First off, let me say that I love the TV show just the way it is, and
have tried to be as true as possible to it here, keeping the general
style and plotline in the direction the show's writers seem to have
their minds set on. You won't find the start of any outrageous story
arcs, new major characters or departures in style from the "Daria" we
all know and love. Please let me know how close I got. (And if you're
from MTV, I should mention I'd love to do this for a living.)

Got another one-time guest character to make this one possible. They
come in handy, I've noticed, like the red-uniform Star Trek guys. Okay,
new promise: No one-use characters for the next two fics, 'kay? I've been
overusing these, too.

Would you like to be updated when I release new "Daria" stories and
get sneak previews of what I have in store just around the corner? If so,
send an e-mail and ask to be put on my Daria Fanfic update list. This
won't cram your mailbox full, I promise. One update a week at most.

(...la la LA la la...)

Daria in "Accept No Substitutes"

Written by
C.E. Forman (ceforman@worldnet.att.net)

BEGIN ACT 1.

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, MONDAY.

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, MR O'NEILL'S CLASS.

(Mr O'Neill is sitting on the edge of his desk lecturing. Behind him,
the chalkboard is covered with various notes about mythic-hero stories --
"The Epic of Gilgamesh", "The Odyssey", "Lord of the Rings", etc., all
connected via a circular arrow-diagram to "Hero With 1000 Faces". Cut to
the class. Daria is half-resting with an elbow on her desk, hand against
one cheek, looking bored in the extreme.)

O'NEILL: So, to reiterate. Campbell suggests that all mythical quests
follow a similar pattern of storytelling. (O'Neill really gets
into this, putting in more emotion than necessary in an attempt to
pass some of his enthusiasm onto the class. It's not working.)
First the hero learns about and embarks upon a great journey or
quest. Overcoming early obstacles endears the hero to the reader,
makes us *care* about his or her crusade. The journey progresses,
becoming ever darker and *more* perilous, but the rewards of each
victory become significantly greater... Up until the culmination
of the quest, whereupon the hero either *triumphs*... or fails.
(Beat.) At times the torch is passed from one hero to another.
And failure can even mean the hero's quest must continue even
further.

(Kevin whips a spitwad he's been making across the room at Mack. It lands
on his desk. Mack makes a disgusted face and flicks it off with a pencil,
glares at Kevin, who laughs.)

KEVIN: I almost had you, Mack Daddy!

O'NEILL: Kevin? Did you want to add something?

KEVIN: Umm, could you repeat what you just said? I wasn't writing it down.

O'NEILL: (Sighs, starts over again.) We were discussing the similarities
Joseph Campbell explores between different tales of mythical
journeys from various cultures... (He continues with the exact
same words as before.)

DARIA: (Bored, to Jane.) I can just *feel* my mind turning to rice pudding.

JANE: So, pretty soon you'll be caught up to everyone else here.

(Suddenly, Ms Li enters without bothering to knock, interrupting Mr O'Neill.
She's carrying an exquisite wooden picture frame containing some sort of
official-looking document.)

LI: Gooood morning, class. I just wanted to stop by and hand out our
school's most recent baaanned books list, which the school board
finalized at last night's meeting. (To O'Neill.) Please remember
to share it with your other classes today.

DARIA: (To Jane.) Our tax dollars at work.

JANE: Speak for yourself. My parents haven't paid taxes for six years.

LI: (To O'Neill.) This framed copy will remain on the wall of the Language
Arts department at alllll times. Additional copies for personal use are
available in the library, for a small fee of course.

DARIA: Gotta make up the cost of that nice mahogany frame somehow.

LI: (Offended.) *That* is absolutely *no* concern of *yours*, Ms
Morgendorffer!

O'NEILL: (Reading the list.) Umm, Ms Li? I'm afraid I... don't really
understand why some of these are being banned. "Huckleberry Finn"?

LI: The board has found its racial slurs to be inappropriate in the
*enlightened* classroom.

O'NEILL: The Bible?

LI: (Sharply.) Church and state, Mr O'Neill.

O'NEILL: "1984"? "Brave New World"?

LI: Both portray totalitarianism in a negative light.

DARIA: (To Jane.) Wonder whose idea that one was.

(Mr O'Neill is about to voice another feeble objection, but Li cuts him off.)

LI: (To class.) Alllll of the books on this list have been removed from
our shelves, and anyone caught with them on school property *will* be
suspended, *no* exceptions! Good day. (Exits.)

DARIA: (Out loud.) *That* ought to promote literacy like nobody's business.

O'NEILL: (Takes down the picture of the Bard that's appeared in numerous
episodes, hangs the banned books list in its place, turns.) Hmm,
you feel strongly about this, Daria. (Thinks.) I can certainly
see your point, but... (Obviously he's intimidated by Li.) ...I
think Ms Li does make some good points as well. The school board
is only trying to do what's best for students...

DARIA: (Sardonic.) That's encouraging, having a committee of out-of-touch
middle-agers decide what's best for my life.

O'NEILL: (Looks nervously at something in the back of the room, near the
ceiling.) Ummm... thanks for sharing with us, Daria. Would...
anyone else like to say anything? (Looks around for someone who
might agree with Li.) Kevin?

KEVIN: Uhh, could you repeat the question?

O'NEILL: (Sighs, tries again.) Andrea?

(Andrea sits there staring at her desktop, doesn't even acknowledge him.)

O'NEILL: (Maybe someone else.) Ummm... Josie?

JODIE: (Corrects him.) Jodie.

O'NEILL: (Embarrassed, tries to cover it.) Ah... that's... what I meant.

KEVIN: So is any of this gonna like, be on a test?

(Close-up of Daria, utterly disgusted expression.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. AFTERNOON.

(Jane continues home as Daria turns up her front walk.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM.

(Jake and Helen are doing what they do best: Reading the paper and
working on legal briefs, respectively. Helen has a microcassette recorder
and is dictating into it as Daria enters, still wearing a sour expression.)

HELEN: (To recorder.) I'm sorry to have to present my weekly summary like
this, Eric, but my laptop has a virus, maybe you could have your son
look at it? Also sorry I didn't get this done Friday, but you know
how the work just keeps pouring in--

JAKE: (Notices his daughter.) Hi, Daria, how was school?

DARIA: (Glum.) I feel like going out and shooting at stop-signs.

JAKE: That's... bad, right? (Looks to Helen for help.)

HELEN: (Concerned, switches off recorder, puts it aside.) What's wrong,
honey?

DARIA: I don't feel like talking about it.

(Helen makes the money-motion with her fingers to Jake, nods her head in
Daria's direction. He gets the hint.)

JAKE: (Takes out wallet.) Five dollars if you share with us, kiddo! (Waves
the bill enticingly.)

DARIA: All right. Fine. (Takes bill, plops down as far away from Jake and
Helen as she can, crosses her arms.) But only because I'm running
low on ammo.

HELEN: (Motherly voice.) Now, what's troubling you, sweetie?

DARIA: (Sighs.) Ms Li got the school board together and banned a bunch of
classic literature. Now she's threatening to suspend anyone caught
reading it on school grounds.

(Helen looks as if she's expecting Daria to reveal more. When Daria
doesn't, she gestures to Jake, waves a hand in Daria's direction.)

JAKE: Oh. Right. (Takes out another bill, hands it to Daria.)

