Lucky Strike

A "Daria" Episode Adaptation by Marielle Scheid
Based on the screenplay by Peter Elwell

Cast of Characters:

Daria Morgendorffer, Quinn Morgendorffer, Helen Morgendorffer, Jake Morgendorffer, Jane Lane, Trent Lane, Tom Sloane, Brittany Taylor, Kevin Thompson, Jodie Landon, Mack MacKenzie, Charles Ruttheimer III (Upchuck), Sandi Griffin, Stacy Rowe, Tiffany Blum-Decker, Joey, Jamie, Jeffy, Ms. Barch, Mrs. Bennett, Ms. Defoe, Ms. Li, Mr. OíNeill, Mr. DeMartino, Ken Edwards, Mrs. Stoller


Lawndale High School: Ms. Liís Office
Afternoon

Ms. Li could practically feel her staff falling apart. They usually didnít show this much backbone, and when they did it was never good for her. The last thing she needed this time of year was mutiny. Mr. OíNeill, Ms. Barch, and Mr. DeMartino were all crowded around her desk making their demands. Although, Mr. OíNeill had far too much courtesy to really be demanding.

"Angela," he said, trying to use his most diplomatic speaking voice, "we certainly recognize the conflicting emotions you must feel as both administrator and educator, but..."

He was cut off by the much more direct Ms. Barch. "Do we get our raise or not?" she shrieked.

"Better! A new coffee maker in the teacherís lounge!" Ms. Li offered hastily, trying harder than ever to cover her ass.

Mr. DeMartino had had enough. If he had to teach dimwitted jocks for the rest of his life, he at least wanted to be compensated for it. "Thatís not an offer, thatís an insult!" he raged leaning over Ms. Liís desk to face her head on. "Now, as head of the Lawndale Teacherís Union I..."

Ms. Li was afraid to let him finish. She tried coffee maker negotiations again. "With some of those international flavors you can just squirt right out of a bottle!" She paused for a second, seeing that this hadnít had the desired effect. "Mmmm," was the most persuasive thing she could think of.

Outside her door, Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer was passing the time between hitting on unsuspecting girls by eavesdropping on the conversation. Daria and Jane had the misfortune to pass by while Upchuck was still standing there, peering through the peephole. "Ooh, I like was Iím seeing," he muttered in his usual tedious tone.

"Ms. Li changing her support hose again?" Jane quipped.

"Thatís another habit that will lead to blindness, Upchuck," Daria added, backing up her friendís insult. If there was one thing she enjoyed doing with Jane, it was slighting the mindless blobs that were some of their classmates.

"But in this case, youíll wish for it," Jane continued.

As usual, Upchuck wasnít put off by any kind of verbal abuse. "Your concern touches me, ladies," he purred, turning to face them, "but it looks like weíve got a cat and dog fight here." He made a little clawing motion with his hand. "Me-ouch! And itís about to get strike-o-licious."

Back inside Ms. Liís office, the situation hadnít improved. "Give us our ten percent or weíll walk!" Mr. DeMartino roared, his bloodshot eye enlarging even more than it usually did.

"Oh, you will, will you?" Ms. Li countered, deciding to use the past against him. "Well, I hope for your sake your negotiation skills have improved since the last time you tried to pull this stunt." She paused a minute for effect. "Or have you forgotten that the dental insurance was contingent on your teaching a sewing class?"

Mr. DeMartino growled menacingly. The needles, the sewing kits, that lacy pink material... the memories made him seethe.

Ms. Li couldnít resist rubbing salt into his open wound. Leaning forward, she quietly asked, "Did you hem those pants yourself?"

"Thatís it!" Mr. DeMartino went over the edge. "We strike!" The other teachers backed him up with cheering and they all marched proudly out of Ms. Liís office, leaving her alone with her predicament.

Daria and Jane were just walking away from Upchuck in the crowded hallway when they heard the all to familiar voice of Ms. Li come on over the intercom. "Students of Lawndale High, your attention, please."

"Is that the voice in my head that tells me to kill and kill again?" Jane mused wonderingly.

"No. Satanís voice is lower and he has an English accent," Daria offered helpfully. She hoped that no one who would take their exchange seriously happened to overhear it. The last thing they wanted was to end up in the Lawndale High guidance counselorís office. She turned he attention back to the announcement.

"In an unprecedented show of spine-" Ms. Li corrected herself quickly. "I mean spite, your teachers have announced a strike. However, school will continue just as before." The P.A. system clicked off. The crowd of students moaned as they realized that this conflict didnít mean a break from school. The same thought was going through Daria and Janeís heads. Damn, so close!

Back in her office, Ms. Li muttered to herself, "It just wonít involve any teachers."


Lawndale High: Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom
The Next Morning

Daria cringed along with the rest of her history class as a frail looking old woman wrote her name on the chalkboard. The sound of the chalk screeching against the board was louder and more high pitched than Brittanyís "Eeep!" It also seemed to be taking the old woman about ten minutes to write her name. When she finally finished, she stepped aside to reveal "Mrs. Stoller" written in shaky cursive. Mrs. Stoller spoke in a slow, crackling voice. It seemed to take a lot out of her just to talk. "You may have noticed Iím not your usual teacher," she said, trying to be helpful.

"If only we didnít have our usual students," Daria said sardonically, taking advantage of the substituteís ineptitude.

