A "Daria" fanfic by Erin Mills and Brian Taylor
"Daria" ©2010 MTV Networks


Mark and Charlene walking past a row of video-rental kiosks next to a Seventh Heaven convenience store.

CHARLENE: ...and so that's when I tried to buy the horse a prostitute.

MARK: (disbelieving) Really.

CHARLENE: Bast's honest truth.

MARK: Okay, assuming I believe you, what happened after that?

CHARLENE: Well, if you want to believe the paperwork, the restraining order keeping me out of the petting zoo expires in 2049.

MARK: And why wouldn't I believe the paperwork?

CHARLENE: Because it lies.


MARK: Why are we friends again?

CHARLENE: Because I'm the only person who doesn't use your FaceSpace page as a decoy to join kinky online porn communities.

MARK: Nobody does that either.

CHARLENE: That's what you think.

They finally come to a storefront that looks suspiciously like the old pizza place Daria and Jane used to frequent as teenagers. However, the cartoon pizza king is gone from the window replaced by a poor representation of Justice. The scales she holds are weighed down with cartoon pizzas.

CHARLENE: And this is Pizza-by-the-Pound. We're going in.

MARK: Really? Why?

CHARLENE: Because we can! Onward, Tenzing!

Off of Charlene pulling the door open,

INT. PIZZA-BY-THE-POUND œÃ¢â‚¬â€ DAY A disastrously awful-looking chain restaurant, one trying very very hard to be hip - and failing. Not that this has had any impact on their clientele, which is full of teenagers recently escaped from Lawndale High and a handful of bored or slumming college kids. Mark and Charlene stand near the front counter. Charlene scans the crowd.

MARK: Do they really sell it by the pound?

CHARLENE: Look for yourself, oh ye of little faith.

She points at a huge, greasy scale on the front counter. Mark groans.

MARK: How high does that scale go?

CHARLENE: I once saw a guy buy fifty pounds of Mushroom Deluxe.

MARK: You're kidding, right?

CHARLENE: Am I? You don't know.

She sees who she's looking for and grabs Mark by the sleeve.

CHARLENE: Hey! Thad! (to Mark) You have to meet this guy.

She leads him off towards a booth in the back.

MARK (suspicious): Why?

CHARLENE: Didn't your mother ever tell you you're supposed to talk to strangers?

MARK: I thought it was don't talk to strangers.

CHARLENE: Nevertheless!

IN THE BOOTH is a kid wearing a replica soccer jersey and a pair of athletic glasses with an overgrown, tangled forest of dark hair on his head. THAD TOMPKINS. 16.

CHARLENE: Mark, this is Thad. Thad's the founder of Lawndale High's Society for Creative Procrastination.

THAD: We were gonna come up with a better name, but nobody got around to it.

CHARLENE: Thad, this is Mark. He just moved here. And his mother just became the principal of Lawndale High.

MARK: Must you tell everybody?


THAD: That was your mom on the PA the other day?

MARK: Yeah.

THAD: Tough break, man.

MARK: Tell me about it.

CHARLENE: You know, I had fifty on Powell finally blowing his stack, changing his name to Valentine, and starting a self-love cult out in the Mojave. (beat) I got the idea from Ms. Defoe.

Thad shakes his head.

THAD: Any idea what actually happened?

MARK: Mom muttered something about "chairwarming idiots who don't believe in filing income taxes" when we got home that night.

THAD: Really? Tax evasion? How boring.

MARK: Don't knock it. That's how they got Capone.

THAD: Good point. You gonna stand there like somebody promoted your mom to imperial overlord of the city's high school, or you gonna sit down and have a slice?

CHARLENE: Ooh, veggie supreme!

She slides into the booth and grabs a slice.

CHARLENE: You won't escape my wrath this time, Mr. Cucumber.

She takes a giant bite off the end and begins chewing enthusiastically. Thad and Mark exchange a look.

MARK: She's, uh, she's not all there, is she?

THAD: She's good company, but I think she used to be a ferret in a past life.

She looks up mid-chew to stare strangely at Thad and Mark for staring at her.

CHARLENE: What? Like you don't play with your food.

Off of Mark and Thad's slightly disturbed expressions,


Daria pushes a cart filled partially with store-brand groceries. She stops and picks up a brightly colored box of cereal, then double-takes at the price tag on the shelf.

DARIA (to herself): Good lord, Mark. I know you like this stuff, but does it really have to cost as much as your first semester in college?

VOICE (O.S.): Hey, Daria.

Daria looks up from the box to see TRENT LANE, age 48, coming down the aisle. He's looking more respectable than he used to in a button-down shirt and khakis, but the shirt is untucked, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and his tie's at half-mast. The forearm tattoos are still there, but the earrings have been replaced by a couple of diamond studs. His hair is slightly neater, but only because it's evident it's starting to recede.

DARIA: Well, if it isn't the Lord Mayor of Lawndale. How's tricks, Your Honor?

TRENT: You know how it is. Another day, another budget meeting starting late.

DARIA: Do I want to know how late?

TRENT: I think it was supposed to start on Tuesday.

DARIA: Trent, it's Thursday.

Trent shrugs.

TRENT: Sounds about right. (beat) Heard you're running things at the high school now.

DARIA: Not by choice, believe me. I'm starting to see why it seemed like Ms. Li was always teetering on the edge of sanity...she was. I guess Powell was, too.

Trent shakes his head in mild disbelief.

TRENT: Tax evasion.

DARIA: Let me guess: you've never had that problem.

TRENT: We never made enough in Mystik Spiral to cover gas. After Mom and Dad disappeared, it turned out Janey and I had accountants to take care of everything else.

DARIA: Except figuring out where your parents disappeared to.

He laughs the usual "heh-heh-heh-cough-cough-hack" Trent laugh.

DARIA: You know, you've had that laughing problem for as long as I've known you. You ought to get it checked out.