DARIA: (Pockets the money, continues.) As a book lover and possibly a
future writer, I *have* to be against this kind of censorship. Just
because the classics are no longer considered politically correct by
the society they helped shape, that doesn't mean some committee
should be able to tell us what we can and can't read.

HELEN: Well *I* for one agree with you, honey.

JAKE: (Takes cue from Helen.) Umm, me too, kiddo!

HELEN: (Frowns.) That damn Ms Li can be such an egotistical tyrant
sometimes... (Idea, brightens.) Tell you what, I'll have Marianne
call the school and voice a complaint first thing tomorrow morning.

DARIA: Wow, such involvement. (Stands.) I doubt it'll do much good,
anyway. (She heads upstairs.)

HELEN: (Watches her go.) We should've tried that *years* ago.

JAKE: You know Helen, I really thought you and the principal would get along
better, I mean since you're also kind of--

(Helen glares at him.)

JAKE: (Open mouth, insert foot.) ...Umm, n-never mind. (Jake hurriedly
surrounds himself with the paper again.)

HELEN: (Annoyed.) Kind of *what*, Jake, what were you going to say?

JAKE: (Quickly.) Nothing! Nothing at all! Really!

HELEN: *Jake*?!

JAKE: Well... I was just going to mention that you can also be just a bit...
ummm... overbearing at times, too. (Hastily adds.) B-but in a *good*
way, I meant!

HELEN: (Coldly.) You're sleeping on the couch tonight.

JAKE: (Defensive.) What'd I *say*?!

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING.

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, HALLWAY, OUTSIDE TEACHERS' LOUNGE.

(Most of the lights are out, but a dim glow shines through the window in
the door to the teachers' lounge. Mr O'Neill approaches the door, peers
furtively in both directions, slips inside.)

(Cut to inside the teachers' lounge, where Ms Barch is waiting for O'Neill
with a wry smile, and a seductive gleam in her eyes.)

BARCH: (Half-whispers.) All clear?

O'NEILL: (Effeminate voice, doesn't need to whisper.) Ms Li just pulled out
of the lot. (Beat.) Umm... wouldn't it be better to... do this
at... one of our places instead?

BARCH: This is more *exciting*!

(With that last word, she leaps at Mr O'Neill. Cut to the hallway outside
the lounge, showing through the window a black silhouette of the two pulling
each others' shirts off, kissing.)

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH.

(Sounds: heavy breathing, passionate kissing, moans of pleasure, etc., use
your imagination. Suddenly--)

O'NEILL: (High-pitched yelp of pain.) *Ahhh*! My back! Janet, help me!!
(Whimpers.)

BARCH: (Alarmed.) Oh my *God*, Timmy are you okay?!

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, TUESDAY.

(Student voices yelling and laughing.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(Absolute chaos. Mr O'Neill is nowhere to be seen, and the kids are taking
complete advantage of it, yelling, throwing spitwads and paper airplanes,
moving desks around, writing on the board, etc. One of the grunge-students
we see all the time -- I'm thinking the one with the jewelry-chain joining
his nose to his ear -- has a boom box thumping loudly. Kevin and Brittany
are making out as some of their classmates watch and cheer. Mack and Jodie
are talking to each other. Andrea pulls a bottle of beer out of her bag and
takes a gulp. Jane is among those drawing on the board. Only Daria sits
quietly, trying to concentrate on Campbell's "Hero With 1000 Faces". Ms
Li, accompanied by an unfamiliar early-30s-ish black woman in a trenchcoat,
enters holding a megaphone.)

LI: (Into megaphone.) ALRIGHT, SETTLE *DOWWWWN*, PEOPLE!!

(Students scramble for their seats. Kevin and Brittany manage to tear
themselves away from each other. Andrea quickly stashes her beer. The
last of the noise dies away when the grunge-kid switches off his boom box.)

LI: I'm afraid Mr O'Neill will not be with us for awhile, he's somehow
thrown out his back and will be at home recuperating for at least a
week. Until that time, your newwww substitute Language Arts instructor
will be Ms Haworth.

DARIA: (To Jane.) Great, a sub. The only thing worse than O'Neill himself.

LI: (Turns, indicates the newcomer.) Let's allll give her a warrrm,
friendly welcome to Laaaawnnnndale Hiiiighhhhh.

(Cut to Li's/Haworth's POV of the class. Scattered clapping, a couple of
hellos, a paper airplane from somewhere in the back.)

LI: She's the ooonly candidate I interviewed who passed *both* the breath
and urine tests *and* the genetic screening, so I expect you to treat
her with the saaame respect as Mr O'Neill.

(A couple of snickers here. Ms Haworth opens her mouth to speak, but Li
immediately cuts her off, earning her a scowl.)

LI: In addition, I would like to remind everyone about our Book Fair
fundraiser in the gym this Saturday. I will be monitoring attendance
closely, and you are alllll aware of the consequences of being a
no-show!

DARIA: Trial by fire?

(Ms Haworth notices and sends an amused glance Daria's way.)

LI: I'll let Ms Haworth take it from here. (To Haworth.) Lesson plans
are in the desk, bottom drawer. I'll be monitoring your performance
closely. (She exits, Haworth watches.)

JANE: (Raises hand.) She *will*, too. (Points to the rear of room.)

(Cut to Haworth's POV, showing a small surveillance camera mounted in the
corner up by the ceiling.)

DARIA: Say hi to next semester's textbook budget.

HAWORTH: Jesus, what a *bitch*. (Shakes her head in disbelief.) The hell
does she think she *is*, the Gestapo?

JANE: (Indicates camera.) Careful what you say, it picks up sound too.

(Ms Haworth gives a derisive snort, proceeds down an aisle between desks
to the back of the room. The students turn and watch as she removes her
trenchcoat, revealing a T-shirt and jeans underneath. Haworth hangs the
coat from the security camera, covering it up. When she turns to come back
up the aisle, we see that the T-shirt has the famous "Sick, Sad World"
eye-logo on it. Daria and Jane swap amused/surprised glances, and there's
whispering from the rest of the class. Plus a couple of hoots and cheers
-- Kevin and Brittany have moved their desks together and are at it again.)

HAWORTH: Hey! Hey, you two! Cut it out, do I need to get a hose? (Grabs
Kevin by the back of his jersey.) You, jock-boy, what's your name?

KEVIN: Ummm... Kevin?

HAWORTH: Kevin. You telling me or asking me?

KEVIN: Ummm... telling?

HAWOWRTH: (Dry.) Uh-huh. (Snaps fingers, jerks a thumb toward the door.)
Listen, you two can just go do that somewhere else if you want.
I get paid the same either way, I'm sure as hell not gonna waste
any effort trying to teach you anything if you don't wanna learn.

KEVIN: Cool!

(He and Brittany get up and leave.)

BRITTANY'S VOICE: (From the hall.) How 'bout your car, Kevvie?

(Snickering from students.)

HAWORTH: The hell are you laughing at, that's your nation's future, right
there, take a good long look.

JODIE: (Raises her hand.) Ms Haworth?

HAWORTH: Call me Margot.

JODIE: Margot?

MARGOT: (Sits on the edge of O'Neill's desk.) It's my name, what's yours?

JODIE: Jodie. Landon. (Beat.) I just thought you should know Ms Li has a
rule against wearing those shirts.

MARGOT: Jodie. (Amused by her statement.) That a fact?

MACK: (Raises hand, nods.) She sent Greg Warner home for wearing one in gym
a few weeks ago.

