Disclaimer: Daria and all related characters are the property of MTV

Note : This story is the next in the Unseen Phenomenon Series, it takes place approximately three days after "Fate's Twisted Sense of Humor."

Morality Check

It's late in the afternoon one Thursday, the house is quiet. Kyrsten and Michael Macleod are both still at work. Duncan had, at least as Far as she knew, gone straight from work to meet up with Daria and do whatever it was that they do when they're alone. And as far as things were concerned with Trent, He was practicing with the rest of his band. Trent had called and offered for Maria to come with him and hang out with the band but she had opted to stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. And in doing so, Maria lye sprawled on her back over the top of her bed. She took her glasses off and left them on the end table on the right side of her bed where she was certain she would be able to find them again. Maria let out a sigh as she stretched herself out to cover the bed from the pillow all the way down to the end of the bed where her feet could touch the baseboard. While enjoying the quiet Maria decided to occupy herself by rolling over and reaching under the bed and feeling around for some of the braille magazines with raised pictures that she kept hidden under there.

Maria: (Chuckles to herself) It's a good thing mom trusts me enough not to go searching through my room. (Starts to flip through the pages looking for a bookmark she had left when suddenly the doorbell rings a few times causing her to jump and snap the magazine shut) What the.....? (Pause) I don't believe this, .....ONLY when you've got time to yourself do people have to come ringing the doorbell. (sighs) Well, I guess it could be worse. Whoever it is could have caught me in the bathroom. (Maria shoves the magazine back under the bed and begins to make her way out of the bed room, downstairs and towards the front door. After the doorbell rings a few more times Maria gets irritated and calls towards the door) All right already, I'm coming!! (Just as she reaches the door and prepares to open it Maria hears Cheyenne trot up behind her and take up a position almost alongside her to her left just in case) (Maria opens the door and listens for a response) Hello......? (To her surprise a response comes almost immediately)

Helen: Oh uh, ......hello Maria.

Maria: (thinks for a moment as she tries to place the voice) Oh....Mrs. Morgendorffer isn't it? It's been a while since we've seen each other.

Helen: Oh yes, ...well I've been busy and you know how Daria is about bringing friends over to the house.

Maria: Yea, ....I guess I know. So what brings you over to my house?

Helen: Well I was looking for Daria,.. to be honest. I needed to talk to her about something, (sighs) and she's just so hard to get a hold of anymore. She almost never calls, ....and having her show up at the house is damn near unheard of. (Studies Maria for a moment) I guess she's not here?

Maria: (V.O) What was your first clue? (Out loud) (shrugs) No, ...sorry. I can pass a message along if you like.

Helen: No, ....that's okay. (Groans a little) I guess I'll just have to leave ANOTHER message on her machine.

Maria: Are you okay Mrs. Morgendorffer? No offense but you sound really bummed out.

Helen: Oh I'll be alright, .....I just had some things on my mind. I thought maybe I could talk with someone I could relate too, ....and frankly Daria was the first person who came to mind. (Sighs) No matter...... (turns to walk away)

Maria: (V.O) Oh god, I'm probably going to regret this. (Out loud) Um......I've got time to talk if you really need someone that badly. I'm a good listener, ......so I've been told.

Helen: Oh I'm not really sure if this is something that you would want to hear, ...it's rather personal. (Thinks for a moment and decides it's better than nothing) Are you good at keeping things to yourself?

Maria: (V.O) Are you kidding? Lady, .....I know shit on people that would make the guy in the confession booth turn white. (Out loud) Yea, I'm pretty sure I can keep a secret. Come on in, ...and drop your load on me. (V.O) I wonder what I should charge her for this?

Helen: I just REALLY need to talk to someone and frankly Jake is just NOT someone who would be able to handle what I want to talk about. Are you sure you want to do this?

Maria: (V.O) No, but I seem to already have committed myself to the task haven't I. (Out loud) Hey, ...I had nothing better to do. (V.O) Yea right, ....tell that to the guys in the magazine I stuffed under my bed. (Maria steps aside until she hears Helen walk past her into the house and them shuts the door behind her)

Helen: I really appreciate this. If you like I'll spring for dinner.

