Welcome to my third Daria fanfic. Thanks again to all those who have e-mailed their feedback on my previous works. Now, let's get into it, shall we . . .

( . . . la la LA la la . . .)

Daria in "On the Outside"

Written by Jon Kilner

ACT 1:



JAKE: (Enthusiastic.) Here it comes, everyone. My latest creation.



(Helen, Quinn and Daria are seated in their usual places around the dinner table. Jake, dressed in his "Kiss the Cook" apron is carrying a large steaming stew pot from the stove to the table. He sets it down and takes up his ladle.)

JAKE: Okay. Who's first?

(Helen looks to Daria, then Quinn. Finding no volunteers, she bravely holds her bowl out and Jake ladles it full of a thick, greyish substance from the pot. Helen looks it over as Daria and Quinn receive their share.)

HELEN: (Dubious.) Jake, what is this?

JAKE: It's beef stew de puree a la Jake. You'll love it, Helen. (He lifts his right hand. Pinching his thumb and forefinger, he takes on the serious tone of a professional chef.) It's a bold concoction, rife with beef and vegetables and just the right blend of seasonings. (He tastes from the ladle.) Delicious.

(As Jake serves himself, Helen sets her bowl down. Lifting her spoon, she tastes the stew. Immediately she gets a sour look and swallows hard. Then she reaches for a slice of bread.)

JAKE: (Hopeful.) What do you think?"

HELEN: It's . . . um . . . very interesting, honey. Yes, very interesting.

JAKE: (Unsure if he's been complimented or insulted, he turns to Quinn, who is eyeing her stew with open suspicion.) What do you think, Quinn?

QUINN: (Under the spotlight, she tastes the stew. Her face quickly turns sour.) Ewww. This stuff has things in it.

JAKE: (Now crestfallen, he looks to his eldest.) What about you, Daria?

(Daria looks to Quinn and Helen, both of whom are watching her with interest, awaiting her reaction. Lastly, Daria looks to her father. He is wearing a nervous, yet hopeful smile. Daria looks to her stew and sighs. She tastes it and closes her eyes, obviously repressing any reaction. Then she opens her eyes and looks to her father.)

DARIA: Well, Dad. Measured in terms of your past culinary creations and factoring in the obvious level of your cooking skills as displayed over the years, I would have to say that this is one of your more creditable efforts.

JAKE: (Brightens.) Thanks, Daria. I knew it was going to turn out good. (He starts eating, enjoying his stew.)

(Daria takes on a Mona Lisa smile. Helen sees it and shakes her head. The meaning behind Daria's words hasn't gone over her head. Meanwhile, Quinn pushes her bowl back a bit and reaches for a slice of bread.)

QUINN: Mom, is it okay if I go to the mall tonight? The fashion club is meeting at Cashman's to pick out some new outfits for the dance on Saturday.

HELEN: I suppose so. If you're up-to-date on your schoolwork, that is.

QUINN: (Nervous.) Oh . . . sure. I'm all caught up. No problem.

HELEN: Well, okay then. (She looks up from her stew and sees Quinn brush a hand across her forehead.) Quinn? Are you all right? You look a little pale.

QUINN: I'm fine, mom. I'm just a little tired. All that studying, you know.

DARIA: (Deadpan.) Of course. After all, you can't maintain such a red-hot academic pace without having it affect your health.

HELEN: (Turns to Daria.) Now, Daria. I'm being serious. (Turns back to Quinn.) Maybe you should stay home tonight, Quinn.

QUINN: Muh'om. I'm okay. (She stands up and lifts both arms over her head.) See, I'm perfectly all right. I have to get ready now. Sandi will be here soon to pick me up.

HELEN: (Dubious.) Well, all right. If you say so.

(Quinn walks out of the kitchen, Helen's eyes following her the whole way. Once Quinn is gone, Helen turns to Daria, who is finishing off her stew.)

HELEN: And what are your plans for the evening, Daria?

DARIA: (Stands up.) I'm going over to Jane's. Animal Maulings is having a two-hour special tonight on vengeful barnyard animals. See you later.

(Daria leaves the kitchen. Helen follows her with her eyes, then she shakes her head.)



(Daria walks up to the front door and rings the bell. Trent answers.)

TRENT: Oh. Hey, Daria.

DARIA: Hi, Trent.

TRENT: Janey's not here. She's out running.

DARIA: I can wait.

TRENT: (Hesitant.) Uh, no. She said to tell you that she can't watch the show with you tonight. She kind of wants to be alone.

DARIA: Oh. Is anything wrong?

TRENT: Kind of. Yeah.

DARIA: (Waits for more, but Trent is not forthcoming.) Anything I can help with?

TRENT: Yes. No. Well, maybe.

DARIA: (Bemused.) Make up your mind.

TRENT: Maybe. Look. Janey went running in the park. You can probably find her there.

DARIA: (Taking the hint.) Okay. Thanks, Trent.

TRENT: No problem.



(Daria is sitting on a park bench, watching people go by. An elderly couple passes, hand in hand. A jogger runs past. A man and a woman in matching outfits ride by on bicycles. Finally Jane jogs into view, wearing her running outfit of a red shirt, grey shorts and sneakers. Jane spots Daria and stops.)

JANE: (A little winded.) What are you doing here? No, let me guess. Trent?

DARIA: Got it on the first try.

JANE: (Brows knit in anger.) Damn that boy. The next time I want privacy, I'm going to tell him to send everybody my way.

DARIA: (Smirks.) That might do it. (Turns serious.) I think he was worried about you. Is anything the matter?

JANE: (Her angry expression fades and she sits down next to Daria.) I'm going to be out of school tomorrow.

DARIA: (Half-smile.) That is depressing.

JANE: (Her face impassive, she looks down.) I'm going out of town for the weekend. My Great-Uncle Randolph died. Trent and I are going to the funeral.

DARIA: (Drops her smile.) Oh. I'm sorry.

JANE: (Mumbles.) Yeah. Me to.

DARIA: Are you okay?

JANE: (Halfhearted.) Yeah.

DARIA: Do you . . . want to talk about it?

JANE: (Shakes out of her funk.) What? No. (Fake lightness.) Hey, you know how I feel about my family. I'm just bummed that I have to waste a perfectly good weekend on them.

