NEXT TIME, THIS TIME

by

Robert Nowall

 

 

 

 

ONE-SENTENCE SUMMARY: Who is this person having breakfast with the Morgendorffers?

 

 

 

 

The action in this script takes place at some point between the events of "Is It Fall Yet?" and "Lucky Strike"

(opening credits)

"DARIA in NEXT TIME, THIS TIME"

ACT ONE:

SCENE 1: MORGENDORFFER HOUSE (KITCHEN / TABLE), MORNING

(Opening shot of the Morgendorffer house. Itís lit for early morning, about breakfast time. Early morning music can be heard on the soundtrack---the "Dawn" sequence from Rossiniís William Tell Overture will do.

(Cut to: interior, kitchen. The music fades. Jake is preparing some noxious breakfast concoction on the stovetop. Heís tunelessly whistling.

(Cut to: table. Helen is there. She sips from a cup of coffee, but sheís engrossed in some legal papers. We see her briefcase, open, on a chair all of its own, next to Helen but slightly away from the table. Some part of breakfast is laid out on the table in front of her. Other plates with food are laid out.

(Cut back to: Jake.)

JAKE: Girls! Your breakfast is ready!

(Cut to: Dariaís padded room. Daria is at her desk computer. Sheís all dressed and ready, usual green jacket and skirt and boots and all. Sheís furiously typing something. She stops, looks for a moment, then clicks on something. Shot of a printer beginning to spit out papers.

(Cut back to kitchen.)

JAKE: Girls! Your breakfast is getting cold!

(Cut to Quinnís room. Quinn is talking on her cellphone. She, too, is fully dressed, in her usual jeans and late-period butterfly tee-shirt.)

QUINN: ---it was one of the most awful things anybodyís said to me in my life, I mean, who does he think he is?

(Cut back to table. Helen speaks without looking up from her papers.)

HELEN: Daria! Quinn! Veronica! Your breakfast is ready!

(Cut back to Dariaís room. She is now standing and watching the printer print out papers. She turns away, then stops.)

DARIA: Veronica?

(She shrugs, grabs the printed papers, grabs her backpack and stuffs the papers in it, and heads out.

(Cut back to kitchen. Daria reaches the table and sits down in front of one set of plates. She looks at whatís there without pleasure, then picks up a fork and begins to try to get it down her throat.

(Quinn comes in and sits down. Sheís still talking on the cellphone.)

QUINN: ---I know, Stacy, but he said heíd never go out with me again.

HELEN: (firmly, but not looking away from her papers) Quinn, tell Stacy youíll call her back later.

QUINN: (holds hand over the phone) Mu-om! This is important!

HELEN: (more firmly) Tell her youíll call her back later, Quinn.

QUINN: Oh, all right! (into phone) Iíll call you back later. (Pause) No, I canít now. (Pause) No, I canít. (Pause, as Quinn glances over at a now-glaring-directly-at-her Helen.) Stacy, Iíve got to go! (She clicks the phone off, then looks down.) Ew! What is this?

JAKE: (from kitchen) Itís a new creation of my own, girls. Thereís eggs in it...bacon...a little broccoli...a little milk...a pinch of pepper...

DARIA: That explains the green and black, but whatís this orange stuff?

JAKE: Marmalade!

DARIA: I had to ask.

(Quinn picks up a fork and picks at her food. She puts it down quickly enough.)

QUINN: Mom, do you think Iím losing my looks?

HELEN: (Back to being engrossed in her paperwork) What?

QUINN: Last night my date said heíd never go out with me again. I said if that were the case, there wouldnít be a next time, and he said that was fine with him.

DARIA: A rare display of good taste.

QUINN: Shut up, Daria.

HELEN: Quinn, donít tell your sister to shut up. Daria, be nice to your sister.

QUINN: I mean, it should be me who dumps him, and he made it look like he dumped me.

DARIA: Canít have any of that.

QUINN: Exactly. It canít be the way I look...right?

(Just then a girl enters the kitchen. Sheís about thirteen. She has the long red hair and jeans and smiley-face T-shirt of Quinn, but Coke-bottle glasses like Daria.)

GIRL: Sorry Iím late. (She starts to eat.) I donít know whether to eat this or take it to school for show and tell. (Squints through her glasses at the plate.) Ew! Is that marmalade?

(She picks up her fork and begins to try to eat. Meanwhile, Daria has stopped eating. An expression of confusion appears on her face.)

DARIA: Who are you?

GIRL: (loudly) Mom! Tell Daria to stop teasing me!

HELEN: (still looking at her paperwork) Veronica, eat your breakfast. Daria, stop teasing your sister.

DARIA: My sister! (Pause, while Daria reacts with puzzled shock, then deep suspicion.) I get it. Very funny.

(Jake comes into the shot, carrying a large cooking pot and stirring a ladle.)

JAKE: I donít get it.

DARIA: This is all about getting me to socialize more, isnít it? Youíre telling me I can be replaced, arenít you?

JAKE: (forced laughter, as Jake "doesnít get it.) Oh, ha-ha-ha! (He spoons a large amount onto the plates, despite the fact that hardly any of it has been eaten.) Dig in, girls. This stuff wonít last forever.

VERONICA: Then itís not for tarring the roof?

HELEN: Veronica, donít make fun of your fatherís cooking. Jake, take that pot and put it back in the kitchen.

(Jake obeys.)

DARIA: None of which answers my question. Who is this strange girl, and why is she eating with us?

QUINN: Mom, tell Daria to stop calling me strange!

HELEN: Daria, donít call Quinn---

DARIA: (loudly, for her) Not her.

(Pause. Eating, such as it is, comes to a stop. This finally forces Helen to stop reading her legal papers and to look at Daria.)

DARIA: This girl, this strange girl whoís sitting at our table. The girl you called Veronica.

VERONICA: Mom, Dariaís---

HELEN: Just a minute, Veronica. What are you talking about?

DARIA: (leans back and crosses her arms across her chest.) You know what I mean.

HELEN: Daria, I donít have time for this. Iíve got a case to handle this morning, and the three of you have to get to school. (Stands up.) Itís very rude to make fun of your sisters, so stop it right now. Whereís my briefcase? (Walks out of shot, ignoring the briefcase laid out in plain sight.)

VERONICA: Why do you do this to me? Why canít you just make fun of Quinn and the way her boyfriend thinks sheís losing her looks?

QUINN: (with some heat) I am not losing my looks, and heís not my boyfriend.

VERONICA: Not any more, heís not!

QUINN: Ohh! (Stands up and storms off.)

VERONICA: (smiling slightly) Now wasnít that more fun than trying to pretend I donít exist?

DARIA: Look, I donít know who you are or what youíre doing here, and I really donít care as long as it doesnít interfere with me.

HELEN: (breezing back into shot. She stuffs the papers in her briefcase, then closes it and picks it up) So long everybody, Iíve got to get going now. (moves into kitchen, "air-kisses" Jake) Bye-bye, Jake, girls, Iíve got to get going! (Breezes out.)

DARIA: Me, too. (Rises.) I donít feel like dealing with this right now, either. (Exits shot.)

