: (Turns and stares. Cold measured tones.) You're not even close. (Shakes head.) For someone so intelligent, it amazes me…(Stops and smiles, a baring of teeth only.) Quinn and Dad got it right off.
(She moves quickly away, so that Helen is left fuming on the sidewalk.)
(Cut to the Lanes, Jane opening the door. Music: "My Dark Life" - Elvis Costello with Brian Eno. Sees Daria.)
Jane: (Wary.) Hey.
Daria: (Tired.) Hey.
Jane: (Opening the door, then closing it when Daria comes in.) You don't look satisfied.
Daria: It may take a while, but it will sink in. (Beat.) Eventually.
(Continue music. Open to Helen walking inside her home. She hears Jake and Quinn's voices, making dinner.)
Jake: (O/S) Quinn, are you sure it's 7 minutes per portion of lasagne in the microwave?
Quinn: (O/S) Yes. (Sizzling noises.) Daddy? Could you make sure the bacon is well drained? With the Pre-monthly Millennium Ball coming up, I can't afford any unsightly, ulgh, blemishes.
(Helen starts to go into the kitchen, but hesitates, then goes upstairs. She passes Quinn's fashion pit and open's Daria's door, carefully. Swinging it open, she stands at the doorway a while, getting the feel of the room. Music: "You'll See" - Madonna. )
(It doesn't feel lived in.)
(She walks inside, noticing the Kafka poster, the drawn curtains, and the neatly-made bed. She walks inside, looking at the filled waste bin. Close-up, it's brimming with used tissues. She walks over and strips back the curtains, letting light fill the room.)
(Her expression indicates that this doesn't make the room look any better than it did. There is a glint; the light of the dying day catches the hanging figure on the end of the curtain-rail. Helen comes over, repulsed but drawn to the tortured figure. There is a crunch underfoot; she looks down to see the broken remnants of the red phone that Daria had found from somewhere. Looking from smashed phone to the hanged figure, she quickly makes the connection. With care, she removes it from the rod, examining it. The entwined wires allow no great detail, but give the overall impression of great pain or anguish. She leaves it on Daria's bedside table, wiping her fingers on her shorts.)
(Helen sits on Daria's bed, feeling the springs give slightly beneath her. She swivels over so she can put her feet up, then lies down. Helen stares up at the ceiling like she's seen Daria do so many times before. She can hear the normal house noises, the conversations of Quinn and Jake, the sounds of food preparation. When Quinn hits a particularly unpleasant tone, Helen winces. She closes her eyes for a little, resting them.)
(She suddenly bolts upright; eyes wide open and runs out of the room.)
(Downstairs, Jake is pulling the lasagne out of the microwave, using oven mitts. Quinn is talking on the phone, while blotting a tiny bacon strip with a lot of paper towel. Helen bursts in.)
Jake: Yahh! (Almost drops the steaming food, but saves it.) Yes Helen? (Looks at her flushed face.) Uhh, dinner will be right up…
Helen: Daria said…(Looks at him closely.) But you already know. (Pause.) Dammit! How could I have been so stupid! (She runs out again.)
Jake: (Calling after.) Bye Honey! We'll keep it warm for you! (Pause, to Quinn.) Uh, Quinn? Do you know what she's talking about?
Quinn: (Covers mouthpiece.) Daa-ad! I'm on the ph-oone! (Goes back to her own world.)
Jake: Oh. (Looks a bit lost for a second, then happily shovels out the food on to plates.)
(Open to the interior of the Lane house, the living room. Music: "Change the World" - The Offspring. Daria is reading while in a perfect split, like the one Brittany did in "See Jane Run". Jane is painting her and marvelling at the level of muscular control that Daria exhibits.)
Jane: So, you're not going to fall over?
Daria: (Looking up from her book.) Unless outside forces come into play, no.
Jane: (Wide grin.) So Mrs Morris doesn't know?
Daria: And be forced into a lifetime of cheerleading servitude?
Jane: Hmm. (Frowns, nods.) Good point. (Turns back to her work.)
(O/S: Knocking at the front door, followed by the doorbell.)
Jane: (Still not looking up.) 10 to 1 that…
Daria: I'm not taking with those odds. (Gets up, marks her place and opens the front door. Helen is waiting on the doorstop.) Later Jane.
(Daria walks out, closing the door behind her.)
(Music: "Bizarre Love Triangle" - Frente, originally by the NewOrder. Helen and Daria walking again, the footpath is dark, but there are sufficient streetlights so that the shot is clear.)
Daria: (Flat.) So what tipped you off? Interrogation of Dad, or of Quinn?
Helen: (Quiet, trying to get her message across in the best way she knows how.) I was in your room.
Daria: (Lightly.) Funny, I don't remember leaving anything incriminating. (Beat. Her "flat" voice.) Is it now Quinn's walk-in closet?
Helen: (Subdued.) Your room should be as empty as it was when I left it.
Helen: (Sighs.) I took me a while, I must admit…
Daria: (Slightly disturbed.) I'm not going to find a pony waiting for me, am I?
Helen: (Tired.) No Daria. (Beat.) I was looking around… (When Daria glances over.) All right, I was snooping, trying to find out what you wanted.
Daria: No "writing on the wall" then?
Helen: (Thrown a bit, remembering something.) Uh, yes there was. I really hope…
Daria: Relax. It was the previous occupant.
Helen: (Relief.) Because after finding that thing, hanging off the curtain rail..?
Daria: (Flat.) I've inherited the Morgendorffer temper. You'd better just leave it at that. (Beat.) Or hope I've only vague aspirations towards Voodoo… 
Helen: Well. (Really hopes Daria is joking.) I know now about "the temper". I'm just amazed it waited so long to come out.
Daria: (Very flat.) It has, many, many times before. (Pause.) It's just that you were never the target before, just the one picking sides.
Helen: (Winces, then goes into "deal" tone.) Ok, if I accept your deal, no more reminders about past…
Daria: Failures? Neglect? Delinquency? Oversights? Dereliction? Omissions?
Helen: Enough already. (Rubs eyes.) Please?
Daria: I'm listening. (Pause.) Oh, and if your mobile rings at all, I start divorce proceedings. Tomorrow.
Helen: (Smiles slightly.) Actually, I had to leave it at home on charge. Now…
Daria: (Fatter-of-fact.) Equal monetary value, to be disposed of as I see fit. No more "favoured child" status. And if I don't get an apology soon, this is the last walk we ever have. (She stops, looking about as happy as a chunk of basalt can.)
Helen: (Stops, takes a deep breath and squares herself under Daria's scrutiny.) Daria, I'm sorry for appropriating your college funds in order to pay our credit-card bills.
Daria: (Nods slightly.) A good start, if a bit belated. I'm sure the rest will follow?
Helen: (Very sad.) Yes.
Daria: My turn then.
Helen: (Quite surprised.) Pardon?
Daria: (After taking Helen's hand.) Mom, I'm very sorry for hitting you. I really hope I won't ever be that angry ever again, and hope that you can forgive me for it.
(Cut to Helen's face, mouth working, trying to get words out.)
(Open to Daria being let in by Jane at the Lane residence. Music: "I'll Remember" - Madonna. Cut to inside.)
Jane: So, how'd it go?
Daria: Quite well. (Beat.) Apart from the embarrassment of having to help my crying mother home. People kept coming out, thinking I was mugging her.
Jane: (Giving Daria a careful glance.) Lucky you don't go in for any of that mushy stuff, eh?
(Jane hands over a few tissues. Daria wipes her eyes with them and blows her nose.)
Jane: I'll just see how dinner is going while you go freshen up, eh? (Smiles out of the room.)
Jane: (O/S) So, a Mega-cheesy with extra Peperoni? Or the "Gutbuster" and sausage deal?
(Open to Daria walking into her room. Music: "Dead Souls" - Nine Inch Nails. She dumps her carryall next to her closet and tosses her schoolbag onto the bed. She extracts a large garbage bag from a drawer, and methodically collects and deposits any room debris into the bag. She hesitates for a bare second over the tortured wire figurine, then throws it in too. Her wastebasket contents, the remnants of the red phone, escaped tissues, all of these things disappear into the bag. She knots the top, and leaves it by her door, to be taken down to the trash later. After she puts her clothes away [I'd guess maybe 4 seconds.] she collects her school bag and starts to reorganise for the week. She looks back where her bag was, noticing a long white envelope. She opens it.)
Jake: (V/O as Daria reads the letter.) Dear Daria. Mom told me about the deal and even if I'm not too happy about it, I'll stick to it. She's suggested using the credit-card receipts as proof, but I hope you'll trust us.
Daria: (To herself.) Not bloody likely.
Jake: (O/S, continuing.) I'm really glad that you've decided to remain a part of our lives, and that you haven't burnt down the house. Your mother was crying for a while, but I think that was because she was so happy.
Daria: (Cynicism shining through.) Or because she's worked out the economics of it all.
Jake: (O/S) At any rate, we both love you
kiddo Daria. Helen
said something about you staying over at Jane's for dinner (Daria burps and rubs
stomach ruefully.) so you'll be a little late. That's fine, but if you're still
hungry, there's food in the fridge. This is just a little note to say "welcome
home". Love Jake, Helen and Quinn.
Jake: (O/S) P.S. There's lasagne in the fridge if you're hungry. Jake.
(After she finishes reading the note, she goes to screw it up and throw it into the wastepaper basket. She stops, looks at it again, smooths out the creases and places it carefully in a drawer. She smiles, collects the bag of rubbish and turns off the light.)
(Open to Daria and Jane, walking into Lawndale High. Music: "! (The Song Formerly Known As)" - Regurgitator.)
Jane: So, how was the return of the prodigal son?
Daria: It'd be fine if they hadn't bought that pony for me. (To Jane's stare of disbelief.) I'm joking. (Beat.) Dad is fine; he's too distracted in trying to meet some arbitrary deadline he's set himself. Mom isn't snowed under anymore, apparently the senior partners saw Mom's desire for more work as a masochistic cry for help. (Slight pause.) That and the fact that she managed to complete four times the work last week than the entire company managed in the last month. (Shrugs.) There's talk of a possible partnership, but she's treating that as an unsubtle ploy for her continued level of output.
Jane: ("Mmm-hmm" expression.) And the Queen of personality-removal?
Daria: Still accessorising boys to take with her to the Ball. (Dry.) She's cut down her list to seniors, but the battles for her hand still rage.
Jane: (Amused.) Apart from those who you managed to nobble. 
Daria: (Defensive.) Well, according to popular gossip, they never had a chance.
Jane: (Incredulous.) You, listen to popular gossip?
Daria: (Sighs.) Dad got another phone for my room. (Beat.) As yet, no one has realised that I can monitor any call without the tell-tale "Pick-up" noise. I now have more blackmail possibilities for Quinn than even I want to think about.
Jane: (Looks sly.) But darlink, ven vill ve posses ze secret dokumentz?
Daria: (In her normal voice.) Soon Natasha, soon. If not for that meddling moose…and did you sleep with your windows closed, again? 
Jane: (Back to normal too.) That joke is getting a trifle dated, m'dear.
Daria: (Flat.) That wasn't supposed to be a joke; that was genuine concern.
Jane: No, I'm fine. Anyway, doesn't higher-function brain damage gradually repair itself? (At Daria's stare.) Hey, I'm kidding.
Daria: Sometimes, it's hard to tell if you are…
Jane: Ok, happier topic. Uhh…Fashion Club!
Daria: Getting a cold?
Jane: Ha ha, my little "Saturday Night Live" regular. No, have you banished the Fashion Fiends (Makes a sign of protection against the "Evil Eye".) from this plane of existence, or have they passed on to plague other, less fearsome, individuals? 
Daria: Okaaay. (Pause.) I think they're too busy getting ready for the ball to worry about me. (Looks up.)
(Stacy comes walking along with one of the 3 J's [Jeffy, I think?] She's chatting happily with him as he limps along. She looks up and comes to a halt, mouth working helplessly. Jeffy looks over to see what's bothering her and catches Daria & Jane looking at them. Instant fear. He grabs Stacy's arm, they cower backwards until they reach a corridor T-section and move away around it. After they've edged out of sight, you can hear them running as fast as they can away from Daria.)
(Jane looks to Daria for an explanation.)
Daria: Did I mention that the Fashion Club got me at a bad time on Monday night?
Jane: (Surprised.) You mean last Monday night - whoa…(Trails off, imaging what could have happened.)
Daria: Luckily, I was heading over to your place, so I didn't exactly feel like interacting with them.
Jane: (Looking after the fleeing duo.) Did you ever?
Daria: (Grim.) I wasn't meaning in a positive way.
Jane: (Turns, slight smile.) Did you ever?
(Jodie comes up, followed by Mack.)
Jodie: Daria, I just want you to know, if there is anything…(The looks from Daria and Jane sink in.) So, everything's ok now? Just like that?
Daria: (Makes a "kind of" motion with her hand.) My parents are on this "Walking softly" thing, but that will soon dissolve into anguished screams whenever Quinn wants something.
Mack: ("Huh?" expression.) You've lost me now.
Jodie: (Not so "Huh?") And me.
Daria: (Sighs.) I forced my parents to treat me equally with Quinn. (At Mack's look of surprise.) Yes, Quinn is my sister. Every time she wrings something out of them, I have to receive equal monetary value, either in cash or deposited directly to my accounts.
(Jodie and Mack look on with a mix of horror and awe.)
Daria: So my parents will either bankrupt themselves trying to buy our happiness, or Quinn may discover what life is really like without a permanent "sugar-daddy". (Jodie opens her mouth to say something, but Daria interrupts.) And yes, I know it's pretty sick, but it was the best that I could think of, without recourse to legal proceedings.
Jodie: (Pats Daria on the back, shaking her head.) Daria, good luck.
Mack: You ever need a hand or anything, we're here for you. (He and Jodie share a look.) And we mean this. (Daria looks a little overwhelmed.)
Daria: Uh, thanks guys. (Jane is almost laughing at Daria's discomfort, but she decides to rescue Daria.)
Jane: Shoo, shoo! Can't you see that you're going to make the poor girl blush? (Cops a ""Stare of death" from Daria. Subdued voice.) Or maybe not. (Continues brightly.) But you have classes, and I can mother her all by myself, if necessary.
Mack: (Toothy grin.) Right.
Jodie: (Smiling.) Daria, Jane.
(They wave and move off. Jane smirks at Daria.)
Jane: Still not sure if you'll leave an impression here?
Daria: (Flat.) Any impression I leave on Lawndale high will pale into insignificance beside the impression I'm going to leave in your head. (Moves to cut Jane from any escape routes.)
Jane: Whoops! Look at the time, got to run, see you at lunch, bye! (Twists out of Daria's grab, and jogs down the corridors, chortling all the way.)
Daria: (Watching Jane.) Bah! Curses! Foiled again…(Shouts, waving a fist.) One day, Lane, one daaay!
(Open to Lunchtime at Lawndale high. Music: "I Choose" - The Offspring. Posters for the approaching ball are everywhere and we see Daria lined up in the chow line, grabbing something that could, laughingly, be called "food". Jane slots in neatly beside her.)
Jane: Miss me? (Suggestive eyebrow motions.)
(Daria tries to swipe at Jane, but can't without losing her tray contents. Jane dodges easily out of the way.)
Jane: (Grinning.) Ohh, I see you did, how nice.
Daria: (Chill.) Remind me to dismember you at a later date. (Turns back to the slop.)
Jane: I'll be sure to keep the bath of acid ready. (Looks at what's on offer.) Well, it looks like they're playing twenty questions with us again. (Looks closely.) The jello looks safe enough. 
Daria: (Thawing under the heat lamp of Jane's personality.) "Twenty Questions?"
Jane: (Smirks.) I think I'll start by ruling out "mineral" as a possible food ingredient, apart from the usual salt and monosodium glutamate.
Daria: (Moving along the line.) I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss "mineral". I read that a recent survey of Russian hot-dog sausage fillings found high levels of blue asbestos in some sausages, along with meats not fit for human consumption, sawdust, metal shavings, toxic waste, glass fibre and human organs. 
(Jane looks askance at Daria. She's not alone, many of the surrounding students just stand and stare.)
Jane: (Low.) You are kidding, right? (Louder.) Right?
Daria: No, I'm not. (Turns away from the enticing displays of brown glop held in deep containers.)
(Jane looks at the steaming vats of meat-based food, then collects some fruit and chips. Her actions are echoed by many of the surrounding students.)
Jane: (Calm.) Well, now that I'm going to be vegetarian for the rest of my life, how are you?
Daria: (No hint of enjoyment.) Still chipping away at my best friend's life. (Pays cashier.)
Jane: (Slightly wry.) You have been more successful of late, I must admit.
(Jane follows Daria's lead after paying the cashier. They walk to an unoccupied table and set their trays down.)
Daria: No word of Trent yet? (Pops the top of some soda.)
Jane: (Raises an eyebrow at the unforced mention.) No, not a peep out of the Spiral. (Shrugs, unconcerned.) They'll probably phone later on in a week or two, needing money to be sent to some god forsaken hellhole so they can buy themselves out of menial servitude. (At Daria's stare.) Hey, it's happened before.
Daria: (Smiling slightly.) I don't know what scares me most, your casual acceptance of your brother's fate, or the fact…
(Whatever Daria was going to say is lost when Jane suddenly looks horrified and lunges over the table, trying to drag Daria away from something. Before Daria has a chance to look around, or even dodge, heavily loaded trays piled high with piping hot serves of the "mystery meat", cascade down onto Daria from behind.)
Daria: (Screams.) Yahh! (Jumps up and dances around, trying to lose the burningly-hot mess that's down her neck. Jane leaps up, going to help Daria, but slips on some spilled sauce and falls heavily on her ass. Daria quickly strips off her sodden jacket, but the stew inside her shirt and still very hot. Cursing necessity and all medical training, she strips off her orange shirt and uses the dry portions to wipe the stew from her already reddened skin.)
Sandi: (O/S, laughing.) Ohh, I'm sorry, did I spill something? (Voice getting distant, as she moves quickly out of the cafeteria.) Maybe you should have got out of my way!
(As the door swings shut behind the Fashion Club and Sandi's mocking laughter echoes out, we see Daria's fist slam down on the end of a blunt cafeteria knife. Slightly over the edge of the table, it whirrs across the entire length of the cafeteria. (Think of Korn's "Freak on a Leash" film clip.) Missing students as it flies through the air, it takes out the soda Upchuck was drinking and embeds itself in the still-swinging cafeteria door. Upchuck looks at his empty fingers, puzzled. Then his eyes swing over to…)
Daria: (Head and shoulder shot. Her voice is under freezing control.) Shirt.
(Jane gets up and hurriedly removes her red shirt. Daria shrugs it on, doing up the front, tightly.)
Upchuck: (Who cannot believe his luck, eyes like saucers.) Hey HEY…
(Andrea, walking to a bin, slams Upchuck over the head with her empty tray, denting the metal and pounding his face into the rest of his lunch. He starts to choke on the jelly, so Andrea drags his head up by the hair and drops it next to his tray. He lies there, whimpering. Andrea walks on.)
Daria: (Her scary "Don't argue with me" voice.) The Gym.
(Jane hurries to catch up as Daria sweeps out of the cafeteria, fury in her face, blood in her eye and stew still dripping from her hair. Their lunches are left on the cafeteria table, while Daria's jacket and shirt are left on the floor.)
(Cut to Daria, coming out of the change-rooms in her baggy gym clothes. Music: "Demanufacture" - Fear Factory. [Not a "happy" song.] Cue from the screamed chorus "I've got; no more; god damn; regrets! I've got, no more god damn respect!" Jane is waiting, wearing her gym shorts. Daria carries Jane's red shirt in her hands, it's sodden, obviously washed.)
Daria: (Scary "calm" voice.) Jane; I'm going home now. (Hold up the red shirt.) I'll wash this more thoroughly when I get there.
Jane: I'm coming with you. (Very grim.) And then I'm going to buy a gun.
Daria: (Matter of fact.) That wouldn't help.
Jane: (Helpless fury.) Then what should I DO?
Daria: (Far too calm.) I don't know about you, but I'm going to move the breakables out of my room, scream and throw myself at the padded walls for a few hours.
