The Thieving Pizza Fairies
A 'Daria' fic by Brother Grimace
(Author's Note: This fic takes place in 'present-day' – that is, Daria and Jane are in their final semester of college.)
A dreadful electronic braying filled the darkened front room of Daria Morgendorffer's apartment, dragging the petite brunette into annoyed wakefulness from her perch on the couch.
"Damn specialty alarm clock..."
Jane hadn't reset the damned thing, Daria noticed, seeing that it was 7:29 in the evening. If I didn't love her like a sister, I'd kill her and everything she's nailed within a ten-block radius... probably means that I'd kill off most of the two-legged creatures in the building...
The sudden growling in her stomach brought Daria to her feet, before the shaded, blurry world around her sent her patting around the couch and the coffee table for her glasses. Next time, eat before you take three-hour midterms and end up too sleepy to do anything but pass out when you get home...
Through sleepy eyes, Daria made her way into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door, and dragged a chair over to sit on as she began to trawl through the contents. Catfish filets... cinnamon-raisin bagels... salad... Junior Mints... cream cheese... leftover lasagna... leftover pork steaks... root beer... real beer...
Daria tore a pork steak in half and started chewing, then popped the top on a can and took a big swig –
The revulsion of the cheap beer's horrid taste woke Daria up completely; as she rose from the chair, the sound of the front door opening caught her attention. "Daria! Hey, Daria- oh, there you are! Man, have I got a story for you!"
A slowing blur in the bright garnet-and –gold of Raft University, Jane Lane took the opened beer out of Daria's hand, reached past her for the other half of the pork and sat down at the kitchen table. "Thanks for the beer – hey, pull over here! You are gonna love this one!"
She's got a double major in art history and law-enforcement and she runs track – how the hell does she manage to keep so damn energized? Oh, yeah – she's a succubus... drains the life out of all of those guys she dates...
"Jane, I'm really wiped out, so why don't you just get to the end – you know, where you say, 'And then, we scrambled to get dressed as the lights came on."
"You know, you're a really funny girl – how you've managed to go through, oh, how many boyfriends is just beyond me!
Daria sighed, and then swallowed the lump of steak. "Tell me what happened."
"First – lights," Jane told her, leaning back to flick the light switch on. "Second, well, you know that story that your editor wants you to do – the little fluff piece?"
"For people with fluff in their heads. I thought that at least here, I'd put that behind me."
"And then you found out that people with rich mommies and daddies can get into good schools, too!" Jane smiled as her best friend scowled; even after seven years of having the best friend she'd ever had in her life, she still got a kick out of pushing Daria's buttons. "So you have to do a light, fluffy little 'human-interest' story for 'Uptight' Wright... the only person in this community who's more antisocial, more hermit-like, and less likely to get laid than you are, short of an impending asteroid strike."
"Come on – you know that if tomorrow was the last day on Earth, you'd go get some..."
"Why should I go off somewhere – you live right here?"
"Yeah, but even if I brought another girl over, you just don't do the group thing. That's why you're a 'pass' in my book – and besides, your dear editor's not that uptight."
Daria's eyebrows went up in surprise. "Jane. Tell me you didn't-"
There was a smile, followed by a shake of Jane's head. "Nah. Not bitchy enough for him. You know that neutron-blonde toothpick that writes columns that make you think she should be wearing jackboots and cracking a whip? Henry something?"
Daria was more than awake now. "Chynna Henry? Her and – her and him?"
Jane nodded sagely. "Oh, yeah. Remember back around Valentine's Day – the regional competition up in Albany?"
Her eyes flickering across an impressive trophy in the living room, Daria nodded. "They actually spent money on us and took us to a good restaurant. Guess who was there, doing a meet-and-greet with the parents of 'Fraulein Eagle-Quill?"
"Yeah. Didn't see that one coming over the horizon. They're not doing goo-goo eyes and silly nicknames, either. Looks really serious. Anyway, so he wants you to do that, and I suggested that you do something on urban myths on campus?"
"I've got one for you..."
"Jane – you're like a goat."
"This from a guy nicknamed 'Roman?"
"Oh, be quiet and see if you can find my shorts."
Jane snickered as she ogled Rafael Vargas's unclothed form, and the handsome Latino thwacked her in the face with a musty towel as he finally recovered the remaining parts of his Raft University warm-up outfit. "So, when are we going to go over to your place and hang out?"
"I wanted to know when we'd get to just hang out at your place, like normal people who go out."
