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This is the Seventh First Summer story and occurs during the summer between seasons 2 and 3.
(Diver Dan's Dive Shop. The building is a modest standalone structure with a large front display window filled with assorted underwater equipment. In the back is an enclosed swimming pool, where Jake and Helen, wearing SCUBA gear, are among the students of a class. The shop owner/instructor, Dan, is a grizzled man in his mid-fifties, still in good physical shape, with tattoos covering his arms and across his shoulders)
Dan - Okay everybody, time to get your heads wet. Put your regulators in your mouths and spend several seconds breathing through it. (the class follows his instructions) Good. Now, lower your head underwater and do the same thing while counting to ten. So you can get used to how it feels.
(Everyone in the class lowers their heads underwater. Numerous bubbles above Jake's head show he's hyperventilating. Dan walks around the pool to near Jake as the students come up unevenly)
Dan - Jake, are you okay?
Jake (nervously talking fast) - Fine! That was great!
Dan - You were breathing a little fast there.
Jake - Excited! That's it! I'm excited.
Dan - Try to rein it in a bit. Air hogging like that will empty a tank fast. Remember; even, controlled breathing.
Jake - Okay! Controlled. Old Jake's about control.
Helen - Controlled?
Jake - Yeah! Controlled. Something I really learned in the military school.
Helen - Jake...No military school. We're here to get ready for our vacation. Remember?
Jake - Of course I remember! A two-week cruise in the Caribbean. The girls are gonna love it.
Helen - Too bad we couldn't get them interested in SCUBA diving. (Helen puts an arm around Jake) Although, just the two of us learning has its advantages.
Jake - Hmmm.
Dan - Okay, let's try it again. Ten count under water. Go.
(The class follows his instructions, with Jake still hyperventilating. Dan stands at the pool edge, shaking his head)
Dan - He's going to be one of those students.
(Julie Levin's public relations office. She and Daria are at their desks working. Julie leans back and looks up)
Julie - I'm so glad that damn Top Consumer/Short Circuit merger is finished.
Daria - Me, too. Now, maybe Mom can cut back to her usual overwork schedule until her vacation.
Julie - She put a lot of time into it, didn't she?
Daria - Let's just say that I can give you a detailed analysis of every brand of frozen lasagna on the market.
Julie - Good, then I'll pick your brain the next time I'm lazy and feel like some.
Daria - I'm pretty sure brains are in the Swifty Cook brand; it's what passes for cheese.
Julie - Sounds like one to avoid.
(Julie picks up a notepad and writes on it)
Julie - I bet you're looking forward to that vacation, also.
Daria - Two weeks trapped on board a ship with the rest of my family. Oh, yes. I'm looking forward to it.
(Julie sighs and shakes her head)
Julie - But it also means you get away from me and this office. Something I'm sure you appreciate.
Daria - You do understand my resentment for being here, don't you?
Julie - Yes. But, I was hoping you would come away with at least some good experiences.
Daria (quieter) - I did. (normal voice) But, I also haven't been allowed to have a vacation like I want. I've spent my summer vacation working here, and now Mom's going to have activities planned for the whole two weeks of the cruise. After that, school starts again. A little time away from planned activities would be nice.
Julie - You have a point.
(Jane's room. She and Daria are sitting on the bed, watching television. On the screen, a man in a boat reaches over for a floating six-pack of beer. When he grabs it, he's pulled underwater)
SSW Announcer - When fish say, "That's a keeper!" New secrets of the Bermuda Triangle, next on Sick, Sad World!
Jane - If they used diet soda, do you think they'd reel in Quinn?
Daria - They'd probably throw her back.
Jane - Bummer.
Daria - What are you going to do while I'm gone?
Jane - Sleep, eat, watch TV, repeat.
Daria - I had to ask.
Jane - Come on, you'll be on a cruise; you can do the same thing. Only with cute guys bringing you sodas on demand.
Daria - You know they'll all be hovering around Quinn.
Jane - Maybe you could sell her to a zombie factory in Jamaica.
Daria - What would they do with a zombie that only eats low-fat brains?
Jane - Send her after the rest of the Fashion Club?
Daria - I'll keep that in mind.