Jane: (Cold-edged interest.) Sounds good, can I come?
Daria: Sure. (Amusement overlying the bloody rage.) It'll be faster moving my stuff out with two people.
Jane: (Determined.) Let's go.
(Open to the Morgendorffer Kitchen, night. Music: "Don't Go To Sleep Without Me" - The Creatures. Helen walks in, turns on the light and scares herself half to death when she sees Daria in one of the kitchen chairs, staring out into the backyard.)
Helen: Yahh! (Clutches heart, pants.) Daria! What on earth are you doing!
Daria: (Not looking at Helen.) Sitting, watching. (Thinks for a moment.) Listening.
Helen: (Puts down briefcase.) Whatever for?
Daria: (Very distant.) I'm tired.
Helen: Then why not go to bed? It's (Looks at watch.) my, half-past nine?
Daria: (Quiet.) I didn't want to wake Jane.
Helen: (Some surprise.) Oh, is she staying over?
Daria: (Quiet.) Well, she kind of collapsed before I did, so I put her to bed in my room.
(Daria's voice is setting off every warning signal that Helen has. She fills two glasses with water and comes over, slowly. She sits off on one side to Daria.)
Helen: Something wrong? (Goes to touch Daria's back.)
Daria: (Fierce.) Don't! (Helen's hand stops, outstretched.) If I don't move, it's less painful.
Helen: (Masses of parental concern.) What is?
Daria: My burns. I've salved them with aloe, a bunch of moisturisers and about three tubes of xylocane, but there is no way I'm lying down tonight. Not on this back.
(Helen holds out a glass of water to Daria. After a few seconds, she accepts it.)
Helen: (A bit helplessly.) Could I please have this from the top?
Daria: (Sighs, then flinches as her body protests.) Today, I had a few trays worth of very hot stew poured down my back. (Pause.) I didn't manage to get it all off quickly enough, so I'm burnt.
Helen: Are you all right!? (Thinking quickly.) And how is Jane?
Daria: She's just tired Mom. I had to raid the first-aid kit though, didn't want to be moody as hell when one of you got home, but I didn't want to be a drooling vegetable. (To Helen's look of alarm, even though Daria is not looking at Helen.) Relax, mother dear, all I've had is a few aspirin.
Helen: (You could sell her as "Instant concern in a bottle.") May I see?
Daria: No, it was painful enough getting this shirt on and it hurts like hell if I move.
Helen: ("Well, that makes enough sense" expression.) But why didn't you phone?
Daria: And give Dad another heart attack? Or cause him to crash and kill himself while trying to get here sooner? No, I was fine with Jane. (Beat.) We moved the fragiles and breakables out of my room, then threw ourselves at the wall padding for a while.
Helen: (Surprised.) Uh, why?
Daria: (Distant.) We still had some anger to work out.
Helen: (Helplessly.) Anger? But how were you able to do that if you're in pain?
Daria: (Flat, chill.) It was something that I needed to do. And since the burning sensation is more like sunburn than second-degree charring, I think I'll be fine if no one touches me, all right?
Helen: (But still trying to help.) Daria, how about a cold shower?
Daria: (Retorts.) Why do you think I'm sitting upright?
Helen: Oh. (Pause as something hits her. "Mommy on a rampage" voice.) Who did this!?
Daria: (Emotionless.) Since my back was turned, I can't honestly say. Jane said that Sandi held most of the trays, but Tiffany and Stacy had some too.
Helen: (Puzzled.) What, Quinn's friends? Why would they do…
(Daria hurls her glass of water into the sink, it smashes explosively. Helen jumps off of her chair.)
Daria: (Standing, cold, absolutely furious and raspy with pain and anger.) …Something like this? I don't know. I was thinking the same thing when I was wiping hot stew off my back while half-naked in the middle of the cafeteria. I was thinking that when I found my final art project slashed beyond any sort of recognition. I was thinking that when I found my locker vandalised, my books ruined and three end-of-year reports needing to be reprinted. (Pause.) And I don't know why any of this happened to me, but I do know that I'm telling you the truth, so…
Helen: (Almost crying.) I'm sorry Daria! (Goes to hold her, but stops when she remembers.)
Daria: (Sits slowly, stiffly.) I. Don't. Make. Things. Like. This. Up. (Looks over to the sink. More normal voice.) I'll tidy that in the morning.
Helen: What can I do? And why hasn't anyone else done anything?
Daria: (Emotionless.) The last time I went to O'Neill with something like this, he was a sobbing ball in under thirty seconds. The school councillor thinks I'm trouble and the rest of the faculty have so many of their own problems to deal with that mine tend to be ignored. And since you and Dad have your own busy lives, you tend to notice things around two weeks after the fact. (Helen winces in guilt.) But Jodie, Jane and Mack have tried to be there for me (Thinks a little.) As has Andrea, in her weird sort of way. It's just that we don't have the power or legal recourse to slap the bitch down.
Helen: (Hesitantly.) And Quinn, has she..?
Daria: (Bleak amusement.) Mom, she's been too busy with preparing for the Ball to worry about unimportant things like me.
(Helen looks somewhat relieved.)
Daria: (Continues, matter of fact.) Otherwise I'd soon be an only child.
Helen: (Helen has that funny expression on her face again.) Is there anything I can do?
Daria: Try not to let Dad know? He'll find out eventually but some breathing space is what I need right about now. (Beat.) Oh, don't let Dad go nuts, or buy a gun. I've already been down that route with Jane, but Dad will be more tenacious. And please, don't let Quinn know I'm hurting, I'd rather not have the whole school knowing how I feel. (Pause.) It was bad enough having to strip in front of a packed cafeteria.
(Helen looks shocked, apparently she missed that part of Daria's earlier outburst.)
Daria: (Continuing.) And Mom?
(Helen looks really unhappy; sad, morose, some anger (not directed at Daria) but above all, guilty.)
Daria: (Quiet.) Ignore the comment earlier about you being wrapped up in your own little lives. I know what you do keeps us in food and clothing, and I know how hard you work at it. (Beat.) Thanks for being here for me, if only for a little. (Pause.) You'd better go to bed, It's getting late and I don't want to have you wandering around being all teary and emotionally drained, ok? (Beat.) Go to bed, Mom. I'll be fine.
(Helen still looks uncommitted, but Daria turns her head (Stiffly.) around to wave at her.)
Daria: Do I have to get up to chase you out?
(Helen gets up and leaves, but still looks worried.)
(Daria slumps back and pillows her head with her hands.)
(Time-lapse photography of Daria slumped at the table, ala "Arnie in T2" when he was guarding the Connors in the garage. Dawn makes its presence known, and Daria gets up, very stiffly, to clean away the glass and go to the toilet. Music: "This" - K.D. Lang. After Daria disappears around the corner, Jake come bounding around to start the day with a happy, pro-active breakfast. [Yes, I'm using pro-active as an annoying buzzword.] Whistling and being too bloody cheerful by far for the time of morning he's awake at, Jake grabs some cereal, juice and throws some bacon into the pan. Munching on the cereal and slurping his juice loudly, he drags out some eggs and throws them into the pan too. Jane staggers into the shot, looking for Daria.)
Jake: (All bright and happy.) Morning Jane-O! How's it hanging? 
(Jane looks bleakly at Jake, disgusted at the general ambience of "happy busy morning" he exudes.)
Jane: (Morning rasp.) Daria. (Works mouth again.) Seen her? (Rubs jaw. She's got that bed-hair again.)
Jake: Not yet Jane, but I'm sure that she'll be up soon! (Starts to brew coffee in a drip.)
(Jane staggers over to the kettle, turns it on. She searches the cupboards for the biggest mug she can find. Securing her discovery, she takes out the instant coffee and a little round container. She sniffs the coffee, and looks in the container. Jane looks in the cupboards again, and takes out a two-pound bag of white sugar. Refilling the round container with the sugar, she put that back into the cupboard and pours the remainder of the bag into the mug. Then she starts pouring out coffee into the mug. Jake pokes the bacon and eggs, then goes back to slurping the juice loudly. Jane winces at the noise, then pours in the now-boiling water. After enough water to dissolve the coffee and sugar into a syrup, she grabs the milk from the fridge, pours and stirs. The spoon doesn't want to go around at first, but she gradually reaches liquid consistency. She then places the evil brew into the microwave and nukes it. Jake looks on, interested.)
Jake: (Too loud.) I've never seen coffee made like that before Jane, how's it taste? 
Jane: (Distant, exhausted.) I have no idea, this is the first time I've been tired enough to try making it.
(The microwave dings, and Jane removes the warmed mug gingerly. She sniffs it, wrinkles up her nose and takes a huge swig. Swallowing with difficulty, she manages to get the toxic concoction down. After she's swallowed, she breathes heavily.)
Jake: (Doing another "Loud Howard".) How was it?
Jane: (Panting.) I've had worse. (Beat.) Hang on. (Swallows again.) Whoo, maybe I haven't. (Jane's stomach makes a rumble of pain audible throughout the kitchen. She pats her belly.)
Jane: (To her stomach.) Patience my pet. Soon the sugar will reach you and you shall be sated. (Shows how brave she is by going for another swig. Breaks off, gasping.) God, that is bad. (Another swig, wincing with pain.) Exceptionally bad.
Jake: (He really wants to taste it now.) May I? (Holds out hand.)
Jane: (Unsure.) Didn't Helen put you on a low caffeine diet?
Jake: ("We fellow conspirators" voice.) I'm sure a sip won't hurt?
Jane: (Flat. [She's drunk it, after all.]) I'm pretty sure it will. (To Jake's hangdog expression.) But if it makes you feel any better, I'm going to see Daria now, and will be leaving this (Gestures to mug.) here. (Staggers out of shot.)
(Jake smiles and nods. After Jane has left the shot, he stares at the mug.)
(A few seconds pass. Then:)
(From Jake's point of view, the mug is getting closer.)
Mug: (Female siren-like voice.) Jake, Jaaake…drink me, drink meeeeee…
(Jake turns, trying to resist, but the voice continues.)
Mug: Only a ssssip. Only a ssssip…
(He knows when he's beaten.)
(Jake picks up the mug...)
(Jane knocking on Daria's door, it swings open under her hand. Music: "If I Were You" - K.D. Lang. She goes inside, seeing Daria rubbing her head carefully with a towel. Daria turns slightly, and waves Jane down to the bed. Daria is wearing, very loosely, a blue terrycloth robe.)
Jane: (Rubs eyes.) How'd you sleep?
Daria: (Normal conversational tone.) Surprisingly well. (Beat.) Mom came in late last night. I told her.
Jane: (Stretches, removing kinks.) How did "She-Beast the Lawyer" take it?
Daria: (Smiles a little at Janes' antipathy.) She was tired after work, so she didn't drop into immediate "freak" mode.
Jane: Hmm, ok. (Rolling head back.) Hey Dar?
Daria: (Finishes towelling head.) What? (She's slightly irritated at the "Val" nickname.)
Jane: (Head still back.) I know we're good friends and everything, but you might like to close your robe.
Daria: (Blushes, holds robe shut.) Sorry. My back…
Jane: (Interrupting.) Forget it. (Changes topic.) You going to school today?
Daria: (Flat.) I think that I'll be spending most of my day on my stomach, with my back slathered in moisturisers, reading. 
Jane: Right. Anyway, I'm going home for some more sleep. (Yawns to punctuate her choice.) I'll be only a phone call away.
Daria: That, and the two pillows over your head. (Pause.) And why are you up so early?
Jane: Worried. (Yawn.) About. (Yawn.) You. (Yawn. Disgusted.) God, when is the sugar going to hit?
Daria: (Interested.) Another Lane coffee special?
Jane: Nahh, found this one on the Internet. It's pretty rough.
(There is a weird high-pitched scream/yelp from downstairs. It stops abruptly. Jane looks over to Daria, more than a bit worried.)
Jane: I really hope that isn't Jake. (Hesitant.) He wanted to try some of my coffee…
(The noise starts again, but proceeds to change, because whatever is making it is moving downstairs, rapidly. The noise Dopplers out of hearing, increases, then fades again. The garage door is heard opening, then a car screeches out into the early-morning. It drives away at great speed.)
(Cut to the Morgendorffer kitchen, the bacon and eggs starting to burn, the bowl of cereal upturned, the glass of juice in the sink and Jane's mug of toxic waste alongside of it. Pan upwards a little, and we see a slowly-dripping stain on the sink window, as if someone did a spit-take of something sticky while watching the dewy morn evaporate. It looks a lot like Jane's coffee…)
(Cut upstairs again.)
Daria: (With great sincerity.) We can only hope.
(Open to Daria's day at home. Music: "After The Flesh" - My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult…Montage time!)
(Daria reading on her stomach.
Helen at work, concentrating on a huge pile of documentation, her secretary, Marianne, looking rather lost without the usual mountain of stuff that Helen needs her to do.
Quinn at school, with a huge list, checking it twice, just to see who is…attractive and popular. [Gotcha!]
Jake, looking more stressed than DeMartino, eyes wide open and not blinking at the computer he's typing on at a feverish rate. 
Jodie and Mack, looking around at school, puzzled.
Cue various teachers, looking lost without their resident genius. DeMartino looks especially distraught, with Kevin leaping out with what he thinks are the answers.
Stacy looking very upset, but is hides it when Sandi, Quinn and Tiffany come into the Girl's bathroom.
Brittany asking Jodie something.
Upchuck, looking more pathetic than usual, telling Mack something. Mack looks dumbstruck.
Upchuck running away. Andrea comes into the shot, baseball bat in hand. It's seen some use.
Andrea shrugging of Mack's hand, and answering his questions, obviously eager to further beat up on Upchuck. Mack looking even more shocked.
Helen almost through the documentation, Marianne on her umpteenth coffee of the day, looking lost.
Jake, still typing, never blinking.
Daria, showering again.
Jodie and Mack talking, heads together.
Jane awake, throwing scissors, chisels and X-Acto knives into a perfect portrait of Sandi. She stops for a moment, head on one side, then jumps out of bed and dials a number in frenzied haste.
Pavlov talking on a phone.
Pavlov in the principle's office, turning the head of the green stone Budda. 
Pavlov sneaking into a cobwebbed room, looking for something with a flashlight.
Jane on phone, looking like she just witnessed the Second Coming, and has photos for the "Inquirer".
Jake still typing on the computer, eyes unblinking.
Night, Helen carefully writing points on a scratch pad, Marianne long since gone home.
Quinn on phone, her list before her and getting shorter by the number of cross-outs seen.
Daria reading, drinking from a cup next to her.
Jake twitches violently, then blinks and saves what he's doing. He shuts down the computer, then tries to get up. He falls over when his legs don't work. His hand gropes for the desk phone.
Helen, driving Jake home. He looks like hell.
Jane sketching on a large series of pads, some fabric samples stapled to the walls. Pan a little to the left, and we see the remains of the Sandi picture nailed next to them. An X-Acto knife flies into the remaining eye.)
Jane: (O/S, in a chilling evil-mastermind rasp.) Oh yes, my pretty, have I got a surprise for you…
(There is a pause, and we see Jane move across the shot to open up her windows. The camera pans back and Jane takes a few deep breaths.)
Jane: (Musing to herself.) Hmm, maybe there is something in what Daria says…
(Her phone rings and she leaps for it.)
Jane: Pavlov baby, if it's my first-born you want, it's yours.
Trent: (With that split-screen phone thing.) Uh, what?
Jane: Oh, hey Trent, long time, no hear.
Trent: Uhh, I've been busy. (Distracted from topic.) And who is Pavlov?
Jane: (Seriously.) Someone who has done both Daria and I a huge favour.
Trent: Cool. (Back on topic.) Anyway, we've got a recording contract.
Jane: (Swivelling out her ear, thinks she heard wrong. Goes for the "most likely" option) You're wearing contacts? Why? You have excellent vision. (Pause, dry.) When your eyes are actually open.
Trent: Uh, no. Mystic Spiral has a record deal. A contract. Three albums over four years.
Jane: (Slowly.) Did you just say that you have a record deal?
Trent: Yeah. We were discovered by a drunken bunch of Virgin executives out on some 40th birthday bash. We've gotten a lot better while on the road and they thought we had promise. They stuck us into a booth for a couple of days and we cut a demo. (Pause.) Then they sobered up and actually listened to us. Apparently, we were as good as they remembered, so we signed up. 
(Jane has been listening to this with an open mouth.)
Trent: (Worried.) Jane, you still there?
Jane: (Totally incredulous.) You are shi…
Trent: (Cuts in, honestly.) No, I'm not.
Jane: (Yelling.) That's fantastic!
Trent: (Smiles a little bashfully.) Yeah, it is, isn't it?
Jane: Way to go, older, richer brother! So, are you setting fire to the Tank and flying home? 
Trent: Uhh, no. We've still got some bars to cover, so we'll be back in a week or two, whatever.
Jane: You've got a contract, with Virgin, and you're still playing brew pubs?
Trent: (Hurt.) Hey Janey, a gig is a gig.
(He can hear Jane's exasperated forehead smack over the phone.)
Jane: Trent, cut it down to less than a week. I need you here, now. Where are you at?
(Cut to Trent, who is looking out of the passenger-side window of the Tank.)
Trent: Uhh, passing "Mom and Joeys" Pancake parlour.
Jane: (O/S, puzzled.) Passing?
Trent: Yeah. (You now see he's on a mobile phone.) They gave us all of this stuff to keep in touch with us. I'm on mobile, now.
Jane: ("That just made it all real" expression.) Wow, you really are in the fast lane.
Trent: (Worried.) You don't think I've sold out?
(Jane starts to laugh.)
Trent: (A bit reassured.) So, you don't?
Jane: No Trent, you haven't sold out. (Loses all mirth.) But there are some things I've got to tell you.
(Jane basically gives a re-count of the past two weeks over the phone to Trent.)
(Music: "Love Like Blood" - Iva Davies & Icehouse, originally preformed by the Killing Joke.)
Jane: … And so that was this morning. (Beat.) Trent, are you awake?
Trent: (Cold and deadly voice.) Yes Janey. (To someone unseen, driving the Tank.) Max, stop at the next gun shop you see, ok?
Max: (O/S) What? Why do you want a gun? (Realises his mistake.) Of course, as down and dirty criminales, living life on the…
Trent: (O/S, over the phone, not in the mood.) Max, shut the fu- ("Driving with mobile static".) and get me to a goddamned gun store! (The rest of the Band wakes up at the noise and move around in the Tank.)
Max: (O/S, scared.) Right. (Stomps the gas.)
Jane: Oh, no Trent, chill, chill. The last thing Daria wants… (Bites her tongue, still mindful of the bargain she made.)
Trent: (Split-screen again. He's obviously thinking.) Yeah, you're right Jane. (To Max, who's scared.) Sorry Max. (Shot pans back to include the whole band.)
Max: Uh, that's all right Trent. (Keeps his eyes firmly fixed to the road, but slows down.)
Jesse: (Worried.) You cool man?
Trent: (Takes a deep breath.) Yeah. (Lets out the air.) I'm cool. (To Jane, calm and collected.) Now, how do we rip that bitch's face off?
Jane: (A bit worried, but takes it lightly.) Although tempting, I have a plan that will be far worse.
Trent: (Resolute.) Hit me.
Jane: (O/S over phone, as the shot closes up on Trent, steely determination in his eyes.) I'm going to need you guys here by this Friday, then it gets tricky…
(Cut to Jane later.)
Jane: (Still on phone.) So, what do you think?
Trent: (O/S) We're there. Got my mobile number?
Jane: (Looking at some numbers she's engraved in her wall with the trusty X-Acto.) Yep.
Trent: (O/S) I'll be putting money into your account tomorrow for anything that you need. It'll keep you out of Mom's blank cheques.
Jane: (Looks a little guiltily at a small stack of paper next to her.) Right.
Trent: (O/S) Stay in touch.
(Jane thumbs off the phone and turns back to the sketchpads before her. She stops again, then dials another number from memory.)
