Categories > Cartoons > Daria > Tigresses

Ashfield, the Second Session

by DrT 1 review

The second session at Ashfield and Daria’s successes.

Category: Daria - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor - Characters: Daria,Helen,Jake,Jane,Quinn - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-03-24 - 6342 words - Complete

Tigresses – Part 5 – Ashfield, the Second Session

By Dr T

The second session at Ashfield and Daria’s successes.


Daria glanced at the time on her lap top. She decided she might just have time to write her weekly letter before Jane showed up and forced her to go for their evening walk before dinner. She had just opened her e-mail program when Jane slammed open the door to the cabin, shouting, “I am so fricking glad I am not bi!” Jane slammed the door behind her and simply stood, nearly hyperventilating.

Daria had swiveled around in surprise as Jane had entered. Using her most deadpan voiced, she asked, “And why are you thankful for your limited sexual orientation this time?”

Jane glared. “If I had been bi, then I might have actually gone out with Alison! Or at least made out with her!”

“And that is bad why?” Daria inquired.

Jane snorted, and said in a snarky voice, “I just saw Alison all made-up for a date. Then I saw Alison’s date – Daniel!”

Daria blinked in surprise. “My first reaction is, isn’t she his student?”

“Well, it’s not like we’re in school, and besides, no, remember, like all the other workshops, Daniel’s so-called courses are two discreet classes; no carry-over in that sense anyway. Besides, Alison’s not signed up for this one.”

“Okay, so I forgot that part,” Daria said with a shrug. “Second, why, if she thinks he’s as big a faker and slime ball as you do, is she going out with him?”

“She said she’s not looking for romance.” Jane sighed. “I think she’s seeing him hoping he will help her get some gallery recognition.”

Daria frowned. “Shouldn’t he be doing that for any of his students he thought had good enough work?”

“I’d think so, but knowing Daniel. . . .” Jane shuddered. “Despite the total difference in styles, sometime he reminds me of Upchuck.”

Daria wrinkled her nose.

“Exactly,” Jane agreed. She crossed her arms and looked down, worried. “I know we kid about prostituting ourselves for our art, but I was really hoping that was a metaphor.”

“Or hyperbole,” Daria suggested. “Never mind,” she added seeing Jane’s glare. “Go change.”

“Into what?”

“You need to run. I’ll walk around the circle the usual three times. Let’s see how many times you can lap me. Then we’ll stop by the snack bar and pick up three large orders of fries. We’ll bring it all back here, and while you shower, I’ll dump a can of chili over them, dump a heated jar of Cheez Whiz over all that, microwave the piles, and open up one of the bottles of Lancers Robbie left us.”

“You’d give up your place in the backgammon tournament for me? After vowing revenge after the one in the first session?”

“To my amazement, yes.”

Jane smiled. “Thanks, Daria.”


Later that night, Daria queasily, and somewhat blurrily, looked over her weekly letter. She was blurry from a third of a bottle of Lancers rosé. She was queasy in part from the wine, but more from the quantity (and quality, or lack thereof) of chili cheese fries. She hoped there weren’t any indiscretions she had missed.

SUBJECT: week six in review
DATE: 07/28/00

Dear Dad, Mother, Quinn, and Amy

To respond to your concerns first, Mother, there is plenty of adult supervision here; remember, Jane’s mother is a friend of not only the director but a number of the permanent residents. They do not all subscribe to Amanda Lane’s hands off parenting philosophy, and they all value the colony’s reputation a great deal. They feel a bit more responsible for Jane (and me by default) in part because of that and in part because we are the only two high school students here.

Jane is just starting to get excited about Trent and the band’s visit in two weeks. That will be the only time guys spend the night here! (We got special permission for them to do so. And, if you are thinking I’m trying to slip anything past anyone, we sleep here every night.) Since their three week ‘world tour’ of redneck grunge bars in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Maryland (I didn’t know there were such things, but apparently I was wrong; at least I hope I am, because if they got booked into country western bars, there will be trouble!) starts with Ashton two weeks from tonight, the colony will have them come a day early and play two sets Thursday night.

