Amanda Lane returns from her second honeymoon from Cuba, seeking legal help. Helen Morgendorffer is more is more than eager to comply, but first even she needs to know "why?" And so begins a tale of woe and misery. (1st part out of 2, presumably)
Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks.
This story is copyright © 2002 by Bacner () and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.
It was suppertime at the Morgendorffers' household, when there was a knock on the door.
"Now who could that be?" Quinn wondered.
"Why won't you open it and find out?" Daria suggested.
"I would, but you see, I've told Zachary that I won't be home tonight, and I am, so if it is he testing if I am-"
"Jake. Open the door," Helen said wearily. Sometimes she wished that she could weld Daria and Quinn into one person. Apart they were good girls, but when they sat side by side ready for comparison - that was more than Helen could bear.
Meanwhile, Jake has opened the door. Jane Lane stood outside. "Hey, Jane-o!" Jake said cheerfully. "Nice to see you, but we're eating, so can you come back later? No offence."
"None taken," Jane assured him. "But it's my mom, you see? She wants to see Daria's mom 'cause she's a lawyer."
"Oh. Wait a sec then." Jake turned around and yelled: "Helen! Amanda's here, and wants to see you as a lawyer!!"
"Let her in!" Helen yelled back, always eager for a new client.
Smiling, Jake turned to Jane. "Yo, Jane-o! Let your mother in."
Moments after, Jane and Jake let-in Amanda Lane. The older Lane woman kept muttering about Bahia de Guantanamo and Le Habana over and over again. "What's going-on?" Daria and Helen asked Jane, while Jake poured Amanda some tea: the poor woman clearly needed it.
"Well, the background story is like this. Wind and his latest bride, Sheila went on a honeymoon in Cuba. Mom and dad decided to have their second honeymoon there as well and went with Wind and his bride."
"Yeah, we flew from Boston to Ottawa to Paris to Havana to Guantanamo," Amanda said. "Well, Wind and Sheila did. Me and Vince did leave-out Paris, because of... nevermind. Anyways, as soon as we have landed there, all went waky."
"You see," Amanda swallowed some more tea and continued, "while Vincent is a wonderful father and husband (Jane made some noise that was quickly stifled by Daria), every once in a while he gets hyperactive and just wants to do something - sort of like a short-circuiting of the brain, you see?"
"Yeah, Helen's like that with family bonding," Jake said. Helen gave him a death glare, but Amanda ignored them and continued.
"Now when we came to the place of our honeymoons (a resort near the city of Guantanamo), Vincent instantly decides that we all are to have fun. And that includes Nikki and Angela - Sheila's kids from her first marriage."
"So that makes it what? Six people?" Daria asked.
"Let's see. Me and Vince. Wind and Sheila and her kids. Yes. Six. Six Lanes that went to Cuba," Amanda wept.
"Amanda! Get a grip on yourself! How can I help you if you constantly break-down!" Helen berated the other woman. Amanda semi-composed herself and continued. "So first Vince sees sky diving - for a hundred and fifty dollars you can go sky-diving, and for forty-five more bucks you'll be recorded on a video camera as well. Vince immediately got enamoured with that idea, but I stood firm, so we had row - just the first one.
So then I persuade Vince to keep off the planes for a while, and we'll go riding motorcycles as well."
"You know how to ride a motorcycle?" Jane asked.
"I remember when Wind brought home a motorcycle. It had a stationary engine that couldn't work or something."
"No, Jane, your brothers cannot ride a motorcycle. Nor I. Nor your father. Despite him stating that that's as easy as riding an ordinary bike. And those cycles down there have speed selectors on their handlebars or whatever they're called, and you must move the selector forwards to go really fast, or backwards to stop. But when it's your first time you somehow don't remember those things when the cycle gets moving.
Now your father went first, and lets admit it, he's no longer as young as he had been. He didn't enter the first turning point on the route correctly, and got thrown out of the seat. And there was a single lamppost in the whole route, but it wasn't round like ours, but angular. And naturally, your father hit it front-on."
"Did he bruise anything?"
"I'll get to that later. Firstly, your brother Wind went next and did the same thing. Only he got scratches all over his arms and legs, and your father says he's okay, so we worry about your brother instead. By 'we' I mean me and Sheila. Nikki and Angela are too young for that.
Anyways we leave the track and go to our hotel room. Your father and brother got a full list of activities planned for us for our stay."
"For how long did you stay?" Helen asked.
"I'm not sure. We planned to stay for ten days, but we didn't. Anyways, we go back to our hotel room, and your father feels funny, and he checks his pressure and it's 170 - too high for the likes of him. And so we call the doctor, and after twenty minutes a doctor comes - an Afro-American that, well, looks like one of those silver-screen characters, a racial stereotype if there ever was one. And he takes out his blood pressure monitor, and it doesn't work and he hits it a couple of times, and it finally shows that Vince's blood pressure is 120!
'That's strange,' Vince says, 'but maybe my blood pressure did drop or something. Still, can I have a check in the hospital?' The doctor agrees, so Vincent is taken for a hospital check-up, and we're off for more fun-filled activities!"
"Did you sky-dive?" Quinn asked.