Mrs. Stoller didnít seem to have heard Dariaís comment. "For our first lesson, letís learn each otherís names," she continued at her dragging pace. "Iím Mrs. Stoller."

I never would have guessed that, since Ophelia is written on the board, Daria thought to herself.

Kevin, not being sarcastic, just mentally incompetent, piped up happily, "Got it! Man, this class is gonna be a breeze!"

Mrs. Stoller approached his desk. "And you are...?"

Kevin gave his automatic response. "Iím the Q. B.!"

"Posture, Cubie, posture," Mrs. Stoller chided, thinking that the abbreviation for quarterback was Kevinís actual name.

Daria looked on in disbelief. Lawndale High had gotten worse, and that was saying something. "We think heís doing very well, considering how he missed out on evolution."

Mrs. Stoller walked toward Dariaís desk. "And whatís your name, dear?" she asked gently.

"Daria."

"That sounds like a hippie name. I think Iíll call you Darlene. So much prettier."

Daria sighed and sank back into her chair.


Outside Lawndale High

Meanwhile, the teachers were giving it their all on the picket lines. "We need a lot more money! This really isnít funny! You donít pay us enough to buy honey!" they chanted, marching around and carrying their signs.

"I donít know, this chant..." Mrs. Bennett couldnít think of a way to finish that sentence tactfully. Luckily for her, tact wasnít Ms. Barchís strong suite. "It sucks!" she yelled.

Mr. DeMartino defended his creation. "Hey! I threw out the rhyme about the bunny!"

Mr. OíNeill thought this would be a good time to sensitively make a suggestion. "Um, Anthony...havenít most great labor movements throughout history featured a stirring song?"

He was thrilled when Mr. DeMartino said, "Great idea!" However, he was quickly intimidated when he screamed at him, "Make one up!"

Not being good at being put on the spot like that, Mr. OíNeill struggled to come up with a tune. "Oh. Well, um, let me see." He started singing to the tune of "Oh Susanna." "Well, I came to sunny Lawndale with a smile and a degree." He decided that that didnít quite get the message across. "Hmm, no. Uhh...oh!" Another song idea came to him. He sang to the tune of "Iíve Been Working on the Railroad." "Iíve been teaching here in Lawndale on rather modest pay." He paused and frowned. "No, thatís not quite forceful enough," he decided. Mr. DeMartino grimaced, figuring that they were out of luck with the song idea.


Lawndale High: Mr. OíNeillís Classroom

The Fashion Club sat impatiently in their seats during English class. The way they saw it, that sale at the Cashmanís was much more connected with their lives. Their substitute teacher, Ken Edwards, was sitting on the corner of his desk, lecturing. He looked sort of like a car salesman in his early forties. "True literature should inspire us to seek new experiences, to explore new sensations," he explained enthusiastically.

Sandi raised her hand. "Mr. Edwards?"

"Call me Ken," he answered, suddenly taking on a friendly tone.

Sandi didnít return the friendliness. "Um, Ken, this is almost interesting, but seeing as how youíre only the substitute, perhaps you can give us our book assignments and we can be on our way.

"Ah, but what to assign?" Ken Edwards approached the area of the room where the four members of the Fashion Club were seated. "You see, the only books worth reading are those written in the deep, passionate waters of life."

Stacy thought she understood what he was saying. "You mean, like Jaws?" she asked.

"No, no, like the novel Iím writing." Ken leaned over Tiffanyís desk and looked stared into her eyes. "Itís about a slightly older, sensitive man and the love a budding woman child feels for him when she gets to know him better."

Tiffany, spaced out as usual, was completely oblivious to these obvious advances. "What...?" she asked, confused.

Ken continued, smiling at her. "See, love can be so simple when the hand of experience nurtures the budding flower to full blossom."

It was still going over right over Tiffanyís head. "Youíre writing about gardening?"


Morgendorffer House: That Afternoon

Daria, Helen, and Quinn were sitting around the kitchen table. Quinn was ranting on about what happened at school that day. Helen was otherwise engaged. She was working like a madwoman on some paperwork for her latest case. Not really listening to Quinn, she just nodded and mumbled something during the pauses in her speech. Daria was last in her own thoughts.

"And my language artís teacher wouldnít stop talking about this stupid novel heís writing!" Quinn lamented.

"Mm-hmm," Helen mumbled.

"About some professor who dates a budding child woman because he wants to blossom her."

"Mm-hmm."

"And then he started acting out his stupid book for us, stroking Tiffanyís hair and telling her about his anguished soul."

Daria saw where this was headed and immediately went to get the phone so her mother could get the pervert fired.

It took Helen a minute to react. "Mm-hmm-What?! He was stroking Tiffanyís hair?!

Quinn wasnít quite as concerned about it. "I know!" she said casually. "Like Tiffany would ever date someone who wore a tweed jacket!"

Helen snapped into emergency mode. "Daria," she ordered, "get me the phone!"

Daria was already beside her, phone in hand.

"Thank you." Helen grabbed the phone and dialed the schoolís number.


Outside Lawndale High

Ken Edwards was leaving the school extremely depressed, with a cardboard box containing his belongings tucked under his arm. "Oh, Tiffany...Tiffany," he muttered forlornly. "I never got to hear you call me Ken."