Jane - So you'll have to get your own sodas. You can still lounge around. That's what the deck chairs are for.
Daria - I know Mom will try to "engage" me in some kind of pointless activities. There's only so far you can run on a cruise ship and she won't have work to distract her.
Jane - What's your mother going to do with herself away from work for two weeks?
Daria - I really don't know, but the strain might kill her, or Dad.
Jane - Maybe both, leaving you an orphan. (She grins) Then, you can move in here and be that much closer to Trent every day.
Daria - You're not helping.
Jane - We could work on our Connoisseur's Guide to Pizza Delivery and Frozen Lasagna.
(Daria faintly smiles)
Daria - I think it'll be more of a survival guide.
(Morgendorffer kitchen. Daria is getting a soda from the refrigerator when Helen enters)
Helen - How was your day, Daria?
Daria - Nothing exciting.
Helen - Do you mind heating up the lasagna tonight? Your father and I have another dive class.
Daria - It'll put my culinary skills to the test, but sure.
Helen (sighs) - Thank you.
Daria - Oh, Mom. I have something to tell you.
Helen - What is it, Sweetie?
Daria - I'm afraid I can't go with you on the cruise.
Helen (crosses arms) - That's because...?
Daria - I have a fear of landing.
Helen - Oh, really? Then we'll just have to go to family counseling until you're cured.
Daria - Damn, you got me.
Helen - Daria, why are you trying to get out of going? Quinn's all excited about this trip and I'd hoped you would be. This will be even more fun that that week we spent at Mouseland last summer.
Daria - When I had the guy in the oversized dog costume almost crush my foot to get to Quinn?
Helen - What about the year before, when we went to the Grand Canyon?
Daria - Riding a donkey in the desert while you yakked on the cell phone.
Helen - That's why we're taking a cruise. No cell phone towers and no cell phone reception. We can have a real vacation.
Daria - My idea of a real vacation is two weeks sitting on my ass and watching TV with no discernible plan.
Helen - You do that anyway.
Daria - I'm consistent.
Helen - You're going on the cruise and you're going to enjoy it. End of discussion, dammit!
(Swimming pool at Diver Dan's. Dan is in the pool with the dive class and all are wearing diving gear)
Dan - I'll be down there to watch your ditch and don. If I tap you, you're doing something wrong. Watch my hand signals; I'll point to the problem or point up for you to surface. Who's first?
(One of the students raises her hand)
Dan - Let's go.
(Both submerge and go to the bottom of the pool. The student carefully removes her air tank and life vest-like backpack, her mask, and finally removes the breathing regulator from her mouth. Amid bubbles of her exhaling, she goes to the surface. After a couple of breaths, she dives back to the bottom of the pool. Locating her regulator, she clears the water out of it and starts breathing. Next, she puts on her mask and clears it before putting on her tank. Complete, she rises to the surface and Dan follows)
Dan - Excellent. Who's next?
(Another student moves forward)
(Lawndale Mall. Tiffany, Stacy and Sandi are in the Junior 5 section of Cashman's. Quinn emerges from a changing room wearing an attractive, but slightly conservative, shorts and halter combination)
Stacy - Oh Quinn, that is just so cute.
Tiffany - Yeah, real cute.
Quinn - Thanks. I'm so excited about this cruise.
Sandi - It does have a cute look. But remember to wear plenty of sunscreen. Light-skinned redheads like you are so easily burned. We wouldn't want that to happen, would we?
Stacy - Oh, no!
Quinn - Thanks for the reminder, Sandi. I bought some SPF 50 for the trip. It wouldn't look good for the Fashion Club if I showed up at school with sunburn.
Stacy - I know. You turn all red and then your skin gets all peely and yucky.
Sandi - Stacy, we don't need such a graphic description.
Tiffany - Eww, yeah, graphic.
Stacy - Sorry.
Quinn - You know, this cruise is bound to have a formal dance of some kind. I think I should look into something for that next.
Tiffany - Like on that movie about that ship...but won't all the water ruin it?
(Diver Dan's. Helen rises to the surface to complete the exercise while Jake waits, the last one)
Dan - That was good, Helen. Okay Jake, your turn.
