Short summary:


Jake Morgendorffer takes on a cuckoo clock that he had bought on a garage sale… It’s a winner-take-all, there-can-be-only-one type of battle! Don't miss it!


Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks.


This story is copyright © 2002 by Bacner ( and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.


Man versus Machine


“All right you fiend, your time is up!” Jake Morgendorffer said haughtily, looking at his mean metallic adversary: a cuckoo clock, bought by him at a latest garage sale.

“I’m going to make you tick!” Jake Morgendorffer continued proudly, and he meant it, too: his problem with his latest acquisition to the Morgendorffer house was that it didn’t tick, or more correctly – cuckoo: the clock worked just fine, but the cuckoo did not: it stayed silent no matter what time of day (or night) it was. And it was driving Jake Morgendorffer – a man with a very low patience barrier when it came to failures – up the wall, bananas, nuts, etc – you get the idea.

“All right!” Jake Morgendorffer repeated, as he unscrewed the back wall of the clock. “I see the problem – this counterbalancing screw is out of commission. We’ll just fix it up so carefully… there!” Jake Morgendorffer set proudly the clock back on the wall. “There mission accomplished! Let’s see you not cuckoo now, friend – it’s one o’clock!”




-And before Jake Morgendorffer’s astonished eyes, the cuckoo burst up and away through the clock’s top. “I see it needs some work,” Jake wisely said.



“I'm not about to be beaten by a stupid mechanical bird!” Jake Morgendorffer shouted, reassembling the entire clock from top to the middle (about to the level of the dial-plate).

“You're going to work as if you were new!” he yelled and re-inserted the battery.




-And the reason for that “Aaargh” came from the fact that when the clock re-struck one, the cuckoo didn’t lunge either forwards or upwards; instead, the clock’s pendulum – a rather weighty piece of metal, almost a mini-dumbbell – detached from the rest of the clock almost the same way as a rocket falls apart piece by piece after take-off – and landed straight onto Jake’s right foot.

“Curse you, cuckoo clock!” Jake Morgendorffer then roared.


“Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

By now, Jake Morgendorffer just stared at the cuckoo clock in some mute hatred, fuelled by his bandaged foot, which still hurt, despite all of his first-aid-kit’s ministrations. The clock, though, if it was alive and had eyes and a mind, would’ve also most probable felt the same emotion towards the human, for Jake, after he fixed-up his foot from the bruise caused by the pendulum, reworked the clock’s innards from bottom to the dial-plate level, checking all fastenings and bindings, and winding them up as tightly as he could… And then Jake just re-put the battery, and…




The cuckoo shot forwards as it was supposed to… with ‘shot’ being the emphasized word. In other words, the clock had literally shot-out the cuckoo, the latter almost hitting Jake in the right temple, but instead piercing the wall with its’ beak.

“Gah-dammit!” Jake yelled in anger, “Dah-gammit!”


“Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

Jake Morgendorffer was angry and didn’t want to think. He didn’t realize that he had tightened some part of the clock’s innards too tightly, and instead started to fiddle with the counterbalancing screw, loosening and re-tightening everything else in the process. Needless to say, the clock’s innards, as a result, became aimed towards something else than telling time, and furthermore, when Jake Morgendorffer re-put the battery once again



“My foot!”

Jake’s last yell came in such a fashion because the clock had fired its’ cuckoo once again, only now it’d shot downwards, seriously scraping the ankle on the same foot that already was hurt from the pendulum!

…For quite a while afterwards, any visitors – or just curious bystanders of the Morgendorffer house could’ve “delighted” themselves by the sight of Jake Morgendorffer hopping around the house one foot, sweepingly cursing.


“Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

Jake Morgendorffer now sat on a table, working once again on the upper part of the clock. Now he was not only winding and binding, he was also securing and establishing… in other words, trying to prevent the cuckoo from getting fired into the big blue beyond once again – he probably wouldn’t be able to endure that happening any more. And so he decided to use glue inside the clock…

After a while, Jake grew satisfied from his apparent results deriving from the humiliating of the clock. He re-inserted – once again – the battery, and…




Jake collapsed on the floor, cradling his stomach. Since it was no longer able to fire the cuckoo, the clock parted with its’ pendulum instead, planting right in the Jake’s gut. And since for every action there’s a counteraction, the clock was fired away in the opposite direction, now apparently developing its’ own internal source of fuel, as it defied gravity and flew around the house like a miniature spaceship! And Jake, lying on the floor, felt probably what a whale feels at the sight of a whaler ship! Summoning up the last reserves of his strength, Jake jumped onto the table, seeing a chair’s legs getting smashed in two the very next moment! And the clock flew off towards the wall! Jake then hoped that the clock would smash itself against it, but alas – the clock made a dead-man’s-curve in the air, and swooped towards Jake once again.

Fear – and realization that he was about to be struck by an inanimate object once again – gave Jake courage. He lunged forwards himself, grabbed his attacker, and using his greater mass, pulled it towards the floor…

The man and the machine were finally locked in open conflict!



When Helen realized that no action was coming from inside, she used her key to open the front door. A picture of terrible destruction, devastation, and ravage, appeared before her eyes. And as usual, Helen knew then what to do:


“Yes, dear?”

“Was our house robbed?”


“Have a hippo entered here?”


“Was there a hurricane?”


“A volcano eruption?”


“An avalanche?”


“A performance of dancing elephants?”


“What then?”

“I was just trying to fix this cuckoo clock…”

“Say what?!”

Jake, sheepishly grinning, began to explain. His explanation was so ‘successful’ that just a few minutes into it, the walls began to shudder from Helen’s roar.

Outside, Jake’s and Helen’s daughters Quinn and Daria took a look at each other, and started walking in completely different directions, realizing that this thunderstorm should be waited-out outside.