BEARing It All

A Vignette – Two weeks after Arrival

By Neal C.


       I was walking down the street, deep in thought.  I had just had a fight with Jane.

       “How could I have been so stupid?” I muttered.

       Easy, you’re a guy.  You aren’t aware of your surroundings and act on instinct… Especially when you’re hungry. 

       “Shut up.  You aren’t helping.”

       It’s your own fault.  I mean you’ve only seen…

       I shook my head and dispelled the thoughts.  “Great now I’m talking to myself.”

        I kept walking not exactly knowing where I was going, and not really caring either.  I ended up in front of a run down, though still imposing edifice.  I realized that I had subconsciously directed myself to the Lawndale public library. 

       “When in doubt find solace in a world not your own…” I said as I pushed the door open.  Though that phrase only works when you’re in you own world already. 

       I walked through the library looking for something, though I didn’t know exactly what.  It was much bigger than the one where I was from.   I looked in the non-fiction section, then the fiction section.  I looked in reference and periodicals.  Then I looked in the computer room.  That’s where I found what I was looking for.

       She was staring intently at the screen, sifting the web for information.  She didn’t notice as I approached, or if she did she gave no sign.  I looked over her shoulder at the screen.  She was at some site devoted to old Soviet weaponry.  “Daria, you’re not planning a war are you?” I asked.

       “EEP!” She jumped up and spun around. “Neal?  What are you doing here?”

       I shrugged.  “Having relationship problems.  Yourself?” 

       “I was doing some research for my next Melody Powers story.”  She waved vaguely at the computer.  “What do you mean relationship problems?”

       I didn’t want to talk about it so I avoided the question.  “What were you researching?”

       “I was looking for a light, Cold War era, submachine gun.  One that’s easily concealable.”

       I nodded.  “How about the Skorpion.”

       “Yeah, I saw some references to that particular gun, but no actual information.”

       “You might want to take notes.” I took a long breath before going into my spiel. “It was manufactured from 1960 to 1975 in Czechoslovakia.  It was small and very concealable, being more of a machine pistol than a submachine gun.  But that came at a price.  It used 7X65mm or .32 acp ammunition.  That meant it didn’t have much stopping power, and it had a very distinctive look, making it easy to identify as Soviet weaponry.”

       After she put down her notepad she raised an eyebrow. “How did you know all of that?”

       I shrugged. “The Cold War interests me.  I like reading those old superspy novels, 007 had it going.”

       “It interests me too, although I like making fun of the superspy genre more than reading the actual works.  Thanks for the info.”

       “No problem.  But now you owe me.”

       “What?” She looked at me suspiciously.

       “Oh, nothing much… Just write me into your next Melody Powers story.  I know she’s based on you, so you probably have characters based on other people.”

       She smirked.  “What make you think I haven’t used you already?”

        I shrugged.  “I don’t know.”

       “Well if I haven’t, I will.” She put her stuff in her knapsack and looked at the clock on the wall.  “I guess I’d better head home.”

       My shoulders slumped.  I still didn’t have anywhere to go, since Jane was mad at me.  I sighed.  “Yeah, I guess I’ll see you around.”  I turned to leave, then I heard Daria make that noise.  You know, the kind of sigh she gives when her conscience defeats her.

       “Neal… Is something wrong?”

       I shrugged and answered her a faux cheery voice.  “Besides the fact that Jane’s mad at me and I have no place to go, I’m fine.” 

       She just stared at me flatly, then rolled her eyes. “Do you… want to… talk about it?”

       I turned back towards her. “Honestly, would you want me to?”  She just stood there. “I didn’t think so.  I’ll just let Jane cool down and then go sniveling back home.”

       “Sounds like a plan.  Uh, so what are you going to do until then?”

       “I dunno.  Does this town have an arcade?”

       “Yeah, Mr. Fun’s World of Games.  You want me to show you how to get there?”

       “Uh, sure.”

       We left the library and headed toward the arcade.  We spent a few hours and more than a few quarters playing games.  Then I saw it, they had a quick draw game.

       “Cool!” I yelped and ran toward it.

       “What?” Daria said, following me.

       “Quick Draw.” I said to her.  She looked at me blankly.  “You put in the quarters and strap on the gun belt.  Then you see if you can out draw the enemies.”  I stepped inside the square and strapped on the belt.  I put my quarters in the machine.  It came to life and told me the rules.  Then on the screen walked a life-sized opponent dressed like a cowboy.

       “On the count of three, draw.” The machine said.

       “One.” I brushed back my trench coat and wiggled my fingers around the butt of the pistol.

       “Two.” I narrowed my eyes.

       “Three.” My gun was out and I shot before I even consciously realized it.  The “enemy” gave a cry of agony as it fell to the ground.  I made it about three quarters of the way through the game before I was shot.  I hung up the gun belt and stepped out of the square.  Daria just kind of looked at me.

       “You’re pretty good.” She said.

       I nodded. “I’ve played it before.  ‘Sides, hitting a human sized target is a lot easier than shooting bottles off of a fence, and with this there’s no recoil.”  I reached into my pocket for quarters to have another go.  It was empty.  “End of the line I guess.”

       Daria nodded.  “I’d probably better get home before dinner anyway.”

       We left the arcade and walked until we had to go our separate ways.  “Well I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” Daria said.

       “That remains to be seen.” I said.

       We stood there for a second before she asked the question I knew was coming. “What happened?”

       “We had a fight.”

       “I know that.  I mean what started it.”

       I smirked at the irony of the situation, but only I understood. “I ate some gummy-bears.”

       “Excuse me.  You what?”

       “I ate her gummy-bears.”

       “Why did that get her so mad.”

       I shrugged. “She’ll probably tell you tomorrow.”  I knew full well why, but I figured that Jane would want to blow some steam off on Daria.

       Daria nodded and started to walk in the other direction.  Before she was out of hearing range I heard her question herself. “Gummy-bears?”


       Author’s notes:  Well before you ask I did take the gummy-bear incident out of it’s date but I figured with no Tom to eat them that I’d have to… and yes, if I was hungry, I would probably have forgotten about what happened in the show and eaten the gummy-bears.  I have a couple more vignettes up my sleeve and The New York Minute and A Christmas Stuck In Lawndale are also on the horizon.  I have started on the Melody Powers story mentioned in this fic but I don’t know if I’ll finish it so don’t hold your breath.  Quick Draw is not the name of the game but I never remember the name of it, although I am damn good at it (and at shooting bottles off of the fence).


As always I have to mar my fic with the standard copyright stuff.  Daria and all other Daria cast members (‘cept me) belong to Mtv.