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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.)

This one kept growing ever larger in my mind as it sat unwritten. I'd
originally planned for it to be just another stand-alone episode, like
everything else I've done, but decided to explore the multi-part format.
This gave me the opportinity to do something a little bigger, give larger
roles to more characters, and throw in a number of dramatic and suspenseful
effects. Some flashbacks-within-flashbacks, forcing you to piece together
the sequence of events. I hope it doesn't come across as overwrought.

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

Daria in "Rain on Your Parade" (Part 1 of 2)

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

BEGIN ACT 1.

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN. EVENING, SATURDAY.

(A clear, warm Lawndale evening. Tents and booths are set up all about the
Green and its surrounding streets, with people everywhere. At one end is
an open-air stage with rows of foldable chairs in front. Dissolve to a pan
shot, moving past the Green, slowly down one of the streets, past rows of
carnival games and rides. Outside McGrundy's Brew Pub, stop, zoom in on the
shadowy mouth of the alley, fading the fair-music and people-noise. Dimly
visible in the carnival-light, Daria sits disconsolately on a crate, arms
on her knees, Slush Cup in hand.)

DARIA: (Sighs. Out loud, to herself.) It's my own damn fault. I'm always
letting myself get talked into these things. And now he hates me.
(Pause, she sips from the Slush Cup, then, dejectedly:) I don't even
care anymore. (Beat.) Wait a minute. If I don't care, why am I
sitting in an alley obsessing about this?

VOICE: (Female, familiar but we can't quite place it. [Actually, we
probably can, but it's more suspenseful this way, trust me.])
You realize talking to yourself is the first sign of impending
mental collapse.

(Someone steps into Daria's view from around the corner.)

DARIA: (Looks up as the shadow falls across her.) Oh, it's you.

VOICE: (Sardonic.) That's hardly any way to talk to your fav--

DARIA: (Interrupts.) If you don't mind, I'd rather not talk at all
right now.

VOICE: Except to yourself, I take it. (Pause, neither of them speaks.)
Daria, you have to open up to someone sooner or later.

DARIA: (Angry, miserable.) My life's a constant stream of screw-ups, one
after another.

VOICE: (Sympathetic but jokingly.) Okay, that's perfectly normal, nothing
wrong there.

DARIA: (Hesitates.) Have you ever... had something start out so
insignificant you didn't even realize it, then before you know it
it's completely out of control...? (Trails off.) I can't even tell
where it started to go wrong.

VOICE: C'mon, try. Just start from the top.

DARIA: (Sighs.) Okay... I was out with my friend Jane a couple days ago...

WAVERY FLASHBACK-DISSOLVE TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN. AFTERNOON, THURSDAY.

(Jane, in her shorts and running shoes, jogs up to the statue in the Green's
center, wipes sweat from her brow, takes a drink from her water bottle. At
the offscreen sound of puffing and panting, Jane turns, looks back the way
she came, as Daria plods up to her. Daria's in shorts and tennis shoes,
but still wears the green jacket. Her face is flushed and the front of her
shirt is soggy with sweat. Exhausted, she plops down at the foot of the
statue, breathing heavily, reaches up for Jane's water.)

JANE: (Pleased, hands her the bottle.) Good job, you made it!

DARIA: How... (pant) ...do you... (wheeze) ...*do* this... (pant) ...every
morning? (She takes a big gulp of water.)

JANE: You're just outta shape, that's all. You should come with me more
often.

DARIA: (pant) ...I think... (gasp) ...I'm gonna... (wheeze) ...pass out.
(Takes another gulp as Jane talks.)

JANE: (Smile.) Just close your eyes and keep telling yourself, it'll pass.
No single second is unendurable by itself.

DARIA: (Another drink from the bottle.) Very... (pant) ...Zen.

JANE: And don't sit like that too long, you'll get leg cramps.

(Jane extends a hand, helps Daria up. Daria leans over hands on knees,
still gasping for breath, sweat dripping from her face onto the sidewalk.)

JANE: (Claps her friend on the shoulder.) C'mon, let's walk it off.

(The two of them turn to go. Daria drinks some more water. Jane notices
several trucks unloading folding tents and mechanical rides further down
the Green.)

JANE: Hey, look, the carnival's in town.

DARIA: (Woozy from the exertion.) Carnival?

(They continue away from the trucks, in the direction of Daria's house.)

JANE: Yeah, this weekend's the annual Lawndale Days festival. (She says
"Lawndale Days" with plenty of disdain.)

DARIA: I thought most of Lawndale's population was already... (cough) ...in
a daze.

JANE: That's right, you weren't around for it last year, were you? See,
Lawndale Days is one of those age-old traditions nobody remembers why
we celebrate anymore. They bring in a carnival, a bunch of game
booths, the town has a craft show in the park...

(Jane reaches for the bottle, shakes it. It's empty, Daria drank it all.)

JANE: ...and there's a big parade Saturday, the band and the football team
march through town, it's sort of like Homecoming only stupider.

DARIA: What do shunned outcasts like ourselves do at an event like this?

JANE: Well, *I'll* be at the art expo. Ms DeFoe asked if I'd put some
paintings on display. Local-artist kind of thing. You can join me,
or maybe you'd rather hang out with Trent.

DARIA: (Eyes widen.) Trent?

VOICE: (Voice-over, from "present" scene at McGrundy's.) Trent?

DARIA: (Voice-over, from present, explanatory.) Jane's older brother.

JANE: Yeah, it's an historic moment, he'll actually be leaving the house.
The last two years, he's entered Mystik Spiral in the talent show.

DARIA: Ooh, a local contest. Separating the no-talent hacks from the flash-
in-the-pan hick-town posers.

JANE: Actually, there's normally a couple of scouts out here, so Trent
considers Lawndale Days one of his best shots at a big-time ticket.
With his new amp, he's convinced they'll take the big cash prize
this year.

DARIA: Not to mention the possibility of upping their fan-club membership
to a two-digit number.

(They're on the sidewalk by Daria's house now.)

JANE: Pretty much. Then everyone goes to the beer tent and gets wasted.
And traditionally some of the football players like to go whip garbage
and dead animals at the window where the schizo shut-in lives, to
freak her out.

(Fast zoom-in on Daria's window, the ends of the sawed-off metal bars still
visible through the pane. Back to Daria and Jane, who exchange looks.)

JANE: Um, I guess we'll have to remind them not to this year, won't we?

DARIA: (Voice-over, narration.) And beyond that, I never thought much about
him entering the show. Of course a lot happened the next two days,
starting with Quinn getting on my case as only she can.

VOICE: (VO.) Your sister?

DARIA: (VO.) The one and only -- thank God.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LATE EVENING, THURSDAY.

(Crickets, night noise.)

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, UPSTAIRS BATHROOM.

(Quinn is wearing her bunny nightgown [see "The Big House"] and is standing
between the sinks. She's applying some sort of green facial-mask product.
There's a knock at the door, and Daria, in her bedclothes, enters.)

QUINN: Get *out* of here!

DARIA: I just need to brush my teeth. We have two sinks, you know.

QUINN: (Turns, gives Daria and the audience a good look at the facial.)
Yes. And I need them both!

DARIA: (Deadpan.) This weekend is Lawndale Days, not Halloween.

QUINN: Shut up!

DARIA: (Smirks.) Ooh, good comeback. I'll have to remember that one.

QUINN: (Petulant.) *So*, just because I'm not a walking dictionary of
sarcastic comments like *you* are--

DARIA: (Interrupts.) Encyclopedia, Quinn. Not dictionary. If you're going
to make fun of me, at least get it right.

QUINN: Shut *up*, Daria!

DARIA: Hmm, it's not as witty the second time around. (Moves to sink.)
Come on, this'll only take a minute.

QUINN: (Decides she's going to be a belligerent pain-in-the-ass about this.)
No! Wait your turn! (She pushes Daria away.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER KITCHEN.

(Helen, wearing the nightgown she had in "That Was Then...", is at the
counter replacing the batteries in her cell phone. Jake, in his jammies,
sits at the table lining up dominoes in a spiral pattern that almost covers
the tabletop. Despite this playful behavior, he looks glum.)

HELEN: (Snaps battery cover closed, notices her husband.) What's the
matter, Jakey? Are you having another little mid-life crisis?

(She stands behind him, gently kneads his shoulders with her hands.)

