Synopsis:A short story where Kevin finds out the horrible truth about his favorite sport. (Actually, in Iron Chef fic with the theme of ‘messing with the mind.’)
Author’s forward: Thanks to everyone on the PPMB for reading this. Commentsm artwork, threats, and whatever else can be sent to Greystar@Hotmail.com. Thanks!
Legal Drek: Daria and her cohorts are property of MTV and Viacom.
This story is Copywright October 23, 2004
Save The Nauga’s hide
Daria and Jane almost felt guilty for sitting out on the football field bleachers in the middle of what was supposed to be their fifth class period of the day. However, the fact that the rest of the student population was milling around the complex made that leap an impossibility. Various students were spread across the bleachers on both sides of the field and about half of the football team had taken to the field in an impromptu game.
“What are we doing out here again?” Daria asked, turning the page in her section of the newspaper they were sharing.
“One of us decided that we needed a change of scenery,” Jane said, folding her section in half.
“I meant the roof, not the football field.”
“Well, since someone set off a stink bomb in the school’s air conditioning system, our usual spot smells like rotten eggs,” Jane pointed out. “Who do you suppose that person could have been?”
“Someone with a twisted and evil sense of humor who decided that the hard working students of Lawndale high needed an afternoon off.” Daria flipped another page, searching for the crossword. “We may have to thank Evan for this.”
“Mmm.” Jane folded her section of the paper in half and stuck it back inside Daria’s backpack, which was sitting on the bench in front of them. “I’ll think about it.”
“Maybe we should have told him about the motion detectors in the A/C machinery room?”
“Nah,” Jane said, leaning back and folding her hands behind her head.
“Heads up!” Kevin Thompson suddenly shouted from the football field.
Daria and Jane looked up just in time to see the wildly thrown football spiraling at them. An eye blink later, the football impacted Daria's backpack with a loud THWOP!! The girls flinched away from the pack as seams and stitching was blown out, squirting a handful of papers into the afternoon air.
“Backpack killed by mad football,” Jane quipped as the two girls started grabbing the floating papers out of the air. “Innocent bystanders scarred for life by sports related projectile.”
“I’d like to scar Kevin for life.” Daria picked up one last sheet of paper from the bleachers and walked over to the ruined backpack to inspect the carnage. “Dammit, I liked that backpack. I’ve had it since seventh grade.”
“Well, I hate to say it, but it looks as though the patient is a goner,” Jane said with a shake of her head. “Another senseless of ballistic leather.”
“More like ballistic one hundred percent Naugahyde,” Daria said sourly as she picked up the football, her eyes falling on the label.
Turning at the sound of her name, Daria saw Kevin and Brittany slowly climbing the bleacher stairs together.
“Hey, Daria, can we have the football back?” Kevin asked as he motioned for her to throw him the ball.
“Daria glanced down at the ball for a second, then back up at Kevin and Brittany. For a second, she thought about throwing it over the back of the bleachers and letting Kevin search for it, but that would have been childish. Just as she was about to lob the ball back to him, it hit her.
This is too perfect. Daria glanced over at Jane with a cocked eyebrow.
Jane immediately saw the evil glimmer in her friend’s eyes and caught the sadistic quality that her usual Mona Lisa smile had taken on. She immediately knew that this was going to be good.
“You know, Kevin, I would have thought that someone like you would have known better,” Daria said with a shake of her head as she lobbed the ball in the quarterback’s direction.
“Sorry, the ball kind of got away from us,” Kevin said as he caught the ball out of the air.
“Don’t you know that those are endangered?” Daria asked.
“What, footballs?” Kevin was confused.
“No. Naugas.” Daria glanced at Jane, who was trying to keep a straight face. “Do you know how many naugas had to be slaughtered to make that one football?”
“Slaughtered?” Brittany squeaked as Kevin looked at the ball.
“Yeah,” Jane said, picking up on the scam. “All those cute, fuzzy, little naugas cut down in their prime. It’s disgusting.”