Jane: (To phone.) Hey, Monique? What are you doing on Friday night? (Flat.) Really? (Beat. Arch.) Okaaay. (Pause.) That should make Axl happy, has he done one before? (Pause as she listens some more.) Well, could you postpone it for me? (Winces at some of the noises that are coming over the phone.) Look, when I decide to, god-forbid, pierce anything "down there", you can hold my hand, how about it? (Pause.) Oh yes, very amusing. Look, I don't usually do this, but I'm asking for your help. (Pause.) Ok then, I'm begging. (Pause.) No, this is not a joke, listen…
(Open to Daria walking up to the Lane front door. Music: "Been Curst" - Peyote. She's wearing her black t-shirt and "normal" skirt. She knocks and Jane stumbles out, ready for school.)
Daria: (Amused.) You look like Dad did when he came in last night. What have you been doing?
Jane: (Barely alive.) No. Talk. Until, until... (Before she loses he will to live, she digs one of those "ultra caffeine" drinks from her bag, and "chugs" the lot. She shudders, then straightens.) Caffeine. (Brightly.) Well, that should do the trick for an hour or two. How's your back?
Daria: Letting me know that it's there. (Jane looks at the outlandish costume Daria has on.)
Jane: That's the reason for the..? (Motions at the shirt.)
Daria: (Dry.) How observant.
Jane: (Tired.) Daria, this morning, I'm lucky to be awake.
Daria: That's nothing new. (They walk off to school.) Why are you not your usual, alert, self?
Jane: (Stretches.) Trent called with good news.
Daria: (Wry.) The Tank didn't catch on fire?
Jane: (Grins and drops her bomb-shell.) That, and that the band got a recording contract.
Daria: Pardon? Did you just say that the band needs contacts? Because if you didn't, it means…(She trails off.) No way!
Jane: I've got Trent's mobile number if you want to confirm? (Reaches in her pocket.)
Daria: (Dry.) Considering the likelihood of non-conformist Trent with a mobile phone, I am forced into believing you. (Normal, then wondering.) That's got to be the coolest and most unlikely thing I've heard since…I don't know when.
Jane: I thought so. (Does a jaw-cracking yawn. )
Daria: (Happy for Trent and Jane.) So, has he ditched the Tank and flying home in his new Lear jet?
Jane: (Eyebrow raised.) I see we think along similar lines. (Beat.) No, the poor boy has a few more bars to play…
Daria: (Makes the connection faster than Jane did.) And he won't turn them down, "'Cause a gig's a gig?"
Jane: (Wry, eyebrows in evidence.) You know us Lanes well.
Daria: Yes, I do, don't I? (Thinks for a little on what she's said.)
Jane: (While Daria is pondering.) So, what about the Fashion Fascists?
(Daria's face suddenly goes emotionless, like she's a robot that's been turned off.)
Daria: (Tonelessly.) What makes you ask?
Jane: (Cackling a little.) I have a worthy plan for their downfall…(Cackles some more.)
Daria: (Thaws slightly.) I'm listening.
(Cut to Daria and Jane, walking into school, Jane finishing her master plan. Music: "Garden of Eroticism" - Alchemist.)
Jane: (Breathless.) So, what do you think?
(Cut to Daria alone, looking cold, sharp-edged and very determined.)
Daria: (Mouth shot only.) Do it.
Jodie: (O/S) Daria, are you all right? I've heard some pretty wild stories and was hoping that most of them were false…(She comes up and trails off as Daria turns to face her. Jodie, very quietly.) Oh, they're not, are they? (Beat.) And I thought being a female African-American could be hard…
Daria: (Grim.) Jodie, thanks for your help and support, but I might be safer for you to distance yourself from me in the week to come.
Jodie: (Looking at Daria closely.) You're not going…
Daria: (Looks tired.) No, I'm not going to buy a gun, I'm not going to blow up the school, I'm not going to poison the water supply (Very grim.) and I'm not going to commit suicide. Right?
Jodie: (Quiet.) Ok. (Very quiet.) You're worried about other people getting hurt, aren't you?
Daria: (Same volume.) I'll deny it to my dying breath, but yes.
Jodie: (Normal volume, surprised.) Wow. (Shakes head slightly.) I'll tell Michael, so he doesn't get worried. (Turns to Jane.) Here. (Gives her a few cards of thick white paper.) I don't know why, but you've got more tickets to the Ball.
(Jane hands over a wad of cash. Jodie and Daria look surprised, but Jodie manages to get it away before anyone thinks they're in the middle of a drug-deal.)
Jane: Thanks. (Waves tickets.) See you 'round.
(Jane and Daria walk off along the corridors.)
(Music: "All Tomorrow's Parties" - Iva Davies & Icehouse, originally preformed by Nico and the Velvet Underground, written my Lou Reed, released 1967. Montage of the week's events. [Second last one, I promise!])
(Daria foiling a variety of booby-traps, ie: buckets above doors, paint-bombs in her gym locker, using "Raid" on the Fire ants that "someone" had infested her locker with…
Jane watching helplessly as Daria avoids martyrdom by narrowing margins.
Jodie and Mack do the same, abet more discretely.
Andrea glowers at any of the Fashion Club who comes near; even Brittany is looking at them funnily.
Jane sewing a variety of fabrics and colours together at night, coming over to measure off Daria.)
(Quinn talking on a phone, cut the screen into thirds as infatuated seniors bid for her hand on the night.
The Fashion Club with Quinn's cast-off suitors (the 3 J's.) Tiffany has Joey, Stacy has Jeffy (they look ecstatic.) and Sandi looks smug with Jamie.
Andrea lifting Upchuck by his shirt, ready to use his face as a floor-buff when Pavlov comes into the shot.
Pavlov taps Andrea politely on the shoulder and takes Upchuck off her.
He hoists Upchuck way high, then invades his personal space in a big way, all screaming, whacked-out, raving, psychotic Russian.
Upchuck is dropped to the floor and flees.
Andrea looks to Pavlov with respect. He shrugs and grins. They walk off a little, Pavlov pushing his floor-polisher.
Mrs Defoe looking worried at Daria, then having a word with Jane, who is struggling with some sewing, occasionally checking some designs on scraps of paper.
Mrs Defoe goes off, not looking any happier.
Jane's room, she's sewing madly, something long and black. Cut over to Daria, who is sewing something with great concentration. There are feathers scattered about the room.
(Trent driving the Tank, eyes slitted against the dawn. Nicolas is in the passenger side, with a "Play all Night!" T-shirt.
Daria gently waking Jane with a steaming cup of coffee.
Jane drinking it and looking amazed.
Jake and Helen at the breakfast table, eating pointedly "at" each other.
When Helen slowly peels a banana, the camera shot thankfully blurs and cuts to Quinn, who is giving her skin the usual microscopic study.
Monique going to bed, after kicking off her calf-length boots.
Axl opening shop, a whole line of school kids waiting patiently to get in. He shakes his head, enters the shop and ups the price list by about 400%. The line stays.
Jodie walking to school in her fluoro-orange safety vest, obviously from manning the crossing at the primary school. She looks toward the football field.
Cut to Mack, hitting Kevin's head to get his attention, then pointing the direction to run in.
Cut to Brittany is up in the grandstand, pompoms beside her, looking through a piercing magazine, Halloween edition. She's drawing little stick figures, mostly in black, from the magazine's pages.
She comes to something unexpected, and winces, pushing the magazine away.
It drops, ala "Forrest Gump", to be collected by Upchuck, who was lying beneath the bleachers in best voyeur fashion. He flicks through it with interest.
He's still leafing through it when he runs into something while walking through the halls.
He looks up out of the magazine to find Andrea stopping him in the school corridor.
She holds up a staple-gun and grins humourlessly.
Upchuck flees, dropping the magazine.
Andrea sights carefully along the staple-gun, and squeezes off a few. 
Jane and Daria look with interest as Upchuck falls at their feet (ala "Blade Runner".) writhing in pain.
Then they shrug and step over him.
The Fashion Club have reached critical mass - they've taken over a room and are carefully mapping out areas of the ball hall for places to the photographed in, the best-lit areas and those with unflattering light.
Jane, walking by, mimes pulling a pin and throwing in a hand grenade.
The Fashion Club prattle on, oblivious.
Daria and Jane at night, looking at two dressmaker's dummies. They're in the way of the shot, so we can't see what they're looking at. The camera cycles around in that wonderful stop-motion/jerky technique that directors fell in love with about 18 months ago.
We see Daria and Jane, looking tired, but proud.)
Jane: (Smug.) Well?
Daria: They'll do.
(Open to the morning of the fateful day.
Decorators setting up a large hall. There are hired trees everywhere, and black bunting is being stretched over anything that doesn't run away fast enough.
Interior, it's an actual hall with a proper stage, orchestra pit, polished wooden floors and chandeliers.
Monique wanders in and an officious lady comes over, obviously demanding that she explains herself. Monique does and there is instant servility within a twenty-yard radius.
Monique looks happier, but the festive nature of the original hall decorations is obviously starting to get her down. She clicks her fingers. Instant attention. Plans are gathered. She frowns, looks over at diagrams that have been brought over to her, gets out a big red paint marker and starts to "modify" them. She gives it back. A few grizzled construction/gaffer types look at it.
They all grin, evilly, then rush off to start.
A film crew comes in, and Monique sets them places where to go.
An army of roadies invades, most of them with speakers bigger than they are. The officious lady is looking worried.
Monique drags over the resident Sound Geek, who looks to be in drooling ecstasy over the wattage available and waves her hand at the hall.
He nods, rubs his hands in glee, drags over a few roadies and sets to work.
Cut to Lawndale High, fake piercing everywhere.
Jane and Daria looking totally normal amongst the insanity.
Kevin looking totally shocked at the piercing magazine, (same as before) then at his smiling Brittany. He's obviously trying to make a connection with her and the pictures he's seeing.
Mack and Jodie are holding Andrea, to keep her from disembowelling any more of the freshmen flocking around her, making last-minute notes.
Stacy is having hysterics, Quinn is urging her to breathe into a brown paper bag. Sandi looks on, evil incarnate. Tiffany looks at her nails.
Mrs Defoe has a word with the rest of the faculty, by the pointed looks, it's about Daria and Jane.
Mrs Bennet looks shocked.
Mr DeMartino looks subdued, then resolute.
Mr O'Neill faints.
Mrs Barch slaps him around some. She keeps it up, even after he's awake.
The three J's look on in unconcealed awe as Quinn strides by (hair slightly different) and with undisguised hatred at the three lucky seniors following her. You could put leashes on the seniors.
Robert just looks puzzled, but cringes away from Daria as she and Jane walk past.
While Mack is operating as Andrea's "handler" (Think of the attack-dog sense, not as in VIP "handler".) Jane helps Daria extract a beleaguered Jodie from an angry horde of ticketless students. Once most of them see Daria gazing at them coolly, and Andrea frothing at the mouth behind her, they back away, sheepishly - more than a few have their hands out in plain sight.
While Jodie looks to Daria with increased respect, Jane cups her hands and hollers something out at the retreating students.
Most look dumb-struck, then the crowd disperses with surprising rapidity.)
(Music: "Big Gun" - Ice-T.)
Jodie: (Rubbing her ears.) What did you say to them? I didn't quite catch it.
Jane: (Looking totally evil.) I just hinted that the other schools may still have tickets.
(The little group look at the now almost-deserted corridors. Andrea shrugs off Mack's grip, he smiles in apology. She gives him the usual flat stare. They all then look at Jane, who's doing her best to look innocent.)
(It's not working.)
Daria: (Smiling.) Diabolical.
(Jane shrugs, then bows gracefully.)
Mack: (To Jodie.) So, you should have at least an hour of peace. (Pause.) Better use it while you can.
Jane: Jodie. (Patiently.) Most of the schools in the tri-county district will be in on the Ball. And if some students come back, we can simply send them off again to other schools. (At their looks.) What? What!?
Jodie: (Turning away from the evil genius that is Jane Lane. To Daria.) So, what are you going as?
Daria & Jane: It's a surprise. (They grin slightly.)
Andrea: (Quietly.) Careful, there's two of them now.
Jodie: (Sensing the edges of some greater plan.) So, you guys aren't going to do anything..?
Jane: …Unconstitutional? (Their smiles are starting to put Jodie and Mack off.)
Jodie: (But she perseveres.) So you won't? (Pleading expression on her face.)
(Jane and Daria raise their hands.)
Jane: We swear to do nothing…
Daria:…That falls under the previous terms. (Beat.) Satisfied?
Mack: (With great honesty.) No, scared.
Jane: (Waves, trying to calm them.) Kids, it's going to be all right.
Daria: (Spotting something, nudges Jane.) Didn't you want to..?
Jane: (Catching what Daria's looking at. To Jodie & Mack.) Sorry to chat and run, see you tonight!
(They go a little way down the corridor, where Pavlov is waiting. Music: "Army Of Me" - Bjork & Graham Massey.)
Jodie: (To Mack.) I wonder what they want to talk about with Pavlov?
Andrea: (As she turns to leave.) You might be surprised.
(Jodie and Mack look oddly at Andrea, then stare harder at the trio down the hall.)
(Cut to Daria, Jane and Pavlov, who is grinning fit to burst underneath the beard.) [Author's note: I'd be writing this bit in Russian, but I've just found out that my system doesn't have a Cyrillic font, so you'll just have to use your imagination. This bites in a big way, I'd even figured out the correct grammar!]
Jane: (In Russian.) Hello.
Pavlov: (In Russian, grinning.) God, this brings back memories. (Hands over a package to Jane.)
Jane: (After quickly tucking it way in her bag, still speaking in Russian.) How so?
Pavlov: (Da, Russki.) You don't want to know how many time's I've had to "edit" surveillance tapes. At least this one is for a good cause. (He holds out his hand to Daria, who takes it. They shake.)
Pavlov: (Looks at them both. In Russian.) You're a good friend Jane, I'm proud to lend you a hand. (Nods to Jane, then disappears down the corridors.)
Daria: (To Jane after Pavlov has left.) I have absolutely no idea what he was saying.
Jane: (In Russian.) I do, come on.
(A puzzled Daria follows Jane to one of the now deserted Audio-visual rooms. Jane locks the door, places a chair beneath the handle and draws the shades. Satisfied, she slices open the mysterious package and removes a standard video-tape. She slots it in and they sit back to enjoy the show.)
(Show Jodie and Mack waiting outside, by the wall clock. Music: "Voodoo People" - The Prodigy.)
Jodie: What could they be doing in there?
Mack: (Agreeing.) It's been over half an hour.
(The doors are kicked open by a grim, but oddly-triumphant Daria. Jane follows, rubbing her hands and doing her best "Unholy sister of the night impression." Jodie and Mack begin to look very worried.)
Jane: (Catching sight of Jodie and Mack, looking conspicuous. In Russian, to Daria.) We've been spied upon. Shall we kill them now?
Jane: (In Russian, surprised.) I thought you couldn't speak Russian?
Daria: (English.) I can't, but I know how your mind works, remember?
Jane: (In English, slowly.) Whoa. (Freaked.) Daria, that was really scary.
Daria: I think we've spooked enough people for today. (Looks over at Mack and Jodie.) I think we'd better get some sleep for tonight.
Jane: (Shocked.) You, cutting school?
Daria: Life is full of surprises, my dear.
(She takes Jane's arm in hers, and they stroll out through the front door.)
(Night. Music: "Their Law" - The Prodigy. Camera pans to the Ball Hall, decked out in colours of the psychotropic rainbow, black predominant. Searchlights stab out into the night, and pick up building highlights. Monique waits by a side entrance, tapping her foot. The Tank pulls up and the band staggers/falls out.)
Trent: (Rubs eyes. Slightly surprised.) Well, we're alive. (Sees Monique, massive double-take.) Monique, what are you doing here?
Monique: (Grinning.) Your little sister hired me to be your stage manager, so I've been managing.
Trent: (Obviously no idea on what's been happening.) Uh, what? (The band looks even more confused.)
Monique: (Snaps fingers. Eager roadies strip the band of their instruments and luggage.) Look, just trust me, I'll explain once you guys are rested a little. (Clicks again, and a cowed-looking parking valet approaches the van with great trepidation. Monique looks at the band, impatient.) Well, come on!
Trent: (As they walk into the hall via the side entrance.) This had better be goo- WHOA!
(Wide view of the interior of the hall, it looks like something that your average rave-organiser would give any bodily organ of choice to play with. Huge TV and multimedia screens hang from the ceiling and walls, so much material is hanging from the roof the hall looks more like a futuristic tent than a building. Miniature spotlights, huge lighting banks and a massive cooling system are reasonably obvious. It looks a surprisingly-comfortable mix of traditional "hippy" textiles and cutting-edge technological hardware. As the band looks around, checking the place out, Trent sees a wide space that has been cleared onstage for a band to play. A sneaking suspicion enters Trent's mind about which band.)
Trent: Monique, is that..? (Nods towards the stage.)
Monique: Yep. You'll be playing there. Tonight.
Trent: ("Wow" expression.) Oh.
Jesse, Max and Nick: Cool. (The band looks to be in serious lust.)
Trent: (A bit helplessly.) How did this..?
Monique: It's simple; like it or not, you're a big deal now. Instead of brew pubs, people will want you guys to play at their venues, for major money. The gig here is simple; I've got some camera crews set up around the place (To the guys, who immediately rubberneck) -NO, they're not here yet- and a heavy mixer/recording system set up to collect your direct feed. Instead of pay, you'll be getting recorded and have enough high-quality raw material to play with on your desk back home. (The band starts to complain.)
Trent: (Loud.) Shut it guys, I was expecting to pay to play tonight. (Softer.) I'm not doing this for us, I'm doing it for Daria and Janey.
Jesse: (Nods.) Cool.
Max: Jane? Right!
Nick: (Nods at Max.) I'm with stupid. (Max tries to swipe at him, but Nick ducks.)
(Monique sighs, grabs Max's wrist and Nick's ear. She expertly twists both.)
Monique: (While they're whimpering.) Look guys, I've been hired to do a job, and if that involves hurting you two so that you don't do anything permanent to each other (Tighter grips, they yelp a bit higher.), then I will, got it? (Lets them go. They rub respective body-parts, and look to Trent for guidance.)
Trent: (Rolls his eyes long-sufferingly.) She's right. (Changes subject.) Where're we staying?
Monique: I've "borrowed" a few rooms out back. They're primitive, but well stocked…
(The band starts doing their hungry bird impression; peeping, "Food, food, food!", etc.)
Monique: Well, go there already. (Waves towards the back of the hall. The band runs along. Monique shakes her head, then looks at Trent.) I don't know how you can manage to keep them going in one direction?
Trent: Food works. (They slow and chat.) So, what are you doing, really?
Monique: (Enigmatic.) What I said, Stage Manager.
Trent: (Sceptical.) And "being paid"?
Monique: (Grins.) Jane said that I could make a hall into "the best goddamn dance palace" that I could conceive, so I did. (Looks around.) It's all held together with string, duct tape and love, but I've never had so much fun. What do you think?
Monique: (Chuckles.) I wouldn't expect anything less from you..
Trent: You're a genius. (Pause.) It's absolutely amazing. (Hold out his hand.)
Monique: (Takes it in a friendly-fashion.) Trent, thanks. Now, lets get you to somewhere you can shower.
Trent: (Embarrassed.) Oh yeah, sorry about that. It's just that…
Monique: (Exasperated.) Trent, I lived with you, on and off, for about 2 years. I know.
Trent: Oh, right.
(Open to Quinn, getting ready. Music: "Larger than Life" - Backstreet Boys. [It's the only song of theirs I can sit through, mainly because of the film-clip. I love the way they've ripped off about 7 different and "then-popular" space movies to make the various scenes.] She's dressed in a simple but beautiful blue-green "Hippy" dress, accessorising with yellow glasses, assorted love beads and fringed boots. While she's admiring the way the tight dress shows off various assets, Daria staggers by the doorway, yawning. After a few seconds, Daria staggers back.)
Daria: (From the doorway, calling down the hall.) Mom! Quinn's been raiding your closet again!
Helen: (O/S, tired.) Be right up!
Quinn: (With much scorn.) Yeah, right Daria. This dress cost me $600 and three hours of non-stop searching from "Zuitman's Certified Originals". (More scorn.) The glasses alone cost $160.
(Helen comes into the doorway and smiles wildly.)
Helen: Why Quinn, you look lovely!
Quinn: (Gushes.) Thanks Mom! (Goes back to admiring herself.)
