A Certain Amount of Depth


Text ©2003 Roger E. Moore (roger70129@aol.com)

Daria and associated characters are ©2003 MTV Networks



Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: roger70129@aol.com


Synopsis: Quinn Morgendorffer and David Sorenson meet in Lawndale just before Quinnís senior year, and they try to resolve troubling issues between them from the time when he was her tutor a year earlier (in ďIs It Fall Yet?Ē).


Authorís Notes: The events in this one-scene script take place during the summer after the ďDariaĒ TV movie, ďIs It College Yet?Ē PSAT and SAT test scores for college entry have been converted to ďP-STATĒ and ďSTATĒ scores, per the TV movie, ďIs It Fall Yet?Ē Further notes are at the storyís end.


Acknowledgements: The beta-readers for this story did an excellent job and are commended here for catching some errors and making me rethink large parts of the story. The result has substantial differences from the earliest version. My thanks to: Brandon League, Cimorene, Redlegrick, Galen Hardesty (Lawndale Stalker), Robert Nowall, Crusading Saint, Steven Galloway, Thea Zara, THM, and Wyvern.


EXT = Exterior scene






It is a warm, cloudy summer day on Lawndaleís Village Green. Under a rustling oak tree, Quinn Morgendorffer sits on a park bench, drinking a diet soda and reading a paperback book. Sheís dressed in typical teenage-girl summer wearóhalter top, shorts, light walking shoes, all in designer styles. As she reads, someone walks by her on the sidewalk, but he stops after glancing at her. Itís David Sorenson, her tutor from the summer of the year before. He carries a few books and looks much as he did the year before (same hair and glasses), though with a different outfit: t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers with no socks. His face has a five oíclock shadow, as if heís been up for a long while.


DAVID: [surprised] Quinn?


QUINN: Hmmm? [looks up, gasps] Oh, David! [uncrosses legs, puts book aside] Hi! Howíve you been?


DAVID: [hesitates] Fine. How are you?


QUINN: Great! Címere, sit down a minute. [scoots over on bench, pats empty space on bench beside her] Small world!


DAVID: [hesitates] Yeah, sure is. [sits down on other side of the bench, well away from Quinn] Iím sorry I havenít written much. Did school go well?


QUINN: Oh, it was okay. I did okay. Iíll be a senior this fall. How about you?


DAVID: [nods] I head back to Bromwell in a few weeksómy second year. Iím visiting family, working on a project paper. I had to get out today and take a break.


QUINN: [nods, smiling] Bromwell. I know someone else heading there as a freshman in a couple weeks, a friend of Dariaís. My sisterís going to Raft. Bostonís supposed to be a great college town. If Daria had any clue as to what fun was, sheíd have it made there.


DAVID: Well, there are other things to do in college towns besides party all night. [awkward pause] How are your friends doing, the others that I tried to tutor?


QUINN: Ah . . . well, we had that Fashion Club thing, you know?


DAVID: [nods, looks pained] Iím afraid I do. [nods toward her book] Arenít you afraid theyíll see you reading outdoors and throw you out of the club?


QUINN: [glances at book] Oh! No, theyíre over that. See, we broke up. The Fashion Club broke up. I mean. Weíre all still friends, the four of us, but the Fashion Clubís history. We all quit at the same time.


DAVID: [sad smile] I thought choosing eyeliner and nail polish colors would always be the rage with the brain-dead crowd.


QUINN: [quickly] Oh, no. I mean, fashion should be fun, but it shouldnít be your whole life. The club was getting in the way of our being friends. Itís kinda strange, isnít it? Theyíre still my friends, but we donít go on and on forever about fashion stuff so much now. We talk about other things, important stuff.


DAVID: [sad smile fades] Probably not history or math or current events.


QUINN: Oh, no, except maybe for current events if thereís a sale or something. We just talk about life and stuff. Weíre a little nervous, like, about the future and things like that. Lots of changes are coming up, being seniors and going to college and what are we going to wear to the prom, what are we going to do once we graduate, that sort of thing. [clears throat] So, howíve you been since last year?


DAVID: Well . . . okay, I guess. Bromwellís been a lot of work. Iím a history major with a minor in literature. I got engaged in January, butó


QUINN: [brightening] Oh, thatís wonderful! Congratulations! I mean, a guy as smart as you, thatís great!


DAVID: [painful smile] Great that someone smart could get engaged?


