Legal disclaimer: This story is in no way affiliated with MTV. Daria, Jane, etc. are copyright MTV and used here without express permission.

Author's Note:

This story is a short, and is based on a couple simple things. One was my desire to mess around with first-person. The other was how I've seen Charles portrayed in most fanfic. Just thought I'd offer a different, albeit unlikely, viewpoint.


The World of Charles Ruttheimer


I am sick. Sick and tired, and when the alarm clock rings and finally, unfortunately, awakens me from my restful slumber I can but groan. A long day of school is ahead of me, giving me no reason to crawl out of bed except for the thought of what my father might say to me if he found me still in bed. Not that he'd mind me missing school so much as my solitude. A man after my own heart, really.

I manage to drag myself upright, but simply can not bear to face the day without a bracing dose of the comedic genius of Samuel Horwitz. Sadly distracted from the perfect timing, my own is thrown off, and I barely manage to get out the door in time to watch the bus drive off. Not that I am at all upset by this, of course, as there generally isn't a seat left open by the time it reaches my stop anyway. Quite the amazing thing, really, considering that there are several stops after this one.

Of course, that last line was a joke of sorts. I understand perfectly well why they all avoid me. The guys have plenty of reason to envy my perfection and have no desire to place their candle in the shadow of the Ruttheimer sun. And the dear ladies would never risk the jealousy of their closest companions by attempting to attract my attention to them, to the detriment of the other lovelies. So I am often reduced to walking, although I say reduced only because it deprives the public of the glory of my close proximity. I, personally, have nothing at all against a good hike, and in fact spend a large part of my time alone in the woods, with my only companion a Nikon camera with a telephoto lens.

The rumors about that, by the way, are not true. I am no voyeur (except by invitation), and those vicious rumors were started by a petulant young babe who had the misfortune of not being my plaything and went mad from the rejection. In reality my large, and world-renowned, collection of gentleman's magazines is rivaled only by my large, but almost unknown, collection of nature photographs. The girls do occasionally manage to insinuate themselves into the picture in various states of undress, but not by any design of my own. I only keep the pictures out of a desire not to accidentally hurt their delicate feelings.

The walk to school will give me time to reflect, after all. I do it, walk I mean, often enough and yet I seem to always beat the bus. Maybe I should consider making this a regular thing? It would cut down on the subtle plays for my attention during the long bus-rides, and perhaps heighten my appeal according to Ye Olde Hard-To-Get Principle.

That's all crap, of course. Except the bit about staying in bed and the Shemp pick-me-up. That I'm realizing this is exactly why I don't walk to school every day. At least when I go hiking on weekends I don't have to worry about dealing with crowds of people when I'm done. And it does give me a cover, although I can't use it as much now. The cold weather does mean that I get to wear the long-sleeved shirts that make the excuses unnecessary, but it comes with other problems.

Well, it's a long-sleeved shirt today. A nice little number my father's tailor whipped up for me when I offered to send him a set of wallet-sized photos of himself and his lovely, but amazingly young, wife. Later reflection showed me that she wasn't actually wearing a wedding ring, but perhaps she had taken it off to keep it safe. Considering what they were doing at the time, it was probably wise.

Damn. I just can't stop any more, can I? Dad got me so stuck in this fucking "I am hot shit" mode that I have trouble not using on myself. And the asshole wonders why I always have trouble getting dates. I just can't figure out how in the hell he can manage to make this approach work. I sure can't, and I can't see why anyone would be attracted to it. Maybe if he weren't so damn certain that his way is always the right way I'd have a friend or two. There are actually a couple girls at Lawndale I'd love to really talk to. I just can't stop with the crap. Oh, look, here's the school. The bus hasn't shown up yet, it seems. At least I'll be spared dealing with Joey, Jeffy and Jamie. They're hardly the worst on the football team, but they aren't exactly what I'd choose for companions either.

Is that Daria I see over there? Damn, I hope she never finds my web page. Maybe I should take that down? Then again, it's probably as close as I'll ever get. She certainly isn't willing to take crap from anyone. Not even her parents, if half of what I hear is true. Why can't I be like that? I've got to try to talk to her again. If only I could keep a damn grip on myself. Everything I say comes out wrong.

"Good morning, my lovelies..." Why'd you say that, idiot? Still, it could be worse. It usually is, actually.

