(Montage teaser sequence. Music: Splendora -- "You're Standing On My Neck".

Lynn at her locker, converged upon by Stacy and the other cheerleaders [huddled into a protective knot formation] on one side and Brittany [dressed in a pink skirt and white T-shirt that looks like her cheerleading uniform but isn't] on the other.

Jane surrounded by a mid-sized group of children aged six through twelve, standing in front of the Lawndale Elementary School sign. She holds up a bag -- it is full of cans of spray-paint, a few tubes of Crazy Glue and several containers of glitter. The kids grin and reach into the bag.

Daria, Jane and Lynn walking down a Lawndale street, talking. They stop and turn as they hear a noise, and then a screaming AP staggers quickly past them, being dragged by a number of dogs -- a giant Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, a Great Dane, three Corgis, a Chihuahua and a pair of sickeningly cute Lhasa Apsos.

Jake on a used car lot, talking to a dealer. He pats a black 1982 two-door Toyota Tercel that looks like a good kick might reduce it to its component parts. Jake turns, grinning, to Daria, who is standing at a slight distance from the car, arms folded. She just shakes her head in something that's on the emotional scale between despair and disgust.

Daria and Jodie in a makeshift broadcast studio, talking into a mike. Visible through the soundproof glass behind them is Caldwell, looking strangely agitated. After a moment, his expression takes on a more worried look and he jogs out.

A deserted factory. Tiffany, dressed in white, peering blankly into a birdcage. Lying at the bottom is a dead bird. Upchuck approaches from behind her, his hair slicked back, dressed in black in best post-makeover tradition. He turns her around and they kiss deeply.

A men's room. O'Neill huddled into a ball on the floor, sobbing his pathetic little heart out. Four familiar pairs of boots walk into shot and stop in front of him. Pan up to the confused-looking Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP.

Daria and Lynn, side-by-side, looking at each other and giving the traditional Mona Lisa smile. Pan in and out to change to the TLAS logo. Writing in Daria font underneath reads...

The Kids Aren't All Wrong - TLAS 5:04

(Scene: Quinn's room. Music: Offspring -- "Walla Walla". Quinn's in workout gear, lying face up on her bed, pom-poms dangling from her hands. Daria walks in.)

Daria: I was going to ask if you'd seen my Offspring CD.

Quinn: Daria, go away. I need to practice.

Daria: I thought that was more of an after-game position.

Quinn: Daria, I'm just doing Brittany's job, not her boyfriend. Or anyone else's.

Daria: (raised eyebrows) That's a mature thought.

Quinn: I'm growing up, Daria.

Daria: I meant mature as in X-rated. And dark. (beat) Quinn, what's wrong?

Quinn: Oh, why don't you go stick your nose in a book or something and leave me alone?

Daria: Because I've spent the last two hours in detention doing just that.

Quinn: Jeez, Daria, get a hobby or a job and stop trying to make me be like I was!

Daria: Excuse me?

Quinn: I go to the school and the cheerleading and dinner with Mom and Dad and I put on the same silly smile and cheery cheerleading outfit and I try to be what people want me to be but this is my room, Daria, and I don't want to have to pretend that Christmas never happened here! So would you just go away and let me be depressed in peace? God knows you've been doing it for years.

(Daria looks quite taken aback at this, but after a pause, she turns and walks out.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music plays on. The gang share a booth.)

Jane: We have got to start giving that girl some credit.

Daria: You're telling me. I had no idea she was feeling this bad.

Lynn: Which means she's not milking it. Which probably means we should do something about it.

AP: But how do we cheer her up? I mean, she has just about what she wants, right? She's been doing the dating thing and bouncing along with the pom-poms and even doing homework and that. Not much left.

Daria: On the bright side, we have another eleven weeks of detention in which to consider the problem.

Jane: The detention thing is really not helping things. All I can do are sketches, and by the time I get home, I get interrupted one brush stroke in three by the rattling of the house.

Lynn: We do have to practice.