(After a moment, Veronica, looking unhappy, rises and leaves as well. Jake enters, looking unhappy.)

JAKE: (weakly) Didnít anyone like my breakfast?

 

 

SCENE 2: ON THE WAY TO LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL

(Daria and Jane are walking to school together, past the usual houses and flag-on-wrong-side mailboxes.)

DARIA: My family is crazy.

JANE: Not getting any argument here.

DARIA: I mean theyíve gone crazy. (Pause.) You wouldnít believe what they did at breakfast this morning.

JANE: Does this involve some strange kind of food?

DARIA: Not really. (Pause.) I just donít know what theyíre up to.

JANE: Who?

DARIA: (with some annoyance) My parents! (Pause; more calmly.) This morning, they got this strange girl to sit at the kitchen table and pretend to be my sister.

JANE: Really? Why would they want to do that?

DARIA: I donít know. (Pause) Maybe they want to annoy me about not wanting to have any contact with the rest of the world.

JANE: And "hermit" used to be such an honorable occupation.

(Lengthy pause, as Jane and Daria continue to walk along.)

JANE: How did they get Quinn and Veronica to go along with it?

(Daria stops dead in her tracks. Jane takes a few more steps before stopping herself.)

DARIA: (with a serious amount of frost in her voice) What did you just say?

JANE: (somewhat puzzled) I asked how they got Quinn and Veronica to go along with it.

DARIA: Damnit! Jane, want do you mean, Quinn and Veronica? How did they get you to go along with it?

JANE: What are you talking about?

DARIA: You said you were really okay with my dating Tom. Why are you going along with my familyís--- (forces the words out) weird and sick practical joke?

JANE: The only one whoís joking here is you, Daria! Look, I forgave you for kissing Tom behind my back, and I meant it. I mean it! (The tone of her voice here suggests she really does.)

(Lengthy pause)

DARIA: Jane. Who are Quinn and Veronica?

JANE: (hesitant, and a little weirded-out) Theyíre your sisters. (Pause.) Quinn is sixteen, and Veronica is thirteen.

DARIA: Jane. I donít know what youíre up to, but I really donít want an argument, I just want to get through this day.

(Daria storms past Jane. Jane stands there, stunned, for a moment.)

JANE: Daria! Wait up!

(Jane catches up and walks besides Daria, but Daria doesnít acknowledge her presence.)

JANE: Daria?

(Daria continues to ignore her.)

JANE: Daria, are you feeling all right?

(Daria still ignores her.)

JANE: Iím sorry I made you mad, but I just donít understand.

(Still nothing from Daria. They reach Lawndale High. They are seen approaching it in a long shot. Jane stops, well away from the front. Daria walks on, and goes inside.)

 

 

SCENE 3: LAWNDALE HIGH: CORRIDOR.

(Daria walks by, still in her foul mood. She doesnít see or react to the presence of the Fashion Club (Quinn among them, having beaten Daria to school), gathered around a locker. The camera stays with the Fashion Club while Daria walks out of the shot.)

STACY: Gee, Quinn, your cousin seems in a mood.

QUINN: Never mind about her. I want to talk about me. (Pause.) I canít believe Shawn told me off like that.

SANDI: An insult like that is an insult to all of us, and not just our Vice President. (Pause.) None of us must ever go out with Shawn, ever, again.

STACY: (sadly) Oh.

TIFFANY: You must feel awful about this.

QUINN: I do. I do. (Sniff.) It was horrible, just horrible. (Pause.) Iíve never had a boy dump me like that. I mean, I was actually worrying I might be losing my looks.

SANDI: Gee, Quinn, youíre beautiful for a girl your age.

QUINN: I know, Sandi, but I have to face facts. The big two-oh is closer than it used to be.

STACY: Did Shawn *say* something about your looks?

TIFFANY: What *did* he say?

QUINN: It was *weird,* the way he said it. He said there wasnít going to be a next time this time, he said. And then he said he was going to write me off as a bad mistake. He even said I ought to be ashamed of the thing I do to men!

STACY: "Next Time, This Time," Jim Croce, 1973.

(Lengthy pause as the others look at Stacy. Stacy giggles with embarrassment.)

STACY: Er...my mom has that record!

(The others remained unconvinced.)

 

 

SCENE 4: LAWNDALE HIGH (LUNCH ROOM / CAFETERIA.)

(Daria is eating some kind of hamburger. (Being from the cafeteria, itís anybodyís guess what it might be---much like Jakeís food.) Jane, carrying a tray that has a similar burger on it, comes and sits opposite her.)

JANE: Daria, look, Iím sorry.

DARIA: If youíre here with anything but an explanation for what you said before, I donít want to hear it.

JANE: But I donít understand! You asked me who your sisters were, and I told you. (Sighs.) Perhaps if you told me what this is all about.

DARIA: (Sighs, too.) Jane. You say I have two sisters.

JANE: Wait. I *say* you have two sisters?

DARIA: Jane, when I went to bed last night, I only had one sister. When I got up this morning, I had two.

(Lengthy pause.)

JANE: I...see.

(Another lengthy pause.)

DARIA: I am not crazy.

JANE: I didnít say anything!

DARIA: But thatís what youíre thinking, youíre thinking Iím crazy.

JANE: Itís a possibility. But I didnít say it.

(Another lengthy pause.)

JANE: Does this have anything to do with the way Quinn calls you her, uh, cousin?

DARIA: If it did, all of you would be pulling this on Quinn and Iíd know all about it.

JANE: Daria, Iím not pulling anything.

DARIA: (sighs) Okay. Okay. Whatever you say. (Pause.) But I need to talk to you, but not here.

JANE: Too public?

DARIA: Much too public.

JANE: The roof it is.

 

 

SCENE 5A: LAWNDALE HIGH: THE ROOF.

(The roof looks the same as it usually does when Daria and Jane visit. They sit cross-legged opposite each other. Their usual school packs are at their feet.)

DARIA: I am not crazy.

JANE: But you had one sister last night and now you have two. (Pause.) And you still think Iím part of the joke.

DARIA: I donít know what to think. (Pause.) Could you tell me what you know about, er, my other sister? Start at the beginning, and donít leave anything out.

JANE: Mmm. Let me see. I met her that first time I came over to your house. She seems...well, more brainy and academic than Quinn, more in your league. Sheís a little quiet, but, between a sardonic intellectual and a flighty fashion plate, that doesnít seem surprising. (Pause.) Maybe she gets less attention from your parents than you do---

DARIA: I donít think thatís possible. (Pause.) Fast forward a little. Remember the time I went off to visit Grove Hills with my parents? Quinn stayed behind and eventually wound up at your house. (Pause.) Where was Veronica then?

JANE: You said she went off to stay with your grandmother.

DARIA: Which grandmother?

JANE: I donít know. Arenít they interchangeable?

DARIA: Never mind. Has, er, Veronica, ever been over to your house?

JANE: Nnno...no, wait, that time your father set the house on fire, when you stayed with me---when you first got interested in Tom---

DARIA: (a little pain in her voice) Jane, please!

JANE: (not wanting to poke) Yeah. When your parents came to pick you up, she was with them then.