DARIA: (Not convinced.) Are you sure?

JANE: (Abrupt.) I don't want to talk about it. (Then she lightens up, her expression appreciative.) But thanks anyway, Daria.

DARIA: Okay.

JANE: (She stands.) Look. I'm going to get back to my running before I cool off. See ya Monday?

DARIA: See you Monday, then.

(Jane resumes her run, vanishing off screen. Daria watches her go, her expression showing that she hasn't bought Jane's cover story, but there is nothing she can do about it if Jane doesn't want to talk. Maybe when she gets back. Daria sighs and walks off in the other direction.)



(We hear the sound of the school bell ringing.)



(We see the Fashion Club walking down the hall past rows of lockers. Sandi is in the lead with Tiffany and Stacy just behind. Quinn is bringing up the rear, looking pale.)

STACY: (Looks to Quinn.) Quinn? Are you feeling all right?

SANDI: (Looks back at Quinn.) God, Quinn. You look even worse than you did last night.

TIFFANY: Yeaaahhhh. You look just terrible, Quinn.

SANDI: (Snide.) I hope you'll be able to make it to the dance tomorrow night.

QUINN: (Fakes up some bubbliness.) I'll be there. I have a date with Devon and I'm not going to miss that.

SANDI: Well, that's good to hear. I'd hate for the Fashion Club to be under-strength for such a fashion-related event. We have our image to uphold.

QUINN: Don't worry about me, Sandi. I'll make it.

SANDI: Well, I hope you have a good supply of blush. The dress you bought won't look good with such pale skin.

(Sandi takes on a smug grin as Quinn glares at her from behind. The only look of concern comes from Stacy. The Fashion Club walks past Jodie and Mack, who are standing at Jodie's locker. The camera stays with Jody and Mack as the Fashion Club walks off screen.)

MACK: What time do you want me to pick you up tomorrow night?

JODIE: (Turns to him as she pulls a book from her locker.) The dance starts at seven, so I guess about six-thirty.

MACK: Great. I'll be there.

(Jodie closes her locker. From Jodie's perspective we can see Daria standing at her locker a little ways down the hall. We return to the view of Jodie and Mack, Jodie still looking at Daria. Her face indicates her thoughts are turning and she smiles.)

JODIE: I've got an idea. Daria won't have any plans for Saturday night, not with Jane out of town for the weekend. Let's see if she wants to go to the dance.

MACK: (Looks dubious.) Daria? At a school dance?

JODIE: Why not? It could maybe help her break out of her shell a little. Maybe she could make a few friends and have some fun.

MACK: I don't know if that's such a good idea. If Daria wanted to join in, she would. We shouldn't push her.

JODIE: It's not pushing. It's helping. Come on.

(Jodie starts walking toward Daria. Mack follows, still looking dubious about the whole idea. They approach Daria just as she puts one last book away and closes her locker.)

JODIE: Hey, Daria. So what are you up to this weekend?

DARIA: (Senses a ploy.) I'm planning to spend a few quiet days with my books, myself and no extracurricular activities.

JODIE: (Laughs it off.) Come on, Daria. I'm not going to ask you to participate in anything.

DARIA: Then what are you going to ask me?

(Jodie looks to Mack for support, but he is smiling at the fact that Daria read Jody so easily. Jodie widens her eyes, silently urging his support.)

MACK: Well, Daria. We were just wondering if you were going to the dance tomorrow night.

DARIA: Did you really consider that a possibility?

MACK: We thought you might like to go. You know. It could be fun.

DARIA: (Half-smile. She glances at Jody. Then she turns her gaze back to Mack, raising an eyebrow.) Et tu, Mackus?

(Mack suddenly looks uncomfortable, but Jodie dives right in.)

JODIE: Seriously, Daria. You should come.

DARIA: (Looking for an out.) I don't have a date. And before you ask, I don't want to go with a great boy you just happen to know.

JODIE: (Raises an eyebrow of her own.) Daria, give me some credit. But seriously, you could go with us. You don't need a date to go to a dance, you know. Some people go to meet other people.

DARIA: I already know more than enough people.

JODIE: Come on. You don't have any other plans, do you?

DARIA: No, I don't. But doing nothing at home is still better than going to a school dance.

JODIE: (Disappointed. She sees she isn't going to win this battle.) Are you sure?

DARIA: Positive.

JODIE: Well, if you change your mind, give me a call. Okay?

(Jodie and Mack walk off as Daria shakes her head. We follow Jodie and Mack.)

MACK: (Smiles understandingly.) Told you so.

JODIE: (Sounding exasperated, but with no malice.) Oh, shut up.



(We see Jane and Trent getting out of an airport taxi. Trent is carrying his peace sign-adorned black travel bag, Jane her black bag with a white skull painted on it. Trent pays the driver, then together he and Jane turn to face the house.)

JANE: I really don't want to do this.

TRENT: (Glances at her.) I thought you liked Uncle Randolph.

JANE: I do. It's the rest of them I can't stand.

TRENT: Oh. I can understand that.

(Together they walk up to the door and ring the bell. The door is answered by Aunt Matilda, a woman in her fifties with greying hair, a white blouse and tan slacks. Her face creases into a disapproving frown at the sight of Jane and Trent.)

MATILDA: Oh, hello Trent. Hello Jane. I suppose your parents aren't going to make it?

JANE: (Slips easily into defensive sarcasm.) No, they aren't. They'd rather maintain a firm grip on reality.

MATILDA: (Scowls.) Well, come on in. (Her scowl fades as they follow her inside and she takes on the role of bereaved hostess.) Isn't it just terrible about Uncle Randolph? A real tragedy.

TRENT: Yeah. I always kinda thought he would live forever.

MATILDA: (Mumbles.) God forbid.

JANE: What?

MATILDA: What? Oh, nothing. You know. Laugh to keep from crying, that sort of thing. Oh, look. (She turns and opens a hand toward two seated relatives, a balding man in his fifties and a woman wearing a large straw hat.) Here are Aunt Bernice and Uncle Lester. You should say hello.

BERNICE: (Subdued.) Hello, children.

LESTER: Hey, Trent. Hello, Jane.

TRENT: (Utterly without enthusiasm.) Hey.

JANE: (Ditto.) Hey.

