©2003 Roger E. Moore (email@example.com)
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: Amy Barksdale tells a little story, and Daria and Quinn almost die.
Author’s Notes: This was written in response to another PPMB “Iron Chef” challenge, this one offered by Tafka, who asked for stories that were supposed to be serious but come out funny. I’m not sure this one fit the criteria, but it went in anyway. I wrote it in an hour and a half, finishing about 4:30 a.m., when I had the worst head cold in months and could not sleep at all. As usual, it is assumed that the reader is familiar with the major characters of the “Daria” TV show, so explanations of who is who are not needed.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Tafka for the contest!
“Thanks for taking me out for lunch,” Amy Barksdale said as she picked up her third garlic breadstick. “I’m glad I decided to pass through Lawndale more often and visit my favorite nieces.”
Daria nodded, sitting on Amy’s right with her mouth full of pizza. Quinn, sitting across from Amy and working her way through a green salad with light Italian dressing, looked appreciative. “We’re glad our favorite aunt is here to see us,” she said gaily.
“You should tell us a story,” said Daria around her pizza. “Something about the good old days, or whatever they called them back before newsprint.”
“Back in Pleistocene times,” said Amy. “That darn Ice Age. You want a story about what your mother was really like as a teenager.”
“Yeah,” said Quinn. “Something we don’t already know.”
“We know about the tightly wound pain in the ass part,” Daria put in.
“Hmmm.” Amy settled back in her seat and looked reflective. “Well, there was that magical day in late June, the summer I turned ten, when the sky was blue and the sun was bright and both your mother and Rita got laid for the first time.”
Daria was sipping her Ultra-Cola when twin streams of sparkling effervescent liquid shot out of her nose. She dropped her glass, spilling its contents across her lap and the tabletop. She began coughing nonstop, covering her face with her cotton napkin.
Quinn froze in her seat while taking a healthy bite of her salad. She stared at Amy in horror, her eyes as big as an anime heroine’s. Pieces of red-leaf lettuce with Italian dressing fell from her open mouth.
“I still can’t believe they did it on the same day,” Amy went on, ignoring Daria’s coughing fit and Quinn’s failure to breathe. “I thought for a long time they’d planned it like that, maybe as some sort of bet to see who would be first to take the stinky bus to Sausage City, but now I think it was just a twist of fate. I was on the living room couch reading D. H. Lawrence when Rita came back from a rock concert, walking strangely. I looked at her closely and noticed her bell-bottoms were reversed so that her ass was on backwards. She hasn’t changed a bit.
“ ‘Trouble getting dressed this morning?’ I asked her, trying to be a helpful little sibling.
“Then I remembered she’d had her jeans on correctly that morning when she’d left. I notice details like which side of her pants had the American flags sewn on the pockets.
“ ‘Shut up, Chicklet,’ she said, hurrying past toward her room. ‘Are mom and dad home?’
“ ‘No,’ I told her. ‘And for ten bucks, they won’t get a detailed color commentary on your unfashionably revealing faux-pas.’
“ ‘You little four-eyed weasel!’ she said, her voice full of sisterly affection. She smacked me on the back of the head the way she always did to show her love, then threw a wadded Hamilton at me and stuck her finger in my face and said, ‘You breathe a word of this, Anal Barksdale, and you’ll sleep with the fishes tonight.’
“ I just sniffed deeply and said, ‘Like that rotting fish you brought home in your pocket? Oops, I guess that isn’t a fish in your pocket! Sorry!’
“ ‘I mean it!’ Rita said, and she gave me a heartfelt noogie. ‘One word, and I’ll tuck you into a shallow grave.’ She ran to the refrigerator, grabbed a Coca-Cola douche, and ran off to her bathroom.
“Then your mother came in.”
Daria’s coughing increased dramatically until she was shaking like a rock guitarist in the final riff of a sold-out show. All of Quinn’s chewed salad now lay in her lap, her face an interesting shade of purple.
“Helen had gone off for the day with her girlfriends to Thunder Demon Speedway, to watch stunt drivers compete to see who would be first to send his car flying over a line of tractor trailers and walk away on at least one non-artificial leg. She left wearing a peasant blouse and jeans, but she came back wearing an I-just-saw-God look on her face and a skintight, ultra-short red-satin dress that showed enough of her ivory buns to shame a Wonder Bread bakery. Her panties looked like a leopard had tried to chew them off her, and someone had autographed the front of them with a black Magic Marker, right across Mount Venus. I think his first name was Skeeter-Dog.
“ ‘Are mom and dad home?’ she asked, wobbling like we were having an 8.9 earthquake. It must have been the aftershocks.
“ ‘You’re in luck—they aren’t,’ I said, ‘And lucky you again, I’m having a summertime sale on the Sounds of Silence album, for the low, low price of only ten smackers.’
“ ‘You wouldn’t dare, Book Breath,’ she mumbled, then looked down the front of her hooker wrap and said, ‘Damn, where’s my freaking bra?’ Only we didn’t have the word ‘freaking’ back then.
“ ‘Probably warming a pair of tiny trophy cups over a stunt driver’s fireplace,’ I said, wanting to comfort her. ‘This Sounds of Silence sale won’t last forever. Mom and Dad just pulled into the driveway.’
“Helen was a good sport and only smacked me on the head once before throwing a ten-spot in my lap. She made it to her room just seconds before Ma and Pa Barksdale walked in the front door. She could have been a stunt driver, I bet. I went out that afternoon and bought a chocolate milkshake, a Carly Simon album, and seven—count ‘em, seven—paperbacks. That was a wonderful day!”
Amy sighed wistfully. “Where have those golden moments gone to?” She came to and looked brightly at Daria and Quinn, each in the last stages of asphyxiation. “So, how are you two getting along?”
Young Barksdale Sisters, probably doesn’t count as a shipper, ho ho