(Helen disappears for a few seconds, then comes back in with a dress, an almost-identical copy of Quinn's but in a darker blue.)
Helen: Did you want to try on this one as well?
Quinn: (Very surprised.) Mom! Where did you get that!?
Helen: (Finger on chin, thinking.) Hmm, I think it was at a California roadside stall during the late 60's, why? (Puts on identical glasses to Quinn's, but purple.) I got these there as well; they've lasted well for $5, haven't they?
(Outside the Morgendorffer home, we can clearly hear Quinn's anguished scream.)
(Later at the Morgendorffers, Daria is resting on the remaining part of the couch set, the armchair single. Music: "Mama" - Spice Girls. [Author ducks as assorted things are thrown at him.] Helen comes over awkwardly, and perches on the coffee table. Daria raises an eyebrow, but says nothing.)
Helen: (Starts a "mother-daughter" talk.) Daria, how are you?
Daria: Fine, thank you. (Closes her eyes.)
Helen: (Looks to the door, where Quinn was picked up in a stretched limo not too long ago.) It's just that Quinn is getting so much out of tonight's ball, we just wanted to know that you were not feeling left out or anything.
Daria: How could I be? (Smiles slightly, then (figuratively) pulls the pin.) I'm going as well.
Helen: (Shocked, looking a the "bedtime" clothes her daughter is wearing.) Really?
Daria: (Eyes open, with an accompanying eyebrow raise.) Do you doubt me?
Helen: Oh no, it's just that - that dances were never your scene…(Trails off. A nasty suspicion forms.) There wasn't a bucket of pig's blood involved in your decision, was there? 
Daria: (Truthful.) To be honest, no. (Dry.) It seemed a little trite.
Helen: (Trying to get the truth out of her.) Really?
Daria: Yes. No blood, no buckets. (Pause.) It that so hard to believe?
(The door rings and Daria gets up to answer it. Jane enters, with a few huge bundles wrapped in that black "anti-crumple" dry-clean plastic. They go up the stairs, but Daria calls out.)
Daria: I'll be down soon Mom, don't worry. (Jane does her evil cackle thing. It's chilling…)
(Music: "My Spine" - Bjork & Evelyn Glennie. We see Daria coming down the stairs, shoes hidden. She's dressed in a "hoop" dress made of a wonderful assortment of tatters, rags, fabric remnants and a "Molly Washpot" flap-cap on her head, totally covering her hair. Jane follows in a huge black coat, a real pea-souper overcoat, and a tall top hat. She has a white lace cravat with a red gemstone pin. Lace flows out of her sleeves, and there are actual silver buttons on the coat. Jane extracts a silver-topped walking-stick from underneath the coat, bounces it on the floor and catches it adeptly.)
Daria: (To Jane.) If you even think of "Putting On My Top Hat", there's going to be blood.
Jane: I thought you liked Fred Astaire? (At Daria's glare.) Ok, no tap.
(Helen and Jake come out, a bit surprised [Putting that mildly...] at what Daria's going to be wearing. Jake discretely tries to hide the camera.)
Helen: Oh Daria, you look…(Searches for a positive adjective.)
Jake: (Camera behind him.) Different.
Daria: (Curtesy's gracefully and sounds like she did in that "Emma" scene from "Write Where It Hurts".) Thank you father, I am most pleased to go to the ball. (She pauses, enjoying her parent's expressions.)
(Cut to Jake looking bemused, Helen desperately searching for something encouraging to say.)
Daria: (Continues.) I have accepted Lady Lane's (Jane pokes back her top hat with the cane, smirk evident.) gracious invitation to ride with her to the celebration. (Jane bows, and takes Daria's arm.) Will not you wish us luck on this frolicsome eve? (Makes a moue. Jane poses with the cane again.)
Helen: Sure Daria, good luck and…(Trails off, still trying to find something nice to say about what Daria's wearing.)
Jake: (Uninhibited by taste.) You look great! Have a nice time! (Brings out the camera.) Want a photo?
(Daria looks to Jane, who shrugs.)
Daria: (Normal voice.) Why not? (They pose, expressionless, for a few happy-snaps.)
(There is a knock at the door. Helen goes to open it. Axl is waiting, dressed in his usual fashion. Music: "16 Horses" - Soul Coughing.)
Axl: Uh, wotcher. (Pause.) Is, er, Jane or Daria about somewhere?
Helen: (Looking back, not to sure she should let him in.) Uh, Jane?
Daria: (O/S, "19th Century girl" voice again.) Oh, that must be our carriage! Lady Lane, we must board!
(Axl leads them out to an actual horse-drawn carriage, but not the type that Helen and Jake expect when they saw the horses. As they get closer, they can see that the matching team is black, have black feathers on their harnesses and have the same black feather motif on the carriage cornerposts…)
Helen: (More than slightly worried.) Uh, Jane, that's a…
Jane: Horse-drawn hearse, yes, I know. (She shrugs.) I couldn't afford the trundle option.
(She and Daria follow Axl on top of the glass-enclosed hearse, and set themselves down.)
(Helen and Jake look on with mounting unease. Daria and Jane just wave at them. Axl clicks and settles the reins. The hearse moves off.)
Daria: (To Helen and Jake, her voice fading into the night.) Don't worry! Axl may not look it, but he drove cabs in Central Park before moving out here!
Axl: (Mighty whip-crack.) Hahh! (The horses pick up speed and they move out of sight.)
(Open to outside the Hall. Limos are pulling up with monotonous regularity. As each character comes out, the background music changes.)
(Music: "Venus and Mars" - Jackson Mendoze. [Less tasteful than Brittany Spears, amazingly.] Coming out of a normal grey limo; Tiffany, on the arm of Joey. She's dressed in a little brown suede "squaw" outfit, very similar to the one worn by Cher back in the "Sonny & Cher" days. Joey looks uncomfortable in the matching eyesore that Sonny wore.)
(Music: "Sweet Like Chocolate" - Shanks & Bigfoot. Out of a normal black limo, Stacy has Jeffy in arm and they're wearing regulation "Goth" gear. They still look ecstatic.)
(Music: "Look At Me" - by the Spice Girl formerly known as "Ginger". Up rolls a HUGE black limo, obviously stretched more than normal. Jamie jumps out, looking a lot like the "Gimp" from "Pulp Fiction". He open doors and Sandi strides out in a lot of leather. She gestures, and Jamie falls to his knees, so that by placing her boot on his back, she can adjust the hang of her leather boot and fishnet stockings. She smiles, self-satisfied.)
(Music: "She's So High" - Tal Bachman. An even bigger white limo rolls up and disgorges some guys dressed in modernised versions of cool 60's fashions, lots of bare and toned chests present. The doors are opened and Quinn comes out, flanked by her drooling coterie.)
(Music: "Swastika Eyes" - Primal Scream. Cut to Sandi, who is obviously comparing her entrance with that of Quinn's, and finding disfavour. She frowns and jerks Jamie inside the hall.)
(Music: "Venus" - Bananarama.Jodie and Mack arrive in an eye-wateringly-pink caddy, the stereotyped pimpmobile. He and Jodie are dressed in very 70's blackploitation film gear, Jodie looking like she should be in James Bond's bed, with a skin-tight animal-print dress and strappy sandals. Mack looks not just a little gay, wearing a skin-tight sailor's shirt with blue stripes, ragged cloth trousers and a rope belt. He's got on sandals too.)
(Music: "Heroin Girl" - Everclear. [I love it when a crowd sings along with this song: "I used to know a girl, she had two pierced nipples and a black tattoo…"] Monique arrives on a monster Harly-Davidson tri-wheeler, and looks disgusted at the parking valets. She drags one close, threatening him with various dire torments, and gives him the keys. Then she takes a huge scabbarded knife out of a saddlebag, makes very sure the valets can see it, attaches it to her belt and walks in. She looks like she usually does, but is also wearing a big ragged leather trench coat. As she enters, she drags out a headset, pockets the battery-pack and talks into it.) 
(Music: "Micky" - Tony Basil. [Ok, any guesses?] Kevin drives up in his 4-wheel drive, Brittany beside him. Brittany is dressed like a cross of Madonna in "Frozen" and Andrea. Brittany has the dyed hair last seen in "Ill". Kevin comes out of the Jeep, gives the keys to the valet and walks into the shot. He's dressed like Billy Corgan of "Smashing Pumpkin" fame; silver pants, orange plastic belt, long-sleeved "Zero" shirt. He still has his neck-brace though.)
(Music: "Zero" - Smashing Pumpkins. Andrea [What else?] arrives at the ball entrance in Elizabethan garments; ruff, wide dress, white makeup. Same mascara and lipstick though. She's riding pavilion with a huge muscular bearded guy on a bike scarier than Monique's. A few similar types pull up alongside and sneer at the valets. When Andrea gets off, the bearded guy stops her, gives her a peck on her head and growls at his mates. They all rev their bikes and make like road-warriors. Andrea just looks at the guy, who must be her Dad. He grins unashamedly. A tough-looking woman, looking a lot like Andrea but laughing and dressed in leather, gets off another bike and sits behind the big guy. Andrea sweeps up the stairs, and the bikers motor off.)
(The valets are trying to get over that one when someone points out at the car-park entrance.
Music: "Enjoy" - Bjork & Outcast. [It sounds very NIN-ish.]The horse-drawn hearse approaches with eerie quiet, Axl having fitted the traditional cloth "mufflers", which cushion the horse's hooves and reduce noise. The oil-fed coach lamps flicker, and the sinister shape in the driver's box only lends itself to the mystery. Axl pulls up alongside the embarkation zone, sets the brake and gets down. Fumbling underneath his seat, he digs out a couple of nosebags and fits them to the horses. With a few soothing pats, he turns back to the coach and knocks three times. Daria and Jane alight to have the stares of at least a hundred kids directed at them. Daria bobs a curtesy and Jane twirls her stick in greeting.)
(Monique sweeps out of the hall, trailed by flunkeys. Her hair is pushed back by the headset and a tiara, she's exchanged a few studs for some big fat silver hoops and has a nose-chain connected to an earring. She's also changed her skirt into something velvet and ripped and is wearing a white silk shirt. Same coat though. Basically, she looks like a pissed-off pirate trying to remember where she last put her plank.)
Monique: (Irritated.) What took you so long? (At the Jane's urging, looks over to see Axl. He waves.) Oh. (Shrugs.) Well then, let's get your show on the road. The Spiral won't be playing yet, I thought you'd like to unleash your surprise early in the night, and get all of that "Toasting of Heroes" crap over and done with.
Daria: (Dry.) Does this toasting involve naked flame?
Monique: (Equally dry.) It's my job to make sure it doesn't. (Checks out Jane.) Nice. (Looks over to Daria. A smile fights through.) I'm assuming that you have a reason why you look like an exploded clothing seconds store?
Jane: (Uses her "mysterious" voice.) All will be revealed.
Monique: (Seriously.) I hope not, we've already had some jokers come by dressed in cling-wrap. I said aluminium foil would have been fine, but that stuff? No way. 
Daria: (Distracted in spite of herself.) So what'd they do?
(A group of guys and girls dressed in foil, silver duct tape and not much else, run laughing by.)
Monique: (Shrugs.) I let them raid the kitchen.
(Some more guys run by, hats made of watermelon on their heads. [An Oz tradition, just don't ask…]) 
Jane: Hmm, fruit as clothing…(She looks intrigued.)
Monique: (Knows the signs well. To Daria.) You carry one arm; I'll get the other. Maybe we can drag her in before she runs off for something to draw on.
Jane: (Shrugging off their hands.) Hey! Easy on the threads, I pay your salary, you know.
Monique: (Rolling her eyes.) You're as bad as Max. (At that, the affronted Jane charges in.)
Monique: (To Daria.) You see? Just got to find the right buttons to push. (Holds her headset. To the mike.) Yeah, they're here, no problems. (Beat, resigned expression.) Lady Lane has entered the building, while The Swan is in a holding pattern with the Bandit Queen. (Pause.) That means Daria is with me while I try and explain stupid code-phrases to the guys who invented them. (Beat.) Fine, we're coming in. (Pause.) Well, put some pants on! 
(Fade scene with the look of unease on Daria's face.)
(Inside the Hall, the students are having the time of their lives. Music: "I'll Be Your Majick" - DEF FX. There is a bubble-machine in the orchestra pit and the cooling fans pulsate in time with the changing beat, giving an eerie life-like throb to the place. People are already getting naked in the bubble-pit [I don't know why, it's just something that people do.] and if you look closely enough, you can see Upchuck dressed like Marilyn Manson (Dope-show era.), leaning over the edge with a Handi-cam. Hands reach up and drag him in. You get to see Upchuck's clothes being thrown out of the bubble sea. The camera follows, then so does Upchuck. Thankfully, adhering foam saves us from Upchuck's nakedness.)
(Monique sees what happened with Upchuck while walking Daria in. She frowns.)
Monique: (Talks into headset.) Bandit Queen here; could I have a team to eject that red-headed kid again? He's got into the bubble pit this time, and now has nothing on but "Surge." (Nods when she receives acknowledgment.)
(Cut back, and we see a trio of heavily-built, black-clothed security beasts collect Upchuck and his costume. Cut outside to the main entrance, and we see Upchuck ejected out over the red-carpeted steps, rolling to a halt, clothes pattering down around him. His camera lands beyond, imploding messily.)
Daria: (Looking up to Monique) Having fun?
(They stand and watch the slow-motion replay of Upchuck's ejection played back on the huge screens.)
Monique: (With great emotion.) I love this job.
(Music: "Smack My Bitch Up" - The Prodigy. Jodie and Mack are grooving away, and they gradually make their way over to Andrea, who is dancing with a guy in drag. They wave, and she moves over to talk.)
Jodie: (Louder, over the music.) How are you going?
Andrea: (Loud.) Fine, if the bloody music wasn't so upbeat!
Mack: (Ignoring that, over the music.) Seen Daria or Jane?
Andrea: I saw Jane near the stage, beating off guys with a stick! (Dances back to the guy, who's attempting to lick his own nipples.)
Jodie: (To Mack.) Want to go find her?
Mack: (Staring at the guy in drag.) Uhh, sure. (Looks at her.)
(Jodie and Mack hear a scream of joy, and they both turn to see Andrea riding on the guy's shoulders, whipping him like a horse. They exchange a look, then make their way towards the stage.)
(Music: "Professional Widow" - Tori Amos. [Why not?] Jodie and Mack cruising around. Suddenly, Mack's arms are filled with Brittany and they crash to the ground. Jodie helps them both up.)
Brittany: Oh, sorry Mack! (Her black hair is dripping again, by the way.) It was just that Kevvie was supposed to catch me, and he didn't! Oh, hi Jodie! (Pauses for a think.) When I find him, oough!
(She disappears into the crowd. Mack rubs his elbow.)
Jane: (O/S, laughingly.) It's "Raining Bimbos"? 
(Jodie and Mack turn to see a space cleared around them. Jane bounces her stick off the floor and catches it, cocking her hat back in the same motion. Her coat hangs open, revealing a pristine white silk shirt and beautifully-creased trousers. Her cravat is a bit crushed, but still has shape.)
Jodie: (A little puzzled by the space around them and at Jane's costume.) Having a good time?
Jane: (Grinning.) I've just seen a naked Upchuck being thrown out.
Mack: (Laughs.) I take that as a "yes"?
Jodie: (Smiling serenely.) Can it get better?
Jane: (Laughs, makes a no-no motion with her finger.) You'll have to wait! (She spins back into the crowd, and the space that they were talking in moves shut with gyrating bodies.)
(Jodie and Mack shrug, then continue to dance.)
(Cut to Quinn dancing with about a dozen guys, the 3 J's included. Music: "Buy Me A Pony" - Spiderbait. [Australian bands have the most FUN names.] The rest of the Fashion Club look on, expressionless. Tiffany is sipping a drink, Stacy is playing with a fringed seam, and Sandi is standing still, hands clenched in rage next to her leather-clad body. No one is meeting Sandi's eyes. As Sandi walks over to say something to Quinn, there is an enormous off-beat, off-key guitar chord. The music cuts off.)
Monique: (O/S, over the speakers, and you can see her voice-print on the TV screens.) Could a Sandi Griffin please come to the centre stage? (Sounds irritated.) Could a Sandi Griffin please come to centre stage? There will be no more music until she does so. (There are moans, boos and hisses.) And to the bond boy who just threw something at the right-hand screen? (On the wall-screens camera focus on said blond being lead away by five security beasts.)
Monique: (Voice goes about 4 octaves deeper.) I HAVE THE MICROPHONE, SO YOU WILL DO ANY GOD-DAMMED THING THAT I SAY. (The "say" fades into a rumblingly-deep "Death Metal" bass exhalation.) 
(Cut to Monique, with the band, Daria and Jane. She's got her hand over the mike.)
Monique: (In ecstasy.) God, that felt so good. (Shivers. To the girls.) Ready? (They nod.) Cool.
(Cut to the Fashion Club again.)
Quinn: (Who turns to find Sandi close to. A bit surprised at her proximity.) I wonder what they want?
Sandi: (Seething, and wanting to let it out on someone.) Let's go see, shall we?
(The Fashion Club make their way towards the Centre stage, where the bubble machines and fans have been turned off. Since Quinn is moving, she soon gets a group of guys following her, so the simple call to Sandi ends up drawing a biggish crowd...)
(Monique notices this and talks quietly on her mike. A few more Security Beasts appear discretely about the place, ready to jump on any "problems".)
(As Sandi reaches the stage, and the steps leading up to it, she notices Daria & Jane waiting on stage. She decides to brazen things out.)
Sandi: (To Monique) Well, I'm here?
Monique: (Tosses Sandi a mike.) Enjoy. (Turns and does a back-door fade.)
Sandi: (Guess the scorn content.) And why would I need this? (She can be heard slightly over the speakers.)
Monique: (O/S) Simple…
Daria: (Has a throat-mike.) …We wouldn't have been able to host this party if it wasn't for you…
Jane: (Glee.) …So Sandi Griffin, this is your life! (Hands Sandi a big bunch of rose and a videotape.)
(The cheesy "This Is Your Life" music plays, while the various cameras get Sandi's look of surprise close-up and cast it onto the screens. Also seen, Stacy is jumping up and down in happiness, Quinn looking shocked and Tiffany, well, looking like Tiffany.) 
(The music is cut off abruptly.)
Monique: (O/S) Roll it!
(A large screen comes down, and the lights dim so that the picture can be seen better. We watch a video collage of Sandi walking around Lawndale High, alone and with the Fashion Club.)
Daria: (O/S, Doing a prerecorded voice-over in the video.) This is Sandi Griffin. (On stage, Sandi preens.) Student of Lawndale High (More shots of Sandi.) President of the Fashion Club (Fashion Club shots) and vicious egomaniac.
(The video cuts to a security-cam view of the Fashion-club.)
Sandi: (On video. To a crying Stacy while the others look on.) Are you sure you were not on some sort of medication when you chose that combination of colours? (The date and time are shown.)
Sandi: (On video, wearing similar clothes and exactly the same colours. Time and date are shown, only four days have passed.)
Daria: (O/S) My name is Daria Morgendorffer. I haven't known Sandi for long; nor would I want to.
Sandi: (On video.) Ewww, that girl is so weird. (Points and the camera pans to catch Daria walking along the corridors. The shot freezes on Sandi pointing.)
Daria: (O/S) But pathetic fashion-police like this are easy to avoid, simply pass your grades while they remain behind to inflict themselves on other students.
(The shot is a close up of Sandi's permanent record and on screen the three years Sandi has been kept down are highlighted.)
Daria: (O/S) I had no quarrel with her, she lives in her world, I live in mine. (Pause.) But a few weeks ago, something strange happened…
(Sandi on video, throwing a duster. It hits Daria right in the back of the head.)
(There are "ouches" and wincing noises from the audience.)
Daria: (O/S) The best motivation I could come up with for the attack was this…
(Sandi on video, walking out of the girl's toilets. She has the infamous "toilet-paper tuck-in" thing happening. The audience laughs slightly. We see Daria tap Sandi on the shoulder.)
Daria: (Same toneless voice she used in "The Misery Chick".) Excuse me. (She points down to the trail.)