AP: We wouldn't be able to practice if Dad was any good at grounding me. I keep breaking curfew but then I just asked if he'd rather I do my chem lab stuff in the house and maybe poison the place again and he just lets it go, every time.

Daria: So that's two problems to consider in detention -- how to cheer up Quinn, and how to get the Reformed some more practical practice time.

Jane: Gee, why don't we just throw in a formula for world peace while we're at it?

Daria: One thing at a time, Jane.

(Scene: DeMartino's classroom. Music: Alice in Chains -- "Bleed the Freak". We focus on DeMartino grading papers at his desk. Enter Caldwell, with O'Neill following at his heels.)

Caldwell: How are the prisoners doing?

(DeMartino gestures. Pan across the room. Jodie and Bill are mid-homework. Daria's neck-deep in "The Tessaract" by Alex Garland. Jane has put aside her own homework and is doing something oblique with coathangers. AP's drumming on his desk with a couple of pencils and Lynn is leaning out the window.)

Caldwell: Lynn Cullen!

Lynn: (waving him off) Just a sec. (yelling out the window) Okay, Trent, that works, but try the D minor dimished in the bridge, would you? And crank up the volume, it's hard to hear.

(She turns around to Caldwell and eyes him calmly as the strains of a single guitar come floating through the window.)

O'Neill: Mr Caldwell, obviously her actions do merit some punishment, but as we were discussing, students at their intellectual level really need more stimulation than the traditional detention venue...

Caldwell: I took your point, Timothy. Now, students -- I have a proposition for you.

Jane: You're a little old for me, Mr Caldwell, but I'm flattered, really.

Caldwell: Wha ... no! I'm offering you a shortened stay in detention. Under certain conditions.

Daria: You're going to take our firstborn children in trade?

Caldwell: The fines to the FCC put a big dent in the school budget, and more than watching you six suffer for your behaviour in here, I want the budget back. And Timothy here came to me with an idea.

O'Neill: I have helped the Lawndale Elementary School build up an after-school programme ... for students whose parents are ... unable to be available to their children after school. And while their budget isn't exactly extensive, they can afford to pay their counsellors a small amount for their time.

Caldwell: The deal is this. You sign up for the after-school programme. All your earnings go directly to Lawndale High. While I'd love to make you pay the entire amount, I feel obliged to take some responsibility for this -- I let it go on for far too long. Once you've worked off half the FCC fine, you six are free to go.

(The six in question exchange looks and, by silent consent, huddle in the far corner of the room.)

Bill: Little kids?

Daria: How long do you think it'll take between the six of us?

Bill: Little kids?

Lynn: Month; month and a half, tops.

Bill: Lit-- mmph

Jodie: (with her hand clamped over his mouth) How many of us have done baby-sitting before?

(Everyone nods. Bill shakes free.)

Bill: Get offa me! I got two little brothers.

AP: So we can. Question is if we do.

Jane: It means working for "the man".

Daria: It involves interaction with inquiring, malleable minds.

Bill: It means kids.

Jodie: It cuts our detention time in half.

(Back to Caldwell, O'Neill and DeMartino.)

Caldwell: When should I start worrying?

DeMartino: You should have started worrying the instant they started their little conference, Nathan.

(Caldwell looks askance at DeMartino; who shrugs and goes back to his papers. The huddle breaks up.)

Daria: After some discussion, we've decided to accept.

Caldwell: Good. You start tomorrow. But for today -- oh, it can't hurt; dismissed.

(He leaves; the others exchange look as they pack their belongings.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: Pulp -- "Babies". Daria, Jane and Jodie at a booth.)

Daria: So thinking about how to cheer Quinn up, do you think some kind of pleasant surprise would work? Assuming we can come up with anything pleasant.

Jodie: Do you really think she'd be in the mood for any surprise?

Jane: Sure. Sometimes the best things in life are the ones you don't see coming.

Daria: Like the sudden reprieve from detention in exchange for unpaid labour with the youth contingent of Lawndale?