TRENT: I have a thing about doctors, Daria.

DARIA: Yes, and I have a thing about friends dropping dead because of their own stupidity.

TRENT: (smiles) Okay, okay. Vanessa keeps hounding me to get a check-up, anyway.

DARIA: Good. Shows your assistant is doing her job.

They begin walking down the aisle. Daria drops the cereal into the cart.

TRENT: So, you still keeping your eyes on the prize?

DARIA: In much the same way that I'm still Queen of the Netherlands.

TRENT: Too bad. I liked Naked Brunch.

DARIA: You actually read that?

TRENT: Twice. It really spoke to me.

DARIA: And it said “Give all your money to the broke, starving author.”

He laugh-coughs again.

DARIA: How'd you read it, anyway? You never go into bookstores.

TRENT: Amazon.

DARIA: Once again the Internet provides a valuable service to those who for one reason or another simply cannot be allowed into certain sectors of polite society.

TRENT: (smirking) That's why I went into politics.


The kids pour out. Charlene strangely light on her feet. Mark and Thad both look vaguely weighed down by a combination of cheese, grease, and toppings.

MARK: That place is evil.

THAD: Concentrated evil. (beat) So, you just couldn't keep your mouth shut around Sloane, could you?

MARK: You heard about that? Is there an e-mail list I don't know about, or something?

CHARLENE (matter-of-fact): Yeah.

THAD: It could be worse. Sloane's tough but fair.

MARK: So was Josef Stalin.

THAD: Look at it this way, she may give you a lot of crap for the next couple of weeks, but it could always be worse. After you show you aren't a complete brainless idiot, she's bound to back off after a while. I mean, it's not like she can beat you for insulting her. She doesn't have that kind of authority.


THAD: Plus your mother can fire her.

CHARLENE: I don't think it works that way.

THAD: Yeah, but you also think the school board's governed by an unholy pact with the Unhallowed One.

CHARLENE: They are. I've seen their black masses.

THAD: You have not.

CHARLENE: They wear robes and carry flashlights, and one time they sacrificed a goat on the school roof.

THAD (to Mark): That was the senior class prank last year. And it wasn't a goat.

MARK: What was it?

THAD: You don't want to know that.

CHARLENE: And it took forever to clean up.

MARK: You know, I'm starting to see why Mom never wanted to come back--

(He stops short as they pass a bookstore. There's a large display of books in the window with a banner reading "SIGNING THIS SATURDAY!" Mark frowns and looks at the display.)


MARK: Oh, SH--


Daria and Trent are waiting in the line, still talking.

TRENT: --so that's when Councilman Summers tried to buy the horse a prostitute.

DARIA: Caligula would be so proud.

TRENT: Yeah. (beat) So, any big plans for the weekend?

DARIA: Yes, I plan on spending it flat on my ass, studiously avoiding anything involving thinking about the new and exciting level of hell I've found myself in. How about you?

TRENT: Mayoral stuff. Some big hotshot writer wants to do a signing downtown Saturday while he's in up in the city on his book tour. So I gotta be there to do the whole "welcome to Lawndale" bit.

DARIA: (marginally interested) Really? Who is it?

TRENT: Some guy named Paul Davenport, you heard of him?





Mark and Thad are looking at the display of books. Mark is holding a copy and looking depressed. Charlene is paging through a book about chimps.

MARK: I am such an idiot.

THAD: What's the problem?

MARK: Dad's coming to town. How the hell did I forget the new book was due out this month?

THAD: Wait...your dad is Paul Davenport? That's so cool!

MARK: I suppose.

THAD: Seriously, I've read every SCARE Central book like, three times. They're great!

MARK: Whatever you do, don't say that in front of Mom.

THAD: Why?

MARK: You DO value your testicles, right?

THAD: Ooooh. One of the problems?

MARK: Kind of THE problem, really. (He looks back at the book, then at his watch.) I wonder what time it is in Helsinki. I could really use Aunt Jane's advice.


Mark and Thad look up at her in surprise. She looks irritated.

CHARLENE: Chimpanzees can't survive in the Everglades! Project X lied!



Establishing shot.



Daria is lying on the couch, in her "something is eating at my soul" pose. Her suit jacket is tossed over the back. Jane, dressed in a black blouse and holding a glass of wine, is on the TV.

JANE: Okay, would you please tell me what is so important that you had to drag me away from a quite pleasant dinner with a handsome piece of gullible Nordic beefcake with an ass that could crack a walnut from across the room?

DARIA: Paul's coming to Lawndale.

Jane blinks then pulls out a cellphone and dials.

JANE: (on phone) Stig? Listen, I've had an emergency come up. I need to take a rain check. Yeah, it's kind of important. I'm sorry. (beat. Jane smiles evilly) You do realize I'm going to hold you to that. Repeatedly.

Another beat, then Jane says something in alleged Finnish and hangs up.

JANE: Okay, so what brings the Phantom Bastard to town?

DARIA: His new book is out. He's got a signing in the city this weekend. He apparently called City Hall and set up another signing at the bookstore on Saturday.

JANE: And he called to rub it in?

DARIA: No. I found out from Trent.

JANE: Trent knew?

DARIA: Yeah. But to be fair, he kind of forgot that he met Paul at the wedding. I mean, it WAS almost twenty years ago.

JANE: Daria, he was one of Paul's friggin' GROOMSMEN!

DARIA: Yeah...well...um...

JANE: (sighs) Has Paul even called you yet?

DARIA: No...

JANE: Does Mark know?

DARIA: I don't know. But he said he was going to hang out with Charlene downtown, so he'll probably find out soon enough.

JANE: Okay, so you know what to expect. Paul's going to want to spend time with him this weekend.

DARIA: Yeah.

JANE: And Mark's probably going to want to spend time with him.

DARIA: (dejected) Yeah...

