Just a night in Lawndale, and some people aren’t asleep yet…
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.
Night, like an apple-tree, into my window knocks,
And way outside a night-bird cries.
I know, I know, I know one only thing:
What in day-time flourishes, in night-time dies.
- Mystik Spiral’s Song “What Was Then” (unpublished)
“Jane Lane was in pain, Jane Lane couldn’t complain, Jane Lane had to explain that it was her time of the - drat!”
Jane Lane pushed away the keyboard of her word processor in disgust. “This story is my worst one yet! It’s worse then one of Summer’s child-catching stories!”
Jane was angry and couldn't even explain the reason why. It all started a couple of days ago at the Zon. She and Daria were in audience of a band called “Art an’ Miss”, somewhat like the Harpies, but beefed-up. The band’s singer was a girl named Beth, dressed in sleeveless with a lot of tattoos, and with a buzz cut similar to Daria’s gym teacher back in Highland. For some reason, though, Jane was impressed with them. “You got to admit,” she told Daria later, “those gals did handle Upchuck the horny toad pretty well. Got to give them kudos for it.”
“Gals?” Daria incredibly replied. “Jane, since when do you sound so camp?”
“Excuse me?” Jane repeated incredulously. “Camp? Me?”
“Yeah,” Daria shrugged. “For some reason, your vocabulary, it… didn’t benefit from your camping experience, I believe.”
“This is about that summer camp – hey, now you got me saying this! For the last time, Daria, it was an art colony, and would you leave me alone with it?”
Daria shrugged. “I’m just curious to hear the tale of the girl who got fresh with you,” she shrugged.
“Right,” Jane snorted. “I bet Tom is somewhere in the wings, waiting eagerly for my tale.”
“Jane, this is sick. We really do need to get a life – and not use Tom to accomplish that goal,” Daria sighed.
“What good is he, then?” Jane snorted, amusingly.
Daria shook her head. “At any rate, we’re getting distracted. Jane, so what did happen at the art colony?”
“I met a bunch of interesting people.”
“And one of them got fresh with you.”
“That was sarcasm.”
“You said it wasn't.”
“I was letting you on?”
“You didn't look very convincing.”
“And how would you know that?”
“I’m a master at reading human feelings, emotions, facial expressions, and vocal timbres,” Daria said matter-of-factly.
Jane stared. “Say what? Please don't tell me – you’re a test tube baby and can blast laser beams with your eyes – that’s why you need your glasses.”
“I wore lenses.”
“Once. And looked extremely uncomfortable while doing this.”
“I then went completely cold turkey – no lenses or glasses or anything.”
“And looked extremely scared while doing that.”
“So? If you were to go cold turkey from painting and sculpting, you’d look extremely scared too.”
Jane’s eyes narrowed. “Let’s make it a bet. I can go cold turkey from painting and sculpting barring Ms. DeFoe’s class for – a week. And if I don’t do so, I'll tell you the truth. But if I do, well, then, you’ll wear lenses for a week. Deal?”
Daria paused. “You know, maybe we can have a simultaneous run. See if we can do that thing at the same time.”
Jane looked thoughtful. “Think Lawndale High will be able to handle both of us acting weird?”
“Let’s wait and see if it’ll tilt or whirl,” Daria said.
And so, the bet was made. And now, to Jane’s greater irritation, she discovered that she was struggling already to keep to her end of the bet. “Damn it,” she muttered. “When Daria is writing something in her room, it all seems so easy! Damn it! Am I no better than Trent?” she yelled drastically and froze. “Speaking of the devil, just where is he?”
* * *
Trent Lane sat near the Zon, smoking like some Billy Idol wannabe. He knew that, and he didn't care. He was just too unsettled. In less than a year, Janey would be gone, and he, well, will remain here. In Lawndale.
Or won't he? The gang – excluding Nick, but he was easily goaded-in by Max – were all for leaving Lawndale whenever that subject got raised, so all matters were settled – in theory. In reality… In reality, when they tried one of their bi-annual road trips, they got into yet another one of their bi-annual messes. It was always like that. If not police tickets, then getting lost. If not getting lost, then forgetting or breaking or mixing-up of the music equipment. If not-
“Hey, Trent,” Monique sat down next to him. “What’s up? Jesse told Effïndïe who told me that you looked depressed lately, and I came to see for myself.”