Jane: Hey, it solves a problem. Our detention's shorter and kids love music -- a few guest appearances by the Reformed will make a nice change from "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Daria: Not to mention the fact that kids are less than tentative about art projects. You'll have a legion of creative little goblins as your minions in no time at all.

Jane: (rubbing her hands together) Today, Lawndale Elementary, tomorrow the Louvre!

Jodie: And I suppose those of us who are less creative just help the kids with their homework. But what about Bill?

Daria: The amount kids like their baby-sitter -- or counsellor -- seems to be inversely proportional to how much their counsellor likes them. He'll be fine.

Jane: Just to get this clear ... we don't really expect this to be decent; we are whistling past the graveyard here?

Daria: Hell yes.

Jane: Good. I thought for a minute we were two steps away from the Young Optimists.

(Daria and Jodie just look at her. She gives a sheepish smirk and stuffs pizza in her mouth.)

(Scene: a small room, obviously at basement level. Music plays on. The little orange plastic chairs around the plywood folding tables and the dingy orange paint on the walls suggests "elementary school circa 1983". Kids are sitting around sullenly, poking through their book bags or reading or munching snacks. Among them are Tad and Tricia Gupty, Chris Griffin and Brian Taylor. Also Todd Green, Jackie O'Conner and Julia Hanlon from Quinn's babysitting spreadsheet. O'Neill is watching the kids from the far side of the room. Daria, Jane, and Jodie poke their heads around one side of the door frame, while Lynn, AP and Bill poke their heads around the other.)

Bill: It's gonna be Village of the Damned in here.

Lynn: No, nothing that spectacular.

Daria: I was thinking more "Lord of the Flies", myself.

O'Neill: Oh, there you are! Young persons, meet your new counsellors!

(The kids turn around and just stare at the gang as they file in and stand in front of the door.)

Bill: Tellin' ya. Village of the Damned.

(He waits for disagreement. He doesn't get any.)


Diamond Car Insurance -- I don't care how much you saved on your car insurance. If the subject of who pays the lunch bill looks set to cause an argument with your friends, just split it between you.

NHS Direct -- Advertising skin care for sunny days. In England. Could we maybe get real here for a moment? Anyway -- FANSERVICE!

(Scene: still the room. Music: Ani DiFranco -- "Freakshow". O'Neill smiles nervously.)

O'Neill: Well. Ah. They do say that too many cooks spoil the broth. So I'll ... ah ... let you get to know the young people and ... you can send a runner if you get into any trouble. But of course you won't because the students in this programme are no ... uh ... trouble...

(Everyone else in the room is staring at him now, so he just backs towards the door and leaves. The six teenagers face the little kids again.)

Jodie: Uh ... hi. We're your new counsellors.

(Brian throws a pair of scissors at her. She ducks it and straightens up, her smile's a little strained now.)

Jodie: I guess we should tell you our names. I'm Jodie. That's Jane, and AP, and Bill, and ...

Jackie: How're we supposed to tell those two apart?

Jane: Easy. They come colour coded. The one in green's Daria, and the one in purple's Lynn.

Daria & Lynn: (unison) There are other differences.

(As Daria and Lynn share that traditional "What the hell?" look, the kids giggle slightly. Jodie looks relieved that the ice is broken.)

AP: So ... we got projects for you guys, if you want in.

Todd: You're talking to us like we have a choice. Mr O'Neill just sort of tells us that we have to do stuff. And it's never any fun.

Daria: Technically speaking, you can sit and do nothing for all we care. But if you're the kind of kids who actually prefer fun to sitting around navel-gazing, you have your choice of activities. They'd probably scare adults. Which makes them perfect for the under-12 set.

(The kids look warily at the sextet, not quite able to believe their luck.)

Jodie: At some point, we have to have some period devoted to homework, but we'll run that after snacktime. So if anyone's particularly interested in arts and crafts, go see Jane.

Jane: Daria'll run that with me, won't you, amiga?