JAKE: (Depressed.) Aww, Helen... (Sighs.) We're up to our asses in bills
-- the house, the car, the phone, all those damn traffic tickets that
smart-aleck cop keeps giving me... (Glowers.)

HELEN: (Pats his arm reassuringly.) Oh, Jakey, don't get yourself all
worked up over our finances again. We're getting things paid off,
and you know I can always work more overtime if we need it.

JAKE: (Shakes his head.) It's not just that, it's... everything. (Throws
up his hands in frustration.) Look at me, Helen! I've worked half my
life away, I've never gotten to really enjoy myself, and I don't have
a damn thing to show for any of it!

HELEN: (Tenderly.) Oh, *no*, honey, you have *lots* to show for it. We
have a really nice house, *much* nicer than the old one--

JAKE: And it's mortgaged.

HELEN: We're still together after 23 years. We have two great kids...

JAKE: And I can't relate to either of them!

HELEN: (Getting a bit irked at Jake's self-pity.) Well now think about
that, Jake. When was the last time you put aside all these
distractions-- (Here she points to the dominoes, citing them as an
example.) --and really *talked* to the girls? Really tried to
listen and understand them?

JAKE: Just the other day! I asked Daria how everything was, and she said
her life couldn't possibly get any better. (Smiles, pleased.)

HELEN: (Pats his head.) Jake, honey, she was being facetious.

JAKE: Well *now* you tell me!

CUT TO:

INT.: UPSTAIRS BATHROOM.

(Daria and Quinn, still at it.)

DARIA: Just let me get my brush, then you can smear your face with guacamole
all you want.

QUINN: No! And it's *not* guacamole, it's an-- (Picks up canister, reads
label, pronouncing the big words slowly.) --"overnight deep-cleaning
ep-i-der-mal ex-fo-li-at-ing cleanser".

DARIA: Good thing you told me before I broke out the corn chips.

QUINN: (Losing patience fast.) *Dammit* Daria, will you get the hell out
of here?! You're distracting me!

DARIA: How much concentration can this possibly require?

QUINN: (With one hand, gently touches up the application.) I have to make
sure this is spread evenly, otherwise it might exfoliate part of my
face more than the rest, and it wouldn't look normal.

DARIA: Does looking "normal" always involve applying crap to different parts
of your body?

QUINN: (Snaps.) Shut up!

DARIA: Okay, I think you need a new catch-phrase now.

QUINN: (Seriously angry now.) I *hate* you, Daria!

DARIA: That's a good start.

QUINN: (Storms past Daria.) Mo-OOMMM!! Daria's bugging me!

DARIA: Even better.

(Daria retrieves her toothbrush and uncaps the tube of toothpaste.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM.

(Helen waits inside the kitchen, arms crossed, Quinn at her side. Daria
comes down the stairs into the living room, moves toward the remote on the
couch.)

HELEN: (No-nonsense tone.) Daria, come in here a minute.

(Knowing what this is about, Daria gives a disgusted sigh, tosses the remote
back on the cushion. Cut to the kitchen as she enters.)

JAKE: (Watching dominoes intently.) Careful, kiddo, don't bump the table.

HELEN: (Leaves Jake to his own devices for the moment.) Did you kick your
sister out of the bathroom?

DARIA: No, she left of her own accord. Besides, she was the one telling
me to get out.

QUINN: (Insistent, to Helen.) She *made* me leave, she kept... (Frustrated,
she can't put what Daria does into words.) ...*bugging* me, and like,
saying things and... *stuff*!

HELEN: C'mon, knock it off you two! Remember the talk we had when we first
moved in here? The bathroom is big enough for both of you to share.

QUINN: Mo-OO-OOMMMM!! (Melodramatic.) I *can't*, not with *her*, it's
*JUST*, *NOT*, *POSSIBLE*!

HELEN: (Turns to her husband, who's gone back to his domino formation.)
Jake, now might be a good time to try out that listening and
understanding we talked about.

JAKE: (Distracted, with the dominoes.) Not now, Helen, I'm on a roll here.

(Helen gives an irritated sigh and slaps him on the back of the head.)

JAKE: (Looks up.) Oww! What's going on? (Is taken by surprise when he
sees Quinn's facial-mask.) Uhh!

(Helen glares at him.)

JAKE: (To Quinn, trying too hard to act interested.) Umm, what is that
stuff, sweetheart?

QUINN: It's an overnight deep-cleaning... umm... (Can't remember what the
label said.) ...epidemic... something. It's a beauty mask.

DARIA: (Sardonic.) It's working, she looks better already.

HELEN: Daria, that's enough! (Sighs.) I just can't stand seeing you girls
fight like this all the time.

DARIA: You'd think after fourteen-and-a-half years you'd get desensitized.

HELEN: I'm serious, Daria. (Standing between them, puts an arm around
each of their shoulders, both cringe and try to pull away.) You're
sisters, and you mean the world to each other.

QUINN: (To Daria.) We do?

DARIA: First I've heard of it.

HELEN: It used to be so nice and quiet, what happened with you two? Where
did it start to be like this? (Looks to her husband for help.) Jake?

JAKE: Hmmm...

(Closeup of Jake, hand to his chin, thinking. The scene blurs into a
flashback:)

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, HIGHLAND, 14 1/2 YEARS AGO.

(Shot of the living room seen in Daria's "Pinch Sitter" flashbacks. Closeup
of the front door as Jake and Helen enter, Jake's hair short but still with
the large sideburns, Helen with shoulder-length hair [kind of like the
present-day Daria's] and holding a pink-blanketed bundle.)

(Cut to Jake and Helen's POV. The rest of the family is sitting on the
couch, having been waiting for them. We recognize younger versions of
Helen's sisters Rita and Amy, and next to Rita a tall and lanky artsy-type
who's most likely the sculptor mentioned in "I Don't". Amy wears her
glasses. On the floor, a young cousin Erin -- 6 or 7 -- plays with a pair
of dolls. In the corner, as far away from everyone else as possible, a
green-clad toddler has her face buried in a kiddie book. There is no sign
of Helen's parents, or any member of Jake's family.)

JAKE: (Announcement.) We're home!

AMY: (Dry, sarcastic.) I never would've guessed if you hadn't told me.

HELEN: (Hands the bundle to Jake.) Be right back, honey, I just need to
call work and tell them I'll be in tomorrow.

RITA: (Surprised she's going back so soon.) Tomorrow, Helen?

HELEN: (Bile.) Yes, Rita, *tomorrow*. Some of us have to *work* for a
living, you know, some of us don't have *Mother* giving us every
little thing we need! (Helen stalks out, to the kitchen.)

AMY: She's still pissed about the thousand, I take it.

RITA: (To Amy.) What do you *do*, keep a running tally of *everything*
Mom and Dad do for me?

JAKE: Speaking of which, where are your parents, Rita?

RITA: Oh, they couldn't make it. As usual. Mom asked us to tape this for
her so she could watch it later.

(Rita picks up Jake's camcorder from an end table -- an earlier model, not
the same one seen in "Monster" and "Pierce Me". Camera-view as Rita zooms
in on the new baby.)

ERIN: (Puts dollies down, gets up.) Can I see, Uncle Jake? (Looks.) Ohhh,
she's so *cute*!!

RITA: (Smiles.) Yes, she is cute. (Slightly smug.) Not as cute as little
Erin, of course... Now Daria on the other hand has always been kind
of a homely baby, she must've gotten Helen's looks.

HELEN'S VOICE: (From kitchen, snaps.) I heard that, Rita!

(Throughout this whole exchange, the sculptor stares into space in this
vacantly deep-arty way, doesn't say a thing. Jake, uncomfortable at the
two sisters fighting, carries the bundle over to where Daria is sitting.)

JAKE: (Big smile.) Hiya, kiddo!

(Daria barely peeks over the book before turning back to it.)

AMY: (Disdain.) Oh for God's sake, don't call her that.

JAKE: What? Why?

AMY: Because. You'll get into the habit, then you'll keep doing it even
when she's older, and it'll bug the hell out of her.

JAKE: (Cheerfully dismisses this.) Oh, I will *not*!

RITA: She hasn't said a word, I can't believe she's not talking yet. Little
Erin was saying all kinds of things when she was only ten months.
Daria's what now, almost one-and-a-half?