MARGOT: (Sneer.) Is there any aspect of this school that woman *doesn't*
control with an iron fist?

DARIA: The budget?

JODIE: (Doesn't like the rule herself, but it's clear she's not too pleased
with Margot's attitude either.) She says that show's a bad influence.

DARIA: But embezzlement is acceptable because the money brings honor to the
school.

MARGOT: (Laughs.) Indeed. Well put.

(Jodie raises her hand again.)

MARGOT: (Tinge of impatience.) Enough with the hand-waving, you're
practically adults, why not act like it. You got something to say,
*say* it.

JODIE: (Frowns at this.) I was just wondering if we were actually going to
be getting anything *done* today. We're supposed to have a test on
fantasy epics next week.

(Scattered whispers: "Shhh!", "Jodie!", "Don't *tell* her!", etc.)

MARGOT: Fantasy epics, huh? Quests, journeys, destroying the evil, one
against the world? Well then, let's have a look-see, hmm?

(Without getting up, Margot leans over, reaches for the desk drawer. She
lies flat on her back, head hanging over the edge of the desk, flips through
O'Neill's lesson plans. Some students, most notably Jodie, exchange "can
you *believe* this?" glances.)

MARGOT: (Reading lesson.) "Tuesday: Read assigned chapter aloud in class.
Wednesday: Oral quiz--" (Snorts.) You *gotta* be kidding. The
hell *is* this, a kindergarten? I could pull a better lesson plan
out've my ass, in fact I think I will. (Still lying down, she tears
up O'Neill's plans, throws them in the air where they scatter like
confetti.)

(This generates even more murmuring from the class, many eyes light up.
Through it all, Daria and Jane wear the tiniest smidgens of smiles and give
each other corner-of-the-eye sideways looks.)

MARGOT: (She sits up, leans back, holding herself up with her arms.) So you
wanna lesson in saving the world, I'll give you one. Firsthand.
First principle: Speak your mind. You're afraid to say something
to everyone else, how d'you expect to admit it to *yourself*?

DARIA: (Faint smile.) You've come to the right class.

MARGOT: (Smiles, claps hands, points at Daria.) Have ourselves an expert
right here, it seems. You are?

DARIA: Daria.

MARGOT: Daria. What's wrong with your world, Daria? Start with school,
school's a good place to start, your education's at stake here.

DARIA: Well, our school board just put together a list of books we're not
allowed to read on school grounds anymore-- (She gestures toward
the framed list on the far wall.)

MARGOT: (Knows when she's onto something.) The hell *kinda* books? (Goes
to the list, reads it, laughs out loud.) Ohhh for christsake,
*that's* rich! Talk about conducive to learning. (She pulls the
frame off the wall, turns to class.) Wanna know what I think of
this, I'll tell you, better yet I'll *show* you!

(With a fast, violent swing, she smashes the frame against Mr O'Neill's
desk, sending glass and splintered wood flying. She plucks the list out
of the broken frame and shreds it like she did the lesson plans. Cut to
class's reaction: Mostly open-mouthed looks of shock that turn to smiles.
Even Andrea is wide-eyed. It may be simply that she's defying Ms Li, whom
the students dislike, but they show a genuine respect for Margot.)

MARGOT: (Brushes broken glass off the desktop, sits down again.) Second
principle: Change the world. Something's unfair, unjust, *do*
something about it, that's the only way it's gonna change.

JODIE: (Deeply upset, the only one.) Excuse me, Ms--... Margot? What
exactly are you trying to *teach* us here?

MARGOT: (Tosses busted frame to the floor, stares Jodie square in the eye.)
To think for yourselves.

(Daria and Jane turn to each other, smirking. Jane gives a little thumbs-up
signal. Daria nods.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LATE AFTERNOON.

("Sick, Sad World" music is audible.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM.

(Daria is on the couch watching TV. Helen, on the other couch, inserts a
fresh tape into her pocket tape recorder. Beside her are some pillows and
wadded up sheets; apparently she made good on her threat to Jake. Enter
Quinn from outside.)

TV ANNOUNCER: The operation cost him an arm and a leg! But the doctor sent
him home with a free meal! "Cannibal Amputees", coming up on
"Sick, Sad World"!

QUINN: *Uggh*! Where do they *find* these people?!

DARIA: I haven't the foggiest notion.

QUINN: I can't *believe* she kicked me out of class just for trading shoes
with Stacy! (Flops down on the couch, crosses her arms, pouts.)

HELEN: (Disapproval evident.) Who kicked you out of class, honey?

QUINN: This new substitute. She's like a psycho or something.

DARIA: (Switches off TV.) Actually, I thought she was kind of cool.

QUINN: (Disgusted.) You *would*! (Beat. She thinks.) Of course, it
could have been that I called her a reproachful bitch...

HELEN: (Upset at her daughter's language.) Quinn!

DARIA: (Surprised.) Since when do *you* use polysyllabic words?

QUINN: Oh. (Didn't realize it herself, now she's embarrassed about it.)
Well she gave us all these stupid vocab words and told us we have
to *learn* them and use them in sentences and stuff.

DARIA: Mandatory verbiage. Tough break.

QUINN: (Back to Helen.) And she dresses all *weird* and she spent the whole
class making us tell her what was wrong about stuff. It was *so*
boring! (Beat.) But at least Ms Li said we don't hafta read as many
stupid books anymore.

DARIA: She destroyed Ms Li's list of banned books right in front of everyone,
she wasn't afraid to do it. That's what made me like her.

QUINN: She said the f-word, too, I didn't think teachers could *do* that!

HELEN: (Still in shock, barely hears Quinn.) Daria... did I hear right?
Did you just say you *liked* another person?

DARIA: (Didn't realize it herself, now she's embarrassed about it.)
Ummm... well...

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, EARLY EVENING.

LI'S VOICE: (Furious.) What the *HELL*?!?

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(A school janitor -- one of the ones from "The Misery Chick" -- is here with
Ms Li as she surveys the destroyed book-list.)

JANITOR: (Cowers.) I didn't do it, Ms Li, it was like this when I found it!

LI: (To janitor, demanding.) I want to see Ms Haworth in my office FIRST
THING TOMORROW!

(Li storms out. The poor janitor just looks frightened, not knowing what
to do.)

(...la la LA la la...)

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Split-screen: Margot smashing the frame in slow-motion,
and the class's reaction.)

END ACT 1.

(COMMERCIAL: Exult in ecstasy over the privilege of living in a culture in
which five-cents-a-minute long-distance phone calls, 99-cent meat-like
sandwich deals, and 50-albums-for-a-penny sleazoid record clubs are always
readily available, and you are constantly reminded of this fact.)

BEGIN ACT 2.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, WEDNESDAY.

(Sounds of lockers slamming, voices in the hall, bell ringing.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(Students take their seats and assume absolute silence as Margot enters,
wearing an Alternapalooza T-shirt this time. She stands behind desk, leans
forward with hands at both sides of it. Kevin and Brittany are back.)

MARGOT: (Sees the whole class is watching her closely.) So. Seems my
little performance yesterday got your attention. Kevin... (Points
at Brit.) You, prom-queen, what's your name?

BRITTANY: Brittany!

MARGOT: Brittany. So nice to have you both back, word-of-mouth I take it?

KEVIN: Not really, Ms H, we just heard what happened and thought it sounded
pretty cool.