Daria: I suppose I can at least show the kids how to escape your projects unscathed.

AP: Bill and I'll be building stuff outside, so if you wanna throw things a long way, you can hang with us!

Jodie: And Lynn and I will do a sort of story hour. I think the library's still open.

Chris: Story hour? How lame!

Lynn: Not when Roman Dirge is involved, it's not. Things get squished and gored and set on fire.

(With that, she leads a stunned Jodie out. They're followed by Tricia, Brian, Julia and a couple of other random kids. AP and Bill head out followed by Todd, Chris and a few more random students. Daria and Jane wind up facing the rest, including Jackie and Tad.)

Jane: Okay, first thing's first -- let's do something about this room.

Daria: What's wrong with it? It sort of reminds me of my room.

Jane: Daria, that's what's wrong with it.

Jackie: Your room's this depressing?

Jane: Her room's got grey padded walls. Just like a lunatic asylum.

Tad: I guess that kind of explains all that stuff Mom says about you.

Jane: Well, I keep offering to tie-dye her walls, but she keeps threatening to tie-dye my hair.

Daria: To get back on the subject, any ideas what we should do about the room?

Jackie: We wanted Mr O'Neill to let us hang our drawings and stuff on the walls, but he said it wouldn't be fair.

Tad: He said that then we'd end up comparing our work to everyone else's and it might be ... damaging to our self-esteem. Or something.

Jane: Okaaaay ... so we won't hang your drawings on the walls.

(Jane's smirk is positively wicked. Daria seems grudgingly admiring. The kids aren't sure what's going on, but they respond positively to the expression on Jane's face.)

(Scene: LES library [like most elementary school libraries, a downscaled version of a HS library with a storytelling area towards the back]. Music: REM -- "Walk Unafraid". O'Neill walks in and sees the kids that Lynn and Jodie have gathered looking very happy with events.)

O'Neill: (cheerful) I see you're having a little literary time-out. Mind if I sit in?

Jodie: Mr O'Neill, I'm really not sure you want to do that.

O'Neill: Nonsense! I'm as open-minded as the next teacher! I know that even fairy tales have become a little ... gruesome and ... somewhat sharp since my childhood, but I'm sure I can take it.

Tricia: Tell him the one about the bully who got electrocuted by the guy's trumpet and glasses!

Julia: Or the one where the mother stole bits of the family's faces to make a face for her baby!

Brian: Or the one where the guy goes to hell and comes back and so doesn't die even when the Fury ladies rip him to pieces and throw his head in the river!

(By now, O'Neill has turned very green and run out.)

Lynn: Well. And we hadn't even got to Roman Dirge yet.

(Scene: LES playground. Music plays on. AP and Bill have spread out a blueprint on the ground and they are surrounded by the rest of the kids. O'Neill approaches, a little pale and shaky but the fresh air seems to be helping.)

AP: Okay, so we know what we're gonna do. Now, a few little rules.

Bill: First, no one under ten handles blades or power tools. No saws, no drills, no lathes.

Chris: (to Todd) Ha! You suck!

Todd: I don't suck! Hey, you suck!

AP: Second, no one wastes time insulting anyone or messing around with the tools or like that! We got a siege engine to build and the more time we waste building it, the less time we have to use it.

Bill: Third, you do what we say, when we say it, or we use you as counterweight.

AP: No, we don't! Come on, use your head!

(O'Neill, who's been quietly appalled through this conversation, looks a little easier. Until...)

Bill: Sorry, man. Just thought...

AP: No you didn't, man! (beat) None of these little shrimps are heavy enough to be any good for a counterweight! You'd get no distance! But we could fling one of 'em if they don't behave!

Bill: Cool by me. (beat) So you squirts gonna behave, or we gonna launch the first twinkie-kid into space?

(The kids look at each other, then at Bill and AP, and then they stand at attention and salute.)

AP: Okay, we need wood, and something big for a counterweight, and a nailgun, and ... lots and lots of caffeine! I'm gonna introduce you to a little enervation called Jolt Cola!