“Cute and fuzzy?” Brittany said, her lower lip beginning to quiver.
“You know, I heard that they don’t even use the whole nauga.” Jane began to ham it up.
“You’re right. All they do is take that one piece of hide for the ball, and the rest gets ground up and served up as cat food.” Daria sat down and shook her head sadly. And that’s not the worst of it.”
“It’s not?” Kevin asked. “What’s the worst of it?”
“Don’t ask, you don’t want to know,” Jane said in a tone of dread. “It’s too brutal.”
“If small, cute, fuzzy animals are being k-...k-...” Brittany swallowed hard. “K-killed then we want to do something about it!”
“We do?” Kevin looked back at Brittany and got punched in the arm. “OW! I mean, yeah, we do! Right, babe?”
“The worst of it all is how they’re raised,” Daria said with a canted eyebrow, going in for the kill. “They’re kept in these boxes, three or four to a box. There’s no room to turn around, barely any room to breathe, and none of them get any exercise. Nauga farmers keep then in warehouses buy the hundreds. Most of them go their who lives without ever seeing the sun!”
“Then comes the day that they get shipped off to the football factory,” Jane said, taking up the tale of woe. “Then they only get to see the sun for the few minutes it takes to move them into the back of this big old truck.”
Brittany was starting to look a little pale and Kevin was trying to put on a brave face.
“Then, the ones that survive the trip to the factory get pulled out of their boxes and . . . and . . .” Daria faked a sob. “Hit in the head with a hammer!”
“There, there,” Jane said as Daria sat down on the bleachers and buried her face in her hands. She patted her friend’s back in sympathy. “You don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to.” Jake looked up at Kevin and Brittany. “She’s very sensitive about this particular subject. She had a pet nauga once.”
“But I have to talk about it, Jane! They have to know!” Daria pseudo sobbed. I should get an Emmy for this crap.
“There, there,” Jane said again. “At least it’s over with quickly.”
“But it’s not over! That’s just where it starts!” Daria jumped up and grabbed the front of Kevin’s shirt, pushing the melodrama to the hilt. “Sometimes the hammer doesn’t do it! And from there they get dunked in boiling water!”
“So they can be shaved,” Jane provided conversationally.
“Then they go in an oven!”
“Tans the hides.”
“Then they take the piece of hide for the football!” Daria shook Kevin by the collar.
“Just the soft stuff, right here across the belly.” Jane drew a circle with her finger over her stomach. “Very gross.”
“And the rest gets tossed into the cat food machine!!” Daria shook Kevin so hard, it looked as though his eyeballs were going to rattle out of his skull.
“Very wasteful,” Jane sighed.
“And all so some QB can look like the big hero on the football field!” Daria wiped her eyes and sat back down, looking up at the very green quarterback and his pale looking girlfriend.
”Gross, man,” Kevin said quietly. “Well, uh, thanks for the football back --”
“MURDERER!!” Brittany shrieked in to Kevin’s ear, causing him to jump and nearly drop his football. “How can you stand there and just . . . just . . . stand there when cute, fuzzy little naugas are being hit with hammers and stuff!”
“But babe, I know that it’s kinda gross, but it’s, like, football.” Kevin shrugged.
“Yeah, and I’ve been cheering for a bunch of nauga killers!” Brittany was practically in hysterics. “Well, I’m through you -- you football player! And if you’re gonna keep playing that horrible game, then we’re through too! And I’m gonna make sure that the rest of the cheerleaders know what happens to those poor defenseless little naugas and none of us are going to have anything to do with any of you!”
Daria, having gone through an amazing emotional recovery, cocked her eyebrow at Jane. Jane gave her friend a look of admiration in return, and the two went back to watching Kevin and Brittany.
“But -- but -- but babe!” Kevin stammered, frantically racking his brain for a way to appease his girlfriend. “I know! I’ll (gulp) quit the football team!”
