A "Daria" Fan Fiction Story by Peter Guerin.

With apologies to Glenn Eichler and Mike Judge.


This story is entirely a work of fiction. Nothing in this story ever happened. Other than the characters that I created for this story, all "Daria" and "Beavis and Butt-Head" characters depicted in this story are (C) 1993, 1997, 1998 MTV Networks. All "King of the Hill" characters depicted in this story are (C) 1997, 1998 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. A News Corporation Company. All rights reserved. As for continuity, this story takes place before "The Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle".


"Killing in the Name": Lyrics by Zack de la Rocha; music by Rage Against the Machine. (C) 1992 Retribution Music (BMI). All Rights Reserved. Available on Rage Against the Machine's 1992 self-titled album on Epic Associated CD's and cassettes.

"Bulls on Parade": Lyrics by Zack de la Rocha; music by Rage Against the Machine. (C) 1996 Sony/ATV Songs LLC and Retribution Music (BMI). All rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Appearing on Rage Against the Machine's 1996 album "Evil Empire" on Epic CD's and cassettes.

"The Impossible Dream": Lyrics by Joe Darion; music by Mitch Leigh. (C) 1965 by Andrew Scott, Inc., Helena Music Corp., Sam Fox Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved. From the musical "The Man of La Mancha," based on the novel "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

"Nearer, My God, to Thee": Lyrics by Sarah F. Adams; music by Lowell Mason.

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing": Words by James Weldon Johnson; music by J. Rosamond Johnson. (C) 1921 by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation. Copyright renewed. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.


This story is dedicated to Kristin Graziani (1969-1996), a fellow student of mine from Connetquot High School (Bohemia, New York) who was pretty much like Daria when we were in school and who tragically succumbed to a congenital heart defect a couple of years ago. I miss you, Mother Hen.

"There's gonna be some sweet sounds on the night shift."
--The Commodores, "Night Shift"

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance."
--Henry Ward Beecher

"When Israel was in Egypt's land,/Let my people go!/Oppressed so hard they could not stand,/Let my people go!/Go down, Moses/Way down in Egypt's land;/Tell old Pharaoh,/Let my people go!"
--"Go Down, Moses", traditional spiritual song

Chapter 1: Everybody's Talkin' About the New Kid in Town

Somewhere, on a tropical beach, Daria Morgendorffer was lying on the sand, wearing a green one-piece bathing suit and sunglasses. Next to her was Trent Lane, lead singer and guitarist for Mystik Spiral; he was wearing purple trunks that went down to his knees.

"This is how I like it," Daria began to say," lying here on a beach with you, without a care in the world."

"Hey, that's cool with me," Trent said.

"Now," Daria added, "if only Quinn got eaten by a shark, it would be perfect."

Quinn, Daria's sister, was swimming nearby, wearing a pink bikini. Indeed, a shark's fin pierced the water. John Williams' "Jaws" theme could be heard in the background. Suddenly, the shark appeared and opened its mouth. Quinn saw it and screamed as the shark swallowed her whole. But then, after a few seconds, the shark gagged, reversed its peristalsis and spat out Quinn onto the shore. Quinn, now covered in shark barf, went up to Daria.

"Daria," Quinn began to shriek," if you think that's your idea of a joke, it's not funny!"

Daria was taking off her sunglasses when Quinn threw a punch.

Suddenly, Daria's alarm clock began to buzz. She was jolted awake.

"Damn," she said to herself; "I was having a very good dream, then Quinn and the alarm clock had to ruin it for me!"

She got out of bed and got dressed. Today was going to be the first day of the new school year. She took off her blue T-shirt and yellow shorts, slipped on her brown robe, took a shower, cleaned her face, went to her dresser, put on a bra and panties, then went to the closet and put on her usual outfit of brown T-shirt, green jacket, black knee-length skirt and black combat boots. She then went down the stairs to the kitchen. Already Quinn was at the table, along with Jake and Helen, Daria and Quinn's father and mother, respectively, eating breakfast.

"Good morning, Daria!," chirped Jake. "Ready to take on another school year?"

"I find school as thrilling as getting a root canal," droned Daria.

"Daria," Helen shot back, "do you always have to have a negative attitude towards everything?"

"I only have negative attitudes about things that are stupid," replied Daria.

"Daria, you are such a dweeb!," said Quinn.

"And you're an even bigger dweeb, Quinn!," said Daria in response.

"Come on, you two!," Jake pleaded. "You'd better finish your breakfast and get going!"

"Well, back to the salt mines!," said Daria as she helped herself to some pancakes and eggs.

Daria was walking down the street toward Lawndale High School with her best friend Jane Lane. So far, it had been a pretty quiet walk.

"So," Jane finally broke the ice, "how do you think this school year will go?"

"Same stuff, different year," replied Daria sarcastically.

"C'mon, Daria," Jane continued, "things might be a bit different; you never know."

"Let's face facts, Jane," Daria replied; "it's always the same story: popular people like Quinn, Kevin and Brittany shun smart people like us and we're treated like we're lower than whale dung. It's always been that way and perhaps will always be that way."

"Well, actually, there are some people at Lawndale High treated worse than us," Jane was quick to add.

"Who?," Daria wanted to know.

"The poor unfortunate students who are assigned to Special Education," answered Jane. "Did you know that there about two hundred Special Education students in Lawndale High?"

"How come I don't see them?," demanded Daria.

"That's because they're segregated to their own part of the school," Jane said. "The Special Education students rarely ever go outside that wing except going to and from there at the start and end of the day, as well as the few lucky ones who get mainstreamed into regular classes. The regular students keep harassing them and beating them up. The students who are relegated to that wing call it 'The Ghetto.'"

"And I thought segregation was dead in this country," sneered Daria.

"By the way," Jane said, "did I tell you we've got new neighbors?"

"You do?," said a rather surprised Daria.

"Yeah," Jane replied; "They moved in a couple of weeks ago. They're called the MacAllisters. They're pretty cool folks. I met their younger son David. He seems to be a pretty good person, if a bit sensitive. He's going to be going to Lawndale High with us."

"I guess I'll have to meet him," Daria said.

They were now right at the front yard of Lawndale High. They entered the front doors. Jodie Landon and Michael Jordan Mackenzie, a/k/a Mack, were waiting for them.

"Daria, Jane, just the people I was hoping to talk to," Jodie said.

"What's up, Jodie?," Daria said.

"Well," Jodie said, "as you know, we lost our president-elect for Student Government when her father was transferred to another state. So, as Vice President, I have to serve as Acting President until special elections are held. Do you think you want to take a stab at being Student Government President?"

"I think I'll pass," Daria said.

"Why?," asked an astonished Jodie. "Don't you want to get involved with you school?"

"Jodie," Daria said, "I was once involved with the local chapter of GLAAD as well as fashion reporter for the school newspaper when I was living in Highland; I'll never make that mistake again."

"You're actually a lesbian?," Mack said in shock.

"No," Daria shot back; "I joined GLAAD to shock my parents. That wasn't the mistake. Being the fashion reporter was. Besides, what chance do I have against popular airheads like Sandi and Quinn?"

"Rats," Jane said, "if I knew you were a lessie I would have been pretty interested in you."

Daria was dumbfounded, then Jane slapped her on the back, snickered and said, "Just kidding, Daria!"

"That was a relief!," muttered Daria to herself.

"What about you, then, Jane?," Jodie said. "Do you want to run for Student Government President?"

"I'll take a rain check on that," Jane said; "I'm too involved with my art work as it is."

They were going to go to their homeroom when they stopped at a rather dingy-looking wing of the school. It was the infamous "Ghetto".

"Well, Daria," said Jane, "this is the 'Ghetto.'"

"Pretty dingy-looking, don't you think?," asked Daria.

"Special Education has a pretty low priority here," Jane said.

"Seeing this place give me the creeps!," Mack said.

They soon went to their homeroom. No one noticed when a guy with brown curly hair, blue eyes, eyeglasses, a collared shirt buttoned to the top and corduroy pants went to the "Ghetto".

Homeroom lasted five minutes. Soon the bell rang for first period class. Quinn had her admirers, Jeffy, Jamie and Joey, surrounding her.

"So, guys, do I look cute as ever?," Quinn gushed.

"Yeah, you do, Quinn!," Joey said.

Jeffy and Jamie added their agreement to Joey's comment.

The guy with brown curly hair was leaving the "Ghetto". Jeffy saw him.

"Excuse us, Quinn," Jeffy said, "but it looks like that new kid in town needs to be taught his place."

The three boys left Quinn and went up to the stranger.

"Hey, you!," Jeffy said.

The guy with the brown curly hair tried to just walk away. Jeffy, Jamie and Joey then surrounded him.

"Are you deaf, retart?," Joey said to him.

"I don't like being called a 'retart,'" the guy with brown curly hair finally spoke.

"We'll call you anything we want to!, you fuckin' retart!" Jeffy said as he seized him by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the lockers.

"Please, I don't want to get into trouble on my first day!," the guy with brown curly hair pleaded.

"Listen up, retart!," Jamie said. "That wing you just left is called 'The Ghetto'! You and all you other retarts are supposed to remain in there! You're not allowed to go beyond there all day long! That way, you and your other retart friends don't pollute our school! Go back to where you belong, retart!"

"But I have a math class to go to now!," whined the guy with brown curly hair in fear.

"Then we'll have to teach you the hard way!," Joey said. Jeffy and Jamie held him by the forearms as Joey began to sucker punch him in the gut.

"HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME!," the guy with brown curly hair yelled.

Daria and Jane, who were on their way to Mr. DeMartino's social studies class, heard it.

"What the Hell's going on?," Daria said.

"It doesn't sound good," Jane said.

Curiosity got the better of them and they went down to where they heard the commotion. When they got there, they were shocked.

"Jeffy, Jamie, Joey," Daria said, "what the Hell are you doing?"

"We're teaching this retart his place, Misery Chick!," Joey said. He then hit the guy with the brown curly hair right in the testicles. He let out a loud "AAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Jane then got a good look at who it was they were beating up. "Oh, my god! It's David!," she gasped.

"You know this fuckin' retart, Janey Waney?," touted Joey.

"Yeah," yelled Jane, "he's my next door neighbor! And I don't like being called 'Janey Waney!'" With that, she ran up to Joey and broadsided him with a right hook.

Daria went up to Jeffy and Jamie and gave them a quick kick to their testicles, sending them howling. David collapsed onto the floor and cowered in fear.

Jane sent Joey reeling with a left cross. Daria then sent Jeffy and Jamie crashing to the floor with quick blows to their solar plexus, but not before Jeffy smacked Daria right between the eyes, breaking her glasses in half. The three of them then crawled away.

"Run away like the cowards you are!," shrieked Daria. She and Jane turned to David. He was now crying. Daria now approached him.
"It's OK now," Daria said, embracing him and letting him cry on her shoulder; "they won't bother you anymore."

"Whoever you are, thank you," David said; "You're the first student I ever met who gave a damn about me." He was sobbing uncontrollably now.

"I'm Daria Morgendorffer," she said. "I guess you already know my friend Jane Lane."

"Yes, I do, " David said. "I'm David MacAllister. I was going to my math class when they began to harass me."

David then dried his eyes and took a good look at Daria. "Did anyone ever tell you that you look cute?," he said.

Daria was dumbstruck by that. She began to blush. "Uh, actually, no," she finally replied. With that, David suddenly French kissed her. Daria sprung back, more in shock than in anger.

"Did I tell you that David has never really gone out with girls?," Jane said.

"Sorry!," pleaded David.

"That's OK," Daria said, "I guess you were carried away by the emotional response. Just don't do that again, or I'll scratch your eyes out." She added a grin to that, to let him know that she was just kidding, so that he wouldn't freak out again.

A crowd had heard all the commotion and gathered around the scene. Angela Li, the principal, managed to make her way through the crowd.

"Ms. Morgendorffer, Ms. Lane," Ms. Li began to say, "these three students say you beat them up. Is that true?" She pointed right at Jeffy, Jamie and Joey.

"Ms. Li," Daria said, "David here was being attacked by those three. We weren't going to just stand by and see him get beaten up to a bloody pulp."

"I want the three of you in my office right now!," she said.

"Uh, oh! Now we're going to face the firing squad!," Jane said.

"I hope they'll let us have a last meal first!," shot back Daria sarcastically.

At Ms. Li's office, everyone was given the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Jeffy, Jamie and Joey started by saying that David had been bothering them by trying to hit up on Quinn. David tried to defend himself, but was silenced by Ms. Li. Daria and Jane then told their side of the story, but to no avail it seemed. David was not even given a chance to speak on his behalf.

"Well, I have reached a decision," Ms. Li said. "Ms. Morgendorffer, Ms. Lane, you will serve one period of detention during your scheduled study hall for the next week. As for you, Mr. MacAllister, you will serve two periods of detention over the next two weeks."

"That's unfair, Ms. Li!," shot back David, "I was the one who was wronged! Why do I get the stiffest sentence while those who picked on me are getting off scot free? You're doing this to me because I'm in Special Education!"

"Question my authority again and I'll give you a one week suspension!," yelled Ms. Li.

"Ms. Li," Daria said, "David has a point. You're discriminating against David because he has a disability that impairs his ability to learn. There are anti-discrimination laws in this nation, you know."

"Ms. Morgendorffer," Ms. Li began, "the one thing you have to learn is that life is grossly unfair. My decision stands! I expect you, Ms. Lane and Mr. MacAllister to be in the detention room at fifth period. That is all." With a wave of her hand, she ordered the students out of her office.

Word of what happened spread like wildfire. When Daria and Quinn arrived at their home, Quinn couldn't resist blabbermouthing it to their parents.

"Hi, girls!," Jake chirped, "How was your first day back in school?"

"Daria got into a fight and wound up in big trouble," Quinn said.

"You little rat!," Daria said, smacking Quinn in the back. "I wanted to tell them myself!"

"Daria!," Helen shrieked. "How could you?"

"Mom, Dad," Daria began to say, "There was a new boy who's in Special Education, and Quinn's admirers were beating him up. Jane and I stopped him."

Jake took a good look at Daria. "Where are your glasses?," he demanded.

Daria took the broken eyeglasses out of her backpack. "They got broken when I was stopping the fight," she said.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it," Helen said.

When she opened the door, there stood David, along with a woman with black curly hair and a tall, portly gentleman with brown hair and a mustache.

"Mrs. Morgendorffer," said the gentleman, "I'm Warren MacAllister, David's father. This is his mother, Deanna MacAllister. David here said you oldest daughter saved him from some bullies."

Daria couldn't resist smiling to herself at that moment.

"Well, er, well I guess she did," Helen finally admitted.

"Daria said that you're a very good lawyer," Mr. MacAllister continued. "I was hoping you'd represent us when we file suit against the parents of those boys who beat up our son."

Helen was dumbstruck.

"Oh, look there!," David said, "There's Daria's sister, Quinn!"

Quinn shrieked in embarrassment and ran upstairs.

"I can't stand geeks!," Quinn yelled as she shot out of sight.

"Why don't you come in?," Jake said, trying to cover the awkward moment. They did.

"I'm glad you raised your daughter to stand up for those who can't defend themselves," Mrs. MacAllister said to Helen. "David here has been picked on a lot at every school he's been."

"What exactly is wrong with him?," Helen asked.

"He's got what is called 'Attention Deficit Disorder,' or 'ADD' for short," Mrs. MacAllister continued; "It's that mental condition where you suffer limited attention spans, you don't comprehend directions clearly, and sometimes you go into rather violent temper tantrums. We've got David on Ritalin, which has helped him somewhat. Because everyone picks on him and because of his condition, he doesn't have many friends."

Mrs. MacAllister went on, "What tears me is that David told me that students like him are warehoused into one wing of the school and have to stay there the whole day. That's about as bad as the days where African-Americans had to use separate bathrooms."

"Well," Helen said, "you could file a complaint with the Board of Education or with the State Department of Education."

"What good will that do?," Mr. MacAllister said. "They usually turn a deaf ear to us. Students like David are the low man on the totem pole."

"Well," David said, "I'm going to change that."

"How?," Daria said.

"I heard during the morning announcements that there's a vacancy for Student Government President. I figured that if someone like me was on Student Government, Special Education students would have a voice in student affairs that they don't have now. Tomorrow, I'm going to announce my intention to run for that vacancy. It's time people like me stood up against those bullies who keep picking on us!"

Daria and the others were speechless.

"David, are you serious?," Daria finally found the nerve to say.

"I thought about this since this morning," David said. "For too long people like me have been persecuted because we're 'different' from normal people. If we have someone like me on Student Government they'd pay more attention to us. From what I've heard from my fellow Special Education students, the wing of the school that they call 'The Ghetto' has been ignored for years. I've also heard horror stories about students like me getting beaten up and threatened. Do you know that no Special Education homeroom has a representative on the House of Homeroom Representatives or a member on the Student Senate, or that the self-contained Special Education students don't have the right to vote since technically they spend all their time in one classroom and don't go to social studies class, since you vote during that class?"

Daria knew how Student Government worked in Lawndale. The Executive Cabinet had the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian. The School Congress was bicameral. Its upper house was the Student Senate. Each class (which, of course, had its own President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian) had to send five members selected by their class officers. The lower house was called the House of Homeroom Representatives; each homeroom had to send one representative so that he or she could report on Student Government activities as well as debate on matters. The approval of both houses was needed as well as the President's signature for all Student Government actions. There was even a Student's Court, which was designed as a "release valve" for student discontent over minor matters that the administration deemed as not being of any disciplinary consequence. Both parties had to agree to be bound by the court's decisions, though matters of more grave concern could be investigated by the administration if warranted. The whole convoluted system was Ms. Li's idea, since, as she put it herself, "best mirrored the working of our great democratic government."

"Frankly, David," Daria said, "I wasn't aware of that."

"Then, don't you agree," David said, "it's time to change this?"

"David, I don't want to burst your bubble," Daria said, "but this is a classic 'David versus Goliath' confrontation you're setting yourself up for. First, in order to run, you have to file a petition, which must have at least enough signatures equivalent to ten percent of the entire student body. Right now, we have about 2500 students at Lawndale High, and you're not well-known. Finding 250 people to sign your petition will be an uphill battle. Then you'll have to put up posters, engage in debates, make speeches, and so forth. Then, there's the elections, and if you're lucky, you might get a couple of votes."

"What are you saying?," David said.

"I don't want to break your heart," Daria said, " but Student Government elections are noting but popularity contests, just like the real-life political elections. Do you notice they never focus on the real issues in these elections? They're going to want to choose someone like Sandi or Brittany rather than someone like yourself."

"That just proves how unfair the system is to people like me," David shot back. "If I'm elected, I'll change things for people like me. The reason why I'm over here is because I wanted to ask you to be my campaign manager."

Daria sat there with her mouth open. Then her tongue stuck out in shock.

"Daria, that's a good impersonation of Michael Jordan you're doing there," Jake said.

"Jake, shut up!," said Helen.

"Yes, dear," replied Jake meekly.

"David," Daria said as she regained her composure, "I don't really know you, and you're asking me to be your campaign manager?"

"Daria," David said, "you're the only one who can stand up to those bullies. You've just got to be my campaign manager, please?"

"Daria," Helen said, "I think you owe it to him, since you did save him from those bullies."

"C'mon, Daria," Jake added, "it'll probably be a fun experience."

"OK, OK," Daria finally relented, "I'll be David's campaign manager."

"Oh, thank you, Daria," David said, going up to her and giving her a big hug that shocked her.

"I can't breathe!," Daria gasped.

David recoiled and said, "OOPS! Sorry!"

"Anyway," Helen said, "here's my card." She gave her business card to Mr. MacAllister. "Call me tomorrow and we'll discuss your case."

"We will," said Mr. MacAllister. He then turned to Daria and said ,"Young lady, you are doing a very brave and very noble thing here."

"Then why do I have this creepy feeling that I will live to regret it?," Daria replied.

Mr. MacAllister responded, "Don't you doubt yourself. You will do well. Now, we'd better be going. It was nice meeting all of you."

Everyone exchanged farewells. The MacAllisters left the house. Quinn came back down.

"You missed all the fun," Daria said to Quinn sarcastically.

"What do you mean?," Quinn asked.

"I'm going to be David MacAllister's campaign manager for his run for Student Government President," replied Daria.

"Lots of luck," sneered Quinn; "he's got as much chance at winning that like the U. S. Soccer Team has at winning the World Cup: None!"

"Quinn, you know it was your admirers who beat up David. You let Jane, David and me take the rap for it. Aren't you ashamed of yourself?"

"Nope," shot back Quinn. "I'll be enjoying myself in study hall while you're in detention!" With that, she dashed back to her room.

"I think I'll watch 'Sick Sad World' and see people more depraved than Quinn," Daria said to herself; "I need a good laugh."

Chapter 2: Our Man On the Campaign Trail

Daria and Jane were going down the street to school the next morning.

"So, how did your parents react to what happened yesterday?," Jane asked.

"Well," Daria began, "after the MacAllisters paid a surprise visit to us, Mom and Dad said I did the right thing and that Mom's going to fight the detention that you, David and me got. Not only that, David wants me to be his campaign manager for his bid to become Student Government President."

"You're kidding!," Jane said in shock.

"Nope, I'm afraid not," Daria said.