MARGOT: Call me Margot. (Ignores his stupidity.) Third principle: Justify
attention. Step outside the behavior boundaries dictated by "polite"
society, it's the only thing people react to. (She stands, bends
over, hefts a box of books onto the desk.) Your assignment for
Monday. Everybody come up and take one.

(The class gets up, moves to the front noisily.)

MARGOT: (Loudly, to make herself heard.) Orderly fashion please, one at a
time, we're *adults* now.

JODIE: (Looking at books.) Ms--... Margot? These are the books the board
disallowed. (Her tone suggests she doesn't like the banning but
there *must* be a better way to deal with it than outright rebellion.)

MARGOT: Wow, what a coincidence, somebody care to enlighten goody-two-shoes
here regarding my intent?

(This merits the Look of Death from Jodie. Daria smirks -- she's chosen
Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", incidentally.)

MARGOT: Everybody got one? Good, c'mon, fresh air awaits. (She gestures
toward the door.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH GROUNDS.

(The grassy area where Daria and Jane frequently sit. The whole class is
here reading, the last few taking a seat.)

MARGOT: (Sits down herself.) Probably never had class outside like this,
have you? Why d'you think we're not just sitting inside?

VOICE: So everybody else can see us reading these?

(Everyone does a double-take at the voice's owner, turns and stares. It's
Andrea, she's actually *spoken*!)

LI'S VOICE: (Angry.) *There* you are, Ms Haworth!

(Class turns and looks up at Li.)

MARGOT: (Stares her down coolly.) Margot.

LI: (Ignores the correction.) We have a problem, I want to speak to you.

MARGOT: (Gestures invitingly to an open spot on the grass.) Have a seat,
I'm in the middle of a class, but--

LI: (Stonily.) In my office. *Now*.

MARGOT: (To class.) 'Scuse me will you, this shouldn't take long.

(The students watch as Margot makes her way inside ahead of Ms Li, who's
hurrying, trying to stay ahead of her. Amazingly, everyone goes back to
reading quietly. Except Jodie, who puts her book aside, crosses her arms
in defiance.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS LI'S OFFICE.

(MUSIC: "Throwing Stones" by Paula Cole, the opening piano measures.
Without waiting for Li to be seated first, Margot flops into one of the
chairs sideways, her legs hanging over the armrest.)

MARGOT: So. Angela.--

LI: (Bristles.) You will address me as *Ms Li*. (She waits for Margot to
correct herself.)

(Pause.)

MARGOT: (Irritation.) All right, fine, God, *Ms* Li. Christ, can we just
get *on* with this?

LI: (Smug little nod of satisfaction. She reaches under her desk and pulls
out a couple of larger pieces of the broken mahogany frame, sets them on
the desk for Margot to see.) Ms Haworth, it may come as a surprise to
you to learn that I take destruction of school property *verrrry*
seriously.

MARGOT: Certainly every bit as seriously as you seem to take everything else.

LI: Do you... have a *problem* with the way I expect Lawndale faculty to do
their jobs?

MARGOT: (Sardonic.) Well I'm *sorry* if I fail to attain your expectations
of unquestioning conformity and allegiance. The hell d'you expect,
I'm a sub, I'm not concerned with a permanent position here.

LI: (Becoming seriously vexed.) Ms Haworth, in my school there are
certain... *standards* of behavior to which all faculty members are
expected to adhere--

MARGOT: What're you so afraid of? The kids'll start *thinking* on their
own? Start *questioning* what you do, how you're running their
school? It *is* their school and not yours, you realize. *That*
what this is really about, Angela? That why you dragged me here
instead of bringing this up outside, didn't want *them* to hear?

LI: (Realizes she's losing control of the conversation here.) Ms Haworth,
the cost of that frame *will* come out of yoouuur paycheck!

MARGOT: Then I don't see where the problem lies, I'd already made that
assumption prior to breaking it.

LI: *AND* you will refrain from inciting the students with aaany further
rebellious gestures! This school will attain honor through *order*.
*Discipline*.

MARGOT: Listen, I would love nothing better than to sit here and let you
play Grand Inquisitor all morning, but right now I have a class to
teach. That *is* what you're paying me for, isn't it? Assuming
you haven't already spent my wages on tracking implants or
something.

LI: (Stands, leans over at Margot, menacingly.) After this insubordination,
I should fire you and teach the Language Arts classes *myself*!

MARGOT: *And* carry out your Machiavellian agenda at the same time? Not
likely. You and I both know I'm the only qualified candidate at
the moment.

LI: I used to teach, you know, before I was... *offerred* the position of
principal.

MARGOT: Did you censor conflicting opinions back then, too?

(Ms Li is positively miffed. Margot smiles a quiet little smile.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER KITCHEN. EVENING.

(The family is having dinner, but Quinn's place is empty, suggesting she's
on a date or perhaps a Fashion Club meeting. If you think really hard I bet
you can guess what the rest of the family's having.)

DARIA: ...So now she's having us read the books Ms Li banned. (Beat.) And
she knows *how* to teach: She pushes the slow kids instead of dumbing
everything down to such an extent that the smart ones consider
resorting to self-immolation just to alleviate boredom.

HELEN: (Painfully blatant parental concern.) Daria, I'm not sure I like the
idea of this woman filling your head with all these ideas.

DARIA: She's not putting any ideas in my head. She just happens to agree
with the ones that are already there.

HELEN: All the same, sweetie, your school is *not* an anarchy.

DARIA: You're right, it's a dictatorship, with Ms Li at the helm. (Beat.)
Look, I look up to Margot. She's the one adult in my life I can
even come close to respecting.

(Jake and Helen are obviously stung by this, put down their forks.)

DARIA: I'm gonna go read for awhile. (She gets up, carries her plate to
the sink, leaves them.)

JAKE: (Knife edge of panic.) Well?! What do we *do*!? Complain to the
school? Call the police?!

HELEN: (Calm, has a calming effect on Jake.) Like hell. As long as her
attitude's improved to the point where she's *talking* to us, this
woman *stays*!

CUT TO:

EXT.: LANDON RESIDENCE.

CUT TO:

INT.: LANDONS' KITCHEN.

(The Landons are just sitting down to dinner.)

JODIE: (In mid-conversation with Michele.) ...and she smashed it to pieces,
right there in front of the whole class! I just don't understand why
she has to *do* things like that!

MICHELE: Does the rest of the class feel that way about her, too?

ANDREW: (Calls into the next room.) Rachel, dinner!

JODIE: (Bitter.) No. Everyone else *loves* her. Daria Morgendorffer even
said she deserves a full-time position!

ANDREW: Well maybe that means you're the one with the problem, honey.

JODIE: Dad!

MICHELE: Exactly. Haven't we always told you to try to fit in with
everybody? Maybe you just need to work a little harder here.

(Rachel, Jodie's younger sister, arrives.)

ANDREW: (Irked.) Rachel, honey, go get your brother!

RACHEL: Hmmph! I hafta do *everything*!

(She stalks out angrily, returns with baby Evan. Andrew helps her heft him
into the high-chair.)

JODIE: Mom, I can't just change the way I feel about this. She's sending
everyone a bad message.

ANDREW: If you disapprove, why don't you say something to her about it?

MICHELE: Exactly. Like your friend Daria. From what I hear, *she's* not
afraid to speak her mind. Why can't you be more like that?