Lawndale High: Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom

Ms. Li came over the loudspeaker in an urgent voice. "Attention! Will Miss Daria Morgendorffer please report to the principalís office? Now!"

Daria figured she didnít have anything better to do. Sheíd been in a coma for the entire class period. She got up from her seat and started to leave the room.

"Darlene? Where are you going?" Mrs. Stoller asked.

"To get Daria."


Ms. Liís Office

Daria stared at Ms. Li in disbelief, skeptical that what she had just been asked to do wasnít a joke.

Ms. Li tried further persuasion. "If someone asked me to teach a class, Iíd be honored. Besides, we wouldnít be in this fix if it werenít for your mother."

"Yeah, hire one pedophile and she gets all bent out of shape." Daria gave Ms. Li a how-could-you-be-so-stupid look

"Besides, Iím not thinking of me. Iím thinking of the children."

Daria suddenly felt some extra presence in the room. She glanced down. There were two figures perched on either one of her shoulders. One was an angle version of herself, and the other was a devil version of herself. This could get interesting, Daria thought. She glanced back and forth as the two conversed.

"Not so fast. Youíll get out of gym class," Devil Daria said.

"You? A scab?" Angel Daria countered.

Devil Daria rolled her eyes. "Oh, great, touched by an angel."

"Youíd be betraying your teachers," Angle Daria implored.

Devil Daria went with that same theme. "Hey, yeah! Youíd be betraying your teachers!"

"Youíd just be falling into that same trap managements always use to keep wages low and workers weak," Angel Daria argued.

Devil Daria was getting annoyed. "Oh, go dance on the head of a pin," she said dismissively. "You could make Quinnís life really miserable."

Angel Daria considered this for a moment. "Huh. Thatís a good point."

"Hey, you hungry?"

"Yeah, we can pick up on this later."

Devil Daria and Angel Daria vanished into thin air.

"Ms. Morgendorffer, Iím waiting," Ms. Li said impatiently.

Daria sighed, knowing full well what her answer was.


Mr. O'Neillís Classroom

The Fashion Club members still werenít any happier about sitting through class instead of shopping for cute outfits. Especially since class wasnít even going on. The students were sitting there, waiting to see if a teacher would be showing up.

"This is a waste of time," Sandi complained. "Especially with today being the first day of Cashmanís Cruisewear Craziness."

The rest of the club nodded their heads in agreement. Suddenly, Ms. Li hurried into the room.

"Attention, young people! Mr. Edwards will no longer be joining us due to..." she paused, not wanting to get into that issue right now. "Reasons." That was the only explanation they needed.

"I hope itís not his anguish acting up," Tiffany said naively, not having any idea that she was part of a potential school scandal.

Ms. Li continued. "But I am proud to introduce a substitute with tolerable credentials, who is far less liable to engender a lawsuit that could cost me my very pants."

Oh boy, here we go, Daria thought as she entered the room to face her new class. "Hello. My name is Miss Darlene and Iíll be your new teacher," she said with very little enthusiasm.

All Quinn could bring herself to do was stare straight ahead with a look on her face that was a mixture of disbelief, shock, and horror.


Morgendorffer House
That Afternoon

Helen, Jake and Quinn were sitting around the kitchen table later that day. Quinn was trying to get her parents to understand her plight and force Daria to resign as substitute teacher for her class. It wasnít working very well. Jake was absorbed in his newspaper, and Helen seemed to think one of her daughters teaching the other one was a fine idea.

"Look on the bright side," she offered. "Itís not every student who has access to their teacher twenty-four hours a day."

"But I donít want access," Quinn wailed. "Home is my sanitarium away from school."

"Does this mean we can do our parent-teacher conferences here?" Jake asked excitedly. "Hello, free time for model railroading!"

Daria walked in and suppressed a grin when she saw Quinn seated at the table. Milk it for all itís worth, Morgendorffer, she thought slyly.

"Morning, Mom. Dad." She looked right at Quinn. "Class."

"Mo-om!" Quinn pleaded. When Helen didnít do anything, Quinn moaned and fled the table in disgust.

"Whatís wrong with her?" Helen asked.

"Itís her grades." Daria smirked. "Or, rather, it will be."

"Daria..." Helen started, beginning to see how this situation could cause problems.

She was interrupted by Jake, who was focused on only one thing. "Whoo-whoo! All aboard the Big Jake Express!"


Outside Lawndale High
The Next Day

The teachers were still going full force on the picket line. The most zealous of them all was Mr. DeMartino, whose determination was fueled by past humiliation. "Now class, letís check the evenness of your box stitch," he muttered to himself, reliving the pain. "No. No. Never again!" he yelled at the sky, vowing to break Ms. Li.

Trent pulled up in his car. He knew Janey and Daria needed a ride, but man, was he tired. He started to wake up a little when he heard a somewhat familiar voice singing to the tune of "On Top of Old Smokey."

Mr. OíNeill was working on another song idea. "On top of our paychecks, right under the date, there sits a small number weíve all grown to hate." He paused to consider. "I donít know...hate is such an ugly word."

Trent walked up to Mr. OíNeill. "Cool tune, man. Classic feel."

Mr. OíNeill tired to remember where heíd seen this familiar face before. Then it clicked. "Wait, I know you!"