DARIA: (shakes her head). Iím beginning to wonder about my sanity now.

JANE: Donít jump to conclusions.

DARIA: Is that an admission?

JANE: No, itís just concern. Maybe a space alien came to earth last night and disguised herself as your mild-mannered sister.

DARIA: Only I was immune to the hypnosis spell she cast on everybody else. (Daria stands up, and Jane joins her.) Iíve got to do some research.

JANE: What about school?

DARIA: Damn. (She sits down again.)

JANE: Have you got anything you can look through right here in school? I mean, on you.

DARIA: Yes. Yes, I do. (She reaches around and grabs her backpack. After a few seconds of fumbling through it, she pulls out a spiral notebook. She leafs through a few pages without speaking.)

JANE: Er...what is that?

DARIA: (not looking up) My appointments calendar.

JANE: You donít have any appointments. You donít meet with anybody

DARIA: But I need to take note of things to avoid. (Stops at one page) Damn!

JANE: What is it?

DARIA: (reads aloud) "November Fifth: Tuesday. Family Court. Veronica spilled juice down back of TV during ĎAnimal Maulingsí marathon. See that sheís prosecuted to fullest extent of the law." (She returns to thumbing through her spiral notebook) November Fifteenth, Friday. Bonding with Quinn and Veronica, scheduled by Mom. Conspire with Quinn and Veronica on acceptable excuse. (She thumbs through again) Veronica. Veronica. (She looks up, a heartbroken expression on her face.) I donít remember writing any of these.

JANE: So they were able to tamper with written records.

DARIA: Whoever the mysterious "they" are.

JANE: Anything on the page you *do* remember?

DARIA: Yes. (glances at page again) Right above it. "Dental appointment: be sure and practice screams." I certainly remember going to that one.

JANE: Doesnít seem as funny as it once did.

DARIA: No. (Pause.) I suppose the written record could have been tampered with, in which case further search would be futile.

JANE: What do you think happened?

DARIA: I donít know. (Pause, as Daria looks hard at Jane.) What do you think?

JANE: You donít want to know what I think.

DARIA: Not really, since I know you to be in on it.

JANE: Daria.

DARIA: No, Jane. (Pause, as Daria stands up.) I know that our friendship may not mean much to you, but Iím asking you, Jane, please, *please* donít tell anyone.

JANE: (in the process of standing up) All right.

DARIA: Not my parents, not my sister---not anybody here at Lawndale High. I want your word on it.

JANE: My word on it!

DARIA: Or at least your sworn promise.

JANE: So whatever happens if I tell, youíll hold it over my head.

DARIA: For as long as I can.

 

 

SCENE 5B: LAWNDALE HIGH, GIRLíS BATHROOM.

(As established in "A Tree Grows In Lawndale," voices from the roof can be heard inside. They are heard now, in a shot of the ceiling. The camera slowly pans back...)

DARIA (V. O.): Iím serious, Jane.

JANE (V. O.): I wonít tell.

DARIA (V. O.): I mean it, Jane.

(Camera pulls fully back to reveal the Fashion Club. Their backs are to us. They are all looking up at the ceiling, and the voices.)

JANE (V. O.): Daria, I wonít betray you.

DARIA (V. O.): Iím taking no chances.

(commercials)

 

ACT TWO:

SCENE 1: EXTERIOR, MORGENDORFFER HOME.

(Daria and Jane are walking on the sidewalk towards it. Itís now late afternoon.)

JANE: Would it be so bad to have another sister?

DARIA: I already have Quinn. I donít need any others. (Pause) Suppose it doesnít stop there? Suppose I wake up tomorrow morning and thereís yet another sister sitting down to breakfast?

JANE: I suppose it would be up to your parents to provide you with one. (Pause.) Yíknow, playing this "Iím pretending youíre right" bit has its disadvantages. Really, I thought you and Veronica kept the family balance from shifting too much towards Quinn.

DARIA: Like some sibling detente? (They stop outside the Morgendorffer home. Daria looks towards it and shakes her head.) Itís no good talking about it. Jane, as far as I know, before this morning, Quinn was my only sister.

(Veronica walks into the shot.)

VERONICA: I like that. All my life Iíve had to put up with her, and now I donít even exist.

JANE: Donít judge your sister too harshly, Veronica. Sheís under a lot of pressure. You think itís easy to get straight As?

VERONICA: Oh, Iíve seen the pressure sheís under. She gets up in the morning, snipes at Quinn, goes to school, complains about the teachers and students, comes home, makes a sarcastic remark about Helen and Jake, goes to your house, rehashes the entire day with you with a sarcastic running commentary, then comes home and goes to bed. (Pause.) Did I leave anything out?

JANE: No, thatís about all. (Turns to Daria.) You know, we lead a pretty shallow life.

DARIA: Donít change the subject. I have a complete stranger in my life and have to untangle things before I can move on.

JANE: Yes, youíve got problems.

(She shrugs, and walks on. Veronica turns to Daria.)

VERONICA: You want a problem? What about me? My own sister wonít even admit I exist. Howís that for a problem?

DARIA: I admit you exist. (Pause.) Itís the "sister" part that Iím trying to wrap my brain around.

VERONICA: Didnít Mom and Dad show you the results of the paternity test?

DARIA: Not that I remember. (Pause.) And you could just be an actor hired to play the part of my sister. Iím not giving up the notion that all this is an elaborate practical joke, and that weíll all be on the next episode of "Sick Sad World."

VERONICA: Youíre impossible.

(They both start towards the door. Cut to a closeup of them at the front door. Daria gets her keychain out of a pocket in her jacket (the keychain itself is just a ring with one key on it), then stops and steps back.)

DARIA: Letís see if they thought of every detail. Whereís your key?

(Veronica reaches into the pocket of her jeans, and pulls out a keychain of her own. (Itís a single key on a ring with a plastic action-figure toy attached.) She twirls this on her finger, and looks defiantly triumphant at Daria, then turns and unlocks the front door and opens it.)

DARIA: Showoff.

(They enter---)

 

 

SCENE 2: MORGENDORFFER HOME: LIVING ROOM.

(Cut to shot from inside door looking out. Daria and Veronica enter almost simultaneously, and both stop dead, surprised looks on their faces.

(Cut to a shot over Dariaís and Veronicaís shoulders. Helen, Jake, and Quinn all standing up. Helen and Jake have concerned looks on their faces. Quinn has a disgruntled look.)

HELEN: Daria, your father and I are a little concerned about whatís been going on at school. Weíve heard some strange things---

JAKE: I mean, itís one thing to say something at the breakfast table, and another to start repeating it around your school---

HELEN: Jake. (Helen glares at Jake, who subsides in fear. She then turns back to Daria.) What your father is trying to say, is that a joke can be taken just so far, before it becomes hurtful.

DARIA: What *are* you talking about?

HELEN: Itís just that we understand things have been said, involving your sister.

DARIA: I know. (Pause.) But Quinn has been calling me her cousin ever since we started at Lawndale High, and I guess Iíve just grown used to it.

(Series of shots: Veronica grins. Quinn looks shocked. Helen looks angry. Jake looks puzzled. Daria wears her usual smirk.)