JANE: And you're convinced that Mark will decide that life with Dad is much better than life with you, and he'll move to New York, never contact you again, and you'll end up in a one room apartment filled with thirty year old newspapers and cats.

DARIA: How the hell did you get to know so much about me?

JANE: It's a side effect of not being able to detach you from my hip for the last thirty years. Plus you always use the newspapers and cats as your go-to "I have no future" lament.

DARIA: (Leaning up on one elbow) Have I told you lately how much I hate you?

JANE: Last week, when I found out about the little mishap in the rest stop on I-70.

DARIA: Oh, great, now I have THAT going through my head.

JANE: Hey, anything to get your mind off Paul...



Mark, Thad and Charlene are walking down the sidewalk.

THAD: I don't get it. I thought you said your folks split up amicably.

MARK: "Amicably" is a funny word. Yeah, it wasn't the usual cliched crap you see on TV or in the movies, but whenever they get together...

THAD: Lots of yelling and fingerpointing?

MARK: Oh, I wish. Try lots of pointed barbs and ankle thick sarcasm on the floor.

CHARLENE: Oooh...that must be hard to get out of the carpet.

Mark and Thad look at her, waiting for the other shoe to drop...

CHARLENE: What? It was a joke.

MARK: Oh...sorry.

CHARLENE: Sarcasm never comes out. Especially from berber.



Daria's sitting up on the couch, a bottle of something alcoholic now on the table.

JANE: Look, Daria, Mark loves you and he's got his head screwed on straight. Even if he wanted to move in with Paul, do you really think he isn't going to talk to you about it first?

DARIA: I know. It's just...I'm running out of time with him, Jane. He'll be off to college before I know it and I'm still having a hard time not thinking of him as the adorable six year old who hugged me and said he'd stay no matter what on the day Paul moved out.

JANE: (sympathetic) Yeah...But don't torture yourself with thoughts of what might not even happen, okay?

DARIA: Yeah...okay. Thanks, Jane.

JANE: Anything for you, amiga. You know that.

Suddenly, we hear a doorbell ring. Daria rolls her eyes and sighs.

DARIA: Great. And I'll bet it's the damn Jehoviah's Witnesses again.

JANE: Oh, you know that's not true. They'd never be able to take the Traveling Scientologists in a fight.

DARIA: True.

The doorbell rings again

DARIA: (yelling behind her) Just a minute!

JANE: I better go then. I feel the sudden need to hit the local bookstore.

DARIA: (smiling) Pictures?

JANE: (Returning the smile) Always. Call me later if you need to.

DARIA: Okay. Later.

JANE: Adios.

Daria picks up the remote control, hits a couple of buttons and Jane's face disappears. She gets up from the couch and goes to the front door.


Daria's hand turning the door knob. As she does we:


Mark, Thad and Charlene are seated at a table. Mark is on a cell phone and Thad is looking over a copy of Paul's new book. Charlene has a stack of other books surrounding her and pages through each rapidly.

MARK: (hanging up the phone) Damn. Aunt Jane's not answering.

THAD: What's the big deal? So your mom and your dad don't get along. Hell, my parents are still married and they don't get along.

MARK: You don't get it. The divorce was...hard on Mom. It's always a crap shoot whenever she and Dad are in the same room together. They're okay on the phone, but in person...well, it's just better if someone's available to talk Mom off the ceiling afterward.

THAD: Why not you?

MARK: Odds are I won't be around. Dad's going to want to spend time with me when he gets here. So I need someone else to be ready. Normally, it's Aunt Jane or--I'm still an idiot.

He picks up the phone again and dials another number.

THAD: Who are you calling?

MARK: Aunt Quinn, Mom's sister.

THAD: I thought your Aunt Jane was your Mom's sister?

MARK: Aunt Jane's not really my aunt. Biologically anyway.


Mark on the left. On the right, the phone is picked up by a Receptionist in a well decorated office.

RECEPTIONIST: Good afternoon. Quinntessential ImageWorks. How may I direct your call?

MARK: Quinn Morgendorffer-Myers, please.

RECEPTIONIST: I'm sorry, Ms. Morgendorffer-Myers is in a lunch meeting with Mr. Myers currently. I'm afraid they can't be disturbed.

MARK: (Smirking) Yes, I'm sure they're busy. But this is an emergency. Can you please at least let them know their nephew Mark is on the line and he needs to talk to Ms. Morgendorffer-Myers as soon as possible?

RECEPTIONIST: One moment please.

She puts him on hold and the right hand side of the shot goes black.

MARK: (muttering) Give her about ten seconds to put her bra back on...another five for the blouse... fix the hair, aaaaaand--

The right had side of the screen illuminates again, this time showing an older, professional (albeit slightly disheveled) QUINN MORGENDORFFER-MYERS, Mark's biological aunt. Behind her, during the following, we can see her husband ALAN MYERS putting on various pieces of clothing and making occasional comments.

QUINN: Mark! It's so good to hear from you!

MARK: Good to hear from you too, Aunt Quinn. I'm not interrupting anything, am I?

QUINN: No, no! Just going over some...figures with your Uncle Alan.

ALAN: (kissing her on the cheek) Sexy figures.

QUINN: (playfully shoving him away) Get out, you. (beat) So what's new, Mark? You get settled in Lawndale all right?

MARK: Yeah, we got here okay, Aunt Quinn. But there's a problem.

QUINN: Problem? Did Grandma Helen forget something?

MARK: No, nothing with the house. (sighs) Dad's coming to town this weekend--

Quinn leaps to her feet.

QUINN: Oh. God! Mark, is Daria okay? Has she started quoting Shelly yet?

MARK: No, nothing like that.

QUINN: Dickinson? Tell me it's not Dickinson!

MARK: Aunt Quinn, she--

QUINN: Oh sweet Christian Dior! She hasn't reached Black--


(There's an awkward pause as both of them get back under control. Quinn sits back down on her office sofa.)