"Youíre on Spiralís mailing list?" Trent asked, not seeing any common ground between the two of them.

"No, you were one of my students. Trent Lane."

"Um..." Trent still wasnít quite with Mr. OíNeill.

Mr. OíNeill got an idea then. "Trent, do you remember how you and your friends used to write Ďdown with the maní on my car with soap?"

Trent didnít want a fight. "Just let it go, man. I mean, bygones, right?"

"Well, Trent, today Ďthe maní is coming down on us, the underpaid teachers of Lawndale High. And we could really use the help of a talented songwriter."

Trent hesitated. "I donít know."

Mr. OíNeill used his most enthusiastic tone of voice. "This is a chance to focus your energy on a cause worthy of your talent, your knowledge, your virtuosity!"

Trent was almost convinced. "I donít have to read music, do I?"

"No!"

Daria and Jane approached just as Trent and Mr. OíNeill were getting down to business with their song.

"Well, what do you know?" Jane observed. "Trentís actually on time to pick us up. And all I had to do was set his clock ahead four hours."

"I donít think heís adjusted to the time change," Daria said, somewhat disbelievingly. "He appears to be writing a song with Mr. OíNeill."

Jane frowned. "Heís too good natured. If a teacher tried to take advantage of me like that, Iíd tell then where to stick it."

No sooner did she say that than Ms. Defoe approached the two girls. "Jane, thank God," she said, sounding extremely relieved. "We need your taste and talent."

"Go on, Jane, offer that friendly piece of advice you just mentioned," Daria said teasingly, knowing full well that Jane would help Ms. Defoe.

Ms. Defoe continued, holding up one of the teachersí picket signs. " Ms. Barchís signs...well, they arenít really getting our message across." Daria and Jane regarded the sign, which had the female symbol superimposed over a fist. Ms. Defoe turned to Jane. "Could you help us design some strong graphic statements? Iíll write a note to get you out of class." Then is occurred to her that technically she wasnít a Lawndale High teacher at the moment. "Oh, wait, I guess I canít."

"No, but the scab can," Jane pointed out, jerking her thumb in Dariaís direction.

"Gee, thanks, Mr. Hoffa," Daria sighed, rummaging through her backpack to find a pen and some paper.

Meanwhile, not very far away, Trent had come up with an idea for Mr. OíNeill. "Your salary offends me," he sang. "Your health plan..."

"Doesnít mend me?" Mr. OíNeill suggested.

Trent sighed. "You know, if youíre not going to take this seriously, we can just stop right now."


Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom

Mrs. Stoller was in the middle of another stirring lesson. "And so, the people asked George Washington, ĎWill you be our new king?í And Washington said..." She paused to watch Jane enter the room. "Young lady, your tardy," she reprimanded.

"I have a note from a teacher," Jane explained, handing Mrs. Stoller Dariaís note.

Mrs. Stoller read the note out loud. "Please excuse Jane from class. Signed: Miss Darlene." She nodded her approval. "Well, on your way, then."

Jane smirked, considering herself pretty lucky, as she exited the classroom.


Mr. OíNeillís Classroom

Daria sighed. Her first day as a teacher was certainly proving to be a challenge. The simple question of what the class was studying would require her decoding skills. "Okay. We know Mr. OíNeill assigned a play, and youíre pretty sure the title didnít contain the word Ďalien.í Do you remember else?" she asked, praying that one of them would.

"I think the guy on the cover was wearing tights," said Joey, thinking his hardest.

Okay, Daria thought, now weíre getting somewhere. "Hmm...since there are no wrestling dramas on the syllabus, Iím guessing Shakespeare.

Jeffy piped up. "Wait, I remember now. Heís a stalker. He follows girls home from parties and peeks in their windows."

"Romeo and Juliet," Daria concluded, satisfied that she at least knew what she was supposed to be doing now. The class bell rang before she had to start doing it.


Lawndale High: Hallway

After class, Daria was letting Jane in on the horrors of substitute teaching. "A classroom of blank faces is a little scary, until you plant your feet and stare them down."

"You know, apes interpret that as a sign of dominance," Jane said, only half jokingly.

"Thatís what I just said," Daria said wryly.

Daria and Jane were both completely unenthused when they saw Upchuck, Kevin, and Brittany walking towards them.

"Hello, Ms. Morgendorffer! How lovely you look today," Upchuck purred at Daria. She gave him no response whatsoever.

"Hey, Daria," Kevin said happily enough that Daria could tell that he wanted something. "Could you write me a note that says I didnít put that dent in my dadís car?" he asked with his usual density.

"And can we have one to get out of class so we can make out..." Brittany paused when she saw the youíve-got-to-be-kidding-me look on Dariaís face. "Scholarship applications," she added too late.


Outside Lawndale High

The picket line wasnít getting any less stressful of a place to be, although with Jane and Trent helping out, it did get more creative. Mr. DeMartino had been walking around muttering obscenities and vows of revenge to himself for quite some time now. Jane was helping Ms. Barch and Ms. Defoe creative some more appropriate picket signs. Trent and Mr. OíNeill were still hard at work trying to come up with a stirring song.

"Nice, nice," Jane commented as she nodded approvingly at the signs. "Remember, nothing says, ĎDeath to the bosses!í like primaries. Pastels are for appeaseniks."