(Jodie falls silent, glares at her dinner.)

CUT TO:

INT.: CAFETERIA. THURSDAY.

(Daria and Jane at their favorite table.)

JANE: So you actually have a favorite teacher now.

DARIA: What can I say, she encourages me. You have Ms Defoe, I have Margot.

(Jodie walks up carrying a paper-bag lunch.)

JODIE: Hi. Mind if I sit here?

JANE: (Evil smirk; hushed, beckoning tone.) Joinnnn usssss! (Resumes
normal conversational tone.) We were just talking about Margot.

JODIE: (Frowns.) Oh. (Decides to follow Mom and Dad's advice.) Well I
don't like her. I haven't learned anything from her yet except how
to mouth off to authority.

DARIA: And that's not a valuable lesson?

JODIE: (Gives Daria her "I just can't understand you" look.) There are
other ways of getting your point across. She just seems really angry
at the world and is taking it out--

(Margot appears with a lunch tray. Today she wears a camouflage tee with
"Jim's Paintballing Jungle", and faded jeans slashed at the knees.)

MARGOT: Daria. Jane. Jodie. Room for one more?

JODIE: Actually... I was just gonna go sit with the rest of the Student
Council. (She gets up and leaves, the three watching her go.)

MARGOT: Is now, I guess. (She sits where Jodie was a moment ago, looks
where she's gone.) Doesn't like my methods, does she?

DARIA: She considers herself a role model. (Sardonic.) She must maintain
perfection at all costs.

MARGOT: Shame, that girl could go far if she wasn't so by-the-book.

JANE: So howcome you're not eating in the teachers' lounge?

MARGOT: Rather sit here, if you don't mind. Students are why I'm here, who
I'm supposed to be interacting with. (Beat.) Plus all the other
teachers creep me out. Guy with the eye-thing? And this one, she
kept asking me to join a bunch of feminist movements. No hiring
standards here, I guess.

DARIA: Just the urine test and genetic screening.

JANE: Do you live around here? You've never been a sub here before.

DARIA: What do you do when you're not substitute-teaching?

MARGOT: I live pretty much everywhere. (Gets an odd wistful look.) No real
home, I just ride the Interstates from town to town, accept odd
teaching positions, always something open. Done everything from
preschool through college, been all over the country. I don't have
much, just what I can carry with me. Only child, parents left me
everything when they died. Sold the house, bought my Harley.
'S really satisfying, no ties, no obligation to call anyplace home.

JANE: You'd like my family.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT.: CAFETERIA.

(Dissolve effect fades Jane, Daria and Margot out of the picture, brings in
the Fashion Club, at a far table. Zoom in on them.)

SANDI: Okay, so the plan is: (Takes Fashion Club stationary from Stacy,
reads what she's written.) One, we catch Margot after school today.
Two, we talk to her about her clothes. Three, we offer to go to
Cashman's and help her pick out something decent to wear.

STACY: What about some different makeup?

TIFFANY: Indubitably.

SANDI: (Stares at Tiffany.) What?

TIFFANY: Her current raiment is like, gratuitously ostentatious.

(Everyone stares at Tiffany.)

SANDI: Umm... okayyyy...

QUINN: Can we put down to have her get rid of the stupid vocab words too?

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM, AFTERNOON.

(Quinn's class. Margot has turned the desk around and is sitting on it,
resting her feet on the chair in front of her.)

MARGOT: (In the middle of addressing the class, reviewing some written
essays.) Think that's all there is to writing? Think all you need
to do is put out enough words, a beginning, an end, you're done?
Uh-uh. Wrong. Hasta *go* someplace...

(She continues, but the focus shifts to Quinn and Stacy together in the
back row.)

QUINN: (Whispers, to Stacy.) I really like those earrings.

STACY: (Facing forward, barely notices.) Mm hmmm.

QUINN: Like mine? Earring Eave has the *best* selection. Sandi says she
got hers there, but you can just *tell* they're from JJ Jeeters.

STACY: Mm hmmm.

QUINN: Wanna trade?

STACY: (Hint of irritation.) Quinn! I'm trying to listen.

(Quinn is floored. Stacy has *never* asserted herself before.)

DISSOLVE TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM, FRIDAY.

(Daria and Jane's class. The board behind the desk has the words, "Question
Everything, Answer to No One" in Margot's handwriting.)

MARGOT: (Last-minute wrap-up before the bell.) That about does it, we'll
discuss the books Monday, and speaking of books, Book Fair in the
gym tomorrow. I know Angie says it's required for graduation, but
anyone who can't make it or just doesn't wanna waste a good
Saturday, lemme know, I'll vouch for ya.

DARIA: (Knowing smirk.) Will there be banned titles available for purchase?

MARGOT: (Returns smirk, points at Daria.) Girl after my *very* own heart.

(Jodie, in back, gets an "Oh God not *again*" expression, shakes her head.)

MARGOT: This town have a TV station, by chance?

JANE: Three, actually.

MARGOT: (Nods.) Call 'em. Tell 'em we're doin' a little protest.

JODIE: (Smells trouble, can't keep quiet, raises hand.) Doesn't it bother
you that you're actively encouraging teenage rebellion?

MARGOT: (Nonchalant shrug.) Something's unfair, someone has to speak out
against it, an' *you* sure as hell aren't gonna.

JODIE: But it's not going to accomplish anything except get Ms Li on your
case again! It's not your *job*!

MARGOT: (Dry.) Not my job. Not my job, huh? (Crooks a finger, beckons.)
C'mere, come up here.

(Jodie obeys, with some trepidation.)

MARGOT: Y'know, girl, I'm just a little tired of you fighting me every day
here. You know what your problem is, Jodie? You're a joiner, a
conformist, you go along with the majority, with the authority
figures, *not* because you agree with them, but because you don't
have the backbone to stand alone.

(Jodie's anger intensifies as Margot continues to put her down.)

MARGOT: You don't like how I do my job? Fine, you think you can do it
better, go right ahead, it's all yours, have fun.

(Margot stands, steps out into the hall, leaving Jodie standing in front of
class, looking flustered. Some snickers from the class.)

JODIE: Ummm... (Thought VO, sardonic.) Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad.

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, GYMNASIUM. SATURDAY.

(The Book Fair. Tables laden with used library books, textbooks, magazines.
Additional tables are set up from local bookstores, the Alfred Joyce Kilmer
Public Library, anyone with books to sell. Zoom in on one corner of the
bleachers, the Fashion Club's table of fashion-related books and Cashman's
catalogs. Tiffany, in sandals, is painting her toenails while Stacy leafs
through a back issue of "Waif".)

QUINN: (Fake friendliness.) This was a great idea for a Fashion Club
activity, Sandi!

SANDI: Well, I never would have thought of it if it weren't for all those
*outdated* "Waifs" you always have lying around your room, Quinn.

(At the word "outdated", Stacy stows her mag under the table out of sight.)

QUINN: (Pretends to have missed Sandi's tone.) Oh, Sandi, you don't *have*
to give me credit for coming up with the idea! I do so much for the
Fashion Club as it *is*!

(Sandi's eyes narrow.)

STACY: Look, there's Margot! I'm gonna give her a Cashman's catalog to
look through.

QUINN: I'll come with you.

(They head over to Margot's table. Sandi turns to Tiffany.)

SANDI: I'll bet Quinn's *talking* about me behind my back. To *Stacy*.