(Close-up on Sandi's expression, she looks furious. Daria doesn't care, or simply doesn't notice, and walks in to the ladies toilets past Sandi. We can see Sandi doing her typical "clenched fists of fury" pose.)
Daria: (O/S) Although slightly embarrassing, this incident does not explain the level of vindictiveness in the attack. (Cue duster in the back of the head shot, again. More wincing noises from crowd.)
Daria: (O/S) Or the others.
(Sandi on video, throwing a duster, it misses Daria, barely. The date and time are shown again, it's the next day. There are some "oohs" and "ahhs".)
Daria: (O/S) ALL of the others.
(Sandi on video, in a variety of positions, setting up "pranks" that Daria avoids, usually.)
Audience: "Whoa" sounds.
Daria: (O/S) Although irritating beyond belief, most of her attacks were soon easily avoided. (Beat.) This changed.
(Security-cam shot of the girl's locker room. There are some surprised noises at this, but they are quickly cut-off when we see Sandi come into the lockers. The audience sees Sandi opening a locker, searching around in it and removing something. They see her shove something into an indistinct object. Different camera POV, almost directly above the lockers. We see Sandi come into this shot again, open a locker and remove something the screen cuts in two, a square around Sandi's hands as she shoves something into what is now obviously a bar of soap. The other side zooms in, and although the shot is grainy, it is obvious that Sandi is placing a razor-blade into the soap.)
(The audience makes horrified noises.)
(The camera shot is fast-forwarded again, and we see a top view of Daria, removing the soap from the locker.)
(There is no sound from the audience.)
Daria: (O/S) Luckily, I cut only my hand.
(Shot of a Nurse's report, giving details of accident, inventory of medial supplies given and recommendations. It's Daria's; showing that she narrowly missed slashing tendons.)
Daria: (O/S) The attacks intensified.
(The big screen divides into 16 segments and they show Sandi setting up booby traps, triggering them and the hits/misses. They play through, then get replaced with new ones. A few are familiar to the crowd.)
Guy in Audience: (Who still has a bandage on his head, and watches its source in glorious colour.) God dammed son of a bitch! She almost killed me!
Daria: (O/S) Until in her efforts to cause me grief, she hurt others.
(Show the security cam view of the cafeteria, and the infamous "domino". The box appears again, and the screen splits to show a zoom of Sandi clearly pushing some people forward, Fashion Club behind her.)
Daria: (O/S) It became too dangerous for her to be that obvious, people would soon make the connection between my misfortunes and that of the cafeteria incident. (Beat.) She became more secretive.
(Camera shot of the Art room, Sandi sneaking inside. She closes the door and rifles the teacher's desk, coming out with an X-Acto knife. The camera follows her progress through the art room, changing vantage points for the best view on her actions. There is a pretty good shot of Daria's self-portrait, and of Sandi coming up to it. The knife comes out and there are a few groans from the audience, cut off when they watch Sandi systematically-destroy Daria's artwork, then smash the mirror behind it. The hall is totally silent, apart from the hum of the speakers.)
Daria: (O/S, flat.) That was my end-of-year final assessment.
(The shot of Sandi slashing the painting occurs again, in slow-motion as Daria does the next voice-over section.)
Daria: (O/S) I have no idea why Sandi has shown me such hatred, but a good many of you saw the results of it not too long ago.
(Cut to the cafeteria again, Jane and Daria walking over to the table after paying at the cashier. The audience sees Sandi looking at Jane and Daria, and calling over the rest of the Fashion Flunkeys. She pays for a huge heap of stew, and walks over to Daria with it. The "accident" happens at normal speed, then in slow motion. The shot zooms up to Sandi's face when she offloads the stew, it's a chilling study of evil mirth. The facial shot is frozen, and is blown up to fill the entire screen.)
(The Hall lights come back up, slowly.)
Daria: (On stage.) I have a question for Sandi, fellow student and peers. Would you like to hear it?
Andrea: (O/S, yelling from audience above some of the mutters and whispers.) FU- ("Feedback") YEAH!
Daria: (Turns to face Sandi. The various camera-crews zoom up on Sandi's face, filling the other giant TV screens.) Why? Why do you hate me so much?
(Everyone looks to Sandi. It's no exaggeration; every single eye in the house is on her. They can hear her breathing via the microphone she has. They see her swallow via the big screens. She says nothing.)
Daria: (Quietly, but it makes everyone jump.) Get out. (Sandi doesn't move.) Now. (Pause.) I don't want you here, and neither do a lot of other people.
(A quick pan of the audience, they're certainly not friendly.)
Daria: (Quiet, but with absolute menace.) Get. Out.
(Sandi turns abruptly, then runs out of the Hall. A wide path forms for her, no one wants to look at her. No one want's to be touched by her.)
(After she leaves, the audience gradually stirs itself, and starts to "wake up".)
Daria: (Still using the throat mike.) Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for you patience.
Daria: (Continuing, but in a more "Upbeat" (well, for her, anyway.) tone.) The band playing your enjoyment tonight is Mystic Spiral, who have just signed a 4-year contract with Virgin Records. (To the Spiral.) Gentlemen, it's yours. (She turns off the throat-mike and exits, stage right. Jane is waiting for her.)
Trent: (Coming up to the front of the stage, dressed as always.) Hi, we're Mystic Spiral, and it now looks like we're stuck with the name. (Beat.) Tonight we have a special request from my sister, Janey. (Looks over to the side.) Monique, come up here, would you? 
(She does so. He has a word with her, she laughs and nods. Monique goes and gets a floor-stand mike.)
Trent: (Whilst setting up the mike.) Ok, for once, there is going to be a female lead for the Spiral. (He holds up Monique's hand.) This is Monique of the Harpies, and she's the one who designed this whole deal. (Waves at the surrounding hall.) I think it's pretty cool, how about you guys? (The audience cheers, laughs and claps.) Yeah, me too.
Trent: This is a song by a weird bunch of people that I saw on TV really late one night. It's called "So Rude" by Rebecca's Empire. (Max starts the beat.)
Trent: Here we go.
(The Spiral grove into a massively-grunge version of "So Rude", Monique cutting out the lyrics like it was someone's liver.)
You shouldn't (Beat.) talk to her like that…
I wouldn't talk to her like that if I were you.
You're so careless, and thoughtless, and jealous…
I wouldn't talk to her like that if I were yoooou.
You're so rude,
You're so rude,
Yeah, you're so rude.
(Cut to Jane and Daria, resting on some of the equipment boxes, relaxing. Monique is wailing in the background.)
Jane: (Grinning to herself.) Happy?
Daria: (Thinks for a little.) Hmm, no. But I do have this sense of…
Jane: Peace? Joy? Satisfaction?
Jane: You should. (Polishes the silver cane tip on the hem of her coat. Sights along it.) You've just shot down, in screaming flames, the prime "Fashion Fiend" before at least 1000 people from various schools. (Pause.) And in a way that makes Miss "Popularity is my life" persona non grata until she moves interstate. (Looks at Daria.) I think you did a pretty good job.
Daria: (Closing her eyes.) Remind me to thank Major Anton "Yuri" Myshkin Pavlov of the GRU, would you? 
Jane: (Amazed.) AND how in HELL did you find that out!?!
Daria: Borrowed some of my mother's legal stationary. (Mona Lisa smile.) The Russian Embassy was only too glad to send over his file and dossier…
(Cut to Jane, opening and closing her mouth.)
Daria: But why would a former member of Soviet Military Intelligence want to be working at Lawndale High as a simple custodial?
Pavlov: (O/S, in English with a pleasant mid-western accent.) Who said I was a simple custodial?
(The girls turn to see Pavlov grinning at them. He's wearing blue jeans, a simple white shirt and a red scarf around his head, bandanna-fashion. He also has on monster cowboy boots.)
Pavlov: (Sits down next to them.) I was still waiting to be neutralised, and since there are precious few jobs for ex-service spooks, I took what I could get. (Turns to Jane.) "Spook" is the right vernacular?
Jane: It's pretty general, but yes. (Raises an eyebrow at Daria.)
Daria: (Truthful.) I loved the accent.
Pavlov: (Back to his "broken English".) Ha! Pavlov speaking good now! (Shrugs.) When Jane began to speak to me in Rus, I almost swallowed my tongue. I already knew Amanda from the art and craft shows, but it's pretty unusual to meet someone "here" (The girls grin at the Lawndale jab.) who could actually hold a conversation with me. (At Daria's inquiring gaze, he looks embarrassed.)
Jane: (Almost laughing.) What our macho spy won't tell you is that he is a pretty good artist, in the "primitive" style. Mom got him to do an ikon for her, so she made him a samovar. (Shrugs.) I was the translator.
Daria: So, how'd you do it?
Pavlov: The tape? Simple. Li's old surveillance equipment is still running, apart from a few areas that have burnt out, or suffered from the lack of maintenance. All I had to do was find the most suitable footage, and combine it together. (Thinks for a second.) I just used two words that mean the same thing, didn't I? (Looks slightly disappointed in himself.)
Daria: (Dry.) Don't worry, you speak better English than Jane here.
Pavlov: Thanks. (Dry.) I think.
Daria: Let me guess. (Nods at the jeans.) Alternate young Russian?
Pavlov: (Raises his eyebrows.) Well done! 1980's Glasnost era.
Daria: "Although blind, I still can see."
Pavlov: Dostoyevsky? 
Jane: (Smirking.) Helen Keller?
Daria: Diablo. "Optic Amulet" quest.
Pavlov: (Waves his hand.) What-ever. (He smiles shyly.)
(The girls grin at him.)
Jane: Yes, that was correct.
Pavlov: (Interested.) So what are you as, Jane?
Jane: (Proud.) 19th Century rake. We pioneered social reforms by ignoring anything that we couldn't gamble, ride, shoot, drink or - you get the picture.
Pavlov: And this is alternate? (Waves at what she's wearing.)
Jane: (Defensive.) It was back then. (At their looks.) And the cane is cool!
Pavlov: Your turn Daria. (Jane and Pavlov turn to see her smiling to herself.) What era are you?
Daria: (Dry.) I'm a 21st Century Digital girl. What you see is what you get. 
Pavlov: (Deep thoughts.) But sometimes what we see isn't what's really there, is it?
Daria: (To Jane.) Ohh, this one is good. (To Pavlov.) You'll have to wait, I don't think that Monique wants to leave the stage yet.
Monique: (O/S, fainter but still an amplified roar.) I am the Lizard Queeeen! Bow down before meee!
(The crowd roars back.)
(Mystic Spiral and Monique start on a "hardened" version of Garbage's "As Heaven Is Wide." The crowd goes insane.)
(Jodie and Mack pop around the bottom corner of the wing that Daria, Jane and Pavlov are waiting, obviously getting a breather from the floor-wide mosh that's erupted. After a few heaving lungfulls of air, Mack is finally oxygenated enough to look around. He sees our heroes waving at them, nods and drags an unprotesting Jodie up the stairs to them.)
Mack: That. (Puff.) Was. (Puff.) Genius. (Takes a few steps, then crashes down on an equipment box.)
Jodie: (Puff.) Yeah. (Joins him. The original occupants of the shot wait until they can talk.)
Jane: (Buffing her fingernails.) Impressed?
Jodie: (Correcting.) Amazed. (To Daria.) I knew you were under pressure from that…(Waves hands.) But I never knew it was like…(Waves hands again, frowning, having difficulty explaining her feelings.)
Mack: (Seriously.) Look, as a black guy, I've had the odd taunt on and off the field. (Shrugs.) But for you to go through all she did to you? (Shakes his head.) You're a bigger person that I am.
Daria: (Gently.) No. Simply more cruel.
(Jodie and Mack look at Daria very warily. Jane smiles wanly and Pavlov looks puzzled.)
Jodie: (Slowly.) What have you done..?
Daria: (The effigy of revenge.) Listen…
(As Monique finishes up her song, it's obvious she's calling for quiet.)
Monique: (O/S) Ok people? Having a good time? (Crowd roars, feedback.) Ow!
(Crowd roars again, this time with laughter.)
Monique: (O/S) Well, you remember that Sandi Griffin chick?
(Crowd sounds: angry, unpleasant mutters.)
Monique: (O/S) Yes, I know she's not the nicest human being on the planet. (More crowd mutters.) Or even human, for that matter. (Happier mutters.) But I thought I'd like to share this with you…
(A few crackling noises, then a speaker hiss.)
Sandi: (O/S, heavy breathing.) Oh Charles! (Pants, groans, fleshy smacking noises. The whole audience is silent, dumbstruck. More groans come from off-stage.) You want me to bark like a dog? (The fleshy smacking noises continue, then some little yips start. They get higher and faster, then are replaced with a heart-felt groan.) Oh baby, that was good…
Monique: (O/S, into the silence.) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sandi Griffin, "Charles" the blow up doll and the contents of the Griffin household's vegetable crisper!
(Total silence, then…)
(A single thin laugh breaks out. It echoes through the quiet and people turn to stare. The shot cuts to Andrea, who is holding her sides and laughing for all to see. Tears are rolling down her face as she tries to point at the screens, but can't. A few others join her, then more, until the whole crowd is laughing.)
(The band starts again, playing some soft filler until the audience calms down enough.)
(Cut to Jodie and Mack. If Daria grew horns, their expressions indicate that they would be expecting it.)
Jodie: (Flat.) Evil
Mack: (Dead.) Cruel.
Jodie: (Wooden.) Vicious.
Mack: (Exact.) Unmerciful.
Jane: (Jumping in, lightly.) Deserved?
(Jodie and Mack look at each other, then smile, very slightly.)
Mack: (Dry.) I can't argue with that.
Jodie: ("I can accept that too" look. Hurriedly.) Just don't tell us how? Ok? Ever.
Daria: (Calm.) All I had to do was bribe her brothers. (Honestly.) I was expecting something less…
Pavlov: (Stunned.)…Like that?
Jane: (Wry.) Exactly. (Pause, curious.) But why did you wait until she left the Hall before showing it?
Daria: If you had just been run out off a dance in front of a crowd of your peers, imagine how you'd feel when you finally get enough courage to come back to school; and find that everyone has seen you in a movie with "Charles the inflatable"? (Sighs. Into the horror-laden silence.) The main drawback is that Upchuck is going to be unbelievable after this.
Jodie: (Slowly.) And those idiots who bring guns to school think that they've reached the pinnacle of revenge…
Daria: Exactly. (The group remains quiet, considering the consequences of Daria's retribution.)
(Jane claps her hands, startling everyone.)
Jane: (Slightly pleading tone.) Happier topic? Anyone?
Mack: I'm all "topic-ed" out. (Smiles wanly at Daria.) Well done. (Offers her his hand and they shake.)
Jodie: I may not like or have enjoyed your methods, but you deserved the chance to. (Does the same.)
(Pavlov gets up, and preforms a proper and stiffly-correct "Full-dress" salute.)
Pavlov: If you do not mind, I will take my leave now. (Grins and unbends from his military posture.) I heard there's a bath full of frozen vodka in the back, somewhere..?
Jane: (Smiles.) Sounds like you know more about it than I do?
Pavlov: (Shrugs, self-depreciatory.) Who worries about the cleaning-staff anyway?
Jane: (Immediately.) Me
Daria: (Close behind.) I do.
Jodie: (Truthfully.) I'm worried, now.
Mack: (Ditto.) Oh yeah, me too.
Pavlov: (Salutes again.) At any rate; Daria, you are magnificent!
(Pavlov gives a kind of a wave, then departs through the backstage maze, in search of the fabled "Post-rave Party Room". Daria looks a little surprised at his parting compliment.)
Jodie: (She's worked something out, to Daria.) Pavlov got you the first tape, didn't he?
Daria: ("Ohhh, yeah…" expression. Leans back, hands behind head.) Yep.
Mack: (Connecting the dots.) And since he's everywhere, and that everyone assumes that he can't understand him or her, he'd know everything, right?
Jane: (Smiles mysteriously.) A little birdie hinted from where the evidence to convict Li came from…
Daria: ("I didn't know that" expression.) Really?
(Jodie and Mack look amazed, again.)
Jane: (Hand upright.) I can neither confirm nor deny the question. (Grins.) It would help if you had the keys to her office though…(To Mack and Jodie.) So, are you going to stick around for the big finale?
Jodie: (State of shock.) There's MORE?
Mack: (Almost at the same time.) Should I phone the police?
(Jane waves away that suggestion.)
Jane: (Off-handedly.) We've got quite a few off-duty, working security here, already.
Daria: (Dry.) Why bother the others?
Mack: Ok then. (Resigned.) Should I ask, or are you just going to unleash whatever it is you're going to do onto the world? (Pause.) And should we leave now, or wait for the ambulances?
Jane: (Not seriously.) Well, if you want to travel in style…(Grins.) Nahh, it's safe. (Beat.) And speaking of style, where did you get that wonderful caddy?
Mack: (Looking embarrassed.) It's a project my Dad's been working on for a couple of years now. He'd always wanted one when he was a kid, so now…(Shrugs.)
Jodie: (Smiling fondly at Mack.) My Dad hates it, he thinks it panders too much to the racial stereotyping that (Finger quotes.) "we have to avoid"…but it was the coolest thing we could think of to arrive in. (Wry smile towards Daria and Jane.) Your entrance though, that was different…
Daria: (Rare smile.) So, your choice (Indicates the "sexploitation threads") came from the car?
Jodie: (Dry.) What else would I wear if I arrived in that thing?
Jane: (Instantly.) String halter top, white mini and fringed "Go-go" boots. Blue eyeliner, white lippy.
(Everyone looks at Jane.)
Jane: What? (Irritated.) What?
Daria: (In explanation.) Don't ask the artist among us, she's also a budding fashion designer.
Jane: (Now faux annoyed.) You take that back!
(Daria raises an eyebrow and Jane shrugs in defeat.)
Jodie: (Interested.) Really? I'm assuming 19th century formal for Jane, (Jane nods.) but what are you?
Mack: (Jumping in, he's been thinking.) Cinderella?
Daria: (Dismissive.) As if the hearse could be a pumpkin…(Trails off as something occurs to her.)
Jane: (Grinning, obviously on the same wavelength.) Axl would make a pretty good rat, eh? 
Daria: (Retorts.) This isn't my ball, Prince Charming.
Mack: (Very dry.) Really? News to me.
Jodie: (Drier.) And me.
Daria: Well, it's nowhere near midnight yet, and there is no way I'm losing these. (Moves up her dress slightly, and we see the trademarked "Boots of Doom" are nowhere to be seen! Instead, she has on footwear that is leather, long, black and pointy.) It took me long enough to get the damn things on.
Jane: (Nudging Daria.) Go on, show them!
Daria: (Askance at Jane.) So much for secrecy?
Jane: It's Jodie and Mack! (Daria looks wary.) If you can't trust Jodie…
Daria: (Giving up.) Fine.
(Camera goes behind Daria, so we can't see what she's doing to her front, but can still see Jodie and Mack's expressions. Daria is fiddling with something, and we can hear a "velcro rip". Their expressions flash to great surprise.)
Mack: Wow. (Pause. Blinks.) Really wow.
Jodie: (Surprise and admiration war with naked envy, and win, barely. Choked.) It's beautiful. (Envy counter-attacks.) You have GOT to tell me where..?
Daria: (Obviously closing something.) Jane again. She thought it up and we made it this week.
Jodie: (Seriously.) Jane, once again, you are a genius.
Jane: Yeah, maybe. (Shrugs.) I don't think I'll make textiles my life though, it's too bloody annoying. (Grins.) Going to wait around now?
Jodie: Is the rest like..? (Jane nods.) Oh yes, we're staying. (To Daria.) Any chance of borrowing it, after?
(Fade with the look of pure surprise on Daria's face.)
(Open to a wide-angle view of the stage from a "Back seat" view. The back of the crowd indicates a monster mosh is clear and present, the light show turning the sea of bodies into drifts of shifting colour. Someone has done something dastardly to the foam machine, either by accident or plan and it's now producing freakishly-large bubbles that drift around the happy audience to be popped by people crowd-surfing the tidal pool of humanity. The changing note of the ventilation fans indicates a change in tempo, and some bubbles drift around crazily before being popped by…)
Trent: (Lowers guitar.) Hello Lawndale!
(Crowd roar. It goes on until he waves it down.)
