Number three in the 'Visitations' fan fiction series
Brother Grimace

Daria and all related characters are the property of MTV (generic fanfic disclaimers and pleas for mercy apply). Lynn Cullen and AP McIntyre are the property of the Canadibrit (ditto on the above). If you think I've done something conducive to the advancement of a cure for insomnia… well you can write me and vent a bit.

As always - a keg of the drinking stuff (and my thanks) goes out to the Canadibrit, who gave me an interesting place to play. Also, a moment of silent thanks to the memory of Professor Richard Blumenburg - a true Jedi Master in the art of the cinema, without whom I'd have few clues about getting the job done right. I still miss him.

(NOTE: This story takes place during the events at the end of 'Sister, Sister'.)

All other things considered equal, Sandi Griffin was not having what she would consider a good school year.

Life at home was not what it could have been. Life at the Griffin household currently resembled sweeps-month episodes of 'Picket Fences'. May sweeps-month episodes of 'Picket Fences'. Her brother Sam had gone over to his girlfriend's house one night with some friends, and she had some friends over. It was bad enough that Sam was caught with his pants down - literally - but the girl's parents had 'Nanny-Cam' installed in their house, and they were threatening to go on 'Jenny Jones' unless Sam stayed far away from the girl. Naturally, he wasn't taking it well, and the sounds of things being broken in his room soon became just more background noise in the house…

Her mother had made an attempt to return to the world of broadcast news, but the pressures of trying to remain on top within a certain demographic had all but assured that Linda Griffin wouldn't survive for long. Not that she wasn't attractive, competent and camera-friendly - but she was fortysomething, with the same deep-toned voice that Sandi had inherited (along with her temper and devious nature). Sela Ward & Rene Russo notwithstanding, the general manager wasn't willing to let her take the time to build a solid following of viewers. Not with the 'If it bleeds, it leads!' quasi-tabloid slant that many TV stations were following, or with the 'Which of these reporters would you most like to f***?' method of choosing female on-air talent -

And certainly not with Linda finding out that her husband had been sleeping with that tiny blond thing with the big chest that anchored the noon news. There was no way that Linda could stay in the Lawndale media circus after THAT came out, and even though her dad was paying through the nose to make up for it, the tension in the house was tangible enough to land cargo planes on… Nobody had even bothered to talk to her about what was going on, to try to help her or her younger brothers work through the Scylla and Charybdis that was her father's affair (to a woman with blond hair and DARK ROOTS, no less!) and her mom's endless reciprocity revue… Oh, well - at least Chris was enjoying his new Sega Dreamcast and Playstation 2, and driving the new Corvette helped her forget for a while. A little while. While N'Sync was on.

At least nothing had happened to Chris. Not yet, anyway. Her psychiatrist had told her to stop thinking that way, because the world wasn't out to harm everything she cared about, but she looked the guy directly in the eye and calmly replied, "Don't worry, Doctor. I have faith in the world."

Her grades were slipping. She was never a spectacular student, but she managed to keep a college-worthy GPA - but now, with the home situation, it was hard to concentrate and study. The teachers weren't any help at all - oh, they were really feeling their oats, now that Ms. Li was gone. Bolstered by the new student profiles provided by Mr. Harris (before he ran SCREECHING out the front door of the school - wonder what that was all about?), some of Sandi's teachers were putting the screws to her - except for Mr. DeMartino. He acted like he didn't even care - and that began after she wrote that report on how events in post-World War I Europe had led to the rise of the Nazi Party.

In her report, she spoke on how the German people had elected Hitler chancellor because of the promises he made to restore glory and honor to a Germany decimated because of the Treaty of Versailles - and on how the Fashion Club acted in the same way to give students something to be proud of outside of the traditional school activities and despite the current administration, which had sold the average student out to a plethora of outside interests. Unlike the National Socialist, or 'Nazi' political faction, Sandi pointed out, the F.C. was a force for good - because they also acted to abolish the stereotypical labels given to students who participate in, who are pressured into, or who suffer repercussions because of the mindset inherent within each of those activities.  Anyone and everyone who truly wished to better themselves was welcome in the Fashion Club, and no one faction within LHS society was singled out to serve as the focal point for the F.C. to use as a scapegoat for the purpose of gathering or maintaining power. The Fashion Club, she argued, was a proactive faction that recognized the inherent flaw within the social strata of the high school - that appearance was the initial, and sometimes determining, factor as to how a young person would be accepted within teen society. It recognized this, and acted to help young people by ensuring that a teen could have the time needed to be accepted on his or her own merits by assuring that they fit on a base level within that society. Once that person was seen to have some common factors as others, then they could also display those traits about themselves that would prove them to be a benefit to the group as a whole.