"No, not I. I kept Angela and Nikki company on the ground. Wind took Sheila though, only she didn't want to dive, and he almost pushed her out of the plane, and they had a terrible argument, and they might be divorcing each other or something - but I digress.
Anyways, we return, and there's a phone call from the hospital. Apparently, Vincent got a fractured sternum and it cannot be put in plaster, and we've got to call medical insurance - here's its' card, Helen - and to contact it we've got to go through Havana, then Paris, Ottawa, Boston - the whole thing. Make it another 200 dollars.
Anyways, we contact it, and they supposedly agree to cover Vince's injury. Good. So off we go again - the five of us - to swim on speed-boats in Guantanamo Bay. I've never been more frightened in my life! Again, there's this speed selector bit - to change speeds you've got to use both hands, which means taking them off the steering wheel-"
"Sounds dangerous," Jake remarked.
"It is," Amanda agreed. "And that whoreson boat goes not parallel to the water surface, but at an angle, and there splashes and spray everywhere, and I cannot see very well, and there are only two seats on each boat, so I'm stuck with Nikki, who's in danger of falling-out - only it's just the beginning.
We leave the bay and go down this river - it's as narrow as our living room, and it's marked with sticks that show where to go, and if you fall-out of the boat, there are caimans in the river, so you get the picture."
"Caimans?" re-asked Helen.
"Crocodiles mom," Daria elaborated.
"So finally we cast ashore," Amanda continued, "and go up some forest path to this native farm. The road's disgusting - clay mixed with mud! And me, Nikki and Wind are walking forwards, and Sheila wears not running shoes but platform ones, and she is carrying Angela, who is twisting and crawling, and wants to go down, but Sheila can't allow that 'cause the road's like quicksand, if you don't move immediately you'll get sucked down.
And then we come to the farm. It's not very impressive. I've seen some adobe villages in New Mexico, and they were much better looking. So after a while, when Wind made a video for Vincent on turkeys' mating, we go back down the same sweltering forest path, and one of Sheila's platform shoes gets sucked down in the mud, and so she has to make the better part of the return journey with one foot naked and her baby daughter in her arms. Me, I'm sticking with Nikki.
Then, we arrive back at boats. Now you see, once you're out in the bay, there's a possibility that you'll get lost, 'cause you can't see the shores once you're out in the bay, so I ask one of the guides if I can go immediately after him."
"There were guides?" Helen asked.
"Yes, yes, two of them, hotel-sponsored. One was in the front, leading us, while the other one covered our retreat. And since I was afraid of getting lost, I went after the leading guide, taking Angela with me. And so, we entered the bay, and looked around - no one! Only me and the guide. And suddenly the guide began going around in circles, bigger and bigger ones, and I frantically followed him, fearing of losing him and getting completely lost, because of all the splashes and spray and no sight of the shore. Only four hours later the rest of the group catches-up with us. Apparently, Wind's, Sheila's and Nikki's motor boat which was going right behind us, got tangled in the seaweeds, and had to be untangled, and Wind and Sheila were arguing all the time...
And so we come back to the hotel, where Vince is waiting for us. Apparently, the insurance company is refusing to pay for us, and we've got to cover the medical bill itself - $800 dollars! We refuse, and decide to leave. Only the plane on which we decided to leave was 8 hours late. And when we finally arrived at Havana, we discovered an interesting thing. The plane on which I was going (Vince was supposed to come with me but he couldn't now because of his sternum) was going straight from Havana to Boston. No problem there. But the plane that was supposed to take Wind and his new family to Boston - it also stayed eight hours late. Only... the registration went-on correctly, and those who were eight hours late - not just Wind, Sheila, and her kids - got their tickets cancelled and even erased from the computer!
Then the Cuban doctors catch-up to us, reinforced with some local KGB agents or something, and demand now 1800 American dollars for us, or 'Yankee no go home!' And so I flew straight here, and don't know for whom to go - the Cuban consul, the manager of "Air France" company, then there are Wind and Sheila's pets - a dog and two cats, I think - who must be taken off their temporary owners hands before they're euthansized or something... God, Helen, what am I to do? My hurt husband and a lot of other relatives are stuck down in Cuba in some un-pedigree roach motel!"
Helen let down a low whistle. "That's a nasty predicament all right. Don't worry, I'll take you to the firm, and there we'll be able to get your family out - somehow." Helen got up and looked at her husband. "Jake, I advise you not to wait for me for supper. I've got a feeling that I won't be coming home soon."
"But what about your portion?"
"Give it to Jean, would you?" Helen suggested. "Come on Amanda, we've got a long journey ahead."
The door closed behind the two women. The rest of Morgendorffers and Jane exchanged looks.
"Well," Jane finally spoke, "well. If she's gone, can I have her supper?"
Endnotes. I'm not a big fan of endnotes, but this time I feel that they're a necessity. You see, this story isn't a figment of my imagination, but a real story that happened to the family of a friend of my family (and I even know his name, but I won't tell it). Everything that the story talked about happened to them, only the cracked sternum didn't happen to the son but to the friend's father, and the kids were most definitely his. Now as for the story's resolution, I can't be sure. I guess I'll leave the second part in hiatus for a while, till I know how the real life (which really is stranger than fiction) problem resolves. Bacner.