Trent: Nice to be here too! (Cue more crowd insanity.) As I said before, we're Mystic Spiral, and we're playing for you tonight through a lot of waiting and some "unexpected luck".
Trent: (To the Band.) Ready? (Nods, and from Jesse...)
(The Band start up a new song, almost a cross of the "Buffy" theme and "Epic" by Faith no More.) 
Trent & Jesse:
Unexpected luck, How does it feel? Biding your time, Riding fortune's wheel?
Luck? What is it? Where is it? Who cares, who knows?
Luck, I just don't care how it goes…
Unexpected luck, from where did you fly?
A shaft of sun in my clouded sky.
Unexpected luck, a shot, a chance?
The winning ticket, or an offer to dance?
Luck? D'you dare it?
Luck? D'you wear it?
Luck? Can you buy it?
Luck, wanna try it?
Luck unexpected, A soul-searing loss?
Misspent fortune, my gold to dross?
Unexpected luck, the ticket to ride…
Possibilities endless, an oncoming tide.
Unexpected luck, that's who you are.
I follow your lead; cling to your star.
Luck? You breathe it. Luck? You bring it. Luck? You weave it. Luck? You sing it!
You're my luck, my unexpected luck!
You're my luck, my unexpected luck!
You're my luck, my unexpected luck!
You're my luck, my unexpected luck!
Trent: You're my luck!
(Cue screaming crowd frenzy.)
(Cut to Jane, Daria & Monique, still waiting in the wings. Onstage, the band starts up on "Behind My Eyelids", more crowd frenzy noises. There is a nice-looking feast of finger-foods laid out nearby, already heavily sampled. Jane and Daria look most impressed at the band's improvement. Monique is holding her headset and is trying to make herself clear to someone on the other end.)
Monique: I don't care how much they're offering to get in, no ticket, no entry. (Pause.) And inform them if I find any "uninvited guests", especially those with recording gear of any description, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, do you copy me? (Beat.) Better. If they're that desperate, they can ask Mystic Spiral if they could have some footage. (The girls nod in agreement.) Freedom of speech or no freedom of speech, politeness is going to get them further then waving a copy of the fifth amendment in my face and trying to gate-crash. (Beat.) I'm pretty sure it was the fifth. (Pause.) If they get nasty, hose 'em down, by all means, just make sure you've got a few cameras on them though, before the water-cannon, right? (Nods.) Good, hold the line, I'll be sending you the second shift shortly, you fill 'em in and they can earn their keep. (Pause.) Yeah, the crowd's been pretty upright; everyone is having a good time. (Jane and Daria toast some juice.) And hey, if you see the guy with the horse-drawn hearse out there, tell him I'm going to be late tomorrow? (Jane raises an eyebrow.) He'll understand what I mean. Bandit Queen out.
(Monique untangles the tiara and scrubs her scalp. She grabs some more "nibbles" and scarfs them down.)
Jane: Restless natives?
Monique: (Explanatory.) Pain-in-the-ass, "local-Emmy" award-winning parasitic journo hacks. (Rubs eyes.) The biggest music event to ever erupt in Lawndale, and they're complaining that since they're press, they should be allowed in and allowed the run of the place. (Cracks neck.) People like that piss me off. (Into headset.) Hello, perimeter? Keep an eye out for press people trying to sneak in. They've been bugging me for total access, they have none, copy that? (Pause.) And if they try and bully their way in, call for backup and keep an eye on them. They might try the fire-doors, but I think they'll try the back ways first.
Jane: Uh-oh. (Looking down the wing access steps.) Hey, Monique?
(The group turns and sees a guy walking up the stairs, dressed reasonably neatly and "obviously" belonging there. He tucks away a hand-held video-camera and as protective camouflage, gets out a clipboard starts to jot things down on it. He looks at them officiously, then warms a smile.)
Guy: Hi, I'm Alan.
(The girls stare at the alien in their midst.)
Alan: (Looking at the picnic they've got.) Nice spread. (Tries to get around the makeshift tables, but barks a shin on an equipment box.)
Daria: (Incredulous.) Excuse me, but who the hell are you?
Alan: Staff. (Slight smile again.) I might ask who you are, and why is the stage such a mess. Would you mind tiding as you go? I'd hate to call security…(He trails off at this thinly veiled threat.)
(Daria looks like she's about to swallow her tongue, Jane is just amazed.)
Alan: Now, if you'll let me through there…(Squeezes his way past Daria, stepping on her toes.) Oh, sorry!
Jane: (Quietly.) Oh, I'm sure you are…or soon will be.
Monique: (Almost at the same time, very quietly into the mike.) Wasp on stage, Bandit needs backup.
Alan: (Politely.) Pardon?
Jane: (Winning smile.) Nothing, I'm sure. (Brightly curious.) What exactly are you doing?
Alan: (Absently.) Inventory, making sure everything is right. (Looks around at the stage, tries to catch a glimpse of the Spiral.)
Daria: (Emotionless.) Right.
(The Band finishes "Behind My Eyelids" to the now-familiar crowd roar. Monique grabs her headset and flicks it over.)
Monique: (On loudspeaker.) And that was "Behind My Eyelids", would those in the centre-stage please clear a space? Thank you. (Switches off the headset, whips a tray of food into Alan's face and kicks him square in the crotch. While Alan sinks to the ground at the unexpected attack, Monique hops around, clutching her foot.)
Monique: Ow! Goddamned soft shoes! Jane? Daria?
(Jane comes over and sinks the boot in for another incapacitating blow. Daria follows with her pointy footwear. As Alan writhes on the floor, Monique stops hopping, grabs hold of his hair and starts to drag him out of the shot. The girls follow.)
(On stage, the band watches in amazement as Monique hauls "Alan" to his feet and marches him forward to the edge of the centre stage. She holds him above the dark chasm, its depth hidden by bubbles, then kicks him in the butt hard enough so that he falls off the edge.)
Alan: (O/S) Argh! (Rubber impact noise.)
Jane: (Smiling to Monique.) Good thing they managed to inflate the rubber bouncing castle?
Monique: (Genuinely puzzled.) They did? (Ignoring the crowd and the shocked looks from those on stage, she talks into the headset. Over loudspeaker.) Right, I managed to kick some bastard off centre stage. I want his camera, his notes and any invitation he might have and I want them now, then you can eject his sorry ass out of here in front of the other reporter types, ok!? Do it now, people! (Goes off stage again to organise the defence of the Ball, leaving Daria and Jane on stage with Mystic Spiral. A mini-army of security types descends into the dark pit and drag out the stunned Alan.)
Trent: (In mike.) Well, er, I don't really know what that was.
(As Jane and Daria leave...)
Jane: (Faint over the crowd noise.) Yo, Trent? "Mr Normal!"
Trent: Oh, right, yeah. (Motions to the band and they start again.)
Trent and Jesse: "Who trapped the hippy, who locked him in the zoo? Who gagged the beatnik, who filled his mouth with glue..?"
(Cut to the stage wing again, with an unexpected visitor…)
Quinn: (Frantic.) Daria, you have got to help me! (The fashion queen is looking a little worse-for-wear after tonight's revelations. Her hair is mussed and someone has "spilled" a drink that has stained her dress. Quinn goes on.) Everyone thinks that I helped Sandi do all of those weird things to you; Joey, Jeffy and Jonathan are ignoring me and my limo has disappeared! All the phones are unavailable and I don't know where Stacy and Tiffany are…
(Cut to generic toilet scene, sobs coming from one of the stalls.) 
(Cut to Tiffany talking to some extra, drink in her hand.)
Tiffany: Oh no, I thought that Sandi was sooo wrong…
(Back to the side-wing and Daria's look of quiet satisfaction.)
Quinn: …You've got to help me, we're family.
Jane: (Under her breath.) Distant relations, of course.
Daria: (Normal monotone, making like she didn't hear Jane.) If you'll wait a little, I'll get you a cab and a disguise to get you through the crowd, how about that?
Quinn: (Expectant expression.) A good disguise, nothing that will make me look like (Disgusted expression, waves in Daria's direction.) that, I hope?
Daria: (Not missing a beat.) …Or I can announce over the loudspeakers where you are. (Taps throat mike. To Quinn's look of utter panic.) It's your decision…sis. (To Jane.) We're going to do it, now. (Jane looks extremely happy.)
Jane: I'll just see how the crowd is. (Borrows Daria's mike set and changes frequencies.) Hey there, Noise Freak. How does the crowd look? (Pause.) Well, we can't have them looking restive, can we? (Beat.) A negative on the water-cannon. Look; just prepare the band for Lady Lane and The Swan. (Pause.) Well, it might be like "Leda and the Swan"; you never know your luck. (Holds the earpiece away from her head.) God, you really don't get out much, do you? Inform the Bandit Queen and prime the pryos, we're going out in style…
Quinn: ("Can bend metal" tone.) What are you do-ing? I thought you were organising my, er, departure?
(Daria strides over and invades Quinn's personal space.)
Daria: (Almost nose-to-nose. Scary freaky "I'm going to use your backbone for a toothbrush" voice.) Sit down, shut up and don’t move from here, or I'll make what I did to Sandi your life…
(Quinn was edging backwards to get away from Daria and is forced to sit on an equipment box when she has no where else to retreat.)
Daria: …Do you understand, Quinn? (Quinn: spastic head nod.) Good.
Monique: (O/S and tinny from the headset speaker.) You really gonna do it? Yah-hey! GO GIRL! I'm getting things sorted out here, but those pryo freaks are ready and roaring to go. 
Jane: (Into the headset.) Going to join us?
Monique: (O/S) Just save that last dance for me, eh?
Jane: (Into headset.) That's a copy Bandit Queen.
(The crowd yells its appreciation at the close of "Mr Normal")
Trent: (O/S, on stage.) Hey, that was "Mr Normal". And this is to The Swan and Lady Lane: We're ready and waiting, so come on up!
(Jane shrugs and grins. She and Daria make their way onto the stage, leaving Quinn huddled on the boxes.)
(Daria and Jane walk out onto the stage, the POV cuts to a slow-motion shot of their viewpoint; the lightshow in their eyes, the surging crowd, the piles of cables to avoid and finally, a grinning Trent waving them up to the centre-stage. Jesse lets his guitar hang by its strap, and whirls Jane around by the waist. While the crowd roar at this, Trent shyly offers Daria his hand. She smiles, not at all self-consciously, takes it and stands beside him. Jesse manages to untangle himself from his lead, while Jane waves out at the audience.)
Trent: (Softly, fondly to Daria.) Attention hog, isn't she? (Nods towards Jane.)
(Daria looks a bit disappointed at the topic of his fondness, but smiles.)
Daria: Just wait until after this…
(Monique crashes on stage, wielding a black and red axe with chromed frets. She whips back her coat, and pumps her fist at the audience, her other hand holding the axe.)
Monique: (Over the speakers via headset mike.) Miss me?
Crowd: WHOOooarLLLIZARD QUEEENN!
Monique: And don't you forget it! (The crowd laughs, claps.)
(On the big-screens, the crowd can now see the stage with great clarity. Monique throws her lead to a waiting stagehand, and strums a light chord. It ripples over the quietening crowd.)
Trent: Thank you. (To the drummer.) Max?
(A spotlight glares down on Max as the rest of the hall darkens quickly. He taps a nearby microphone lightly, and grins at the noise it makes. On the edge of the snare, he clicks out the beat and starts to thrash into the funky drum beginning of "Mota" by The Offspring. When the crowd starts to get twitchy again, he changes the beat into a slower, more forceful tempo. Monique raises her hand and plucks a slow, sparse counterpoint, then allows Max to take over again. Trent, Jesse and Nicholas burst into thrash guitar solo, with plenty of feedback, cracks and whining. Monique joins the Spiral again, and they start to merge into a recognisable sound. It crashes out onto the crowd, then quietens again, the beat steady and throbbing…) 
Daria: (Singing!) Divide link, amplify. Spread this soul, rip it out. Killing roses as they bloom…(Cue whining solo from Jesse.) Rip the heart, spin it dry. Cultivate, multiply. Take a tune and make it five…
Jane & Daria: (On cue, on key. Jane is softer, more as backing vocalist.) Amen, crisis still descending. (Drawn out.) Ahhh-amen…(Band filler, mostly light guitar.)
Daria: Thread a line, give it room. (Shakes her head.) You don't have to translate it. Gives you power, gives you the edge. (Slight pause.) The noise, it grates. Distortion fades. Counting depression sure delays…
Jane & Daria: (On echo Vox.) Ahhh-amen, crisis still descending… Amen. Crisis still descending…
(The crowd stands as Daria and Jane sing out "Amen" by the Falling Joys. At the last of the song, where there is a multi-choral vox effect, Monique joins them in what sounds like a severely-distorted round. Closing the last trailing echoes of their voices, Max quietly stops his beat and the guys let their instruments shed the last of the song.)
(There is about three seconds of silence then the audience bursts into applause, swiftly overtaken by the reverberation of a few hundred people bellowing at once.)
Trent: Hey, that was a sort of cover of "Amen" by the Falling Joys, as is this one by a bunch of people called Screamfeeder…
(Monique "spangles" into the Mystic Spiral interpretation of "Wrote You Off" by Screamfeeder. Nicholas joins her, then Trent starts on the vocals.)
Trent: Wrote you off, but I miss you. Now I'm down for some kiss-ing. Fingers crossed…
(As Trent sings his surprisingly sweet version of it, he turns and indicates that Daria and Jane come over next to him. Jane frowns no, and clings to Jesse, who doesn't miss a beat. As they finish this song, Trent immediately swings into "Original Sin by INXS, Max marking the beat, Nicholas the guitar.) 
Trent: You might know of the original sin. You might know how to play with fire. But did you know, of the murder committed, in the name of love? Yeah, it's all but a pretence…
Trent & Daria (!) : Dream on white boy (Daria: (Choral vocals.) White boy...) Dream on black girl. (Daria: (Choral vocals.) Black girl...) …And wake up to a brand new day; to find your dreams have washed away…
(When they've finished their INXS rendition, Trent waves the audience down.)
Trent: That was "Original Sin" by INXS, this is "Devil Inside" by the same…
(Monique starts the solo guitar, with Max feeding the hysteria.)
Jane: (Slightly off mike, shakes her finger at the audience.) Ahhh? Ha ha haa... (The crowd loves it.)
(Nicholas strings a ballsy solo intro, then more guitar from the rest of the band.)
Trent: Here come the woman, look in her eye…
(Daria takes centre stage, spotlight on her.)
Trent: (Continuing, eyes on Daria.) Dressed in leather, with flesh in mind…
(Daria unlaces and throws off the Molly Washpot cap, then fluffs out her hair. It's now a deep black-green, with a few white streaks. The band barely manages to keep the beat.)
Trent: ("Whoa!" expression.) Words are weapons, sharper than knives…
(Daria stands normally, then starts to arch backwards.)
Trent: (Trying to concentrate.) Makes you wonder how the other half die…
(Daria is still going backwards, hands almost reaching the floor.)
Trent: (Weakly.) …The other half die…
(Daria's shoved the hoop dress out of the way, and is holding her heels. She winks at Trent.)
Trent: Makes you wonder, wonder, wonder...(Trails off.)
(Shown on the big screen, the audience can't believe it either.)
Trent: (Shakes his head.) Here comes the man, look in his eyes…
(Daria flips up, and over…)
Trent: (Struggling manfully.) Afraid of nothing, but full of pride…
(… And lands quite neatly facing the crowd again.)
Trent: Look at 'em go, look at them kick…
(Daria rips off her ragged sleeves, casting them to the audience.)
Trent: Makes you wonder how the other half live…
(Revealed are two black-clad arms, as Daria sinks into the ballet "rest" or end pose. [Crossed arms over body, crossed legs, bowed down.] Her hair falls over her face.)
Trent: Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside. Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside…
(She's not moving.)
Trent: Oh ho hooo…
(Nothing yet while the band and Monique throws itself into the best 80's tradition of rock.)
Trent: (Getting worried.) Here come the world; look in its eyes…
(Daria's hands grab the base of the hoop skirt.)
Trent: (Soldiering on.) Future uncertain, but certainly slight…
(Daria rips that off and something black, long, flowing and oddly-iridescent falls to the floor.)
Trent: (Simply amazed.) Look at the faces, listen to the bells, it's hard to believe we need a place called hell…
(Straightening, she grabs the remaining part of her dress...)
Trent: A place called hell…
(…And rips it off.)
Daria & Trent: Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside. Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside…
(Guitar solo from Jesse. Daria is wearing something made of silk, gemstones and feathers, as she removed the last parts of the dress, spring-mounted wings popped from behind her, and have further concertinaed out as she sings over to Trent. He eyes her with great trepidation as she sweeps over to him like the Angel of Death. The band plays on, amazed but professional enough to keep the song going.)
(While the filler guitar and song solos rage on behind her, Daria stands proud and tall in her costume. The huge T.V screens zoom up on her from a variety of angles, showing how her dress is seemingly-made of black feathers so glossy they have a greenish sheen. She has the feathery epaulets popularised by Marilyn Manson and long flowing sleeves. Her dress, although long enough to drape over her shoes, is so light it floats around with her whenever she moves around on stage. A silver Ankh flashes at her neck, and her white streaks glisten under the spotlights. A wind machine starts halfway thought, and it blows back the dress, so that every line of her body is delineated by the feathered dress. She throws off the headset, and grabs a upright mike. Trent looks like he's forgotten how to breathe - the rest of the band, not much better. Her wings flutter, but they bend down through their clever construction and almost furl behind her.) 
Daria: (Taking the lead.) Here comes the woman, look at her eye…(Trent is in shock.) Dressed in leather, with flesh in mind…Words are weapons, sharper than knives…Makes you wonder how the other half die…
(Trent comes back enough to partner Daria.)
Trent & Daria: …The other half die…
Daria: (Waves off Trent. Goes into "scary-girl" hiss.) Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside. Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside… Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us is the devil inside. Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us is the devil inside…
Trent: The devil inside, yeah, yeah, yeah!
(Daria waves at the band, and while the wind machine slows, they grab mikes.)
The Band: The devil inside! The devil inside! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
(As the band closes the song, Daria turns side-on to the decreasing wind, encouraging them. You could set fire to Trent's hair right about now and he wouldn't notice. He stands, eyes glued to Daria. She turns and gives him a challenging look. He gets that unfamiliar expression of determination and launches into his best solo effort yet. The band simply tries not to get in his way, and hope that he won't lose a finger failing to bridge some of the heroic chords he's attempting.) 
(Mystic Spiral's version of "Devil Inside" thunders to a triumphant close, the band heaving over their instruments and grinning so hard their teeth must hurt.)
(Cue staggering crowd roar, about four orders of magnitude greater than that of the previous efforts. You can see various people being thrown almost 20 feet into the air as the crowd-surfing conditions deteriorate into an unbelievable mosh, people running everywhere, trying to get a good view of the screens and warring with those trying to get to the stage.)
(The Spiral kind of jogs over to Daria, wanting to congratulate her yet scared to do so. Finally, Trent comes over and holds up her hand.)
(Daria grabs a mike with her free hand, and waits for the crowd to quieten.)
Daria: (Reasonable tone over the speakers.) Excuse me?
(Annoyed, Daria waves over one of the stage crew and after a brief conversation, he runs off to parts unknown.)
(Crowd is still raging. Monique grabs her headset as someone contacts her and looks with wonder at Daria. On the big screens, you can see Monique go over and shout over the crowd noise. Daria nods, so Monique talks into the set. Then she ducks.)
(A huge explosion of various flash bombs goes off, overwhelming the amps and producing gigantic feedback. Because of the detonation, and subsequent ear-torture, the crowd settles down.)
Daria: (Over the speakers while rubbing the back of her ears.) Well, let's not have that again.
(The audience laughs, and settles down good-naturedly.)
Daria: That's all that I'll be singing tonight, but I'm sure you'll enjoy Mystic Spiral?
(Crowd affirmative. Trent looks depressed, as does the band. Monique looks on, knowingly.)
Daria: But I may come down and…
(The audience goes ape.)
Daria: Only, ONLY, if I won't be mobbed. (Waves at the wings behind her.) These are fragile, and I don't want them ruined, right? (Aside to Monique.) The bouncy castle is inflated, right?