TIFFANY: (Still touching up her toenails.) Indubitably. That spurious
congeniality of hers is like, *so* contemptible.

SANDI: Tiffany, what the *hell* are you *doing*?

TIFFANY: Decorating the cartilaginous formations on my lower extremities.
(Beat.) Why?

SANDI: (Gives Tiffany the weirdest look, then thinks of something.) Uh,
Tiffany? Can I borrow your vocab words?

TIFFANY: Indubitably. (Finds the list in her purse, hands it to Sandi.)

SANDI: Thanks. (She rips the paper into tiny pieces.)

(Cut to Daria and Jane having a look around.)

DARIA: Have you ever seen so many 20-year-old textbooks in the same place?

JANE: What do you expect? They're still teaching out of the 10-year-old
ones.

(As they approach Margot's table, we see several members of the local media
-- a boom mike operator, a cameraman, a couple of reporters with clipboards.
The cameraman, the same guy as in my previous fanfic, "To Helen Back", hefts
his camera and gets ready to film.)

DARIA: (To cameraman, points.) Lens cap's on.

(He double-checks, but it's not, and tape is already rolling, catching him
in the act again. Daria smirks, moves on.)

BOOM-MIKE OPERATOR: (Annoyed.) Keith, man, you gotta stop *looking* every
time somebody says that!

MARGOT: (As they approach the table.) Daria, Jane! Wanna help?

(She emerges from behind a stack of boxes, and they see today her T-shirt
reads, "WHY DO YOU HAVE SUCH A BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT MY BAD ATTITUDE?")

MARGOT: (Points to the exit.) Grab some of the boxes from outside, start
organizing by author.

DARIA: Sure.

(Jane follows her.)

JANE: We have *got* to find out where that woman shops.

(The media approaches Margot, filming, waving the microphone, asking her
about herself and the banned-books protest. Stacy and Quinn arrive and
try to get through the crowd that's forming. Cut to Kevin, Brittany and
Mack. Kev and Brit wear the idiosyncratic smiles of the blissfully
ignorant, but something's bothering Mack.)

BRITTANY: Let's see if they have any books on cheerleading!

KEVIN: I bet you could *write* the book on cheerleading, babe!

BRITTANY: (In awe.) You mean there *isn't* one yet?

KEVIN: Umm... I dunno. (Notices Mack.) Hey, what's the matter, Mack Daddy?

MACK: (More vehemently than usual.) *Stop* calling me that! (Signs.) It's
Jodie. She refused to come because of Margot, and she won't even talk
to me about it. I've never seen her this way before.

KEVIN: Tough break, Mack Da--... bro!

(They come to the crowd, begin edging through.)

BRITTANY: What's with all the *people*?

KEVIN: (Notices Margot's table, to Brittany.) Check it out, babe! Banned
books! Those are like illegal now or something! (Picks up a book,
reads the title.) "The... Catcher... in the... Rye." (Beat.) Cool!
Baseball! (He digs out a dollar to buy it.)

LI'S VOICE: (Amplified.) EVERYONE, OUT OF THE WAY!

(A path opens in the crowd, and there stands Ms Li with her megaphone, a
Lawndale High security guard on either side. The three of them move to
the table.)

LI: (Angrily.) Ms Haworth!

MARGOT: (Calm.) Ah, Angela. You certainly know how to make an entrance.

LI: And *you* are going to make an exit! Right *now*!

INTERVIEWER: (Holds up a microphone.) Ms Li, tell us why--

(Li bats the microphone away.)

MARGOT: (Looks the guards over.) Couldn't get any real cops, Angela? Think
maybe that's cuz I'm not doing anything wrong here?

LI: Ms Haworth, you have been *warned* about this before! This school
operates according to rules! Those who refuse to follow those rules
have no place here!

MARGOT: You can get rid of the resisters, Angela, but not the resistance!

LI: (Evilly.) Watch me.

(She snaps her fingers, points to the table. The guards tip it over,
spilling books everywhere. Shocked, angered looks from students. Li smirks
cruelly at Margot, but she refuses to get mad.)

LI: Get her outside!

(The guards each grab Margot by a shoulder.)

MARGOT: (Spots Daria and Jane coming in with boxes of books.) Hey, Jane,
Daria. Pick up here, will you?

(Daria and Jane wear concerned looks, raised eyebrows.)

MARGOT: (Nonplussed.) 'Scuse me will you, this shouldn't take long.

QUINN: (To cameraman.) Will this be on TV? Does my hair look okay? (Lifts
her hair with both hands.) Or would it be better if I wore it up?

(The guards escort Margot roughly out of the gym, with Ms Li following.
The media films the whole thing.)

(...la la LA la la...)

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Cafeteria, Jodie getting up and leaving as Margot sits
down with Daria and Jane.)

END ACT 2.

(COMMERCIAL: Does anyone even *read* my commercials? It wouldn't really
surprise me if no one did. I mean, I *loathe* commercials, I only watch 'em
so I can make fun of them here, I sure as *hell* don't wanna sit and *read*
about them, so I don't imagine anyone else would want to either. Then
again, I *do* write about them, so... just... just forget it, okay? There,
five lines, that's long enough. Now back to the fic.)

BEGIN ACT 3.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. EVENING.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM.

(The whole family is gathered watching a newscast, 'cept for Jake with his
paper. Jake and Helen are side-by-side on the couch, Quinn lies on the
floor on her stomach, legs in the air, and Daria sits cross-legged in the
chair. Footage from the book fair appears as an off-screen anchor speaks.)

NEWS ANCHOR: (Voice-over.) Principal Li declined to comment on the incident
except to say that "everything is under control, and the
appropriate actions will be taken."

QUINN: (Gets up on her knees, points excitedly.) Look! There I am! I'm
on TV! See?

DARIA: My sister at a book fair. Now we just wait for the folks at "Beyond
Belief" to call.

HELEN: (Into recorder.) Note to myself, talk to Eric about possibly getting
a few lawsuits out of this. (Hits stop, thinks of something else,
clicks it back on again.) Regarding the Farrell negligence case, I
think we should definitely go with "it said poison on the label, and
it's not my client's fault he was illiterate" as a defense.

QUINN: I've gotta call Sandi! (Gets up, runs into the kitchen.)

JAKE: (Glances up from paper.) Oh my gosh, is that Quinn on TV there?

HELEN: (Irritation.) *Yes*, Jake. (Glances at recorder, throws it at her
husband.) Here! Save me the trouble of repeating everything to you!

JAKE: Huh?

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, MONDAY.

(Students' chatter.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(The class is teacher-less, no sign of Margot. It's not just Daria's class,
quite a few freshmen are gathered too, hoping to find out where she is.
Among these are the Fashion Club and the three J's. Everyone's talking,
except Daria of course, and the rumors are flying.)

MACK: Her cycle's still out in the parking lot, but nobody's seen her.

TIFFANY: This is really... (Has to stop and think.) ...disconcerting.

JOEY: I heard she was fired!

JEFFY: I heard she was arrested!

JAMIE: I heard Ms Li killed her and buried her body out by the track!

KEVIN: Really? (To Brittany.) C'mon, babe, let's go check it out!

(The two love-muffins start toward the door, but are stopped by Ms Barch.)

BARCH: Not so fast, you despicable monolith of testosterone! Ms Li wants
everyone to come the gym for an assembly.

(The class starts toward the door.)