O'Neill: (stepping over) Oh, AP, we don't give our charges caffeine or sugar -- it's not very healthy, you know. We have some fruit juices and sugar-free snack foods in the basement storage room...

Bill: We're gonna vote, shrimps, okay? All for fruit juices and sugar-free snack foods?

(Conspicuous silence from the kids.)

AP: All for Jolt Cola and Twinkies?

(Hands go up. Bill and AP smirk at O'Neill, who reacts to this show of solidarity by backing away slowly as the group turn back to their plans.)

(Scene: corridor outside the basement room. Music plays on. O'Neill is wringing his hands in dismay. He stops when he hears voices from inside the room.)

Daria: (OS) Are we done here?

Julia: (OS) It looks great!

Tad: (OS) Lots less boring!

Jane: (OS) Come on; let's gather our stuff and hit the library. The paint's still a little tacky and we need to let the fumes clear out in here anyway.

Daria: (OS) If we go now, there might be enough time to hear Lynn and Jodie tell one more gory story before we start on homework.

(The kids make happy noises and there's a scuffle. O'Neill steps towards the door and is knocked down by a small stampede of kids making their way out the door. They are followed by Daria and Jane, who look curiously at O'Neill, wordlessly help him to his feet and walk off without saying anything. O'Neill gets his bearings, then resumes his progress into the room. He gets into the doorway and stops dead.)

O'Neill: (weakly) Oh ... dear.

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: Fungus -- "Monsters from Mars". The six counsellors share a table with Mack, who is watching with slightly stunned amusement as his girlfriend tells him about her day.)

Jodie: So then Mr O'Neill comes into the library and says something about admiring our creativity and our desire to encourage freedom of expression but that the school walls probably weren't the best place to do it.

Jane: Hey, come on! Walls are the best place for kids to express themselves artistically!

Daria: I thought Tad's rendering of the battle of Gettysburgh was particularly impressive.

Jane: I still want to know how he managed to render a gangrenous wound so well.

Lynn: I talked to Trent. He figures that the elementary school's as good a place as any to practice, so what do you say to a command performance in a couple of days?

AP: Nifty! Gives us a little more time before we test the trebuchet!

Mack: The trebuwhat?

AP: Trebuchet! Kind've like a seesaw, but cos of where the thing's balanced, it flings real heavy things real hard.

Mack: And what exactly were you planning to ... uh ... fling?

AP: (looking incredulously at him) Anything that doesn't run away fast enough!

Jane: Paint!

Daria: Is a trebuchet the thing they used to launch that Chihuahua into the rafters at the Battle of the Bands?

Lynn: Yes. Shame those things are so fickle; I think it was supposed to land in the audience.

Jane: Paint! Paint! Paint!

Jodie: You people scare me.

Daria: I think that means we're doing our job right.

Jane: You did hear me vote for paint-flinging, right?

(AP drops his head on the table in disgust. Daria and Lynn roll their eyes. Jodie looks pleadingly at Mack, who pats her on the shoulder.)

(Scene: LES ext. Music plays on. Jane and the after-school programme kids are standing in front of the Lawndale Elementary School sign. Jane carries a large duffel bag. The kids look confused.)

Jane: Okay, little muppets. Art Appreciation 101. What does this piece say to you?

Tricia: I don't like it. No one thought about it at all; they just put it here.

Todd: It's boring. It sucks.

Jane: Hmm. I guess that means it isn't art. (beat) Want to make it art?

Julia: Yeah, but the people who built the school put it here! We can't do anything about it.

Jane: (evil smirk) Wanna bet?

(She holds up a bag. We see inside it -- it's full of cans of spray paint, a few tubes of Crazy Glue and several containers of glitter.)

Tad: What are we supposed to do with this stuff?

Jane: (shrug) Go nuts.

(The kids look at each other. They grin, and reach into the bag.)