AMY: (Sardonic, to Rita.) Maybe she hasn't met anyone worth talking to.

JAKE: (Was listening to Amy and Rita, now turns back to Daria.) Daria?
Sweetie? Would you like to meet the newest member of our family?
(Holds the bundle out gently.)

(Daria lowers the book and we get a good look at her for the first time.
Her hair is short, just slightly longer than her first-birthday photo in
"The Daria Diaries". She doesn't have the glasses yet, but she squints at
the bundle Jake is holding as if it's hard to see.)

JAKE: (Kneels, holds the baby closer.) See, Daria? This is Quinn. Your
new baby sister!

(Close-up of the blanket, our first glimpse of baby Quinn. She's
sickeningly cute, with little peach-fuzz red hair. She smiles and makes a
sickeningly cute sound.)

DARIA: (High-pitched, child-voiced monotone.) Hate baby Quinn!

JAKE: (Stunned, then delighted, calls into the next room where Helen went.)
Oh my gosh, Helen, she *talked*! Daria just said her first words!!

(Close-up of toddler Daria's bland expressionless face.)

FLASH-FORWARD TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER KITCHEN.

(Close-up of 16-year-old Daria, still wearing the same look. Back up to
a shot of the entire room: Jake at the domino-laden table, still with the
daydreaming look; Helen, Daria and Quinn in bedclothes, standing.)

HELEN: (Notices Jake's mind has wandered.) *Jake*!

JAKE: (Snaps out of it.) Uh! I'm awake! (Winces as he almost knocks the
dominoes over.)

HELEN: The point is, this constant fighting has to stop. What do we have
to do with you girls?

DARIA: Pit us against each other in a bloody struggle to the death?

JAKE: (Looks intrigued.) Fifty dollars on Daria!

QUINN: (Appalled.) *Daddy*!

HELEN: *Jake*! (Now looks at him suspiciously, because of the betting
comment.) Jake, have you been hanging around that seedy racetrack
again?!

JAKE: (Innocently.) Just 'till I win. (Sulks.) *Then* I'll show that
betting-booth punk a thing or two!

HELEN: (Suddenly stops being supportive-wife Helen, becomes nagging-bitch
Helen.) Dammit Jake, what kind of business consultant *are* you?!
You throw all that money away *gambling* and then you wonder *why*
we're in so much debt?!

(At the word "why", she lifts the chair next to Jake's, slams it down
emphatically, jarring the table enough to start the domino progression
toppling over.)

JAKE: (Whiny.) Aww, Helen, you wrecked it! (Sees his little creation come
to life, spinning around toward the center, gets a delighted smile.)
Hey, look at 'em go!

DARIA: (To Quinn, seeing as how the family discussion has pretty much
disintegrated, gestures upstairs.) I'm finished, it's all yours.

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

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Daria, out of breath, jogging the last few steps to
catch up with Jane.)

END ACT 1.

(COMMERCIAL: Okay, at least a dozen people e-mailed to say they actually do
read my commercials, so I'm convinced. Just checking.)

BEGIN ACT 2.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, FRIDAY.

CUT TO:

INT.: MRS BENNETT'S CLASSROOM.

(Mrs B's doing the thing with the football diagrams. A lot of downward-
spiralling arrows in this one.)

BENNETT: It took awhile before everyone realized what had gone wrong. Raids
occurred on banks that didn't have the funds to cover them. Stock
prices dropped as people panicked and sold all their shares.
Finally, on Black Thursday -- October 24, 1929 -- the market
crashed and the economy plunged into the Great Depression. Now,
who can tell me--

LI'S VOICE: (Announcement over PA, interrupting.) Gooood morning, young
people! I just wanted to remind eeeeveryone who might have had
other plans, that this weekend is Laaaawwwndale Daaayyys.
Taking part in your community is an excellent way to bring
hooonor to your school. Everyone *will* attend, everyone
*will* participate, everyone *will* have a good time. Anyone
who does *not* will answer to *me*!

(As Ms Li wraps up this announcement, the camera cuts to a close-up of
Upchuck, leering at a dirty magazine.)

BENNETT: Now, who can tell me what economic lesson we can take from this?

(Cut to Daria.)

DARIA: Keep all your money in your mattress?

BENNETT: Charles? (Notices what he's reading.) Charles! What have I told
you about reading those in class?

UPCHUCK: (Suave grin, or at least what passes for one on Upchuck.) I don't
remember, Mrs B. I must have been... occupied at the time. (Turns
a page in the magazine.) Ooohhh, baby! Chuckie wants your looove!

BENNETT: Charles, go to the principal's office, *now*! (Realizes she's
actually raised her voice to a student, immediately softens.)
...please.

DARIA: (To Jane, as he leaves.) Upchuck's life is a Great Depression.

CUT TO:

INT.: MS LI'S OFFICE.

(Ms Li has an open briefcase full of money on her desk. When the door opens
suddenly, she slams the briefcase shut and stashes it beneath her desk.
Upchuck enters, holding his open magazine sideways to look at the
centerfold.)

LI: Well, well. Mr Ruttheimer. (Folds her hands professionally on the
desktop.) What a pleasant surprise. And what brings you here?

UPCHUCK: (Cordial, persuasive tone.) I'm afraid there's been a little
misunderstanding, you see--

LI: (Sees magazine.) Pornography *again*?! I'll take that!

(She snatches it from his hands, rolls her chair to a locked cabinet,
unlocks it. Inside are all kinds of confiscated student possessions, from
portable stereos to toys to weapons. On one side is an entire stack of
dirty magazines. Ms Li places Upchuck's newest on top.)

UPCHUCK: But Ms Li, I--

LI: (Swivels around, snaps.) Three days after-school detention.

CUT TO:

EXT.: HALLWAY.

(Upchuck emerges from Ms Li's office, with a crushed look on his face,
closes the door.)

UPCHUCK: (Suddenly grins, plotting, rubs his hands together.) Vengeance
shall be mine. Oh, yes.

CUT TO:

INT.: YEARBOOK PHOTO LAB.

(Everything is bathed in sharp red light. A figure, back to the camera,
removes negatives from a tray of developer, hangs the developed photos from
a clothesline which is stretched across the length of the room. Work
complete, the figure switches off the red lamp and turns on the regular
light. It's Ted, "The New Kid", and he looks exactly the same as he did
in that episode. He opens the door to the yearbook room, enters. Jodie
is waiting.)

TED: Oh, hi Jodie.

JODIE: Ted, have you seen Daria Morgendorffer anywhere?

TED: No, I don't hang around with her anymore. She's just not... What's
that word all the kids use? "Cool", I think.

JODIE: (Anxious.) Well if you see her, tell her I'm looking for her.
Cheryl has mono and I need--

TED: Cheryl has mono? Oh no!

JODIE: Don't worry, we're still playing, I just need to get someone to take
her place.

TED: But Daria Morgendorffer? She'll never agree to it, remember how she
quit yearbook?

JODIE: Well no one else can, so I have to try.

TED: Oh, by the way, Mr DeMartino says need some yearbook photos of the band
and football team in the parade. But the storage cabinet is locked and
I need more film.

JODIE: Ms Li has the keys, check with her.

TED: Thanks! This is gonna be fun!

JODIE: You've never been to Lawndale Days before?

TED: My parents warned me it was really commercialized. But I think this
year I'm finally ready. (Beat.) Will there be gum available for
purchase?

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, HALLWAY.

(Daria is at her locker. Jodie comes up to her, carrying a band-instrument
case and looking all worried.)

JODIE: Daria, I have to talk to you.

DARIA: (Turns.) Aren't you doing that right now?

JODIE: (Sighs.) Can I ask you a question?

DARIA: You just did.

(Jane arrives, catches this last bit, smirks as she opens her locker.)

JODIE: (Frustrated.) Daria, *please*, this is really important. I need
someone I can depend on, and I don't know where else to turn.

DARIA: So you're down to me. You *must* be desperate.

JODIE: (Stressed-out, pleading.) C'mon, Daria, how often do I ask you to
help me out with something?

JANE: (Opens a notebook, pretends to check it as if she's been keeping
track.) About once a week, by my count.

JODIE: (Let's Jane's comment slide.) The band's supposed to be in the
Lawndale Days parade, and I have a quintet entered in the talent
show, but our cymbalist came down with mono and she's not going to
be able to play.