Two examples she gave in her report were of her friend Tiffany, who would have been shunned by most of Lawndale High society were she not in the Club, and Jodie Landon, who would be perfect for the Club. That way, people would just let her be JODIE, not the stereotype 'perfect African-American student and role model' that she felt she had to be. In the Club, Jodie would be able to relax, to have fun and enjoy high school, to date someone she really liked and not someone she felt she felt obligated to be with. Jodie felt that she had to stay in her current position and activities in order to be a role model for other Blacks, Sandi argued, but didn't realize that she could provide a better role model for Black students by being one for ALL students - as a member of the Fashion Club.

Sandi heard him talking to Stacy about writing a comparison-&-contrast paper about the parallels between the Nazis and the Fashion Club, and was so angry that she blew off a weekend trip of shopping in Dallas to write a report of her own. She treasured the memory: the look on DeMartino's face when she walked into the room, tossed the report at his feet and snarled, "So we're Nazis in the Fashion Club, right?"  She then turned to that snotty, smarter-than-a-computer-and-just-as-attractive Daria Morgendorffer, fastened her eyes to those shit-colored beads hidden behind those 'Never gonna get kissed' glasses and said, in a voice that could take a house off its foundation:

"Ever wonder why…? Ever bother asking?"

It was the first A she had ever received on a project in high school.

From that day forward, Mr. DeMartino never pressured her on her work; he just looked at her with an expression of sadness, as though he had failed at something…

Then, there was Quinn. Quinn Morgendorffer. Quinn, Quinn, Quinn, QUINN, QUINN!

I guess it's true, she mused. The Lord protects little children, animals and fools - He made sure that hussy got complete coverage, didn't He?


Vapid, rail-thin, airbrushed, strawberry-blond tease with a sweatband 'round her head that reads 'Inflate to 45 psi'. Well, you know what they say: (1.) You can sleep with a blond, you can sleep with a brunette, but you'll never get any sleep with a redhead. (2.) What's the difference between a slut and a bitch? A slut will sleep with anyone - a bitch will sleep with anyone but YOU. All together, everyone - can you say 'I love ME?"


That was the real pain - after all, nothing bad was ever going to happen to that prize heifer in real life, especially since everyone always watched out for her. She always got everything that she wanted, and it was so easy for her… just stick her head, all covered in bouncy hair, in view of the public and everyone would come running to help her, or do things for her, or give her things…

It just wasn't fair!

And now, there wasn't really a Fashion Club.

First Quinn took off for that Ted person, then Stacy ran off to join the CHEERLEADERS (ugh) - I'm glad that she's gone, with her endless slip-ups about the neutron-blond Barbie clone conservatives who dressed up like backup singers for a bar band when they went on 'Politically Incorrect' to make fools of themselves, and if I had had to listen to one more 'Do you think I'm more like Jaime Somers, Juliet Parrish or Susan Ivanova?' -!

After all, with her hair and eyes, she's more of a Jaime Somers - okay, if you're talking about brains, she's a Juliet, but a bright red turtleneck shirt and jeans straight off the rack? I mean, just how 'Hi, it's Saturday afternoon at 3 in the park so I'll just throw ANYTHING on!' is that? And Ivanova? Let's not talk about the fourth-string harem-girl outfit she wears off-duty, and that hair, and who does your makeup - it's AWFUL!  

By the way, Susan… the way you and that Madison Avenue blond with the psychic powers argue all the time doesn't fool anyone, and we know the two of you want to compare shellfish recipes…

Brushing her hair back in a manner that caused young male pulses to race, Sandi turned to the spot where Stacy ate lunch with Jodie and Michel Jordan Mackenzie. She watched as they chewed and slurped and laughed:

I wonder what Jodie would say if she found out Stacy's had a crush on Mack ever since third grade - I bet she'd love to read that 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' take-off she wrote with her and Mack as Marion and Indy. Maybe I can get them all together sometime for a little game of 'Truth Or Dare'…


Sandi's hands gripped the book she held hard enough to leave indentations as she thought once again of the auburn-haired girl who was related to Quinn. She had never liked that girl, with her military-surplus glasses, and her wannabe-Goth boots (get some Danners, already - you've shown you don't care about your looks, so at least get something functional!) and her smirk. That unholy smirk that made her look like the spawn of the Mona Lisa and Norman Bates, the smirk that never quite went away, even if she was happy or annoyed or sad, that smirk that seemed to say 'We both know that I'm better than you. Accept it.'