"You know, I think he's developing a crush on you," Jane said.

"Jane," Daria shot back, "you know I'm in love with Trent!"

"So, I'm madly in love with Jesse," Jane said, "but I love a lot of other guys as well."

When they got to the grounds of the school, they were surprised to see David standing on top of a cardboard box, with a knot of other Special Education students huddled around him.

"What's this all about?," Daria said to Jane.

"Who knows," Jane replied, "but when I went on my morning run, I did notice he was setting something up."

They drew nearer, and then saw what was happening: David was giving a speech announcing that he was throwing his hat into the ring.

"My fellow Special Education students," he began, "we have endured the yoke of bondage for far too long. We have been herded into the 'Ghetto' and kept segregated from the rest of the school against our will. The other students keep picking on us. The administration keeps turning a deaf ear to our pleas. When trouble occurs, we get blamed for it and then get stiffer punishments than if it was done by the normal students. My friends, it's time to end this prejudice. Therefore, I've decided to enter the race for Student Government President. If I'm elected, I will push to have Special Education students have permanent representation in Student Government so we can finally have a meaningful voice in school affairs. Once we have that voice, we will no longer be ignored by the rest of the school. Therefore, I want all of you to sign my petition. I need at least 250 signatures so I can submit it to the general office by the deadline this Friday. We can make a difference! Join me in my noble crusade!"

There was thunderous applause. Then the students began lining up to sign the petition.

David saw Daria and Jane.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please meet my campaign manager, Daria Morgendorffer!," he said. They surrounded her and Jane.

"Oh, boy, we're in for it now!," Jane said.

Suddenly, Quinn and the rest of the Fashion Club arrived, with Sandi, the club president, leading the way.

"Oh, look at all those loser retarts!," Sandi said.

"And who's the guy with them?," Stacy, the club secretary said.

"That's that David MacAllister geek, the one who's running for Student Government President," Quinn replied.

"I'll handle this, Quinn!," Sandi said. She approached the crowd.

"Hey, listen up, you dumb retarts," Sandi began, "you're just wasting your time! David MacAllister is not going to win. And you want to know why? Because I'm going to win! I'm also going to enter the race for Student Government President."

Some of the Special Education students began to cower; others were angry that she used the word "retart".

"Do not be afraid of her," David said, "for we have God, might and right on our side!"

"Like, what will all that do for you?," Sandi replied, "I've got good looks, popularity and good fashion sense on my side. So long, losers!"

The Fashion Club left without any further comment.

"That Sandi has hit a new low," Daria said in dismay.

"If she was any more stuck-up, we'd have to use Draino on her," Jane replied.

"I'm afraid not even that would change her personality," said Daria resignedly.

They now approached David.

"I have to admit," Daria said, "that was pretty brave of you standing up to Sandi and the rest of the Fashion Club like you did."

"It won't be the last time I'll run into opposition like that during this campaign," David confessed. "I'm probably going to get a lot of grief before this is over."

They now headed into the school building. Just how much grief David was going to face was not yet known, but would soon manifest itself rather brutally.

According to the campaign rules, candidates had to have a table set up and ask for people to sign their nominating petition during their free time. Of course, having been hit with detention, David was not going to have any free time. However, that was about to change.

Daria, David and Jane all had second period free. They both had two free periods this day, but David had to use up both of his for his detention time, while Daria and Jane had to use only one. They decided to use the earlier of the two so that at least they could begin to get some signatures going for David.

The three of them were going to the detention room when they saw a rather unusual sight. Ms. Li was standing at the door, with what looked like a bailiff from the City Court presenting papers to her.

"Ms. Li," the bailiff said, "I have here a temporary injunction against yourself and this school preventing you from carrying out the detention against Ms. Daria Morgendorffer, Ms. Jane Lane and Mr. David MacAllister."

"WHAT!," Ms. Li roared; "On whose authority is this being done?"

"It was so ordered by the judge at the request of the student's attorney, Mrs. Helen Morgendorffer," said the bailiff. "If you try to defy this injunction, you will be held in contempt of court, and you will go to jail."

"And how long will this temporary injunction last?," Ms. Li wanted to know.

"Until the matter is decided in court," said the bailiff, now presenting a summons to Ms. Li asking her to be in court in a civil suit against the school for violating the civil rights of Daria, Jane and David. "You are also hereby summoned to appear in court in this matter. If you do not show up, you will be held in contempt of court."

"I'm not saying another word!," Ms. Li said; "I'm referring this matter to the school district's attorney!"

"As you wish," the bailiff said. "Have a nice day."

The bailiff left and Ms. Li went to the three students.

"You may have won this round," Ms. Li hissed, "but you haven't won the entire fight yet! It looks like I have no choice but to suspend your punishment until this matter is resolved. But I'll be watching you three like a hawk!"

With that, Ms. Li left with a huff.

"Lucky break for us," Daria said. "Perhaps this is one of the times I should go to Mom and tell her how much I love her."

"Don't kid yourself, Daria," Jane said; "you're just hanging there until you go to college."

"Maybe you're right," Daria said, "but right now Mom's on top of my world."

"So, what are we waiting for?," David said, "Let's get the petition drive going!"

With that, the three of them decided to set up their table and get the petitions going.

It was now their second free period, and so far Daria, Jane and David had only gotten twelve signatures on the petition.

"Man, at this rate I won't get 250 signatures before the deadline!," moaned David.

"Don't give up hope just yet," Jane said.

"I bet that's what Leonardo DiCaprio's character told Kate Winslet's just before the 'Titanic' finally went down for the last time," sneered Daria.

Just then, a boy that David knew--who had Down's Syndrome and was in his resource class--went up to the table.

"Hi, David," the boy said.

"Hey, Andrew, what's up?," David said.

"I want to sign the petition," Andrew said.

"Sure, go right ahead," David said.

Andrew took up a pen and signed his name on the petition.

"Thanks a lot, Andrew," David said. "By the way, this is my campaign manager, Daria Morgendorffer, and her friend, Jane Lane."

"Nice to meet you, Daria, Jane," Andrew said.

"Same here," Daria said.

"I'll see you later, Andrew," David said as Andrew went down the hall.

Unbeknownst to anyone, some players on the Lawndale Lions football team has seen Andrew sign the petition. Sandi had asked them to keep an eye on the petition tables and take any action necessary to stop anyone who would sign David's petition. So far, they managed to scare some Special Education students away from the petition area, and now they were going to teach Andrew a lesson.

They now got up to him and surrounded him.

"Hey, retart!," one hulking guy said, "did you just sign that retart David MacAllister's petition?"

"Yes, I did," Andrew said. "Is it any of your business?"

"It is to us!," said another player. "We don't retarts like you and David on our Student Government!"

"Maybe you're the ones with the problem and not me!," said Andrew.

"We don't take sass from retarts like you!," said the first football player. "Now we're going to teach you a lesson you won't ever forget!"

They now grabbed him and began to hit him. Daria, Jane and David saw them throw frightening punches into him.

"We've got to help him!," David said.

"We got lucky yesterday," Daria said; "We'll push our luck if we interfere now!"

"But he's getting beaten up!," David yelled.

Suddenly, one of the football players felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He turned around and saw someone punch him out cold.

"It's not nice to pick on someone like him!," said a rather familiar voice.

Daria knew that voice rather well. It was none other than Andrea, the school's Goth girl. She now stepped out of the shadows and lunged right for the others.

"C'mon, I dare you to fight me!," Andrea yelled at the others.

The other football players suddenly got chicken and ran away; seeing one of their own get punched out stone cold was convincing enough.

"Hey, Andrew, you all right?," Andrea said.

"Yeah, Andrea, I'm OK," Andrew said.

Daria, Jane and David were surprised that Andrea knew this person. They went up to them.

"Andrea, you know this person?," Daria said.

"Yeah," Andrea replied; "he's my brother."

"I didn't knew you had a brother," Jane said.

"Well, most people don't bother to ask, since he's mostly in the 'Ghetto'," Andrea said. "I look out for him all the time."

"Funny," Daria began to think, "Andrea's not ashamed to admit that Andrew's her own brother while Quinn's embarrassed to acknowledge me as her sister. What a weird world."

Suddenly, a crowd had gathered. It was mainly Special Education students from the 'Ghetto'.

"Are they gone, Andrea?," one of them asked.

"Yeah, the coast is clear," Andrea answered them.

"You mean to tell me you knew this was going on?," Daria said.

"Well, after a few students told me that there was some football players menacing them, I decided to take some action," Andrea said; "It looks like it worked. Now you'll get your signatures, David. And, by the way, perhaps you want to take me on as your security chief?

"Sure, why not?," David replied. They shook hands.

Now they began to line up and sign the petition. By the time the period was over, David had about three hundred signatures, more than enough to be placed on the ballot. Now it was a matter of handing it in to the general office.

News of the football players' actions soon reached Mack, who was captain of the team, as well as Kevin Thompson, the star quarterback. They, along with Kevin's girlfriend, head cheerleader Brittany Taylor, were at the cafeteria when the word came. Suddenly, the coach of the team ran in, and asked for Mack and Kevin.

"I've just heard that some of the players were seen beating up on a Special Education student who was signing David MacAllister's petition to run for Student Government President!," the coach said to Mack. "Did either you or Kevin sanction this?"

"I'd never tell the players on my team to do any sort of hooliganism like that!," Mack defended himself.

"Gee, this is the first I'm hearing of this, Coach!," Kevin said.

"There were some eyewitnesses, and they said that they saw who did it. It was the entire defensive backfield!," the coach continued. "If you didn't order them to do this, who did?"

"Beats me, Coach!," Mack said.

"I already knew who did it, I want to know who ordered it!," the coach said; "I'm already benching them for the opening game this Saturday; I'll kick them off the team unless I know who ordered them to beat up that kid! You're my two best players, so I want you to get to the bottom of this! Is that understood?"

"Yes, Coach!," said both Mack and Kevin.

"Good!," the coach said; "I want the name of that person by the end of the day Friday, or there will be no defensive backfield at Saturday's game!" The coach then left.

Brittany now approached Mack and Kevin, staring into space and twirling her hair.

"Oh, Kevin!," Brittany said, "What was that all about?"

"Apparently, someone told the defensive backfield to beat up on some Special Education student who signed David MacAllister's petition to run for Student Government President!," Kevin replied.

"Now the coach wants to know who ordered them to do it, or they'll be kicked off the team!," Mack added.

"Oh, that poor David boy!," Brittany squealed; "What exactly is wrong with him?"

"Gee, I wish I knew, Cupcake!," Kevin said.

"It's because of ignorance like that is why people like David get persecuted," Mack said. "My father told me about how my grandfather had to fight racial prejudice in his day. He fought long and he fought hard, but he began to change those attitudes. Prejudice against the mentally challenged like David is kind of the same way. All David is asking for is a chance to be a part of society, to be treated like a human being."

"Well, Mack," Kevin said, "we do treat you and Jodie pretty well. You know we don't have a prejudiced bone in us."

"Yeah, then why do you and the others treat people like Daria and Jane the way you do?," Mack found himself saying.

"Well, er, um," Kevin was fumbling to himself.

"Well, it because Daria and Jane are both geeks and are too smart for their own good!," shot in Brittany.

"Now I know your brains are right in there!," Mack said, pointing at Brittany's breasts.

"Well, I never!," Brittany said, now on the verge of tears at that insult. "C'mon, Kevin, let's get out of here! I want to cry! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

She and Kevin left.

"Uh, see you at practice, I think, Mack Daddy!," said a bewildered Kevin.

"Don't call me that!," shot back Mack. He then added to himself, "Man, the way Brittany carries on, she'd make C-ko Kotobuki from 'Project A-ko' look well-behaved!"

Mack found himself shuffling out of the cafeteria and toward the industrial arts wing of the school. He passed by one room, which was not having any classes being held at that moment. He stopped when he heard some voices. Apparently an emergency meeting of the Fashion Club was being held. He could hear the deep, annoying, stuck-up voice of Sandi drone on:

"Like, it seems that the football players that I asked to rough up those who were going to sign David MacAllister's petition got the tar beaten out of them by Andrea and have been found out. Now we're going to have to take some other course of action."

"Well," Quinn said, "I do have one surefire way we can get rid of our problems."

"Like, how, Quinn?," Sandi said.

At this point, Mack couldn't resist and stuck his head near the door.

"Well," Quinn said, "When my cousin Daria and I were living in Highland, there was this tough guy everyone knew called Todd. He's got a reputation for taking no crap from anyone, and he's done some hard time. However, finding him out is kind of difficult; the only ones who know where to find him are those two morons Beavis and Butt-Head."

"Like, EW!, Quinn!," Sandi said; "Like I've heard about those two! They give me the creeps!"

"If you want to end the 'David Problem,' Quinn continued, "we need those two to find Todd, so he can teach David his place in the order of things here in Lawndale High!"

"Like, OK, already!," Sandi said. "So, where do we find Beavis and Butt-Head?"

"We'll take the bus to Highland after class and find them," said Quinn. "Odds are they'll go to the EZ-Mart and get nachos."

"Quinn, like you're so smart," purred Tiffany, the club treasurer.

"Yeah, like you think of everything!," agreed Stacy, the club secretary.

"Then, it's settled," Sandi said. "We'll leave after the last class."

Suddenly, Sandi had the feeling that someone was snooping on the Fashion Club. Mack saw her get up. He ran out of the wing and to the main hallway before she got to the door.

"Funny, but like I thought someone was snooping on us!," Sandi said.

"It was probably just your imagination!," Quinn said.

"Are you doubting me, Quinn?," shot back Sandi. "It's bad enough that you're cuter than me and get all the guys' attention! Now you're trying to usurp me?"

"No, I wasn't!," defended Quinn.

"You'd better not, or else--"

Sandi made a cutting motion across her throat. Quinn gulped hard at that remark.

"In the meantime," Sandi said, "we're going to have to challenge David's petition, try to get it knocked out on some technicality. Is everyone in agreement on that?"

Every member of the Fashion Club nodded her head in agreement. For David MacAllister, the battle was about to get more difficult.

Mack found Daria, Jane, Andrea and David. They were going to submit David's petition to the general office.

"Daria! Jane! Andrea! David! I've got to talk to you!," Mack said.

"What's up, Mack?," Daria asked him.

"I was just down at the industrial arts wing, and there was an emergency meeting of the Fashion Club," Mack said.

"So?," Daria asked.

"So," Mack continued, "I overheard everything. Apparently, Sandi asked those football players to harass anyone who was going to sign David's petition. When they found out that their plan was spoiled, they decided to go to Highland and ask someone named Todd to teach David a 'lesson'".

"Oh, no! Not Todd!," Daria said in shock. "I know him from when I used to live in Highland. Those two idiots Beavis and Butt-Head hang out with him all the time."

"Is this Todd person bad?," David asked.

"Let's just say that if you do meet him," Daria warned, "you'd better make sure that your insurance is paid up."

"I guess we're going to have to beat the Fashion Club to the punch, aren't we?," Jane said.

Daria began to divine what Jane was going to say next:

"Let me guess, Jane: You're going to suggest we ask your brother Trent to drive us to Highland and find Beavis and Butt-Head and tell them not to tell the Fashion Club where Todd is."

"How'd you know?," Jane asked.

"A woman's intuition," Daria said with a self-satisfied smirk.

They now went inside the general office and dropped off the petitions. Jane then went to a pay phone and called her house.

Chapter 3: We Shall Overcome

The 'Tank' was the van that Trent Lane and Jesse Moreno, the two leading members of the band Mystik Spiral, drove in to gigs. Trent was lead singer and lead guitarist, while Jesse was rhythm guitarist. Trent was driving the 'Tank' with Jesse sitting next to him. In the back were Daria, Jane, Andrea, Mack and David.

"Sorry we disrupted your practice session, Trent," Daria said.

"I wouldn't worry about it," Trent said; "we were going to take a break anyway."

They were now approaching the Highland city limits. They entered town and pulled up to the EZ-Mart. Sure enough, Beavis and Butt-Head were getting nachos.

"Like, these are the idiots you used to know, Daria?," Trent said.

"Yep, the two morons from Hell," Daria replied.

Beavis saw them first.

"Hey, Butt-Head! BUTT-HEAD!," shrieked Beavis.

"Uh, what is it, Beavis?," Butt-Head replied.

"Look who's back in town!," Beavis added.

They both saw Daria and the others. Then they began the chant they always said whenever they saw Daria:


"Uh, Diarrhea, what are you doing here?," Butt-Head asked.

"I see you two haven't changed a bit," Daria said.

"You wanna score with us?," Beavis asked her.

"Yeah, maybe you can measure the friction caused by my digitally oscillating my wiener again," Butt-Head said.

"What in--," Jane said.

"It's kind of a long story, Jane," Daria said, embarrassed.

She now turned her attention to Beavis and Butt-Head again. "Beavis, Butt-Head, this is my best friend, Jane Lane; that's her brother Trent; the black couple are Michael Jordan Mackenzie, a/k/a Mack, and Jodie Landon; the guy in leather is Jesse Moreno and the guy with brown curly hair is David MacAllister."

Beavis and Butt-Head went into their familiar hideous laughter:



"I think they like you, Jane," Daria said.

"If that's the way they act if they like you, I hate to think how they act if they hate you!," Jane said rather defensively.

"Beavis, Butt-Head," Daria continued, "You guys haven't seen my sister Quinn around here with her friends, have you?"

"Uh, no," Butt-Head said.

"Good," Daria replied; "if you do see them, and if they ask you where Todd is, tell them you don't know."

"Uh, yeah, sure, or something," Butt-Head replied.

"Can we score with you now, Diarrhea?," Beavis said.

"At the Greek calends!," Daria shot back, then left with the rest.

"Uh, Beavis, what's a Greek calend?," Butt-Head asked.

"Probably some Greek version of a taco or something," Beavis said. Of course, what those two didn't know was that Daria meant "Never!," since the ancient Greeks didn't use calends in their calendars to denote the last day of the month. That was the Romans.

Just as the 'Tank' left, Quinn and the Fashion Club arrived.

"There they are," Quinn said.

"Hey, Butt-Head!," Beavis said; "now Quinn's here too!"

"These are the geeks you were telling me about?," Sandi said.

"Uh, Quinn, we just saw your sister, Diarrhea," Butt-Head said.

"You have a sister named Diarrhea?," Sandi said.

"Oh, that was a long time ago," said a rather embarrassed Quinn; "she died from typhoid fever a few years back."

"How do I know that they're not talking about your cousin Daria, and that she's actually your sister?," Sandi demanded.

"Well, um, er," Quinn hesitated; she then spat out, "It's none of your business!"

"How dare you yell at me, Quinn!," roared back Sandi.

"Oh, yeah!," Quinn said, then they began to scratch at each other's eyes.

"LOOK, BUTT-HEAD!," Beavis said in a frantic voice; "CATFIGHT! CATFIGHT!"

They started their hideous laughter again.

Stacy and Tiffany got between Quinn and Sandi.

"C'mon, guys, knock it off!," Stacy said; "you're supposed to be best friends!"

"Uh, Beavis, remember, we're not supposed to tell them that Todd is at the Grungy Bull Grill," Butt-Head said.

Suddenly, the fighting stopped. "C'mon," an exasperated Sandi said, "let's get out of here; we just got the information that we wanted!" They then left in a hurry.

"That sucks!," Beavis said. "They didn't even rip their clothes off! I wanted to score with them!"

"You always want to score with the cute chicks, Beavis!," Butt-Head replied. They then left and made their way to the Grungy Bull Grill.

At the Grungy Bull Grill, propane salesman Hank Hill had just topped off the restaurant's tank. Now he was settling business at the bar. Todd sat at a nearby stool.

"I reckon that will be $50, sir," Hank said.

"That sounds about right," the manager said. He cut a check for the bill and gave it to Hank.

"Thank you, sir. And thanks for using Hill Propane. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to have a beer before I go."

Todd looked at him and then said, "Why don't you try the steak they have here? It's mighty good. It's on me." He took out his wallet and took out some cash.

"Why, that's pretty neighborly of you, sir!," Hank said.

"Buddy! Two T-bone steaks! Make mine well done and the other--," Todd said.

"I like mine medium rare," Hank said.

"Medium rare," Todd repeated.

The door then opened, and the Fashion Club entered.

"Those gals look like they're from out of town!," Todd said.

They slowly approached Todd. He then recognized one of them.

"Quinn Morgendorffer, is that you?," he asked.

"Yeah," Quinn replied, rather nervously.

Todd then extended his hand and said, "Long time, no see!" They shook hands. "How's that miserable twit of a sister of yours, Daria?"

"Well, um, er--," Quinn began to hesitate.

"Don't you mean her cousin, Daria?," Sandi said.

"Well, that's not important right now," Quinn said.

"Who are the girls with you?," Todd asked.

"Well," Quinn said, "these are the members of the Lawndale High School Fashion Club. That's Sandi, our club president. Stacy's the club secretary and Tiffany's the club treasurer. I'm the vice president."

"You know these ladies?," Hank asked Todd.

"Well, I do know Quinn here," Todd said. "She used to live here."

Just then, the door opened and Beavis and Butt-Head entered, doing their hideous laughter.

"Aw, Hell!," Todd said; "not those two!"