"We don't 'hang out', Roman – we just race on the same team, and we do it when we get the chance. Oh, yeah – I'll get you some new rubbers. The ones you get have no traction."
"You are one weird chick. I don't know why I like you."
"Yes, you do. I don't complain about you being a track toad, I like to freak and eat pizza, and there's no strings."
Jane reached out, and turned the young man towards her. "Roman – Rafael. This isn't – this isn't going to get weird, is it?"
Roman zipped up his jacket. "Uh, no."
"I'm going to be stupid enough to give up no-strings sex and free pizza on a regular basis by falling for you? Not that stupid – I just want to hang out with my friends like they are my friends."
"Yeah, 'oh." He dodged the towel and walked past several easels before coming to a large, heavy table that had seen better days, and a confused look crossed his face. "Hey, Lane."
"Where's the pizza?"
"Right on that table over there, where I put it!"
"I don't see any pizza."
"Then open your eyes and lose the dew-rag – I put the boxes right over there –" Jane's voice cut off in mid-sentence as she pulled her top on, and her eyes fell on the sight of Roman and the barren table.
"Where's the freakin' pizza?"
"Hey, you were carrying it – I was kind of busy with my hands at the moment!"
For some strange reason, Jane actually blushed at that statement. "Well, they're here somewhere – they have to be! I mean, we brought them in here!" Roman continued, as Jane started to walk around the room in what might have been a daze. "You know what happened – somebody came in here, heard us over behind the shelves and decided to take out pizzas to teach us a lesson! Man, if I ever find out who snagged my pizza – and they were 'E.B.A.'s, too! Extra large – I paid for extra large – and they took the sodas, too! DAMN!"
Jane went over to the door of the art studio, and noticed the lock. "No."
"Door's locked – and even as loud as you are, it squeaks really bad... it's been like that ever since I transferred from BFAC. Noticed it the first day." She turned to face Roman. "It wasn't a 'somebody' that took them..."
Roman held up his hands as he saw the look in Jane's eyes. "Don't start, Lane..."
"Hey, I think-"
"No, you don't. Not when you've got THAT look on your face!"
"THAT one! The one you get when you're about to come up with some crazy theory, like that thing about puppets!"
Jane tried – and failed miserably – to take on an innocent look. "I was only going to say-"
"I've heard stories!"
"Yeah – and 'fat, drunk and stupid' isn't somebody to listen to!"
"Don't diss your sister," Jane shot back. "It happened last month, when some of the guys in my Procedures and Tactics seminar had an all-nighter over in Leighton Hall-"
"Oh, and they weren't under the influence of whatever, were they?"
"People have been talking about it for years!"
"Some people get all drunk, eat up all of their pizza and when they sober up – 'Oh, no! Our pizza vanished!' Yeah – right down their throats!"
"They even took the boxes."
"Yeah, Lane – they unlocked the door, came in, and snuck out with the pizza AND the boxes. We got hooked – nothing else."
Jane started to pace around the room; she was unaware that she now moved about like a stalking jungle cat, looking for traces of her prey... "I wonder..."
Roman lost his temper. "Damnit, Lane, I don't want to hear another word about-"
'THE THIEVING PIZZA FAIRIES?!"
"It's true! I know that it's a big Raft U. urban legend, but ever since I've been here, strange things happen when pizza is around! Daria, the thieving Pizza Fairies is not a myth!"
Daria stared at her best friend in absolute disbelief, and fought down the urge to slap some sense into her. Besides, Jane would just swing back at her and knock her across the room...
"I am NOT going to write about how pizzas have been disappearing from places around the campus for years. It's weird, it's unbelievable, and it's stupid."
"It's not stupid! Do you know how much an 'E.B.A.' pizza from 'Lords of 'Za' costs? That's a huge pie, Morgendorffer! I did some checking, and even since they opened - way back in 1989 – people have been talking about how they'll buy 'E.B.A.'s , and if they don't eat them right away or if they leave them alone, they disappear! Oh, sure, other types of pizzas disappear, but the evidence is all there, right in front of us. 'E.B.A.' 'Everything But Anchovies.' They'll take anything they can, but the thieving Pizza Fairies like them the best!"
Daria stood up. "Oh, yeah. I'm going to go ahead and detonate any chance of a career in journalism by writing a story about imaginary beings that, for the past sixteen years, have been pilfering round Italian food objects from the unsuspecting students and staff of this great institution. Thanks for your help, Lane."
"But it's true! They've actually tried to set traps and videotape it, to see if it's a hoax – but weird things always happen – the cameras always screw up, or they'll wait for hours but turn away, and then - they're gone!"