MATILDA: (To Bernice and Lester.) We were just talking about what a tragedy it is to lose dear Uncle Randolph.

BERNICE: (Her expression turns angry.) It's a tragedy, all right. A tragedy that he wasted his life the way he did. All that art nonsense. He spent his life on it and it never did amount to anything.

JANE: (Brow creases.) I don't agree. I've seen a lot of Uncle Randy's work and I think it's pretty damned good.

LESTER: Yeah, maybe. But what do his works matter now? I mean, what are they really worth? Nothing, that's what. Randolph should have built something with his life. A business. A career. Hell, even a family would have been something.

JANE: I don't know. Most people I meet just seem to confirm the theory that reproduction for its own purpose is not necessarily a good thing. (She lowers her voice to a mumble.) Take the two of you for instance.

LESTER: (Didn't really follow what Jane said aloud.) Well, at least it would have been something. Instead, he produced nothing his whole life.

BERNICE: Well, I wouldn't say he produced nothing. After all, those wood sculptures of his will cut down into some pretty decent kindling.

(Lester and Bernice laugh at her joke. Then we see Jane and Trent in close up. Trent turns to Jane. Jane looks his way, her brow furrowed in anger.)



QUINN: (Sounding tired.) Let's see. Mango? No. Peach? No.



(Quinn is standing in front of her mirrors. She is more pale than before, but she's not letting it interfere with her dance preparations. With her left hand she is holding an orange dance dress up to herself. With her right she is choosing open lipsticks from a pile and holding them up her lips one by one. She lifts a new one.)

QUINN: Coral! That's the one. (She sets the lipstick down on her dresser and starts picking through a pile of shoes at her feet.) Now, which one of these will look the best?

(As Quinn starts the selection process anew, Helen walks by and looks in through the open door. She sees Quinn and her eyes widen with concern.)

HELEN: Quinn! (She rushes to Quinn's side.) You look terrible? How do you feel?

QUINN: (Impatient sigh.) I'm fine, mom.

HELEN: Well, you certainly don't look fine. (She puts a hand to Quinn's forehead.) My goodness! You're burning up. Get into bed this instant, young lady. You're ill.

QUINN: (Distressed.) But muh-om! I told you, I'm okay. Besides, this dance is really important.

HELEN: I won't hear another word, Quinn. You are not going to the dance. You're going straight to bed right now.

QUINN: (Fed up, she throws her dress onto her bed and stands before her mother, fists on her hips.) Look, mom. I'm telling you I'm not sick. I'm perfectly healthy. A little tired, maybe, but it's no big deal. I mean, just because . . . just because . . . just . . .

(Quinn suddenly looks very queasy. She covers her mouth and sprints for the door. From the bathroom we hear the sounds of Quinn giving a sacrifice to the porcelain alter. Helen rushes to her aid.

( . . . la la LA la la . . .)


(COMMERCIAL LEAD IN: In slow motion we see Daria sitting on the park bench as Jane runs up to join her.)




(Jake is sitting on the sofa, reading his newspaper. Daria enters from the kitchen holding a cup of coffee. Setting the cup on the coffee table, she picks up the Arts section, sits down on the love seat and starts reading. Helen enters, coming down the stairs. She walks up behind the sofa.)

HELEN: It looks like Quinn is down for the weekend.

JAKE: (Looks up from his paper.) What's the matter?

HELEN: Her stomach is very upset. She said it started on Thursday night, but of course she didn't tell me about it. Anyway, she's not going to the dance tonight.

DARIA: (Eyes still on her paper.) The school's gain is our loss.

HELEN: Daria. That's enough.

JAKE: (While Helen and Daria have been talking, Jake has gotten a far-away look. He snaps back to the present abruptly.) Thursday night? That was the night I made the stew! Oh my God. What have I done? I've killed my little girl.

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I knew one of us would, one day.

HELEN: Oh, Jake. Get a grip. It wasn't the stew. I think Quinn has that flu bug that's been going around.

JAKE: Well then, what do we do? Boil some water? Is it starve a cold and feed a fever or the other way around? I can never remember.

HELEN: (Perturbed at Jake's outbursts.) I've already taken care of it, Jake. I put Quinn to bed and I'll open a can of broth to heat up when her stomach settles a little.

DARIA: Don't forget the ginger ale and a square of gelatin.

HELEN: (Ignoring the comment.) But I've got so much work to catch up on tonight. I'm going to need some help. That's where you come in, Daria.

DARIA: (Finally looks up from her paper.) What?

HELEN: Now don't start, Daria. I need your help with Quinn and that's that. After all, with your friend out of town, I know you can't have any plans tonight.

DARIA: Um . . . (She is considering her options very hard.) Actually, I do have plans for tonight.

HELEN: (Surprised.) You do?

DARIA: That's right. Big plans. Big, big plans.

HELEN: Well, what are they?

DARIA: (Innocent.) What are what?

HELEN: (Exasperated.) Your plans, Daria. What are your plans?

DARIA: (Swallows hard the bitter pill that has been passed to her.) I've decided to go to the school dance tonight.

HELEN: (Even more surprised.) You have? That's unusual.

DARIA: Yes, strange but true. So am I off the puke patrol?

HELEN: (Sounding put out.) I suppose so. What time will you be leaving?

DARIA: (Gets up and heads for the stairs, tossing the paper onto the love seat.) That's what I'm going to find out right now. I've got a phone call to make.

(Helen watches Daria hurry up the stairs. Then she turns back.)

HELEN: (Mumbles.) This is going to cut into my work load.

JAKE: (Looks up from his paper. Enthusiastic.) I'll give you a hand, honey.

HELEN: (Looks like she just swallowed a bug.) No, that's okay, Jakey. You just relax. You've had a hard week, what with your new client and all.

(Helen heads for the kitchen. Jake watches her leave, then shrugs and turns back to his newspaper.)



(Jane is standing alone in a room that was obviously Great-Uncle Randolph's studio. Various paintings hang on the walls and more sit on the floor. An unfinished abstract rests on an easel. A table fills one corner, crowded with sculptures in wood and clay. Sculpting implements are scattered among the works. Sketch pads lay on the table and on the floor. A pottery wheel occupies another corner, surrounded by various exotically-shaped vases. Jane is caught up in a particular painting on the wall, a post-impressionist rendering of a sunset in bold, striking colors. She contemplates the work in peaceful silence. Naturally the silence does not last. Aunt Bernice enters the room with another unknown relative. The two women look quickly around.