BARCH: Hold it! (Beat, silence.) Girls, you may walk. Boys, get down on
your knees and *crawl*!

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM.

(All the seats are taken, it's standing room only.)

LI: (At the podium, addressing the assembly.) We'll get this out of the
way first, since I know you all want to hear it: Ms Haworth has been
relieved of her duties, and will no longer be doing aaaany sort of
teaching, at Laaawwwnndale Hiiighhhh.

(Alarmed murmurs sweep through the rows of students.)

LI: Also on the subject of the Book Fair, let me say that the stolen money
envelope is nowhere *near* as upsetting as the disappearance of a large
number of the banned books from Ms Haworth's booth. I will personally
be conducting locker searches today, and those books *will* be found!
Those of you who have copies may turn them into the office and receive
a lighter sentence!... I mean, punishment! Do *not* make me resort to
cavity searches, people! That is all. (Steps away from the podium.)

VOICE FROM BACK ROW: We want Margot back!!

(Everyone turns and stares. Standing is *Andrea*.)

JANE: (Near her, stands, joins in.) MARGOT!!

(Soon everyone is standing and shouting.)

STUDENTS: MAR-GOT! MAR-GOT! MAR-GOT!

(Daria refuses to join in the noise, but smirks quietly. Jodie is slack-
jawed with disbelief. She angrily smacks Mack, who's chanting along with
everyone else. Li realizes she needs to seize back control.)

LI: (Lifts her megaphone up to the microphone, shouts.) *SILENCE*!!!

(The students cringe at the volume, cover their ears. Ms Li puts on a self-
satisfied smile.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, HALLWAY.

RAPID-CUT SHOTS:

(Ms Li holds a list of locker combinations, directs school security to open
lockers. Alternate the shots between showing the locker opened from the
hallway, and from inside, as if the camera were mounted on the locker's
wall. One guard has a dog that he leads along each row of lockers. In one
student's locker we catch a glimpse of candles, incense sticks and bottles
of beer. The skull and biohazard stickers on the inside of the door
identify it as Andrea's. Ms Li shakes her head, and the guard closes it
again. Suddenly, the dog barks, lunging for a locker.)

GUARD: Find something, boy?

LI: (Quickly comes over.) Open it!

(The guard obeys, revealing several bags of a suspicious fine white powder,
and a gun.)

LI: Damn! (Slams locker.) Keep looking! Those books are around here
somewhere!

(The locker-opening continues until:)

LI'S VOICE: A-*ha*!

(Cut to Ms Li at an open locker with a familiar photo of the Hindenburg on
the door. Most of the locker is crammed with banned books. Li pulls out a
class textbook and looks at the inside cover. Close-up of the words, "THIS
BOOK BELONGS TO:", with Daria's signature below it. Ms Li snaps the book
closed with an air of finality.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS LI'S OFFICE.

(Daria's in the hot-seat, being grilled by Ms Li.)

LI: Ms Morgendorffer--

DARIA: (Smart-ass.) Call me Daria.

LI: Ms *Morgendorffer*. This is a *very* serious matter!

DARIA: To you, anyway.

LI: You're looking at suspension for this insubordination!

DARIA: (Keeps her emotions, if any, under control.) We have the right to
read books that talk about society's problems. You don't solve them
by banning the books and forgetting the problems exist.

LI: The school board and I have already made the decision, Ms Morgendorffer.
*We* decide what is best for you, *we* are your superiors.

DARIA: Not intellectually I hope.

LI: (Snaps.) Don't make this worse by smart-mouthing back to me!

DARIA: Are locker searches in our best interest, too? Don't we have a right
to privacy?

LI: Lockers are *school* property, Ms Morgendorffer. (Chuckles, amused.)
Besides, you're a teenager, in the eyes of the law you *have* no rights.

DARIA: Speaking of law, have you forgotten my mother's a lawyer?

LI: Dooon't try and threaten me, I've got the school board, the entire
*state* behind me on this one. The gym cameras clearly recorded you
assisting Ms Haworth. With her out of the way, I can throw the book
at you, claim the whole thing was *your* idea. *Including* stealing
the money envelope!

DARIA: (Now she's a bit upset.) I didn't take the money! That's a lie,
and you know it.

LI: But the school board doesn't! They'll back me as they've always backed
me, the mindless imbeciles. They're afraid to refuse, just like
everyone else in this school. When I'm through with you you're going to
wish you'd *taken* that admission at Grove Hills! You have no proof, Ms
Morgendorffer. Who would believe *youuuur* word over *mine*?

DARIA: But I do have proof.

(She holds up Helen's pocket tape recorder. It's switched on, the little
cassette inside is spinning. Checkmate. Ms Li seethes, both too angry and
too stunned that someone has beaten her at her own surveillance game to
respond. Daria smiles, clicks the recorder off triumphantly.)

DARIA: I do believe we can negotiate.

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH PARKING LOT.

(Margot is strapping her bags to her Harley, still parked here. A leather
jacket hides whatever cool T-shirt she might have on. From inside the
fence, Daria and Jane spot her, come up to the fence. [See "Journalistic
Photo Essay" in the Daria Database for help visualizing the scene.])

DARIA: Margot!

JANE: (Surprised.) Everyone's been acting like you're dead.

MARGOT: Heh. Li's henchmen refused, and she wouldn't pull the trigger
herself. (Beat.) Actually she just dragged me down to the station,
they wouldn't charge me with anything either. Went back to the
hotel, slept late. Just came back for my cycle. (Turns, smiles.)
Was hoping you'd catch me here. I heard what you did, Daria, just
wanted to say I'm proud.

(Jane looks at her, confused. Jodie spots them, walks up, frowns as she
sees Margot.)

DARIA: (To Jane.) I... *talked* Ms Li into reversing her decision about
the banned books. She made me take a vow of silence, so don't tell
anyone. (To Jodie.) You either, Landon.

JODIE: (To Margot, perhaps a bit hopeful.) You're leaving now?

MARGOT: Oakwood's got a spot to fill, time to move on.

JODIE: (About half-accusing tone.) Before you go, answer me one thing. Why
are you so pissed off at the world?

MARGOT: Too many bad memories. (Pause.) You won't believe this, but I
was just like you. Most adults forget what it's like, I haven't.
Wasted my intellect slogging through twelve years of being force-fed
useless knowledge the real world never requires you to apply. They
treat your minds like empty vessels waiting to be filled. (She's
looking mainly at Daria as she says this.) You came here with ideas
already in yours, they don't like that, you don't fit in.

JODIE: (Frowns.) That's *not* what I--

MARGOT: (Interrupts.) Stand up to 'em. Fight 'em every step of the way.
Speak your mind, change the world, justify attention, reward anyone
who follows you. (Pauses.) I gotta go, girls.

DARIA: Bye. I'll... miss you. (Looks embarrassed that she admitted this.)

JANE: If you ever see my sisters Penny or Summer, or my brother Wind, say
hi. Oh, and ask if they know where my dad is.

MARGOT: Sure will. (She mounts the cycle, starts it with a practiced kick.)

(Through-the-fence shot as Margot zooms out of the lot, the girls watch.)

JODIE: (Turns to Daria, distaste.) That could be your future, you realize.
If you don't lose this chronic bad attitude of yours.

DARIA: Yeah. And if my whole family dies, too.

(Daria and Jane exchange evil, plotting looks.)

CUT TO:

INT.: CAFETERIA. TUESDAY.