“Yeah! It’ll be, uh . . .”
“A demonstrational protest?” Daria prompted.
“Yeah! A protestational demonstrating thingy against the rotten treatment of naugas and stuff!” Kevin grinned. I’ll help you spread the word!”
“Oh, babe!” Brittany gushed, throwing her arms around Kevin. “You really do care!”
“Of course I do! You’re my babe!”
“C’mon, Kevvy, we’ve got a lot of work to do!”
“You bet! Oh,” Kevin turned and tossed the football to Daria, who caught it expertly. “Get rid of this thing for me, wouldja?”
“Anything for a crusader,” Daria said dryly.
“Thanks,” Kevin said as he walked away and thrust his fist into the air. ”Save the nauga! All riiiight!”
Jane and Daria watched as Kevin and Brittany strode onto the field to spread the word to the people where were down there. Jane finally gave in to the laughter that she had been holding back the whole time. Daria looked on with a satisfied smile on her face.
“I’ve never seen an evil genius work her magic before,” Jane said after a moment to catch her breath. “Just remind me to never truly get on your bad side.”
“So noted. The joy of this is that he’s going to do all of the work himself.” Daria observed. All I had to do is get the ball rolling.”
“Not a nauga hide ball is it?” Jane smirked. “Those things are endangered, you know.”
“Yeah. About as plentiful as a working synapse in Kevin’s head.”
The next afternoon, Daria and Jane were walking through the corridor near the gym.
“Seems like the air conditioning has finally gotten caught up,” Jane said as she made a show of sniffing the air.
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.” Daria sniffed once. “Wonder if Ms Li ever tracked down who did it.”
“Yep. I saw Evan in the office at lunch,” Jane said with a nod. “Apparently he ‘got caught’ bragging about it to one of his friends on the football team. By the way, we may want to watch what we say in the Girls Room from now on. It may be bugged.”
The two girls rounded a corner and came across Mack, Jamie, and a couple of the other members of the Lawndale Lions, all apparently locked in a rather intense discussion. In the background, it sounded like someone was chanting in the gym.
“You’ve gotta do something about them, dude,” one of the football players was saying. “He’s done some dumb things before, but this . . .”
“It’s embarrassing, man!” The other football player shook his head. They’ve got signs and everything!”
“Maybe he hit his head and got magnesia or something?” Jamie offered.
“That’s ‘amnesia,’ Jamie.” Mack sighed. “Look, I’ll talk to him and get everything straightened out, okay?”
The others seemed to take Mack at his word and left, talking among themselves. Mack, however, leaned against the wall and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger.
“Signs,” he muttered to himself.
“Signs?” Daria asked, looking sidelong at Jane.
“Everywhere signs.” Jane smirked.
Mack heard the girls talking and looked up.
“Hi, Mack, what’s shakin’?” Jane greeted the football team captain.
For a moment, Mack looked as though he’d never seen them before. Then, suddenly, the fog seemed to lift and a knowing look crossed his face.
“Why do I suddenly get the feeling that you two know exactly what’s going on here?” Mack asked rhetorically.
“Going on? Daria deadpanned. “Whatever could you mean?”
“Yeah, right. Come on.”
Mack stood up straight and led them through the doors of the gym and out onto the expanse of polished and waxed maple. On the other side of the huge space, Kevin and Brittany were holding a demonstration in front of the entrance to the locker rooms, complete with picket signs. Both wore T-shirts with “Save The Nauga!” hand printed on across the front with what looked to be lipstick, though Brittany’s chest distorted the printing. Kevin’s sign had a football with a large red X crudely drawn through it. Brittany’s showed an animal that appeared to be a fusion of an otter, squirrel, and a cat of some kind with an enormously fluffy tail and huge, soft looking eyes.
“Don’t play football! Save the nauga!” Kevin and Brittany chanted as a couple of uniformed football players left the locker room. “Don’t play football! Save the nauga!”