MARK: I don't think she knows yet. Unless Dad's called her about it, but that's okay. She can handle him on the phone.

QUINN: But you're worried what'll happen when he's actually in the same room with her.

MARK: Well, there was that incident at the Santa Cruz Barnes & Noble during Christmas.

QUINN: Oooh, right. Almost forgot about that. Have you gotten ahold of your Aunt Jane?

MARK: No answer. She's either in class, working on a project, or she might be talking to Mom already.

QUINN: Okay. When's the signing?

MARK: Saturday night, around seven.

QUINN: Right. I'll have my phone ready and my schedule cleared. Do you know when your dad is going to be in town?

MARK: He's probably already in the city now. He likes to show up a day or two early for signings.


MARK: I should get home right damn now, shouldn't I?

QUINN: Ohhhh, yeah.



Standing in the living room with a visibly less than thrilled Daria is PAUL DAVENPORT, her ex-husband. He's got an arrogant but charming manner. He resembles a young Orson Welles, but slowly moving into the look of the older Orson Welles. He even has a neatly trimmed beard.

PAUL: Daaaaaaaria!

DARIA: (Flatly) Hello, Paul.

PAUL: How's my favorite ex-wife?

DARIA: You have more than one now?

PAUL: What can i say? I walk a trail of broken hearts.

DARIA: Not to mention all the broken bones.

PAUL: You're never gonna let me live down the honeymoon, are you?

DARIA: I still get death threats from the bellboy.

PAUL: Okay, so I lied when I said I knew how to ski.

DARIA: We were married in April.

PAUL: Like I said, I lied when I said I knew how to ski

DARIA: Paul...

PAUL: All right, okay, enough banter. How's things? I heard you got promoted.

DARIA: Purely as a matter of fiscal expediency. We'll see what happens at the end of the year.

PAUL: I'm sure you'll have the place whipped into shape in a month.

DARIA: Your talent for useless flattery hasn't deserted you, I see.

PAUL: Nor has your talent for skewering a man's ego from fifty paces. But enough about us, how's the boy?

DARIA: He's fine. He had a rocky start at school, but he's doing all right now.

PAUL: Has he met a girl yet?

DARIA: He's met several girls, Paul. Lawndale High is still co-ed. If you're asking if he's dating, the answer, to the best of my knowledge, is no.

PAUL: Really? And where is he now?


DARIA: (sighing) Out with his friend, Charlene.

PAUL: Ah HA! So he IS dating someone!

DARIA: I think Charlene's a little too...flighty for someone like Mark.

PAUL: Nonsense! The boy's a Davenport. We like flighty.

DARIA: You, personally, like anything with breasts.

PAUL: Daria, I'm hurt. I'll have you know that I have much higher standards as to whether or not a woman I'm interested in has nice breasts.

DARIA: You're right. I apologize.

PAUL: Thank you.

DARIA: She has to have a fantastic ass too.

PAUL: (beat) You got me there. Anyway, the reason I'm here--

DARIA: The new book's out.

PAUL: (taken aback) Um...yes. And--

DARIA: You set up a surprise signing here in Lawndale on Saturday.

PAUL: How do you DO that? You could always read me when we were married and even from here you--

DARIA: --are friends with the mayor of Lawndale.

PAUL: Already? God, you DO work fast.

DARIA: (irritated) The mayor is Trent, Paul.

PAUL: Ohhh...well, so much for omniscence. (beat) In any event, I was wondering if you'd mind me
hanging out with Mark on Saturday before the signing.

DARIA: No, that's fine. What time?

PAUL: Ten AM okay with you?

DARIA: Fine. I'll let Mark know.

PAUL: And...

DARIA: And what?

PAUL: I'd be thrilled if you'd come to the signing that night. I'm sure people would like to see that the new high school principal is literarily minded.

DARIA: I'm not talking the school board into approving your books for the school library, Paul.

PAUL: Daria!

Daria folds her arms and gives him a "prove me wrong" look. Paul grins and deflates.

PAUL: Okay, I'll admit I was going to try that one. But seriously, why won't you even pitch the idea?

DARIA: I READ your books, Paul. And Succubus Cannibal Ho-down ALONE would get the PTA all riled up.

PAUL: Okay, so that one's raunchy.

DARIA: Vampire Vixens on the Prowl?

PAUL: Well, I--

DARIA: Attack of the Bikini Sexdroids from Rylos 5?

PAUL: Could very well be useful in the sex ed classes. I'll have you know that it is very anatomically and biologically correct.

DARIA: Paul, if features a talking vibrator named Pedro.

PAUL: Can you prove they don't exist? Didn't you name the one Jane gave--


PAUL: Okay, point taken. But what about just the GOOD books?

DARIA: You admit these are trash. Repeatedly. In interviews.

PAUL: That's just for the cameras, Daria. You know that. You keep reading them so I must be doing something right, right?

DARIA: I-- (sighs) Okay, fine. I'll go to the signing and we'll see what happens, all right?

PAUL: (grinning) That's all I'm asking.

DARIA: Great.

Paul steps closer to her, grinning brightly.

PAUL: See? We can agree on some things...

Daria gives him an odd look.

DARIA: What are you doing?

PAUL: Just wanting to express my...appreciation.

With that, he thrusts his head forward and kisses Daria. Her eyes pop open wide and we


Mark runs up the walk towards the door, breathing heavily, apparently having run all the way from the bookstore. He pauses to catch his breath and reaches for the doorknob--

--only for the door to open and Paul comes rushing out a high speed. We hear the sound of something breakable hitting the door frame and Daria's strident voice:


As he passes by Mark, Paul smiles and waves.

PAUL: Hey, son! I'll see you Saturday!

MARK: Dad?



Saturday. Mark and Paul are in tennis whites. it quickly becomes apparent that they're both vey good. As they play, they have the following conversation.

PAUL:So, how's school?