And that's why Sandi hated Daria Morgendorffer. She hated Daria because she could be everything that Sandi had worked so hard her entire life to become. Daria could do it - become a knockout with the guys, because she wasn't ugly or really even plain… she simply didn't bother to try. Daria could be a fashion plate, because she knew how to study up on the movements in fashion trends and coordinate things, but she acted like that was beneath her. Daria could be popular, or the school board's personal scholastic version of the T-1000, or just an all-out 'Miss Most Likely To Succeed In Life', well-known and well-liked by everyone in Lawndale - but she acted like none of that held any bearing on life. Whenever she passed by Sandi, every time they made eye contact, it was as if Daria was saying, "Persons like you are a waste of air, and I've wasted time out of my life by noticing you… time I'll never get back. Please leave my field of vision."

The main reason she hated Daria was because she KNEW Daria could do it.

Sandi had always heard the teachers talk about Daria's 'potential', and it grated at her. She knew what Daria could be, and she hated her for it. Many things had passed through Sandi's mind as potential ideas to nail the mousy little Smurf-bitch to a post, but the arrival of AP McIntyre and Lynn Cullen put a horrifyingly swift end to THAT. That red-haired computer jerk was smart enough - and sneaky enough - to do something really unpleasant, but Lynn, the one who was a dead-on match for Daria… Sandi took one look in her eyes and decided that she could lighten up - Armageddon didn't have to happen today…

It just wasn't fair! Sandi raged inwardly. Why should those Morgendorffer heifers get all the breaks? Quinn's got that nerd and he helps her out, and Daria's got those two and her paint-freak jock queen loofah-buddy to back her up - why can't I have friends like that? Why can't I ever have something like that? Why don't I have a guardian angel on my shoulder to help ME out? WHEN DO I GET MY SHOT?

Sandi's scream - a scream of pure frustration, rage and despair, the scream only a caged animal could make - echoed through the cafeteria.

"What's WRONG, Miss Griffin?"

Sandi looked up from her new seat on the cafeteria floor to see Mr. DeMartino and a herd of students converge on her.

"A scream of that MAGNITUDE usually means that there's a problem, Miss Griffin," he continued. "Did you see a MOUSE, or were you just DISPLAYING your OPINION of the cafeteria's daily EXCURSION into culinary OBLIVION?"

"I thought I saw an ant on my plate," Sandi said, lifting herself up. "I - I have to go use the bathroom."

As Sandi darted out of the area, Daria sipped at her milk from a vantage point several tables away and watched her go. "I wonder what that was all about?"

"Maybe she's lost the lock-on from her sanity beacon," AP quipped, turning back to the table. "After all, the Fashion Club is all but extinct. They got their meteor strike and they're going the way of the dinosaurs."

"Oh, yeah?" Lynn cut in. "Remember, the sharks didn't get THAT memo, and they're still here. I don't trust her."

"Paranoid, Lynn? Or just still pissed off about the Mercedes?"

"All of the above," she growled, pulling a spicy chicken wing apart in a fashion that made Daria, AP and Jane Lane wince. "Besides, being paranoid means that if you've dodged the bullet - well, there's still thirteen more in the Para-Ordinance .45 that haven't been fired. Yet."

"Hey, she hasn't tried anything lately," Jane offered. "And with the defections in the ranks, Heinous Bitch Alpha really doesn't have the power base to build another Death Star. Right now, her influence is limited to the Core Systems."

"Let's talk about something sensible and pleasant, with very little sarcasm, violent content or evil teenage women fighting to the death - ANIME!" AP said. "I got my latest order in today - 'Venus Wars', 'Demon City Sinjuku' - and the first two volumes of the 'Bolar Wars' episodes of 'Star Blazers'. Who's coming over to watch?"

"I'm in," Jane spoke up, and Daria agreed; the twosome and AP turned to Lynn, who slit open a chicken wing with an X-Acto knife - Where the hell did THAT come from, the three wondered? - and removed the bones with an ease that made Daria and Jane queasy.

"We can do that," Lynn spoke, and AP moved several inches away because of the tone of her voice - a tone better suited for a member of the Inquisition. "We can watch over at my house."

"What are you thinking about, Lynn?"

"Our friend Miss Griffin," Lynn hissed. "She's a very lovely person. Attractive, reasonably intelligent, intuitive, with a great sense of humor, obviously a credit to her community… and it would be a real shame if they never found the body."

Lynn finished her spicy wings, blissfully uncaring of the fact that her three friends chose that moment to give her a generous amount of arm and legroom at the table.


"Hello, Sandi."

Sandi turned back to see the nondescript, well-dressed man who stood next to the Tommy Sherman Memorial Tree, a warm, calming smile on his face.