Hank saw them and said, "What in tarnation are those two!"

"Who asked you, asswipe?," Butt-Head said.

"Yeah, like go away, assmunch!," Beavis added.

"My son Bobby is more well-behaved then you two!," Hank said.

"Oh, no!," Quinn squeaked into Sandi's ear. "Those two followed us here!"

"I'll take care of this!," Todd said. He got up, grabbed Beavis and Butt-Head by the scruff of their necks, went outside with them, beat the stuffing out of them, and then er-entered.

"And don't you dare come back!," he yelled as he saw them crawling down the sidewalk. He could hear Beavis say to Butt-Head "Man, this sucks!"

The steaks arrived. "Maybe you ladies would like to have some steak?," Todd asked.

"You guys go ahead," Sandi said; "I'm a strict vegetarian."

"Well, they do have one mean pizza here," Todd said.

"OK, I can go for that," Sandi said.

"Buddy!," Todd said, "Make three more T-bone steaks, medium rare, and two slices of pizza with mushrooms and peppers!"

The ladies took seats next to Todd and Hank at the bar. Right now, they were going to talk business.

Meanwhile, Daria and her friends were driving around in the "Tank". Daria told Trent to stop at one particular house.

"Guys," Daria said, "this is where I used to live." It was a rather drab-looking house.

"You lived in this dump?," Jane asked.

"Well," Daria was quick to defend," that was before my dad got his promotion and we moved to Lawndale."

"Were you born here in Highland?," David asked.

"Yes, I was," Daria replied.

"I'm from Long Island, New York originally," David said. "I used to live in Sayville. The school district there has one of the worst Special Education programs in the state. People like me are often neglected, beaten up and punished for things we didn't do."

"So you essentially went from out of the frying pan and into the fire?," Daria asked.

"So to speak," David answered her. "My father got a promotion for the company he works for and we moved to Lawndale."
Suddenly, Jane saw something on the sidewalk.

"Don't look now, Daria," she said, "but I think your 'friends' Beavis and Butt-Head are crawling down the sidewalk. It looks like they had the tar beaten out of them."

Everyone got out of the van and went up to those two.

"Beavis and Butt-Head," Daria said as she approached them, "what the Hell happened to you?"

"Like, that Todd dude beat us up real good," Beavis said.

"Yeah, and then he threw us out!," added Butt-Head.

"Don't tell me you tried to confront him by yourselves!," Daria said in anger.

"But Todd is so cool!," shot back Beavis.

"You didn't see Quinn and the other members of the Fashion Club, did you?," Daria asked them.

"Yeah," Beavis said, "but we didn't tell them that Todd was at the Grungy Bull Grill. In fact, we said that to ourselves when Quinn and some other chick got into a catfight."

Daria moved her glasses up, shut her eyes, slapped her right hand against her face and said, "Oh, no!"

"What's the matter, Daria?," Jane asked.

"I think they accidentally told them where he was," Daria said.

"Then we'd better burn rubber and find them!," Mack said.

"First, we'd better drop those two off at a hospital," Trent said; "they look pretty beat up."

"That's what I like about you, Trent," Daria said; "always putting others ahead of yourself."

"Hey, I'm an easy-going guy," Trent replied. They took Beavis and Butt-Head into the "Tank" and went off to the hospital.

Everything had just been served. Sandi was now going to get down to business.

"Anyway, Todd," she began, "like, there's this kid at our school, and he's been doing some rabble-rousing. He's been spreading some dangerous talk about equality among students and abolishing special privileges enjoyed by popular people like us and guaranteeing rights for retarts like him. He's this retarded Special Education student who just arrived at our school and he's running for Student Government President. If, like he's elected, he'd probably call for things like admitting retarts like himself into the Honor Society and having retarts crowned Homecoming King and Queen, and stuff like that. He's a threat to our comfortable position in our school. Next thing you know, the nerds like Daria Morgendorffer and Upchuck are going to demand equal rights themselves. This person's got to be stopped."

"What's the name of this guy, anyway?," Todd asked.

"Like, his name's David MacAllister," Sandi continued. "He's this guy who's got brown curly hair, and he's always wearing collared shirts buttoned all the way up and corduroy pants."

"Don't worry, little lady," Todd said; "I'll teach him a lesson he'll never forget."

"I don't like the way this conversation's going," Hank butted in. "Why you little ladies hate this guy so much?"

"Like, because he's in Special Education, you moron!," Sandi shot back. "Haven't you been listening?"

"You're even more loony than my conspiracy-minded friend that I know," Hank said. "That's like saying that the United Nations is going to send their troops over here."

"And I bet you'd let your daughter marry a nigger!," Todd said.

"I don't have a daughter," Hank said, "but I do have a niece who lives with me. Who she goes out with and/or marries isn't too much my concern, as long as he's going to hold a steady job. Heck, I'd probably hire him to work for my propane business."

"You'd hire a nigger to work for you, you carpetbagger?," Todd said, now enraged.

"Now, hold on there, sir," Hank said, "I've been a lifelong loyal son of Texas, and I don't like that remark you just made about me being a carpetbagger."

"I'd bet you'd let your niece marry a retart as well!," Todd said.

"Why you people have such a grudge against people who have mental, emotional and/or behavioral problems is beyond me!," Hank said. "In fact, I'm disgusted with the sight of all of you! I'm leaving!"

"Go ahead, you nigger lover and retart lover!," Todd yelled at him as he left the door.

Todd now lost his own appetite. "I'm sorry, ladies, but that moron just made my stomach turn!," he said. "I'll leave you my phone number, and you can call me later to wrap up the details." He scribbled his number on a slip of paper, gave it to Sandi, paid the bill and left. He had just pulled out of the parking lot when the "Tank" pulled up. Quinn saw it.

"Oh, no! That's the 'Tank' that geek Trent Lane drives in!," she said. "I bet Daria and her dorky friend Jane are in there as well! We've got to beat it, guys!"

The members of the Fashion Club got up and left through the rear exit. Just a split second later, Daria and her friends walked through the front door. Daria went up to the bar and saw the manager.

"Excuse me, Sir," Daria began, "but did you just see several girls here along with some guy named Todd?"

The manager, who made a promise to Todd that he'd deny seeing him in case the law got on his case again, said, "No, I haven't."

"Just thought I'd ask," Daria said. She and the others left.

"Dammit!," Daria said, "I bet you dollars to donuts that Quinn and the others were just talking to Todd a minute or so ago."

"So, we're back to square one then," Jane said.

"Might as well go back home to Lawndale," Daria said resignedly.

The "Tank" was going down the Interstate at the speed limit. Daria and the others were kind of downcast.

"For all I know," Daria said to David, "Quinn and the others have told Todd to do something terrible to you."

"Well, I just won't let him frighten me!," David replied.

Just then, Trent saw a pick-up truck at the side of the road, with the sole occupant trying to fix a flat tire.

"Looks like that guy could use some help," Trent said.

He pulled up next to him, and everyone got out.

"Need any help there, sir?," Trent asked him.

It turned out that the driver was Hank Hill.

"Well," Hank said, "my right front tire just went flat, and I'm trying to fix it. The only thing is, these damn lug nuts are rusted on but good. If I only had some WD40 to loosen them up, I'd be in business."

"No sooner said than done," Trent said.

"You know, mister," Daria said, "you sound just like a person I used to know back at Highland. I don't know if you ever met him. His name's Tom Anderson."

"Never heard of him," Hank said. "I'm called Hank Hill. I'm a propane salesman."

Trent came back with the WD40 and sprayed the lug nuts with it.

"We'll have to wait a few minutes while the WD40 soaks in," Trent said.

"Anyway," Daria continued, "I'm Daria Morgendorffer. The grungy looking guy is Trent Lane. That's his sister Jane, those folks back there are Michael Jordan Mackenzie, a/k/a Mack, Jodie Landon and David MacAllister."

"Nice to meet you all," Hank replied.

Trent then took the lug nut wrench, and proceeded to remove the nuts. They came off easy.

"There, now you can remove that tire," Trent said. Hank did just that. He then put on the spare.

"I can't thank you young people enough," Hank said. "Is there any way I can reply you for your help?"

"Perhaps there is," Daria said. "You didn't happen to be at the Grungy Bull Grill in Highland today, were you?"

"As a matter of fact, I was," Hank replied.

"Did you happen to see four girls roughly my age along with some guy named Todd?"

"I did," Hank said. "One of them, who sounded rather stuck-up, was telling that Todd guy about this kid who was in Special Education and was causing trouble at their school. They wanted him to teach him a 'lesson'."

"Oh, no!," Daria said, "that's what I was afraid of!"

"Then these two snickering juvenile delinquents came in and interrupted us," Hank added; "Todd beat them up real good."

"That's all we needed to know," Daria said. "Thanks for your help."

"Same here," Hank said, giving his business card. "If you ever need propane, give me a call. Have a nice day." He got into his truck and drove off.

"Guys, this situation has now become a matter of life or death," Daria said.

"I can handle this guy," David said.

"David, you don't know what you're getting into," Daria warned him. "Todd's a hardened criminal. He'd kill for hire if he has to. Don't risk becoming a martyr over this. Let's call the police."

"I've got a better idea," David said. "We can contact the Federal Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and tell them about this. If we get them involved, they can crack down on Lawndale High for trying to stop me from running."

"Things like this could drag out in court for years," Daria said, "and I should know, since my mother's a lawyer."

"Daria," David said, "are you afraid to face Todd?"

Suddenly, like a bad nightmare, it came back to Daria. An image of someone taking her off the street by force. Being in a dark, cramped closet. Some hands grabbing her and doing unspeakable things to her. Daria suddenly gasped.

"No, I am not!," she shot back, too quickly.

"Daria," Jane asked her, "what's wrong!"

"NOTHING!," Daria now yelled; she was clearly becoming panicked.

"Daria, we're you're friends," Mack said. "Tell us, what's wrong!"

*"I don't want to talk about it!," Daria said, now hysterically upset.

Suddenly, those hands leapt out of nowhere. "NO KEEP AWAY FROM ME!," she screamed. She ran away.

"Daria!," everyone now yelled as they ran after her. Daria then tripped and fell to the ground. She was beginning to cry.

"Daria," Jane said as she knelt next to her, embraced her, and patted her on the back, "it's OK. We're your friends. You can tell us."

"Yeah," Trent added, "we're right here for you, Daria."

"It was when I was seven years old," Daria began. "I was playing at the park when someone got out of a car and abducted me. I spent a whole week at his house. Starting with my first night. . ."

"What? What?," Jane asked her.

Daria was trying to muster up all her courage.

"He, he. . .he sexually abused me!," Daria now confessed, and cried a torrent of tears.

"Was it Todd?," Trent asked her.

"Yes it was," Daria said. "The police eventually rescued me and arrested him. However, at the trial, he got off due to a technicality. It so damaged the case that the DA's office didn't even bother to try to appeal it. There's a restraining order against him, but I'm afraid of him. That's one of the other reasons why we moved to Lawndale."

"There, there now, Daria," Jane said, "it's OK. We're here for you!"

"Daria, I didn't know that about you," David said to her.

He went up to her and embraced her.

"I turned to you for help, and now it seems that you need some of it yourself," David said to her.

"I guess there's a soft spot in my otherwise hardened exterior after all," Daria said. She was beginning to dry her eyes. "I guess one of the reasons why I dress rather drabily is so that guys won't find me attractive and rape me."

"Then how do you explain the time you dressed up as Quinn when she got that good mark on her English essay?," Jane asked her.

"Temporary insanity," Daria shot back.

"C'mon," Jodie said, "we've got to get back to Lawndale and find out what exactly the Fashion Club has up their sleeves!"

Daria got up, with Jane and David helping her. They got back to the "Tank" and drove back to Lawndale.

Chapter 4: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

It was after dinner when the "Tank" pulled up to the Morgendorffers' house. Daria got out, and said, "I'll see you at school tomorrow!" The "Tank" pulled away, and Daria entered the house. She headed straight for the dining room.

"Daria, where have you been?," Helen asked her.

"Sorry, Mom," Daria said, "but I was over at Highland."

"Seeing the old stomping grounds, eh, Daria?," Jake said.

"You could say that," Daria replied. "I was trying to find some old friends."

"Funny, Quinn said the same thing," Helen said. "Did you go together?"

"No, I took the bus," Quinn said.

"And I got there by Trent's 'Tank'," Daria added.

"How's Beavis and Butt-Head?," Jake said.

"Jake! Don't you dare mention those two sick-minded cretins in this house!," Helen roared at him.

"Sorry, Dear!," Jake said meekly.

Helen looked at Daria's face. "Daria," she asked, "your face is all red. That rash isn't coming back, is it?"

Daria realized that it had to be from when she was crying.

"No," she said, "I got a bit sunburned."

"Daria," Helen said, "I know when you're trying to pull a fast one on me! Were you crying over something?"

"OK, I'll admit it," Daria finally broke down. "I ran into Todd and he gave me a scare."

"Oh, no!," Helen said. "I just hope you didn't run into him yourself, Quinn."

"No I didn't!," Quinn replied, too quickly.

Helen didn't noticed that both her daughters had just lied to her.

"We do have some beef stroganoff left over if you want it, Daria," Jake said. "I made it myself."

"It's a rare day where you cook, Dad," Daria said. "What happened at work?"

"We got that big contract from the county government, and, as a result, I got a hefty raise!," Jake said. "I felt like celebrating by doing the cooking for a change."

"Well," Daria said, "if you don't mind, I'm not too hungry right now. I'm just going to do my homework and then go to bed."

"OK," Helen said, "but we'll leave the leftovers in the refrigerator for you in case you get hungry later on.. Good night, Dear!"

"Good night, everyone!," Daria said as she headed upstairs. She went to her room and did her homework. After that (since it wasn't too much), she tuned into "Sick Sad World". There was a report about a pedophile who abducted a five year old girl, raped her and then killed her. Daria got that awful image of Todd kidnapping and sexually assaulting her again, and she dropped the remote with an audible gasp.

Daria got up, left her room and then banged on the door to Quinn's room. Quinn opened the door.

"What do you want, Daria?," Quinn sneered at her.

Daria pushed her aside, entered her room, and slammed the door shut. She then grabbed Quinn by the shoulders, threw her on the bed and went right to her face.

"You listen to me, and you listen to me good!," snarled a now very angry Daria. "I know that you and your stuck-up friends at the Fashion Club were speaking to Todd at the Grungy Bull Grill in Highland today."

"And how do you know that?," Quinn said in mock innocence.

"Because we met a guy on the Interstate who said he saw you and your friends talking to him when he was there!," Daria roared back. "Do you know what he said to me about your rather interesting conversation with him?"

"No, what?," said Quinn, now getting hysterical.

"He told me that you and your friends want Todd to teach David MacAllister a 'lesson' for trying to run for Student Government President," Daria continued. "How dare you even go to him, Quinn! You know what he did to me! Or do I have to remind you?"

With that, Daria suddenly grabbed Quinn by the collar of her smiley-face T-shirt, ripped it down the middle, then unhooked her front-closing bra. She then smacked her across the face.

"Daria, stop it!," Quinn said; she was beginning to cry.

"If Todd does anything to David, I swear to God I'll tell the police!," Daria said. "And you can tell that bitch Sandi and the rest of those bitches on the Fashion Club that it'll go double for them as well!"

"My friends aren't bitches!," Quinn yelled.

"They are too!," Daria said. She then added something that was really uncharacteristically for her:

"And you can tell them that they're all self-centered, lousy, stuck-up motherfucking cunts! And if they decide to sic Todd against me for that, I swear I'll do to him what Lorena Bobbitt did to John Wayne Bobbitt!"

With that, she left the room, slamming the door behind her. Quinn collapsed and cried.

Luckily, after dinner, Jake and Helen decided to go see a movie. They thought it would be OK if Daria and Quinn were left alone. How little did they know about what happened.

Daria got back to her room, got on her cellular phone, and called Jane.

"Jane, it's Daria," she said.

"What's up?," Jane asked. "You sound upset."

"I just read Quinn the riot act about her and her friends talking to Todd," Daria said. "I got real mad at her and roughed her up a bit. We've got to do something."

"Maybe we should do what David said and go to the Department of Education," Jane said.

"I guess we should. They do have an office in downtown Lawndale," Daria pointed out.

"Well, it's getting late," Jane said. "I'll continue this conversation on our walk to school tomorrow. I'll see you then. Bye."

"Bye, Jane," Daria said. She hung up the phone, took off her clothes, put on her blue T-shirt and yellow shorts she always wore to bed, and went to sleep.

She wasn't asleep for too long when she had a nightmare. She was in the middle of a desert. She was trying to run, but her feet kept sinking into the sand. Todd then appeared out of nowhere, wielding a jackknife.

"I know I should have finished the job when I had the chance," he said. He got nearer and nearer to her.

"Keep away from me, Todd!," Daria said. He got closer. "Keep away from me!," she said again. He raised the knife up and was going to plunge it into her heart. Daria screamed. She wrenched herself awake. She was breathing heavily.

Daria was deeply tortured in her soul now. She just needed to get away.

Daria got up, got dressed again, and slipped out of the house. She went down the street and saw the Temple Beth Israel, a Reform temple. The lights, surprisingly, were still on. She entered and sat at a pew about midway to the altar. The rabbi there was praying the Shema. He got up and noticed Daria.

"My child," the rabbi said, "is something bothering you?"

"Rabbi," Daria said, "I am is such a mess right now."

"Tell me, my child," the rabbi said, "what is bothering you."

Daria drew a deep breath and began:

"When I was seven years old, someone kidnapped me and then sexually abused me. He got off on a technicality. Now, almost ten years later, my sister and her friends are asking the same creep to do some bodily harm to a kid I know at school who's in Special Education and is running for Student Government President. My life is in such turmoil right now."

"My child, are you Jewish yourself?," the rabbi, who was named Benjamin Cohen, asked her.

"Yes, I am," Daria said, "and I'm in the Reformed denomination."

"I have heard of the youth you mentioned," Rabbi Cohen said; "David MacAllister, right?"

"Yes," Daria said.

"He is such a brave young man," Rabbi Cohen said. "Somehow, he reminds me of Moses going at the bidding of God to tell the Pharaoh to free the Israelites. I have heard of the horror stories that have happened to Special Education students at Lawndale High. For far too long, their cries have gone unheeded. Finally, God has found a deliverer for them. He will be the instrument from whence God shall deliver the oppressed Special Education students from their suffering. God sometimes works wonders by using the people you least suspect are capable of accomplishing the impossible. Have faith in God, my child. He has always looked out for His people. The victory is His, for as the psalmist said in Psalm 46, 'God is our refuse and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.' He who would stop mighty armies from harming His people and will break the spear in two and cast the chariot into the fire will see to it that justice is done for the Special Education students."

"Thanks, Rabbi," Daria said; "I think I'm beginning to feel better."

"Go in peace, my child," the rabbi said. He then stood up and gave the ancient Aaronic blessing:

"The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD shine His face upon you and be gracious to you. The LORD lift His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen."

Although she didn't count matters of faith for much, for Daria, this had an impact on her. She went home, and went back to bed. She slept soundly for the rest of the night.

Daria got up a bit early. She got dressed, slipped out of the house, and caught up with Jane. She was on her usual morning run, wearing a white headband, gray sweatshirt, red shorts, white socks and white sneakers.

"This is a surprise," Jane said. "You're not usually up this early."

"I had a rough go of it last night," Daria said. "So I went to my temple and spoke to the rabbi. he helped me put things into perspective."

Suddenly, Trent showed up.

"Janey! Daria! I need to talk to you!," he said.

"Trent, what are you doing up?," Jane asked him.

"I've just got an idea," he said. "I know how we can get some media attention on this matter."

"What do you mean, Trent?," Daria asked him.

"Well," Trent said, "I guess you ladies have heard of the band Rage Against the Machine?"

"Yes, we have," Daria said.

"Well, we opened for them once when they played at McGrundy's Pub, where we have our usual Sunday night jam," Trent said. "I got to become good friends with them. Lead singer Zack de la Rocha told me that if I ever needed anything from him, to call him."

"Gee, I didn't know you know Rage Against the Machine," Jane said, rather impressed.

"All I have to do is call them and let them know what's happening," Trent continued. "When they show up, no one's going to give them any crap. I can guarantee it."

"Well, what are you waiting for?," Jane said. "Call them."

"I intend to do that after I have my morning nap," Trent said.

"You never change, do you, Trent?," Daria asked him.

"Hey, it's good to have a routine; it gives one's life structure!," Trent replied.

Jane snickered over that remark.

"Got to go, ladies," Trent said. He walked back toward the Lane residence.

"I can't wait to tell David about this," Jane said, rather unusually excited; "this is the type of attention that this situation calls for."

"Well, let's see how things turn out first," Daria said.

"Well, I've got to finish my morning run, then I've got to change into my regular clothes and get ready to go to school," replied Jane. "I'll catch up with you there. In the meantime, there's a good greasy spoon around the corner that has a good $1.99 Early Bird Breakfast Special."

"I just might go for it," Daria said; "I have the feeling I'm going to need some extra energy."

Jane ran down the street while Daria went to the diner, which was called Smoggy Ralph's Bistro. When she stepped in and took a seat, the waitress came up to her.

"What'll it be, Miss?," she asked Daria.