(Jake goes to the bottom of the pool and starts to remove his vest/backpack and almost immediately gets tangled. Dan taps him and motions to go to the surface, where Dan helps get Jake cleared and puts the vest back on)
Dan - Let's try again.
(They go back to the bottom of the pool, where Jake starts to remove his gear and gets twisted into an odd position while working with his mask. Dan taps him and they surface)
Jake - I've almost got it.
Dan - Take a moment, Jake. (pause) Once more.
(Jake and Dan submerge once again as Helen waits with concern and impatience)
(Lawndale Mall, outside of Cashman's. Joey, Jeffy and Jamie each carry packages and follow Quinn and the rest of the Fashion Club)
Quinn - Thanks so much, guys.
Jeffy - Any time, Quinn.
Jamie - My pleasure.
Joey - No, mine.
(Jamie kicks Joey)
Joey - Hey!
Jamie - Don't use my line.
Joey - Shut up, doofus.
Jeffy - You shut up, dumbass.
Quinn (commanding) - Guys, don't start fighting while carrying my bags.
Jamie - Sorry, Quinn.
Joey - Sorry.
Jeffy - Yeah, sorry.
Quinn - You can fight after you put them in the car.
(Jamie, Joey and Jeffy eye each other and grin mischievously)
(Diver Dan's. He's sitting on the edge of the pool, face in his hands)
Dan - Why? Why me?
(Julie Levin's office. Daria removes a page from her printer and carries it to Julie)
Daria (to self, but loud enough to be heard) - Try to contain your excitement, Morgendorffer.
Julie - You cannot resist the dark side. It is your destiny.
Daria - You're gonna be one of those people waiting in line when Lucas finally gets the new movie out, aren't you?
Julie - Are you kidding? I'll get somebody to stand in line for me.
Daria - How would you...
(Julie smirks at Daria)
Daria - Never mind.
Julie - Still dreading going on vacation next week?
Daria - I'm thinking of finding some placebo seasickness pills. If my family's sick in bed, Mom can't force me into any organized activities.
Julie - Do you really want to share a cabin with a hurling Quinn?
Daria - I knew there was a flaw in the plan somewhere.
Julie - Maybe you can sneak some time to yourself when your parents are off diving. Helen's really been putting herself into that.
Daria - That's a possibility. It's been nice having Mom and Dad out of the house for classes. They're supposed to finish tonight.
(Diver Dan's. Dan sits on the edge of the pool and addresses the students already in the pool)
Dan - It's our last night and time to make sure you can keep a cool head when things don't go the way you plan. Our little exercise tonight is called "harassment." You will do a ditch and don as before. Only this time, I'll be down there causing a few minor problems for you to deal with first. Any questions?
Jake - What kinds of "problems?"
Dan - I'll do things like pull your mask off or pull a strap loose.
Jake - No wedgies or anything like that?
Dan - No wedgies. I promise. Who's first?
(A man raises his hand)
Dan - Great, Jim. Get started.
(Jim goes through the ditch and don procedure. Dan pulls Jim's mask open to flood it, forcing him to clear it. This goes into a montage of other students being tested. Dan pops the strap holding the tank to the backpack of one woman, causing it to slide off and forcing her to remove the backpack, reinstall the tank and put it back on; Dan pulls the regulator out of the mouth of another student, forcing him to recover and clear it. Finally, it's Jake's turn)
Dan - Jake.
Jake (gulps) - R-ready.
Dan - Just like everyone else. Focus and pay attention.
Jake - Focus. Yeah, I can do that.
Dan - Go.
(Jake goes to the pool bottom and removes his gear, not as clumsily as before. Dan pulls Jake's mask loose and it fills with water. Jake's eyes grow large and he begins hyperventilating. Cut to Helen watching from the side of the pool as the water surface looks like it's boiling)
Helen - Oh, my. That doesn't look good.
(Bruised and weary, Dan waves to the last of the departing students before he slumps down in a chair)
Dan - I think they all bought that "chlorine poisoning" line. (He carefully touches a bruise on his face and winces) Twenty-five years as a SEAL and ten years teaching and I've never seen somebody do that before. I wonder who "Mad Dog" was?