HELEN: Quinn?

QUINN: Not *that*! *Sheís* been going around embarrassing me by telling *everyone* that Veronica isnít related to us!

HELEN: Is this true?

(Daria pauses, takes a deep breath, and then sighs.)

DARIA: I donít know whatís going on, but I do know this joke has gone on far too long. (Pause.) If youíll excuse me, Iíll be in my room.

(She turns and walks up the stairs. As she does, she walks by that "family portrait" set of pictures that hangs on the Morgendorffer stairwell. Though the big picture of Quinn is unchanged, there are a couple of shots of Veronica in there now.)

 

 

SCENE 3: MORGENDORFFER HOME: DARIAíS ROOM.

(Usual room setting. Daria is sitting on her bed, thumbing through what appears to be a photo album.

(Quick cuts focus in on several photos, all from the "Masochistís Memories" section of "The Daria Diaries," starting with (1) Dariaís first birthday...(2) Daria opening the door for Quinnís first steps...

(It continues with (3) the Morgendorffers at the Grand Canyon---only Veronica is there, on another mule, between Jake and Daria. Next is (4) the "cousinís wedding" photo---Veronica is in front of Helen, dressed as a flower girl. (5) The theme park visit---Veronica is to Dariaís left (our right), looking towards something off camera. And (6) the "for sale / sold" sign in front of the soon-to-be Morgendorffer home---Veronica is between Daria and Quinn in Helenís "group hug," looking just as disgruntled as the rest of them.

(Daria slams the photo album shut. She then lies down...then leans up as she (and we) hear the voices of her family from beyond her door. Theyíre all quite audible despite their making an effort to keep their voices down.)

JAKE (V. O.): But, Helen, I donít wanna go in.

HELEN (V. O.): Jake, this is important.

QUINN (V. O.): Well, Iím not going in, either.

HELEN (V. O.): Quinn, youíll go in and be nice to your sister if I say so.

QUINN (V. O.): Why do we have to talk about *her* problems? What about me? Canít we talk about my problems? Doesnít anybody want to hear how Shawn dumped me because my looks are fading?

VERONICA (V. O.): Quinn, just because one of your featherbrained boy toys saw the true light about you---

QUINN (V. O.): (loudly) Ohh! My looks are *fine,* my looks are *not* fading---

VERONICA (V. O.): Iím not talking about your looks!

HELEN (V. O.): Veronica, Quinn, keep your voices down!

(Daria gets up off her bed, and moves towards the door. As the conversation continues, she rests one hand on the door handle, while the other hand is wedged between her face and the door. She listens, fairly intently, to the conversation.)

HELEN (V. O.): Quinn, you brought this whole matter to our attention. And we all agreed it was serious.

VERONICA (V. O.): Not mine. (Pause.) Did it occur to any of you that Daria may be putting on an act?

(At this, Dariaís eyes widened.)

JAKE (V. O.): What do you mean?

VERONICA (V. O.): I mean the two of you are lousy parents. You constantly favor Quinn over either Daria or me. Quinn gets this, Quinn gets that. (Pause.) Me and Daria are lucky if we get hand-me-downs.

QUINN (V. O): I do not get more attention than you do! If that were true---

HELEN (V. O.): (Loudly) Sssss.....shhhh!

QUINN (V. O): (softly) If that were true, why do you complain that my grades arenít as good as Daria?

VERONICA (V. O.): Itís not easy having a brain in the family.

JAKE (V. O.): Sheís right, Helen. Just the other day, Daria---

HELEN (V. O.): Jake! (Pause.) We were talking about why Daria is doing this.

VERONICA (V. O.): Iím just *saying,* that Daria might be doing this to get some attention.

HELEN (V. O): Yes. Yes. (Pause.) No, it doesnít hold together. If that were true, sheíd be pretending that Quinn didnít exist, not you.

QUINN (V. O.): Thank you. (Pause.) Wait a minute---

(Daria has evidently heard enough. She opens her door and walks into a surprised Morgendorffer family group. All are as normal, except Quinn, who has covered her face with some kind of cream---part of her sudden concern about her deteriorating looks.)

DARIA: For the record, this is the situation as I see it. (Pause.) As far as I know, I have only one sister, Quinn. I never met this Veronica person before this morning. I do not know of or understand any reason behind this. But I can tell you, Iím not giving up the idea that all of you are playing some kind of elaborate prank on me, until I absolutely know it not to be true. Do you understand that?

HELEN: Daria, we just feel---

DARIA: Now, Iíve had a particularly hard day, and want to meditate on this problem, and then get some sleep. Do any of you have a problem with that?

(The family looked at each other, but didnít say anything.)

DARIA: Good night.

(She closes the door and walks away from it.)

QUINN (V. O.): Itís not even dark out!

HELEN (V. O.): Shh! (Pause.) What *is* that on your face?

 

 

SCENE 4: MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, KITCHEN TABLE, MORNING.

(Shot of the house exterior, morning, as in Act One Scene One. Same Rossini music.)

JAKE (V. O.): Daria! Quinn! Veronica! Your breakfast is getting cold.

DARIA (V. O.): Damn!

(Cut to: the breakfast nook, where the breakfast---apparently leftovers from the previous breakfast---is laid out.

(Helen, again, is already at the table, again reading legal papers. Her briefcase is again where it was the day before. Jake is somewhere in the background, again humming a tuneless tune.

(Quinn enters the shot, again talking on the cellphone.)

QUINN: ---look, Stacy, I know what Shawn said I donít even know who this Jim Croaker guy is. (Pause.) Well, thatís too bad, but I wasnít even born in 1973.

HELEN: Quinn, tell Stacy youíll call her back. (She puts her papers down.)

QUINN: Weíll talk later, Stacy. (Pause.) Later, Stacy. (Pause.) At *school,* Stacy! (She presses the button for "hanging up," then folds the phone up and puts it down.)

(Veronica comes in, looking like she hasnít had a good nightís sleep. She sits down but does not pick up any silverware.)

HELEN: (in a hushed tone of voice.) Girls, please! Your sister is having a bad time. Iím asking both of you to be extra nice to her.

QUINN: Why is always her, her, her? Why canít it be about me? Iíve got a real problem here! Doesnít anybody want to hear about my bad date?

VERONICA: (starts to rise) If Quinn is going to say anything about one of her dates again, I donít want to be here for it.

HELEN: All right, all right! Be nice to Daria, and be nice to each other! Sit down, Veronica!

VERONICA: (sits down again) Whatís in it for me? (Pause) How much money will you offer?

HELEN: Does everything this family does have to involve money? Canít we just be nice to each other without being paid for it?

VERONICA: Donít ask me, you started it.

HELEN: (sighs) Okay. Fifty.

VERONICA: (shakes her head) Money isnít going to do it, not this time. I was up all night. I decided I didnít like it when Daria denied my existence. I still donít. What are you going to do about that?

DARIA (V. O.): I heard that. (Pause, as Daria enters the shot.) And I donít like my family and friends playing a sick practical joke on me.

VERONICA: You see? Even now, she wonít stop.

HELEN: Daria!