Yes Car Credit" -- "We have the power to say yes ... to nice people". So I guess the application forms include a request for a few character references?

Next on TLAS -- Trent gets "Caught 'Napping". Big surprise.

(Scene: LES gymnasium. Music: Girls Against Boys -- "Kill the Sex Player". Trent, Nick, Lynn and AP are setting up their equipment. Daria, Jodie and Bill are setting up chairs for the kids. There's a spot for dancing [mosh pit] just before the makeshift stage.)

AP: This isn't as much fun without the costumes.

Trent: You like wearing shirt and tie, man?

AP: Okay, it isn't as much fun without her costume.

(Lynn, who was tuning her guitar at the time, looks up at him with narrowed eyes.)

Lynn: I'd have thought that, if you were after that kind of thing, it'd be a lot more fun without the costume.

(AP blushes madly and makes a good attempt to crawl into his bass drum. Jodie stares at them for a moment, then turns to Daria, confused.)

Jodie: I wouldn't have guessed that she was any likelier than you to make that kind of comment.

Daria: Well, it shut him up, didn't it?

(Enter Jane, with their young charges in tow. They're all paint-spattered, glitter-covered, sticky and smiling. Jane wears a Polaroid camera around her neck and holds several pictures in her hands.)

Jodie: What have you been doing?

Tricia: Making real art! We had glitter and spray paint and Jane had these funny markers and...

Jane: It has to be seen to be believed. I took pictures, but seeing the work itself is always better. You'd better check out the real thing before someone replaces it.

Julia: They can't do that! We worked so hard on it!

Tad: Sure they can. They're adults and they can do whatever they want.

Todd: I don't like it.

Daria: No one does.

Lynn: You find ways around that. Creative outlets work best.

Daria: And the best part is, if you find one you're good at, eventually you make a lot of money out of the very thing that your elders reviled you for all those years ago.

Trent: So you kids want to hear some music, or what?

Chris: No Barney stuff, okay? Barney sucks.

Nick: No way; I get that enough with my kid. (to the others) Metallica?

Trent: Nah. Something newer, but that the kids'd maybe know.

Lynn: How about what we were working on last night?

(The band pick up their instruments and the kids sit down, expectant.)

(Scene: LES corridor. O'Neill is bustling along in the wake of a portly gentleman wearing an ill-fitting suit and a really bad tie.)

O'Neill: Now, Mr Kennedy, I know you're a little upset about the ... changes to the school sign, but I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation -- there's no reason to get upset over a little...

(They have approached the door to the gym and they are nearly bowled over by heavy guitar riffs and a lot of drumming -- the opening of Papa Roach's "M-80". Mr Kennedy covers his ears with his hands.)

Kennedy: What is that?

(The gym door opens and Jodie, Bill and Daria stick their heads out. The music gets correspondingly louder.)

Jodie: You really don't want to come in here.

Daria: There's something about the Reformed that inspires mosh pits.

Kennedy: In eight-year-olds?

(They shrug, re-enter the room and slam the door. Kennedy looks at O'Neill with something approaching fury. O'Neill cowers.)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music: Moby -- "Extreme Ways". Daria, Jane, Lynn, AP, Jodie and Bill stand before Caldwell's desk, features composed. Caldwell can't seem to manage that -- he looks livid.)

Caldwell: Defacement of school property.

Jane: Art projects.

Caldwell: Noise pollution.

Lynn: Music appreciation.

Caldwell: Corruption of the young.

Jodie: (to the puzzled look) I think he means story hour.

Caldwell: Don't you students show any remorse?

AP: What for? They're gonna annoy their elders in a few years anyway. May as well get used to the idea.

Caldwell: Well, maybe they wouldn't grow up to be rebellious teenagers if they didn't have bad influences on their very doorsteps!

Daria: They already have bad influences, Mr Caldwell. Movies, television and most music glorifies sex, violence and villainy. The anti-hero is idolised while the classical hero is seen as unrealistic, even laughable. All we're showing them is that it's not bad to be smart, or creative. And that there are other outlets for the frustrations of everyday life than to hurt someone.