BERNICE: Look at this. Rubbish, all of it.

WOMAN: I've never understood Randolph's work. If he had to paint, why couldn't he do family portraits or something?

(Jane is jolted out of her reverie and spares the two women an acidic glance.)

BERNICE: Why, these aren't even pictures of anything. Just colors splashed all over the canvass. What a waste of effort.

WOMAN: It's a shame. And I hear that Randolph had such promise in his youth.

BERNICE: Oh, yes. He could have taken over his father's fish cannery, but no. He wanted to work with his art. Damned fool.

WOMAN: But didn't he sell pieces in his shows?

BERNICE: (Dismissive wave of her hand.) Well, yes. But only to other art flakes and some to art museums.

WOMAN: Museums? My goodness.

BERNICE: Oh, don't be too impressed. Have you ever been to an art museum?

WOMAN: Well, no.

BERNICE: (Looks smug.) Well, I have. They'll hang any old thing on their walls these days. Give me the good old days when a painting was something you could understand, like a portrait or animals or something.

(Jane's anger burns hotter as she listens. She almost says something, but thinks better of it and turns away. These two aren't worth it. Jane walks out of the room.)



(Quinn is lying in bed, awake. Helen enters and sets about a frantic 'mothering' routine; fluffing the pillows, tucking Quinn in, feeling her forehead.)

QUINN: Muh'om. What are you doing?

HELEN: I'm taking care of my baby, of course.

QUINN: I'm not a baby, mom.

HELEN: Of course not, sweety. Just let me pull these covers up nice and snug.

QUINN: (Sighs.) You didn't mean it when you told me that Daria was going to help take care of me, did you? Cause that would be really embarrassing.

HELEN: Oh, Quinn. I'm sorry, but Daria won't be able to help out tonight. She's going to the dance.

QUINN: (Distressed.) What?

HELEN: That's right. Apparently Jodie Landon and her boyfriend Michael are giving Daria a ride. Isn't that nice of them?

QUINN: Daria is going to the dance and I have to stay home? Oh, that's not fair.

(Overcome with teenage despair, Quinn falls back onto her pillow and closes her eyes.)

HELEN: That's it, dear. You just get some rest and you'll be feeling better in no time.



(The kitchen table is laid out with a variety of cold cuts, cheeses, rolls and condiments. Trent and Jane are standing at the table assembling a couple of pretty impressive sandwiches. Trent is on the right, standing between Jane and two adults we don't recognize, a paunchy man in his fifties and a thirtysomething woman with short black hair. They are laughing quietly over something, then continue their conversation. As they talk, Jane and Trent pause in their preparations to listen.)

MAN: And then in the early fifties he rode the rails like a hobo, traveling from city to city like a bum in the freight cars. He said that he was looking for material and for people interested in his work, but he didn't find anyone.

WOMAN: Is that right?

MAN: (Chuckles.) He returned home with about fifty cents in his pocket and five sketch pads filled with drawings. That's all he had to show for six months of travel.

WOMAN: (Shakes her head.) What a dreamer.

(The two of them top off their sandwiches and walk away. Trent and Jane watch them go, both of their faces showing utter disdain. Trent turns to Jane and raises an eyebrow.)

TRENT: They never chased a dream in their lives. They just don't get it.

JANE: And they never will. (She closes her eyes and shakes her head.) I don't know how much more of this I can take.



(Daria is sitting on her bed talking on the phone.)

DARIA: Hello, Jody? Yeah. I'm calling to say that I've reconsidered. I'll go with you and Mack to the dance tonight.

(The screen splits. Daria is on the left. The right side opens and we see Jodie standing in her living room, holding the receiver of a phone that is sitting on an end table.)

JODIE: Really? Wow, Daria. What changed your mind?

DARIA: Let's just say that of the options I have been offered for this night, the dance has turned out to be the lesser of two evils.

JODIE: (Looks confused.) Um . . . okay. So we'll pick you up around six-thirty then?

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I'll be counting the hours.

JODIE: Remember to leave yourself plenty of time to get ready. I don't want to arrive late.

DARIA: Don't worry. I've got it covered.

JODIE: Great. See you tonight, then.

DARIA: See you.

(The split screen closes on Jodie, leaving Daria as she hangs up the phone. She stands up. Spreading her arms wide, she looks down at her usual ensemble of green jacket, black skirt and Doc Martens. Then she looks up again.)

DARIA: Well, I'm ready. (Mona Lisa smile.) That didn't take so long.



(Jane is sitting in a recliner, one knee hooked over the arm of the chair. Her sketch pad is resting on her knee and she is sketching an elderly male relative who has fallen asleep in the next chair over. As she sketches, a woman in her twenties walks up and looks over her shoulder. A man of about the same age is at her side, a soda in his hand.)

WOMAN: Wow. You're pretty good.

JANE: (Doesn't look up. Deadpan.) Thanks.

WOMAN: I've always wished I could draw. It must be an interesting hobby.

JANE: (Stops sketching. She looks up at the woman.) I suppose it would be an interesting hobby. I like to think of it as something more, however.

WOMAN: (Tentative.) Really?

JANE: I prefer to think of it as art. You know, the act of expressing one's inner turmoil by pouring it out onto clean white paper like blood splashed over a rain-swept sidewalk.

WOMAN: (Taken aback.) Oh. I can see that, I guess. So you consider yourself an artist?

JANE: (Turns back to her work.) Yes. That's what I consider myself.

MAN: I suppose you can make a good career out of commercial art. There's a lot of money to be made in magazine adds and billboards. I'm in advertising myself, you know. An idea man. It can be a real pain sometimes, but the money is damn good.

JANE: (Disgusted, she doesn't look up.) I'm sure.

MAN: Be sure to contact me when you get out of art school or whatever. Maybe I can help you get started.

WOMAN: (She looks at the man and laughs.) Good idea. I doubt she'd want to end up like poor old Uncle Randolph, still working on his silly projects into his old age.

MAN: That's for sure. You know, I wonder if he could even see what a useless path his life had taken.