"Who are you?"

"Someone who sees two Sandra Griffins," the man replied. "One growing bitter and vindictive with each passing day, who has given up on the simple pleasures afforded her every day because she's so wrapped up in the fortunes that fate has bestowed on others, and cursing the universe and herself for not being worthy - or capable - of having those things for herself."

The man idly brushed a leaf from his sleeve. "Or so she believes. The other one - well, I can't see her future. It may end with her in a palatial manor, surrounded by her loving family as she peacefully passes away - or it may end today."

Sandi didn't move as the man started towards her. "However it ends, though - it will be a full, rewarding life regardless of what the calendar says. Which shall you be, Sandra? Which road will you choose?"

The young woman looked the man over, and noticed something - unusual: even though it was the noon lunch hour, with the sun high overhead - the man standing before her cast no shadow. "This is a dream, isn't it?"

A surprised, yet pleased smile appeared on the man's face. "Correct."

"But you… you're not part of my dream. I mean, you aren't a part of anything I would dream up."


"I don't want to," she yawned. "I think you need to leave, so I can get back to -"

"To living and dreaming in the shadows of others," the man finished. "To being in second place, no matter what the scoreboard or the sash says. As long as you remain the person you are, you'll always be the runner-up. The understudy. You're the back-up - just in case something happens. You've got everything you need to win, Sandra. You've got looks, talent, intelligence - you even have a soul, because you care about your brother - but it'll never be enough to put you over the top, because you don't believe that you belong there."

"Get out of my head, so I can wake up, or something."

"Oh, I'm sorry - I must have forgotten that I'm here to help you," the man responded. "I've got a question for you, Sandra. Which is more important to you - the way you feel, or the way others feel about you?"

Sandi remained silent. "Excellent," the man said. "You can think before you speak or act. Now - listen closely. Your life literally depends upon it."

The feel of a hot, dry wind jerked Sandi's head up, and she suddenly found herself upon a lonely, deserted road in the middle of a desert! "Sandra, listen to me closely, " the man said, walking up to her from behind. "You can stay where you are. If you do, you will continue as you are now. You'll care more for what others think about you than you care for yourself - and that will lead you on a path straight to destruction. Does it really matter whether you end up pregnant with triplets, or you end up doing three to five years for drug possession and conspiracy, or you slit your throat on a broken window in your college dorm room? None of it has to happen… if you're strong enough to break the circle."

"You have a choice," the man said, holding up an ornate, antique hourglass. "Do you really care about others say about you? Can you become strong enough to know that the only opinion that matters is your own?"

Sandi looked at her clothing, now streaked and discolored from the dust and blowing wind.

"Oh, no," she murmured, "I'm a mess, and these clothes are - "

"Damn your clothes!" the man snapped. "I'm talking about your soul! THIS is why you hate the Morgendorffer girl so much - because she's worth something! You, however, are so shallow that you think your outer trappings are what really matter!"

Grabbing Sandi by her shoulders, he spun her around to face a huge, full-length mirror that appeared from nowhere! "This is yourself ten years from now!" he growled, showing her the image of a strikingly beautiful woman with waist-long hair and a near-perfect figure. "Yes, you're beautiful, and sexually appealing, but with all the depth of a dry lake bed!"

Sandi had barely time to admire herself when she was spun around to see another image of herself - this one at least ten years older. "Say hello to Sandra Griffin at forty-two!" the man snarled, and Sandi gasped as she saw herself - still attractive, but with obvious signs of aging - and obvious breast implants. "We really do have a need to try and keep what nature's given us up and running through the miracles of modern science, don't we? Oh, look at your left hand - isn't that where a wedding band is worn?"

"Yes, and so what?"

"Do you see one there?"

"No - "

"And this, of course, comes as a big surprise to all of our guests out in the studio audience! You're so in love with what you think people think you're supposed to be that there's not a real Sandra Griffin for someone to discover and love! Remember that!"

Sandi felt herself being spun about once again - and she found herself face-to-face with the man! "Would you like to see how the world sees you at sixty? Better yet… why don't we take a look at how you'll see yourself at that age…"

A scream of frustration erupted from the young woman.

"I see that I've made my point. You are a petulant, unrepentant and nearly-irredeemable waste deposit of a person. You are a liar, a charlatan, and a turncoat, incapable of any true and lasting relationships, and singularly undeserving of the attentions of anyone of worth - let alone the attentions of a good man. You are the worst in all that can be called woman, and negative karma swirls about you like a fog bank about the girders of the Golden Gate Bridge."