QUINN: Ohh! I donít want to hear any more of it! (She gets up and storms off and after a second we hear a door slam.)

VERONICA: Now look what youíve done!

DARIA: What Iíve done? I donít know who you are, but Iím not going to deal with this! (She turns as if to storm off herself, but stops when Helen speaks.)

HELEN: (really angry) Daria, stay right where you are! (Pause. Everything comes to a stop, even Jake in the kitchen. Daria turns to face Helen. Helen continues in a softer tone of voice.) Daria. Everybody in this family cares for you very much.

DARIA: (bitter edged) You sure have a strange way of showing it.

HELEN: Now, Daria. (Pause.) Daria, we all care for you---which is why I made an appointment for you to see the doctor.

DARIA: (uneasy) What *kind* of doctor?

VERONICA: What kind of doctor do you think?

HELEN: Veronica! Shh! (Pause, as Helen opens her briefcase and pulls out a piece of paper.) Daria, Iíve made an appointment for you. Doctor Davidson. Four PM, right after school.

(A lengthy pause here, as Daria remains outwardly neutral.)

HELEN: Daria?

DARIA: (crosses her arms) Iím not going to the doctor. There is nothing wrong with me. (Pause.) Iím going to resume my normal life, and pretend that this whole incident never took place.

HELEN: (slightly sarcastic) Oh, dear. Then Iíll just have to keep an eye on you all day, to see that you go to the doctor.

VERONICA: Why does Daria get off from school?

HELEN: She doesnít. She goes to school, and I go with her. (Pause.) Speaking of school, shouldnít you be on your way to it by now?

VERONICA: Oh. *Now* you want me to go. (Gets up from the table and largely-uneaten meal, and exits the shot. As Helen speaks next, we hear a door slam.)

HELEN: Now, Daria, you know we have your best interests at heart.

JAKE: (coming into the shot) Yes, kiddo, your mother and I do care about you.

HELEN: And you know we would never play a joke like this on you.

DARIA: If you had said this the day before yesterday, I might have believed you.

HELEN: That may be. But you will go to Doctor Davidson at four today. (Pause.) Or your father and I will follow you around, all day, to make sure you attend.

DARIA: You wouldnít.

HELEN: Try us.

 

 

SCENE 5: ON THE WAY TO LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL.

(As usual. Daria walks with Jane.)

DARIA: So it was either that or have them following us.

JANE: And we canít have that. Youíre already paranoid enough.

DARIA: Thatís only because youíre all against me.

(A car pulls up on the street next to them; itís Trentís rattletrap car. Trent sticks his head out the window and speaks.)

TRENT: Hey, Janey. Hey, Daria.

JANE: Hey, Trent.

DARIA: Hey.

JANE: Youíre up a little early today.

TRENT: Itís late. Iím on my way back from a gig.

JANE: (points down the street, the way she and Daria had come from) Our house is that way.

TRENT: Okay.

(Thereís a short pause here. Before Trent can lean back in his car, Daria speaks.)

DARIA: Trent.

TRENT: Daria?

DARIA: How many sisters do I have?

TRENT: I donít understand.

JANE: Dariaís a little confused this morning.

TRENT: Is it a trick question? A riddle?

DARIA: No, Trent. Itís a real question with a real answer. How many sisters do I have?

(Cut to close up: Trent looks at Daria. Cut to: Daria looks back at him, calmly. Cut back to Trent, who looks towards Jane, puzzlement now plain on his face. Cut to: Jane, with a smirk on her face. Cut back to Trent.)

TRENT: Er...two?

DARIA: (to Jane) Obviously this conspiracy is more thorough than I could have thought. If only I could figure out a reason behind it.

(Daria walks on.)

TRENT: Janey? What was that about?

JANE: Daria is having a really bad day.

TRENT: But she has two sisters. Quinn and Veronica.

JANE: Yes, but Daria doesnít know that.

TRENT: Oh. (Leans back in his car, still more confused. Leans out again.) Can I give you a ride to school?

JANE: No, if I hurry I can still catch her. (Runs off.)

 

 

SCENE 6: LAWNDALE HIGH (INTERIOR: GIRLíS ROOM)

(As seen in various episodes. One prop: a janitorís cart with a bunch of assorted cleaning supplies. Daria and Jane are alone in there, apparently just washing up. They stop, and start talking.)

JANE: So itís getting worse for you.

DARIA: (sighs) Jane, I donít know whatís going on.

JANE: Are you as sure of what you know as you were yesterday?

DARIA: A little doubt is starting to creep in.

JANE: Even the slightest doubt is sufficient to kill. Thatís what the Trekkies say.

DARIA: It may come to that.

JANE: Doubht, or killing?

DARIA: Yes. (Pause.) Iíve barely polled the electorate here. Iíve asked my family and you, and Trent. All of whom might have some reason to deceive me.

JANE: What reason would Trent have to deceive you?

DARIA: I donít know, but he is related to you.

JANE: What about your notebook?

DARIA: Notebooks, photographs. We live in the age of computers and copiers, Jane. Everything can be faked with the right computer-generated images.

JANE: So ask more people. Iíll go out and get one.

(Jane takes two steps, but Daria grabs her arm and stops her.)

DARIA: No. No you donít. You were too eager to get someone. Maybe someone in on it all.

JANE: You think I was going to grab someone whoíd been properly briefed? (Chuckles, as she shakes Dariaís hand off her arm.) Go ahead. Go out yourself. Go out and find someone.

DARIA: I will.

(Daria steps to the door and out of the shot. Jane waits with a slight smile on her face.)

UPCHUCK (V. O.): Ow! What? Hey!

(Daria comes in, pushing a reluctant Upchuck ahead of her. He staggers, then stands straight, between Daria and Jane.)

UPCHUCK: Oof! (Starts to brush himself off.) Daria, dear, you neednít have dragged me off to have me. Iím available, any time.

DARIA: I donít want your body, Upchuck. Iím not impressed by genetic mistakes.

UPCHUCK: First physical contact, then idle flattery? Iím intrigued.

DARIA: Stop it. (Pause.) I just want to ask you a few questions.

UPCHUCK: Mmm, promising. Ask away, my darling.

DARIA: Drop the phony endearments and answer a few questions for me.

UPCHUCK: Anything for you.

DARIA: (pause) Upchuck, you know my sister, donít you?

UPCHUCK: The younger Ms. Morgendorffer? But of course! A treat perhaps for the less experienced males of Lawndale High, but for me, I prefer something on a higher level of sophistication.

JANE: What an interesting way to put that.

UPCHUCK: I endeavor to please. (Pause.) Recent rumor has it that she believes her looks to be fading, reportedly the result of what was said during a recent spat with a recent boyfriend. But I cannot say this is true.

DARIA: And thatís all you know about my family?

UPCHUCK: I cannot recall many details of the rest of your family, but, then, we havenít discussed them in any detail.

DARIA: No. No we havenít. (Pause.)

UPCHUCK: I *do* recall meeting some other members of your family on one occasion.

DARIA: You have? When?

UPCHUCK: On the occasion of our science projects. You remember. I was paired with that delightful girl, Brittany, while you worked with her somewhat intellectually challenged boyfriend, Kevin. (Pause.) You will recall we had occasion to, ahem, consult with each other?