"Well, it was until you showed up, Upchuck." Jane responds. What should I make of her? Sometimes she's nicer than Daria, sometimes not. I can't believe these two actually talked to my cousins. Of course, maybe I shouldn't believe them. They lie just as much as I do.

"I see you managed to escape a jail cell for yet another day. If you want that state of affairs to continue, bug off." Daria says. Well, at least she's only compared me to the Hunchback once.

"I was wondering... would either of you ladies care to come over to my place? I just obtained a record of "Snow White and the Three Stooges" you may be interested to hear..." Damn it! Why the hell should I assume they'd be interested in the Stooges?

"Well, maybe. I mean, if we get to slap you in the face there's a chance." Jane says.

"Or hit you on the head with a 2x4." Daria adds.

A "Grrr... feisty" escapes my lips before I can stop it. I can't stop grinning like an idiot as they walk off. Shit. I feel like a little homunculus at the controls of a machine that only occasionally obeys my commands. Cue "Pinky and the Brain" theme music there.

What luck... here comes Rhonda. She's always good for a slap. "Ohhh, Rhoooondaaaaaaa..." Am I right, or am I right?

And joy of joys, what is my first class of the day but Sadistic Science with Ms. Barch? Also known as "How to torture men with common household items." Just what I need to have first thing in the morning. I didn't even get any coffee today. I hope I don't fall asleep in there again... think I've still got a scar on my back from last time. The bitch wields a mean ruler.

Not to mention a nasty tongue. Daria's lashings have more style, but Barch lays it on thick. She's as subtle as a crazed rhinoceros with a toothache, definitely a candidate for Hell's Grannies. I just have to sit as far back as I can get away with. The girls will all avoid me wherever I am, thank god. Who knows what Barch would do if she caught me coming on to someone in her class? Hmm. Conditioning, or just hormones? Probably both, but with Barch's unique brand of teaching I'll never be able to figure it out.

Hark! Hear the harsh crone's voice! Listen to her, declaiming upon basic machines. The lever, the plane, the screw... didn't we cover this three years ago? Not that my class mates can recall what they had for breakfast, much less what they were doing three years ago. I actually do very well in this class, even with Barch taking 25% off the top of every male student's grade. It is an interesting subject. Too bad she doesn't know it, though.

Today's class is off to a bad start. I don't understand why she finds my MIT: Technology Review magazine so offensive, but she does. Maybe because it's got too many big words for her. Maybe because she was expecting Playboy or Hustler and I disappointed her. Then again, maybe she's just still upset over that whole "what a silly way to make tea" incident. Listen to her bitch me out... it's almost like that time I tried to tell her about anti-matter. Let's hope the usual cower-and-grovel approach works.

Then again, she does have a point. I should know better than to try learning in school by now. None of the teachers appreciate it, and Ms. Barch is very much tops on that score. I can't say that she's correct about all men, like she thinks, but she's right about me. I am a loser. Everyone knows it, too. Shit. I was hoping to get through today without it, but not now. I know it's pointless to ask her if I can go to the restroom, she'd be happy to have all the guys sitting in puddles of piss. Mr. O'Neill is next, and he's a creampuff, the moron. Damn it! It has to wait. Think of Monty Python. Think of Monty Python... Camelot! It's only a model...

And so I survive another Barching. Mr. O'Neill is starting in on "Watership Down." Yeah, like I didn't read that already. As soon as he starts gushing about cute bunnies I'm out of here... and there he goes. It's a new record, people. "Mr. O'Neill..." I say, raising my hand.

"What is it Charles?" Wow, he got my name right. It only took him a couple of years.

"May I be excused, please? I must... powder my nose, so to speak."

"Of course, Charles."

"Any of you ladies care to join me?" Damn it! Shut up!

"Dove-tail or mortise and tenon?" Daria asks. She is quite good. Too bad she's never had the chance to hear one of my answering machine messages... I must put a new one up tonight.

But it's off to the restroom I go. Shit, I used to go days between this, now I'm lucky to only need it once a day. Course, I do more to deserve it these days.

Is this place empty? Yes. Good. I won't ever make that mistake again... And I can't forget to lock the door. Hope I remembered to bring everything. Good, got the bandaid. And now for the piece-de-resistance... if Ms. Li ever caught me with this I'd be suspended. Damn zero-tolerance policy. It really does help to have dirt on all of dad's lackeys. The secret compartment in the heel of my shoe always makes me feel like Bond. Amazing how many places there are where you can hide a long, thin bundle.

