Meet the Fashion Club
©2003 Roger E. Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: email@example.com
Synopsis: There was one career path that the Fashionable Foursome could have taken, if they had wanted popularity, money, fame, and dates—and had talent, too.
Author’s Notes: This was for an April 2003 PPMB “Iron Chef” challenge. WacoKid wanted to see alternate-history stories in which the Fashion Club members were drawn together by something other than clothing and cosmetics. Here’s one possibility. Readers are assumed to be familiar with the characters of the “Daria” universe, so introductions are not given. This tale essentially replaces the “Daria” episode, “Road Worrier,” with setting details borrowed from The Daria Diaries.
Acknowledgements: My thanks go out to WacoKid, for starting the contest!
“Stacy,” Quinn said, her voice too high, “help me with my blush, please.”
“Sure!” said Stacy. She finished her Blue Denim eye shadow and turned to Quinn at the group makeup mirror. “Hold still. Oh, no! You’ve got the wrong color—I think!”
“Wrooong color,” said Tiffany with the briefest glance, applying her Maxi-Gloss lipstick. “More peach.”
“I don’t know why you guys are so nervous,” said Sandi. She finished brushing out her hair (ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred, and one to grow on), checked herself in the mirror one more time (smile, nothing in her teeth), and felt for her four lucky charms on her necklace. She touched each one in order, offered one quick prayer, and took a deep breath and held it with her eyes shut. I will not be terrified, she thought. I will not screw up. I will make no mistakes. I will be perfect and this will be the perfect night. I can do it. I know I can. I have that power and I totally rule.
“Okay!” said Quinn, checking Stacy’s handiwork. “You got it! We’re a go!”
“Oh!” squealed Stacy. “I can’t stand it! My head feels like it’s floating away!”
“Yeah,” said Tiffany in a monotone. She took a last look at herself in the mirror. “No fat,” she whispered—and smiled.
The door to their dressing room opened. “Two minutes!” called the stagehand, and he left without waiting for them to say anything back.
Sandi let out her breath, opened her eyes, and stood up. “Let’s do it,” she said. She felt it happening inside her. They were going to do it. She could face anything now.
Quinn stood up next to her. Stacy stood next to Quinn, and Tiffany stood next to Stacy and Sandi in their little circle. They put their arms around each other’s shoulders and leaned in carefully until their heads touched in the middle.
“We rule,” whispered Sandi in her deep voice. “We totally rule.”
“We totally rule,” agreed the
others. “We totally rule.”
“If we rule,” said Sandi in a louder voice, “then let’s go show the world what a real ass-kicking feels like when the rulers deliver it! Let’s—”
All four girls took fast deep breaths and shouted, “—gooooooooOOOOOOO!!!” ending with their heads back, hair falling behind them, screaming at the plasterboard ceiling. They felt it happen, what Sandi felt. It was their time. They were going to rule this corner of the earth before the last rays of the sun were gone that evening and darkness conquered all on this hot August night. Then they would rule the earth.
They broke their group hug and hurried out the dressing room door. They passed sound-stage engineers and roadies and the drunken manager for Ciggie Butt and the drummer for Lint Factory asleep in a corner. They came out of the band prep building and headed for the stage. Quinn looked up and saw the Moon look back. She gave it a thumbs-up and shivered. She had the power for real.
“And now, Alternapalooza!” roared the heavy, bearded man at the microphone. “The girl band you’ve been waiting two days to hear! Wake up, Swedesville, and get ready for your date with . . . The Fashion Club!”
Sandi, Quinn, Tiffany, and Stacy walked onto the open soundstage. A tidal wave of screaming broke around them, a living thing as big as Godzilla that thundered into them down to their bones. All the girls but Tiffany turned and waved as they walked over to their places on stage, their dresses and makeup in perfect order. Quinn picked up the pink lead guitar from the padded stool, tossed the rainbow strap over her shoulders, and plucked a few strings to make sure she was in tune. Sandi sat down behind the electronic organ, flipped switches, and fiddled with her microphone. Tiffany picked up the lavender bass guitar; when she tossed her long black hair, her fans in the audience screamed out her name in unison. Stacy sat down behind her drum set and raised both her thumbs into the air, provoking wild cries from the audience scattered out to the ridge beyond.
“Twelve thousand,” called Sandi over the human thunder. “I heard twelve thousand are out there.”
“Looks like it,” said Quinn, still tuning up. She tossed her long red hair and listened to a few more chords. “I’m good,” she called back.
Tiffany plucked a string, standing loose and ready, then looked expectantly at Stacy. Stacy was doing her adrenaline-pumping bouncing thing on her seat, powering up, getting the rhythm. Sandi glanced at Tiffany and Stacy, then leaned close to the microphone.
“Can you hear me out there?” she shouted, looking at the crowd. Her voice was amplified a billion times and blasted out across the gigantic field. A titanic roar even greater than the first was hurled back at them. Quinn felt her hair blowing in the monstrous vibrations.
“I said,” Sandi shouted into the microphone with an enraged expression, “can—you—hear—me?”
The thunderclap redoubled, tripled, pounded the floorboards and threatened to knock the three-story banks of speakers behind them flat on the grassy ground.
That’ll do, thought Sandi. She pointed at Stacy. Stacy began slamming out the solo start of their first song, then Tiffany joined in with the bass, and Quinn with her guitar. It was “With You I’m Blind,” a fast-faced rocker that never failed to get any size crowd going.
On cue, Quinn leaned close to her microphone and began singing, very fast.
“You didn’t call me Friday night,
“You promised me you would,
“And by that stupid telephone
“All Friday night I stood!
“I ate up all the ice cream
“And I cried myself to bed,
“And I told myself I’d kill you
“If you weren’t already dead!
“On Saturday you told me that
“You’d had too many brews,
“You went out with my sister
“And she gave you such a screw—
“And the first words that I said to you were
“ ‘I love you!’”
Sandi and Stacy leaned in on their microphones instantly and joined Quinn on the refrain.
“Where the hell’s my mind?
“Where the hell’s my spine?
“I’ve got twenty-twenty vision
“But with you I’m blind!
“I should’ve bought a gun,
“I should’ve had some fun—but
“Instead I just surrender,
“Put my heart into the blender,
“And disgrace the better gender
“‘Cause I love you!”
They pulled back from the microphones, guitars and drums and organ racing through the chords bridging to the next stanzas. Tiffany was already in bass guitar Nirvana, cut off from every outside input but her instrument. Stacy’s pigtails and drumsticks whipped back and forth like hypersonic hummingbirds’ wings. Sandi glanced up and caught Quinn’s eye. They grinned. They ruled, and they knew it. Victory was theirs. Riotous insanity ruled Alternapalooza in every corner—
—except by a battered black van parked on the nearest edge of the main parking lot. On top of that van sat two teenage girls, ignored by everyone.
“I gotta admit,” said Jane Lane as she looked through the binoculars, “they sound pretty good. Can’t believe they wrote their own lyrics. They’re going to be juniors when school starts, and they’ve already got a contract for three records and an advance of more millions than I can normally count. Damn decent of them to offer to send both you and me through college in exchange for not selling any secrets about them to the tabloids.” Jane lowered her binoculars and handed them to Daria. “Wanna see your sister sing?”
Daria Morgendorffer looked down at the binoculars and shook her head. “I already know what she looks like,” she said in a very depressed deadpan. “And I keep telling you, she’s not my sister. She’s my cousin.”
Jane took the binoculars back and smiled a sad, knowing smile. “Whatever you say, Daria,” she said as she raised the binoculars to her eyes again. “Whatever you say.”
Alternate history: Fashion Club