DARIA: (seems to sag a little, thinking of what will come up) Yes. And which family members did you meet?

JANE: Be honest. Donít sugarcoat it.

UPCHUCK: My dear Miss Lane, honesty is easier on us all. (Pause.) I met your father and mother on that occasion. Your mother, well, I can see where her lovely daughter gets her (growls), feistiness.

JANE: And?

UPCHUCK: Well, her father, seemed---enthusiastic about life.

DARIA: Yes, yes, never mind about them. (Pause.) Is that all?

UPCHUCK: I also briefly met your sister, Veronica. Grrrr! A future feisty girl if there ever was one!

DARIA: I see. I see. (Slumps over even more, and walks out of shot and out of the bathroom.)

UPCHUCK: (shouts) Any time you want to talk, Iím here for you! (growls) Grrrrrr! Feisty!

JANE: Now that the question time is done, hadnít you better leave the girlís room?

UPCHUCK: Just a moment. I should have my reward for my cooperation. (Pause.) I believe a kiss will be sufficient. And since Miss Morgendorffer has departed, that leaves...you!

JANE: (grinning) And seeing the inside of the girlís room wasnít reward enough?

UPCHUCK: Iíve seen the girlís room before.

JANE: When?

UPCHUCK: (turns away) Please. A gentlemen never tells. And now, that kiss.

(Upchuck turns, eyes closed, lips puckered. Jane hesitates a moment, then spies the janitorís cart. From it, she selects one item, a plunger with a handle about two feet long. She grins, shakes this a couple of times, then plunges it towards Upchuckís face.

(Abrupt cut to---)

 

 

SCENE 7: LAWNDALE HIGH, CORRIDOR.

(Daria walks on down the corridor, not looking at much of anything. She walks past the Fashion Club.)

STACY: Gee, Quinn, your cousin seems more depressed than yesterday.

QUINN: Oh, itís always her, her, her, and I canít even get my concern with my sudden aging across to my family now!

SANDI: (a slightly superior tone) As President of the Fashion Club, let me express our official condolences at your recent decline in looks.

TIFFANY: Yeah.

QUINN: (sniff) Thanks, Sandi.

SANDI: Weíre here to help you, Quinn. There are many things that can be done to keep oneís loss of looks to a minimum.

TIFFANY: Yeah, Quinn.

SANDI: My mother is on a first name basis with three plastic surgeons.

STACY: But I just donít understand, guys. Quinn is still beautiful. (Pause.) Did Shawn actually *say* you were losing your looks?

QUINN: Ummmm...no, but then, Iíve never had a boy dump me and say those things. What else could it be? (Sighs.) Iíve never had a boy act that way before.

SANDI: Youíre right, Quinn. I mean itís one thing to be dumped, but itís another thing for him to quote these Jim Crockpot lyrics at you.

STACY: Croce.

SANDI: Stacy.

STACY: (cringes away, which is ignored by the others) I was just saying.

SANDI: But there is a time, in any relationship with a boy, to move on. If one boy thinks your looks are fading, well, there are many boys yet to date in Lawndale High.

STACY: Yeah, and Iím sure they think youíre as beautiful as I do.

(They all look suspiciously at Stacy. Stacy cringes away but does not speak this time.)

QUINN: Oh, I suppose you guys are right. I should just get right back into dating. (Pause.) But the rumors will start! What will happen to my reputation, once word gets around that Iím losing my looks? How will I ever attract a new date?

SANDI: Quinn, you need not worry. The whole power of the Fashion Club will stand behind you in this crisis.

QUINN: Then I should just go on doing what Iíve been doing?

SANDI: Yes. Yes, of course. (Pause.) And you should ignore Shawn. Why worry about him?

QUINN: Then thatís what Iíll do. (Pause.) Thanks, Sandi!

SANDI: I know. I know.

(Just then a good-looking boy walks by---yes, the Shawn that Quinn has been talking about. From his general appearance and attitude, he suggests, "Iíve got plenty of money---the good, legally-come-by kind."

(He stops slightly in his stride when he sees Quinn, then turns away, sniffs, crosses his arms, then stalks off at a faster pace. The Fashion Club turn their heads and follow him with their eyes as he walks out of camera range.)

SANDI: (turning towards Quinn) It doesnít matter that he doesnít want to date you anymore, Quinn.

TIFFANY: (also turning towards Quinn) Yeah. There are other boys with money around.

STACY: (dreamily, still looking towards the departing Shawn) Yeah, but how many know Jim Croce lyrics?

SANDI: Stacy!

STACY: (turning back towards the others and cringing again) I was just saying!

 

 

SCENE 8: ON THE WAY HOME FROM LAWNDALE HIGH.

(Theyíre on an unfamiliar Lawndale suburban street than the one weíre used to seeing them walk home on; other than that, it looks the same.)

JANE: Do you want me to come with you?

DARIA: No, this is something Iíll just have to face alone.

JANE: Thereís no reason to be noble, Daria.

DARIA: I have nothing to fear. There *is* nothing wrong with me.

(Just then, a car pulls up next to them. Tomís "new" car, as first seen in "Is It Fall Yet?")

TOM: Daria!

JANE: It must be your day for stopping cars.

DARIA: Maybe I can be picked up for soliciting.

(Tom gets out of the car and stands next to them.)

TOM: I was worried.

DARIA: (puts hand to her head and looks down.) Oh, God. We had a date last night.

TOM: I know. (Tom stands next to Daria and Jane.) Your mother was very mysterious about it last night. She wouldnít tell me why you canceled, and she wouldnít even let me talk to you talk on the phone.

DARIA: I didnít cancel. I just forgot. (Pause.) Iíve been living a nightmare for---

TOM: ---the past seventeen years?

DARIA: Well, yes, but it got particularly hellish these past two days.

JANE: Dariaís a little upset. She thinks---

DARIA: Jane! (Daria makes "shh! -ing" gestures without speaking. Jane looks confused, then "gets it"---what "it" is will be shown in the lines below.)

TOM: Whatís going on?

DARIA: Tom. I know at least you would never lie to me.

TOM: Not if I wanted to keep in your good graces.

JANE: Or possibly live out the night.

DARIA: Iíve got a question for you, and the future of our relationship may depend on your answer.

TOM: I didnít forget another anniversary, did I?

DARIA: No, nothing like that.

TOM: Itís not your birthday, is it?

JANE: (chuckles) Not even close.

DARIA: Jane. (Pause.) Itís a simple question, something that you should know about me.

TOM: This isnít, oh, the "L" word, is it?

DARIA: Itís simple, but itís important. That is, the correct answer is important. (Pause.) The "L" word?

TOM: (frowning a little) Well, if itís important, hadnít you better just ask me and get it over with?

DARIA: Okay. (Takes a deep breath, then sighs) Tom, how---

JANE: (holds up a hand) Just a minute. Daria? Do you really want Tom to answer your question? You may not like the answer you get.

DARIA: What?

JANE: Remember, you asked me. You didnít like my answer. And remember how angry you were when I gave you what you thought was a wrong answer?