WOMAN: I doubt it. He would have done something about it, don't you think?

JANE: (She looks up from her drawing, enraged.) That's it!

(Jane slams her sketch book closed and stands up to face her oh-so-helpful relatives.)

JANE: I've had enough of you people putting Uncle Randy down! You know what? I'd be proud to follow in Uncle Randy's footsteps. And you know why? Because he didn't spend all his time slaving away at some stupid job to earn gobs of money to be spent on useless crap. He spent his whole life immersed in creation. That's something you know nothing about.

(Everyone in the room has now turned to see what the shouting is about. Jane ignores the attention. Taking her sketch book in her right hand, she points with her left at the man.)

JANE: You'll never know that special feeling you get when you're lost in creative thought and the rest of the world disappears. You'll never know the satisfaction of seeing the completion of a work that you've poured your whole heart and soul into. You'll never know the joy that comes when someone looks at your work and truly understands it. Understands you. I feel sorry for you.

(Both the woman and the man are taken aback at her outburst. The other scattered relatives are shocked as well. Jane looks around at them.)

JANE: I feel sorry for all of you. You never could understand Uncle Randy, so you cut him down and made fun of him. You ridiculed him all his life and that not being enough, you have to go on ridiculing him after he's gone. Well, as far as I'm concerned, you can all go to hell!

(Jane storms off screen, leaving behind a room full of shocked faces.)



(Quinn is lying awake in bed. Helen enters with a tray containing a bowl of broth and a cup of tea. She sets the tray down on the night stand and resumes adjusting Quinn's covers.)

QUINN: (Upset.) Muh'om. What are you doing?

HELEN: (Voice sweet.) Just helping my little girl get comfortable.

QUINN: Mom, why can't you just leave me alone.

HELEN: (Taken aback, she takes one step back from the bed.) What?

QUINN: You're driving me crazy. Isn't it enough that I can't go to the dance and that Daria is going? Aren't I miserable enough without you coming in here every three minutes to bother me?

HELEN: (Upset.) Quinn, I'm just trying to help.

QUINN: (She pulls her covers up and turns away, putting the barrier of cloth between them.) Well, you're not. Just let me be by myself.

(Helen backs up a few more steps, as if Quinn has slapped her. Then her expression turns sad.)

HELEN: Very well. If that's what you want. Just remember, I'm here if you need me.

(Helen turns to leave the room, but pauses in the doorway. She turns and looks back at Quinn. She opens her mouth to speak again, then thinks better of it. Finally she turns away and leaves the room.)



(MUSIC: "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mack.)

In a series of wordless, slow motion scenes, we see:

- A crane shot of a sunny afternoon. At treetop level we see the sky blue and cloudless, the trees and grass green. Slowly the shot pans down and we see a cemetery cut by a winding access road. A line of cars is progressing down the road, led by a hearse and several black limousines. The line of cars stops and people start getting out.

- A full shot of Jane getting out of a limousine, wrapped in a personal cloud of gloom. She is dressed in her usual red and black, adding only a pair of black sunglasses. She walks out onto the grass, joining and yet ignoring the flow of mourners. Trent gets out next, also dressed as usual with sunglasses.

- The mourners surrounding a casket that is suspended over a fresh grave. The minister is at the head of the group. As he mouths his words of comfort, the camera slowly moves over the mourners to center on Jane and Trent. They stand shoulder to shoulder, straight and silent. Trent has his right arm around Jane's shoulders. His left is clasping Jane's right. Her left hand is resting on his left arm.

- A close up of the minister as he talks on.

- A close up of Jane. Her mouth is a grim slash. The camera slowly moves closer, centering on her sunglass-hidden eyes. The scene dissolves into Jane's thoughts. We see a 4-year-old Jane finger painting with an older man who has a crescent of grey hair tied back into a tail. Both are laughing uproariously. We see Jane at 10, drawing pictures and showing them to her great-uncle. We see them a bit later, walking through an art gallery together, Randolph pointing out the detail of the works. Then we see them only a couple of years ago, painting together. The scene dissolves back to present-day Jane, she camera now moving slowly away. Her face is still grim and tears are now flowing from under her sunglasses.

- The mourners standing around the casket, the shot centered on the minister. The minister speaks his final words and the mourners begin to disperse.

- A full shot of Jane. Everyone else is leaving. Even Trent is a few steps away. Jane remains, watching the casket slowly being lowered into the grave, her tears still flowing. Trent looks back at her, obviously concerned. He turns back and puts his arm around Jane's shoulders. This time she seems to wilt and she rests her head on his shoulder. Trent leads her away.

- A crane shot, showing an overhead view of the mourners returning to their cars, the casket left behind. Jane and Trent are far behind the others. Then the shot pans upward and we return to the peaceful view of a blue sky over green grass and trees. Two distant birds fly over the horizon. The music fades.



(Helen is walking down the hallway. She pauses at Quinn's door, looking in. Quinn is still turned away. We see a close up of Quinn. She is awake and listening. Cut back to Helen. She looks concerned and she starts to enter the room, but she stops herself. Her eyes sad, she shakes her head and continues on down the hallway. Cut back to Quinn. Hearing her mother's footsteps, she looks back over her shoulder. Helen is gone. Quinn rests her head on the pillow again, her eyes closing. In her own way, she looks a sad as Helen.)



(The lot is already filling up with party goers. Mack pulls into a space and parks. He and Jodie get out, dressed in fine, if not formal clothes. Daria gets out of the back seat, dressed in her usual green and black.)

JODIE: I'm really glad you changed your mind, Daria. Dances are fun. If you give it a chance, you'll see that fitting in isn't all bad.

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I'm certain this will be a real learning experience.

MACK: (Extends his right elbow to Jodie.) Shall we go?

JODIE: (Smiling, she takes his arm.) By all means, sir.

MACK: (Extends his left elbow to Daria.) My lady, may I escort you indoors?

(Daria hesitates a moment. She looks at the school, her expression impassive. Then she takes Mack's arm.)

DARIA: I suppose so. (Then to herself, in voice over.) Let's get this over with.

( . . . la la LA la la . . . )


(COMMERCIAL LEAD IN: In slow motion we see Jane telling her relatives off, then storming away.)