MARK: Like every other high school everywhere. How's New York?

PAUL: Big, crowded and noisy, just like always. Seeing anyone?

MARK: Nope. Focusing on school. You still dating Mitzie?

PAUL: Miranda. And we decided to stop seeing each other. So, not any one?

MARK: It's only been a couple of weeks, Dad. 15 love.

PAUL: Nice.

He serves.

PAUL: Your mom seeing anyone?

MARK: Dad!

PAUL: 15 all.

Paul serves again.

MARK: Why are you here?

PAUL: Wanted to see you and your mom. Do you have a problem with me being here?

MARK: Nope. Mom does, but she's trying not to show it. 30-15.

Paul picks up the ball and serves once more.

PAUL: Yeah, that sounds typical of your mom.

MARK: What do you mean by that?

PAUL: She's like a cat you find on your front porch. She lets you feed her and pet her and so on... but you
never know when the damn claws are coming out.

MARK: I don't really like to think about Mom having claws.

Paul returns the ball, squints theatrically and tilts his head to the side.

PAUL: And yet you do look like my son.

MARK: Then our evil alien overlords will be pleased. 40-15. 6-5, match point.

PAUL: Good! Your serve.

Mark serves.

PAUL: You given any thought to coming up to New York?

MARK: You mean permanently?

PAUL: Why not? I hardly get to see you.

MARK: I like staying with Mom.

PAUL: She doesn't get on your nerves? I know how moody she can be.

MARK: Yeah, but that's okay. I've gotten...USED to it. 15-love.

He serves again.

PAUL: But she's working all the time. I'd be at home. We could hang out more.

MARK: Mom's the principal at my school. I see her all the time too.

PAUL: Are you really sure?

MARK: Yes, Dad. 30-love.

Mark picks up the ball and serves again. His playing is getting more aggressive.

PAUL: I just want to make sure you're happy.

MARK: I'm happy. Sure this is the 'burbs, but it's nice.

PAUL: if you're sure.

MARK: I'm sure. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to steal me from Mom.

PAUL: What? No!

MARK: 40-love.

PAUL: Damn!

MARK: Heads up, old man.

PAUL: Old, my ass!

MARK: Of course, I wouldn't mind coming up for the summer.

PAUL: What about your mom?

MARK: Aunt Jane's been begging her to visit her in Europe for years. It'd give her an opportunity.

PAUL: That could be workable.

MARK: She won't take any money from you.

PAUL: I know that. Doesn't mean a plane ticket couldn't come from you as an early birthday present could it?

Mark smiles and crushes the ball into Paul's side of the court. Paul dives for it, but misses.

MARK: That could work. Oh, by the way? Game, set, and match to me.

Paul looks up from where he lies face down on the court.

PAUL: I want a rematch.


It's Saturday. Some of Lawndale's well-to-do are attending the shindig which seems to have changed from a simple autograph session to some sort of cocktail reception. Everyone is well dressed and swanning around.
All over the place are posters advertising Paul's latest book, The Case of the Cross-Dimensional Cloaked Killer. Daria and Mark are looking at the poster. Mark wears a nice white shirt, a buttoned vest and black slacks. Daria is in a rather nice little black dress with a short green jacket.

The poster (which is just a blown up version of the cover art) features a SCARE Central agent being menaced by a female figure in a black matte catsuit and a long hooded red cloak. She is holding a very sharp looking knife. The cloaked figure's face is slightly obscured by the hood of the cloak, but she appears to be wearing glasses and has long brown hair.

Daria does not look amused.

DARIA: I'm going to kill your father.

MARK: Don't kill him here. There's too many witnesses and you'll never get the blood out of your jacket.

DARIA: (unamused) I need a drink.

Mark gets a concerned expression on his face.

MARK: Mom...

DARIA: (sighing) Don't worry, I won't get plastered. I just need something to keep from actually killing your father.

As if on cue, a waiter passes by with flutes of champagne. Daria grabs one, drinks, and looks at Mark.

DARIA: You don't need to babysit me. Go on, mingle. I'll be fine.

MARK: Are you sure? I mean, with what happened the other day...

DARIA: Mark, I'm 43 years old, I think I'm capable of controlling myself in public, especially with dozens of adoring fans to keep your father occupied.

MARK:...All right, but if I see the two of you in a corner somewhere, I'm getting Aunt Quinn on the phone

Daria smiles.

DARIA: That's my boy.

Mark reluctantly heads off into the crowd. Daria watches him go, then, satisfied he can't see her, downs her drink and holds up her hand.

DARIA: Waiter!


Mark wanders into the coffee shop, away from the crowd. It's fairly empty, since most of the attendees of the signing are raiding the open bar. Mark walks up to the counter.

MARK: (to clerk) Double mocha latte, please.

The clerk goes to work making his coffee. Mark turns to look at the crowd out in the bookstore proper. As he does so, his gaze falls on:


An attractive GIRL about his own age, perhaps a little older, sitting at one of the tables. She has long, straight black hair that hangs just past her shoulders. She's dressed conservatively, but stylishly. A blue silk blouse, black pants. A Navy peacoat is hanging on the back of her chair and a laptop bag is sitting on the table.

But what really catches Mark's (and our) attention is the book she's reading: My Youth in Exile by Daria Morgendorffer. And this is quite clearly not a new copy. It has the signs of a book that has been read and re-read many times. Creases in the spine, random wear spots on the cover. Mark pays for his coffee and walks over. the girl doesn't acknowledge him.


GIRL: (not looking up) Hello.

MARK: Good book, isn't it?

GIRL: Mmm-hmm.


MARK: The author's here tonight.

GIRL: This isn't that SCARE Central tripe. If you're going to hit on someone reading in a bookstore, make sure you've actually looked at the book they're reading next time.

MARK: I did. I'm talking about Daria Morgendorffer. She's here tonight.

GIRL: Uh-huh, sure. Nice try.