"What's the $1.99 Early Bird Breakfast Special like?," Daria asked the waitress.

"Well," the waitress began, "it consists of eggs, a short stack of pancakes, your choice of bacon, sausage or ham, and your choice of milk, orange juice, regular coffee or decaf."

"I guess I'll take it," Daria said. The waitress left to process the order. It was getting a bit hot in the diner, so Daria uncharacteristically took off her green jacket, exposing the brown T-shirt she wore underneath it. She also took off her glasses and wiped them. Unnoticed by Daria, David walked in; he noticed her and was surprised.

"Daria, is that you?," he asked her.

Daria suddenly looked up and noticed David.

"Oh! David!," Daria sais in surprise; "I didn't know it was you!"

David looked at her without her glasses.

"Did anyone ever tell you that you look beautiful without your glasses on?," he said to her.

Daria found the remark odd.

"Uh, no, as far as I know," she finally said, blushing.

"Also, that's a pretty interesting T-shirt you have on," David continued.

"Well, it's just a plain old brown T-shirt," Daria said; "it doesn't have anything on it."

"I bet you also have great looking legs beneath those combat boots of yours," David said.

"David, this is pretty weird," Daria said, not necessarily embarrassed or uncomfortable, but merely stunned; "You think I'm pretty? By my own admission, I dress rather plainly."

"You know what they always say," David said; "'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'"

"You know, no one's ever praised my looks," Daria replied; "I'm not necessarily a guy magnet. That's my sister Quinn's department."

"Daria," David said, "I know you dress the way you do as a reaction of what Todd did to you. But you've got to realize that for every Todd out there, there's lots of other guys like me. Daria, I knew it from the very depths of my soul when I first met you, that you are a very special person. You're not afraid to tell it like it is. You don't take any bullshit from anyone. I like that in a person. Daria, if I may be so bold, I want to tell you that I love you. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart."

Daria was overwhelmed. No one ever told her that they loved her. This was amazing.

"David, I don't know what to say," Daria finally spat out. Before she knew it, she flung herself across the table and began to French kiss David; her leg was rubbing up against his.

The waitress approached with Daria's order.

"Holy moley!," the waitress said. "I'd better set this aside until you finish up! Far be it from me to spoil a romantic moment like this!"

Daria and David suddenly sprang apart.

"WHOOPS!," Daria said. "Sorry! I got a bit carried away."

"Do you want anything, Sir?," the waitress said to David.

"Uh, er, I'll take the $1.99 Early Bird Breakfast Special," he finally said.

The waitress went to process the order.

After breakfast, Daria went back to her house, and did something unusual. She slipped off her boots, took off her green jacket and put on some red lipstick. She then dug out a pair of high heel shoes she once wore underneath the bridesmaid gown she once wore to a wedding. Luckily, no one else was up yet, and she darted out of the house again. Jane was going down the street when she noticed the change in Daria.

"WHOA!," Jane said, "Don't tell me Quinn got another 'A' on an English essay and got smart again!" She knew the last time Daria put on makeup done herself up was the last time Quinn got such a grade on an essay.

"No," Daria said; "I'm in love with David. He wanted to know what I'd look like in high heels for a change."

"Man, you've got legs to die for," Jane said in a half-laugh.

"Normally, I'd die from embarrassment or rip your throat out," Daria said, "but I'll let it slide this time."

They got into the school and got to their homeroom. Timothy O'Neill, who was the girls' English teacher, doubled as their homeroom teacher. After checking attendance, he motioned to Daria and Jane.

"Ms. Li wants to see the both of you at her office during your second study hall period," he said. "It's about David MacAllister's petition."

"Uh, oh," Jane said, "I think someone is trying to knock our man off the ballot!"

"You always keep thinking the worst, don't you, Jane?," Daria said.

"Hell, it's a habit," Jane confessed.

When they got to Ms. Li's office, David was there, as well as Sandi and Tiffany, who was acting as Sandi's campaign manager.

"Ms. Morgendorffer, Ms. Li, I'm glad you came," Ms. Li said. "It's about the petition Mr. MacAllister submitted to run for Student Government President."

"Don't tell me it isn't stapled correctly or is on the wrong colored paper," said Daria rather sarcastically.

"No," Ms. Li shot back, "it's that there are quite a few ineligible people who signed this petition. As you know, since most Special Education students are 'self-contained," or spend all day in one classroom, they do not vote for homeroom representatives or for any other office in Student Government. Therefore, they are ineligible to sign the petition. In fact, most of the signatures are from ineligible persons. I'm afraid that this petition has to be rejected."

"WHAT!," David said in anger. "I busted my ass getting those signatures! You can't take that away from me!"

"Watch your mouth, young man!," Ms. Li said.

"You just can't handle the truth," Sandi said; "there's a reason why Special Education students can't participate in Student Government elections. They're mentally incompetent! They don't understand the process!"

"That's the most bigoted piece of bullshit I've ever heard!" David said. The situation was aggravating his behavior problem. "What you can't handle is that people like me are born with the same rights as everyone else. Or have you conveniently forgotten the part of the Declaration of Independence that says that 'All men are created equal'?"

"Retarts like you belong to a mental institution," Sandi shot back.

"WHY YOU!--," David screamed as he lunged for Sandi.

"David, no!," Daria said, as she and Jane tried to restrain him.

Suddenly, the door burst open. A man who looked vaguely half white, half black with brown dreadlocks entered the room.

"We've heard enough!," he said.

"Who the hell are you," Ms. Li yelled, "and what are you doing here?"

"The name's Zack de la Rocha, lead singer for Rage Against the Machine," he said. Suddenly, several other people stepped into the room. They were Zack's bandmembers: guitarist Tom Morello; bassist Timmy C.; and drummer Brad Wilk. Also entering the room were two men in business suits, as well as two women. Daria recognized one of them as her mother. Trent also entered.

Zack went up to Sandi and said, "You listen to me, you bitch! You don't deny anyone their basic rights as human beings because they've got some mental condition!"

Sandi flinched backwards in her seat.

The second woman who entered went up to Ms. Li. "I'm Jamie Young," she began, "legal counsel for Rage Against the Machine. I guess you know Attorney Morgendorffer. These two gentlemen are Darren Steele and Roy Smitts from the Lawndale office for the Federal Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights."

"Ms. Li," Mr. Steele said, "Mr. Lane here, as well as Mr. de la Rocha, told me about the situation at Lawndale High. Excluding any Special Education student--regardless of whether they're self-contained or mainstreamed--from any student activities is in violation of the Civil Rights Act. We just happened to listen to your conversation; we were just outside the door. Those signatures are going to count, as per our orders. If you do not let this petition stand, we will take action, including withholding Federal money to Lawndale Unified School District and possible civil and criminal action, until you are in compliance."

"You just can't barge in here like this!," Ms. Li said. "I'm going to call the superintendent and inform him about this!"

"The superintendent already knows about this," Mr. Smitts said.

"And I won't hesitate to start civil action on behalf of David myself," Helen added.

"You can't do this!," Ms. Li said. "I'm the chief administrative official of this learning institution, and what I say goes!"

"Not if it violates Federal law, ma'am," Mr. Steele replied.

"Just in case you were going to do this," Ms. Young said, "we got an injunction stopping you from throwing out the petition. Mr. MacAllister will be running for Student Government President, or you will have the Federal Government all over your case so fast it won't even be funny."

"You think you can just get away with this!," Sandi said. "Next thing you know, you'll be saying that retarts like him should be valedictorian."

"The only thing that's retarded is your bigoted thinking," Zack shot back at her.

"You have no choice in this matter, Ms. Li," Mr. Smitts said. "And, just in case anyone tries to do something stupid, we will have FBI agents and Federal Marshals here to enforce this decision."

"All right," Ms. Li said, "have it your way! But I do intend to file a protest with the State Department of Education."

"The State Department of Education has been informed about this," Mr. Steele said; "and they said they would fully cooperate with us in this matter."

"It looks like your campaign will go on after all, David," Daria said to him.

"I'm going to win this election and keep retarts like you out of Student Government if it's the last thing I ever do!," Sandi said.

"Yeah," Tiffany said, "and I stand by every word she says!"

"Now I know the whole lot of them are brain-dead!," Daria said to Jane.

Sandi and Tiffany walked out of the office. Daria, Jane and David followed. Mr. Steele and Mr. Smitts left papers on Ms. Li's desk.

"I think that takes care of matters for now," Mr. Steel said. "We will be back." Everyone else left the room, leaving Ms. Li alone.

"Try to take over my school, will they!," she muttered to herself. "I'll show them! I'll show them all!"

Daria, Jane, David and Helen were now going down the hall. Rather uncharacteristically for Daria, she turned around and said to Helen, "Thanks, Mom, for helping us back there."

"My pleasure, Daria," Helen said. "But this battle is far from over."

Just how far they had to go was going to be shown to them real soon.

An emergency meeting of the football team had just been announced. The coach had asked everyone over to the boys' locker room. Everyone was now facing the coach.

"Gentlemen," he began, "I've found out who it was who ordered our defensive backfield to beat up those who were trying to sign David MacAllister's petition to run for Student Government President. It was Sandi from the Fashion Club. Mack here told me he found out about it when he stumbled onto one of their meetings. Therefore, given the grievous nature of what happened, I have no other alternative than to expel the defensive backfield from the team, and I will tell Ms. Li about this whole affair. I can assure you that Sandi and the other members of the Fashion Club will be disciplined to the fullest extent possible."

There was a big uproar from the members of the defensive backfield.

"You can't do that to us!," they yelled. "The opening game's this Saturday! There's no time to train new people!"

"You should have thought of that before you beat up that kid," the coach said.

"You're a dead man, Mack!," yelled one of the players. "A dead man!"

"You keep Mack Daddy out of this!," Kevin suddenly found himself saying.

One of the defensive backs lunged for him, knocking Mack over in the process. A melee was soon underway. The coach had to call for school security to diffuse the situation. The security personnel soon restored order.

"Now, as for those who are being kicked off the team," the coach said, "I want your things out of the lockers by the end of the day Friday! Some of us are going to have to pull double duty until we have replacement players. If I hear any more lip from anyone about this, I will not hesitate to tell Ms. Li about it for appropriate action! That is all!"

The expelled players left the room, shouting "Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!"

"We're gonna kill that motherfucking retart!," said another one of the players.

Mack turned to Kevin and said, "Thanks for saving my hide there, Kevin." This time, he was going to overlook his being called "Mack Daddy".

"Of course, I've probably lost some friends over this now," Kevin said.

"You've still got me, man," Mack said.

They left the locker room and headed back to class.

The players who had just been kicked off the football team were now craving for revenge.

"When we find that retart," one of them said, "we're gonna nail his ass to the wall!"

Daria, Jane and David were now putting up posters for the election. They said, "Vote for David MacAllister for Student Government President. He'll bring real change to Lawndale High." Jane had done them up herself.

"This isn't the type of artwork I usually do," Jane said, "but it'll do in a pinch."

"I can't believe things are going my way for once," David said.

Just then, the expelled players turned the corner and saw them.

"Wait a minute!," David said. "Those are the guys who beat up Andrew!"

"There's the retart who got us kicked off the team!," shouted one of them.

"What do you mean by that?," David asked.

"We just got kicked off the team because of you," said another player. "We didn't beat that kid up!"

"I'd better have my prescription for my glasses checked, then," Daria said. "If I recall, you did beat Andrew up."

"Keep out of this, Misery Chick!," yelled a third player. Some people in school did call Daria that insulting name of "Misery Chick," but it was more often than not by the members of the football team. The name had been coined by the late legendary Lawndale Lions football great Tommy Sherman, who died when a goalpost collapsed on top of him when he paid a visit to his alma mater.

"You know, I don't like that name, 'The Misery Chick!,'" Daria shot back.

Suddenly, the whole lot of them began to shout in a sing-song voice: "MISERY CHICK! MISERY CHICK!"

David got angry.

"Leave Daria alone!," he said. "She doesn't have anything to do with this!"

"She's your campaign manager," said a fourth player. "Besides, you've got a thing for her now, don't you? The whole school's been talking about how you and Daria were liplocking at Smoggy Ralph's Bistro. Freaks of nature deserve each other, don't they?"

David couldn't take it anymore.

"I'M NOT A FREAK OF NATURE!," he yelled, then hit him right across the face. The others lunged right for him.

David suddenly screamed with an unholy yell and charged right at them.

"David, no!," Daria said. She got into the fracas.

The football players now surrounded David, throwing punches at him. He took quite a few hits. He began to fight back, though.

"David, stop!," Daria said. But David responded by throwing a few punches. He then sent a crashing blow right into the abdomen of one of his tormentors. He fell to the floor, screaming. He grabbed this abdomen, then saw blood beginning to soak his jersey.

"NO!," he said.

"David, stop!," Daria finally said one more time. Suddenly, in blind rage, David punched her right in the face. Suddenly, Daria went down like lead. David saw it happen and was horrified.

"DARIA! NO!," David screamed. "I DIDN'T MEAN TO HIT YOU!"

He ran to her. A crowd had gathered.

"Someone call 911!," screamed one of the players. "Someone's hurt very bad!"

Mr. O'Neill got up and saw that the player had recently had surgery in the area where David had hit him. David's punch had apparently broken open some surgical stitches.

"Daria, Daria, speak to me!," David said. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" He began to cry, embracing Daria.

"This young man needs to go to a hospital fast!," Mr. O'Neill said. "He's bleeding profusely!"

The school nurse arrived and administered emergency first aid on the player.

Daria, who was stunned, was slowly regaining consciousness.

"David. . .David, is that you?," Daria finally said, groggy-headed.

"Daria? Daria!," David said, "You're all right! Thank God you're all right! I didn't mean to hit you! I'm so sorry!" He began to cry again.

"It's OK, David, it's OK," Daria said, giving David a hug. "Everything's going to be all right."

"I don't think you can really say that," Jane said. "That last blow David landed has apparently burst open surgical stitches one of the players has. He's bleeding pretty badly."

Suddenly, the Lawndale EMS arrived, as well as two police officers.

"Officer," one of the players said, "that man over there hit him so hard, his surgical stitches burst open. Arrest him!"

The officers approached David.

"What's your name, son?," asked the first officer.

"David MacAllister," he said.

"David MacAllister," the second officer said, "you're under arrest for assault with intent to murder."

"NO!," David said. "I didn't know he had surgical stitches! I'm innocent!"

"Come with us," said the first officer.

"NO!," David roared. He ran down the hall, with the officers in pursuit. They caught up with him, and sprayed mace in his eyes. He was sent howling. They slapped the cuffs on him and read him his rights.

"I'm innocent! They want to get rid of me because I've got a behavior problem!," David yelled in a savage voice.

"David, no!," Daria said. Suddenly, she found herself crying. "This isn't fair!"

Jane went up to her and gave her a hug. "We'll find a way to get him out of this, Daria," she said; "even if it's the last thing we ever do."

Chapter 5: Executive Action

Word of David's arrest soon reached Rage Against the Machine, who were in their hotel room. They were going to be here in Lawndale anyway, since they were going to play a concert at Lawndale Park on Saturday. Trent was with them at the time when they saw the report on the TV.

"David MacAllister," the reporter said, "who is hoping to make history by becoming the first Special Education student to be elected Student Government President at Lawndale High School, was accused of severely injuring a football player who was tormenting him by hitting him right where he had recently had surgery to remove his appendix."

"What the motherfuck did they do that for?," Zack shouted. "They railroaded him just like they did to our brothers Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal."

"This isn't good," Trent said. "We've got to do something."

"I'm going to call the local chapter of the ACLU and see if they can help," Zack replied. "Meanwhile, Tom, you go and hit the streets. Tell the folks out there we're going to hold an impromptu concert at the local jail."

"Right," Tom said. He left.

"I don't know how Daria is taking this," Trent said. "But if I know her, she's not going to take this lying down."

At the Lawndale City Jail, Daria, Jane and Helen were trying to get David free. They were speaking to the warden.

"This case is very serious," the warden said. "The person Mr. MacAllister assaulted was lucky to have the broken stitches repaired and is alive. Normally in a case like this bail will be denied or set at a very high level."

"We want David released on his own recognizance," Helen demanded. "I have some very influential friends on the Lawndale Bar Association who owe me quite a few favors, and they won't hesitate to help me in this matter."

"This is out of my hands," the warden said. "I have to follow the guidelines set down by the state."

Suddenly, one of the prison guards came in.

"Sorry to bother you, Sir," the guard began, "but there seems to be a protest outside the jail."

Everyone ran out to the front. There was a huge crowd, and they were all shouting "FREE DAVID! FREE DAVID! FREE DAVID!"

A makeshift stage had been set up. Suddenly, Rage Against the Machine appeared. They were dressed up like Holocaust victims; on each of their shirts was a red letter "R", which stood for "Retart". Trent was dressed up like Simon Legree and began to crack a whip.

"Move it, retarts!," Trent yelled.

"Kind or reminds you of when they showed up at Woodstock '94 naked with their mouths taped shut to protest music censorship, doesn't it?," Jane said to Daria.

Daria just stood there in silence.

Zack now took the mike. "Good evening, everyone," he began, "we're Rage Against the Machine. We've set up this impromptu concert in protest of the jailing of David MacAllister, who's running for Student Government President at Lawndale High School. Some people don't want to run for office because he's a Special Education student. Well, guess what we have to say about that?"

The crowd began to shout the most famous line from their first his song, "Killing in the Name":


"Yeah, that's right, everyone!," Zack shot back. "David's been railroaded for a crime that's been blown way out of proportion. And we're going to jam here until he's released. We're going to kick things off with 'Bulls on Parade'."

Suddenly, the power chords that opened up "Bulls on Parade" ripped through the crowd. The crowd began to pump their fists in the air in rhythm to the music. Zack then began to rap out the lyrics:

"This microphone explodes, shattering tha molds/Ya either drop tha hits like de la O or get tha fuck off the commode/With tha Sure Shot, sure to make the bodies drop!/Drop an' don't copy yo,/Don't call this a co-opt!/Terror rains drenchin,' quenching the thirst of the Power Dons/That five-sided Fist-a-gon/Tha rotten sore on tha face of Mother Earth gets bigger/Tha tirggers cold empty ya purse!/Rally 'round tha family/With a pocket full of shells!/They rally 'round tha family/With a pocket full of shells!/They rally 'round tha family/With a pocket full of shells!/They rally 'round tha family/With a pocket full of shells!"

Helen finally said, "Well, whoever they are, they sure mobilized the kids in protest of this grave miscarriage of justice!"

The warden stood there, terrified at the crowd's fury. Suddenly, the coach of the football team arrived, dragging the player who had been hit in the abdomen. He was holding up what looked like a flesh-colored vinyl sack with ketchup all over it.

"Everyone, if I could have your attention, please!," the coach said. "It seems one of my ex-players faked his injury so he could get Mr. MacAllister in deep trouble. I have here a flesh-colored vinyl sack that he was wearing that was filled with ketchup. Apparently they managed to rig this up at industrial arts class. The player in question did not have surgery recently. We only found out about this when we got to the emergency room and the doctors prepped him up for surgery. I think that was a rather mean thing to do."

The warden stood there, speechless.

The crowd began their chant of "FREE DAVID!" again.

"Well, Mr. Warden," Helen said, "since my client is innocent, I think you should release him."

The warden motioned to one of the guards to release David.

"Young man," the coach turned to the perfectly healthy former player, "You owe Mr. MacAllister an apology for what you did!"

"I'll never kowtow to that retart!," the ex-player said.

"If you don't, I'll ask Ms. Li to suspend you," the coach warned.

David was brought out. The crowd roared in celebration. David now walked down the stairs and passed the former football player. The player suddenly spat on him. David went berserk. Daria and Jane had to restrain him.

"David, please!," Daria said. "There's been enough trouble already! Let's just go home!"

They now left without further incident. The crowd began to disperse.

"Thanks a lot, Zack," Trent said. "You guys sure made a difference."

"No problem, Trent," Zack replied. "The battle, however, is far from over."

The next day, after school, there was an emergency meeting of the Fashion Club, which was also now doubling as the Committee to Elect Sandi. The meeting was being held at Sandi's house. Linda, Sandi's mother, entered the living room, where the girls were hanging out.

"I've got to run, ladies," Linda said. "I've got to meet a client. Sandi, make sure your brothers keep out of trouble."

"Yes, Mother," Sandi said. Linda left the house.

"Like, anyway," Sandi said, "we've got to do something about the 'David Problem.' Every tactic we've been using has fallen flat on its face."

"Like, what's the big deal?," Quinn said. "He doesn't stand a chance of winning."

"Like, get your head out of the clouds, Quinn," Sandi shot back. "With your cousin Daria being his campaign manager and all that, and given last night's fiasco to frame him for assault, we're taking a beating. Have you seen the latest issue of the 'Lawndale Lowdown'? That David retart now has a 45% approval rating compared to 25% for me. This is bad news."

"Opinion polls aren't everything," Quinn said. "It's the polls at Election Day that count."

"Anyway," Tiffany said, "you told me yesterday that Daria threatened you."