DARIA: (Closes locker.) It's weird how I'm not at all concerned about that.

JODIE: Daria, *please*! I thought we were friends, I thought I could count
on you for a little school spirit!

DARIA: (Dead-serious tone.) Look, Jodie. I've *tried* school activities
before, and they all have a history of turning completely idiotic or
leaving deep psychological scars.

JODIE: (Thinks she's bluffing, calls it.) Like what? Give me some examples.

DARIA: (Counts off on her fingers.) The student coffeehouse: I signed up
for fundraising, they busted me for being ethical. The poster
contest: Ms Li changed my work and forced me to enter it anyway.
Yearbook: All my ideas were outvoted by the popular crowd. The
Student Council carwash: (Makes a painful-memory face.) Forget it,
let's not even discuss that.

JANE: (Mock pride.) No one holds petty grudges quite like our Daria.

JODIE: Okay, so you've had some bad experiences from extracurricular
activities, I understand, I've had some too. That doesn't mean you
should give up on them completely.

DARIA: Think about it, Jodie. If the dogs bite off your fingers, do you
stick your other hand through the fence?

JANE: (Smiles appreciatively at Daria.) God, where do you come *up* with
these things?

JODIE: (Desperate.) Just one more. Just help me out this one last time, and
I swear to God I won't ask for anything else for at least two months.

DARIA: (Gotta find a way out.) There must be someone else who can cover.

JODIE: (Shakes her head.) No, the rest of the band members already have
their own groups for the talent show.

JANE: (Trying to help Daria's cause.) What about your beau?

JODIE: Mack's gotta ride with the rest of the football team. C'mon, it's
easy, all you've gotta do is count. Two songs, and you're a fast
learner. Didn't you ever take music at your old school?

DARIA: Well, I did play the flute...

JODIE: Great!

DARIA: In third grade.

JODIE: (Disappointed.) Oh. Well, here... (She kneels, zips open the
instrument case, hands the cymbals to Daria.) Just try it.

(Daria winds up, and slams the cymbals together. Everyone in the hallway
turns and stares at her. A couple of heads poke out of classroom doors.)

JODIE: (Smiles encouragingly.) You're a natural. That's all there is to it!

DARIA: (Resigned.) All right, *fine*. But I'm *not* marching.

JODIE: We don't have to. Fifth-period shop built us a float two years ago.

JANE: After the drum majorette slipped on some horse crap and broke her
collarbone.

DARIA: And I'm not wearing one of those ridiculous uniforms.

JODIE: But they're school colors! Everyone'll look the same, trust me,
you'll blend in and no one'll even notice you.

DARIA: All right, uniform. But no hat.

JODIE: (Decisively.) Deal! Thanks *so* much, Daria! (Gives her a little
hug, Daria keeps her arms firmly at her sides, makes a sour face.)
Practice is in the band room today, after lunch! (Much relieved, she
heads off down the hall.)

DARIA: Damn, I was hoping she'd say no on the hat. Then I could've had an
excuse to refuse.

JANE: She talked you into it again, huh? (Teasing smirk.) Who says you're
a fast learner?

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I loathe and despise you.

JANE: Enough with the sticky-sweetness, you're making me ill.

FLASH-FORWARD TO:

EXT.: ALLEY BEHIND MCGRUNDY'S. EVENING, SATURDAY.

(Daria seated on the crate, with the shadow across her form.)

DARIA: (Looking down at the ground, shakes her head.) What can I say, my
guard was down, I wasn't even thinking about... who else was entering.
The irony of it all is just sickening: Trying to help one friend
ended up hurting another. I didn't even want to do the stupid thing
to begin with. So I end up looking like an idiot.

VOICE: Didn't Kafka say something kind of like that?

DARIA: Yeah, I was saying it to Jane just the other day. "The person who
does not want to do the ridiculous thing--"

FLASHBACK TO:

INT.: CAFETERIA. FRIDAY.

(Daria and Jane eating lunch together.)

DARIA: (Mid-sentence.) "--is the person who is ridiculous." In other
words, regardless of the fact everyone *else* will be the ones
wearing those absurd uniforms, *I'm* the one who'll look even
stupider if I try to back out now.

JANE: Only to the other band members. Besides, there are much bigger ways
to make a fool of yourself. (Points.) Just ask Upchuck.

(Daria and Jane look over at the nerds' table. Upchuck stands before them
with a small wood-and-glass display case with some small plush toys inside.)

UPCHUCK: (Holds it up for the others to see.) *Behold*, gentlemen! My
second *complete* set of Itty-Bitty Fuzzy Wuzzy WeeBits from the
Cluster Burger kids meals!

(Chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" from Upchuck's fellow nerds.)

UPCHUCK: (Gloating.) All unopened, *all* still with the warning-stickers
about choking, *plus* the ultra-rare factory defect where Necky
the Baby Giraffe has seven eyes!

(Another awed chorus. One of them reaches for the case, Upchuck pulls it
away.)

UPCHUCK: Ah-ah-*ah*! All are free to look, but *none* may touch!

(Back to Daria and Jane.)

DARIA: I suppose it could be a lot worse.

JANE: Mm-hmm.

CUT TO:

INT.: BAND ROOM.

(The band is seated, in the midst of "High School Cadets" by John Philip
Sousa. The band instructor [not yet seen on the show, use your imagination,
dammit!] waves a little conductor's baton all over the place. Daria's in
the back, on cymbals. We can also pick out Jodie on trombone, Upchuck on
trumpet, and a few other familiar faces -- Evan from "See Jane Run" on
French horn, the nerd from Mr O'Neill's self-esteem class on clarinet, the
tall dude with orange hair and shades on bass drum, the fat girl on sax,
etc. After a few measures, Ms Li enters. The band teacher doesn't notice.)

LI: (Voice muffled by the band, still playing.) May I have everyone's
attention?

(She realizes no one can hear her, flicks the lights on and off. The
song dies away. A few students keep playing, or just making noise. Daria
crashes the cymbals deafeningly, shutting everybody up.)

LI: Thank you, Ms Morgendorffer. (Addresses the entire band.) I just
wanted to stop by and wish all our young musicians the best of luck
this weekend. I am confident that weeee will win both the best parade
entry aaaand the talent-show prize money, and will bring great honor
unto... Laaawndale Highhhhh.

DARIA: (To Jodie, who's in front of her.) Obviously she hasn't seen the
uniforms yet.

LI: That is all. Continue practicing.

BAND TEACHER: Okay, let's pick it up from measure 56...

(The band starts up again as Ms Li steps out into the hallway.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS LI'S OFFICE.

(Ms Li enters, goes to her phone, hits a number on the speed-dial. Split-
screen between Ms Li and someone else, whose black-robed hand lifts the
phone. We don't see a face.)

MALE VOICE: (Deep, kind of gurgly.) Yes?

(In the background of Ms Li's office, Ted enters unnoticed, presumably to
request the keys to the film-storage cabinet.)

LI: C.J., it's Angela. I've got your fee. (Pats the briefcase below her
desk.) Do we still have a deal on the talent show?

"C.J.": Indeed we do.

LI: And the other judges understand this?

"C.J.": Of course. The $1000 cash prize will go to-- (Mocking her.)
--Laaawndale Hiiighhh...

LI: (Irritation.) Will you *stop* it, I do *not* sound like that!

"C.J.": Any preferences?

LI: Hmm, yes, the Landon girl. She's involved a lot with the school, pick
her group. Beyond that, I don't care. Your call.

TED: (Gingerly approaches her desk.) Ms Li?

LI: (Notices him for the first time, hasty dismissal.) Tomorrow, then.
Don't let me down, C.J.

(She hangs up. Back to full screen.)

TED: (A bit of suspicion creeping through his typical naivete.) Who was
that, Ms Li?

LI: (Folds hands on her desk, stares him in the eye.) Don't tell me, Mr
DeWitt-Clinton, let me guess. Chewing gum in class again?

CUT TO:

EXT.: GRIFFIN RESIDENCE. AFTERNOON, FRIDAY.

CUT TO:

INT.: LIVING ROOM.

(Fashion Club meeting in progress. Quinn and Sandi are on opposite ends
of the couch. Tiffany and Stacy are on the floor, Tiffany sitting, Stacy
lying on her stomach with a stenographer's notebook in front of her. On
the floor is a bowl of carrot and celery sticks, diet sodas all around.)