(MUSIC: "Gettin' Jiggy Wit it" by Will Smith.)

(Jodie, Mack and Daria enter the gymnasium. It is decorated in blue and yellow streamers and bows. Students already cover the dance floor, moving to the music. Mack motions toward the dance floor and Jodie smiles.)

MACK: Care to dance, my lady?

JODIE: Certainly, sir. (Turns to Daria.) Will you be okay if we dance?

DARIA: (Bemused.) Oh sure. You kids go on and have fun. I'll be fine standing here by the exit.

(Jodie and Mack walk toward the dance floor, passing Sandi, Tiffany and Stacy on the way. The camera stays with the fashion club.)

TIFFANY: (Points off screen.) Ohhhh, my God. Look who's here.

SANDI: (Looks in the indicated direction.) Hey. That's Quinn's cousin, or whatever. What is she doing at a school dance?

STACY: Um, maybe she wants to dance?

SANDI: That's not the point, Stacy. Doesn't she know that she doesn't belong.

TIFFANY: Yeah. School dances are for the popular crowd. Not for people like her.

SANDI: Exactly. That girl is stepping outside of the well established boundaries that define school life. We can't just stand by and let it happen.

STACY: (Looks nervous.) We can't?

SANDI: Of course not. We have to take action or risk a blurring of the boundary lines.

TIFFANY: Buuuuut what should we do?

SANDI: I have a plan, but we're going to require a little help.

STACY: (Really looking nervous.) What are we doing?

SANDI: Relax, Stacy. I'll handle everything. You guys just keep an eye on her while I set things up.

(Sandi walks away from her fellow fashion clubbers and leaves the gymnasium. She walks down the hallway and after a quick look around, disappears into the cafeteria kitchen.)



(A wake of sorts is taking place with the entire family present. People are talking and standing around together. One table is covered with a white table cloth and is laden with food and drink. Jane is standing by the table, a can of soda in hand. She is watching her family with obvious disdain. She looks off to the left and we follow her gaze to Trent, who has been cornered by a man in his forties dressed in slacks and a polo shirt.)

MAN: So you see, Trent, music is a dead end for you. It's a cutthroat business. And let's face it, you've never had the kind of talent it takes to make it.

TRENT: (His brow creases.) Is that right?

MAN: Yep. Now, software. That's the future. Yes, sir. That's where you want to go.

(Trent's face remains angry as we pan back to Jane. She shakes her head, sipping her soda as she turns toward a couple in their fifties who have come to the food table. Just beyond them, Jane's wheelchair-bound grandmother is helping herself to some cheese squares.)

WOMAN: It was a nice service. Don't you think?

MAN: (Busy making a sandwich.) Yeah. I guess so.

WOMAN: It's such a shame.

MAN: Yeah, it is. I hear he left no inheritance. Worse, Matilda's going to have to pay someone to haul away all of Randolph's junk.

(Jane's face turns angry. She slams down her soda can hard enough to send a small geyser of soda up and out over the tablecloth. The couple turns and Jane meets them eye to eye. She doesn't waste her time on them, but turns and walks away. The man and woman look at one another and shrug. Jane's grandmother looks from them to the departing Jane, her face thoughtful. Cut to Jane walking angrily through the crowd of relatives. She passes Trent and he turns to her.)

TRENT: Hey, Janey. Where are you going?

JANE: The hell out of here! I'm not going to spend another moment with these people. I don't care if I have to sleep at the damned airport tonight. I'm leaving.

(Jane storms on past and up the stairs to the second floor. Trent watches her go, then looks around at his relatives. His brow creases.)

TRENT: Sounds good. (He follows her up the stairs.)



(We see a close up of Quinn, seemingly asleep with her covers still pulled up around her face. Behind her, we see Helen slowly entering the room. Almost walking on tiptoe, Helen walks over to the night stand and picks up the tray holding a now empty bowl and cup. As Helen does this, Quinn opens her eyes and listens to her mother's quiet motions. As Helen tiptoes out, Quinn looks back over her shoulder.)

QUINN: (Tentative.) Um. Mom?

HELEN: (Stops and turns around, her face neutral.) Yes, Quinn?

QUINN: (She rolls over and shuffles under her covers.) Could you . . . help me a minute? I can't seem to get comfortable, here.

HELEN: (Brightens.) Of course, Quinn.

(Helen walks back to the bed. Setting the tray aside, she fluffs Quinn's pillows and adjusts her covers. Quinn resettles herself and smiles up at Helen.)

QUINN: Thanks, mom.

HELEN: (Smiling.) My pleasure, sweety.

(Helen leans over and hugs Quinn. Quinn returns the embrace, closing her eyes and smiling at this feeling of receiving maternal comfort. For the moment she is a kid and her mom is taking care of everything. All too soon that relationship will change and the two of them will be separated forever by the gulf of shared adulthood. But for now, it's a good feeling for both of them.)



(MUSIC: "Believe" by Cher.)

(Daria is standing alone by the snack table, sipping a can of soda. Mack walks up to her.)

MACK: Hey, Daria. Having fun?

DARIA: (Deadpan.) Oh, yeah.

MACK: (Extends his right elbow.) Care to dance?

DARIA: I don't dance. I prefer to keep my humiliation down to manageable levels.

MACK: (Smiles.) Aw, come on. You can't be that bad.

DARIA: I have no idea, but I'm not going to find out tonight. (She gives Mack a half-smile.) I'd prefer not to dance. Thanks anyway, though.

MACK: (Still smiling.) Well, okay. If you change you mind . . .

DARIA: I'll know who to come running to.

(The camera follows Mack as he rejoins Jodie on the dance floor.)

JODIE: She turned you down?

MACK: Yep. I guess she just isn't into dancing.

JODIE: (Disappointed.) Too bad. I really thought that coming here might help her loosen up a little.

MACK: (Shrugs.) Maybe she just isn't ready.

JODIE: (Moves closer to Mack until they are in each other's arms.) Well, I'm ready. Shall we dance, sir?

MACK: (Smiles.) I thought you'd never ask.

(Jodie and Mack start dancing with the music. As they dance, Sandi walks across the screen in front of them. The camera follows her as she rejoins Tiffany and Stacy.)

SANDI: Okay. It's all set. Now we just have to sit back and watch the fun.