Maria: (Smiles from ear to ear) Mrs. Morgendorffer, you've just satisfied my retainer fee. What did you have in mind?

Helen: Oh not much, ...I'm a light eater. (Maria grimaces)

Maria: Oh god, .....don't tell me you're a salad nut.

Helen: (laughs nervously) Well you know what they say, a moment on the lips, a life time on the hips.

Maria; You're joking,... right? (Thinks for a moment) Eh, ....you may be right. I probably won't be able to eat anything I want forever. There's a number near the phone on the coffee table for a steaks and subs place. I think they serve salad stuffs there too. Call up and order me a medium cheese steak with mushrooms, ....and whatever it is that your having. (Helen looks at Maria with interest)

Helen: You're actually going to eat all of that?

Maria: Oh yea, I have a high metabolism. I get light headed if I don't eat regularly.

Helen: (sighs) Oh to be young again. (Looks about for the phone) Oh my, ....it's rather dark in here. Do you mind if I turn on the light?

Maria: (Shrugs) It wouldn't make much of a difference to me, ...and if you can find the light then more power to you. Personally I've never had any use for it.

Helen: Oh .....yes, I remember. Um....., how long have you been .....sight deficient?

Maria: (laughs) No need for the eggshells, Mrs. Morgendorffer. Say it loud and say it proud, I'm flat out blind. I've been that way since birth.

Helen; Oh my.....You've never seen at all?

Maria: Nope, but....it's pretty hard to miss something I've never had in the first place so don't sweat it any. (Helen finds the light switch in the dark and turns on the light. She then locates the phone and calls the number sitting next to it and orders. After she hangs up she turns to Maria and continues to talk)

Helen: Okay, ....they said about half an hour.

Maria: (sinister voice) Excellent, .... everything is going according to plan.

Helen: (as she walks away from the phone towards some pictures on a nearby shelf) What....?

Maria; (picks her head up and notes that Helen has changed position and then turns in the direction of her voice) Oh nothing, I was just amusing myself. It wasn't important. (Thinks for a moment) What are you doing over there?

Helen: Oh.....I was just looking at some of these pictures. What kind of dress is that?

Maria: (confused) I never wear dresses Mrs. Morgendorffer, .....what does it look like?

Helen: It comes down to your knee's, and there's a part that comes over one shoulder, ...It's blue with black stripes.

Maria: (shakes her head) That's a kilt, ....not a dress. (After a moment) Why don't you have a seat on the couch, .....I know there's one somewhere in here.

Helen: Oh, .....yes of coarse. How rude of me to go wandering about your house.

Maria: It's not rude, .....it's just off topic. You came over here wanting to talk about something personal and the next thing you know your checking out somebody else's pictures.

Helen: (Chuckles nervously) Sorry, ....I'm not used to talking to other people about myself. It's usually the other way around and I end up bailing others out.

Maria: Whatever, .....(makes her way to a nearby recliner and has a seat) So what's bugging you so much?

Helen: Well. ...it's not something that's in any way easy for me to talk about. (Looks Maria over) are you sure you can keep all this confidential?

Maria: (irritated) Just talk already, .....whatever your skeleton is I'll just shove it in my closet with the rest of them never to be heard of again. (Helen wears an insulted expression on her face as she is not used to someone giving her any kind of order, ...but concedes since she's already placed her trust in this person)

Helen; I've got this.......problem at work. Someone I've been working with for years gave her notice recently that she would be leaving for another job.

Maria: (looks unimpressed) So.........you're really upset over a coworker leaving? You've got to be kidding me, ....this person can't be the only one you've ever worked with.

Helen: (reluctantly) No...........but, this IS the only time a co-worker has ever.....demonstrated personal affection for me.