MARK: I'm serious.

GIRL: And you're seriously annoying me.

She looks up, revealing starling green eyes that are clearly unimpressed with what she sees.

GIRL: (continuing) So why don't you just take your latte and go rejoin the rest of the crap consumers out there kissing Davenport's ass while I return to something with a little more substance. Now would be good, before I get mad and call security, 'kay?

Mark frowns, hurt and indignant.

MARK: God, it must just be so gratifying to know so much about a perfect stranger before even engaging in a real conversation with them. Thanks for even taking the time to assume that just because I have a penis, I must be hitting on you.

GIRL: Are you gay?

MARK: Not that it'd be any of your business, but no.

GIRL: (shrugs) I rest my case.

She and Mark stare at each other for a moment, before she returns to reading her book, ignoring him. Mark walks off, fuming.


Daria is standing at one of the display tables, a disgusted look on her face. We soon see why.
Paul is standing at the end of a long line of autograph seekers, posing for pictures with a couple of barely legal co-eds, a smarmy grin on his face. Both girls are holding up copies of the new book. Photographers snap pictures with a mess of flashes.

Back to Daria. She stops another waiter and gets another flute of champagne. She downs it and sets it down next to the four others that are on the table. As she glares at Paul, Trent appears behind her, looking much as he did earlier, only he's added, surprisingly, a tweed sportjacket that actually looks good on him.

DARIA: Bastard.

TRENT: (smiling) Whoa. No more champagne for you.

Daria looks up, surprised, then blushes.

DARIA: Oh, Trent...sorry. Not you.

TRENT: No problem. Not enjoying the party?

DARIA: Oh, yes. I'm just thrilled to be here watching all these people shower my ex with lavish praise for his latest epic about truth, justice, and an alternate universe version of me running amuck and slaughtering hundreds.

TRENT: (picking up a copy of the book and looking at the cover) This is supposed to be you?

DARIA: Page 44.

Trent pages through the book, finds the appropriate passage and begins reading.

TRENT: "Lance Harrison stared in shock as the hood of the blood red cloak fell to the killer's shoulders. He could feel his heart race as he took in the long auburn hair, the piercing chocolate eyes, and the slightly outdated eyeglasses. Her lips were curled up in a sarcastic and menacing smirk that he knew all too well. He was looking at the face of his long dead wife, Judith."

DARIA: He based Lance Harrison on himself. Guess who he based Judith on?

TRENT: Oh. Wow. (beat) He killed her off?

DARIA: Yeah, in the book he published right after the divorce. I was fine with it. But now he pulls this... this... Screw it, I'm going to the bar.

TRENT: (Putting down the book) Wait up, I'll go with you.


Mark, still fuming, walks briskly into the reference section of the store. He suddenly collides with someone going the other direction, their nose buried in a book. Mutual sounds of pain and apology. Mark reaches down to get the dropped book. When he comes up we see that the other person is Charlene.

MARK: What are you doing here?

CHARLENE: Been here all day.

MARK: Doing what?

CHARLENE: Research.

She holds up the book. It's entitled "Abel & Baker: The Untold Story"

MARK: Oh, God. More chimps?

CHARLENE: (matter-of-fact) If they can teach chimps to fly spacecraft, why can't they learn how to pilot an airboat?

MARK: Because no one in their right mind would let a chimp on an airboat in the first place.

CHARLENE: (waving a hand) Nonsense. I would.

MARK: Like I said...


Daria stalks up to the bar, Trent close behind.

DARIA: Barkeep, a double anything soaked in rum.

BARTENDER: Right away, ma'am.

TRENT: Daria, are you sure you haven't had enough?

DARIA: Probably, but I don't give a damn. (beat) I should just leave. I never should have come here in the first place.

TRENT: Why not?

DARIA: (givng him a look) He's my EX, Trent. He only invited me for one of two things: either to rub my face in his success, AGAIN...


DARIA: Or he's just going to try to get me alone in the cooking section again and get into my--

She stops short and turns bright red.

DARIA: Let's just say you're not the only one who has a thing about bookstores anymore.
The bartender brings her drink. Daria throws a couple of bills on the bar as a tip and starts downing it.

Trent reaches over and takes the glass from her.


TRENT: I'm cutting you off.

DARIA: You can't do that!

TRENT: (points at himself) Mayor.

DARIA: What do you care?

TRENT: Because your my friend and I don't want you doing anything you'll regret later. Where's Mark?

DARIA: You're a bastard, Trent.

TRENT: (smirking) I'm in politics, Daria, you'll have to do better than that. Now, where's Mark?

DARIA: (deflating) Around here, somewhere. I don't know. I kind of sent him off.

TRENT: Why'd you do that?

DARIA: (Sighs) I didn't want to ruin his evening. He doesn't get to see Paul all that often, and he deserves to. I may not like the bastard all that much, but he's still Mark's father. He doesn't need me going all Kramer vs. Kramer around him.

TRENT: Are you that worried that Mark's going to want to go live with him?

Beat. Daria looks uncomfortable.

DARIA: (quietly) Yes...

TRENT: Daria, he could have asked to go live with him when you made plans to leave California. But he didn't. Seems to me he'd rather stay with you.

DARIA: Yeah but...


DARIA: All right, dammit, Paul's more fun than I am. What kid wouldn't want to live with him?

TRENT: And he still stays with you. What does that tell you?

Daria doesn't answer.

TRENT: Daria?

DARIA: I...need to go to the ladies room. I'll be right back.

She leaves. Trent sighs. Suddenly, he's slapped on the back. He turns to see Paul standing there.

PAUL: Trent! Just wanted to say thanks for the warm welcome and for the party. So much more interesting than a typical book signing.

TRENT: You're welcome, man. Lot of people around here like your stuff.

PAUL: Good to know. (beat) Listen, Trent, I just gotta ask...what's the story between you and Daria?