QUINN: Sure! [backtracks instantly] No! I mean, thatís great that youíre engaged! You got lucky! [backtracks instantly] You got a lucky girl!


DAVID: [smile fades] Not really. We broke up a couple months ago. It didnító


QUINN: [look of horror] Oh, no! Iím so sorry!


DAVID: It didnít work out. It . . . itís not a long story. She liked the fun, I liked the studying, she found someone more fun to be with. Not worth going on about it.


QUINN: Oh! [puts her hand out to touch Davidís arm, then realizes what sheís doing and jerks her hand back] Oh, Iím really sorry to hear that. Well, you know, thereís plenty of other fish in the barrel. Youíll catch someone else before too long, Iím sure, someone good. Is everything okay?


DAVID: [shrugs] Iím okay. [pause] How about you? Any good news in your life?


QUINN: Oh . . . well, my grades are okay, Iím about a B average. I wonít be going to Bromwelló[brief laugh]óbut maybe I can get into Raft if Iím really lucky. [grins, looks away for a moment] I might tell Daria Iím going there just to tick her off. Sisters are like that sometimes. Iíd rather go somewhere in California, somewhere near a beach. That would be nicer. My STAT scores were okay.


DAVID: [intrigued] Whatíd you get?


QUINN: Oh, umó[looks up, thinking]óI got a twelve-oh-four combined.


DAVID: [blinks in astonishment, hesitates] Didnít you have, like, a nineó


QUINN: I had a nine fifty-five on the P-STAT last year. I took the P-STAT when I had a really rotten headache, and between your tutoring and Daria finding some study books for me, I did okay on the STAT. It was hard.


DAVID: Butóthatís fantastic! Thatís wonderful, Quinn!


QUINN: [hesitates, then shrugs] Mmmmóyeah, itís okay.


DAVID: [incredulous] What? Youíre kidding! A twelve-oh-four is really good! I canít believe you jumped that far.


QUINN: Well, itís just a test score.


DAVID: [hesitates, deflating] Well, maybe, but it will do wonders for getting you into a good college. You said Raft? Raftís pretty choosey.


QUINN: Yeah, but Bostonís a real party town. I heard a lot about it from Daria when she checked it out. I like lobster, too, so that would work. I used to hate it because it was so messy, but you can be fashionably messy, I think.


DAVID: [concerned look] You wouldnít pick Raft just because of the lobster, I hope. Have you picked a major?


QUINN: Oh, mmm, business, I think, maybe whatever route you take to get into fashion design. I know loads about clothing and makeup, canít let all that go to waste. A mind is a terrible thing, and all that. I might go into business on my own, be an enterpriser.


DAVID: Entrepreneur. Raft does have a good business setup. Youíd have to study like crazy, though. College isnít at all like high school.


QUINN: Oh, I know. Iíll study, donít worry. I can do that okay now. You and Daria showed me how. I just want to go to college someplace where itís fun. Itís important to keep some balance in your lifeóstudy, party, study, party, maybe party some more, study the night before the exam to make up for it, and so on.


DAVID: [pause, then a long sad sigh] Quinn, I canít believe that . . . after all the work you did, and how excited you were about raising your test scores and bettering yourself, and reading more and learning about history and all that . . . I just canít believe youó


QUINN: You canít believe Iím not any deeper now than I was then. [shrugs, sad voice] I am what I am, David.


DAVID: [looks disturbed] I wasnít going to say ďdeeper,Ē just . . . more serious, I guess. [looks down at the paperback book Quinn set aside] At least youíre reading. [nods head at Quinnís book] Youíre sure that the fashion morons wonít throw rocks at you?


QUINN: [looks down] Oh, donít call them that. Theyíre not morons. [picks up book, holds cover up to David: The Collected Works of Emily Dickinson] I read a little. This is pretty good. I bought it over at Books by the Ton, at the Mall of the Millennium.


DAVID: [surprised] Youíre reading Emily Dickinson?


QUINN: [sighs] Yeah. [opens book, flips to a page] You know, I read some of this to the girls. Stacy got all teary eyed, which didnít surprise me at all, but Sandi said maybe she should read some of it because poetry is fashionable in small doses, though I think some of what I read to her made her cry a little later on. I could tell. Tiffany . . . oh, well. [shrugs, reads book, quotes] ďYour riches taught me poverty. / Myself a millionaire / In little wealths . . .Ē [flips a few more pages] I like how Dickinson writes. She has a way of putting things . . . [quotes] ďIf you were coming in the fall, / Iíd brush the summer by . . .Ē [lowers book, looks at David] So, you like her, too?