Trent and Mr. OíNeill harmonized, "Have you ever been to the childrenís zoo? When the birdies say Ďcheepí theyíre talkiní Ďbout you!" They paused and then made a unanimous decision. "Nah."

Suddenly, Mrs. Bennett came running out of the building towards the demonstrators. "Good news, everyone!" she announced excitedly. "I just came from Ms. Liís office and sheís made a final offer. A .08% pay hike and a free non-dairy creamer! And, Anthony, she says you can put away your sewing kit." That caused Mr. DeMartino to grimace. "So, what does everyone say?"

All the teachers except for Mr. DeMartino nodded and muttered feelings of agreement. Mr. DeMartino just stood there and glared.

"Is something wrong, Anthony?" Mrs. Bennett asked.

Mr. DeMartino started in politely. "My dear Mrs. Bennett, as an informed consumer, you must know that non-dairy creamer offers no substance whatsoever...and neither does this offer!" He pulled the contract that the teacherís had written out of is pocket and waved it in the air. "This is the contract we wrote, and this is the contract sheís going to sign! Cover me, boys! Iím going in!" He boldly marched into the building to face Ms. Li.

Ms. Defoe noticed Jane looking up into the sky. "What are you looking for, Jane?" she asked curiously.

"Bombers," Jane informed her. "Heíll never make it without air support."


Lawndale High: Mr. OíNeillís Classroom

Daria was venturing once again into substitute teacher land, and this time she was trying to actually get into Romeo and Juliet. She had made the mistake of asking Jamie to read out loud. He was making a great Shakespearian work sound like something an uneven presenter at the Grammys read off of a teleprompter.

"For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her...Romeo," he droned.

"Thank you Joey, Jeffy, or Jamie," Daria said, not bothering to try and distinguish between the three. "Laurence Olivier, in his present state, couldnít have done better."

This, of course, went right over Jamieís head and he took it as a complement. "Thanks!" he said happily.

Jeffy raised his hand. "What does woe mean?" he asked.

Daria tried to put it in terms that heíd understand. "Itís the feeling youíd get if the Super Bowl were preempted by Antiques Roadshow."

"Whoa!" Jeffy was horrified by that thought.

"See?" Daria couldnít believe sheíd gotten one of them, whichever one it was, to understand something. Maybe sheíd be able to teach this class something after all.

Quinn was taking notes while Daria was talking, something she hadnít done in a long, long time. She figured she might as well try and learn this stuff, and she had to admit, Daria made it sound a little bit interesting.

Sandi noticed what Quinn was doing and decided to point it out to everyone. "Quinn," she asked disapprovingly, "are you taking notes?"

Quinn quickly covered her notes up, not wanting to give Sandi the wrong impression. "Um, no," she lied. "Iím just, er, writing so that girl thinks Iím paying attention when Iím not really."

Sandi didnít believe Quinn for a second, and decided to push the matter further. "Who cares what teachers think? Theyíre such losers."

"Yeah," Tiffany agreed. "Eww..."

"Sheís not a real teacher, Sandi." Quinn said, feeling some odd sense of loyalty to Daria that she hadnít felt very often before. "Sheís a substitute."

"Yeah, a substitute loser," Sandi countered, testing Quinn to she if sheíd challenge her anymore.

Quinn didnít, and just sank back in her seat with an expression of annoyance on her face.

"Okay," Daria addressed the class. "Youíve read the play. Tomorrow you take the test."

The class gave a disappointed groan.

"Sorry," Daria tried to sympathize with them. "Orders from above. Iíd suggest you cheat off your neighbors, but considering who most of you are sitting next to..." She figured sheíd done her part to help them pass.


Griffin House
That Afternoon

The Fashion Club was gathered at Sandiís house after school. Before getting into todayís discussion about coordinating your toenail polish with your shirt, Sandi decided to take advantage of what she thought to be Quinnís handicap.

"Quinn," she said matter of factly, "I hope that substitute youíve been making excuses for wonít be holding us to the same rigid grading standards as everyone else. Perhaps you should remind her how popular we are."

"But sheís weird," Quinn said nervously, knowing that that wouldnít work with Daria. "I donít think she even cares about popular people."

Sandi pounced, going into full threatening mode. "See, there you go, sticking up for her again. Itís almost as if you two share some deep, dark secret that might inadvertently come out if tomorrowís test proves too difficult."

Quinn didnít bother to respond. All she could do was look as nervous as she was feeling at the moment.


Morgendorffer House: Dariaís Room

Tom was helping Daria recover from a day of teaching. Unfortunately, they were working on ideas for the test she had to make up over Romeo and Juliet. They were upstairs in her room, safe form the rest of the family. Or so they thought.

"Hey, how about asking them this," Tom suggested. " ĎIf Verona had metal detectors, would Mercutio be alive todayí?"

"If he were, heíd be about four hundred years old," Daria pointed out.

"Thatís why theyíll all get it wrong," Tom said proudly. "Trick question, yeah!"

"Gee, I wonder why no oneís ever asked you to teach a class," Daria teased, giving Tom a dry smile.

Quinn rushed into the room then, and went immediately into her speed rant mode. "Daria, you know the test tomorrow? Itís going to be easy, right? Because if you make it really hard, some popular people wonít like it and might take it out on another completely innocent popular person, and besides, itís good to help the popular, because if you donít, it might make you even more unpopular, although I donít know if such a thing is possible."