The man paused for a long moment, allowing the woman before him to wallow in his verbal cascade of truth and emotional wrath. "And that is the challenge that we will face together. I will see you through the fire, Sandra. I will teach you."

Sandi's face, etched with shame, rose only slightly. "Teach me what…?"

"I will help you remove that which is negative within yourself. Together, we will be rid of your petty vices and your emotional blocks," the man told her. "We will remove the darkness within your spirit, and allow the purity of your true self to flow forth."

"And what's in it for you?

The man held up the hourglass he had earlier, placed it in a set of old-world scales - the ones usually seen being held by the blinded figure of Justice, and watched as it balanced the icon. "Balance," he replied. "That is my reward. Now, it is time. "

He held out his hand. "You can walk away now, Sandra. No repercussions, no regrets, and this will be just as it is now - a dream. You can walk away - or you can take my hand. Either way - it must be your choice. Of your own free will, Sandra. You can have what I offer, but it must be of your own free will. Make your decision."

"What if I choose to stay where I am?"

"The world will continue to turn," the man said. "Flowers will grow, children will play, and water will still run downhill. Things will continue as they will, and I'm sure that you will find some young man to hold you close in the dark of night and tell you that he loves you, because that's what he actually believes. You'll fight to keep those people with different skin tones and eye shapes out of your little community's stores and homes, and you'll spend desperate, stolen moments alone with someone, bathed in sweat and self-loathing as you debase yourself in futile attempts to find meaning in those endless minutes, and hours, and decades of being what Society wants. But as you look just beyond your vision, counting the grains falling in the hourglass of your days and praying for the last to fall - you will always wonder, Sandra…"

"I don't want to hear any more…"

"You'll always wonder what it was like to move against the flow," the man spoke. "You'll see those people with purpose in their eyes, and wonder how they managed to turn a deaf ear against the people like yourself. You'll see them as they strive against hopeless odds, standing up for causes that have no hope of succeeding, and doing so without a second's thought, or remorse, or regret. You will see many of them fall, and many more of them broken beneath the wheels of a world designed to crush them into powder and turn them into examples - and still, so many more will rise to take their places. You will always wonder what it would be like to fight for a cause; to protect those who hate and fear and wish nothing but ill upon you, and yet doing so anyway. "

"Be quiet," Sandi said, her own voice barely above a whisper.

"And as you sit in palatial comfort and splendor, you'll wonder what it's like in their world," he said, his voice soft against her spirit. "You'll sit back, a crystal of the finest wines this world can offer at your fingertips, sipping as you look out the window and wonder…"

The man gazed into her eyes. "…What it was like to raise your hand for another - and for no other reason, than because it was Right!"

Sandi looked down at the outstretched hand. "Make your decision," the man said, his voice holding finality within. "It is time."

And as Sandra Elaine Griffin reached out to take the hand of the man in her own, she felt an unexpected sensation; she felt a sudden lightness within, as though a large weight had just been lifted away, and her next breath was sweet and wonderful, as though she were breathing air untouched by anything but nature…

So this is what it feels like, she said, and a glorious, gentle smile - a smile she could have never have brought forth before - touched her lips and spread across her face as she felt herself awash in a sensation that seemed to enfold her, all soft and gossamer and warm. This is what it feels like; to be… To be…

"It's more than that, Sandra," the man said, holding her hand until the last, a smile on his face as she rose beyond his reach, ascending slowly. "Remember…"

I do remember, Sandi thought, as she saw her hand slowly disappear into the warmth, a warmth that flowed into a brilliant light that wrapped around her and drew her into itself.  I do remember. This… this is what Love feels like… this is what it feels like to be loved simply because I'm me…

And Sandi Griffin was no more.

- END -


This one was really an example of a story that went into directions that I did not expect in any way possible. I had intended to use this as a springboard towards using Sandi as a superweapon against TFJM, having been trained to handle them - and by the way, eventually leading Daria to the point where 'the man' wants her. At a certain point, however, I realized that, with the world that I have Sandi in, that if she ever had the chance, she'd never allow herself to be used as a weapon. Even moreso, I thought that 'the man' was going to become her mentor, teaching her that she could just be herself and good enough as that - and that if she (Sandi) was comfortable with herself, then she wouldn't have many of the problems she faces. Anyway, one thing led to another, and I came to a simple conclusion - that Sandi had to die at the end. I don't see this as bad, however, because she is at peace with herself, and surrounded by love - the two things she didn't have at the beginning of the piece. This one definitely goes into the 'experiment' file.  

As always, is the target grid for all comments, questions, criticisms, and Starfleet- issue tri-cobalt explosive devices. Be nice, though… I don't have a pet to go and cry to.

29 December, 2000