DAVID: [taken aback, softly] Yes, I do, very much. I havenít read anything by her in a long time, though. Getting ready for exams and papers pushed the poetry out.


QUINN: I started reading her stuff earlier this year. [pause, quotes, looking at her closed book] ďI lost a world the other day. / Has anybody found?Ē [pause] Itís good. Reading stuff like this makes me like reading a lot more. I mean, I wouldnít want to live at the library like my sister would if she had the chance, butó[shrugs again]óeh. Like Sandi said, in small doses, poetry is probably good for you.


DAVID: [troubled look] I thought for a minute that youíd given up on literature and studying, that you were . . . still the same Quinn you were before I started tutoring you.


QUINN: [shakes head slowly] Oh. Well, yeah, I guess I am. Iíve always known what sort of person I was. Daria made a movie of me once for class, about me and my fashion life, and Iím still the same kid I was then. I do some things differently, though, since you and I were together. After we brokeó[flinches]óafter your last lesson, I read loads, just tons. I donít know what came over me. I tried to read all kinds of things. I did it in secret, didnít even let my parents know what I was doing. Hid everything under my bed. Poetry was best. I read a lot of that. [indicates her closed book, quotes softly] ďProud of my broken heart since thou didst break it, / Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee . . .Ē [taps book with fingernail] I like Dickinson a lot. She talks a lot about big things, but she makes them easy to think about, in a way. She makes big issues seem so simple, like the way you can fix your hair up so nicely and all youíve really done is use a little scrunchie.


DAVID: [increasingly uncomfortable] Have you read any Shakespeare?


QUINN: You mean like Romeo and Juliet? [shrugs] I liked that one, we had to do it for class when Daria taught school during the teachersí strikeó[sees Davidís surprised look]óoh, yeah, a lotís happened since youíve been goneóbut anyway I had to read that Romeo stuff, like, four times to figure out some of the parts. Itís such a pain to get through the weird words Shakespeare uses and the really prehistoric way he writes. The way he wrote, I mean, since heís been dead so long. It, like, bends your brain around to figure out what he was saying. Someone should clean it up a little so people could understand it better, like the way they turned the Bible into a comic book, so people could figure out whatís really going on.


DAVID: [smiles] I donít agree with the comic-book idea, but I do agree that Shakespeareís hard to understand sometimes. You have to work at it. I sure do.


QUINN: [look of disbelief] You canít figure him out, either?


DAVID: Well, I can, but only because Iím used to reading what he wrote. I can follow him pretty well now. The English language has changed so much since he was alive, itís hard to follow what heís saying without a lot of effort.


QUINN: [nods] Too bad he wasnít born in the Sixties or something. I tried reading some history, too, this book I got from Dariaó[makes a yuk face]óA Journal of the Plague Year. That was awful. You told me about the Black Death, I remember all that, but reading about it just totally grossed me out. I could barely get through thirty pages of it; I skimmed the rest and gave it back. If that Daniel guy wanted to say that the Black Death was all sucky and everything, hey, I got the message. [pause] There was a little poem at the end, though, that reminded me of part of that poem you made me read, the, uh, ďThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner.Ē I canít remember the words to it now, but it was about one guy living through some big disaster. The words sounded the same. I should look it up again and see if they were alike.


DAVID: [pause, looks at Quinn] This . . . isnít what I thought I would say, but youíre a lot smarter than I thought you were last year. I get this feeling that you act like youíre the same old Quinn, but youíre not.


QUINN: [stares at David a long moment, very low voice] No, not really. I mean, Iím still the same, just like that old song.


DAVID: [indicates her book] Well, I disagree. Youíre reading Dickinson. You canít find one high-schooler in a thousand who buys a copy of Dickinson just to read her.


QUINN: [shrugs, low voice] Reading it doesnít make me any less shallow.


DAVID: [hesitates, taken aback] Doesnít make you less shallow? Where did you get that?


QUINN: [sighs, tiredly] Oh, come off it, David. You told me to my face the last time we were together that I was shallow. At least you were honest.