Jane: (Looking shocked.) You're not going to..?
Daria: (Answering.) Why stop now? (To Trent.) Hey Trent, could you play a request?
Trent: (Still stunned at her transformation.) Anything. (Put it this way, Daria could ask for the moon on a necklace, and he'd join the space program.)
Daria: "The Strangest Party"? 
Trent: (Smiles shyly.) No problem.
Daria: Jane? (Jane takes Daria's arm, and they stroll to the edge of the centre stage. Beneath them, amidst the clouds of smoke, occasional bubble heaps and lost shoes, the inflatable castle can be seen. The crowd quietens.)
Daria: See you down there.
(She simply steps off the stage, wings fluttering behind. As she impacts, she can be seen, indistinctly, over the big screens before emerging out of the misty pit to thunderous applause. Jane drops too, and rolls out in a flashy para-tumble. She regains her footing, reclaims her cane and bows deeply. Daria curtesies, and her wings dip in elegant counterpoint.)
Trent: (The band is back in its places.) Hi, we're Mystic Spiral. The angel in black was our friend Daria, and the cad with her is my sister Jane. They've requested yet another INXS song and it goes like this…
(While Daria moves slowly through the happy audience, wings flared, Jane preforming a little tap along the way, Trent bounces into "The Strangest Party.")
Trent: Welcome to the strangest party, baby. It's like we're staring at the sun. Everyone's got the invitations, I hoping that you're gonna come…yeah.
Mystic Spiral: These are the times, these are the crimes. What are we waiting for? What are we hating for?
Trent: (Waits until Monique has finished her little solo, and goes on.) You're part of the solution, you’re part of the problem - You're gonna have to dance with one…
(As Trent croons the rest of the song, he can see Daria and a laughing Jane being feted by their adoring crowd. He looks over to the band and Monique, who is also staring out into the crowd. He follows her gaze, and comes across Axl, smiling and waving at the band. He smiles a little.)
(Cut to Daria, "The Strangest Party" playing in the background.)
Daria: (Over the crowd.) Jane, having fun yet?!
Jane: (Bad Austin Powers impression.) Try and stop me, baby!
(As they bounce along, most of the cast of Lawndale High is there to pay homage.)
Jodie: (Fleetingly, swept along by the crowd.) Talk Monday! Great dress!
Mack: (Slower.) Nice to see no deaths involved! (Follows Jodie.)
Andrea: (Riding someone else now.) Nice! (Taps her beast of burden with a riding crop she got from somewhere and moves into the crowd.)
Kevin: Hey hey! (Looks puzzled, like he's trying to remember something. Shrugs and dismisses it.) Great costume Daria! (Trots off.)
(When he leaves, Daria and Jane turn to look puzzled.)
Jane: No fainting?
Daria: (Shrugs.) No idea.
(Brittany comes up to them.)
Brittany: Have you seen my Kevvie? If he's been smiling at those strange women again..! (Points out at a colony of Goths who look reasonably familiar.)
Jane: (Puzzled further.) Isn't that the cheerleading squad? Your fellow peers?
Brittany: What? (Dismayed expression.) Oh NO! (Runs off in the direction Jane indicated.)
Jane: Well. (To Daria.) Once again, localised insanity seems to have hit everyone but us.
Daria: (Dry.) Look who's wearing the top hat?
(Jane actually turns, then faces Daria again, sheepish.)
Daria: I rest my case.
(The three J's come up to her, eager to talk, but wary of possible maiming.)
Joey: Er, excuse me…
Jeffy: …You wouldn't have seen…
Jamie: …Quinn around, have you? (They all move slightly back, waiting to run.)
Daria: Yes. Joey (He looks up.) go and get a limo, Quinn's is missing. (Joey runs off.) Jeffy? (Who is looking at envy at Joey's departing back.) Go find a length of material about the size of a blanket. If you go over to one of the security guys, and tell them it's for "the Swan"; they'll help you. (He trots off.) And Jamie? (Looks up hopefully.) Quinn should be waiting in the left stage wing. Find her, get her wrapped in the cloth that Jeffy should find, then take her home in the limo Joey's scared up. Got it?
Jamie: Thank you, thank you a thousand times! (Runs off through the crowd.)
Jane: (To Daria, raised eyebrow.) And who's the Fairy godmother now?
(Cut to later in the night, the hall still littered with throngs of people but far less packed than it was originally. Music: "Dog New Tricks" - Garbage. Jane and Daria are seated on some tables, kicking their heels, drinking some type of caffeine-laden beverage. Jane yawns loudly enough to overcome the crowd and the faint music drifting to them.)
Daria: (Wry.) Nice one, I think I could see your back fillings.
Jane: (Tired.) I don't have fillings, but I see your point. (Pause.) Ready to call it a night?
Daria: I think we've made our impression. (Looks up at her wings.) And my back is starting to protest from these.
Jane: (Defensive.) Stainless steel welding rods, silk and leather were the lightest materials available!
Daria: I'm not complaining, I think you've truly outdone yourself on this. (Wry.) But 6 hours is enough to try even an angel's patience.
Jane: (Faux worship. Hand upraised.) All hail Azrael, Angel of Death, destroyer of Worlds! 
Daria: (Sharply.) Enough already, Lane.
Jane: Don't worry, most of our fellow sheep wouldn't get the reference, and those who would…
Daria: …The Math Club, the Chess Club, the Lawndale High Appreciation Society of Science Fiction & Fantasy…
Jane: …Went to bed by nine o'clock.
Daria: Unless they're still on the web at the "Frisky Star-fleet Training Academy." 
(They break off to watch with interest as Monique staggers over with Axl. Since we've seen he last, she's had a strip shaved off the left side of her head and has a lot of red lipstick. She grins, tiredly. Axl sets her down, then takes a seat himself.)
Monique: How are you guys? (Axl starts to rub her neck.)
Jane: Feeling better than you look. (Offers Monique the remainder of the beverage.)
(Monique looks at the offering, shudders, then waves it away.)
Monique: Nahh, don't worry. At the moment my sweat has a higher level of caffeine than that crap. 
Jane: There's a fun mental image.
Daria: (To both Axl and Monique.) Having fun?
Monique: (Tiredly, closes her eyes an relaxes into Axl's rub.) Oh, let me count the ways…
Axl: Yeah, it's been a good party. (Looks at them.) Ready to call it a night, then?
Jane: We're thinking of it…
Daria: Pretty strongly.
Monique: (Opens her eyes.) Right then. (Drags out the long-abused headset. Into it.) Hi, this is the Bandit Queen, anyone out there? (Pause.) Hey there Sound Freak, still awake? (Beat.) Right. Don't worry, after half an hour of the boy-band crap they play to empty the hall, you'll be comatose for a week. Could you get word to the Band that the Swan and Lady Lane are thinking of leaving the building? Thanks. 
(The background music is abruptly cut off, and the stage fills the main screens.)
Trent: (Waving on the big screen.) Hey everyone. Just one last cover, and it's an oldie. It was originally by Bowie, but pretty much everyone has had a bash at it, so why not? This goes out to The Swan, Daria, who's had to put up with much too much shit over the last few weeks, and has triumphed over all…
(Trent strums quietly, and the band picks up on a softly-sweet version of "Heroes" - originally by David Bowie.)
Trent: I, I will be King. And you, you will be Queen. Though nothing will drive them away, we can beat them, just for one day…
(As Trent croons it softly and well, a smiling Jane looks over, bright-eyed. Daria has her glasses off, and is wiping her face with her sleeve.)
Trent: …We can be heroes, just for one day…
(While Trent sings his heart out, Jane smiles fondly at Daria and gives her a hug.)
Daria: (Softly.) Jane, thanks for the chance to, "you know".
Jane: (Into Daria's ear.) You're welcome. (Pause.) Now lets just sit and enjoy the music before we start to get emotional.
(The scene fades with Jane's arm around Daria, Monique with Axl beside them, enjoying the music and change of pace.)
Trent: (O/S, as the shot fades away.) …I, I wish you could swim. Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim. 'Cause we're lovers, and that is a fact. Yes, we're lovers, and that is that. And though nothing will keep us together, we could beat them, for ever and ever. We can be heroes, just for one day. (Pause.) What do you say..?
(Open to Lawndale High, Daria and Jane walking side by side through the corridors. Music: "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" - U2. Daria's hair is still the same from the Friday-night Ball, and there seem to be a lot of people who go out of their way to smile or wave at the duo.)
Jane: (As more people wave at them.) So this is what it's like to be popular. (Shivers.) Someone just walked over my grave. (She's wearing what she always does.)
Daria: (Wearing what she usually does.) Popularity. It's strange isn't it? Everybody knows my name, but I don't know theirs.
Jane: (Wickedly.) Well, that is a trait shared with Quinn…
Daria: (Normal monotone.) And whatever vague stirring I may have felt towards enjoying this brief flush of acceptance is now washed away in the flood of normality.
Jane: (Dry.) I think the word you're looking for is cynicism.
Daria: (Using her "Quinn" voice.) What-ever… (Jane smiles in appreciation.)
(Jodie comes up to our heroes, smiling widely.)
Jodie: Hey guys.
(They wave in a vague sort of acknowledgment.)
Jane: Yo. (Daria nods.)
Jodie: You guys were… (Shakes her head.) You really made a great night memorable. So, (Eyes some of the waving passer's by.) enjoying your notoriety?
Daria: In some sick and twisted sort of way, (Doesn't let up for a second.) maybe.
Jane: Ha! I knew that the cool "don't care, don't give a damn" exterior you show hides the soft and gooey narcissistic centre! (At Daria's "Flat Stare of Death") Or I might be mistaken.
Jodie: (Softly.) I think Daria can be whatever she wants to be. (Changes subject. Looking at Daria's head.) So, what did your parents have to say about…(Waves at Daria's dark green hair with white streaks still present.)
Daria: (With great sincerity.) Not much, Quinn's belated arrival at 10 the next morning kind of distracted any parental lectures about the permanent damage that hair-dye could do to your scalp. (Showing a dry sort of glee.) I could see that Quinn wanted to explode when she saw it, but was too busy cleaning the house to do so.
Jodie: And about the costume? (To Daria.) I'd really like to try it out. (Dry.) Although probably without the wings.
(In response, Jane hands Jodie a Polaroid.)
Jane: I took it when Daria walked in the door…
(Cut to the Polaroid. Clearly visible are Helen and Jake standing with looks of total amazement in the flash. By strange chance, the wings have cast an ominous shadow over the livingroom.)
Jane: (Continuing.) I haven't got the 35mm shots developed yet, but it should show the bit where Helen forgets to breathe. (Daria actually smiles. Jodie hands back the Polaroid.)
Jodie: (Grinning.) Have you seen the noticeboard? (She leads them off. Music: "Channel Z" - B52's)
(Cut to the Lawndale High "Wall of Shame". [All High Schools have them, usually covered in ancient notices, poorly-spelt graffiti and variations on "M.D & J.P 4 ever".] It's now covered in the time-honoured tradition of "post-party" photography. People are shown, in an assortment of strange lighting schemes, having a massively good time. As the girls look at the noticeboard, it is obvious they enjoy what they can see.)
Jodie: (As they straighten up from the wall of photos.) Well?
Daria: It was a good night, wasn't it?
Jodie: (Warm, remembering something.) Oh, yes. (Twitches and looks hurriedly at Daria and Jane if they noticed anything.)
(They are both grinning so hard you can see back teeth.)
Jane: ("Arch" doesn't even begin to describe the tone of voice.) Well...?
Daria: (Taking pity on Jodie.) It's fine, we won't say a thing about any brief moments of happiness that you may have stolen. (Glances over to Jane.)
Jane: (Can't help herself. Wicked.) I do hope it wasn't brief though… (Daria elbows Jane to shut her up.)
Jodie: (Blushing.) Thanks guys. (Pause.) For not humiliating me too much.
Jane: (Generous.) Any time.
(Jodie waves and leaves.)
Jane: (Grinning like a mad thing.) You know, that reminds me…
Daria: What? (Turns from the photos to face Jane.)
Jane: ("This is gonna be sweet" expression.) You remember the time we "slept together?"
Daria: (Goes to walk off.) What about it?
(Cut to Jodie, talking quietly with Mack.)
Daria: (O/S, echoing down the hallways.) I DID WHAT?!
(Everyone in the hall looks up at the exclamation, puzzled.)
(Daria and Jane are walking into the cafeteria again. Music: "Topaz" - B52's. Daria is looking more than a bit wild-eyed. Obviously Jane has sprung the news.)
Jane: Relax… (Pure evil.) I'm sure it didn't mean anything.
Daria: (Looks like she's back to normal with that comment.) Thanks, I'm sure.
Jane: (Making it easier...) You've got to laugh, really.
Daria: (Monotone.) I can barely constrain my hilarity.
Jane: (…But she loves to needle.) You've got to wonder though, the timing of it all. (Daria looks over.) Just before the "Alternate Lifestyles" Ball..? (Heavy eyebrow action.)
Daria: (Quite calm.) If it's alternate lifestyles you want, how about I show you the alternative to living?
Jane: (She knows when to let it go, though.) I'll be fine, thank you.
(They walk over to usual slops available, look and select something innocuous (Sandwiches.) They go and pay the cashier and take their seats, their backs away from the servery. As they sit, they become increasingly aware of quite a few sidelong glances.)
Jane: (After receiving various looks.) Am I wearing pink taffeta?
Daria: (Retorts.) Is my second head that obvious?
Jane: (Glances at Daria's hair.) I don't know, but pretty soon, I'm gonna start charging admittance fees.
Daria: (Musing.) But where to find a dog-boy to round out our act?
Kevin: (O/S) Hey Daria? (He comes up behind her.)
Daria: (Not looking at him. To Jane.) You have got to be kidding me.
Jane: (Very Jane.) Can anyone here spell "serendipity"? 
Daria: If some of us could spell…(Turns around.) Yes, Kevin?
Kevin: It's just that something has been bothering me. (Cue the carefully expressionless faces of Daria and Jane. Kevin continues.) I've forgotten something important, but everyone I ask can't tell me what it is. For some reason, whenever I try to remember, I think of you two. (Shrugs.)
Jane: Would it be about… (Whips out a stopwatch.) The State Championship? (Starts the watch.)
Kevin: (Looks puzzled.) Uhh, no?
Jane: Are you sure? Something that you did? (Looks down at watch, time is ticking away.)
Kevin: Uh, no. The coach says for some reason I keep forgetting about that game. Says I should wear my helmet…(Looks puzzled.) Er, what were we talking about?
Daria: (Waves at Jane to put the watch away.) Don't worry Kevin. But I hear Brittany is looking for you.
Kevin: Cool! (Pause.) Oh yeah, nice dress you had on Friday. (Trots off.)
Jane: (Wonderingly.) So what was that about?
Daria It looks as if our meddling with Kevin's head has had an interesting effect. (Jane: raised eyebrow.) Since he now can't remember the game in question, our strings of hypnotic commands are no longer in operation. (More to herself than Jane.) I wonder if it was his mind protecting itself from further trauma, or simply forgetfulness?
Jane: (Looks disappointed.) So this means he won't be falling unconscious in the near future? (Looks rather annoyed.) Damn, I wanted to beat your record! (Shakes her fist.)
Daria: (Dry.) Down Cujo.
Jane: (Bares teeth.) Grrrr.
(Mack comes over with Jodie, carrying trays.)
Mack: Are we interrupting something?
Daria: (Normal monotone.) Jane's slipping her obedience training again. We may have to muzzle her.
Jodie: (Seating herself, tired expression.) Oh god, don't remind me of that video…
Mack: (Sitting also, out of interest.) Has "she" been seen in school today?
Jane: (Smiling.) Would you?
Daria: That's a moot question.
Mack: Speaking of questions…
Jodie: Yes. (Turns to face Daria fully.) What were you so upset about? We could hear you in the corridors.
Jane: (Can't help herself.) She had some surprising news, that's all.
Jodie: Nothing I could help with?
(A swift look of horror flashes across Daria's face, but Jane doesn't say a word.)
Mack: Yeah, it's just that since the dance…
Jane: (Polite.) Yes? (Cut to underneath the table, Daria's boot is drawn back ready to maim Jane's shin.)
Jodie: (Quiet.) Well, there have been some more rumours…
Daria: (Relieved.) Oh. (Cut to underneath table again. Daria's boot "returns to its silo".)
Mack: (Slightly embarrassed.) Well, it's just that you two went together at the ball…
Jane: (Puzzled.) Yes? And what?
Jodie: (trying to get the message across.) Uhh, together? The Ball? Alternate Lifestyles?
Daria: And your point is? (Sudden expression of comprehension.) Oh, you're kidding!? Right?
Jane: (Worried.) What?
Daria: (Quietly.) They think we're, "you know".
Jane: A card game, what? (Understanding hits, hard.) Oh. 
(Daria rests her head on the table. Jane absently pats her on the back, then stops.)
Jane: Oh. Bodily contact might not be a good idea…
Daria: (Dry, into the table.) Not right now, no.
Jodie: (Compassionate.) So I'm assuming that the rumours are malicious?
Daria: (Into table.) Ostracised for something we're not…
Jane: (Rubs eyes.) What are the odds, eh? (Daria raises her head slightly.)
Jodie: There is only one thing that I know of to choke a rumour mill…
Jane: Something juicier?
Daria: (Sounding very tired.) Yes, but don't think I can top last-night's efforts. (Head is replaced with a thump. Beat.) Ow.
Jane: (Joking weakly.) Careful, you don't want to end up like Kevin.
Daria: (Into table.) No, now I'm K.D. Lang. (Beat.) And if you start to sing "Constant Craving", Jane…
Jane: (Truthfully.) Hadn't crossed my mind. (Realises something, "dead" tone.) But just wait for it…
Daria: (Depressed.) Oh, God.
Mack: (Looks really unhappy.) Guys, I'm feeling like a real jerk. I'm real sorry to have brought it up…
Daria: (Raises her head again, then sits upright.) Mack, it's not your fault. It's (Finger quotes.) "the mill".
Jane: (Sarcasm evident.) So, we've been outed. (Dry.) What do we do now?
Daria: (Heaped sarcasm.) We go buy overalls, then we get crew cuts… (Takes a soda and drinks.)
Jane: (Horrified.) …And look like Max? God, I've got some taste. (Daria puts down the drink.)
Jodie: (Looks no happier than Mack.) So the system, wins?
Daria: (Massages the bridge of her nose.) Looks like it. (Beat.) Dammit!
Jane: (Slowly.) Unless…
Jodie: (Faint hope evident.) Jane, please have a plan.
Jane: (Sounding grim.) I've got one, but (To Daria.) you probably won't go for it.
Daria: (Looks over.) I'm still here.
Jane: (Hands up in appeal.) Well, since no one will believe us telling them that we aren't, how about we milk the system for what it's worth?
Jodie & Mack: Eh?
Daria: Excuse me?
Jane: (Looking wary.) Ok, we give this unwashed rabble (Waves at the filling cafeteria.) a show that blows their minds, then complain to O'Neill and Barch about harassment "issues"?
Mack: (Shocked.) Whoa.
Daria: (Rubs chin.) Hmm, it's pretty cold - does anyone else have other suggestions?
Jane: (Incredulous.) You're considering it?
Daria: (Dry.) As much as I would like otherwise, it's probably our best choice.. (At Jodie and Mack's shock, she shrugs. To them, tired.) I've always been a realist, why start hoping for sanity now? 
Mack: But, you're going to…wow. (He looks a bit awe-struck.)
Jodie: (Really worried.) Are you guys sure?
Jane: Like the lady said, we don't have much in the way of options. The victims of a whispering campaign, or out, proud and protected. (To Daria.) What do you think, we start to hold hands?
Daria: (Dry.) If I knew where they'd been, maybe…
Jane: (Still finding it within her to joke.) Aww, that's no way to profess your love… (Smiles.)
Daria: (Smiles too, if a little grimly.) No, I think I'd take something a bit more overt…
Jane: (A bit happier.) Hot wax in the gym showers? 
Daria: (A little less grim.) Not that obvious. Not to mention the dreaded "Upchuck" …
Jane: (Winces.) Oh yeah, good point. What then?