SANDI: So what's the verdict? Exfoliating beauty mask, or pore-cleansing
facial strips?

QUINN: I say the strips. If it starts itching underneath the mask there's
nothing you can do without ruining it.

TIFFANY: Plus the mask takes forever to dry.

(Sandi glares at Tiffany for agreeing with Quinn. Stacy writes all of this
down. Sandi's cat wanders in, Tiffany pets it.)

QUINN: (Takes the beauty-mask stuff out of her purse, opens it, hands it to
Sandi.) Plus this stuff smells kind of weird. Too much like lotion.

(Sandi sniffs, puts it back on the couch.)

SANDI: Perhaps. (Air of superiority.) But *some* of us are willing to
endure a little discomfort in the interest of looking good. (Notices
the cat has jumped up on the couch and is licking the open jar of
facial-mask.) No! *Bad* Fluffy! Get *down*!

(She pushes the cat off the couch. It jumps back up on Quinn's lap, earning
it a jealous look from Sandi. Quinn smiles quietly, pets Fluffy.)

TIFFANY: So what are we doing at Lawndale Days this year?

SANDI: As members of the Fashion Club, we should give something back to the
community that elected us as the most popular.

QUINN: How about we set up a fashion booth? We could give out advice and do
makeovers!

STACY: We can bring a camera, and take "before" and "after" pictures!

TIFFANY: Especially for people like Quinn's weird cousin or whatever.

SANDI: (Looks at Quinn suspiciously.) Yeah. "Or whatever."

(Sandi's younger brothers, Sam and Chris, come in to watch TV.)

SAM: Aww, man, I hate it when Sis has her friends over!

CHRIS: Look! Quinn's here!

SAM: (Brightens.) Hi, Quinn!

(The two boys go up to Quinn and lavish attention on her.)

QUINN: Hi Sam, hi Chris.

CHRIS: Are you comfortable?

SAM: (Picks up the bowl, offers it to her.) Want another carrot stick?

CHRIS: (Points to her glass of soda.) Is that too much ice? I can take
some of it back.

SAM: Wanna go out with me sometime?

CHRIS: (Punching at Sam.) No way, she likes me!

QUINN: Well I normally don't date younger guys, but... I suppose you could
save up your allowance for a few months and take me to Chez Pierre.

CHRIS: (Dream-come-true look.) Who? Me or Sam?

QUINN: Both of you!

(Spiteful look from Sandi. Fluffy the cat stirs, jumps to the floor, slinks
away to an open area of the carpet, starts making unpleasant hacking sounds.)

CHRIS: Look! Fluffy's gonna hurl!

(Cut to the boys' and the Fashion Club's reaction as a particularly wet
nasty sound is heard from Fluffy.)

FASHION CLUB: Eee-eewwwwww!!

(Sam and Chris laugh, demented little chuckles.)

SAM: Cool!

CUT TO:

EXT.: LANE RESIDENCE.

CUT TO:

INT.: JANE'S BEDROOM.

(Paintings are everywhere. Daria sits on the bed, appraising them as Jane,
on her knees, continues to pull them out of her closet.)

JANE: I'm thinking I should go with ten, maybe a dozen of these, try to show
off the diversity of my work.

DARIA: (Holding up the picture from "Gifted", Quinn with her head in a
guillotine.) I *really* like this one. Such an uplifting message.

TRENT'S VOICE: Morning, Janey.

(Daria blushes, averts her eyes awkwardly as Trent enters with no shirt on,
scratches sleepily at the back of his head.)

JANE: (Her back is turned, she doesn't see Daria's reaction.) It's 4:30 in
the afternoon, Trent.

TRENT: Whatever. (Notices Janey has company.) Oh. Hey, Daria.

DARIA: (Pretending to study a painting really intently.) Mm. Hi. (She
sneaks a peek when Trent turns away.)

JANE: You're sleeping your life away.

TRENT: Only in the daytime. Oh, and sometimes nights, too.

(Jane finally pulls out the last painting, stands, sees Trent standing there
shirtless.)

JANE: For God's sake, Trent. Put a shirt on, we've got company.

TRENT: (Remembering.) I knew I came in here for something. Do we have any
laundry detergent?

JANE: (Disbelief.) *You're* doing laundry?

TRENT: Mom's not here. And I'm all out of shirts I've only worn six times.

JANE: I think Summer picked us some up the last time she was here. Probably
still some left.

(Trent starts to leave, then turns back.)

TRENT: Where?

JANE: By the washing machine. (When she realizes Trent doesn't know where
that is.) In the basement, Trent.

TRENT: (Nods.) Gotcha. Thanks, Janey.

JANE: Gettin' all squeaky-clean for your big performance tomorrow?

DARIA: Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of being a grunge musician?

(Jane and Trent chuckle appreciatively. Trent sits down on the edge of
Jane's bed, not too close to Daria. She gives a little sideways look, then
very gently scoots just a hair closer to him.)

TRENT: (Doesn't notice.) Last year we scored ninth place. This time we'll
take the crown for sure.

JANE: Don't get too confident. Daria's entering too, you know.

(Frozen look of shock on Daria's face.)

DARIA: (Voice-over, from "present".) I think that's when it first hit me,
that I was responsible for the stupidest, most horrible mistake in
the world. (Beat.) Well, not counting Quinn.

(Unfreeze, continue.)

TRENT: (Nonplussed.) Really? That's cool. What are you doing?

DARIA: Band quintet. (To Jane.) Are you *sure* you don't want to take my
place?

JANE: Positive. (Shitty grin.) Besides, I'm not a musician, I'm an
*artist*!

(Trent frowns at this, gives her a look.)

JANE: I'm just *kidding*! (She pushes Trent's shoulder lightly, he flops
backward onto the bed.) Besides, the band always has me work the
lights.

TRENT: Yeah, that's right.

DARIA: (Helpfully.) Unless you'd rather have *me* help with them?

TRENT: Nah, that's okay, Daria. Janey can handle it.

(Daria's obviously disappointed, thinking he doesn't want her help. She's
also gotten uncomfortable sitting next to a bare-chested Trent, squirms
awkwardly.)

JANE: Still thinking of changing the band's name?

TRENT: (Still lying down.) We might. We haven't decided yet. (Thinks.)
Maybe I should write a new song for the occasion.

DARIA: (Again summoning courage.) I'd... be glad to help you with it.

(No response.)

DARIA: Trent?

JANE: (Louder.) Trent!

(Trent emits a snore.)

DARIA: (Looks down at him.) Guess he's gonna sleep on it awhile.

JANE: (Shakes her head, Trent missed all of Daria's signals again.) He just
doesn't get it, does he?

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

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Daria crashing the cymbals in the hallway, everyone
turning and looking.)

END ACT 2.

(COMMERCIAL: Since I haven't picked out a lot of music for this episode,
let's throw in some music commercials: The "NOW" CD, the new Alanis
Morissette album, maybe plugs for "The Cut" and "Revue". It's pretty bad
when you have to watch *commercials* on MTV to get any music; I still
remember back in the 80s when it was all videos. Not that I object to them
airing "Daria", just all this "Real World"/"Road Rules" crap. And "Singled
Out" really sucked. But I did like "The State", that was funny. Aren't
those guys on Comedy Central now?)

BEGIN ACT 3.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: ALLEY BEHIND MCGRUNDY'S. EVENING, SATURDAY.

(Still Daria sitting on the crate with the mysterious shadow across her.)

DARIA: That was the last I talked to him before tonight. Today when you
showed up, Dad was still depressed as hell, and Mom was already on
the warpath...

FLASHBACK TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM. EARLY AFTERNOON, SATURDAY.

(Jake's in front of the TV, sans paper for once. Quinn passes quickly from
the kitchen to the front door.)

QUINN: (Life's-unfair tone.) Dad, if that's Grandma on the phone, tell Mom
to put her in Daria's room, I don't want her peeing all over the
mattress again!

(She's out, pushing past Jodie who's just arrived wearing her band uniform,
carrying an extra one and her instrument case. She holds the door open,
knocks to make sure someone sees she's here.)

JAKE: (Looks over from TV, he didn't even notice Quinn.) Oh, hi, Jodie!

JODIE: Hi, Mr Morgendorffer.

JAKE: Daria's upstairs, end of the hall.

JODIE: Thanks.