(Julie Levin's office)
Julie - Daria, I'm going to miss you. You've made my life a lot easier this summer.
Daria - Unpaid intern labor will do that.
Julie - No, fixing bad writing from interns usually gives me more work.
Daria - So you got a bargain this time.
Julie (sighs) - I'm complimenting you.
Daria - Oh, um, thanks.
Julie - Too bad I won't have you as an intern next year.
Daria - Oh, I can see Mom making a repeat performance of this summer.
Julie - But I won't be here. I accepted a position with a non-profit in D.C. that starts two weeks from Monday.
Daria - I'm sure Eric and the gang were happy to hear that.
Julie - They don't know yet. I'm turning in my two-weeks' notice when I leave today.
Daria - Ah, that way you don't have to listen to them all day.
Julie (smiles) - I'm not as dumb as I look.
Daria - When did you find out?
Julie - Last night.
Daria - Didn't take you long to accept.
Julie - About two seconds.
Daria - Two seconds? Not as hardened as you pretended to be?
Julie - No, I wasn't, and realized I needed to get out of here before I was.
Daria - Well, um, good luck. You've...been a good boss.
Julie - Thanks. (she looks at the wall clock) It's five, time for you to make a break for it. Good luck also.
Daria - Um, yeah. Goodbye, Julie.
Julie - Bye, Daria.
(Daria exits and closes office door. Julie watches her leave and softly smiles)
Julie - And you're not as cynical as you pretend. Thanks for showing me that I needed to get out of here.
(Precious Tykes Daycare Center. Inside, a banner reads, "Goodbye, Quinn" over a group of children from toddlers to pre-teens who are gathered around Quinn)
Quinn - Thanks everybody. I'm going to miss each of you.
(The kids mob Quinn, all trying to hug her)
Children - We'll miss you! Bye, Quinn! Will you be back? Can I get you a soda? Bye! Don't go!
Quinn - You guys are the best.
(The mob dissipates, leaving Quinn under the banner. She looks down at her clothes, now spotted with many child-related stains)
Quinn (sotto voce) - But you'll be even better when you learn to wash your hands.
(Jake's office. He pushes a button on a new answering machine and sits back to listen)
Jake (tinny VO) - Jake Morgendorffer Consulting. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm out of the office for two weeks. Please leave your name and number, and I'll call you as soon as I'm back in the saddle!
(Jake grins in satisfaction)
Jake - All set, Jakey! Two weeks of sun, fun and family. I can't wait to go diving. (he sits up) Though, when we get back, I'll have to remember to go back to that dive shop to get a regular diver's license instead of the junior he issued by mistake. I think it's kind of silly that I have to have an adult with me at all times when diving.
(Helen's office. She carefully sets a final file folder in her outbox and nods to Marianne)
Helen - I'll finish up here, Marianne.
Marianne - Thanks, Helen. I hope you enjoy your vacation.
Helen - Me, too. Try not to kill Eric while I'm gone.
Marianne (quick laugh) - Of course not, Helen. You have dibs on him. Good night.
(Marianne exits. Helen takes a couple moments to enjoy the silence before straightening a few more objects on her desk. Just as she picks up her briefcase, Eric bursts into the office, panicking)
Eric - Helen!
(Helen jumps and looks annoyed. She controls her face and smiles pleasantly)
Helen - Yes, Eric?
Eric - Short Circuit Electronics' Chairman of the Board came back from Tahiti a week early!
Helen - Is that a problem?
Eric - Of course it's a problem! He's back early because his trophy wife left him and he's pissed off!
Helen - What does that have to do with me?
Eric - He's trying to back out of the merger with Top Consumer!
Helen - So we hit him for breach of contract and... (her eyes widen) ...no.
Eric - Helen! You've been on this from the beginning! With you on the case, we'll have things closed up without even having to go into court.
Helen - My vacation...
Eric - Don't worry! This is a special situation. We'll give you until the end of October to use it before you lose it! (suddenly smooth and calm) The big guys will be watching. This is just the kind of thing they look for in a future partner.
(Helen's eyes turn down. She knows she's been maneuvered into staying)
Helen - Sure thing, Eric. I'll need a few moments to tell my family.