Quinn was afraid they would get to that part. She swallowed hard and began to speak:

"Well, it was a couple of nights ago, after we got back from Highland. Daria apparently found out from some guy who was there at the time about our speaking to Todd. She confronted me with that. Then she assaulted me, and called all of us 'bitches' and 'self-centered, lousy, stuck-up motherfucking cunts'!"

Sandi began to see red when Quinn said that.


"I don't think I'm a bad person," Stacy said. "So I sat next to her and Jane Lane on the Ferris wheel at the medieval fair and probably driven them crazy when I was crying over that boy who dumped me, but I don't deserve being called a bitch over that!"

"Like, Quinn, she's your cousin," Sandi said. "Take care of her."

"Like, how?," Quinn said.

"If you don't," Sandi said, "then we'll find someone who will. Maybe Todd."

Suddenly, Quinn remembered what Daria had said to her.

"Uh, I don't know if that's such a good idea," she finally spat out.

"You're not becoming a Benedict Arnold on us, are you, Quinn?," Sandi snapped at her.

"Well, I , er, uh," Quinn hesitated. "I've got to go. I just remembered I have to write an essay for English."

Quinn shot out the front door like a frightened rabbit. Suddenly, Sandi's two obnoxious brothers came in, fighting.

"He started it!," said the older of the two.

"No, he did!," said the other.

"Like, I'm going to have to call this meeting over," Sandi said. "Family crisis!"

Stacy and Tiffany left. Sandi then grabbed the two brothers and said, "Knock it off!" She then klonked their heads together. They then ran out of sight.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Sandi opened it. It was Daria. She wasn't in her usual outfit. She was wearing a Rage Against the Machine T-shirt and blue jeans, along with her combat boots.

"I'm on to you, Sandi," Daria sneered.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Sandi shot back.

"You're the one behind the big conspiracy to prevent David MacAllister from running for Student Government President," replied Daria. "I'm not going to allow you to get away with this."

"You have no proof," Sandi yelled.

"I do to," Daria said. "Mack overheard your meeting where you and the others decided to go see Todd. I got Quinn to confess to that much. And I bet you also set up yesterday's incident with the so-called 'seriously injured' football player."

"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't," Sandi said. "Besides, nerds like you and retarts like David should be kept out of Student Government. Hell, you should be kept out of the gene pool."

For Daria, this was too much. She got mad, then punched Sandi across the face. She bolted into the room, and they were rolling on the floor, trading punches.

"You self-centered, lousy, stuck-up motherfucking cunt!," Daria yelled, then held Sandi down while she punched her numerous times in her abdomen.

"Now I know why you're just Quinn's cousin; you're a freak of nature!," Sandi screamed.

"For your information," Daria yelled back, "I'm her sister!"

"WHAT! YOU'RE LYING!," Sandi shrieked.

Her brothers had now entered the room again.

"Sandi, what's going on?," the younger of the two said.

"None of your business!," Sandi said. "Get the fuck out of here!"

They ran out of the room. Daria sent Sandi crashing to the floor with a right hook. She then began to kick her real good. Her combat boots served for this purpose very good.

When she was done, Sandi was rolling around in her own blood.

"Now you know how it feels for David when people do that to him!," Daria screamed. "Leave him the fuck alone, or I swear to God I'll do far worse than this to you!" She got out of the house, slamming the door behind her.

Sandi got up on her knees, put her hands up to her face, and began crying. Her two brothers came back in.

"Sandi, what happened?," asked the younger of the two.

"GET OUT!," she screamed. They ran out. She now got to the phone.

"Hello?," said a voice on the other end.

"Todd, we've got a big problem," Sandi said, "and you're the only one who can fix it."

Quinn would normally go straight home from meetings of the Fashion Club. But now her conscience was bothering her. She was wandering the streets of Lawndale. She didn't notice when her feet took her to Howard Drive. Soon enough, however, she found a white mailbox with the name "Lane" written in big black capital letters. It was 111 Howard Drive, the Lane residence. Quinn had been here only once before: it was when Daria and Jodie were checking out that prep school and Quinn had been kicked out of every house she was staying over at: Sandi's, Tiffany's and Stacy's. Jane took her in as a last resort. She had to tell someone about what was going on, even if it was someone as unpopular and uncool as Jane. She went to the doorbell and rang it. The door was answered by a tall, willowy woman with long black hair, wearing an artist's apron over what looked like a long, gray, smock-like dress worn by female hippies in the 1960's. It was none other than Amanda Lane, Jane's mother.

"Mrs. Lane, I don't think you know me, but I was here once before," Quinn began. "I'm Quinn Morgendorffer, Daria's sister. Your daughter Jane took me in when I needed some place to stay when Daria and Jodie Landon were visiting that prep school some time back."

"Of course I remember you," Amanda said. "Jane told me all about you. Come in, please. I'll let Jane know you're here." She went up the stairs to get Jane.

Suddenly, the door opened, and a rather prim, proper man in a gray flannel suit and tie stepped in He had short, black hair and a mustache.

"Hello there, young lady," the man said to Quinn; "I'm Darren Lane. And who might you be?"

"I'm Quinn Morgendorffer, Daria's sister," she replied. She was shocked at his appearance. He was the only one who wasn't wearing grungy clothes in this house.

"I guess you're surprised to see me," he said. "Well, I guess most folks are when they first see me, because of the way the rest of the family dresses and acts. I'm an insurance actuary myself. Between that and my wife's pottery, we make a pretty decent living. Anyway, my daughter Jane told me about you after you were here for a while when your sister Daria and Jodie Landon were visiting that prep school."

"I hope all the feedback was positive," Quinn said, rather nervously.

Amanda, Jane and Trent came down the stairs.

"Well, well, well," Jane said, "isn't this a surprise! The last time you were here, you had been kicked out of every house of every member of the Fashion Club, and you came crawling to me. Now are you finally going to have that wild keg party you were planning to have, or what?"

"Mystik Spiral will be happy to provide the musical entertainment, on the house, of course," Trent said with a knowing wink of his eye.

"It's nothing like that," Quinn shot back. "In fact, I would appreciate it if I spoke to Jane alone, everyone!"

"Suit yourself, Quinn," Trent said. "But I'm pretty sure Janey will tell all, especially Daria."

"What a jerk brother you have, Jane!," Quinn said. "I don't know what Daria sees in him?"

"Hey, don't call my brother a jerk!," said Jane defensively. "And, besides, his relationship with Daria isn't any of your business."

Jane motioned to the stairs, and she and Quinn went up to Jane's room.

"This should prove to be very interesting," Trent said.

"I take it you're going to put your ear to the wall and listen in on them, aren't you?," Darren said.

"Of course," Trent said. "Why would I let Daria down and not know what's going on with her bratty sister?"

Darren and Amanda both chuckled over that remark.

"OK," Jane began, "tell me what's up; keep it brief and to the point." Jane picked up her brush and began to do another painting.

Quinn couldn't notice two rather unflattering pictures of her; one was a painting of her in a guillotine, while the other was a pencil sketch of her with a bullet hole in her head and the smiley face on her shirt frowning.

"Uh, why do I have the feeling that you really hate my guts?," Quinn said nervously.

"What makes you say that?," Jane replied.

"Uh, it's some of your art that brings that question to mind," answered Quinn.

"Perish the thought," Jane said. "They're rather symbolic of how I feel about humanity in general." Jane knew she was lying through her teeth, but right now Quinn needed someone to talk to, she reasoned.

"Are you one of those nihilists?," Quinn said suddenly.

"Quinn, will you stop being so bleak about your outlook of me?," Jane shot back.

"OK, OK," Quinn said. "Anyway, I just left an emergency meeting of the Fashion Club and I'm kind of disturbed over some of what was said."

"Go on," Jane said; "this should be interesting."

"Well," Quinn continued, "I think they want to do something rather horrible to David MacAllister; you know, the Special Education student who's running for Student Government President , as well as Daria."

Jane dropped her brush with an audible "THUD!"

"What do you mean by that?," Jane said sharply.

"I don't know, but it sounded like they want to assassinate David and beat up Daria," Quinn said, suddenly finding herself sounding hysterical. "Oh, Jane, I didn't mean for this to go this far! I don't want to see either David or Daria get hurt! We just wanted to spook them from running for Student Government President! I didn't mean for it to go as far as murder!" The tears were beginning to flow down her face.
"Jane," she continued, "you've got to believe me! You've just got to believe me!" She was now crying hysterically.

There was a knock on Jane's door.

"What is it?," Jane said.

The door opened. Daria and Trent stepped in.

"Janey," Trent began, "I tried to delay this as long as I could, but Daria insisted on speaking to you."

"Jane, what's Quinn doing here?," Daria said.

"Quinn just told me some interesting things about the Fashion Club's emergency meeting today," Jane said.

"Funny," Daria replied, "I went straight to Sandi's house after school and confronted her myself. I beat the crap out of her."

"WHAT!," Quinn shouted, raising her head out of her hands. "Why'd you do that for, Daria?"

"By the way, Quinn," Daria said, "I straightened Sandi out as to our exact relationship between us. I'm pretty sure after she patches herself up. you'll be kicked out of the Fashion Club for having a nerdy sister!"

"Oh, Daria, I hate you!," Quinn screamed. "Hate! Hate! DEEP HATRED!" She lunged for her, but Daria stepped out of the way, causing Quinn to bump her head against the wall. Quinn gave Daria the finger, screamed at her, and stormed out of the house.

"So," Daria said in her usually calm, deadpan manner, "what exactly did Quinn say to you?"

"Something about the Fashion Club was plotting to have Todd assassinate David and have you beaten up," Jane replied.

Daria stood there in shock.

"Don't worry, ladies," Trent said. "Leave it up to me. Todd won't lay a finger on either David or Daria."

"And how exactly are you going to accomplish that?," Daria asked.

"Rage Against the Machine will help me on this," Trent replied. "They know a few people who can help."

"I hope so," Daria said. "Right now, things have really taken a sinister turn."

With that, Trent went to the phone in Jane's room and dialed the hotel room where Rage Against the Machine was staying.

"Yeah, Zack?," Trent said. "It's Trent again. I think we're going to need some more help from you guys."

Todd had never really been to Lawndale before. He tried to beat the information out of Beavis and Butt-Head, who had went to the big football game between Highland and Lawndale last year, but those two gave rather half-assed directions. He finally got them from a map. He got together some area thugs and were now descending on the MacAllister residence. Todd pounded on the front door. It was opened by Warren.

"Can I help you, Sir?," Warren said.

"We want to speak to your son, David," Todd shouted back.

"I'm sorry," Warren said, "but he's doing his homework."

Todd forced the door open and stormed in, with the thugs following him.

"Tie him and his wife up!," Todd said. Two of the thugs grabbed Warren and tied him to a chair in the living room. Two others did the same to Deanna in the kitchen, where she was preparing dinner.

Todd and the rest went up to David's room. David saw who it was and cringed.

"We've got a message for you from Sandi and the Fashion Club, you retart!," Todd said as three of the thugs now descended on David, brandishing chains, steel rods and wooden boards. They began to beat him up.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!," David screamed as the thugs beat him up.

"This should teach you a lesson to drop out of the race for Student Government President," yelled Todd. "We don't want retarts like you in Student Government!"

Suddenly, there were four loud noises from downstairs:


Todd raced down the stairs and saw that four of the thugs were out stone cold on the floor. Standing over them were a group of "Straight-Edgers", who were teens who took a militant stand against drug abuse. They were dressed in the usual grungy clothing and had the mark of the black "X" on their hands indicating their status as "Straight-Edgers". Right behind them were Daria, Jane, Trent and Rage Against the Machine.

The leader of the Lawndale Straight-Edgers, a young man named Corey, spoke up. He was bald and wearing an olive green shirt and black knee-length baggy pants.

"If I were you," Corey said in a calm, deliberate manner, "I'd leave here and forget that you were ever in Lawndale!"

"I'd take his advice, man!," Zack added.

"You're defending this retart, aren't you!," Todd said. He then noticed Daria. "Well, if it isn't Daria Morgendorffer!," he continued. "I knew that somehow you were going to be mixed up in this! Maybe the first time didn't straighten you out!"

Daria felt a shiver down her spine.

"Don't worry, Daria," Trent said, putting his arm around her back. "He can't do anything to you as long as I'm here."

The other three thugs now came down the stairs.

"GET THEM!," Todd screamed.

The thugs ran right for them, but the Straight-Edgers were faster, and began to pummel the tar out of them. Todd could see that his strategy was backfiring, and proceeded to run for the back door. Jane was faster, however, and tackled him. Todd slapped her across the face.

"Get off of me, you bitch!," Todd yelled.

Corey got up to him and kicked him in the head.

"Don't call her a bitch, you asshole!," he said.

Todd punched him and bolted for the front door. He grabbed Daria and ran for his car.

"Let her go!," yelled a voice from behind the bushes. Suddenly, a whole bunch of Straight-Edgers came out from behind the bushes and dragged Todd down. Daria squirmed out of the pile of humanity and ran. The Straight-Edgers began to beat up on Todd.

The four thugs who were beaten got up and now ran, as did the other three. They got to the van that they used to get to Lawndale. One of the thugs managed to beat off the Straight-Edgers and grabbed Todd, kicking and screaming, and dragged him to the van. They drove off into the night.

"Free the two who are tied up, then check on David!," Corey said to two of his lieutenants.

"We owe you big time for this," Daria said to Corey.

"We're just lucky that your friend Trent and Rage Against the Machine knew where to find us," Corey said. "Since we more or less dispense a vigilante style of justice, we keep our whereabouts pretty secret. The police kind of look down on our methods."

Everyone now went inside. Warren and Deanna were now free.

"Is David all right?," Warren asked.

With one accord they ran to his room. David was balled up in a fetal position on the floor, crying.

"It's OK now, David," Daria said as she kneeled next to him and embraced him. "Todd and the others are gone."

"Why me? Why me?," David sobbed. "Maybe they're right. I should drop out. I'm just causing trouble."

"You'll do no such thing," Daria said straight in the face. "We've gone too far as it is. We're not going to give up and let them win like this!"

"David," Corey said, "if those morons threaten us again, we'll give them more of the same."

"We're going to call the ACLU tomorrow morning and see about getting some legal action started against them for violating you civil rights," Zack added. "This is they type of tactics that only groups like the Gestapo and people who are afraid of change resort to when they know they're on the losing side of the battle."

"Of course, now we know that the Fashion Club is behind this," Daria said. "And I'm pretty sure that when Sandi hears about this, Quinn's going to take the fall."

Daria didn't know just how prophetic her words were going to be. After Todd called Sandi and told her about the botched attempt to scare David out of the race, she called for another emergency meeting of the Fashion Club, even though it was now past 9:00 PM on a school night. When they all got there, the meeting was being held at Sandi's room. Sandi shot a furious look at Quinn.

"Like, this was all your doing, wasn't it, Quinn?," Sandi shouted.

"Why look at me?," Quinn shouted back.

"You probably turned chicken and ratted on someone about what we were going to do," Sandi shot back.

"I did not," Quinn said, knowing that she was lying through her teeth.

"Oh, by the way, Quinn," Sandi added, "your cousin Daria stopped by here today after our first meeting and beat the shit out of me. Do you know what she said when she was doing that?"

"What?," said a now hysterical Quinn

"She told me that she is actually your sister!," Sandi said.

"She's lying!," Quinn said.

"Oh," shot back Sandi sarcastically," then tell me why, when after I spoke to Todd, that I called Brittany Taylor's obnoxious kid brother--who knows a lot about computers--and have him check the state's vital statistics database, and he came up with these printouts?"

Sandi handed Quinn two pieces of paper. They were copies of her and Daria's birth certificates, both clearly indicating that their parents were Jake and Helen Morgendorffer.

"Well, er, um," Quinn said.

"Quinn Morgendorffer, you committed two very unpardonable offenses against the Fashion Club," Sandi said. "First, you lied as to the exact relationship with Daria Morgendorffer, then you betrayed us to her! I hereby move, as President of the Fashion Club, that you be stripped of your title as Vice-President and kicked out of the club!"

"I second it!," Tiffany said.

"All those in favor, say 'Aye!'," Sandi said. She, Tiffany and Stacy shouted "Aye!"

"All opposed, say 'No!'"

"NO!," shouted Quinn.

"You have no right to vote on this matter," Sandi said, "so your vote doesn't count. There are three votes in favor and none opposed. The motion is carried. Quinn Morgendorffer, you are hereby stripped of your position as Vice-President of the Fashion Club and are hereby also expelled from this club. Give me your membership card."

Quinn didn't want to; "Never!," she shouted.

"Tiffany," Sandi shouted, "grab Quinn's wallet and get her membership card."

Tiffany got up to Quinn, who decided to bolt for the door. However, Tiffany got to her first, shoved her down to the floor, held her down and grabbed her wallet. She took out her Fashion Club card and gave it to Sandi. She then ripped the card to pieces. Quinn saw it and cried.

Sandi then went up to Quinn and ripped her smiley face T-shirt in half, then slapped her across the face.

"GET OUT, AND DON'T YOU DARE EVER COME BACK HERE AGAIN!," Sandi said. Quinn ran out of the room, crying.

"I hereby nominate Stacy to be the new Vice-President of the Fashion Club," Sandi said. There were no objections.

"Since there are no objections and no other candidates," Sandi said, "I hereby declare Stacy elected to the post. Congratulations, Stacy!"

"Thanks, Sandi," Stacy said.

"Good-bye and good riddance to Quinn!," Sandi then said. "I hated her for being cuter than me and getting all the boys' attention, anyway."

Quinn was running down the street, crying. She couldn't bring herself to go home, since she would have to face Daria. She couldn't go to Jane's place either; that would be totally humiliating. She felt she had no place to go. She collapsed into a nearby phone booth and cried.

Suddenly, there was a rap on the door of the phone booth. Quinn looked up. To her surprise, it was David.

"NO! KEEP AWAY FROM ME!," Quinn shrieked.

"Quinn, please," David said. "Come with me. You can spend the night with my folks if you want."

"Why should I do that after my friends and I plotted against you?," Quinn sobbed.

"Daria told me about how you told Jane about the earlier meeting," David said. "Luckily, Daria and Trent were able to figure out that something was up and decided to pay a visit to me. I'm glad they did. Please, stay with us. We'll tell your parents where you are, and you and I can speak to Daria and Jane at school tomorrow. Please? Do it for me." He extended his hand out to Quinn. She was a bit hesitant at first, but then took it and got up. They went to his parents' car and drove off.

Chapter 6: Decision '98 in Lawndale High

Quinn got to David's place and spent the night there. His parents had one of those convertible sofas and had it set up in the living room. They lent her one of David's white collared dress shirts for a nightshirt.

"Wearing men's shirts as a lady's nightshirt is so unfashionable," Quinn said to David.

"Well," David said, "there's quite a few women out there who would disagree with you."

"Quinn," Warren said to her, "I know what you're going through, but let me tell you right now--you did the right thing in going to Jane Lane and telling her about what Sandi and the others were going to do. You may have prevented a tragedy from happening."

"I don't know how I'm going to face Daria and the others when I get to school," Quinn whined. "I don't even have my books!"

"Daria will have them for you," Deanna said.

"Right now, you get some sleep," David said. He then went up to her and kissed her on the cheek. "Good night, Quinn."

Quinn was too frazzled right now to complain. She turned off the light and went to bed.

The next morning, Warren gave David and Quinn a ride to school. Meanwhile, Daria and Jane were heading there on foot.

"So, how will you deal with your little Mata Hari," Jane said to Daria.

"By all rights," Daria said, "I should strangle her until she turns fifty different shades of blue and purple, but I won't, since she went to you and confessed the Fashion Club's plot. But she will pay in some way for all this."

"I see," Jane said, "slow torture over a quick and painless death."

"More or less," Daria replied.

They got to school just as the MacAllisters' car arrived. David and Quinn stepped out. Unfortunately, Sandi and the Fashion Club also arrived.

"Ignore that has-been Quinn," Sandi said; "she's a traitor to the Fashion Club!"

They walked past her and held their noses up in derision. Quinn began to cry.

"Now you know what it feels like to be an outcast, Quinn," Daria told her. "Welcome to the club!"

"Oh, Daria," Quinn said, "you ruined everything!"

"No, I didn't," shot back Daria. "You ruined it yourself when you fell into this little plot." She then handed Quinn her books.

"You're just lucky that David was willing to take you in," Jane said. "And I'm pretty sure your Mom and Dad aren't going to be too happy with you when you come home, young lady!"

"What am I going to do?," Quinn said. "I've lost everything I have that gave meaning to my life!"

"You could join my campaign team," David said.

"UGH!," Quinn said, "I'd rather have slugs shoved down my throat!"

"Jane, go find some slugs beneath some rocks," Daria said. "We're going to fulfill Quinn's request!"

"NO, I DIDN'T MEAN THAT!," Quinn shrieked.

"Then join my team," David said.

"OK, OK," Quinn said. "Boy, I'm going to regret this!"

They now entered the school.

Since it was Friday, and the special election was going to be on Monday, today was going to be the big debate for the candidates. The debate was going to be held at fifth period. Ms. Li, in her usual manner, said that attendance to the debate was optional, but students who didn't go to it during their free period if they had it were going to have ten points deducted from their grade average for the quarter and teachers who didn't send their students to the election would have part of their pay for the day docked. Thus, it was going to be a crowded house at the auditorium. In fact, in between periods, it was already beginning to fill up. The candidates and their respective campaign staffs were prepping for the debate backstage.