DARIA: It *was* the wrong answer, Jane.

JANE: (waves her hands and shakes her head) Thatís not my point. My point is, what will happen between you and Tom when he gives you his answer, *if* his answer is, shall we say, wrong?

(Lengthy pause. Daria contemplates Jane and Tom. Jane stands, arms crossed, a slight smile on her face. Tom, meanwhile, stands there, looking more bewildered than ever.)

DARIA: Youíre right, Jane. (Turns to Tom.) Whatever it is, Iíll have to work it out, one way or other, without involving you. Iíll call you when I know something more definite.

(Daria walks away from both of them, continuing on towards Lawndale High. Tom stands slightly open-mouthed, scratches his head, and turns to Jane.)

TOM: I donít understand. What just happened?

JANE: Something youíll just have to wait for. At least for a few more days.

 

 

SCENE 9: DOCTORíS OFFICE.

(Daria is in her normal clothes, but her manner (and the remaining parts of the scene) suggest that sheís already been examined.

(Dr. Davidson, the older man seen examining Daria in "Ill," is writing something on a form on a clipboard.)

DR. DAVIDSON: So whatís been bothering you lately?

DARIA: Have your friends and relatives ever gotten together to make up some outrageous story?

DR. DAVIDSON: Canít say that they have. Did this happen to you?

DARIA: It would depend. (Pause.) How many sisters do I have?

DR. DAVIDSON: Yes, your mother mentioned that. So you wouldnít necessarily believe me if I gave you a straight answer.

DARIA: And that suggests youíd give me the wrong answer.

DR. DAVIDSON: Only from one point of view.

DARIA: But thereís nothing wrong with me.

DR. DAVIDSON: Well, now, after the exam...Iíd like to check you into the hospital for a few days.

DARIA: What?

DR. DAVIDSON: Just to be on the safe side, Daria. Nothing to be concerned about. X-rays, CAT scans, some bloodwork...the usual. Not right now, but tomorrow. Youíll be in and out before you know it.

DARIA: But thereís nothing wrong with me.

DR. DAVIDSON: Well, itís best to be sure about these things. Just a few days in the hospital, and a few tests. In. Out. (Shrugs while smiling.)

(Daria looks extremely sad and bleak.)

 

 

ACT THREE:

SCENE 1: MORGENDORFFER HOUSEHOLD, LIVING ROOM.

(Daria comes in the front door, and is surprised and irritated to find Helen and Jake already there. They smile and look uneasy.)

DARIA: Dr. Davidson called you, didnít he?

HELEN: Daria, we really have your best interests at heart. We care about you.

DARIA: I heard all this at breakfast. (Pause.) What did the doctor tell you?

JAKE: That he---oof! (Cringes as Helen sticks her elbow in his stomach.)

DARIA: That he just wants to do a few tests in the hospital.

JAKE: Thatís what I was going to say, kiddo. Nothing to worry about, especially---ow! (This time it was Helenís spiked heel on his pennyloafer.)

HELEN: Youíll be ready to go tomorrow morning?

DARIA: I see. (Pause.) And if I decide not to go?

HELEN: Weíre your parents, Daria. I donít want to have to pull rank on you, Daria, but I will if I have to.

(Daria seems about to say something else, but slumps and heads upstairs.)

JAKE: (smiling) I think that went well.

HELEN: (angry) Jake, if you would just--- (Scene cuts before Helen can finish her sentence.)

 

 

SCENE 2: MORGENDORFFER HOUSEHOLD, DARIAíS BEDROOM.

(Daria lies on her bed in her "somethingís eating at her soul" position, as seen in "Quinn the Brain," and much-used by many fanfic writers. Thereís a knock on the door---despite it being visibly ajar, we canít see whoís out there.

VERONICA: Daria?

(Daria doesnít answer. Veronica pushes the door open, walks in, and sits down next to her. Her attitude and expression come across as "aggrieved depression.")

VERONICA: Daria?

(Daria still doesnít answer.)

VERONICA: You hate me, donít you?

DARIA: Hate you? (She sits up.) I donít even know you.

VERONICA: That really hurts.

DARIA: I donít have any choice. (Daria returns to her previous position.)

VERONICA: Daria, if these, er, tests, find something, er, wrong, Iíll be unhappy.

DARIA: Thatís swell. (Pause.) Just leave me alone. Let me alone with my thoughts.

VERONICA: Daria, come with me (Grabs Dariaís hand and pulls her upright.) Come with me.

(Daria gets up off the bed and, with Veronica holding her hand, lets Veronica lead her out of the room.)

 

 

 

SCENE 2: MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, VERONICAíS ROOM.

(Itís a room in the Morgendorffer house that weíve never seen before. It has a similar yellowish paint scheme to Quinnís room. Itís somewhat neater than Dariaís or Quinnís, and one wall consists mostly of paperback books on bookshelves.

(Veronica sits on the edge of the bed, looking unhappy. Daria stands in the middle of the room, slowly turning around, arms crossed across her chest.)

DARIA: So this is your room.

VERONICA: I suppose youíre going to say youíve never seen it before. (Sigh.) I suppose it really doesnít matter now.

DARIA: If it ever did. (Pause.) Look, I can accept that you exist, and that you *are* my sister, *and* Iíve completely forgotten you.

VERONICA: Thatís good, I suppose.

DARIA: But I can also accept that this is some kind of conspiracy against me.

VERONICA: (glumly) But you canít think of a reason why we would all do this.

(Thereís a lengthy pause as the two stare at each other.)

DARIA: No.

VERONICA: Daria, let me level with you. The---

(Just then there was a knock on the door.)

QUINN (V. O.): Daria? Veronica?

VERONICA: (slightly annoyed) Come in, Quinn.

(Quinn enters, opening and then closing the door. She looks at Daria with what appears to be compassion on her face, then looks at Veronica with more than a little distaste. She sits down on the bed next to Veronica and looks up at the still-standing Daria.)

QUINN: Daria, Iím sorry youíre going to the hospital. I really am.

DARIA: Iím sorry Iím going, too.

QUINN: And I admit youíre not a bad sister.

DARIA: And I freely admit that youíve got some good points as a sister. But Iím not going into detail.

QUINN: What I want to say, is, when youíre gone, Iíll miss you. (Sniff.)

VERONICA: Quinn? Are you...crying?

QUINN: No, no! (Turns away from Veronica and Daria.) Iím just, I mean, well. (Sniffs again, then turns towards Daria.) Iíll miss you when youíre gone.

DARIA: I donít know what youíve been told, but I have every intention of coming back.

VERONICA: Daria---

QUINN: Donít.

DARIA: Donít what?

QUINN: Just donít.

VERONICA: Iím going to, anyway, but, Daria...

DARIA: Yes?

VERONICA: Youíve got to promise not to tell Mom and Dad.

DARIA: Okay. (Looks away from the two of them, and puts her right hand over her heart in a "Pledge of Allegiance" pose, while holding her left hand up in a three-fingered Scout salute.) I promise not to tell Mom and Dad unless I can later use any information thus obtained to shame or embarrass them.

QUINN: Fair enough.