DAVID: [pained look] Quinn, look, when I said that a year ago, there was some truth to it, but youíve really changed. Thereís something about you tható


QUINN: [mildly irked] No, David. Just be honest with me, okay, instead of making nice like everyone else? You really opened my eyes about the real me. I used to think that being smart was just geeky and awful and gross, just for people like Daria, and I was happy with that, pretty much. I knew that being pretty but not very deep was the real me. It was okay. Then I met you, and suddenly I realized it was sort of fun to be smart, if you knew all the fun stuff that smart people knew. You get taught all the boring stuff in school, but you showed me all the stuff that was great to know, and where to find it, and that was the best. Butóthat was just, like, gossip and stuffófunny little bits, but not really deep bits. You told me all the nasty tricks some presidents tried to get away with, and what the British really thought about the American Revolution, and how America got named for that sort of a nobody from a long time ago, but none of that was deep stuff. That stuff didnít make me any less shallow, and you even said so yourself, the last time we were together. Donít you remember?


DAVID: [slowly] I guess I thought youíd remember the really important things we talked aboutóbettering yourself, reaching for higher goals, changing the inside you. I thoughtó[Quinn starts to laugh]óI thought thatówhat are you laughing about?


QUINN: [still laughing a little] Oh, David. You were the first guy I ever knew except for my dad who didnít look at the outside me, and Dadís a little sort of, ďHeh-LO-oh!Ē so he doesnít count. You were the first guy who ever really looked at the inside me, and you told me it sucked. Well, not in so many words, but it sucked. And you were right. You didnít treat me like most guys do, you know?


DAVID: [confused] Quinnó


QUINN: Hey, let me talk for a while. This is your big chance to find out if something you did as a teacher had any effect on your student, right?


DAVID: [pause, concerned look, low voice] Okay, butó


QUINN: I was saying that you didnít treat me like any other guy would. Guys just look at me, the outside me, and they think, whoa, Quinnís got great hair and a cute face and a great body and I want her for my girlfriendóoh, yeah! Thatís all thatís going on upstairs with them. [pause, stares at David] You looked beyond that. You saw the real me, and you didnít like it. [pause] It hurt, but I think I needed to hear that, David.


DAVID: [concerned] Quinn . . .


QUINN: What?


DAVID: Where are you going with this? Somethingís way off here. You just told me that you knew the real you, you knew what you were like, and now you say I told you the very same thing, but it hurt to hear it from me? Is that what you mean?


QUINN: [irritated] Look, you wanted to know how things were going for me, and Iím trying to give you the four-one-one. [calmer] What I meant was, Iím doing okay. I just donít have the illusions about myself I once did. [sighs, looks off in the distance] I had the illusion that not being deep was okay, and now it isnít. It took a while to sink in, though. At first I was stuck on all the wrong issues. So like me. For a few weeks, I hoped youíd change your mind and call me for a date, but no, youó


DAVID: [angry] Is this still about going out with me on a date? Is that it?


QUINN: No! Listen, I know Iím not explaining this well, but just listen. Okay, I sent you e-mails, asked how you were doing, what was going on, and you sent me a couple lines if you wrote at all, and finally I got it. It wasnít the dating that was the point. The point was that you gave me a chance to be less shallow, and I tried to get there. [pause] I didnít make it, but I did try. I tried really hard. Iím glad for the chance you gave me, anyway, but now I know that smart deep people just donít go out with shallow less-smart ones.


DAVID: [disbelief] Quinn, that wasnít the point at all! Youíre still talking about us dating! I wasnít trying to seduce you!


QUINN: Davidó


DAVID: Let me finish! Dating you wouldíve been unethical. I was your tutor, you were underageóyou know what I mean?óand it just wasnít going to happen! What I liked about you was that you were the only one out of your brain-dead group who ever had any potential upstairs! It was never an issue about the two of us going out together!


QUINN: [soft voice] Oh, it was an issue for one of us, at first. You know it was. [sad smile] I was really out of place, wasnít I, when I asked you out?


DAVID: [taken aback, angry] Hey! Cut it out!


QUINN: [evenly] Hey, cut what out? You said we were from different worlds, and Iíd never like your world or fit into it. I couldnít believe youíd even say that. I mean, everyoneís different, even my friends and I are different, more or less, and what would be the use in dating someone who was exactly like you? You may as well stay home, then. I didnít think I was that out of place to at least ask you out.


DAVID: [angry] Quinn, thatís not the point! When I said we were totally different, I meant we have nothing in common. I wanted to find someone who . . . well, someone withó


QUINN: [low voice] Someone with depth, you said. Someone with a certain amount of depth.


DAVID: [less angry but uncomfortable] Well . . . exactly. Someone who had seen something of the world, knew what was going on in the world, someone who understood what suffering and pain were all about, notónot some fluffyóoh, you know what I mean!