Maria: (V.O) God dammit, ....I knew I should have gotten the tape recorder. This could turn out to be some golden stuff! (Out loud) Mrs Morgen...... (she is cut off by Helen)

Helen: Call me Helen, ...this Mrs. Morgendorffer stuff makes me feel like a dried up old maid.

Maria: Okay, ....Helen. Whatever floats your boat. So some guy at work came on to you. In a way I would think that you should feel flattered. (Thinks for a moment) Don't take that the wrong way, an unwanted advance is by no means acceptable. But at least it still reminds you that you're young and attractive.

Helen: All things being equal that would be true, ...and don't think for a minute that I don't know how to handle men in that respect.

Maria: So.......where's the problem.

Helen: (almost mumbles) It wasn't a man.

Maria: WHOA........! So if I've got this straight, ....a woman you've been working with came on to you? (Shakes her head) I can't say I've ever had THAT experience.

Helen: (face turns red in embarrassment and chuckles nervously) I'm afraid it was something more than just a pass. (the scene blurs as Helen continues with her story and comes back into focus a few days before. It is late in the evening at Helen's office, Helen herself along with her secretary Mary Anne are the only ones within the building. Helen being the workaholic that she is simply refused to leave until she had completed all of the paperwork necessary for an upcoming hearing. After a while Mary Anne knocks on the office door and then comes in.)

Mary Anne: Mrs. Morgendorffer? I've finished filing the affidavits on the Ericson case.

Helen: Thank you Mary Anne, I'm almost finished here myself. (Pauses) I'm sorry to hear that you'll be leaving us soon, ...you've been a good employee. If you don't mind my asking, where will you be going from here?

Mary Anne: (unenthusiastically) Oh, .....I 've been offered a job with Johnson and Simons as a consulting assistant.

Helen: (gets up from her chair and walks to the nearby window to look at the sunset) I didn't know you had any experience with consulting.

Mary Anne: I have SOME, ....it was in my resume when I applied to work with you. I'm surprised you don't remember that.

Helen: Oh, ....well I can't be expected to remember EVERYTHING now can I.

Mary Anne: (shrugs) You have up to this point. (Helen scowls while still facing the window)

Helen: Well, You'll be missed that's for sure. There aren't many legal secretaries who can keep up with my work pace.

Mary Anne: I've always admired your dedication Mrs. Morgendorffer, that's why I stuck around.

Helen: Oh well thank......

Mary Anne; (cuts Helen off) Granted there are some..... other things I've admired about you. (Helen turns to face Mary Anne with a slightly confused look) You've got a wonderful family Mrs. Morgendorffer, though I couldn't help but hear you complain about your husband's ...lack of interest in you on several occasions.

Helen: What has THAT got to do with anything? And what the hell were you doing listening in on my conversations.

Mary Anne: Well it wasn't really eavesdropping, you had a tendency to speak rather loudly and it really wasn't that hard to hear what you were saying. (Comes much closer,.... almost face to face and wrings her hands a little bit)

Helen: Yes, ...so what? My husband may not pay as much attention to me as he used to but he's still a good man.

Mary Anne: I have no doubt of that Mrs. Morgendorffer, but there's something that I've been wanting to tell you about myself for the past several years, .....and since I'm leaving in a few days I won't really have the chance to say it later.

Helen: (becoming irritated) What the HELL are you talking about? Say what?

Mary Anne: You're a very attractive woman Helen, ...and I was thinking that since your husband doesn't pay attention to you....in that way anymore. That maybe..... I could help you fill that void....?

Helen: (looks at Mary Anne with an extremely awkward expression) Say what......? (Mary Anne leans forward and kisses Helen, and as Helen backs up a few steps against the wall Mary Anne follows forward and continues to kiss a wide eyed Helen. (Scene blurs and comes back into focus In Maria's home. )

Maria: (sits in her chair trying to think of something profound to say) Whoa..................! It's always the quiet ones isn't it. So what did you do?

Helen: I didn't know what TO do,.... men I can handle. I've never had a problem with that, .....but I was totally unprepared for this. The thought never even crossed my mind that she might be.....

Maria: Gay...?