(She leaves the trombone case, goes upstairs with the uniform as Helen
enters from the kitchen with the cordless phone.)

HELEN: (Hangs up, slams the antenna down in annoyance, makes a frustrated
sound.) Dammit! Of all the cities in the tri-county area, we had to
pick the one she comes to every year, God only knows *why*.

JAKE: So she *is* coming?

HELEN: (Disgusted snort.) Yes, she's already here, just checked into the
Lawndale Manor.

JAKE: A hotel? But she's *family*, Helen!

HELEN: Yes. And that's precisely why I won't have her staying in this house!

JAKE: (Concedes.) Good point.

CUT TO:

INT.: DARIA'S ROOM.

(Daria has changed into the extra pair of band pants Jodie brought -- blue
with a yellow stripe down each leg -- and is slipping on the jacket. Jodie
spots the skull on the floor, picks it up.)

JODIE: Your room is exactly like I expected it.

DARIA: (Sticks a thumb inside the pants' waistline, examines them.) These
pants are too tight.

JODIE: Yeah, Cheryl's about your sister's size. Sorry we don't have any
extra pairs. But you only have to wear it for a couple of hours,
just for the parade and the talent show. Take a change of clothes
if you'd like.

DARIA: Good thing I don't need to breathe to play the cymbals.

JODIE: (Eternal gratitude.) Thanks *so* much for doing this, Daria, it
really means a lot to me.

DARIA: Mm, whatever.

JODIE: (Looks from the windows to the filed-away bars.) I always wondered
what this place looked like inside.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM.

("Sick, Sad World" music as Daria and Jodie come down the stairs. Daria has
her cymbals and a bag with her regular clothes. Jodie picks up the trombone
case she left by the front door.)

ANNOUNCER: Torn apart by decadence, vice, and corruption! The mafia in
crisis, a "Sick, Sad World" exclusive!

(Jake notices the girls and quickly switches channels.)

ANNOUNCER: --while the price of gold inched a bit higher. The big news in
technology stocks, today's last-minute cancellation of the ComCo
merger sent stock prices plummeting--

JAKE: (Distraught.) Awww, NO! Dammit! (Remembers Daria and Jodie.) Bye,
kiddo, have fun! (Sees her band uniform but completely misses its
significance. "Hip" tone.) Love the new threads. Killer.

(Daria and Jodie are out. In comes Helen, in casual attire.)

HELEN: (Stops and sees him in front of the TV.) Jake, honey, get your
shoes on.

JAKE: Huh? Why?

HELEN: We're going to Lawndale Days, you're coming with.

JAKE: Awww, do I *have* to?!

HELEN: Jake, you're miserable. All you do is watch TV, and you get so
touchy whenever anyone says the slightest little thing--

JAKE: (Snaps.) Do not!

HELEN: You need to relax, honey. The festivities will do you some good,
you'll enjoy yourself. Just let me find my pager... (She heads
upstairs.)

JAKE: (Pouty.) Fine, just drag me along. Don't even *ask* if I have
anything better to do! (Changes channel again, gets delighted
expression.) Awright! "Gilligan's Island"! (Singing along with the
theme song.) "Juuust sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale
of a fateful trip!"

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, FASHION CLUB'S BOOTH.

(The four F.C. members are seated behind a booth, giving Mrs Manson a
makeover. The banner above their booth proclaims:
"LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL FASHION CLUB
FASHION ADVICE: $2.00
MAKEOVERS: $10.00
FOR REALLY UNATTRACTIVE PEOPLE: $20.00")

QUINN: Now this will make your hair all the same color again, but it'll only
last a few weeks. You can get more at the cosmetics department at
Cashman's for $24.99.

SANDI: (Turns to a girl buying a corndog at the stand next to the F.C.
booth.) Excuse me? Don't you know eating greasy food can lead to
breakouts?

(The girl touches her face, concerned, and changes her mind, leaving without
buying anything. The vendor looks at the four of them like she wishes they'd
go set up shop elsewhere. Sandi touches up Manson's makeup a bit.)

STACY: (Brushes the last of the artificial color into Manson's hair.)
There, you're all set!

TIFFANY: (To Mrs Manson, opens a cash box.) That'll be $20.00.

CUT TO:

EXT.: HIGH HILLS PARK, ART AND CRAFT SHOW.

(Through-the-camera shot as Jane snaps a Polaroid of a smiling Jodie and
stone-faced Daria together in their band uniforms.)

DARIA: I'm destroying the negatives.

JANE: (Puts camera away.) C'mon, you've gotta meet my Mom.

(Jane leads them out of the art-exhibition booth and over to a nearby table
where a woman is selling handmade pottery. Ms DeFoe is in the background.
Cut to Amanda Lane's POV, her feet up on the table so her face remains
unseen. Something by LL Cool J is coming out of a portable stereo. Amanda
paints the finishing touches on a clay pot, doesn't notice Daria, Jane and
Jodie approach.)

JANE: Mom? (Beat.) MOM! (No reply. To Daria:) She gets like this when
she's occupied. Maybe later.

JODIE: C'mon, the parade's about to start.

CUT TO:

EXT.: SIDEWALK, ON A SIDE STREET.

(Jodie and Daria, along with Mack, Kevin and Brittany, walk past the long
line cars and floats queued up, down the street and around the block. Mack
has on his football uniform.)

JODIE: Nervous?

DARIA: Why should I be? I'm used to having the whole town gawking at me
like I'm some kind of freak.

KEVIN: You should do what I do, Daria. When I'm up in front of lots of
people, I just pretend I'm in my underwear!

DARIA: (Just humor him.) And... how does that help?

KEVIN: (Little laugh.) God you're dense, Daria. If you don't know *I'm*
sure not gonna explain it to you.

DARIA: (Dry.) Thank you, Kevin. (Looks at the floats.) I can't believe
how commercialized this is. Local businesses, politicians running
for office, churches... the coroner's office, for crying out loud...
The festivities are just a veil for the undercurrent of excessive
advertising.

JODIE: Don't be so cynical. This festival brings a lot of the townspeople
together.

DARIA: So do riots.

BRITTANY: I like the clowns on unicycles!

KEVIN: Those old dudes with hats and little cars are cool.

MACK: The Shriners?

DARIA: Just don't mock the Scientologists, or we're all dead.

(Presently they arrive at the Lawndale High band's float, right in front of
the football team's.)

MACK: (Pulls Jodie close.) Good luck, Jodie. See you after the parade.

KEVIN: (To Brit.) C'mon, babe, you can ride with me!

(The three climb up onto the Lions' float.)

JODIE: We'd better get ready too.

(The two girls set their instruments on the float and climb aboard. Daria
bends over to pick up her cymbals, and we hear a sharp, ripping sound.
Daria gets a look of absolute mortification.)

DARIA: Jodie? Was that what I think it was?

JODIE: (Checks Daria's rear, covers her mouth, gasps.) Oh my God, right
down the seat.

DARIA: (Covers her backside.) What do I do now?

JODIE: Okay, don't panic, I'll go back to the car and get your jacket, you
can tie it around your waist. Just... (Looks around hastily, pushes
her toward the back of the pickup truck that's pulling the float.)
...lean up against this so no one sees you.

DARIA: (Obeys.) This is that deep psychological scarring I was telling you
about.

JODIE: Watch my trombone.

(More band members begin to arrive as Jodie climbs back down. Suddenly,
Daria spots Trent and the rest of Mystik Spiral walking past. She quickly
turns her head -- but not her back -- away in hopes they won't see her.)

DARIA: (Voice-over.) At that moment, I would've given anything for one of
those band hats.

CUT TO:

EXT.: CROWDED SIDEWALK.

(Jake and Helen amongst the parade watchers.)

JAKE: (Still upset.) Can we go home now?

HELEN: Jesus, Jake what is wrong with you *now*?!

JAKE: (Half-mutters.) Stupid parade. Reminds me of the stupid marches we
had to do in the stupid military school my stupid father sent me to
when I was still a stupid kid...

HELEN: (Starts to understand.) Is that what all this is about, honey?
Would you rather we skipped the parade and just went to the carnival?

JAKE: (Now a bit whiny.) My parents never *once* took me to a carnival!
Mom wanted to but Dad refused, oh *NO*, not ol' Mad Dog Morgendorffer!
No, *his* idea of a swell time was taking me to the beer tent, and him
and his drunk-ass friends making fun of little Jakey!! (Sobs into his
hands.) I could *never* enjoy myself with him around!