"Now, David," Daria said, "I've prepared your opening and closing speeches as well as answers to any questions you may face. Stick to what I've written and you can't go wrong."

"What if Sandi tries to smear me?," David asked.

"If she does, she's going to have a black eye for her trouble," Daria assured him.

At the other end of the backstage area, Sandi and the other members of the Fashion Club were making their own preparations.

"The object of this debate will be to totally destroy David MacAllister," Sandi said, "to cast doubts on the public about his fitness to be Student Government President. Is that clear?"

Stacy and Tiffany nodded in agreement.

"Good," Sandi said.

Ms. Li arrived.

"Will the candidates for the election please step forward," she said.

"Good luck, David," Daria said.

"I guess I'll need it," David told her.

David and Sandi now stepped out to the front. There were three podiums. Ms. Li, as moderator, would take the middle podium; David was to take the one that was to the left of her while Sandi would take the one to the right. As soon as they took their positions, Ms. Li started the proceedings:

"Good afternoon, everyone. As you know, Monday will be the special election to fill the vacant position of Student Government President. Today we have arranged time to have the two candidates for the position debate each other. To my left is one of those candidates, David MacAllister, a sophomore whose homeroom is listed as Miss Armistead's Special Education Resource Class. The other candidate is Sandi Griffin, whose homeroom is with Mr. DeMartino and is also President of the Fashion Club.

"Here are the rules for the debate. Each candidate will have five minutes to deliver an opening speech. Afterwards, a panel of teachers will ask students questions, after which students can ask questions. Questions can be asked of one or the other of the candidates, or to both. The candidate that the question is addressed to will have five minutes to answer, while his or her opponent will have three minutes for a rebuttal, after which the other candidate will have another three minutes to reply to that rebuttal. If a question is asked of both candidates, then I shall decide which candidate will answer it first. After all have had a reasonable time to ask questions, each candidate will have five minutes to deliver a closing speech. Right now, some of the teachers are passing out pencils and paper for interested students to write their questions. When you have a question written down, signal one of the teachers, and he or she will pass the question up to me."

"And now, let me introduce you to the panel of teachers who will ask the first round of questions. They are: English teacher Mr. O'Neill; social studies teacher Mr. DeMartino; art teacher Ms. DaFoe; economics teacher Ms. Bennett; and school psychologist Dr. Manson."

"And now, we will have the opening speeches. We had a coin toss before this debate, and David won it. Therefore, he will start first."

David cleared his throat and began:

"Thank you, Ms. Li."

"Ms. Li, panelists, ladies and gentlemen:"

"As you know, I am David MacAllister. I am proud to say that I am in Miss Armistead's Special Education Resource Room. I spend about three of my eight periods at that room. Prior to that, when I was still in Sayville High School, I spent my entire day in one room. I've been in a few towns in my life, and I do notice the same thing: people like me are treated like dirt."

There was a gasp in the crowd. David, undeterred, continued:

"Yes, it's true. Special Education students are treated like dirt. You don't know that because most of us are in one room all day, in the area you call the 'Ghetto'. No one even dares leave that wing for lunch because the other students will find them and beat them up. My friends, this is called segregation, and it's illegal under Federal law. Are we some hideous monsters that need to be caged, to be whipped like horses, beaten up like dogs, threatened with our own lives? Do we breathe fire, have claws, have sharp teeth? Do we molest girls and kidnap babies? Are we supposed to be locked up like we were common criminals? What crime have we committed other than being born with a medical condition that makes life more difficult than for others? Do we have the plague or leprosy? Why do people fear us?"

"It is often said that people fear what they do not understand. If everyone out there just spent some time with us, you'd see that we're no different from anyone else. I dare anyone of you to go to the 'Ghetto' during your next free period and spend some time in one of our classes. I dare my opponent to spend some time there herself."

Sandi cringed at the thought.

David continued:

"In fact, if I dare be so bold, I want Ms. Li to spend some time down there. Let her see what we have to put up with over there, and then, Ms. Li, I want you to tear down the 'Ghetto' and give us our freedom!"

Virtually all the Special Education students were here for the debate; Mr. Steel and Mr. Smitts had so ordered to Ms. Li, lest the school district faced legal action from the Department of Education. They stood up and cheered.

Ms. Li stood there in shock. She then regained her composure and said, "Will everyone settle down now!"

The cheering stopped. David continued:

"Now I will get to my promises. If elected, I promise that I will see to it that the Student Government Constitution is amended so it's in line with the recommendations the Federal Department of Education made. They will include:

1) The enfranchisement of self-contained Special Education students by allowing them to vote at a fixed period, since they do not go to Social Studies class like the regular students do;

2) The representation of self-contained and resource Special Education homerooms in the House or Homeroom Representatives;

3) That one of each group of class senators in the Student Senate will be reserved for Special Education students, for a total of three;

4) That a Special Education Liaison be added to the Cabinet;

5) That a Special Education Advocate be added to the Student Court; and

6) That an anti-discrimination clause be added preventing clubs from barring Special Education students from their membership at the risk of losing Student Government funding."

Sandi cringed at that. David continued:

"I also further promise that I will regularly visit the 'Ghetto' and speak to my constituents there; that I will push for improvements to that area, and the eventual relocation of Special Education classes so that they're more equitable spread out among the building. And I also promise that I will not raise student activity fees to meet these changes."

"Students of Lawndale High, the choice is yours. Keep things the way they are, and watch people like me continue to suffer, or change things and help improve our lot in life. Vote for me, and I will help make these changes."

"Thank you for your attention."

The Special Education students stood up and cheered.

"Well, thank you, David," Ms. Li said rather nervously. "And now, Sandi will deliver her opening speech."

Sandi was trembling a bit now from hearing David's speech. However, she regained her composure and went up to the microphone. She began:

"Thank you, Ms. Li."

"Ladies and gentlemen, you already know me. I'm Sandi Griffin, and I'm running for Student Government President. I have the credentials to do this job. I've been President of the Fashion Club since it was first organized. I'm also the most popular girl in school"

"My opponent here talks about equality and rights for his kind of people. And, like, what does he mean by that? I will tell you the plain, honest, brutal truth. He wants to water down this school to the status of being a funny farm, that's what!"

There was a loud gasp from the crowd.

David gritted his teeth and clenched his fists.

"Calm down, David!," whispered Daria offstage; "people can see you do that!"

David did calm down. Sandi continued:

"My opponent wants to water down our clubs like Honor Society and the Fashion Club as well as weaken our sports teams by insisting on affirmative action for Special Education students. He wants to spread out the Special Education classes so that we have to see his and all the other dumb retarts' ugly faces everywhere we go. If my opponent has it his way, people like him would have free license to go chasing after girls like us and molest us. What next? Will we have to admit geeks like Daria Morgendorffer into the Fashion Club and allow Upchuck to play on the football team and date any girl he wants?"

Upchuck, who was in the back row, stood up and said, "I wouldn't mind going out with you, Sandi! ROWR!"

There was another gasp from the crowd.

"Shut up, Upchuck!," Sandi shot back. She continued:

"There is a reason why the 'Ghetto' exists. Special Education students cannot function in a normal school environment. It's for their own good."

"Like segregation was for the African-Americans' own good and the Holocaust was for the Jew's own good, I guess," Jane said to Daria in a snide side remark.

"Who wrote her speech for her, the Grand Dragon of the KKK?," Daria replied to Jane.

"If you vote for me," Sandi continued, "I promise you that I too will keep the student activity fee at its present level. I also promise you that our Student Government will concentrate on matters that count to our students: more extracurricular activities, more weekend activities, a new scoreboard for the gym and the athletic field, and a chicken sandwich on every lunch tray."

"Kind of like a chick in every pot, huh, Daria?," Jane asked.

"More like rubber chicken stew," Daria shot back.

"So, on Monday, like, do the right thing, and, like, vote for me and not that dumb retart opponent of mine. Thank you."

The crowd stood up and cheered.

"Well, thank you, Sandi," Ms. Li said. "And now, our panelists will ask questions of the candidates. Remember, if anyone in the audience has questions, please write them down on the papers and pencils we passed out earlier and give them to the teachers at either end of the auditorium. We'll start with Mr. O'Neill."

"David," Mr. O'Neill said, "I admire you for the brave stand you're taking by running for office. However, are the proposals you're making a bit extreme?"

"Not at all," David said. "These were the proposals made by the local office of the Federal Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. If we don't enact them on our own, they will sue the district and make them comply. It is better this way."

"Well," Sandi replied, "I think it amounts to establishing a carpetbagger government run by retarts and dummies. You don't let the lunatics run the asylum."

David was getting mad again.

"And what would you do if you're elected," David answered, "add 'grandfather clauses' to prevent people like me from voting and holding office?"

Ms. Li interrupted by saying, "Now, now, let's keep this civilized."

Things began to calm down.

"Mr. DeMartino," Ms. Li said, "I believe you have the next question."

Mr. DeMartino stood up, with his right eye bulging out, and began to speak in his usual neurotic tone, stressing some words over others:

"This QUESTION is going to be ADDRESSED to SANDI! I want to ask HER if SHE is either a rednecked BIGOT or a complete IDIOT for having such a NEGATIVE view of Special Education STUDENTS!"

Sandi was shocked at that.

"How dare you imply that I'm a bigot!," Sandi shot back.

"If the shoe FITS, wear IT!," said Mr. DeMartino.

"I have to agree with him," David said. "You want to keep us held down to our low status. If that isn't bigotry, then I'll be hanged for a horse thief!"

"Do you want a fat lip?," Sandi shouted.

"Please, please, everyone!," Ms. Li said, "Don't let this debate degenerate into being 'The Jerry Springer Show!'"

"C'mon, Sandi," Mr. DeMartino said to her, "you want to fight ME? WELL, DO YOU!"

"C'mon, you George Wallace wanna-be!," David now said, "put up your dukes and fight like a man, and not the stuck-up sissy you are!"

"David, don't provoke her!," Daria said.

Sandi lost it and lunged for Mr. DeMartino. David got on top of her. Daria and Jane raced in to break up the fight and were soon dragged into it as well. Sandi's campaign team then joined in. The crowd was going bonkers. Mr. DeMartino took a chair and flung it at Ms. Li, breaking her nose.

"Geraldo Rivera, eat your heart out! ROWR!," Upchuck said.

All Hell had broken loose in the auditorium. Only after a few minutes that someone had the sense to call in the police. A few minutes after that, they muscled their way through the crowd and broke up the fight. It was clear that there were going to be arrests made. In fact, everyone who was on stage was taken away. What was going to be a civilized debate had become a three-ring media circus, and no one it seemed was going to assay the role of being the ringmaster.

At the police station, Jake, Helen, Warren, Deanna, Trent, Amanda, Darren, Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers had all raced down as soon as they heard what happened. Helen was having some choice words with the desk sergeant:

"Mind you, officer, I'm one of the most respected lawyers in this town! I could sue your department for false arrest and violating all these people's civil rights."

"Look, lady," the desk sergeant said, "right now, these people are facing at least charges for disturbing the peace. And God only know if any of the individuals involved are going to press charges against the others for assault and battery. I just can't release them unless everyone agrees to just put this nonsense behind them. After all, it's just a Student Government election!"

"'Just a Student Government election!,'" Helen said in an indignant tone. "This is more than just that, officer! We're talking about empowering Special Education students who have been oppressed for many, many years here!"

"The ghost of Tom Joad will haunt you, pig, if you don't let them go!," Zack said in a threatening tone.

"Are you threatening me, Mr. de la Rocha?," the desk sergeant said.

"Well, I guess I'll see you in court then, officer," Helen said. "It won't help the police very much if they were seen as having falsely arrested innocent persons and had to pay millions in damages!"

The desk sergeant gulped hard, then got on the intercom and said, "Bring those people we arrested at the high school riot over here now!"

In short order, Daria, Jane, David, Sandi, Ms. Li, Mr. DeMartino and all the others who were on stage at the time of arrest were dragged out.

"Look, I'm going to say this just once!," the desk sergeant said. "We're willing to drop the disturbing the peace charges if all of you agree to drop any assault and battery charges against everyone else. You have ten seconds to make up your minds!"

Everyone grumbled their consent.

"OK, ladies and gentlemen," the desk sergeant said, "you're free to go. And I don't want to see your ugly mugs in here again!"

Everyone flashed hostile glances at each other without saying a word. It was going to be a tense weekend, that was for certain.

Daria, Jake and Helen got to their car, then drove off.

"Daria," Helen said, "just to let you know, we're not mad or anything, since it seems that Mr. DeMartino started all this. But don't you think this whole campaign is extracting a rather high price for a worthy goal?"

"Mom," Daria, "you put it best yourself: 'In for a nickel, in for a dollar.'"

"For God's sake, Daria," Jake interjected, "we're just lucky that there won't be any legal action in all this. Whatever disciplinary action you might face in school, of course, is another matter. I just hope that nothing else is going to happen."

When they pulled up to their house, Mr. Steele and Mr. Smitts from the Department of Education were waiting for them.

"Aw, Hell," Jake said, "what do they want now?"

When they stepped out, Mr. Steele spoke first:

"You should be more careful about leaving your youngest daughter alone in the house," Mr. Steele said; "she almost polished off this bottle of whiskey when we stopped by to see you."

"WHAT!," Helen shrieked; she ran in, and sure enough, Quinn was lying on the couch, crocked but good.


"I'm-HIC!-all washed-HIC!--up!," Quinn said; "I've been--HIC!--kicked out of the Fashion--HIC!--Club; I've lost all my--HIC!--best friends; I've been reduced to--HIC!--working for David MacAllister's campaign team! Who wouldn't get--HIC!--drunk over that? HIC! HIC! HIC! HIC!"

"You march right up to your room, young lady, this instant!," Helen snapped; "I'll deal with you later!"

"Anyway, Mrs. Morgendorffer," Mr. Smitts said, "we just spoke with the MacAllisters, and now we're speaking to you about this. Since we fear that there's going to be violence at the election, we're going to have FBI agents surrounding Mr. MacAllister and your daughters from now until the election results have been announced. Further, we're going to have the National Guard present at the school; the President has already Federalized them in case the governor has any objections."

"Well, if this isn't Little Rock all over again," Daria said sarcastically.

"It's for your protection, Ms. Morgendorffer," Mr. Steele said.

"Anyway, we've got to go home now," Mr. Smitts said. "It's getting late. Try not to kill each other or anyone else until the election is over, OK?"

With that, Mr. Steele and Mr. Smitts left.

"OOOOOO, I'm real mad at Quinn getting drunk!," Helen said. "I'm going to talk to her right now."

"Daria," Jake said, "I hope you haven't done anything like getting drunk!"

"Dad," Daria said, "you know the strongest thing I ever drink is soda."

"Good for you, Daria!," Jake said. "See, I can be a good parent! Now if only my father was as understanding!"

"But he wasn't and he sent you to military school," Daria said, as if she knew what Jake was going to say next.

"Gee, how did you know that I was going to say that next?," Jake said.

"Let's just call it a woman's intuition," Daria replied.

Helen gave Quinn a good chewing out and grounded her for the weekend. Daria, however, since she was only trying to protect David, was not punished. The next morning, Daria decided to sleep in a bit late. It was about 8:30 AM when the phone in her room rang. She got up and answered it.

"Uh--YAWN!--hello?," Daria spoke into the phone.

"I'm sorry, Daria," David said on the other end, "did I wake you?"

"Oh, no!," Daria said in surprise; "I was just getting up."

"Listen," David said, "I was wondering if you could go with me to see my Special Education teacher?"

"You want me to meet your teacher?," Daria said.

"OK, so it isn't exactly anyone's idea of a fun time," David said, "but she's real nice, as well as her husband."

"OK, OK," Daria said, "let me get dressed and I'll meet you over at your place."

"Good," David said. "I'll see you in a little while then."

"Sure," Daria replied; "Bye."

She hung up the phone and proceeded to get dressed.

After getting dressed and meeting David at his place, he and Daria got Jane (Daria had called her and invited her; "What the Hell," Jane had said, "I can't think of a better way to waste my Saturday") and went to the W. E. B. DuBois Apartment Complex. For a housing development, it looked fairly decent. They went to Apartment 3-7D, in Building 3, which was the residence of Nathan and Alicia Armistead. David rang the doorbell, which was answered by Nathan.

"Why, hello, David," Nathan said. "Come in. Who are your friends?"

"Pastor Armistead," David said, "these are my friends Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane. They're classmates of mine at Lawndale High."

"You're an ordained minister?," Daria said.

"Yes I am, Daria," Nathan said. "I'm a Baptist minister. I also belong to the Lawndale Community Theater."

"Now I know you," Daria said. "Mom and Dad saw you perform in their recent production of 'The Man of La Mancha.'"

"Yes, I did," Nathan said. "I played Don Quixote."

"Wow, an African-American Don Quixote," Jane said; "what a concept!"

"And I got good praise for it, too," Nathan said in his baritone voice. "I was inspired to take up acting when I was young by watching Paul Roebson films. Perhaps you would like me to sing a bit for you?"

"Sure," Jane said, "anything can beat having to hear my brother Trent and his friend Jesse Moreno mangle every chord known to man on their guitars."

"Anyway," Nathan said to David, "Alicia has been keeping me informed of your campaign. I know that sometimes the goal looks far away, and that you're fighting impossible odds, so I wanted to sing this for you. It's from 'The Man of La Mancha'. It's called 'The Impossible Dream.'"

Nathan cleared his throat and began to sing in his rich, deep baritone voice:

"To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe,/To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go."

"To right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chaste from afar,/To try when your arms are too weary,/To reach the unreachable star!"

"This is my quest, to follow that star,/No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,/To fight for the right without question or pause,/To be willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause!/And I know, if I'll only be true,/To this glorious quest that my heart will lie peaceful and calm/When I'm laid to my rest."

"And the world will be better for this;/That one man, scorned and covered with scars,/Still strove with his last ounce of courage,/To reach the unreachable stars!"

When he was done singing, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Even the normally impassionate Jane was crying a bit. The silence was broken when Alicia came in, clapping.

"Now you know why my husband got such good reviews," she said. "Hello, David. Are these two ladies friends of yours?"

"The lady with brown hair is Daria Morgendorffer," David said, "while the one with black hair is Jane Lane."

Daria and Jane both said, "Hi!"

"Nice to meet you, ladies. I'm Alicia Armistead, David's Special Education resource teacher."

"As you can see," Nathan said, "we don't exactly live in the lap of luxury here in the DuBois Complex. Between our salaries, this is the best we can afford. But we live pretty comfortably for what we make. Besides, the good Lord looks after all his children, even us."

"What I don't understand," Alicia said, "is that Special Education teachers like me have much more difficult jobs than the regular teachers, but we don't get any more money for our efforts. Of course, now with everyone cutting back on social services, our jobs are being made more difficult. David is one of the lucky ones. There are quite a few more like him who unfortunately fall through the cracks. And I don't even have to tell you the horror stories of abuse and neglect that goes on in some other districts around the country."

"Now you know why I must run for Student Government President," David said. "Maybe I won't win this election, but if I can only open the door a crack, others who will follow me will kick that door down, and others will follow them. Maybe I won't see any results in my lifetime, but if the next generation reaps the fruits of my labors, then it will have been worth it."

"Would all of you like some tea?," Alicia said.

"David and I will have our usual Earl Grey, light on the cream, light on the sugar," Nathan said.

Daria and Jane gave each other puzzled looks.

"I don't even have tea for breakfast!," Jane whispered to Daria.

"Just play along with the game," Daria said; "at least we didn't have to wear formal wear to this place."

After having their tea, everyone was having a good conversation. Daria then asked Alicia about how David was doing.

"He's making a lot of progress," Alicia said. "If you look at his overall academic record, he's made some astonishing achievements. I do know some of his past history. When he was first enrolled in kindergarten, the school psychiatrist thought that he was either autistic or retarded. In fact, he did spend some time in a special school for retarded children for most of his elementary school years, until they made the right diagnosis. Did you know that ADD is one of the most difficult behavioral disorders to properly diagnose?"

"I didn't know that," Daria said.

"Of course, it didn't help matters when he was transferred to Sayville School District," Alicia said. "They grossly underfund their Special Education program there, and the system is rife with abuse and neglect. David was unfortunate in that he didn't get the type of teachers that would be sympathetic to him. Only when he arrived here did he get a chance to get the help that he really deserves."

"Why do some districts do things like that and get away with it?," Jane said.

"It's because they don't understand people like David," Nathan said. "As a minister, I preach that God loves all of us, no matter what we are. As the old hymn goes, Jesus takes us just as we are. But it is humans who make all the suffering. When trouble breaks out in school, and a Special Education student is involved, their punishment is usually more severe than if it was done by a so-called 'normal' student. Are people so afraid of others who act differently, who have problems adjusting to everyday situations that most of us can cope with?"

"Someday," Daria said, "maybe we will have a society that won't judge David and others like him as harshly as they do now. But, then again, the cynic in me doubts that."

"If everyone who participated at the march in Selma, Alabama had that attitude," Nathan said, "people like me would still have to sit in the back of the bus and be denied the right to vote."

"Touché!," Jane said to Daria.