TRENT: Huh? We're friends. She had a crush on me back in high school, but she got over it.

PAUL: And now?

TRENT: (shrugs) I don't see her all that often. We're both too busy.

PAUL: Ah, I see. (beat) Well, thanks again for everything Trent. Oh, and hey, do you think you could talk to the school board--


An attractive blond woman in her thirties rushes up to Trent. This is VANESSA, his assistant.

TRENT: What's up, Vanessa?

VANESSA: The city council is wondering where the hell you are! The budget meeting was rescheduled for tonight, remember? You were only supposed to be here for the photo op and leave!

TRENT: Aw, damn. (to Paul) Sorry, Paul, gotta jet. Say good night to Daria for me if you see her.

Trent and Vanessa leave. Paul sighs and looks around.


The door opens and Daria comes out, straightening her dress. She looks around and, not seeing Trent, slumps off to another part of the store. Paul follows her.


Daria is looking over the shelves, not really reading them. Paul appears behind her.

PAUL: Would you care to join me in the depressing story of a Russian madman who became a cheesy cartoon villain?

DARIA: No thanks, I've read it already.

She turns to face Paul, arms folded.

DARIA: Go away, Paul.

PAUL: What brought this on?

DARIA: Paul, I'm pissed off, and I'm a little drunk. I'm asking you to go away, before we do something I'll regret.

PAUL: Oh, come on, Daria.

DARIA: Back off. I'm warning you. I may not have my boots right now, but I still kick like a mule.

PAUL: Why all the hostility? I invited you and Mark out here so we could have a good time.

DARIA: Yeah, I'll bet. Why did you really invite me?

PAUL: (confused) Because I thought you'd have fun.

DARIA: Really? or were you just wanting to lord your latest triumph over me?

PAUL: Lord it--? Daria, I swear I'm not trying to outdo you.

DARIA: They changed it from a signing to a cocktail party because you asked, Paul! I can't even get my damn janitorial staff to switch to a more cost effective, and more powerful bleach!

PAUL: I didn't ask them to do this.

Daria looks at the floor.

DARIA: That makes it worse.

Paul looks at her, then reaches out an tilts her chin up with one finger

PAUL: Daria, I promise, I didn't do this to make you feel bad. I just wanted to see Mark...and you. I know we're not married anymore, but I still care about you.

DARIA: Oh, don't give me that--

PAUL: (stepping closer) I do. And when I found out I'd be down this way...can you blame me for arranging things?

Daria considers this for a moment, then shakes her head.

DARIA: I guess not. (beat) You aren't trying to take Mark away from me?

PAUL: Oh, God, no! Mark and I had a talk this afternoon and he made it absolutely clear he wants to stay here. I'll admit that I asked if he wanted to go to New York, but he said no. We let it lie there.

DARIA: Really?

PAUL: He said he'd like to come up to New York this summer, but he wanted to talk to you first. I know how devoted to him you are. I'd be an idiot to get in the way of that.

Daria gives him a small smile, which Paul returns.

DARIA: You always did know what makes me happy.

PAUL: Yeah. (beat) So now what?

DARIA: I don't know. Should we go back to the bar?

PAUL: I'm not really thirsty.

DARIA: Yeah, me neither.

They look at each other for a moment, then in an oddly familiar moment, the two of them embrace and begin kissing passionately. The scene pulls out to reveal Charlene turning the corner into the aisle.


She looks surprised, then her expression turns concerned.

CHARLENE: Oh, excuse me, Senator.

She turns and walks away.

CHARLENE: I'll look for the Curious George bio later. Gotta find Mark.


Mark is browsing the shelves, looking at the latest series of young adult novels.

MARK: Man, it's a sad sight when the books for kids are more creative and original than the books for the grown ups. (beat) Ooh! New Terror Avenue book! Have they started that series up again?

He takes the book in question off the shelf and begins thumbing through it. As he does so, Charlene walks up and taps him on the shoulder.

CHARLENE: Congratulations.

MARK: (not looking up) What?

CHARLENE: You've failed in preventing your dad from boning your mom.

Mark's head shoots up.

MARK: What?!

Charlene looks nonchalant.

CHARLENE: I was just over in the Biographies, and your mom and dad were there arguing, then they started making out like crazy.


CHARLENE: I didn't think your mom was partial to black lace.

MARK: Black lace? What do you mean--oh hell NO!

Mark rushes off. Charlene looks after him, then back at the bookshelf.

CHARLENE: Oooh! They started Terror Avenue again?


Mark as he forces his way through the crowd. He pulls out his cell and hits a button for the speed dial.

PHONE: Hii, you've reached Quinn Morgendorffer-Myers. I'm either in a meeting or unable to get to the phone so leave a message and I'll get back to you.

Mark kills the call in frustration.

MARK: Dammit, Aunt Quinn, you said you'd be available.

He puts the phone away and keeps going, still trying to think of a way to keep his parents from making a spectacle of themselves. As he passes the coffee shop, he spots the girl from earlier and an idea comes.


Mark strides into the coffee shop, grabs the girl's wrist and pulls her out of her seat.

GIRL: Hey! What the hell are you doing?

MARK: Look, I need your help to prevent my parents from doing something colossally stupid and probably in violation of county health codes in the Biographies. You don't have to like me, but right now you're the only person who can defuse the situation.

GIRL: That has to be the strangest pickup line ever.

MARK: Dammit, it's not a line! If I had my way, I wouldn't even need to ask you, but I don't have a choice. Now, are you going to help me or what?

There's a pause while the girl sizes Mark up and sees how serious she is.

GIRL: What do you need me to do?

MARK: Bring your book.

The two of them leave the coffee shop and make their way through the crowd. As they pass the table where Paul was signing autographs. He grabs a Sharpie out of a surprised employee's hand.

MARK: Sorry. Emergency.