Daria and Jane looked at the QB and the Head Cheerleader for a moment before Jane burst out laughing.
“I don’t suppose that you’d be able to explain the rest of it, would you Daria?” Mack asked.
“Oh, I could try,” Daria said with a smirk that bordered on a full-blown smile. But I’ve never been able to understand these endangered species activists at all, have you?”
“Yeah, but the ‘nauga?’ “ Mack asked. “I mean isn’t that a little obvious?”
“Well, he was dumb enough to fall for it,” Jane said around a chuckle.
“Okay, I’ll grant you that, but still,” Mack sighed.
“Hey, Daria! Jane!” Brittany called out as she came across the gym, sign in one hand and a clipboard in the other.
“Hi, Brittany. How goes the protest?” Daria asked calmly as Kevin continued to chant on his own.
“Pretty good, I guess.” Brittany lowered her sign so that the other girls could see it. “I got this great picture out of an animal book my dad has. I had a little trouble copying it so big for the sign.”
“I think it came out okay,” Jane said, trying not to laugh again. “I think it’s cute.”
“Uh, Brittany? Can I talk to you for a second?” Mack asked with a flat voice.
“Oh! And we’ve got this petition thingy, too!” Brittany said with a squeak as she held up the clipboard and looked sadly down at it. “The only problem is that nobody‘s signed it yet. Maybe if you guys sort of got the ball rolling?”
“Petition?” Mack groaned. “Brittany --”
“Well, let us be the first then!” Jane cut Mack off and pulled a pen out of the inside of her jacket and took the clipboard.
Jane signed with a flourish, then passed the clipboard to Daria, who looked at Jane with a raised eyebrow.
“Are you nuts?” Daria asked.
“C’mon, Daria,” Brittany pleaded. “If everyone sees that someone really smart like you signed it, then maybe they’ll sign it too!”
“Yeah, Daria, bow to the absurd,” Jane prompted her friend.
“Oh all right.” Daria sighed and took the offered pen and petition. She stiffly signed on the second space and handed the petition back to Brittany. “There.”
“Thanks guys! You’re real pals!” Brittany gushed.
“Well I hate to be a pal and run, but we have to get to class.” Daria took Jane by the arm before she could protest. “See ya.”
“Bye! And thanks!” Brittany bubbled as the two left.
“Save the nauga! Don’t play football!” Kevin continued, ignored.
“Brittany, I’ve really got to tell you something,” Mack said to the cheerleader, who was looking over his shoulder at the doors as the closed behind Daria and Jane. “He’s really getting irritating.”
“No kidding.” Brittany turned around and looked at her boyfriend. “Kevvy!”
“Save the -- huh?”
“Take five, babe,” Brittany said as she looked at the petition and it’s two signatures.
“Oh, okay,” Kevin said, lowering his sign and sitting down on one the bleachers.
“So, did you get what you wanted?” Mack asked, genuinely curious.
“Yep. Exactly what I needed.” She flipped the first page up and examined the second briefly. “Thank Jodie for drawing that picture for me, will you?”
“Yeah, sure. What did you need that for? It’s not illegal, is it?”
“Nope,” Brittany smiled as she tucked the clipboard under her arm. “Not quite.”
The next morning, Evan walked out of Ms Li’s office feeling and looking very confused. First, he winds up spending the evening in Barch’s detention hall, then the next morning, he’s being told that someone else had confessed to suckering him into planting that stink bomb in the main A/C intake. Very weird, since no one had talked him into doing anything, but he wasn’t arguing.
“Hi, Evan,” Brittany squeaked, walking up to him.
“Hey, Britt. You’ll never guess what happened,” Evan started to say.
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
At that moment, the PA system squealed to life.
“Ms Jane Lane and Ms Daria Morgendorffer report to the principal’s office! NOW!”
“Oh,” Brittany said innocently. “Just a guess.”