"OK, I'll concede that," Daria said.

"The fight for rights by Special Education students is no different than the fight African-Americans had to wage for their rights in the 1960's," Nathan said. "The only thing is, we're still fighting misconceptions that go back to the Middle Ages about the mentally, emotionally and behaviorally challenged. It's not going to be easy debunking those misconceptions. You saw that firsthand yesterday, Daria."

"Yes, and I still have the bruises for my troubles," Daria said.

"If we can bring some fundamental changes in the system," Alicia said, "future generations who have David's problems won't have to put up with the type of abuse he's been going through."

"And the first step will be to win the election on Monday," David said.

Jane looked at her watch.

"OOPS!," she said, "I'd better be on the run! My mother was going to need my assistance in tracing some stray hot spots in her kiln!"

"I thought she got rid of all of them," Daria said.

"I thought she did myself," Jane said. She got up and left.

"We'd better be going ourselves," David said. "I was going to go to my place. Want to go with me?"

"Sure," Daria said. She turned to the Armisteads and said, "It was nice meeting the both of you."

"Same here," said Nathan.

They all shook hands, then Daria and David left.

"Daria and Jane are pretty nice people," Nathan said; "I wish they weren't so negative about matters."

"Give them time," Alicia said. "Time has a way of softening all opinions."

Daria and David went inside David's house. His parents weren't home. David grabbed some soda to drink and gave one can to Daria. They drank it and then went to David's room. They were going to discuss some last-minute strategy but Daria had something else on her mind as well.

"Where are your parents, anyway?," Daria asked him.

"They usually go out for a drive on Saturdays," David said; "they'll be gone most of the day."

Daria figured that this would be the best time to get this off her chest.

"David," she began, "I guess you realize now that I love you. I admit that I have feelings for Trent, but so far he hasn't reciprocated my feelings for him. I know you haven't had any luck with women, so I wanted to give you a chance at something every teenage guy like you wants."

"What do you mean by that?," David asked.

"David," Daria continued, "I'm saying that we should move our relationship to the next level and . . ."

"And what?," David inquired.

"And. . .and. . ." Daria was a bit nervous; she was the type who usually didn't throw herself at the feet of a guy, but David was an exception; despite his problems, he was really a sweet guy.

Finally, she found the courage to say, "and have sex."

"Are you serious?," David said. "You don't look like the type who would throw herself at a guy like that. This isn't some peer pressure thing, is it?"

"David," Daria said, "I do not succumb to peer pressure. Besides, I'm old enough to know what I'm getting into. David, I love you, and you love me. If we care for each other, and if you're ready for this, then let's go for it."

"Thank goodness they handed out these condoms at school then," David said.

"Enough talk, David," Daria said. She took off her glasses and then removed David's and began to French kiss for a few minutes.

Daria and David had slept for an hour after their lovemaking. Daria's head was resting against David's chest., while his arms were wrapped around her breasts. When they awoke they showered and got dressed.

"David, you were wonderful," Daria said.

"Let's keep this between us," David said. "No one has to know."

"Good idea," Daria said. "We don't need the rumor mill going on this."

They then discussed last-minute campaign strategy for a while before Daria left for her house. Neither of them was going to forget this for some time.

While all that was going on, at the Taylor residence, Brittany's obnoxious kid brother, Brian, who was also an Internet surfer, was scoping the Fashion Club's chat room for some dirt. Brittany came in. Despite his obnoxiousness, Brittany liked Brian; after all, he had his uses, like when he terrorized the lab mouse Kevin and Daria were using as part of a science class project when Brittany thought Daria and Quinn were trying to steal Kevin away from her.

"Brian, what's up?," Brittany asked Brian.

"Man, you should check out the Fashion Club chat room," Brian said. "They're all bickering about kicking out Quinn Morgendorffer and Sandi Griffin's campaign for Student Government President."

"Oh, my!," Brittany gushed; "Next thing you'd know, they'd be accusing Sandi's opponent, David MacAllister, of sleeping with his campaign manager, Daria Morgendorffer!"

"Guess what?," Brian said, "they have. Of course, that doesn't mean that the allegations are true."

"Well, Brian, you should never believe anything they say on the Internet," Brittany said; "most of it isn't true!"

"By the way," Brian said, "I think Upchuck put some secret cameras in the girls' locker room."

"What do you mean?," Brittany said.

"He's got a Web site up called 'Lawndale High Cheerleaders Nude.' And apparently he's got some choice photos of you in the altogether!"

"WHAT!," Brittany shrieked. "Did you get printouts of this?"

"Yes, I did!," Brian said, handing them to her.

"OOOOOOOOOO!," Brittany said, "Upchuck is going to be dead meat on Monday! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Brian."

"Sure," Brian said. "So, what do you think the election will turn out?"

"Who knows?," replied Brittany. "I've got to go now." She left. Brian continued to monitor the Fashion Club chat room when a hacker calling himself CR3 entered. This is what was on the screen:

CR3: Ladies, I can be of some service to you in defaming David MacAllister.

SandiNo1: What do you mean by that?

CR3: I have in my possession photos I took with a secret camera I put in his room when I paid a visit to him one day. It has him and Daria Morgendorffer making love, love, love! ;-)

SandiNo1: Upchuck, is that you?

CR3: Guilty as charged! ROWR! ;-)

SandiNo1: If you're being on the level, come to my place right now and give them to me! This is the chance I've been waiting for to ruin him!

CR3: Of course, there will be a small fee, let's say $20?

SandiNo1: Make it $10.

CR3: $15, and that's my final offer! ;-)

SandiNo1: Deal!

Brian was aghast from what he just read. He decided that only one person could stop them. One person who was now an ex-member of the Fashion Club and related to Daria. That was Quinn. Brian got off line, then dashed for the Morgendorffer house.

Brian ran as fast as he could to the Morgendorffer house. He rang the doorbell. Daria answered it.

"Is Quinn here?," Brian asked.

"Yes, she is," Daria replied. "Can I ask who it is?"

"I'm Brian Taylor," he answered. "I'm Brittany Taylor's kid brother."

"So, you're the one who terrorized that white lab mouse that Kevin Thompson and I were using for a science project for Ms. Barch's class, aren't you?," Daria asked.

"Well, er, um," Brian hesitated.

"Let me just say that anything that you saw can and will be used against you," Daria replied.

"Who are you, anyway?," Brian asked.

"I'm Daria, Quinn's sister," she answered; "though she tells everyone at school that I'm her cousin."

"Then I've got to speak to you and David MacAllister as well," Brian said.

"Gee, this is going to be very interesting," Daria said as she let Brian in.

After Daria got Quinn downstairs and called David over, Brian told them about how Upchuck planted a camera in David's room and taped their lovemaking. David was furious.

"How could he?," David yelled. "With that, Sandi can ruin me!"

"There's only one solution to this," Brian said.

"And that's what?," Daria asked.

"We've got to infect Upchuck's Web site with a virus!," Brian said.

"Brian," Daria said, "didn't they tell you that two wrongs don't make a right."

"It's either that or David gets buried at the election!," Brian said.

"OK, OK, go up to my room, and there's a computer there you can use," Daria replied.

They went up to her room and got on-line. Brian took out his virus disk and e-mailed the virus to Upchuck's Web site.

"Now, we'll just sit back and watch the fireworks," Brian said.

"Daria," Quinn said, "if they find out about this, we're all going to be in hot water!"

"Not as much as Upchuck will be for posting nude pictures of Brittany on his site!," Brian shot back.

"The old Phyrric victory scheme! I should have guessed!," Daria muttered to herself.

Upchuck was at Sandi's place. She had turned on her computer and gotten on-line.

"For obvious reasons," Upchuck said, "I won't hand over this floppy disk with the original pictures until I see the money."

Sandi gave the money over to him.

"Now, let me see the pictures," Sandi said.

Upchuck loaded the disk and then called up his Web site.

"I just want to see if the old Web site is doing OK," Upchuck said. He saw the site load up. But then, it began to break up and distort.

"What the. . ." Upchuck said to himself.

"Upchuck, what's going on?," Sandi said.

The virus that Brian sent was doing its work. The Web site was eradicated. An error message appeared on the screen. Upchuck then tried to call the pictures up from the screen, but then the virus executed a deletion program on the entire disk, erasing everything.

"It's gone! It's all gone!," Upchuck said.

Suddenly, the computer hard drive crashed, and sparks shot out of the back along with smoke. The computer was in ruins.

Sandi got furious and said, "Upchuck, if this is your idea of a practical joke, I'm not amused." She took her money back and beat the tar out of him, then kicked him out of the house.

"You'd better not come back here ever again!," warned Sandi. "If I see you here ever again, you're history!"

Upchuck ran for his life down the street.

News of the pictures and the subsequent virus infection spread throughout Lawndale High School on Monday like wildfire. Everyone tried to see the site but then their computers were infected. Every computer store in town was going to make a killing fixing up the mess.

Daria, Jane and Trent were not walking down the street as usual. An FBI vehicle with armored walls and bulletproof glass was taking them to school. When they got there, they saw the National Guard deployed. The FBI had also set up metal detectors as well. Today was going to be the election, and the Federal Department of Education had ordered that all Special Education students were going to be allowed to vote. Those who were being mainstreamed were to vote in their social studies classes if they took one; those who didn't and the self-contained Special Education students were going to vote at fifth period. The FBI vehicle pulled up to the front entrance, and let out Daria, Jane and David. They entered the school with National Guard soldiers and FBI agents following them. Sandi was giving a last minute rally.

"Is this going to be the future of our school?," Sandi said. "Retarts running our Student Government by bayonet rule? Vote for me and keep the retarts out!"

"I can tell that this is going to be nasty to the bitter end," Daria said.

"When will we know the results?," David said.

"They'll probably count the votes up tonight, then announce the winner at homeroom tomorrow," Daria said.

Jodie and Mack approached them.

"I just want to wish you luck," Jodie said. "Mack and I are rooting for you."

"Good luck, man," Mack said to David.

Suddenly, there was a commotion. Brittany and Sandi had found Upchuck at the same time.

"Upchuck! How dare you post nude pictures of me on the Internet!," Brittany shrieked.

"You're dead meat for ruining my computer, Upchuck!," Sandi added. They both chased him, hitting him over the head with their purses. Upchuck was going "OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!"

"Well, Upchuck's chickens have come home to roost," Daria said.

"We'd better make it to homeroom," Jane pointed out.

Daria and Jane parted company with David and went to their homerooms.

The election was carried out with little problem. There were some reports of attempts at intimidating Special Education students from voting, but the National Guard prevented it. Mr. Steele and Mr. Smitts were going to supervise the counting of the ballots. When school was over, Daria invited Jane and David over to her place for dinner. They were having porterhouse steaks.

"Man, these steaks are delicious," Jane said.

"Jane, I thought you were a vegetarian," Helen said.

"No, Mrs. Morgendorffer, but my mother is. However, she doesn't mind cooking it for us at times. She's just a vegetarian because she has a rare disorder in which she can't digest meat. She lacks the proper enzyme of something like that."

"Oh, how sad," Helen said.

"Well, David, did some last minute campaigning?," Jake said.

"Yes, I did," David said.

"I hope you win the election," Jake continued.

"Thanks," David said.

"David," Daria said, "if you win, how soon will you push for your proposed changes for the Student Government constitution?"

"As soon as I can," David said.

"Of course," Daria continued, "you know about the process of amending the constitution. The amendment must be passed by two-thirds majorities of the House of Homeroom Representatives and the Student Senate, then it has to be approved by the students themselves in a referendum. You've got your work cut out for you, David."

"But it will be worth it when those amendments are added," David said.

"We'll wait and see," Daria said.

"Dinner was great, Helen," Jake said.

"If course it was great," Helen said; "I'm a great cook."

"Well, I'd better be going," Jane said.

"Same here," David said. "But I'll catch up with you at study hall with Jane and Quinn and either celebrate my victory or commiserate in my loss."

"You know, David," Daria said, "why do I feel that you're the type of person who likes the part of the opening sequence of 'ABC's Wide World of Sports' where the guy falls off the ski jump?"

"How'd you guess?," he said.

"Let's just call it a fellow misery chick's intuition," Daria said with a smile.

David and Jane left. Now it was just a long wait until the results were announced.

The next morning, things were more or less back to normal, but just in case, the police had taken over for the FBI and National Guard in case rioting occurred. Everyone was settled down in homeroom, waiting for the results of the election.

"So, who do you think won?," Daria asked Jane.

"I'm hoping for David," Jane said. "After all, he's one of us in a sense: an outcast."

The PA system crackled to life. It was Ms. Li:

"Attention, everyone! This is your principal, Ms. Li. I have the results of the special election for Student Government President here. But before I announce them, let me just take the time to thank the candidates for all their hard work and sacrifice they put into this campaign. Remember, it's not if you win or lose, it's learning how our democratic institutions work that's important!"

"Cut the crap and tell us who won, already!," Daria muttered to herself.

"And now," Ms. Li continued, "here are the results. It was a very close race; in fact, it was the closest in the history of Lawndale High. But I am pleased to tell you that by a vote of 1265 to 1235, your new Student Government President is. . ."

Suddenly, there was a buzzing sound that issued from the PA system, setting everyone on edge.

David was in his own homeroom, and he was very nervous.

"Well, Mrs. Armistead, are they going to tell us who won or not?," David asked.

"Have patience, David," Alicia said.

Ms. Li got back on the PA system:

"I'm sorry, but we have a few bugs in the PA system here. I'm going to have to raise some money to have it fixed. Anyway, as I was saying, by a vote of 1265 to 1235, your new Student Government President is. . .David MacAllister! Congratulations, David, from all of us at Lawndale High!"

Daria and Jane, in a rare outburst of enthusiasm, let out a big "WHOOP!" that stunned everyone.

At David's homeroom, David let out a big "WAHOO!" as his fellow Special Education Student mobbed up on him, got him up on their shoulders and paraded him around the room singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." The so-called "retart" had been triumphant, and the so-called "normal" students had lost.

When they met up at study hall later, Daria and Jane congratulated David.

"This just goes to prove that right will always win in the end," David said.

"Of course, the big battle for those amendments to the constitution is still ahead," Daria said.

"I know," David said, "but I will go forward with confidence. I will win this one as well."

"You know," Jane said, "your optimism is beginning to rub off on us."

"Yeah," said David, "it's pretty contagious!"

However, Sandi and the rest of the Fashion Club didn't share in David's enthusiasm. They were having an emergency meeting.

"This is unfair!," Sandi said. "By all rights I should have won! Now he's going to ram his changes down our throats, and the Fashion Club will lose all its privileges!"

"But what are we going to do about it?," Stacy said.

"It's time for drastic measures!," Sandi said. "I'm going to contact Todd again. This time, we're putting a contract on David MacAllister! That's the only way we can stop him now!"

"But, you're talking about murder, Sandi," Tiffany said.

"Do you want to be kicked out of the Fashion Club just like Quinn was?," Sandi said in an icy tone.

Tiffany was silenced. It seemed that David's days were going to be numbered.

Chapter 7: Sirhan Awaits in the Kitchen!

The next scheduled meeting for both the House of Homeroom Representatives and the Student Senate was going to be the following Monday. David was going to devote the interim to whipping up support for the proposed amendments to the constitution. It frankly wasn't going to be easy. The battle in the Student Senate was going to be the easier of the two; Jodie, as Vice-President, served as President of the Student Senate and could drum up some support. The House of Homeroom Representatives, however, was going to be more difficult. David had found out that in during the elections held for that body, Sandi had been elected and was engineering to have herself be chosen Speaker. The Speaker had broad powers to block resolutions in that body. Getting the two-thirds vote there was going to be extremely difficult if not impossible.

David, Daria and Jane were all over at David's house, calling all the members of both houses. There were fifteen members of the Student Senate and sixty-three members of the House of Homeroom Representatives. Thus they needed ten Student Senators and forty-two Homeroom Representatives to back their cause. If the amendments passed both houses, two weeks later, the referendum would be held, and a simple majority was all that was needed to ratify. By custom, the amendments would be first presented to the entire memberships of both houses, then referred to the Rules Committee of both houses, since they dealt with the rules of how Student Government operated. David, Daria and Jane had started by contacting the members of both committees: the Student Senate's committee had five members, while the House of Homeroom Representatives' committee had eleven. They just needed three of the former and six of the latter so that the amendments would clear the committees and go to the entire membership of both houses for consideration.

Daria had contacted the chairman of the House of Homeroom Representatives' Rules Committee, a guy named Brian Gorestein.

"Brian," Daria began, "this is Daria Morgendorffer. We're calling you in regard to the proposed amendments to the Student Government Constitution which will allow for representation for Special Education students. Can we have your backing on it when it comes to your committee for a vote?"

"Gee, Daria," Brian said, "Sandi had promised me that she'd appoint me to the more powerful Ways and Means Committee if I towed the line for her."

"Come on, Brian," Daria said, "if the Student Government doesn't do this on its own, the Federal Government will force it down their throats anyway."

"I'd have to think about it. . ." Brian said, then hung up.

"And good-bye to you, too!," Daria sneered as she hung up. Then she turned to Jane and said, "I'm getting nowhere at this."

"Ditto," mumbled Jane.

"We must not give up hope yet," David said. "You heard what Pastor Armistead said. The protesters at Selma didn't give up after they were beaten back in their first attempt. We must continue, or the struggle will be lost."

Warren stepped in and said, "Hey, everyone, did you want dinner? We brought in Kentucky Fried Chicken."

"You got Extra Tasty Crispy?," Daria said.

"Sure do," Warren replied.

"Count me in, then," Daria said. She, Jane and David headed into the dining room. Lobbying for votes was going to have to wait.

Brian was in his room, doing his usual surfing of the Net. He had stumbled onto the "Man of War Magazine Chat Room" when he came across a rather frightening conversation:

ToddMeister: So, you want me to bump off this David twerp, do you?

SandiNo1: Yes, I do.

ToddMeister: Well, young lady, it will cost you some money, you know.

SandiNo1: Don't worry; my parents are loaded.

ToddMeister: I don't expect them to just give you the money for this so easily.

SandiNo1: Don't worry, I usually use their charge card. Do you have any blank slips?

ToddMeister: In fact, I do have a supply of them I heisted from a department store. I use them when I rip off other people's credit card numbers and send them along with a rather convincing bill. They usually pay up. It's better the mugging.

SandiNo1: Good. At least my mother won't be that suspicious then.

ToddMeister: I'm setting a rate of $100 for this hit. Just tell me where and when.

SandiNo1: Next Monday at 2:00 PM, Lawndale High School Auditorium. Go to the projection room and stake out there. I'm expecting David to deliver a speech for his amendments then. Wait until I give you the high sign. I will pay you after the job is done, and not before. I want to make sure you get it right.

ToddMeister: Take it from me, you'll get your money's worth.

Brian knew he had no time to waste. He got a hard copy of the conversation and raced to Brittany's room.

"Open up, Sis!," Brian said.

Brittany opened the door. She was wearing a gray sweatsuit since she had just finished her exercises.

"Brian, what is it?," Brittany said.

"Take a look at this printout I just got from the 'Man of War Magazine Chat Room,'" Brian replied.

Brittany took a close look at it and her jaw dropped.

"I know that Quinn won for the race for representative in her homeroom," Brittany said. "We've got to tell her about this!"

"And I've got to tell Daria, Jane and David also," Brian said.

The two of them raced down the stairs. Their stepmother saw them.

"WHOA!," Ashley-Amber Taylor said; "What's your hurry?"

"We've got to go to the Morgendorffer house right away!," Brian said.

"OK, but I expect you two to be back by 9 o'clock," Ashley-Amber said.

Brittany and Brian got out of the house faster than greased lightning.

The doorbell rang at the Morgendorffer house. Jake was watching "The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw"; Brokaw was talking about the momentous changes that had been going on at Lawndale High. Jake got up and answered the door.

"Why, it's you, Brittany and Brian!," Jake greeted them. "What brings you here?"

"MMMMM, well," Brittany began to say, "Mr. Morgendorffer, we need to speak to both of your sisters." Since Brian told her that Quinn and Daria were both sisters, Brittany was at least sure of that.

"Gee, this is a surprise!," Jake said. "Well, you're in luck! Daria just got back from David's house and Quinn's free tonight! I'll get them!" Jake went to the foot of the stairs and shouted, "Daria! Quinn! Brittany and Brian want to see you!"

The two of them raced down the stairs. Daria and Quinn were surprised to see them.

"Brittany, Brian," Daria began, "what brings you here?"

"It's a matter of life and death!," Brian began.

"Could we go up to your room and talk about this in private, Daria?," Brittany said.

"OK, but you enter at your own risk," Daria warned.

When they got up into Daria's room, Brian showed Daria and Quinn the printout of Sandi and Todd's conversation.

"I never thought Sandi would stoop this low," Daria said. "Now you know what type of people the Fashion Club really attracts, Quinn."

"Oh, Daria," Quinn said, "what a fool I've been! Can you ever forgive me?"

"I will if you start identifying me as your sister instead of your cousin," Daria said.

"I'll think about it," Quinn said.

"I've got to call Jane and David about this," Daria said. "I've also got to call Trent, Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers as well."

"I just hope we can prevent this tragedy, Daria!," Brittany whined as she twirled her hair around her finger and stared into space.