(There is a pause as Caldwell takes this in. He obviously wants to be able to refute the point but can't for the life of him think how.)

Caldwell: I don't want to see your charges doing any more ... redecorating of the school. And I don't want to hear about you performing any more of that ... that music. And I'd prefer it if you toned down the stories you tell. Do I make myself clear?

Lynn: Eminently. May we be excused?

Caldwell: One more thing. (beat) To your credit, the kids' grades are improving. The teachers have ... complained to the principal about some of the commentary they've been coming out with in class. But they did make it clear that it wasn't lack of understanding of the subject matter. So in spite of your ... overzealous creativity ... it seems you're doing a reasonable job of this.

(The six exchange looks.)

(Scene: LES exterior. Music: Dark Tranquility -- "Feast of Burden". The kids [minus Chris and Brian] are gathered around Bill and AP, who are making some last-minute adjustments to the trebuchet. Daria, Jane, Lynn and Jodie are standing off to the side, watching the boys at work.)

Jodie: But ... Caldwell said...

Lynn: There's no "defacement of school property", no rock music and no "evil stories". We're doing what he said. To the letter, if not the spirit.

AP: Okay, so what are we going to fling?

Daria: We could always fling that death-trap in the nearest dumpster.

AP: Oh, come on, Erudite Emerald. It'll be fun! So long as we find something to fling!

Tad: Chris and Brian have something.

Jane: Please, please, please let it be paint!

(Chris and Brian arrive carrying a table. On the table are four badly-wrapped sandwiches, two blackened bananas, a slightly squishy orange and a few unidentified bits wrapped in tinfoil.)

Jodie: What's this?

Todd: You know how you get stuff in your bag lunch that you just don't like but your mom will never believe that you don't like?

Jane: (genuine perplexity) Bag lunch?

Daria: You've probably seen them in history books, Jane.

Todd: Well, the leftover table's where you leave the stuff you don't like and see if you can find anything you do like. Kind of a trade deal.

Chris: They never throw that stuff away. We thought you could. Far away.

AP: Y'know what? I like this kid! But usually, projectiliana's round.

Jodie: "Projectiliana"?

Lynn: He tries. He fails.

AP: Load it up, gang!

(Bill helps the kids load the little table, food and all, into the sling on the trebuchet. The kids stand a good ways off to the side as Lynn advised earlier. AP grins.)

Daria: Ware leftovers.

AP: (confused) Wear leftovers?

Daria: No, ware. As in beware. (beat) My best subject is history. You'd expect me to know a battle cry.

AP: Okaaaay... (shaking it off) Ready? Aim... FIRE!

(He triggers the trebuchet. The table stays in the sling. The food goes flying. And everyone looks a little bit freaked out.)


Daria: Suggestions?

Jane: Run like hell?

Lynn: Seconded.

(They all take off.)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music: Pissing Razors -- "Fork Tongue". Daria, Jane, Lynn, AP, Jodie and Bill have yet again been hauled up on the carpet. Caldwell's face is like stone.)

Caldwell: You taught the children to build a siege engine.

Daria: The project did fall within your guidelines. It didn't involve redecorating the school, rock music with obscene lyrics or stories with undue gore.

Caldwell: You threw semi-rotted food through the principal's window.

AP: That was a mistake! See, this is why projectiliana should be round! (to the look he's getting from Caldwell) See, we were gonna fire the desk and the food on it over the school. At worst, it'd have got stuck on the roof. But then the desk got jammed in the sling and the trajectory went way off and the window was open so... Oops?

Caldwell: I spoke to Mr Kennedy. He has told me that he's had no fewer than fifteen phone calls from irate parents, complaining strongly of the values their children are coming home with.

Daria: Freedom of expression, artistic integrity and a few words they've probably already heard on TV or read scrawled on bathroom walls?