Helen: Bi.....or so she said later.

Maria: So you did what in response?

Helen: I was so shocked, ....I uh.......didn't do anything. I just stood there and let her continue. I didn't know what else to do.

Maria: (trying to take all of this in) So.......even though it was unexpected and probably originally unwanted, .....you didn't stop her. You just, .....let her continue. (Helen shakes her head yes and Maria whistles in amazement) You're a stronger woman than I Helen, ...I think I would have spazzed and beat the hell out of her. (Pauses) Did anything other than that happen?

Helen: (wrings her hands nervously) No, .....that was it. After about five minutes she backed off and said good night. Then she left and I just sat there for an hour and tried to figure out what had just happened.

Maria; It seems pretty obvious what had just happened. Your secretary has got the hots for you and wanted to tell you about it in detail.

Helen: (scowls) Thank you, Maria. (Sighs and tries not to cry) I just can't believe it's true,.... is it REALLY possible that another woman could find me more attractive than my own husband?

Maria: (takes a deep breath) I uh.......really don't think I'm qualified to answer that for you.

Helen: (scoffs) Why SHOULD you need to answer that, ......it seems pretty obvious to me that it's true. What HAPPENED to my marriage? We used to be so virile, we sometimes did it a few times a day. We......

Maria: Um...Helen, I REALLY don't need to hear about.... (The doorbell rings and Helen gets up to answer the door but is cut off by Maria.) I've got it, ......you might decide to take your emotions out on the delivery guy as well. (Maria finds her way to the door and moments later comes back with the food and walks past Helen while making her way into the kitchen) Come on, we'll eat in here. (Helen follows and after entering the kitchen begins to search for a light switch)

Helen: (looks about as she turns the light on to notice that Maria is going about her business as normal) I don't think I could ever get used to getting around in the dark like that.

Maria: Hey, I was born with it so I had little choice but to get used to it real quick. (Has a seat at the kitchen table and feel around for the contents of the paper bag) Is this one yours? (Holds up a cool plastic container)

Helen: Why yes, it is. How could you tell?

Maria: They typically don't heat up salad, Helen. (Reaches into the bag and pulls out a warm tinfoil package and they both begin to eat. After a while Maria resumes the previous conversation.) So.....your secretary wants your body. I don't see that as a tremendous problem, just tell her that you don't feel the same way and that you're happily married. The way I understand it, she'll either take the hint and move on or she'll try to destroy your marriage with your husband so she can have you all to herself. If the latter happens, ....then you'll just have to kill her. (Maria smirks) Either way this whole lesbo thing isn't all that important. You're letting this bother you because you're unsure if, in you're middle age years, that you're still attractive to the opposite sex. Specifically you're husband.

Helen: (drops her head into her hands) Why do I even bother? (Sighs and picks her head back up as she thinks) So.....what you're saying is that if I found a way to get Jake to show interest then Mary Anne would see that I'm happier with Jake and go away?

Maria: Uh........I guess. Actually I was just trying to suggest that you just ignore her and deal with more important things, but hey that works even better doesn't it. Well what do you know, the mind really does think better with a full stomach.

Helen: (ignores the last comment as she twirls her fork in her food. Her mind going a mile a minute) What would be a sure fire way to get Jake's interest?

Maria: (Shrugs) You're asking the wrong person, ...you've probably got a lot more experience under your belt than I have.

Helen: Oh no, that wouldn't work. Bondage would remind him of his father whipping him and he would fly off into another one of his rants.

Maria: (V.O) Ok, .....that was just a LITTLE more information than was necessary at this point. (Out loud) Here's an idea, ...just confront him and demand sex. That typically gets a guys attention right off the bat. I know Trent seems to respond well to it. (Smiles)

Helen: (Gets up from the table) Oh no....no....no, that won't do. If I know Jake he'll either cower or run away. (Sighs heavily) Well, thank you for listening to me rant. But I'm not sure if it's helping, I think I'm just going to have to figure this out on my own. Hell, I've been doing it for my entire lifetime anyway. Why should this be any easier? (Starts to head for the door) I'll talk to you later, Maria.