"I just hope so, too," Daria said, grimly.

The day of the meeting of the House of Homeroom Representatives had arrived. The first meeting of the school year was always an organizational one. A new Speaker had to be chosen, and committees chosen as well. Those who were re-elected usually were renamed, while those who lost or graduated of course had to have their vacancies filled. By tradition, the Student Government President called the meeting to order and presided until the Speaker was chosen.

The time was approaching 2:00 PM. Most of the representatives were already gathered. There would be an opening ceremony where Ms. Li would give David the President's gavel. After presiding the election of the Speaker, David would preside with that gavel over the Student Government Cabinet's first meeting the next day. The Student Senate was meeting at the cafeteria. David, Daria and Jane had spent all of the past week trying to whip up support for their amendments. Although he did manage to get some support, getting the two-thirds majorities he sought was still in grave doubt. Daria and Jane said they would meet with him later.

Unnoticed, Todd's car had pulled up to the parking lot. Todd disguised himself rather well so that he could elude detection. He had put on a custodian's suit and slipped into the back way undetected. He had a Remimngton rifle in a long black case. He made his way unnoticed to the projection room overlooking the auditorium.

What he didn't know was that Daria, Jane, Trent, Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers were about a block or two away.

"We'll have to act fast," Daria said. "I told Mom about this, and she was going to call the police. I only hope they'll take this seriously and stop this. But for now, we're on our own."

"You and Janey go to the auditorium and hang out near the projection room entrance," Trent said. "Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers will be close by."

"Good," Jane said, "if we notice something funny, we'll shoot up there and confront him."

Daria got a bit nervous over that statement.

"Do we have to?," Daria said.

"If Todd tries to harm you," Jane said, "he won't live long to regret it." She then gave Daria a reassuring wink.

Daria and Jane made their way to the school.

Back at the auditorium, the clock was now reading 2:00 PM. Ms. Li banged the gavel to call the meeting to order.

"It is now 2 o'clock," Ms. Li said. "Since there is a quorum present, I call this meeting to order. The first order of business is to present President-Elect David MacAllister with the gavel of office so he can preside over this meeting until a Speaker is chosen. David, will you come here, please?"

David went up and received the gavel. The room was stone cold silent.

"I guess they're giving him the silent treatment," Daria told Jane.

"What Neanderthals they are!," replied Jane.

David now got to the podium and banged the gavel.

"I just want to thank Ms. Li for this opportunity to serve," David began. "The next order of business is to elect a Speaker. Nominations from the floor are now in order."

Quinn sat there in silence. She knew what was going to happen, but was afraid that if she intervened, Sandi would not rest until she got her revenge against her.

Then, one of the representatives stood up and said, "I nominate Sandi Griffin."

Another student said, "I second that nomination."

"Sandi Griffin has been nominated," David said. "Are there any other nominations?"

Suddenly, Andrea, who represented her homeroom, stood up and said, "I nominate Quinn Morgendorffer."

There was a loud gasp in the room.

Another student seconded that nomination.

"Quinn Morgendorffer has been nominated," David said. "Are there any other nominations?"

Tense seconds passed.

"If there are no further nominations," David said, "then I hereby declare the nominations closed. The next order of business will be to elect the Speaker."

Brian, the chairman of the Rules Committee, stood up and said, "Mr. President, I would like to remind you that custom dictates that if there are two or more candidates for Speaker, the vote shall be by roll call."

"So noted," David said. "Voting shall be by roll call." David got the list of homeroom representatives handy. He continued, "When I call each members name, you will either indicate 'Ms. Griffin' or 'Ms. Morgendorffer.'"

David began to read the roll.

"Such drama!," Daria said; "I didn't expect my sister to get into this and make it a horse race."

"But I think the results will still be the same," Jane said.

David called out each name, with the response of either "Ms. Griffin" or "Ms. Morgendorffer" following. After the roll was called, David tallied up the votes.

Todd was seeing all this as he was setting himself up.

"Dammit!," Todd said to himself, "If Quinn wins, how will Sandi give me the high sign?"

David now cleared his throat and read the results. "I have the results. Ms. Griffin has received 30 votes. Ms. Morgendorffer has received 33. Quinn Morgendorffer is therefore elected Speaker."

There was silence in the auditorium. Daria, Jane and Sandi dropped their jaws in shock.

Quinn was equally stunned, but found herself going to the podium and accepting the gavel from David. "Congratulations, Quinn!," he said to her.

Quinn was dumbstruck, but then found the nerve to speak:

"Well, I'd like to thank everyone for electing me," she began. She then began to ramble on about how she was totally unprepared for this and so forth.

"I've got to have the prescription checked on these glasses," Daria said.

"I should have mine examined as well," Jane added.

"Well, we'd better go inside the projection room and take care of business," Daria said.

Todd lost it. "SHIT!," he said, "Now I'm just going to have to shoot when I can!"

Quinn then looked at the agenda and said, "The next order of business is the introduction of amendments to the Student Government Constitution so as to give Special Education students a voice in this government. Here to make a speech in favor of it is the Student Government President, David MacAllister."

Quinn stepped aside from the podium as David returned. Todd knew that it was now or later. He focused the gun on David in the crosshairs as he stepped up to the podium.

"Die, fukcer!," he growled to himself as he wrapped his finger around the trigger.

Suddenly, the door burst open, and Daria and Jane rushed in.

"DON'T DO IT, TODD!," Daria yelled at him.

Quinn suddenly saw the flash of cold steel in the dark.

"GET OUT OF THE WAY, DAVID!," Quinn screamed as she shoved David out of the way.

Todd fired the rifle. The bullet buried itself in Quinn's right breast, dropping her like lead.

Screams and panic filled the air.

Daria and Jane rushed at him. Todd yelled in anger and lunged right at them.

Trent, Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers rushed onto the stage. Trent looked at Quinn.

"Someone call 911, dammit!," Trent yelled.

"David, are you all right?," Corey asked him.

"Yes, I am," David answered. "Believe it or not, I owe my life to Quinn."

"We've got to see how Daria and Jane are doing," Corey said, heading for the projection room with some of his fellow Straight-Edgers.

Daria and Todd were rolling around on the floor.

"If anything's happened to David," Daria said, "so help me God, I'll rip your heart out and eat it!"

"I think I shot your sister," Todd yelled back.

Daria was stunned. Todd took the advantage and slammed her to the floor.

"Now I'm going to finish what I started with you way back when!," Todd said. He forced Daria's legs open.

Jane yelled and rushed him, hauling him off of Daria.

Corey and the Straight-Edgers rushed in. Todd now grabbed Daria and Jane and had them in a chokehold.

"You come one step closer and I'll snap them like twigs!," Todd yelled.

Corey knew he had to act quickly. He ran at him and sucker punched him, causing him to lose his grip on Daria and Jane. Corey now beat him back to the opening.

"Come on, you punk!," Todd said; "give me your best shot!"

Corey then punched Todd so hard he fell through the opening and onto the seats below, breaking his neck on the edge on one of them. He died instantly.

"What's going on here?," Ms. Li wanted to know. "Who's responsible for this?"

Quinn found some courage to speak.

"It's Sandi!," Quinn spat out. "She put out a contract on David!"

Sandi was infuriated. Suddenly, she took out a pistol and aimed it squarely at David.

"It looks like I'll have to finish the job myself!," Sandi said. "Die, you fucking retart!"

Suddenly, the Lawndale Police burst in.

"ALL RIGHT, NOBODY MOVE!," one of the officers said. He then saw Sandi and said, "DROP THE GUN!"

Sandi turned around and was going to fire at the officer. Trent, however, got up from behind her and gave her the Vulcan Grip, dropping her to the floor.

The officers rushed up to her and arrested her. "Sandi Griffin," the officer said, "you're under arrest for attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. You have the right to remain silent. Should you give up this right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney and wish to have one, an attorney will be provided to you free of charge. Do you understand these rights?"

"Yeah, yeah," Sandi said. They began to haul her away. She then turned around and yelled at David, "This isn't over, retart! When I get out, I'm starting a recall vote!" They then hustled her out of the auditorium.

Daria and Jane went to Quinn. She was bleeding very badly.

"Quinn," Daria said, "this is going to be a shock, since this is coming from me, but what you did was very courageous."

"Thank you, Daria," Quinn feebly replied. She then lost consciousness. The EMS team then took her away. Daria, Jane and David followed.

The meeting quickly disbanded. Word later was given that the amendments had passed the Student Senate by the bare 10-5 vote needed.

Chapter 8: Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty, I am Free at Last!

The entire Morgendorffer, Lane and MacAllister families spent an overnight vigil at Quinn's bedside. She was in guarded condition. Daria couldn't help it, but she began to cry over Quinn.

"Don't go on me," she said. "You're the only person I can put down and get away with it."

David said to Quinn, "You did the right thing, Quinn. Be strong."

The Armisteads entered. Nathan knelt at Quinn's bedside and prayed:

"Almighty God, I commend Quinn Morgendorffer to Your care. If it be Your will, heal her. But if her time has come, accept her into Your Kingdom of grace with open arms. This I ask of you, Great Physician. Amen."

Suddenly, Quinn began to stir.

"Where am I?," she began to say, "And why's everyone here?"

Jake, Helen, Daria and David went to her and hugged her.

"Everything's going to be all right now, Quinn," Jake said to her.

Quinn recovered over the next few days, then was released.

It was decided to reconvene the interrupted House of Homeroom Representatives meeting the next Monday. Quinn said she was going to make it. Everyone was entering school that morning. Daria, Jane and David were heading in together, as usual. Suddenly, a student no one really knew came up to them.

"I need to speak to David alone, please," he said.

"I've got a bad feeling about this," Daria warned him.

"I'll be OK," David replied. He went with the student. They went about a couple of hundred feet away.

Daria watched them carefully. Suddenly, she saw the unidentified student take out something long and cylindrical. This wasn't good.

"DAVID! RUN FOR IT! NOW!," Daria yelled, running right towards them. The unidentified student took the device and pushed the red button on top of it. Suddenly, he and David vanished in a horrific explosion. Daria was knocked to the ground. Jane got to her and helped her up. Everyone was running to where they were.

"DAVID! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!," Daria screamed, then collapsed into Jane's arms, crying.

"I know, I know," Jane replied, crying herself.

The investigation revealed that the student was a loner named Derek Jones. He was a militia nut and read "Man of War Magazine". He had gotten hold of some plastique and rigged a trigger. It was unknown if somehow Sandi had ordered this or not.

The mood was somber at the MacAllister house. Warren and Deanna cried. The Morgendorffers and the Lanes were there as well as the Armisteads.

"There was nothing left of him," Warren said. "However, we bought a plot at Lawndale Cemetery and are going to set up a marker for him. We're going to have a memorial service on Saturday."

"We'll be there," Daria said, "and while we're going there, I want to go someplace rather symbolic."

"I think I know what you're talking about," Jane said.

That Saturday, the funeral procession slowly inched its way toward the cemetery. It went passed Sandi's house. Sandi had stepped outside to watch. She was free on bail pending trial.

Suddenly, the Morgendorffers' and Lanes' cars stopped. The windows were rolled down. Daria and Jane stuck their heads out then raised their left fists up.

"You can kill the reformer," Daria said, "but you cannot kill the spirit of reform! SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS POWER!"

The procession resumed. Sandi went back inside, fuming.

At the cemetery, the marker had been erected. At the family's request, Nathan was going to conduct the ceremonies.

Nathan stood in front of the marker and began:

"Ladies and gentlemen: we are here not to mourn the death of David MacAllister but to celebrate his life and to reaffirm our commitment to the goals he set himself out to achieve. He fell as a martyr for freedom for himself and other Special Education students. We must not let his death be in vain. If we do, then we will have lost everything."

A large contingent of Special Education students was present. They were weeping.

Nathan then recited Psalm 23 and appropriate passages to comfort the mourners. "And now," he said," Daria Morgendorffer will deliver the eulogy."

Daria, who was wearing a plain black dress, stood in front of the others and began to speak:

"Thank you, Pastor Armistead. Ladies and gentlemen: I only knew David for about a month. But it seems I've known him for eternity. I have to admit I'm a cynical person, but David's positive attitude rubbed off on me. David never gave up on his dream. His dream was equality for Special Education students like himself. And for that, he was killed by students who thought their special privileges would be taken away from them if people like him got rights."

"However, if we allow those who bully us scare us back into inaction, then we've lost this battle. We must not allow this to happen. We must continue the fight. We must convince the House of Homeroom Representatives to vote on the amendments and then campaign for the ratification of them in the referendum. We must not let David's death be in vain."

Daria was now crying. She looked up and continued,

"David, if you can hear me, I love you and I will miss you very much."

Daria couldn't continue. She went back to the crowd, Jane hugging her as she wept. Nathan then took his place again.

"I will now close this ceremony by singing 'Nearer, My God, to Thee'. After which, all those with flowers can leave them at the base of the monument."

Nathan began to sing:

"Nearer, my God, to Thee/Nearer, to Thee./E'en though it be a cross/That raiseth me./Still all my song shall be,/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, to Thee."

"Tho' like the wanderer,/The sun go down,/Darkness be over me,/My rest a stone,/Yet in my dreams I'd be/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee."

"There let my way appear/Steps unto hev'n,/All that Thou sendest me/In mercy given;/Angles to beckon me/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, my God to Thee,/Nearer to Thee."

"Then with my waking thoughts/Bright with Thy Praise,/Out of my stony griefs,/Bethel I'll raise./So by my woes to be/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer to Thee."

"Or if on joyful wing,/Cleaving the sky,/Sun, moon and stars forgot,/Upward I fly,/Still all my song shall be/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer, my God, to Thee,/Nearer to Thee."

There was silence as Nathan then said, "Let the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Then, a bagpiper began to play "Amazing Grace". One by one, the mourners left flowers at the foot of the monument. Daria left some roses. She then left, Jake and Helen consoling her. The Lanes paid their respects, while Rage Against the Machine and the Straight-Edgers gave a power salute to their fallen comrade.

After the reception, Daria and Jane were in Daria's room, thinking on recent events.

"You know," Daria said, "Pastor Armistead is right. If Sandi and the others bully the Special Education students into silence, we'll lost everything we gained."

"I guess it just goes to prove that the system will always go back to its old ways like a gyroscope always goes back into equilibrium no matter how far you push it," Jane said.

"Now what will we do?," Daria said.

"We'll have to wait and see what happens on Monday," Jane said.

Alicia suddenly entered the room.

"Mrs. Armistead," Daria said, "what are you doing here?"

"Nathan and I would like you to stop by at my class during your first free period," Alicia said. "It's important."

"Well, doesn't that add some suspense?," Jane added.

"I don't think I want to know," Daria muttered.

That day, Daria and Jane did stop by Alicia's class. Andrew, who also had that period free, was also there. Both Alicia and Nathan were in front of the class.

"I know we have suffered such a terrible loss in the death of David," Alicia said, "but we must not let this dream of his die. Jodie Landon, who now is acting president once again, is calling for another election. We must find someone to run for the office and finish what David started."

Suddenly, Sandi burst in.

"Sandi," Daria said, "what the Hell are you doing here?"

"I'm free on bail, remember?," Sandi said. "I just want to tell all you retarts that I'm going to run for Student Government President again. And this time, I'm warning all of you, if even one of you decide to run against me, you will live to regret it!" She made a cutting motion with her finger across her throat, and left.

The students were afraid for their lives. Some began to weep.

Nathan knew he needed to bolster their spirits. He spoke in his loud, clear baritone voice:

"Fear not, everyone! He who rules from above will not suffer any harm on you! He knows the end from the beginning! He sits in judgment in his throne! If God is for us, who can be against us! Fear not those who can only kill the body but not the spirit! David has taken you to the Promised Land, but like Moses, did not cross over. Now we must find a Joshua to take us over the Jordan!"

He then looked at Andrew and said, "Andrew, you will run for Student Government President and finish what David started. We have only the bonds of slavery to lose and everything to gain!"

"I now want to sing a song of hope to you. As some of you know, I belong to the local chapter of the NAACP. Our organization's official song is called 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing.'. It reflects our group's goals for equality of the races. I think it should be a song for our fight for freedom as well."

Nathan cleared his throat and then began to sing:

"Lift ev'ry voice and sing,/Till earth and heaven ring,/Ring with the harmonies of liberty. . ."

Suddenly, the students began to join in; even Daria and Jane joined in:

"Let our rejoicing rise high as the list'ning skies,/Let it resound load as the rolling sea."

The students got out of their seats and headed out of the door, still singing:

"Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;/Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;/Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,/Let us march until victory is won."

The procession was headed down the Ghetto, and soon the other Special Education classes there emptied and went down the hall. The second verse was begun:

"Stony the road we trod,/Bitter the chast'ning rod,/Fell in the days when hope unborn had died. . ."

Sandi saw what was going on. "You can't leave the Ghetto during class!," she said.

"And what are you going to do about it?," Daria said, "tell on all of us?"

Sandi ran toward Ms. Li's office. The singing continued:

"Yet with a steady beat,/Have not our weary feet/Come to the place for which our forefathers sighed?"

Suddenly, more students joined them, along with some teachers. The second verse continued:

"We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;/We have come, treading our path thru' the blood of the slaughtered,/Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last/Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast."

Ms. Li came out and stood there, saying, "And where do you think you're going?"

"To get a petition form for Andrew," Daria said.

"All of you go back to your classes at once, of face suspension!," Ms. Li said.

"You can't suspend all of us!," Jane said in defiance.

"As for you teachers, you will report back as well, or face possible proceedings!," Ms. Li added.

"You can't touch us, Ms. Li," Nathan said, "we've got tenure!"

Ms. Li got mad. Nathan led the group in singing the last verse:

"God of our weary years,/God of our silent tears,/Thou who has brought us thus far on our way. . ."

"You will not get away with this!," Ms. Li warned, "Federal Government or no Federal Government!"

"Just watch us!," Daria shot back. The singing continued:

"Thou who hast by Thy might,/Led us into the light,/Keep us forever in the path we pray."

Sandi was shocked to see Quinn among them.

"Quinn, you traitor!," she said, "give this up now and we might just let you back in!"

"No thanks," Quinn replied, "I don't want to be associated with bigots!"

Quinn rejoined the others as they finished the song:

"Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,/Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;/Shadowed beneath Thy hand,/May we forever stand,/True to our God, true to our native land."

The group then went into the general office to pick up the application.


The vote for the new Student Government President was not as close as it was the first time. Andrew won by a 4 to 1 margin.

The proposed amendments to the Student Government Constitution passed by just four votes more than what was needed in the House of Homeroom Representatives. Andrew pushed hard for approval in the referendum. The voters approved all the amendments by a 3 to 1 margin.

By order of the Federal Department of Education, the Special Education classes were removed from the "Ghetto" and more equitably dispersed within the school building.

David's parents set up a scholarship in their son's name, to be given to the most deserving Special Education student in Lawndale High.

Sandi was found guilty of all charges. however, since the DA's office did not pursue prosecuting her as an adult, she was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service.

Quinn was eventually readmitted to the Fashion Club when she convinced Sandi that Daria was pulling a practical joke when she told her that Sandi that she was Quinn's sister.

All other legal matters in this case have since been dropped.

The fight for equality for Special Education students at Lawndale High is not over, but much progress have been made, and will continue to be made.


I have to admit that some of this is autobiographical. I have ADD myself and I did run for Student Government President in my junior year at Connetquot High School (Bohemia, New York) in 1986. I lost by 16 votes. I later tried to push for an amendment to the Student Government Constitution to create a Special Education Representative, but that was defeated. I was beaten up and received numerous death threats during my campaign; they usually went, "If you get elected, you fucking retart, we're going to kill you! We don't want retarts like you in our Student Government!"

I am here, in this great world-wide forum we call the Internet, to plead for tolerance for Special Education students, especially those who have mental, emotional and/or behavioral problems. The same God who made you made us as well. We are all His children in His sight. Are we monsters? If not, then why do you treat us like we are? Why are you so afraid of us? I suffered greatly during my school years at the hands of "normal" students. I still have bitter memories of those times. I guess seeing a show like "Daria" helps me come to terms with those memories. OK, so Daria is no Special Education student, but I felt the loneliness and isolation of being an outcast myself. Special Education students are the "Untouchables" of the caste system people humorously call "high school cliques". I guess until attitudes change and action is taken by teachers, administrators, boards of education and Federal and state departments of education, it will continue to be that way.

I met a woman whose son has ADD, and she told me that much has changed in the twenty-odd years or so since I was first placed in Special Education. I pray that she is right.

So, to those of you who are still high school age, next time you're at school, next time you see a Special Education student, do not run away in fear or shun him or her. Accept him or her. Let him or her into your lives. Only by changing matters one person at a time can we see real progress. That is my wish. That is my plea.

"Flung to the heedless winds/Or on the waters cast,/The martyrs' ashes, watched,/Shall gathered be at last./And from that scattered dust,/Around us and abroad,/Shall spring a plenteous seed of witness for God."

"The Father hath received/Their latest living breath,/And vain is Satan's boast of vict'ry in their death./Still, still, tho' dead, they speak,/And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim/To many a wak'ning land/The one availing Name./Amen."

--Martin Luther, "Flung to the Heedless Winds"