“Janey’s leaving,” Trent drawled-out. “Both she and her friend Daria are leaving.” He paused and added: “for Boston.”
“And here I was, thinking that we were a pair,” Monique said crossly.
Trent looked at Monique, looking a bit cross himself. “We are, aren't we?” he spoke. “For this week.”
Monique glared. “Trent, why are you so upset that your sister and her friend are leaving for college? I mean, it does make the house all to your and Mystik Spiral, no? I mean, no bothers or interruptions-“
“I don't know if that is such a good idea, Mon,” Trent shook his head. “This house – it is major materialism. It may keep us on the ground.”
“Does the rest of the band see it in such a fashion?” Monique spoke with a rather shrewd look in her eyes.
“I don't know,” Trent shrugged semi-thoughtfully. “But that major materialism bit – it was Max’s.”
“Jesse like the governmental senate – keeps minding his own business, mostly, and Nick – well, Nick is always opposing Max – do the math yourself.”
“So it all comes down to you, then?” Monique said, snuggling closer to him.
“Well, yeah. Hey – did we make-up already?”
“Can we not talk about that?” Monique said crossly in her turn.
“Oh? What’s wrong?”
“Calais. Remember, I told you that Jesse spoke to Effïndïe?”
“Well, Calais dropped-in, and they got into an argument, and I kind-off got dragged-in.”
“Oh yeah. Calais is your friend?”
“Well, the same way Effïndïe is my sister’s, but you know her-“
“Yeah, I do,” Trent nodded. Calais was pretty much the quintessential Harpy of the band – ragged and free like the wind, and also quite cold like the wind. He always wondered how she was-
“Trent,” Monique purred dangerously. “Can you please listen to me?”
“Sorry, got lost in my head.”
“And here I was worrying that you were off to Morpheus’ clutches.”
“I never sleep on the street,” Trent shook his head. “That’s why we’ve got Max’s van, remember?”
“So.. what was the argument’s about?”
“A certain clock – it’s a female thing.”
“Oh. Right,” Trent spoke slowly. “So is there anyway I can help?”
“I don’t know,” Monique said with such a misery that Trent was surprised. “I’m so confused Trent, and worried. I mean – why did we start to go out and all?”
“I was approved by your sister?”
“Thanks for reminding me,” Monique replied in a fashion that Trent was reminded of Daria. “Just what I wanted to hear.”
“You know, you just sound like Janey’s friend – Daria,” he said.
Monique gave him a baleful look. “What with you and her?” she asked. “You like her or something?”
“Well, maybe… Look, she’s leaving and I’m staying.”
“Yeah. With me.” Monique spoke-up. “Ain't I special.”
Trent gave Monique another look. She was acting like Daria again, and as Janey told him, Daria behaved that way- “Oh. You sort-of feel like me, too, hah?”
“Yeah. I mean, I’m not a yo-yo or a billiard ball, you know? I mean, you at least got a family-“
“Please,” Trent spoke with some importance. “I’m thinking.”
“Oh?” Monique looked with some surprise at Trent but said nothing more. This went-on for some time, and then Trent started speaking once again.
“You know,” he carefully said, “I could try and get a part-time job, if you want to move with me or something.”
Monique eyed Trent carefully. “Where did that come from?”
“Isn't it a solution to our problem?”
“Well, problems, but they look similar and all. Right?”
“Well, when you put this way,” Monique carefully said, “I suppose we can try and do that.” She paused. “So, what do we do now?”
“Buggered if I know,” Trent shrugged. “I don’t want to go home just yet – Janey’s there and in a bad mood.”
“Well, let’s go inside,” Monique then shrugged. “I think it’s starting to rain.”
They walked inside, arms intervened.
* * *
Charles Ruttheimer the III was nervous though he didn't show it; Upchuck, on the other hand, looked nervous as Hell.
“S-So Charles where are we going?” his date spoke nervously from the seat next to him.
“It’s a surprise, my sweet,” he was impressed how confidently he managed to drawl that out. “A very great surprise.”
“Really, Ch-Charles? It won't be anything unpleasant or t-tacky?”
“Tacky, my dear? When in our relationship was I to show tacky so far?”
“W-Well, you’ve got a point. You never were what was considered tacky.”