They continue onward, leaving a sputtering employee in their wake. As they enter the biographys, we hear a lot of muffled moaning and humming. The two of them round a corner and see Daria and Paul locked in a passionate embrace. Daria with one knee up, being supported by Paul's hand.

Mark grabs the girl's hand and pulls her back behind the shelf leading to the next aisle. The girl looks appropriately shocked.

GIRL: That IS Daria Morgendorffer! And she's sucking face with DAVENPORT?

MARK: Tell me about it.

GIRL: I'd've thought she'd have better taste than that.

MARK: Well, I'm thankful she didn't otherwise I wouldn't be here.

GIRL: They're your PARENTS?

MARK: Divorced. And Mom must be drunk. No way she'd let Dad grab her ass like that in public otherwise.

GIRL: (dubious) That seemed awfully casual.

MARK: I'm saving the brain bleaching until after I deal with this.

GIRL: And why am I here?

MARK: To get them to knock this off.

GIRL: How exactly?

Mark hands her the Sharpie and shoves her out into the aisle.

MARK: Ask for an autograph.

The girl gives him a look then, after he gestures for her to go on, she takes a deep breath and walks forward clearing her throat.


They split apart and rapidly fix their clothing. Daria's leg moves around, kicking something we can't see behind her.

PAUL: (a little too cheerfully) Hi there!

GIRL: Um...hi. Sorry, I was just wondering if I could get an autograph.

PAUL: Oh, sure thing!

He steps forward to take the Sharpie, but the girl steps back.

GIRL: Um, actually, I was hoping to get HER autograph.

PAUL: (surprised) Daria?

DARIA: (just as surprised) Me?

GIRL: Yeah. See?

She hands over her copy of My Youth In Exile.

DARIA: You...liked it?

The girl's face lights up.

GIRL: Oh, yeah! It's my favorite book. I first got it when I was ten and it just got into my head. The girl trying to survive the stupidity of high school, not really having any friends. That was so totally me back then. I mean, okay technically, it was elementary school, but--

DARIA: (flattered but also somewhat embarrassed) Well..thank you.

PAUL: That's great, Daria!

DARIA: (muttering) Thanks, Paul.

She opens the book and looks at the girl.

DARIA: I'd be more than happy to sign this. What's your name?

GIRL: Annalise.

DARIA: (writing in the book) L-i-s-a, or l-i-s-e?

ANNALISE: L-i-s-e.

PAUL: You know, I'll be delighted to give you an autographed copy of my book as well, just for making my ex-wife this happy, young lady.

ANNALISE: Thanks, Mr. Davenport, and no offense, but I'm not really into the stuff you write about. I'd rather you give it to someone who'd appreciate it. Sorry.

PAUL: (a little suprised) Well...I...yes, I can see that. (beat) Well, I better get back to it and let you two chat. Thanks for coming tonight, Daria. I'll call you later. Nice meeting you, young lady.

ANNALISE: You too, Mr. Davenport.

DARIA: Bye, Paul.

PAUL: Good night.

He walks off, still wondering just what the hell happened.

ANNALISE: I hope I didn't show up at a bad time.

DARIA: No, no.

She finishes the autograph and hands the book back to Annalise.

DARIA: Your timing couldn't have been more perfect.

ANNALISE: I should hope not. It would have been a physical impossibility.

Daria looks at her for a moment, then smiles.

DARIA: Yeah, you're definitely my target audience.

Annalise smiles back.

ANNALISE: I'm glad that guy told me you were here.

DARIA: What guy?

ANNALISE: (jerking her thumb over her shoulder) That guy cowering behind the shelf over there.

They both look over at the shelf in question. Mark steps out grinning sheepishly.

MARK: Hi, Mom.

ANNALISE: (to Daria) Your son?

DARIA: My son.

ANNALISE: (beat) I'm so sorry.

Daria looks at Mark and gives him her Mona Lisa smile.

DARIA: I'm not.


Establishing shot


Daria is sitting on the couch, shoes off rubbing her feet. Mark comes in fromt he kitchen with a soda.

DARIA: God, I hate wearing heels.

MARK: I'm glad I don't have to deal with them.

DARIA: You would be. (beat) I'm sorry about tonight, Mark. You tried to warn me...

MARK: It's no big deal. I know how Dad is.

DARIA: Yeah...I don't know what it is about him. I don't love him, but when he's around--

MARK: Please! No more details! We got through it, didn't we?

DARIA: (looking up at him) Yeah, we did.

MARK: And hey, if it happens again--

He leans over and hugs Daria from behind the couch.

MARK: I'll always be here to bail you out.

He kisses Daria on the cheek.

MARK: I'm going to bed. Gotta meet up with Charlene tomorrow and prove to her that chimps aren't meant to live in the swamp.

DARIA: I'm not even going to ask.

MARK: Good. You'll be happier that way. G'night!

DARIA: Good night, Mark.

As Mark goes upstairs, Daria watches him go. When he's out of sight, she reaches down next to the couch and pulls up her shoulder bag. She rummages through it and pulls out a small digital photo album. She thumbs through the images, until she reaches a picture of her and Mark, taken when Mark was about six years old. They two of them are sitting at a picnic, food laying around. mark is kissing Daria on the cheek, an ice cream cone in danger of tipping onto the ground in his hand. Daria is smiling, with an arm around him.

Cut back to Daria, who looks at the picture with a contented sigh.


Annalise is sitting on her bed, looking at the autograph, smiling.


"To Annalise, who has impeccable timing and a knack for saving middle aged authors from their own idiocy. Thank you for reading...and for asking.
--Daria Morgendorffer"


Charlene is sitting at her desk, working on her computer. She types for a bit, fools around with the mouse, clicks and sits back. After a moment, we hear the sounds of motorboats and angry chimps.

The camera pans around and we see she's looking at ViewTube on her computer. Specifically a video entitled "COMING THIS FALL: SWAMP CHIMPS."


She thrusts her fist into the air.