QUINN: [glum look] I do know what you mean. And I donít have it. [stares at David, low voice] God, do you know how much that hurt to realize that?


DAVID: [stares at Quinn, calms over a long pause, soft voice] Sometimes . . . most of the time, we get wiser only from experiences that hurt.


QUINN: [nods slowly] I can see that. Now. [long pause] You know, I read something in a book last year I got from Daria. She was going to the library and I asked her if she could get me a book that was fun to read, but one was intelligent, too, and she got me this book called, um . . . The Forgotten . . . Monsters . . . no, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Yeah, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. It was by a lady named McKillip.


DAVID: [pause] Iíve heard of that one. Havenít read it yet.


QUINN: [tired voice] You should. Itís good. I donít remember too much of it now, except for this one little part. Thereís this talking pig, I forget his name but it wasnít Babe, and he tells this really short story about a giant who gets hit in the eye with a rockósorry, this partís sort of grossóand the rock, when it hits him, turns one of his eyes around so his eye is looking into his head, into his mind, and the giant drops dead from what he sees there. [pause] Do you get it?


DAVID: [pause, stunned] Yeah. I get it.


QUINN: I got to that part and stopped reading for a while, because I knew that the giant was me. See, I was fine, walking along, having my fashion life, esteeming myself like I always do, for all the wrong reasons, and this rockóyouócame along and hit me and got me to look inside myself, andówell, what I saw there just about killed me. I mean, there was nothing there. You know, if I were an ocean, you know, some really Atlantic-sized swimming pool, you wouldnít even get your feet wet wading across me. [deep sigh]


DAVID: [shakes head] I think youíre guilt-tripping me, and youíre being too hard on yourself, anyway.


QUINN: Maybe youíre being too nice on myself. I tried reading some other books. I thought maybe I could read a book that was really deep, that maybe Iíd learn something from it and be a little more like you, so I asked Daria and she got me this book by a guy named Olaf someone, I think he was a Viking. The book was called Star Maker. [rolls eyes] Whoa, that was weird. I had a lot of trouble with that one.


DAVID: [frowns, though he seems relieved for the change in conversation] I donít think Iíve heard of that one.


QUINN: Yeah, it was way out there, science fiction. It was really hard to read. It about this guy who goes outside at night and lies down on the grass, and all of a sudden heís flying through space like Superman, flying from planet to planet, and . . . how do I put this . . . he starts meeting all these aliens who are like him, sort of like super ghosts or something, and they decide they want to meet God, and wooo, I didnít know what was going on after that. Time-traveling, I think. I think they did meet God, sort of, but God wasnít at all what they thought. I skipped a lot where it got like really dense and I read the ending, to see what he learned, and I guess he was happy just to be who he was, and he was glad to be a part of it all, part of everything. Iím not explaining this very well, butóyou know, I felt like I liked who I was and I liked the world, too, so there must have been something else in there that I missed. I donít know what it was. I gave up trying to read really brainy books after that. I thought you were right, you were in your world and I was in mine, and if I thought I was climbing out of my world into yours, my brain was in a frying pan on drugs or something.


DAVID: Youíre sure youíre not talking about being pissed at me because I wouldnít go out with you?


QUINN: [quiet anger] Iím talking about trying to climb out of myself, David. Iím talking about me being one big pit, a hole in the ground, and me trying to get out of it. [pause, looks away] I kept reading, anyway. Daria went to the library a lot because she had a lot of papers to write, and sometimes Iíd ask her if she could get me a book, and sheíd find one for me. I asked her once to find me a book where someone shallow has some good stuff happen to her, something happy to read, and she said I should read this book called Candide, which I donít know anything about, but all the copies were gone so instead she got me The Princess Bride. Somebody Gold wrote it, Golding, Goldsteinó


DAVID: [after a pause, low voice] Goldman, I think. William Goldman. Iíve heard of that one. I saw the movie.


QUINN: Whatever. That book started off great, but there was this part in it where, um, Buttercup, sheís the really shallow girl, really pretty but sheís dumb as a rock, and thereís this cute guy who works on her farm, Westley, and one morning she tells Westley that she loves him, and he shuts the door on her. She goes a little crazy after that, thinking he doesnít love her back, but it turns out that he shut the door on her so he could get ready to seek his fortune overseas and come back and marry her, or something like that, and he really did love her. He loved her loads. You got this so far?


DAVID: [very pained look] Youíre not going to ask me if I love you, are you?