Daria rolled her eyes. "Ooh, I wouldnít want to risk that."

"So, youíll do it?" Quinn asked hopefully.

"Right after I change into my fur bikini."

Tom grinned.

"Daria!" Quinn lost all hope, knowing Daria would never be seen in public wearing a fur bikini.

Daria sighed. "You know, I didnít ask for this stupid teaching job. I donít need the work and I donít need the stigma. Iíve tried to make the class interesting and focus on the play, not the grades. And if, after all that, the only thing your vapid friends can think about is how to finesse taking the test, then they deserve to fail."

Quinn grasped at a straw. "Daria, do you want everyone to hate you?"

Daria decided it was time to remind Quinn of something she learned she had over the summer. A brain. "Hey, why should you go out of your way to protect the stupid? Youíre not one of them!"

Quinn couldnít really argue with that. She knew deep down that she was smarter than she liked to appear. She also knew, deep down, that Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany werenít near as well equipped mentally as they were physically. This just frustrated her even more. She hated it when Daria was right! "I...I..." she faltered. "You donít understand anything!" she yelled, storming out of the room.

Daria watched her go for a second, hoping sheíd come to her senses. She know if Quinn really wanted to, she could rise above the Fashion Clubís combined IQís of 30.

Tom weighed his options. Daria in a bikini versus tricking younger kids. "Hmm, maybe you should make it easy. Give the poor kids a break."

"I lied about the fur bikini."

"Damn!"


Morgendorffer House: Downstairs

Quinn decided to ask her father for help, at her own risk. Sheíd learned before that she had a pretty good chance of sitting through a rant about his lousy, no-good father, but she was desperate her. If the stupid test had to be hard, she might as well not fail it.

Jake was working on his model railroad in the living room when Quinn came downstairs to talk to him. And he wasnít finding it quite as relaxing as heíd hoped it would be.

"Stupid smoke pellets get stuck so damn easy! Doesnít even look like real smoke!" He noticed Quinn standing there. "Hey, Quinn, you got a hat pin?"

"A what? I donít have time for your crazy jokes, Dad. Iíve got to study for this stupid test Daria is making us take on Romeo and Juliet.

Jake saw a rare parenting opportunity come into view. "Hey, I remember that play. Sit down. Let old Jakey help you with your studies."

Quinn sighed and sat down. She was starting to think she should have just stayed upstairs.

Jake started his tutoring session. "Now, if I recall, Romeo meets Juliet by this big, bubbly cauldron..."

Quinn interrupted. "No, Dad. Sheís at this party he crashes with his friend Mercutio."

"Right! The little wooden boy!"

"No, Dad, heís Romeoís pal, but he gets stabbed to death by Tybalt."

Jake mused over that one. "Tybalt? Tybalt?

Quinn tried to sort it out for him. "So Romeo kills Tybalt, and then Julietís dad says she had to marry Paris, so she pretends sheís dead..."

Jake was still wondering about Tybalt. "Tybalt sounds like the name of a rock."

Quinn went on with the story. "And when Paris sees her..." she paused realizing how easily she could recall this information. "Wait...I know this stuff! Um, got to go! Thanks!" She hurried upstairs, leaving Jake alone with his train.

"Any time!" he called after, figuring heíd done his fathering for the day. He still wanted to figure that play out. "Paris? Wait, thatís not Romeo and Juliet. Thatís The Pink Panther!" He gave up and turned his attention back to his model railroading. "Damn smoke pellet! Where did I put that hat pin?" He then started whistling happily as he searched the floor for it.


Lawndale High: Ms. Liís Office
The Next Morning

Mr. DeMartino and Ms. Li were sprawled across her desk, exhausted from lack of sleep and heavy negotiating. Both of them looked like theyíd been run over by a train. But neither one of them was giving up just yet.

"Donít think you can intimiate...intermolate..." Ms. Li was too tired to think of the word. "Donít think you can scare me with your threat to picket naked!"

Mr. DeMartino raised an eyebrow at her. "You think Iím bluffing? This is Goodwill polyester Iíve been sweating in all night! I want to picket naked!"

That image was too much for Ms. Li. "All right! A two percent raise and a spare heater for the teacherís lounge."

That still wasnít good enough for Mr. DeMartino. He tugged at the collar of his shirt. "Boy! Itís getting hot in here!"


Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom

Mrs. Stoller handed out test papers to the class.

"Now, class," she instructed. "Sit up straight and no talking during the test."

Kevin read the instruction out loud. " ĎName the colors on the American flag?í Hey, no fair! You didnít say we had to know that!"

"Cubie, you hush!" Mrs. Stoller snapped. "And posture, Cubie, posture!"

Kevin sprang up in his seat.


Mr. OíNeillís Classroom

Daria finished handing out the test papers to her class.

Joey raised his hand.

"Yes Joey, Jeffy, or Jamie?" Daria addressed him.

He sounded concerned. "Um, my test only has one question on it."

Daria decided it would have been a good idea to give directions before the test was handed out. "Thatís right," she explained. " ĎWhat is Romeo and Juliet about?í Just write what you think and back it up. Two hundred words, minimum."

Sandi was horrified by this. "An essay test?"

Stacy was upset, too. "Two hundred words?"