STACY: (Nervous.) I don't know about this, Sandi.

SANDI: Stacy, don't worry. Students of a lesser station have to learn their place in the school hierarchy. We're just doing our duty.

TIFFANY: Yeah. It's the right thing to do.

(Stacy seems unconvinced. Cut back to Daria, who is still standing alone by the snack table. She finishes her soda and tosses the can into a trash bin. A boy walks up behind her. He is half a head taller than Daria, has short black hair and is wearing blue slacks and a white button down shirt.)

THOMAS: Hey, there. I've never seen you at a dance before.

DARIA: (Turns to face him.) Take a good look. You'll never see it again.

THOMAS: (Smiles.) That's pretty funny. I'm Thomas, by the way.

DARIA: I'm Daria.

THOMAS: (Lifts a hand to indicate their dancing classmates.) Want to dance?

DARIA: I don't dance with strangers. Or with anyone else.

THOMAS: Self-conscious?

DARIA: Self-reliant.

THOMAS: (Smiles.) Good one. It looks like you've tapped out your soda. Can I get you a glass of punch, maybe? No strings attached.

DARIA: I guess there wouldn't be any harm in that.

THOMAS: None, whatsoever. Come on.

(They walk together toward the half-dozen or so students around the punch bowl. In the background we see Sandi, Tiffany and Stacy watching closely. Thomas takes up two punch cups and fills them with the ladle. We move to a close up of Thomas's hands as he returns the ladle, then slips a pinch of powder into one of the glasses. Back to the wider view as he turns to Daria and hands her the one of the cups.)

THOMAS: Here you go.

DARIA: Thanks.

(They each take a sip from their cups. Suddenly Daria gags and violently spits out her punch, which ends up all over the punch bowl crowd. Daria chokes several times, then straightens up.)

DARIA: (Looks at her cup.) What the hell?

(Then she notices that Thomas is grinning like a fool and the entire gymnasium has fallen silent. Then it begins. The laughter. Started by Sandi and Tiffany, it quickly spreads to the rest of the students, all of whom are looking at Daria now. Daria's face turns red. We cut to Jodie and Mack, who are still in each other's arms, but the music has stopped. They look in Daria's direction.)

JODIE: (Shocked.) Oh, God.

MACK: Come on.

(Jodie and Mack start off toward Daria. We cut back to Daria, who stands mortified amid the laughter. Then, unable to take any more, she runs for the doors and vanishes outside. The laughter continues as Thomas starts to follow, yelling after Daria.)

THOMAS: (Laughing.) Hey, come back. You didn't finish your drink.

(Jodie races past Thomas, following Daria out the doors. Mack doesn't run past. Instead he stops right in front of Thomas, blocking his progress. Mack grabs Thomas by the shirt, his face twisted in rage.)

MACK: You're not going out there.

THOMAS: Hey, I was just having a little fun.

MACK: (Glares daggers at Thomas.) Fun? What's wrong with you? (Mack looks around at his still snickering schoolmates and raises his voice.) What's wrong with all of you?

SANDI: (Amid the crowd.) Like, lighten up, Mack. It was just a joke.

MACK: (Centers his attention on her.) A joke? Is that what you call it when you embarrass someone in front of the whole school? (He gazes around at the crowd.) Real funny. Congratulations, everyone. You've just publicly humiliated someone who's only crime is that she's a loner. I hope you're proud of yourselves. I feel like I don't know any of you.

(The crowd falls completely silent. Some of the students, Stacy among them, have the decency to turn their eyes down in shame. Mack turns his attention back to Thomas.

MACK: But I know you. You don't have the brains to come up with a stunt like this on your own. (By the shirt, Mack pulls him close until they are nose to nose.) Now, you're going to tell me who set this up and you're going to tell me right this minute.



(Daria is sitting on the steps, her elbows resting on crossed legs and her chin resting on her open hands. She is looking down at the ground. Jodie appears behind the glass doors and looks out. Then she walks outside and sits down next to Daria.)

JODIE: Hey, Daria. Are you okay?

DARIA: (Deadpan. Doesn't look up.) Oh, sure. Just another day.

JODIE: (Sighs.) I'm really sorry, Daria. I never would have suggested you come if I thought something like this would happen.

DARIA: (Sits up and faces Jodie.) It's all right, Jodie. I don't blame you. I blame myself.

JODIE: (Eyes widen.) What?

DARIA: I never should have come. I just don't fit in.

JODIE: (Shakes her head.) It doesn't have to be that way, Daria.

DARIA: Yes. It does.

JODIE: Daria, not everybody is like Thomas. Some people are worth getting to know.

DARIA: That's not what I'm talking about.

JODIE: Then what are you talking about?

DARIA: (Sighs.) Look, Jodie. You're on the inside in terms of popularity and you like it there. It's where you can be the most comfortable.

JODIE: Is that so wrong?

DARIA: No, it isn't. Not for you. But I'm not on the inside and here's the rub. I don't want to be.

JODIE: C'mon, Daria. Would it be so hard to . . ?

DARIA: (Shakes her head.) You're not getting it. You see things from the inside and it's a common misconception among popular people that those on the outside are aching to get in. That may be true for some, but it isn't true for all outsiders. Some of us genuinely prefer it on the outside. I prefer it on the outside. It's where I can be the most comfortable.

JODIE: (Shakes her head.) I think I understand. But I also think I still owe you an apology. (Sheepish grin.) I'm sorry I tried to push you into fitting in.

DARIA: (Half-smile.) Don't worry about it.

(Mack arrives at the glass doors and looks out. Then he comes out and stands beside them.)

MACK: Hey, Daria. Are you okay?

DARIA: (Looks up at him.) Sure. It'll take a lot more than mere humiliation to make me crack.

MACK: (Smiles.) Speaking of cracking, I got Thomas to tell me who set up that pathetic joke. It was all Sandi's idea.

DARIA: (Deadpan.) Well, there's a shocker.

JODIE: (Angry.) Why that little . . . Somebody should really put her in her place.

DARIA: (Voice ominous.) Leave her to me.

JODIE: (A wary glance at Daria.) What are you going to do?

DARIA: (Smirking.) It's better if the two of you don't know. That way you can't be forced to testify at the inquest.