QUINN: [looks surprised, bursts into nervous laughter] Oh, my gosh! Oh, no! No, Iím not! Howóoh, I get it! I see howóno, David, Iím not going to ask you that. Oh, no.


DAVID: [grimaces] Iím sorry. Maybe that was a stupid thing for me to say.


QUINN: [waves it away] Oh, forget about it. I know that you . . . that . . . anyway, thatís not the point. Buttercup waited for Westley to come back to her, but one day her parents told her that Westley had been killed by pirates, and she sort of lost it and locked herself in her room for days, and when she came out, she was very sad but very wise, and she was the most beautiful woman in the whole world, but she made up her mind that she would never love again.


DAVID: [after a long pause] Quinn, I really hope youíre not telling me this because youíve decided to do the same thing. You wouldówell, youíd be crazy if you did, really. The book does go on after that part. She does learn toó


QUINN: [makes dismissive gesture] Yeah, but I didnít read anymore after that. That was enough. [pause] Iíve had a whole year to think about what you said, the last time you were over. You said I paid you a big compliment when I asked you out, but it was . . . oh, I guess it was like one of those Epsilons asking out an Alpha, you know, from that book, New World Orderóno, wait, donít tell meóBrave New World. I read only a little of that one. I asked Daria to get me a book about smart people and stupid people trying to live together, and she must have misunderstood me because I wanted a romance, and she got me that one. I read some of it but gave up because it was too weird. Epsilonsóhmmm, I guess actually Iím more of a, um, Gamma, a good-looking Gamma. I could see where youíd be flattered by me asking you out, but it would be, oh, sort of like a bug with mold on it asking me out. Different worlds.


DAVID: [shocked] Quinn, damn it, thatís not fair! That wasnít what I meant at all! Youíre all hung up on you and me, and I want you to knock it off!


QUINN: [leans forward toward David, intense expression] You donít get it. This isnít about you and me. Iím trying to tell you whatís gone through my head for the last year, and you arenít getting it. This isnít about you, David. Itís about me, me and my future. I mean, sure, youíre the only guy I wanted to go out with who didnít want to go out with me. You counted, David, butó[sees David about to protest]ówait! Itís not about me dating you! None of this is about me dating you now! Itís about me hooking up with anyone in the future whoís worth being with! [agonized look] Donít you get it?


Quinn and David stare at each other. David calms, looking uncertain.


DAVID: [low voice] Go on.


QUINN: [agonized look] See, you wanted someone you could talk with, someone with a certain amount of depth. How are youóor anyone else who wants thatógoing to find any of that in here? [points to her head] I should be grateful to you, and I am a little, even as much as it hurt to hear what you said, because you gave me the chance to change, to make more of myself. [angrier] I wish to God it had worked. Iím still the same old Quinn, inside and out. Iím like Buttercup, maybe not quite as dumb as she is, butó[pause, stares at David, sighs]óthereís no Westley. I finally realized Iím not smart enough or deep enough to have the kind of partner I really want. I donít mean just you, David. I mean someone whoís smart and good with kids, someone whoís patient and strong inside and funny and sweet and doesnít just look at the outside me, but can see the inside me, too. I want someone who loves the inside me! [long pause] And thatísó[voice cracks, but she clears her throat and recovers]óthatís the problem, David. Thereís nothing inside me to see or to love. I donít have a chance of finding a smart, sweet guy who helps other people be more than they think they are, someone really nice, someone like you. Not a chance.


DAVID: [pause, dry mouth] Quinn, good God, thatís not true. Thatís justó


QUINN: David, youíre such a sweet guy, you really are, but youíre not being honest anymore with me. I still like you, but I donít like like you, like I did. [pause] You know, youíre the only guy that I ever said that to. I still canít believe I really said that to you, you know? I donít even slow dance until the fifth date, and for a long time I didnít let anyone have more than three dates with me, because none of them could see the inside meó[angrier]óbut whatís the point of all that now? Why bother? If anyone could see the real me, the inside me, theyíd laugh, or theyíd walk off, like you, or else theyíd drop dead from what they saw in me, just like that giant. Just like I did. And you know what? I donít care anymore. I give up. [holds up paperback] I can read Emily Dickinson all day long, but being smart in knowing stuff isnít really like being deep. I guess I mean wise when I say deep. Youíre right, people who are deep know what itís like to be hurt, but you have to have had something inside you to begin with, donít you? Itís like math, isnít it? Zero times anything is still zero. You have to go with what youíve got, David, and what youíre looking at is all Iíve got!