Tiffany was baffled. "Think...?"

Quinn, however, didnít complain at all. She started going at her test the second she had it on her desk. She had to admit, it felt good knowing that sheíd do okay on a test for a change.


Outside Lawndale High: Picket Line

The teachers marched around, holding their new signs and singing their new theme song, composed by Trent and Mr. OíNeill. "You call this compensation? You keep your long vacation! Youíre forcing us to salary arbitration! Mamma said strike you out! Yeah!"

Trent smiled as he watched them execute his masterpiece. "My work here is done," decided, and walked off to go get some sleep.

The teachers cheered after they finished their song. It gave them new energy.

Mr. OíNeill wanted Mr. DeMartinoís opinion. "What do you think of the song, Anthony?" He waited, and got no response. He looked around. "Anthony?" Then it occurred to him. "Oh, my gosh! Heís still up there with Ms. Li!"


Ms. Liís Office

Mr. OíNeill and Ms. Barch rushed into Ms. Liís office, to examine the bloodshed. They found Mr. DeMartino and Ms. Li both slumped over her desk, neither one of them moving.

"Oh, no!" Mr. OíNeill wailed. "Theyíve killed each other! Dear God, when will the madness stop?"

Suddenly, Ms. Li started to mutter in her sleep. "Oh, Puffy, you donít need a weapon to make me do your bidding..."

She started to wake up. "Huh? What?"

Mr. OíNeill was relieved. "Oh, theyíre not dead."

"What a relief," Ms. Barch said, not really sounding like she meant it. "Get up!" She kicked the seat of Mr. DeMartinoís chair hard.

He made a grunting sound as he woke up.

Ms. Li was coming to her sense. "Thank God. I thought I signed the contract, but it was just a bad dream."

Mr. DeMartino started to cry. "I knew it! But it seemed so real..." He pointed to Mr. OíNeill. "And you were there." He pointed at Ms. Barch next. "And you." He glared at Ms. Li and pointed at her furiously. "And you!"

Ms. Barch noticed something. "Whatís that in your hand? Give me that!" She grabbed the sheet of paper out of Mr. DeMartinoís hand.

Mr. OíNeill looked at it. It was the contract the teacherís had written, signed by Ms. Li.

"Anthony!" he exclaimed. "You did it!"

Ms. Barch and Mr. OíNeill glanced at Mr. DeMartino and Ms. Li, who had both fallen fast asleep again.



Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom
The Next Day

Mrs. Stoller was handing the graded tests back to her class. "Here are your tests. I donít think Iíve ever written so many Aís. Youíre the smartest and biggest first graders Iíve ever had."

"Thanks!" Kevin said proudly.

"What a surprise," Mack said smugly. "An ĎAí and a silver star."

Jodie smiled at him. "Donít get too full of yourself. I got a gold star."

Brittany was excited. "I got a gold star, too, and a ĎC.í" She examined her work. "Oh, red, white and blue!" she realized.

Kevin wasnít as happy when he saw his paper. If had an "F" written on it. The only color heíd written down was yellow. "Hey, no fair!" he complained. "How come Brittany got a gold star and I didnít?"

"Boys with bad posture donít get stars," Mrs. Stoller scolded him. "And Cubie, itís not nice to try to fool the teacher by signing your test ĎKevin!í"


Mr. OíNeillís Classroom

Daria handed back the graded tests to her pupils. She hadnít been incredibly surprised at the results. Jeffy, or Jamie, or one of them had done a little better than sheíd expected, but other than that, sheíd been able to predict what grade people were going to get. Good one Quinn, she couldnít help thinking. It was always nice when her sister showed some signs of life.

"A ĎBí!" Jeffy said proudly when he got his test back. "You mean, you think Mercutio had a think for Romeo, too?"

"No," Daria answered, "but you argued your point well, and I thought your ideas for keeping him out of the locker room were original, if a little closed-minded."

Sandi scowled when she looked at her test paper. "A ĎD-minusí? I should have known Quinn would fail us."

"I should have failed you, too," Daria stepped in. "See, in Shakespeareís version, Romeo never goes by the name Leonardo, or takes a swim in his clothes. But I gave you extra credit for realizing that the movie and the play were somehow connected."

Stacy sighed. "I guess we shouldnít have copied each other."

Sandi snatched Quinnís test away from her.

"Hey!" Quinn objected.

"Gee, Quinn," Sandi remarked. "What a surprise you got a ĎB-plus.í I guess having a certain relationship with a certain teacher really paid off."

"Um, Sandi?" Quinn stood firm for once. "I thought she was fairly easy on the grading, as long as you tried to think for yourself."

"Oh, really?" Sandi countered. "I guess everythingís relative." She was pulling out the big guns, now.

Amazingly, Quinn still didnít back down. "Sandi..." she paused for a second, and then decided to just go for it. What was the worst that could happen? "Ever since they asked this girl to take over the class from that creepy guy who wanted to fertilize Tiffany..." Tiffany looked surprised, and then went back to staring blankly into space, still having no idea what Quinn was talking about. "...it seems to me all she tried to do was make the best of a bad situation. Maybe we should cut her some slack."

The whole class, including Daria, was now paying very close attention to the Fashion Club conversation. Daria was a little honored that Quinn finally put aside her social standing to stick up for her sister. She was also a little worried that Sandi would eat Quinn.