Daria: ("Hmm" expression.) If we move our trays, we'll find out sooner. (At Daria's motions, Mack and Jodie relocate to a table close-by. Jane and Daria simply move their trays to one end of the table.)
Jane: (Knowing they're attracting some attention already.) What now?
Daria: Just follow my lead. (She stands, and gets up onto the table, lending Jane a hand to get up there. There is a general decrease in cafeteria noise.)
Daria: (Sotto.) Just wave at the nice people, we don't want them to miss anything.
Jane: (Does so. Same volume, but worried.) We're gonna kiss, aren't we? (Takes Daria's free hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.)
Daria: (Under her breath.) Can you think of anything better? (Squeezes back, trying to force away some of the stage-fright.)
Jane: No. (Turning to Daria.) At the moment, my mind is pink goo.
Daria: (Gallows humour.) Oh great, I'm in love with a "Brittany."
Jane: (Smiles slightly, but remains apprehensive.) So, I just pretend you're Jesse?
Daria: (Taking Jane into her arms.) Just make it good girl, I don't want to do this all the time.
Jane: (A bit insulted.) Oh, and why not?
Daria: (Slight grin.) We might get to enjoy it.
(And with that, Daria begins a very deep, very wet and very public kiss with Jane. As Daria puts Jane into a dip, still lip-locked, any conversations that may have continued come to a crashing close.)
(Cut to the table Jodie and Mack are waiting at. They're looking remarkably nonchalant.)
Mack: (Very soft.) I don't believe they actually did it.
Jodie: (Same volume in the thick silence.) This is going to be fun to explain.
Mack: (Slightly louder.) It is pretty sweet though. (Beat.) Did I just say that? 
(Jodie smiles at Mack, then holds his hand. Mack flushes slightly.)
Mack: (Sotto, defiantly.) Well, it is.
Jodie: (Leans over and gives Mack a peck on the cheek.) Thanks. (At his look.) For being you.
(Daria and Jane are still going strong.)
Mack: (Conversationally.) When do you think they'll stop?
Jodie: (Same.) When they run out of breath, do you think?
Quinn: (O/S) OH. MY. GOD!
Jodie: (Resigned) Or when someone interrupts them.
(There is a patter of sandal-clad feet as "someone" runs up towards the couple on the table.)
Quinn: (Doppler effect of her voice as it approaches.) Make them stop, Make them stop, MakeThemStop, MakeThemStop! MakeThemStop! MAKE THEM STOP! OH, GOD! DARIA! STOP! STOP!
(The audience waits, holding its breath as the two break their kiss.)
Daria: (Still in the dip.) So, was it good for you?
Jane: (With a slow, easy smile.) Think you can still hold me?
Daria: (Puzzled.) Yeah, sure. Why?
Jane: (Evil grin, glances over in Quinn's direction.) Good. (And with that, she wraps her arms around Daria's head and pulls her close for an extended tongue-wrestle.)
Quinn: (Having hysterics.) THEY'RE DOING IT!! (Hyperventilates like Stacy does.)
Mack: (Some concern.) We'd better sit her down before she faints.
(Offscreen FX: <Thump!>.)
Jodie: (Undisturbed.) Too late. 
(Andrea gets up, the scrape of her chair startling many. She starts to clap. Mack and Jodie look at each other, shrug, and then do the same. Brittany claps because she's a cheerleader and it's kind of hard-wired behaviour for her. The rest of the cheerleaders join in too and pretty soon the whole cafeteria is hooting and whistling. Mr DeMartino walks in, unnoticed, and even if his eye bulges out a little further than usual, he good-naturedly joins the applause. Upchuck just looks dazed. Mrs Defoe walks in with Mrs Bennet and Janet Barch, mid-conversation. Mrs Defoe takes one look and immediately starts to grin. Mrs Bennet shrugs, smiles and claps along. Mrs Barch is a different story though…)
Mrs Barch: (Going nuts.) You go girl! If you can't find the right man, go where your heart leads you!
(Mrs Defoe and Mrs Bennet share a look, then edge away a little from Mrs Barch, who doesn't notice.)
Jane: (Breaking the kiss, a little breathlessly.) So, how'd we go?
Daria: (Eyes still on Jane, smirking slightly.) Sounds pretty good, shall we find out?
(Daria moves back a little, bracing herself for Jane's weight and hauls her upright. Jane looks happily mussed with her lipstick smudged and her hair not hanging straight. She shakes her head, sorting everything out. Daria looks calm and composed, but is also brushing her hair out of her eyes.)
Jane: (Eye on the cheering crowd before them.) Well, we're a hit.
Daria: Take a bow? (They separate to the ends of the table, hold hands and bow. They then turn around, clasp hands again and take another bow. Jane holds their hands up high.)
Jane: Winners, and still champions!
Daria: Uh Jane, what was the competition?
Jane: Who cares?!
(Scene fade out. Music: "I Kissed a Girl" - Jill Sobule (From the album: "Jill Sobule") Instead of the usual character makeovers, play the photos that are on the notice-board.) 
*Andrea, riding an mixture of different men. She looks like she's having fun.
*Kevin, grinning with some people dressed in cheerleading uniforms and pom-poms, strangely they have on a lot of white makeup and black lipstick... The next photo shows Brittany approaching with the rest of her cheerleading team, who are dressed like an Anne Rice convention. The final shot shows Brittany riding Kevin, beating his head with her fists as the Goths dressed like cheerleaders look on in amazement, and the cheerleaders dressed like Goths look on with a weary sort of familiarity.
*Monique pumping her fist at the audience, huge screen behind her echoing her actions. [Very U2-ish.]
*Mack crowd-surfing with an expression of surprise on his face.
*Picture of the "Sound Geek" posing next to a speaker twice the size he is.
*The 3 J's hustling away Quinn like some celebrity who has just undergone plastic surgery.
*The pale feet of Upchuck, as he flies out of the main entrance.
*Jane in a variety of poses, all looking like something out of a 50's Tap musical.
*Daria, flushed as she lays down the law to Sandi.
*Pavlov looking up from a table covered in shot glasses, some anonymous people behind him. It looks as if they're about to start the "I'm He-Man, watch me vomit heroically" macho drinking game.
*Daria, looking serene as she sings into the mike, wings behind her.
*Jodie looking very surprised whilst in a kiss with Mack. Next shot, "Talk to the Hand".
*Trent holding Daria's hand up, while the big screens show hugely blown-up shots of the hands.
*Kevin and Brittany, looking happy again. Kevin has a black eye.
*Daria as she stepped off the stage. She looks like she's flying down.
*The "Foil Brigade", posing with the empty dispensers that have helped clothe them.
*Most of the football team, all dressed in a variety of costumes, but they are all wearing eaten-out watermelons as hats. They're doing the "We're No 1" pose, with their index fingers up. Kevin's head is totally inside a melon, with eyeholes so that he can see.
*Group shot of "Team Pyro" [Pyrotechnicians, they blow stuff up in concerts. Way fun job.] all looking mean and evil, dressed in black. Second shot, they're obviously setting up some monster charges backstage, concentration evident. Third shot, they're all wearing ear protection and other sorts of safety gear as they take cover. Forth shot, the figures on stage silhouetted by the blast. Fifth shot, they're looking pleasantly surprised that the stage isn't raining down among them.
*Show Quinn's senior suitors, all lying unconscious on the floor, bottles beside them. You can see a familiar pair of cowboy boots standing in the shot…
*The backs of some security beasts, dragging away "Alan", his feet dragging on the floor as they hold his arms and proceed through some doors.
*Ted Dewitt-Clinton, dressed in a bizarre collection of clothing, mostly furs and feathers, covered in bright body-paint and crowd surfing on a door.
*Evan [The running guy off "See Jane Run"] doing a stage-drive ahead of some security guys. Second picture, the blurred shot of his dive, seen is the look of horror on his face. Third shot, medivac-type people taking someone away in a stretcher. (Poor Evan, looks like no one wanted to catch him…)
*Jane, Daria, Monique and Axl on their table tableau. Daria looks uncanny, an angel sitting with her friends, shooting the breeze.
*Daria and Jane on the hearse, with Axl driving and Monique along for the ride.
*Mystic Spiral action shot, all doing their best "Thrashin' Axemen" impressions.
*The empty hall, with drifts of shoes, discarded costumes and piles of paper cups.
*The Polaroid of Morgendorffer surprise.
Okay, I promised endnotes, so you'll get your freaking endnotes.
 Don't try this with Epoxy Resin! It's a plastic glue that bonds, not some toy! If your burn it, it will give off very bad toxic fumes that can and have killed! This is only a story! You have been warned!
 Being a learned person is considered a good thing in Russia. "Uncultured" indicates that you are some knuckle-dragging cretin that people of taste and style should avoid. Kind of like Aussie tourists…
 "That's not a knife, this is a knife." - Crocodile Dundee reference. Most Australians watch it and laugh at the cliches, not the dialogue. So should everyone else.
 Vague reference to Jane's life before Daria, mentioned specifically in "The Last Days of Solitude" by Jon Kilner and "Fast Times at Lawndale High" by Danny Bronstein.
 This is an almost verbatim quote from a colleague and fellow Food Technologist, Mad Mick Brown - except he's going to be the one out in the boonies… Let this be a lesson to all those parents who let their kids watch survivalist movies at an impressionable age!
 Another vague reference, this time to "Herroner" probably by Paperpusher. I didn't save the title graphic that came with the HTML, so I'm working off my memory. If I've insulted anyone, sorry.
 Plywood (Thin layers of wood, laid at cross-grains to each other) is an old and respected painting medium. It's also heavy as hell and tends to warp, unless you prepare it properly and use the expensive "Marine-grade" stuff. I know these things, my mother is head of Art Department at the local High School and we lived on a boat we built ourselves for about 3 years. (God, kill me now, I am Ted Dewitt-Clinton!)
 We've all done this, stop bothering me.
 Prerecorded phone message in Australia. No idea of the US equivalent.
 I think it's red. Seen in "Pierce Me" when Daria was trying to hold a conversation with Trent.
 Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) Famous for his bronze "matchstick" figures, "statements of an anxiety-ridden age." [Hindley, Geoffrey (1979) World Art Treasures [Octopus Books, London.] Did I mention that I graduated High School with an "A" in Art? Which would be quite ok if I actually had any skill, or talent, or ability… And did I mention that my mother is an uneasy cross of Amanda Lane and Helen? I've forgotten more about the history of Art and various techniques then most people get to learn, mostly by reading books lying around the house. The human sponge at work, again…
 Yet another "Red Dwarf"-ism. I think it was from "Quarantine".
 Jane butchering Babe's "Christmas song".
 Very vague mention of Terminator 2. "I swear I will not kill anyone."
 Pathetically obscure reference to "The Young Ones". "Neil, have you been eating the cheese you found under the griller again?"
 Famous artists tend to be pigeonholed by colour. Famous example: Picasso "during his blue period".
 Reference to be paid to "No Nudes is Good Nudes" by Peter W. Guerin. He got in with the idea first, dammit!
 I don't know if "Chanel" comes in a quart bottle. I'm a child of the metric system (Get with the program, America!) so I tend to think of litres and millilitres, not fluid ounces and gallons.
 Italian: "I don't understand". My parents tend to absorb languages and come out with this weird polyglot sometimes. Let this be a lesson to all children, don't let your parents buy "Learn Italian in 12 Easy Steps" stuff. I think I've mentioned that my parents are weird, haven't I? They are.
 Someone spouted a classic line, basically stating "Daria: Quinn, unless you want to end up dancing for strange men, you had better start learning" or something along those lines. I really wish I'd thought it up first; and that I could remember where in hell and who in hell wrote it!
 Norman Bates? "American Psycho" anyone?
 Jane in "Monster", as she and Daria watch Quinn going through Daria's closet. Wonderful line.
Ie: Daria - What are you doing?
Quinn - Can I borrow something to wear to the Fashion Club party tomorrow night?
Jane - Check her head for bumps.
 "Lane Miserables" running gag.
 Well, she doesn't! Look at the time she was trying to bribe Daria, with singles…
 Ha Desanera! You've been mentioned, again!
 Horseracing term - drugging the beast in question. Now widely used to describe the "tampering" of any race, especially through the use of drugs. Remember Ben Johnson?
 Did anyone else hate "Rocky & Bullwinkle", or am I one of those bitter and twisted individuals for whom salvation means a bottle of liquor and cable TV?
 No, the "Evil Eye" is not the same as the "Sick Sad World" eye. Did you get your lobotomy at the door, or have you always been like this?
 Ok, now I've seen and know very well how gelatine is made, and it's pretty bloody foul. Basically, gelatine is the extracted and purified soluble proteins of various types of hides, as in animal skin. It's soaked in huge vats to make this god-awful soup, the liquor is drained off that and it is precipitated, usually by a variety of strong acids. It is filtered through a series of fabric presses, extruded, dried and packaged. Which sounds all very well until you're standing out in the receiving bay when they dump a truckload of steaming cow faces (Not poo (faeces), FACES, with ear-tags included…) at your feet in a tidal wave of blood… Oh yeah, that was a fun place to visit. I'm not even going to talk about the flies… Who wants jello?
 This is true. The report was around the mid 90's and is probably floating around the Internet somewhere. NOT a good thing to read if you like eating overseas, or at home, for that matter…
 Proper response: "Loose, juiced and ready for use". Or: "It ain't hanging, it's swingin'". And it isn't said to many women, either…
 I've made worse. It's really good if you freeze it to a kind of mush, because then you can add milk so you can fool yourself that you're drinking a strong iced coffee. Then the sugar and caffeine hit. That’s a bad thing…
 If you're sunburnt, same deal. I've spent too much of my life like this.
 Direct effect of drinking the "coffee". Don't say I didn't warn you…
 C'mon, a control freak like Li and she doesn't have a secret room opened by that annoying statue?
 It's fan fiction, not real life. I know it's unbelievable.
 Hell, I would!
 Forget "Dilbert's staple wars". A good Artroom "Can attach 12 layer of canvas to a frame and still stay there during stretching" staple gun is a deadly weapon in the right hands, although a really fast way to piss of your mother when she walks in and finds you attaching playing cards to a notice board from 10 feet away. See .
 After "Carrie", every prom fan-fiction has mentioned the possibility.
 Get a bunch of drunken Uni students together, play some songs then throw this on… It's magic I tell you, magic…
 Reference from Paul Zendel's "This Place Has No Atmosphere." I read it once, eight years ago, in a little under an hour. It's really quite strange the things that I pick up and remember…
 It just is. If it's summer, you've got a watermelon on your melon. Rockmelons tend to be too small…
 Running gag from "Daria!" I still suspect LSD in the water supply…
 A reference to "It's Raining Men". It vies with "We Are Family" for the Gay & Lesbian "national anthem".
 Of course it's taken from "The Wedding Singer"! If you ever get the chance to, get into a recording booth and get the sound freaks to play around with the timbre and bass of your voice. I did this at a University winter school, and I scared myself. Ie: "I am the Lord of HELL! (Cue flame rush.) Bow before me, or suffer the eternal torment of my grim tyranny!" I really wish I still had a copy of it.
 I don't know if the US still has "This Is Your Life", but after showing around 20 years of re-runs, some moron decided to resurrect the concept in Oz. Pitiful doesn't even begin to describe it.
 At last, an end to the "We're Mystic Spiral, but we're thinking of changing the name" thing!
 Pavlov's first name came from "The Daria Movie" - Aaron Solomon (ben Saul Joseph) Adelman & Barry Eshkol Adelman. (A brilliant piece of work, guys.) The GRU thing came from watching too many "cold-war hysteria" movies when young.
 Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky, a big man in Russian literature. His "The Idiot" reads like Lewis Carroll on psychotrophic depressants. Incidentally, Pavlov's middle name is taken from the main character of "The Idiot", Prince Myshkin. "The Idiot" is almost as depressing as my academic transcript.
 "Twenty-First Century Digital Boy" - Bad Religion. Fun song, see above for the "singing when drunk" instructions. "I'm a 21st Century Digital Boy, I don't know how to read, but I got a lot of toys…"
 Face it, Sandi's brothers are the Lawndale incarnations of Beavis & Butthead.
 I like Axl! I think that as a character, he offered more fun than Tom, or of Evan.
 Ok, it was late, too much chocolate, it's all my own work and about the closest I'm ever going to get to lyric verse, all right?
 This is pure Stacy.
 Pyrotechnicians tend to be the happiest people in the stage crew, mainly because they get paid to make big funky explosions with pretty coloured lights and lots of smoke. The hard part is reining them in. Trust me, I've been there…Oddly enough, they all seem to have good hearing, unlike the other stage crew, mainly because of the mandatory protection gear they run around in. Well, everyone under 30…
 As I've written it, the lyrics make no sense whatsoever. It's still a cool song though.
 People are going to disembowel me, but Mystic Spiral tends to remind me a lot of a "grungy" INXS. Please, don't send me any Michael Hutchence jokes, I've heard them all before…
 These were the words which fitted the song closest, I don't have the lyric sheet. If someone does out there, please send me a correction notice, please?
 I'd love to see someone's impression of this costume, any takers?
 Kind of paraphrased from "Buffy". Quote: "Oz: G-minor seventh diminished. (Or something like that.) It's a man's chord. You can lose a finger." Unquote. Don't ask me what it means, what I know about guitar you can stick into an ant's thimble and still have room for your big toe.
 People will be playing this throughout the whole Y2K party. 'Nuff said. Y2K is easier to spell than Millennium, which is almost everyone is using it.
 Azrel was the Angel of Death in "Restrain Jane Lane" (Or "Stupid Cupid".) by Nemo Blank.
 Another badly paraphrased "Buffy" quote. Giles was looking up something on the Internet, and one of the other characters looks over his shoulder and mentions something about him "spending time at the Frisky Watcher's chat room". I just think the word "frisky" should be used more.
 I've been there. When you get pretty knowledgeable about food, you can throw together some strange things to keep awake…and having pure caffeine (5 L bottles [99.99% pure.] Analytical grade.) in the Analytical Chemistry Lab around Uni students did not show much forethought on behalf of the instructors.
 At Uni dances, they played "boy-band music" to clear the bar. It worked every time.
 The faculty of making unexpected but desirable discoveries.
 "Uno" (Meaning one.) It was a fun card game when I was a kid, was my family the only one to play?
 This, to me, is pure Daria.
 Apparently this is what my girlfriend and I were doing similar in the Uni dorm showers. It was news to us, and we wished we really had been doing at least some of the things that were described to us, in glorious detail, by our friends…
 I like Mack. He, Jodie, Andrea, Jane and Daria seem to be the only people to actually act like "people" in the show. Everyone should know an "Andrea", it's character-building. I've got two cousins of similar outlook, but they say they've got me to deal with, so I think I'm batting less than zero.
 And I think if Jodie wasn't constantly forced by her ferocious conscience, she'd want a break from being so dammed nice all of the time.
 "I Kissed a Girl" - Jill Sobule. From the album: "Jill Sobule" It's sweet, funny and a good laugh.
Jenny came over and told me about Fred,
"He's such a hairy behemoth," she said.
"And dumb as a box of hammers,
But he's such a handsome guy".
And I opened up and told her about Larry,
And yesterday how he asked me to marry.
I'm not giving him an answer yet.
I think I can do better…
So we laughed, compared notes…
We had a drink; we had a smoke,
She took off her overcoat…
I kissed a girl.
I kissed a girl.
She called home to say she'd be late.
He said, he worried but now he feels safe,
"I'm glad you're with your girlfriend,
Tell her "Hi" for me."
Then I looked at you,
You had guilt in you eyes,
But it only lasted a little while…
And then I felt your hand above my knee.
And we laughed, at the world.
They can have their diamonds,
And we'll have our pearls.
I kissed a girl.
I kissed a girl.
I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet
She was just like kissing me
I kissed a girl, won't change the world
But I'm so glad, I - I kissed a girl!
And we laughed, at the world.
They can have their diamonds,
And we'll have our pearls.
I kissed a girl!
For the first time,
I kissed a girl!
(And I may do it again!)
I kissed a girl!
I kissed a girl!
I kissed a girl; her lips were sweet,
She was just like kissing me.
But then; I kissed a girl,
I kissed a girl…
Kissed a girl, won't change the world,
But I'm so glad,
I kissed a girl!