This is a nice shirt today, better make sure to keep it clean. Roll the sleeve up high. Crap, look at this arm. Better try the other today. Well, maybe not, it's as bad as the other. I am really doing this too much. Maybe if I wasn't such a little shit during the day... I really have tried. Nothing I do is good enough. If this keeps up much longer, I'll just have find somewhere else to do this. A leg, perhaps? Won't work here, not without more planning. I'll stick with the tried-and-true for today.

So... and open... and in. How did I ever live before I found this nice little knife? So much easier to conceal than the last. And it holds an edge so well... almost too well, really. This wouldn't have a point if it didn't hurt. Maybe one of these days I'll learn... Flowing blood is quite a sight, isn't it?

Now there's a new thought... I wonder what arterial blood looks like. Is it any different from this? Shit. I know enough from biology class to know it won't look different. They're both red, exposure to the air makes sure of that. But I've never cut deep enough to find out. Maybe it does, even though I know it won't. It'd be easy enough to see...

But, no. Cutting an artery would kill me, and I don't deserve that. I haven't earned it yet.

God, people are stupid. Look at these arms. They actually believe me when I tell them it's just from cutting trails. I don't know which is worse, being surrounded by idiots or being one.

Holy shit! The bell! I missed all of Mr. O'Neill's class. I bet he doesn't notice, but one or two of the students might. Where'd I put that damn bandaid? There it is. At least we're only doing ping-pong in gym today so I won't have to change.

Lunch-time in Lawndale High... Get along little doggies. The cafeteria staff is never amused by my request for spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam and spam. Perhaps I should ask for spam, eggs, sausage and spam today? It's not that far from the truth. Except for the eggs and sausage part. The desserts always make me feel like I should be coughing up feathers.

Good thing my new Star Trek books came in last night. "How Much for Just the Planet?" ought to give the day a little cheer. What could be better than Klingons in pie-fights? At least no one will bother me when I'm reading. Or any other time, come to think of it.

Spoken too soon... I guess this is food-fight day. Either that or the ideal loon exhibition. Good thing it's just the football team tossing meatballs. Their aim is atrocious. They won't hit me except by accident. Man, how in the world did Kevin get to be quarterback? At least he provides a vital psycho-social service for the community. What a timely distraction those cheerleaders are providing me... counter-battery... return fire. Not like the desserts are good for anything but kinetic energy weapons.

Amazing, but true... here we are, playing table tennis in high school gym class. I guess I'm lucky it isn't tiddly-winks. Or yet another unscheduled in-class football practice. Oh-ho does Kevin think he can get back at me for lunch by beating me at table tennis? Hah! The moron doesn't even hold the paddle properly. It's almost a shame to take up the challenge; this is going to be like Arthur vs. the Black Knight. Chucky shoots, he scores! You're no Forrest Gump, Kevin.

Here comes his bimbo. No, dearie, your little Kevvy isn't wiping the floor with the nerd. Maybe it's time to scan that picture and put it on the school's web page... now that could be amusing. Running away, are you? Now there's a man with an open mind. I can feel the breeze from here.

Holy shit! He recognized that as an insult? Nah, he's just pissed off that I won. Yeah, resort to fists. You hit like a girl, Kevin. Coach is looking right at him, too. Not that the fat slob cares what his star player does to some pencil-necked geek. This whole class is like a twit of the year competition.

"Stop bleeding on the floor."

Whoever's yelling must have had a little too much of that ancient juice they were serving at lunch. You'd think they'd throw that stuff out when it ferments.

Wait a sec... I am bleeding. Kevin must have knocked the bandage off. Well, there goes the shirt. Blood doesn't come out of this fabric. I've tried to get it out often enough, I should know. Well, Coach isn't paying attention, time for a little disappearing act so I can fix this up.

Another day survived. At least dad should be out of town by now. Good thing his business sends him off a lot. Makes me want to whistle, and not the wolf kind. Oh look, a collection of jocks. Waiting for me? Could be. They hate seeing Kevin humiliated. You'd think that between practice and dating they wouldn't have time to avenge insults to him. It's certainly a full time occupation. Well, dirtbags are a part of growing up. Out the back, I think. They aren't clever enough to watch more than one exit.

And home again, home again, jiggity jig. Then back again tomorrow, for more of the same. Can't forget to see what I can do to find some new spots tonight. Hmm, now where was I? Oh, yes.

"Always look on the bright side of life..."