“Exactly,” he nodded. “Some music, perhaps?” he pressed a button on his machine’s panel, and instantly a song by Queen began to play:
“The show must go on
The show must go on, yeah
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on.”
Charles felt like would almost blush in embarrassment – if he still could. So much for a romantic mood. But to his surprise his date prevented him from doing that. “You – you also like Queen?” she asked.
“You – you like it too?”
She nodded. “Yeah. Others at the FC think it’s… unfashionable, but I can relate to it. You?”
“Pretty much so, only I don't have fashion-conscious friends to think that it’s unfashionable, or any other type of friend for that matter.”
“Um, want me to be your friend?”
“Uh, let’s first see how the date works out?” Charles said, feeling odd – for himself. He stopped the vehicle. His date reached to unbuckle her belt. He briskly raced around the vehicle and opened the door. “S’il-vous-plait,” he spoke in a very good French (certainly a better one than what was taught in Lawndale High.)
“Why, Charles, I didn't know that you could speak real French!” Stacy Rowe exclaimed.
Charles beamed. He was impressing her – in a good way. That was obviously good. “But of course I do! Now shall we go? Our dining awaits!”
* * *
The rifle range of Lawndale was rarely closed after sunrise, and only on weekends – like Sunday. That wasn’t the case tonight, since it was Friday. And Basil, the owner of the range, was eagerly rubbing his hands for the arrival of his usually Friday-night’s customers – and they came – right on time and, as Basil knew, they would leave right on time too.
“Welcome,” he spoke cheerfully in his casual Hungarian range. “The rifle range of Lawndale welcomes the Lawndale’s Businesswoman Association. Your usual?”
“Yes,” Linda Griffin growled, pressed by her girl-friends behind her. “And no delays, I hope?”
“None whatsoever,” Basil nodded emphatically, as she and the others followed inside. When faced with a steady income on one hand, and the combined wrath of many tired, stressed, burned-out businesswomen of Lawndale, it’s easy to make the correct choice.
“And folks used to say that establishing a rifle range here was a bad idea,” Basil inwardly smirked.
* * *
“You know,” Tom muttered, feeling a cross between confusion and bemusion, “I thought that it was my parents who were supposed to be easy with my cash flow.”
“That’s because you’ve been dating the wrong sister,” Daria smirked. “Quinn can get a wad of cash or a banking card any time she wants – well, almost. My immediate presence usually puts a damper on that thing. But,” she added, looking slightly worried, “tonight was different.”
“I'll say! You look-“
“Please,” Daria groaned. “It’s all a bet with that damn Jane.”
“Hey! I thought you were upset when Jane-“
“This is me doing it, it’s different,” Daria shrugged. “Just call me a canting hypocrite and be done with it.”
“Oh, how ‘bout-“
“Don't finish that sentence, Tom,” Daria said frankly. “After all, this is for a week tops – or sooner, if Jane cracks.”
“What is she supposed to do? Wear your glasses?”
“No, do anything else but art.”
“You realize that that’s a very loose term-“
“Me and Jane understand it enough, thanks,” Daria said. “Seriously though – hey, isn’t it Upchuck?”
“Who?” Tom turned around and whistled. “Well, I'll be a cabin boy on a pirate schooner, Charley did get himself a girlfriend?”
“Yeah. You know, the town’s boy who’s acting like a love-child between Roman Faunus and Marilyn Manson?”
Daria rolled her eyes. “Are you on a Greek fad? First you compare me to a Eumonide, now him… well, the description’s pretty accurate, especially the first part. And speaking of the girlfriend – I think it’s one of Quinn’s fashion-conscious friends, hmm…”
“Going to tell her?”
“No,” Daria shook her head. “I doubt that Upchuck will be foolish enough to try anything – criminal.”
“True. And he is a nice guy – if you're not a girl, that is.” Tom paused. “Or anything of the female gender. Or my mom.”
“Mom spoke one to him when he tried his moves on Elsie – and he never bothered neither Elsie nor mom ever since.”
“Wow. I got to talk to her.”
“Maybe – ah, here’s dinner!” Tom emphatically said. “Shall we dine, Miss Morgendorffer?”
“Absolutely, Mr. Sloane, dine we shall!”And they rapidly took-up their meal.