VERONICA: Daria, the doctor called before you got home. I overheard the phone call, and from what Mom said, and then what she said to Dad, well...they didnít actually *say* what he thinks you might have, but I can tell you what it is.

DARIA: Should you?

VERONICA: I donít know. But Iím going to. (Pause.) Daria, the doctor thinks you might have a brain tumor.

DARIA: (surprisingly calmly) Oh.

(Daria looks at Quinn. Quinn, an expression that looks like "tense relief" on her face, nods.)

DARIA: Well, this hoax of yours is thorough, I give you that. Youíve even come up with an explanation for my so-called memory lapse.

QUINN: (to Veronica) She still doesnít believe it.

DARIA: I can believe a brain tumor. (Looks at Veronica) Itís a brand-new thirteen-year-old sister I have trouble with.

VERONICA: And our saying that itís your memory thatís faulty doesnít matter to you?

DARIA: If you all are engaged in a sinister conspiracy against me---

VERONICA: You think that?

DARIA: Circumstances force me to think it. It comes down to my believing that you are, and, from that, having no reason to trust you.

VERONICA: (stands up.) Daria, if what you say is true, then you do have no reason to trust us.

QUINN: Veronica, what are you---?

VERONICA: (to Quinn) Shh! (To Daria.) But even though you donít have any reason to trust us, Iím asking, please, *please,* go to the hospital. Please?

(Daria looks at Veronica, her expression neutral. Cut to: Veronica, her expression earnestly pleading.)

(Cut to:)

 

 

SCENE 3: CEDARS OF LAWNDALE HOSPITAL.

(Shot of exterior hospital as seen in "Jake of Hearts.")

DARIA (V. O.): So the long and the short of it is that Iím here in the hospital.

JANE (V. O.): They do anything to you yet?

(Cut to a shot of Daria, in a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, talking on the phone.)

DARIA: A couple of X-rays, a little blood. More scheduled later.

(Cut to a shot of Jane, in Lawndale High, outside her open locker.)

JANE: No mysterious operations, no implants.

(The remainder is a diagonal split screen, Daria on upper left, Jane on lower right.)

DARIA: Iím in here for tumor work, not breasts.

JANE: You should consider taking advantage of it while youíre there.

DARIA: Not a chance. (Pause.) Jane, I donít know whatís going to happen.

JANE: Donít be scared.

DARIA: Iím worried, not scared.

JANE: Iíll drop by after school. (Pause.) Hey, I can bring everybody along, just like last time!

DARIA: Donít. I mean it. Donít. (Pause) My family just left.

JANE: Helen, Jake, Quinn, and...Veronica?

DARIA: Yes, Veronica. (Pause.) I still donít remember Veronica.

JANE: You can learn to live with that.

DARIA: I may have to. The simplest explanation is most likely true. Occamís Razor.

JANE: You can shave later. Right now, letís let the doctors find out whatís wrong with you.

DARIA: If anything.

JANE: If anything

(Lengthy pause.)

DARIA: Good-bye, Jane.

JANE: Good-bye. See you later.

DARIA: Maybe.

JANE: Oh, and be careful about making cellphone calls. I hear they can cause tumors.

DARIA: Maybe if I use land lines, this problem will go away.

JANE: See? Thereís always hope.

(Daria hangs up. Screen cuts to Jane, who does the same. She closes her locker and walks off.)

 

 

SCENE 4: LAWNDALE HIGH: CORRIDOR.

(Jane walks off and down a corridor, past the Fashion Club minus Quinn. They ignore each other. The camera follows the Fashion Club.)

SANDI: Then we all agree we should find some way to help Quinn with her serious problem.

TIFFANY: Er...what problem is that?

SANDI: Her premature aging, Tiffany! It will take a great deal of care. We will have to make subtle suggestions about makeup and wardrobe, but carefully, so she does not take this the wrong way.

(Shawn walks past. Stacy looks after him, slows down a little.)

STACY: Woops, guys, I forgot something in my locker. I gotta go get it, bye!

(Stacy separates from the group and hurries down the corridor. She soon catches up to Shawn.)

STACY: Uh...Shawn?

(Shawn turns and stares. His expression indicates he recognizes her---and is hostile.)

STACY: Er, I just, uh, wanted to say...I really like Jim Croce.

SHAWN: Really? (Smiles.) Tell me more.

(Stacy smiles eagerly.)

(credits begin to play)

(After one alter ego appears, thereís that "needle being swept off a record" sound. (For those of you who grew up with CDs, itís the sound at the end of Act 2 of "Speedtrapped," just before the last little bit.)

EPILOG:

(The credits slide off, revealing two chairs. Behind the chairs is the back wall of some unknown and undeterminable set.

(Daria and Veronica occupy the chairs. Daria is leafing through a copy of a book whose title we canít make out, while Veronica reads what looks like a script. Dariaís chair is higher than Veronicaís.

(Veronica notices the camera on them, and nudges Daria.)

DARIA: Ow. (Closes book, rubs side, and looks at camera.) Oh, hello. Weíre just here to wrap up a few last details.

VERONICA: Like whether I really am Dariaís sister.

DARIA: Or whether itís all an evil plot against me.

VERONICA: Or how it all fits into the space between "Is It Fall Yet?" and "Lucky Strike."

DARIA: Well, Veronica really is my sister, and I really didnít remember her.

VERONICA: And after certain "treatments" (holds up fingers to indicate "quotation marks") she was all right and back at school in time for "Is It College Yet?"

DARIA: The details of which we wonít go into here. (Pause.) But you can forget about seeing another part giving you all the disgusting details. This is it.

VERONICA: (Looks at Daria) What about Stacyís love for Jim Croce music?

DARIA: Just part of the B-plot. Weíve got to have something for contrast.

VERONICA: But it did end the episode!

DARIA: Not important.

(Daria picks up her book again and starts reading. After a moment, Veronica nudges her again, then points towards the camera.)

DARIA: Thereís nothing more. Run the credits.

(credits run again, this time to the end. Music plays: Jim Croceís "Next Time, This Time.")

If you get to feeliní all alone,

When your good time friends have all got up and gone,

Donít come knockiní around my door

Because Iíve seen your act before.

There ainít gonna be a next time this time, woman, startiní right now.

Iím gonna forget your name and your pretty face, girl,

And write you off as a bad mistake.

You know that some women, they are lovers,

And some just got no sense.

But a woman like you oughta be ashamed of the things that you do to men.

Yeah, a woman like you oughta be ashamed of the things that you do to men.

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If the characters and plot of this story resemble "Twilightís Own," by Renfield, thatís only reasonable---Renfield picked up the idea off a posting I made on the Paperpusherís Board, picking it up between the post where I said I was abandoning it and the post where I said I was picking it up again. No problem---there are only so many ideas in the world, and he handled it much differently than I did.

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This parody of "Daria" is copyright © 2004 by Robert Nowall. It is not intended to profit the author in any way, and may not be distributed without permission of the author. (That means please donít post or circulate this without getting in touch with me first.) For the time being, Robert Nowall can be reached at: RobtNowall@aol.com

"Next Time, This Time," written by Jim Croce. This version is abridged.

Written 2/5/04 to 5/22/04.

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