DAVID: [very upset] Quinn, this is . . . you canít be serious about what youíre saying! Youíre smarter than this!


QUINN: [with emphasis] Smart isnít deep, David. Iíve known smart people who were pretty stupid about life and stuff, smart people who were really shallow. Itís not stupid, really, but thatís not the point. If there was a way I could be more than me, maybe not smarter but a lot deeper, Iíd try it, but I canít believe it would work. Iíd be like that guyóoh, see, I asked Daria to get me a book about a stupid person who got really smart, and she got me, uh, Flowers for Algernon. I read that and cried for hours. That was the saddest thing ever. He got smart and wise and it killed him, sort of like that giant in the pigís story. I knew then that I was stuck forever being who I was. I can push the plastic envelope a little here and there, but Iím still going to be me. Zero times anything is zero. [pause, stares at David] Youíve got to see it all now, David. Whatís the use? Tell me, whatís the use of trying?


DAVID: [agonized look] Quinn, I donít know if youíre guilt-tripping the shit out of me, or if youíre serious, or youíre all messed up or what, but what youíre saying is wrong! Youíre just wrong, damn it! People suffer everywhere on this earth, and what makes you any worse off than them? Do you think youíre the only person ever who thought she was shallow and wasnít going to find anyone to love her? What the hell do you think Iíve been through? I found someone who was everything I thought I ever wanted, the greatest woman on earth, and she dumped me for some guy who drinks too much and screws around on her, someone whoísó[with angry emphasis]ómore fun than I am! Someone who doesnít study as hard as I do, so I can get good grades and get a good job and have a good life to share with someone else! What the hell did she want? Why the hell did she ever go out with me? Was it me or her, or both of us, or what? [throws up his hands] I donít know, and I donít give a damn anymore, either, and now you tell me that I screwed up your whole life because I told you something you already knew, that you were shallowóand you were, a year ago! Youíre sure as hell not shallow now, reading your damn Dickinson and books I havenít even read, and tearing your heart out and bleeding all over me because you want to be loved! You think youíre the only messed up person in the whole world? Youíve been messed up for just a year, and there are some people out there whoíve been messed up their whole damn lives! You have it made! [sighs] Jeez!


David pauses, out of breath, and runs a hand through his curly hair. He and Quinn sit forward on the bench, half facing each other.


QUINN: [looks up at David, faint smile appears as she speaks] So . . . youíre saying that Iím not only shallow, but Iím an amateur at being messed up?


DAVID: [coughs, relaxes, doesnít look at Quinn] Yeah, youíre an amateur. You donít have any real experience at being messed up, suffering, all that. You got the wind knocked out of you, butó


QUINN: [smile fades, serious look] Youíre making fun of me, my getting hurt. Donít do that. Iíve been hurt before by other things.


DAVID: [tired] Iím not making fun of you. Iím sorry. I talk before I think sometimes.


QUINN: That why your fiancť left you?


DAVID: [looks at Quinn, pained, then looks away] Ouch. [pause] Yeah, that was . . . that was part of it. I said some things, and she got pissed, and she found someone else, and that was it.


QUINN: [eyes David carefully] So, are you seeing anyone now?


DAVID: [suspicious look at Quinn, sighs] No. Iíve been studying. It keeps me going.


QUINN: Iíve been dating three or four times a week minimum for the last three years. Thatís my average. You wouldnít go out with me, but in the last year, Iíve gone out with, um, about a hundred different guys, from my school and two others.


DAVID: [looks at ground, depressed] Thanks. Youíre being a big help.


QUINN: [thoughtful] However . . . in the last year, Iíve been thinking a lot about all that dating and who I date. I like nice guys, guys who like how I look, but Iíve started to think that Iíve . . . I want to say that Iíve not been myself when I go out. I worry about people seeing me as, um, who I really am, you know? And I notice that I only date shallow guys. [laughs] There arenít many guys who arenít shallow, not at my school, but I notice that I avoid the ones who might not be shallow at all. Except that those guys are total nerds, no social skills, wonít even open the door for you. [makes a face] You see?


DAVID: I think I see. I think. Youíre saying Iíve ruined you again.


QUINN: Oh, duh! No, thatís not it. [pause] You know what I want to believe?


DAVID: [exhausted] I havenít a clue.