(Jodie looks faintly worried, but Mack just smiles.)

MACK: Come on. Let's get out of here. What do you guys say to Pizza King?

DARIA: That's the best idea I've heard all night.

JODIE: Let's go.

(Daria and Jodie get up and together the threesome walk off toward the parking lot.)



(Jane and Trent descend the stairs, packed bags in hand, faces set in angry and determined expressions. They pass through their conversing relatives, some of whom turn and look as they go by. No one tries to stop them. They depart through the back door and onto the screened-in porch. As Jane puts her hand on the knob of the porch door, a voice from the darkness stops her.)

VOICE: (Female. Elderly.) So you're leaving?

(Jane and Trent turn in the direction of the voice, but they see only the dark shape of a seated person in the shadows.)

JANE: (Still angry.) I can't think of any reason to stay.

VOICE: I can't say that I blame you.

(The shape moves forward into the light and we see that the voice belongs to Jane's wheelchair-bound grandmother. She stops her chair and looks up at them.)

GRANDMA: Can I say something before you go?

JANE: (Sighing, she takes her hand from the knob.) I suppose so.

TRENT: Yeah. Everyone else seems to be having their say this weekend.

GRANDMA: (Her face turns very sad.) You know that we buried your Great-Uncle Randolph today. But what you might not realize is that we also buried my big brother Randy today. That's a very hard thing you know. My feelings are all a-jumble, not least because of the things that we never managed to settle between us.

(Jane and Trent lose their disapproving scowls as they see the tears on their grandmother's face. Grandma looks up at them.)

GRANDMA: Before you go, Jane, I want to thank you for the words you said in Randy's defense today. I should have said them myself, years ago, but I never did. Maybe I was just used to it being Randy who protected me, not the other way around. Maybe I just never had the courage.

(She looks down, wiping her tears. She pauses a moment to gather herself, then looks up again.

GRANDMA: It's good to see that there are those in the newest generation that are strong enough to say what should be said. Randy was always like that. I see a lot of him in the two of you. (She points to them, an emphatic gesture.) You keep after those dreams of yours and don't let anybody steer you different. And here, Jane. This is for you.

(Grandma reaches over to an old brown blanket, which is draped over something. She pulls the blanket away and reveals Uncle Randolph's post-impressionist sunset painting.)

JANE: (Overwhelmed.) Grandma?

GRANDMA: That's right. It's yours. I think Randy would have wanted you to have it.

JANE: (She steps forward and hugs her grandmother.) Thank you, Grandma.

GRANDMA: My pleasure, dear. (She looks them both over as Jane straightens back up.) So I can't convince you to stay?

JANE: (Looks back toward the front door.) I don't think so.

TRENT: We aren't exactly welcome in there.

GRANDMA: (Nods.) I understand. But I won't have my grandchildren sleeping in an airport. Here you go. (She reaches into her pocketbook and hands Trent a slip of paper.) This is the address of the Tarmac Inn out by the airport. The owner is an old friend of mine. You tell him you're my grandkids and he'll set you up and bill it to me.

TRENT: You don't have to do that.

GRANDMA: Oh, yes I do. (We move in to a close up of Grandma's sad, yet smiling face.) If I didn't, Randy would never forgive me.



(We hear the sound of the school bell ringing.)



(We see Daria and Jane standing by their lockers. Daria is holding Jane's sketchbook, turning the pages and looking at the drawings within.)

DARIA: Wow. So these are the members of your extended family.

JANE: Some of them, yeah. I drew them on the plane home.

DARIA: (Looks from the book to Jane.) And they all have these horns?

JANE: (Smiles.) Well, not all of them.

(Jane turns the page and Daria looks at the drawing that is revealed.)

DARIA: Wow. This one is beautiful. Who is she?

JANE: My grandma.

DARIA: You put a lot of time into this one. You must like her.

JANE: (Half-smile.) She has her moments.

DARIA: (Closes the book and hands it to Jane.) It looks as if you had an interesting weekend.

JANE: (Raises an eyebrow.) Not as interesting as yours, or so I've heard. Jodie told me that Sandi humiliated you in front of the whole school.

DARIA: Not in front of anyone that matters. Just the popular crowd.

JANE: (Her eyebrows arch in a devious look.) Need any help in planning your revenge?

DARIA: I already have that well in hand, thank you.

(Suddenly there is a chorus of 'ohmygods' from off screen. Sandy comes into view, walking quickly across the screen. She has both hands to her face, but they can't completely cover up the fact that her face is candy-apple red, a far brighter shade of red than can be naturally achieved. Stacy and Tiffany are just behind her, supplying a steady stream of 'ohmygods.')

SANDI: (Distressed.) Will you two shut up and help me get to the nurses office?

STACY: But how did it happen?

TIFFANY: I don't know. She turned that color just after she put on her foundation.

SANDI: I've been poisoned! Just don't let anybody see me like this!

(Daria and Jane watch the trio as they proceed off camera.)

JANE: And here I thought chemistry was a complete waste of time.

DARIA: (Half-smile.) It has its uses.

JANE: (Still watching the now distant fashion club.) How long will it last?

DARIA: A day. Maybe two. Three at the outside.

JANE: (Looks at her watch.) Wow. You went from total humiliation to full vengeance in less than forty-eight hours. (She meets Daria's gaze, both of them smirking.) I'm damned impressed.

( . . . la la LA la la . . . )

(MUSIC: "Life is Sweet" by Natalie Merchant. Final verse and chorus.)



(Hope you enjoyed the show. Please write me and tell me what you thought. You can reach me at Sehala@Aol.Com. Feedback, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome. Thank you and good night.)

(Disclaimer: Daria and her cartoon cohorts were created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn and are trademarks of MTV Networks, Inc., a division of Viacom International, Inc. All rights reserved by trademark holders under U.S. National and International Law and Convention.)

("On the Outside" is a work produced purely for fun, not for profit. The author will be quite vexed if it is distributed in any way that creates a profit for anyone. This story is copyright © 1999 by Jon Kilner. It may be distributed freely to Daria fans everywhere, provided that it is distributed in unaltered form and the author's name and e-mail address remain intact.)

(This is a work of fiction. All characters, settings and situations are fictitious, hence the name 'fiction.')

(Whew. That should about cover it.)