(The Fashion Club, having a meeting.)

QUINN: My, um, cousin said she's at Oakwood now.

SANDI: Then it's settled. We'll call Oakwood's Fashion Club and have *them*
assume like, jurisdiction over her wardrobe.

QUINN: Even though we're *way* cuter than them.

STACY: Totally.

SANDI: You have their number, right Tiffany?

(Everyone looks at Tiffany expectantly.)

TIFFANY: Umm... (Her vocabulary prowess has evaporated.) ...yeah.

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(Sound of bell ringing. Mr O'Neill is back. He wears a back brace and has
a cane for support as he walks.)

O'NEILL: ...So even though the doctor strongly advised me to stay home and
recuperate, Ms Li told me I was needed here, and I couldn't refuse
*that*! (His expression says he really wishes he *could* refuse.)
But it's great to be back! Let's take roll!

(Close-up of Daria and Jane.)

DARIA: Tyranny, one. Education, zero.

JANE: Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

DARIA: (Bitter.) She was the best teacher this school's ever seen, but they
threw her away because she didn't fit into the "system".

O'NEILL: (He has a list and is reading names directly from it.) Landon?

JODIE: (Raises hand.) Here.

O'NEILL: Lane?

JANE: Yo!

O'NEILL: MacKenzie?

MACK: Here.

O'NEILL: (Pronounces slowly so he won't screw it up.) Mor-gen-dorff-er?

DARIA: (Sardonic.) Absent.

(Mr O'Neill looks over at her, troubled.)

JANE: Feel like shooting some stop-signs after pizza today?

DARIA: Sure. I have $10 I've been saving just for the occasion. (Referring
to the money her parents gave her for talking to them.)

O'NEILL: (Still wasting class-time with roll-call.) Taylor?

BRITTANY: Here!

O'NEILL: Thompson?

KEVIN: Umm... present?

O'NEILL: Okay! (Digs in his desk drawer.) Hmm... what happened to my
lesson plans? Oh well, I think I remember where we left off with
the "mono-myth". Campbell suggests that all mythical quests follow
a similar pattern of storytelling...

(Mr O'Neill goes with the exact same speech he gave before. As he speaks,
dissolve to images of the past week, Margot's crusade.)

O'NEILL: ...First the hero learns about and embarks upon a journey or quest.

(Margot finding and smashing the framed list of banned books.)

O'NEILL: ...Overcoming early obstacles endears the hero to the reader, makes
us *care* about his or her crusade.

(The class's positive reaction to Margot smashing the frame.)

O'NEILL: ...The journey progresses, becoming ever darker and *more*
perilous...

(Margot in the hot seat in Ms Li's office.)

O'NEILL: ...but the rewards of each victory become significantly greater...

(An attentive class, Daria and Jane sharing with Margot in the cafeteria,
Stacy ignoring Quinn and listening to Margot.)

O'NEILL: ...Up until the culmination of the quest...

(Margot at the Book Fair.)

O'NEILL: ...whereupon the hero either *triumphs*... or fails.

(Ms Li's guards dragging Margot out the door.)

O'NEILL: At times the torch is passed from one hero to another...

(Margot talking to Daria, Jane and Jodie through the fence surrounding
Lawndale.)

O'NEILL: And failure can even mean the hero's quest must continue even
further.

(Margot's cycle pulling up outside Oakwood High School.)

O'NEILL: Now, who'd like to read to the rest of the class, from the pages I
assigned? Anyone?

KEVIN: Catch, Mack Daddy!

(Kevin tosses his football, which bounces off Mack's desk. Mack glares at
him.)

O'NEILL: Kevin? Why don't you start on page fifteen.

KEVIN: Um, hang on... (Struggles to find the page, finally O'Neill has to
come over and do it for him. Reads.) Umm, "The... ty--... typical...
he--... --ro... em--... embo--..."

(Daria cringes, grits her teeth, squeezes her eyes shut. Kevin's painfully
slow reading is just *excruciating* to listen to.)

KEVIN: (Frustrated, this is hard.) *Man*!

O'NEILL: Umm, let's... give someone else a turn. Andrea?

(Andrea sits there staring at her desktop, doesn't even acknowledge him.)

O'NEILL: (Maybe someone else.) Ummm... Josie?

JODIE: (Annoyed.) *Jodie*!

O'NEILL: (Embarrassed.) Oh. Yes. I... knew that.

(Cut to Daria, half-resting, elbow on her desk, hand against one cheek, the
same posture as the first scene. She's back to being bored as hell.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: OAKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL.

CUT TO:

INT.: CLASSROOM.

(The class is transfixed.)

MARGOT: Fourth principle: Reward your followers. I teach, I get paid. You
learn, you get paid too. (Crooks finger.) Everybody c'mon up.

(She holds out a large manila envelope with the Lawndale High School logo
and the initials "A. Li" on it. Takes a wad of cash, waves it to the class,
they swarm up to her.)

MARGOT: (Loudly, to make herself heard.) Orderly fashion please, one at a
time, we're *adults* now.

(In the back, a girl who just exudes bad attitude suddenly brightens a bit.)

(...la la LA la la...)

(CREDITS AND CUTE LITTLE RENDERINGS OF THE CHARACTERS.)

CLOSING MUSIC: We'll go with the obvious choice here, Pink Floyd's "Another
Brick in the Wall".

THE END

Author's Notes: It was, IMO, high time for a story about Ms Li. I had
*fun* doing this one. Okay, so I have fun writing all of them, but I think
I'm especially pleased with this one. It says something. About something.
(Not just *anything*. B-) My main intent was to use Margot to show a
little of what makes the other characters -- Daria, Jodie, Ms Li -- tick.
Those of you who like to analyze these fics in detail -- and I love it when
you do! -- *this* is one I'm really interested in hearing about.

I knew from the outset I wanted the sub to be a woman, it just felt right
considering the show's perspective and the fact the majority of speaking
roles on "Daria" are females. But why make Margot black? Well, before
starting this script I happened across the alt.tv.daria FAQ (I forget the
URL, my apologies), which mentioned that Jodie and Mack were the only black
characters with regular speaking roles. I said, hey *yeah*. And Jodie's
parents are the only others we've seen with any lines at all. So I thought,
why not add another? That's all, nothing more to my decision whatsoever.
Any deeper subtext that seems to be implied by it was unintended and is
merely the product of your own overactive imagination.

[Disclaimer: "Daria" and all related characters are trademarks of MTV
Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc., and are used here
without permission for the purpose of fan fiction. I suppose if you
represent MTV's legal department you could sue, but think about it,
what's it really going to get you? I mean, *I* sure don't have any
money, and there's like fifty other people writing these fan stories,
so you might as well just live with it and maybe learn to appreciate
the fact that your show has such a loyal, dedicated legion of fans who
care enough to write things like this. Of course, you *could* just
hire us and that'd solve your problem nicely too.]

[This "Daria" fanfic story is copyright 1998 by C.E. Forman but may be
distributed freely in unaltered form to fans of "Daria" everywhere,
provided the author's name and e-mail address remain intact. Thank
you, and good night.]

Anybody got any fan art based on my fics? If so, you can send it to:

C.E. Forman
6823 N. TerraVista #706
Peoria, IL 61614

I'd love to see it, and I'll see if I can get Rowena to scan 'em. Through
e-mail is good too, JPEGs or bitmaps work best.

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