HELEN: (Tenderly.) Well, then you should enjoy yourself now.

JAKE: (Straightens, newfound resolve.) You're right, Helen! I'm gonna have
the time of my *life* today! (Shouts to the sky, people are staring.)
YOU HEAR THAT, OLD MAN?! YOU CAN'T CONTROL ME ANYMORE!!

(He heads off on his own, leaving Helen behind.)

HELEN: Jake, wait! I didn't mean... (Tries to pursue him, but he's soon
lost in the crowd.) Jake, come back!

MS BARCH: (Standing nearby, overhears, turns.) Just let him go, dearie,
they're not worth it.

CUT TO:

EXT.: HIGH HILLS PARK, ART AND CRAFT SHOW.

(Jodie digs Daria's green jacket out of a red convertible parallel-parked at
the curb, dashes off. Zoom in on the area behind her, into Jane's booth.
A snotty-looking art-type, who's obviously posing as a serious critic, is
appraising some of Jane's work. We can still hear Mrs Lane's LL Cool J in
the background.)

ART SNOT: (Looking at a canvas with a large, thick blob of green paint on
it.) Now *this* piece is particularly intriguing... A fine
example of... (Thinking of big art-words, trying to act smart.)
...um, post-modern... neo-impressionist... er, minimalism.

JANE: Actually, my brother spilled that paint when he knocked it over in his
sleep.

ART SNOT: Really?

JANE: Yep. I just brought it along to help me weed out the pseudo-
intellectual connoisseur-wannabe posers, like yourself.

ART SNOT: Brilliant!

(Jane gets a look of disdain.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, FASHION CLUB'S BOOTH.

(The Fashion Club in front of the corndog stand, ordering. The vendor looks
irritated in the extreme.)

SANDI: (To corndog vendor, mid-conversation.) Well if you don't have time
for a makeover, how about just some fashion tips?

STACY: (Helpful.) Only $2.00.

QUINN: (Points at the corndog the vendor holds out to her.) I like mine
without the fried stuff, can you pick it off?

VENDOR: Do it yourself.

STACY: Does the stick count as any calories if you don't actually eat it?

VENDOR: Of course not, don't be stupid.

SANDI: Are these hotdogs regular, non-fat, low-fat, reduced-fat, or lite?

VENDOR: I don't know! I just use what they give me!

TIFFANY: Can I get a veggie-dog?

VENDOR: Will you girls get out of here?! Pretty soon I won't have any
customers left!

QUINN: Well not with *that* attitude you won't.

CUT TO:

EXT.: STREET.

(The parade. Floats and antique cars crawl slowly by. Zoom in on the crowd,
where Helen is still searching for Jake.)

HELEN: Jake? Jake!

MICHELE LANDON'S VOICE: (From behind.) Helen?

(She turns to find the rest of the Landons together watching the parade.
Michele is holding Evan, the baby. Rachel runs into the street to grab
the candy tossed from some of the floats.)

HELEN: Oh, hello Michele, Andrew. Have you seen my nitwit of a husband pass
through here? (Notices Evan, softens.) Ohhh, is this baby Evan?

ANDREW: (Proud.) The one and only!

RACHEL: (Under her breath.) Thank God.

MICHELE: (Indicates the candy Rachel's picked up.) Rachel, honey, share
some of that with your brother.

RACHEL: (Petulant.) Why? He's not *my* kid, I sure didn't want him!

ANDREW: Rachel! Do what your mother says!

(Rachel pouts.)

MICHELE: Sibling rivalry.

HELEN: (Smiles.) I know all about it.

(Abrutply, we hear the band kick up John Philip Sousa's "High School Cadets"
[just seemed appropriate].)

MICHELE: (Looking down the street at the oncoming floats.) Here comes the
band, Andrew. Give me the camera.

(Michele and Andrew try to exchange baby Evan and the camera. Led by
cheerleaders twirling flags and carrying a school banner, the Lawndale High
School floats drive past, the band playing, the football players and
cheerleaders waving to the crowd.)

MICHELE: (To Helen, aiming camera.) I promised Jodie I'd get some pictures.

HELEN: Jodie's in the band, too?

MICHELE: Yes, she plays trombone.

ANDREW: Tried to get her to learn two instruments, but just couldn't talk
her into it. We can't even get Rachel to play one.

RACHEL: Dad! I'm just not interested in that stuff, okay?

HELEN: (Twinge of jealousy.) My goodness your daughter is talented, Michele.
Such rhythm.

MICHELE: (Bristles, accusing, thinks it's another old racial stereotype.)
Why do you say *that*?!

(Cut to Jodie's POV from the float, Andrew holding Evan over his head, moving
his arm so he "waves" to Jodie. Rachel frowns, arms crossed. Michele snaps
a couple of pictures.)

MICHELE: (Lowers camera, points.) Say, isn't that Daria up there?

HELEN: Don't be silly, Daria's not in any school activ-- (Double-take as
she sees the distinctive green jacket tied around the cymbalist's
waist.) Oh my God it *is* her! (Sudden pride, tempered by a bit of
hurt.) She never told me she'd joined the band! (Beat, she checks
her purse.) Damn, Jake has the camera, can I borrow yours?

(Takes the camera Michele offers. Through-the-lens shot as she tries to
focus on Daria, then suddenly spots Jake further up the other side of the
street, grabbing candy with the kids, having the time of his life. He's
got several political buttons pinned to his shirt, thrown from the
politicians' cars.)

HELEN: Jake!

(She crosses the street between the band and Lions' floats. Stay with the
Landons.)

ANDREW: What do you think? Still a nut-case?

MICHELE: Yes, and she's still got my camera!

(Close-up of the float, Daria banging the cymbals expressionlessly, but
wincing every time the tuba player blows right in her ear.)

(Cut to Doug and Charlene Thompson [Kevin's parents] on the other side of
the street, waving as the football team passes.)

DOUG: (Loud, obnoxious.) Hiya, son!

CHARLENE: (To Doug.) Isn't he just the finest young man on the team?

(Cut to Kevin, who's scratching his crotch. Brit's got her arm around him.)

KEVIN: (Waving.) Hiya, pop! (Indicates Mack.) Say hi to Mack Daddy!

DOUG: Hiya, Mack Daddy!

(Mack tries to grin and bear it, minus the grin part. Charlene glares
disapprovingly at Brittany. Cut to Helen, between the sidewalk spectators
and the floats, working her way up the street toward Jake. An old man in
the back of a passing black convertible spots her and whispers something to
a little girl, likely his granddaughter, in the seat beside him. He points
Helen out to her, and the girl takes some candy from her bag and whips it
at Helen, whacking her right in the head. Helen turns and glares angrily
at the car, which we can now see has the banner "RE-ELECT Cornelius J.
Reinhardt, Circuit Judge." [Refer to my previous fic "To Helen Back" if
you don't remember Judge Reinhardt.] Reinhardt grins, pats his grandchild
on the back. Helen turns back around, but Jake is no longer there. Zoom
out and away from Helen, pulling up to an overhead shot encompassing the
entire crowded street. Fade out the march music, dissolve as time passes
from afternoon to evening. The parade and crowd fade away to a few stray
pedestrians along the walks.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, FASHION CLUB'S BOOTH.

(Andrea is getting some fashion advice.)

QUINN: (Looking at Andrea's hands.) Okay, first off, you need to wear bigger
rings, those small ones make your fingers look fat.

TIFFANY: (Concerned, holds out her own hand.) Do these make *my* fingers
look fat?

SANDI & QUINN: (Annoyed.) No!

STACY: And you need to lose that net thing, and get some eyeliner that's
less dark.

SANDI: (Disgusted face.) Black nails with gold glitter?! That is *so*
12 days, 7 hours ago!

(Andrea decides she's gotten her two bucks' worth, stands wordlessly.)

SANDI: (Watches her go.) That Andrea girl is *so* weird.

TIFFANY: Yeah. She's even freakier than Quinn's cousin or whatever.

SANDI: (Looks at Quinn suspiciously.) Yeah. "Or whatever."

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, STAGE.