"See?" Sandi continued, not wanting to drop this. "There she goes, taking sides again. You two are so nice to each other, youíre almost like sisters. She figured Quinn would understand that she was making a serious threat now, and back off.

That didnít happen. "Iím not taking anyoneís side, Sandi. Iím just saying that sometimes people get put in awkward positions." Quinn decided to get Sandi off her back. "Like a girl who has to wear huge braces in fifth grade, and years later her brothers find pictures of her with them and give those pictures to a friend..." Quinn was staring Sandi right in the face now. "...who hasnít shown them to anyone out of the goodness of her heart. Yet."

"Oh." Sandi knew she was going to have to back off if she didnít want those pictures to get out. She just sat there, seething.

Quinn decided to just go for broke. Itís wasnít like half the people there hadnít already figured it out from her discussion with Sandi. "Besides, why shouldnít I act sisterly toward her? After all..." she looked right at Daria, who she could have sworn looked a little happy. "...sheís my sister."

Sandi was the only one in the room that gasped. "Did you hear that? Oh, my gosh! Quinn just admitted that weird girl is her sister!" Sandi looked around for shocked reactions. She didnít get any.

"Well, um, of course she is, Sandi," Stacy said, as if she were pointing out something incredibly obvious. "We knew that."

Even Tiffany had picked up on it. "We were just being polite about it."
Sandi crossed her arms and scowled, coming out on the bottom once again.

Quinn couldnít help smiling. It was a satisfying feeling to not have to come up with reasons why Daria was at her house anymore. And it was somehow nice knowing that she really had a sister, not a foreign exchange student.

A small smile crept over Dariaís face as she realized that her sister perhaps wasnít that ashamed of her anymore. The smile disappeared when Ms. Liís groggy, disoriented voice came on over the P. A. system.

"People of Mars! I mean, students of Lawndale High. This is your leader...um, principal. What was I saying? Oh! The teachers...the teachers...the strikeís over! Your teachers will be back tomorrow! Good ni...day." Ms. Li clicked of the P. A. and fell over asleep.

There was a short silence, letting the knowledge of the fact that Daria would no longer be teaching there seep in.

Jeffy raised his hand. "Um, Miss Darlene? I think you were, um, you were a pretty good teacherísí

Daria was pleasantly surprised, and that didnít happen very often to Daria. "Thanks Jamie, Jeffy, or Joey," she replied, still not knowing how to tell them apart. "For the record, some of you arenít half bad students." She glanced at Quinn. "You know who you are."

Quinn gave Daria a small smile.


Morgendorffer House: Dariaís Room
That Afternoon

Daria was unwinding, watching Sick, Sad World. It always amazed her how, sitting there on her bed, she had access to the weirdest and most perverse things that were taking place in the universe. Or, at least, were supposedly taking place.

"Itís quite a sight when Civil War buffs get in the buff!" the announcer said excitedly. " Ďwww-dot-gettysbare,í next on Sick, Sad World!" Daria switched the T. V. off when Quinn entered the room. "I already told you," she quipped. "Iím not signing your National Rayon Day Petition."

Quinn was there for a serious reason. "Um, you know that grade you gave me? Sandi says I only got it because youíre always at my house. Is that true?"

Always at her house? Daria thought. Well, I suppose I should take what I can get.

She looked Quinn in the eye. "Let me pose you a question, Grasshopper. If I gave you a grade that you didnít earn, that would be acting nice. Could I face myself if I were ever nice to you?"

That was good enough for Quinn. "Really? I thought so! And by the way, donít think I could ever be nice to you, either."

"Iím fully aware of that."

Quinn felt obligated to say something about her confession. "God only knows what this little foray of your into teacher geekland cost me in social status."

Daria knew she didnít really care that much, or she wouldnít have challenged Sandi in the first place. "I feel you pain."

"Well, good night, then."

"Good night." Daria smiled. "Sis."

Quinn smiled as she walked out the door.


Lawndale High: Mr. DeMartinoís Classroom
The Next Morning

Daria and Jane were listening to an overjoyed Mr. DeMartino, whose victory over Ms. Li had given him new conviction. "Yes!" he shouted triumphantly. "I endured! My wits didnít fail! My strength didnít fail! I didnít fail! I got that contract, and if I can do that I can do anything!

He approached Kevinís desk, smiling confidently. "So tell me sonny boy... which war freed us from the iron hand of the British?"

Kevin thought hard. "Iron...iron. The Gulf War?"

Mr. DeMartino's smile vanished. He turned around. Then, he put his head on his desk and began to cry.

Brittany was concerned. "Mr. DeMartino? Would you like to share?"

He just kept sobbing.

Daria and Jane glanced at each other.

"The joy of teaching didnít last very long with this one," Jane remarked.

"Youíve got to grab it while you can," Daria answered. She wasnít really being sarcastic this time.


Authorís Note:

Thanks for reading my adaptation. I hope I did justice to this great script. Please send comments, questions, but not sheer meanness to smokin713@hotmail.com. Iím such a rookie, I donít even know how to write a proper disclaimer. Well, I donít own Daria, and I never will. Iím not making one cent off of this, and I donít have one cent, so suing me would be a complete waste of a rich network executiveís time. Thank you and goodnight. Please drive safely. J - Aspiring Writer