"You've been breathing in too much track dust and liniment," Daria yawned, waving off Jane's protests. "Oh – and for that tip on my jerk editor, I won't make fun of you for not saying anything about Vargas... and I might not even invite him over to hang out..."
Jane's eyes sprung open; she just realized that she'd spilled a secret that she'd kept from Daria. "Remember all of those years you played 'Dark Yenta of the Sith' for me and Trent?
Daria leaned forward. "Now, you pay."
"Oh, no – oh, come on, Daria! Daria!"
"Can't hear you. Going to take a shower. You're not a pizza, so I expect you'll still be here when I get out."
High above the lights and the activity of Raft University at nightfall, several raccoons lay almost insensate on the roof of Berrison Hall, the largest building on the campus.
Three large pizza boxes sat before the large animals; two of them were opened, yet still intact, with only a few crumbs left of their contents. The third box lay untouched, as if waiting...
The raccoons lifted their head at the slight sound of scratching behind them; they relaxed as they saw three shapes like their own appear through the large air-conditioning duct that they had used to gain access to the roof.
It was a mother raccoon, and the smaller shapes at her side were her young. They smelled the food inside the box and raced forward; they both squalled as they were booted back once, and then again, until they both stood still and watched...
The mother raccoon moved forward, and with consummate skill, opened the pizza box to reveal the delicious pizza inside. The eyes of the young raccoons glittered, but, remembering the swatting paws, stood, and waited, and watched as their mother closed the lid, and then repeated the process... The mother raccoon sounded for her young to move forward, and moved aside as the first of her babies eased forward.
The young raccoon looked around at the others with some trepidation as he reached a small paw out to touch the box; when no one hit at him, he looked around it, remembering what he saw his mother do...
A soft chorus of chittering could be heard as the lid of the box came open without tearing, and the young raccoon helped himself to his very first taste pf pizza.
- 'Lords of 'Za' is a fictional pizza place that I originally created in my fic 'Getting On With Living'. The 'E.B.A.' pizza, however, was a real pizza, made by a pizza place in Carbondale, Illinois (the location of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, my alma mater). They had at least fifteen different ingredients on them, and yes, they were that good. Saluki Pizza, the home of the 'E.B.A.' only lasted one year – 1989-1990. R.I.P., Saluki Pizza. You made a good pie.
- While the raccoons here are a little more intelligent than the average 'coon, they are actually quite intelligent – and they're incredibly dexterous with those little paws. I read once that raccoons have a notorious reputation as 'cage-breakers' – basically, the little bastards are known to pick locks and escape confinement with ease. (I just took it a little further.) Also, most raccoons are NOT repeat NOT afraid of humans. I learned that after a party at my frat house back in 1992... and thankfully, I didn't have to learn the hard way. Damn, can those things get big... and yes, they do like pizza...
- Interconnecting previous works: This fic now actually connects (in a fashion) with not only 'It's All About Respect', but my Senior Thesis project from film school, 'Eagle Guard'! The character of Rafael 'Roman' Vargas is the younger brother of Antonio Vargas, honor student and member of the (shudder) Grove Hills Fashion Club; twelve years from now, in 2017 (the date in which 'Eagle Guard' is set) U.S. Navy Commander Rafael Vargas leads the Eagle Guard, a team of government-sponsored superhumans as 'Centurian' – a cybernetically-enhanced metahuman. (The 'Eagle Guard' is two steps up from the POGO program (which Dr. Kyle Armalin is a member of in 'IAAR') in the government's 'Project Fast Forward; and General Robert Bakeson goes on to become the number-two man in SABRE – Special Activities Bureau – Research/Extranormal - the federal agency that collectively deals with metahuman activies for the United States.) Oh, yeah. David Allen Farrington and Leda Calavicci – Antonio Vargas' friend in the GHFC? He goes on to serve with Rafael as 'Hellhound' (the main character in 'Eagle Guard'), and Leda was introduced in the follow-up piece, 'Strikeforce; America' as the metahuman 'Soulstar'. Kind of makes you wonder what'll be in the next draft of the script, once I dust it off. After all, in 2017, Daria and Jane will be 36 years old... the same age as Farrington... and yes, if you figure up the ages, it does mean that Jane likes younger guys. Also, kind of makes you wonder what's actually going on at Grove Hills...
- This is my first 'post-canon' 'Daria' fic. Funny... I wasn't really planning to do anything like this... not one real moment of mental torture about. Maybe next time, folks!
27 March 2005