QUINN: [looks away, softly] I want to believe that somewhere out there, thereís a guy who isnít shallow, and this guy can see the real me, and this guy might like the real me inside me, if he could see it. Thatís my dream. Itís pathetic, but thatís what it is. [long pause] I need to change who I go out with, the whole dating thing. Iím tired of everyone around here. If I donít do something and climb out of the pit that I am, Iím going to end up dating Kevin Thompson this fall. You wouldnít know him. He was a football player held back after he flunked his senior year, so heíll be in my classes now. Heís a quarterback who doesnít know a thing about poetry or art or literature or history or anything, not even whoís president, much less what a pedagogue is. You see?


DAVID: [sighs/groans heavily, attitude of total defeat] I see. Youíll be his main squeeze if something drastic doesnít happen real soon to get you out of your pit.


QUINN: [nods] Yeah. You were paying attention after all.


Quinn stares at David, who stares at the ground. Neither says anything for a long while.


DAVID: [exhausted monotone] What time do you want me to pick you up tonight?


QUINN: Seven.


DAVID: [monotone] Formal or casual?


QUINN: Mmmm, casual. Iím going to try things a little differently. Iíll wear something like what I have on now, but with long pants. Slacks for you, shirtódonít wear silkóand something besides sneakers. And wear socks. Iíll trust your judgment on color.


DAVID: [finally looks up] You want to tell me the place, or surprise me?


QUINN: Actually, I think pizza would be fine. We can sit in the booths and talk for hours. I think Iíd like that. Just talk. Find out a little more about each other, you know? Iím not going to worry about making myself up so much, and just be more like . . . me.


DAVID: [nods] Okay. Is there any way I can keep my dignity?


QUINN: Oh, silly, of course not. I mean, I wonít make you be cute or anything, but everyoneís going to see you with me. I promise, though, not to let them laugh at you or call you a geek or anything. [smiles] Youíll have fun. Youíll manage.


DAVID: [sighs, looks at the ground] You really scare me.


QUINN: [nods in satisfaction] Good. Iím glad to hear that. [reaches for nearest of Davidís hands, gives it a squeeze] If depth doesnít work, fear will do. Youíre a quick learner. Plenty of hope for you yet. [lets go of his hand]


Quinn quickly collects her diet soft drink and book, and she gets up from the bench.


QUINN: You remember where I live, right?


DAVID: [looks up, nods once, points in the distance] Youíre a block over that way, the red brick house on Glen Oaks.


QUINN: Thatís it. [brightly] See you, David! [starts to walk away toward her home]


DAVID: [calls after her] Quinn?


QUINN: [stops, looks back] Careful, David. Donít spoil the moment.


DAVID: [sighs] You were waiting for me here, werenít you? I mean, you werenít just sitting here and I happened to walk by, and . . . you know . . . because I sometimes walk through here going from the library to my parentsí house, or . . . [runs out of things to say, gestures briefly, stares at Quinn]


Quinn looks at David for a long moment. She takes a step toward him.


QUINN: [quotes Dickinson from memory] ďWho never lost, are unprepared / A coronet to find; / Who never thirsted, flagons / And cooling tamarind.Ē [pause, stares at David, then breaks into a smile] Seven oíclock! [waves, walks away]


DAVID: [sags back in his seat, soft voice] Bye.


Quinn doesnít look back as she leaves the park. David watches her go until she is out of sight, as he sits beneath the oak in the warmth of the day.




Authorís Notes II: Literature that Quinn mentions is given below.


††††††††††† ďThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner,Ē by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

††††††††††† A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe

††††††††††† Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

††††††††††† The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

††††††††††† Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

††††††††††† The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia A. McKillip

††††††††††† Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon (an Englishman, not a Viking)


Poems by Emily Dickinson:

††††††††††† ďYour riches taught me povertyĒ

††††††††††† ďIf you were coming in the fallĒ

††††††††††† ďI lost a world the other dayĒ

††††††††††† ďProud of my broken heart since thou didst break itĒ

††††††††††† ďWho never lost, are unpreparedĒ


The poem at the end of A Journal of the Plague Year goes:


A dreadful plague in London was

In the year sixty-five,

Which swept an hundred thousand souls

Away; yet I alive!


The stanza from ďThe Rime of the Ancient MarinerĒ of which Quinn was thinking was:


The many men, so beautiful!

And they all dead did lie:

And a thousand thousand slimy things

Lived on; and so did I.



Original: 8/14/02

Revised: 1/20/03

Script, Shipper (Quinn/David)