Eric - I'll send things over in five minutes!
(Eric exits and Helen sits down heavily)
Helen - Damn.
(Daria's room. There's an open suitcase on the bed containing green blazers and black skirts. Daria is staring into an open dresser drawer)
Daria - You worked well enough for me in Highland; I suppose you'll work well now.
(She takes a red, one-piece swimsuit from the drawer and tosses it into the suitcase)
Daria - Providing it still fits. (she looks down at herself) Good, it doesn't look like I've had any major growth spurts. I know Mom would make me get a new one if I had, and probably suggest that I have Quinn come along to help.
(Telephone rings. Daria picks up one of the cordless phones and answers)
Daria - Hello.
(Split screen with Helen at her office)
Helen - Daria! Oh, thank God you answered.
Daria - Mom?
Helen - Is your father home yet?
Daria - I don't smell anything from the kitchen, so I'd say, no.
Helen - I'm sorry, I've got some bad news and he's not going to take this well.
Daria - Mom...what's going on?
Helen - Oh, Daria. I'm so sorry. We have to cancel our vacation. The Top Consumer/Short Circuit merger is falling apart and I need to stay here to put it back together.
Daria - Starting tonight, and you want me to tell Dad.
Helen - Oh, thank you, Daria. I knew you'd understand. I promise I'll make it all up to you.
(Daria looks at the swimsuit resting in the suitcase)
Daria - I'm sure we can come to an arrangement.
Helen - Can you do one more thing for me?
Daria - Since I'm on a roll, sure.
Helen - Have some pizza delivered for dinner. I didn't buy any more lasagna because I thought we'd be getting ready to go on the cruise tonight.
Daria - Deal.
Helen - Thanks, Sweetie. Bye.
Eric (distant VO) - What do you mean, she gave her notice!
Daria - Bye.
(Daria sets the phone down and walks over to the suitcase. She picks up the swimsuit by two fingers and carries it to the dresser, dropping it back into the drawer)
(Jane's room. She is at her easel, painting a bright abstract while Daria lies on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Pizza boxes litter the floor)
Jane (burps) - This is the life.
Daria (also burps) - It doesn't get much better.
Jane - How's your dad holding up?
Daria - Once he figured out he could give the cruise tickets to a client and write them off his taxes as "entertainment," he's been fine.
Jane - I bet Quinn's still upset about missing the cruise. Is she still extorting "make it up to you" shopping sprees?
Daria - Not any more. Even Mom has her guilt limits.
Jane - Besides what seems like endless pizza money, what have you conned out of her?
Daria (small smile) - What I wanted since the beginning of summer.
(Outside Lawndale High School. Daria and Jane are walking home when Jodie intercepts them)
Jodie - Looks like we survived another summer. Is it a bad sign when I look forward to school starting so I can relax?
Daria - Just promise us that when you crack, you'll take out Kevin and Brittany first.
Jane - Nah, go for Ms. Li.
Jodie - I wish. Would either of you...
Daria - No.
Jane - Not a chance.
Jodie - Come on, guys. Aren't you at least interested in joining something this year?
Daria - I don't want to set a bad example.
Jane - It's against my religion.
Jodie (shakes her head) - I had to try. Anyway, see you later.
Jane - Later.
Daria - Bye.
(Jodie exits. After a few moments, Helen drives up in her SUV and stops, getting out)
Daria - Mom?
Helen - I thought I'd take some time off to give you a driving lesson. (sotto voce) So I can use the vacation hours before October.
Daria - Does this mean that my driving no longer terrifies you?
Helen - Do you want a driving lesson today or not?
Daria - Might as well.
(Daria gets into the driver's seat and Jane waves)
Jane - See you later.
Daria - See ya.
Helen - Okay Daria, let's see how well you've improved since the last time I rode with you.
(The SUV unsteadily pulls away from Jane and heads down the street. As Daria approaches an intersection, a bulldog carrying a stick can be seen in the distance, walking toward the SUV)
Thanks to Louise Lobinske, Kristen Bealer, Ipswichfan and Mr. Orange for beta reading.
"Fear of landing" excuse from The Daria Database by Peggy Nicoll