Caldwell: The parents have complained. The teachers have complained. Most of your pay has gone towards restoring the school after what you and those little ones did to it. You've officially resigned from the Lawndale Elementary School afterschool programme. (beat) Tell me why I shouldn't stick you right back in detention.

Daria: Maybe because we did uphold our end of the bargain to the best of our abilities, and even went so far as to make it fun both for ourselves and for our charges.

(There is a pause as Caldwell considers them.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: Soul Asylum -- "Can't Even Tell". Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP munching on pizzas. They look thoughtful.)

Jane: No more afterschool programme. No detention, either.

Daria: The idea of Reformed practices on school grounds for the next two and a half months was just too much for him.

Jane: And automatic exemption from the next fund-raising scheme.

Daria: On the grounds that we'd probably just run it into the ground with our deviant ways anyway and lose him more than it was worth.

AP: So no fine, no time ... and as long as I don't wreck the school, we're all good, right?

Jane: So the man says. You know, he catches on a lot quicker than most teachers.

AP: So we're celebrating! Cool!

Daria: Yeah. We beat the system into the ground. Normal society reached out for us and we just burned it until it gave up on us. Maybe that's not something to be overly proud of.

Jane: So society gave up on us. We can always force our way back if we want it. And I'm tired of society anyway. And it gives you time to think about what to about Quinn.

AP: Purple Peril? You're kinda quiet. Y'okay?

Lynn: Hmm? Oh. Sure. Just ... plotting something, I guess.

Daria: Lynn, play nice. He did do us a favour by not putting us back in detention.

Lynn: Why do you assume it's always something bad with me? (they look at her) Well, it isn't, okay? I just ... plan on making some restitution for a change.

(On their puzzled looks, fade to...)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music plays on. Caldwell enters, and notices an envelope lying on the floor; he notices his name block-printed on the front. He closes the door, moves to the desk with the envelope, opens it and shakes out what looks like a cheque, along with a note. He picks up the note first.)

Caldwell: (reading) "I'd prefer this donation to remain anonymous." (beat) Hmm. Well, her heart's in the right place.

(He picks up the cheque and looks at the amount.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music plays on. The gang is walking past Caldwell's door.)

Daria: Maybe I should get Stacy to talk to her.

Jane: I dunno. I'm not sure another perky-person will be the one Quinn's going to open up to. I think this is your job, Daria.

Daria: Oh, great. I...

Caldwell: (OS) Holy mother of God!

(Daria, Jane and AP look a little confused. Lynn smiles a little.)



This one's entirely thanks to Ben -- the trebuchet plot point made this thing a lot more fun, and he came up with some nifty lines, not least of which the "Ware leftovers" line.


Quinn -- This will get dealt with later (sorry, Brother Grimace). This isn't a nice, easy post-IIFY? transition for her and it's been pointed out to me that what I started in "Leaders and Followers" should be dealt with more in full. This wasn't the fic to do it but a bit of foreshadowing never hurt anyone.

"...but she keeps threatening to tie-dye my hair." -- No, this wasn't an intentional nod to "Dye, Dye". But I guess it is an accidental one.

The stories -- The first two are nods to a children's programme on CITV -- "Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids". The last is "Orpheus" as told by Neil Gaiman in Sandman.

Trebuchet -- This was Ben's predominant contribution to this fic. [Ben -- stick a link to the trebuchet site here so they know what it is without us having to have an endnote three miles long.] Apparently, this is something that any geek must try.


Daria Morgendorffer et al are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, copyright 1997, 2000. [Apparently, this is possible by 'work for hire', a concept that eludes me.] Lynn Cullen, AP McIntyre, Mara Fitzgerald, and any other character you don't recognise from any ep, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. All cameos used with permission, though by this point they're more characters in their own rights. This is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, apparently [what a highfalutin way to say fanfic], and is protected by the Supreme Court's decision in re Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, so keep the copyright notice where it is and don't post it for money. If you do so without my permission and that of MTV Networks, I will pull a Lynn Cullen on you. And then I'll call lawyers.