(The talent show. An open-air stage with rows of foldable chairs in front,
standing room only. Judges -- prominent Lawndale figures, including the
mayor [recall his photo from the paper in the show's intro] -- are seated
at a long table at one side of the stage. Currently performing is the guy
from "Cafe Disaffecto" -- the one with the English accent, tattoos, red
headband, guitar. [I *love* this guy, I wish they'd bring him back!])

GUY: (Sings/screams.) CUZ IT SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!
IT TOTALLY SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!
YEAH EV'RYTHING SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!
YEH HEARD ME IT SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!
SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

(Cut to Daria's reaction, backstage.)

DARIA: Oh yeah. Play that funky music.

(She's with the rest of the quintet -- Jodie, a guy on trumpet, a girl with
a snare drum, and Ted on some obscure woodwind instrument you can just tell
he made himself.)

JODIE: (Whispers.) We're next, guys.

(Back out front, to the guy. Song completed, he tries unsuccessfully to
smash his guitar against the stage, ends up dropping it into the audience.)

GUY: Oh, blimey.

CUT TO:

EXT.: BEER TENT.

(The Fashion Club, passing by.)

SANDI: (Notices the beer tent.) Hey, I know. Let's stop in for a drink.

TIFFANY: Yeah. And maybe meet some guys.

STACY: (Feeble attempt to resist peer pressure.) I don't know...

QUINN: (Agrees, but makes it less obvious.) They probably won't even let
us in.

SANDI: (Looking for an opportunity to put Quinn down.) What's the matter,
Quinn? You don't *have* a fake ID?

QUINN: (Indignant.) Of course I do, Sandi! (Turns tables.) How about
*you*?

SANDI: Even better. I have my *Mom's* ID.

TIFFANY: Wow.

SANDI: See, I can pass for my Mother because we both look so young.
(Snide.) But *your* mother, Quinn...

QUINN: My Mom's only for-- er, thirty-seven!

SANDI: (Patronizing.) If you say so, Quinn.

(The four of them file in, Stacy last, looking for a way out. Exchange of
hostile glances between Quinn and Sandi.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, TALENT SHOW, BACKSTAGE.

(Mystik Spiral's digging the last of their equipment out of the Tank, parked
nearby. The "SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!" guy passes by with his guitar still intact.)

TRENT: Pretty cool, man.

GUY: Hey thanks, mate. Maybe if I win I c'n get a better guitar. This
cheap thing won't break on me.

JESSE: (Walks up to Trent.) Are we next?

TRENT: Right after the cloggers.

JESSE: Cool.

(Cut to the stage front, where Jodie's quintet is ready to perform.)

JODIE: (Whisper.) Okay, everyone, just as we practiced, and don't rush.

(Jodie counts off three beats, raises her instrument on the fourth, and the
group launches into "The Thunderer." [I'm in a Sousa mood, what can I say.])

(Jump to the edge of Village Green, a short distance from the stage. Helen
is searching the streetlight-illuminated area for any sign of her husband.
She still wears Michele Landon's camera on a strap around her neck.)

HELEN: Jake? Jake, where the hell are you?

(Cut back to the stage. Mystik Spiral is set up and ready to play. On the
ground in front, Jane switches on the spotlight. Trent's sensitive eyes
squint against it as he steps to the microphone.)

TRENT: (To crowd.) Hello, Lawndale. We're Mystik Spiral. (Beat.) But
we'll probably change our name.

(Scattered applause.)

TRENT: This is a new song I just wrote today. It's called "Machine
Washable." I'd like to thank my sister Janey and her friend Daria
for providing the inspiration.

(Close-up of Daria, wide-eyed, she smiles in elation. Then it fades a bit
as she realizes Trent once again referred to her as his sister's friend.
Jodie notices, watches with curiosity. In front of the stage, Jane spins
the spotlight's color-wheel, bathing the stage in ever-changing colors.
Max, the Spiral drummer ticks off four leading beats on a cymbal.)

[It's my first attempt at a Mystik Spiral song, go easy on me.]

TRENT: (Sings, with loads of torment and angst.)
Stuck in this basement hole
With these stains black as coal
I can't scrub outta my soul
I tried, it's IM-poss-i-ble!

You've gone and tainted my hope,
My pain won't come out with soap,
This soiled heart just can't cope,
It's not machine-washable!

(Closeup of the judges.)

MAYOR: (To a judge beside him.) Well, they've improved considerably since
last year.

JUDGE: That they have. (We recognize the voice as "C.J.")

(Back to Mystik Spiral onstage.)

TRENT & JESSE: (Sing.)
Machine washable!
Not machine washable!
Can't scrub you outta my soul,
It's not machine-washable!
MA-CHINE... WASHABLLLLLLLLE!!

(Max ends with a drum flourish. Polite applause, a loud cheer from Jesse's
younger brother Danny in the front row.)

JESSE: (Aside, to Trent, impressed.) Where do you come *up* with these, man?

(Sudden distressed expression as Daria ponders the lyrics' significance.)

CUT TO:

INT.: BEER TENT.

(The Fashion Club at a picnic table inside the tent.)

SANDI: (Smug.) I *told* you it would work. (Drinks from her mug of beer.)

TIFFANY: You never fail to astound me, Sandi. (Follows suit.)

(Quinn hesitates. Sandi and Tiffany watch expectantly, exchange corner-of-
the-eye glances, each silently asking the other if Quinn's going to go
through with this.)

SANDI: What are you waiting for, Quinn? (Spots a chance to get nasty.)
You do drink, don't you? Or were you just *faking* it at that keg
party you had?

(The look on Quinn's face tells us the latter is probably the case, but she
can't very well refuse Sandi *now*. Slowly she lifts the glass to her lips
and takes a first drink. Her expression as she swallows is bitter, but she
tries to hide it. Again Sandi and Tiffany exchange glances.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: VILLAGE GREEN, STAGE.

(The mayor of Lawndale is in front of the microphone.)

MAYOR: Well, we've seen a lot of great local talent here tonight, but
unfortunately only one can win the $1000 cash prize. (Reads the
judges' results.) This year's runner up is... Mystik Spiral --
Trent Lane, Jesse Moreno, Nicholas Campbell and Max Tyler!

(This is a very pleasant surprise to the band. Congratulations and high-
fives all around as the mayor invites them up onto the stage. One of the
other judges brings up one of those oversized novelty prize checks, which
she hands to the mayor.)

MAYOR: And this year's cash prize of $1000 goes to... Lawndale High's
"Thunderer" quintet -- Cheryl Andrews, Theodore DeWitt-Clinton,
Alicia Kelly, Jodie Landon, and Gregory Warner!

(Cheers from the crowd. Excited looks from Jodie, Alicia and Greg, the
two girls exchange hugs. Daria's expression of bland disgust at not being
credited turns to horror as she realizes her group has knocked Trent out of
first place, which never would have happened if she hadn't caved into Jodie
in the first place.)

(Cut to backstage, in shadows, out of reach of the light that spills out
from the front of the stage. Ms Li and another figure speak in hushed
tones.)

LI: (Holds out an envelope.) Aaaand here's the fee we agreed on. $200 for
you, $100 apiece for the others. Pleasure doing business with you, C.J.

"C.J.": Likewise.

("C.J" takes the envelope. There's a bright, brief camera-flash,
illuminating the pair just long enough to reveal Ms Li and her partner-in-
crime. As you may have guessed from the clues, it's Reinhardt.)

LI: (Whirls around just in time to see a figure vanish behind some bushes.)
What the *HELL*?!

(Cut back to the stage. Jodie's group is stepping up to claim the check.)

JODIE: (Looking around.) Where's Ted?

(Trent glances over at the remaining four winners, does a double-take
toward Daria, who tries hard not to look at him.)

DARIA: (Close-up, she slowly lifts her head, crushed, convinced Trent's
song was about having his big chance blown.) Trent...

TRENT: (Close-up, genuine surprise as he recognizes her in band clothes for
the first time.) *Daria*...?

(Zoom in slowly on Daria's devastated expression. Dissolve to a black
screen, fade in white letters printed in the same font as the "Daria" title,
to spell out the three most despised words on television:)

"To Be Continued"

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

(CREDITS AND CUTE LITTLE RENDERINGS OF THE CHARACTERS.)

(Closing music: "Inside Out" by Eve6.)

THE END

(AUTHOR'S NOTES: Huh-uh. Not this time. I'm making you wait. >B-)

[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.]

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.

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.