Maria: Helen.....? Has anyone ever told you that you're a very controlling person? Hey, it wouldn't kill you just to let someone else take the reins for a while. (Hears Helen close the door on her way out) (shrugs) Hell, I got free food out of it so at least somebody in this whole mess is happy. (Begins to consume the rest of her cheese steak) (V.O) I'll give you one thing Daria, you've got one seriously weird mom. (Thinks for a moment) Wow, .....she didn't even notice the ring. I didn't even get inside the door of my house and my mom was itching to see it.(1)

(Cut to about ten O'clock that evening at the Morgendorffer home. Jake is busy in the kitchen struggling to understand the directions on a bag of microwave popcorn. Helen still dressed in her work attire walks quietly up behind him)

Jake: Why the hell do they tell you to lie the thing face down when the picture clearly shows that the bag is face up? Stupid instructions......they toy with your mind. That's what they do!

Helen: (sighs) Jake what the hell are you doing?

Jake: I'm trying to make some popcorn. (Jake starts before Helen can say a word) Oh sure, I know what's on your mind. The doctor told you to stay away from oils, Jake. Remember your heart, Jake. Why the HELL can't anyone just let me enjoy something in peace?

Helen: (V.O) Oh god, this just isn't going to work. He's started already (She starts to tear up a little)

Jake: (stops his rant as he's rarely seen Helen cry for no reason before. He takes a deep breath to calm himself) What's the matter Helen?

Helen: Jake, why don't you ever look at me anymore?

Jake: What are you talking about, honey? I'm looking at you right now.

Helen: NOT like that, I mean like you used to. Jake there was a time when the second we got time to ourselves, we couldn't keep our hands off of each other. Then after the heart attack ....you just didn't act as frisky as you used to. I didn't think anything of it at the time, ...I thought it was just because you needed to recuperate and you'd bounce back to your old self sooner or later. But that didn't happen, .....and then when Quinn died. ....It was just as if you had stopped looking at me all together. It was as if we were just friends or something.

Jake: But Helen.....

Helen: Jake, .....for gods sake. There are women out there who seem to find me more attractive than YOU do. What sort of signal does that send to you?

Jake: Oh my god Helen, you never told me that you were into THAT. EWWWWW!!!

Helen: Dammit Jake, I am NOT into THAT! Can't you get it through your thick skull? (Walks over to the kitchen table and slumps down in a chair) (mumbles) Oh god,....why do I even bother?

Jake: What is it that you want from me, Helen? Is it that I don't say "I love you enough"? Honey, you know I do.

Helen: Sometimes it just isn't enough to say it, Jake. I may be middle age, .....but I can still feel young. I just thought that you could too, .....I guess I was wrong.

Jake: (sighs and realizes what he has to do) What did you want to do?

Helen: (looks up at him with a depressed face) Use you're imagination, Jake. Get weird if you need to, I don't care at this point.

Jake: (starts to think) Weird................. (After a long moment Jake storms out of the kitchen and returns ten minutes later with a large brown shopping bag which he sets down on the counter, then he starts rummaging through the fridge)

Helen: Jake,.....what the hell are you up to?

Jake: (turns to look at her and lifts an eyebrow) Don't ask....... (he finds what he wants and then turns around and lifts Helen out of her chair and sits her on top of the table) Don't move from that spot. (Jake starts pulling things out of the paper bag one at a time, one of the things being a moustache trimmer. Helen just stares wide eyed)

(Cut to the next morning in Helen's office as Mary Anne comes in and prepares to get to work)

Mary Anne: Mrs. Morgendorffer....? (She walks over to check the machine and there is a message there form Helen stating that she won't be in this morning for personal reasons. Mary Anne just stands there speechless.)

The End...........................................

Footnote :

1 : Trent had given Maria an engagement ring in "Fate's Twisted Sense of Humor"

Comments are always appreciated, ...I may be reached at wildgoose81@hotmail.com