About two-thirds of the people in the first sessions are holdover into the second. That makes me a ‘veteran’ in short stories and again a newbie in script-writing and romance-writing. We veterans had Monday and Tuesday off, as we had already been given assignments last week. In script-writing, we merely went over the differences between creating a script for stage, tv, and film. Since everyone who was accepted had already had some sort of writing experience, we are to spend through next Wednesday adapting some of our work for each of the three writing formats.

That left me a bit of confusion, as it was not obvious what I should adapt – scripting my recent short stories for tv and film would be fairly easy, but not stage. I ended up deciding to adapt that old story I did for Mr O’Neill which you liked, Mom. After those are critiqued next week, we will either have to do them over or will be allowed to create something original. The instructor, Mark Johnson, writes tv episodes and commercials out in California, did two screenplays which were made into indie films, and actually graduated from Ashton U of PA.

The romance-writing class started off with a two day workshop on types of romance writing and the marketing of romance stories. I still don’t see myself writing romance stories, Mother, but I do understand why you believe there is certainly a market for this stuff. The instructor, Professor Hollis, actually teaches French lit at Raft, but she writes romance books under several pen names. Both instructors certainly know their craft.



SUBJECT: week seven in review
DATE: 08/04/00

Dear Dad, Mom, Quinn, and Amy

Outside of class, this has been a very boring week. It rained heavily from late Sunday afternoon through sometime Monday night into Tuesday morning. It was cold and either misty or drizzling from Tuesday through last night. Today, the temperatures went up higher than any other day, topping off somewhere in the low 90s. With all the rain we’ve had, it is just plain steamy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, most of the studios and the classrooms, and the dining and rec buildings, are all air conditioned. They were still muggy inside, but bearable. The cabin really isn’t, even with the window fans. Thank goodness there are screens in the windows and that we have a screen door. They will all be opened tonight! If Jane and I return here, I need to figure out how to bring some more fans! It was bad but bearable a few days before this, but this is the first time the nights are this nasty.

It’s really too hot to type long, I’m sure running the laptop in this heat and humidity can’t be good for it. I’ll just say classes went well, and I got a lot of work done, both for class, and on a longish narrative poem I started last month. Hopefully it will be more comfortable to write next Friday – tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be even worse than today.



Saturday was indeed even hotter than the day before, although the humidity had diminished slightly. Jane and Daria had agreed to one last trip to the drive-in that night. The following weekend, after all, Mystic Spiral would be in town, and the weekend after that, the last full weekend of the session, would have another poker tournament.

In part because of the heat and in part because it would be their last date, Jane made a suggestion to Daria. In response, Daria merely glared at her friend.

“Oh, come on,” Jane pleaded, in the tone of voice that always worked on Trent, but which was usually far less effective on Daria.

“Instead of our normal drive-in attire, you want us to wear our moccasins or running shoes and cut-offs.”


“And a halter top, which means no bra.”


“Don’t you think that would encourage the guys to explore, perhaps under the halter tops?”


“Are you serious?”

“Yes,” Jane retorted, “I am perfectly serious. I think this is what they were suggesting they wanted, if all we wanted was a single date, as they wouldn’t want such a date repeated because it might mess with their relationship if they did repeat with the same girls. Well, this is our last date. There is no danger they will try and go further on the next date, because there can’t be one.”

“But, Jane. . . .”

“Haven’t you wondered what it would feel like?” Jane demanded.

“Probably like a piece of meat being tenderized,” Daria complained.

“From what you said, Fred has been very gentle in those few other permissible areas,” Jane pointed out. “Ted didn’t maul me last week.”

“I was rather busy, but I thought his fingers might have been roaming,” Daria agreed.

“Daria, I can’t do this if you won’t. Are you really opposed, or just frightened?”

“I’ll confess to having concerns. . . .” Daria agreed, trailing off.

Jane waited a moment, and Daria asked, “What’s playing?”

Jane was confused. “What does that matter?”

“It will be bloody hot, at least until well after 10:00. Even if we just do our normal necking, we might have to leave it off until the second feature,” Daria replied, putting off any answer. Seeing Jane needed more, Daria added, “We’ll be too warm to have the windows up, and I’m not doing anything that any passerby can see.”

Jane had to admit that made sense, but didn’t comment. “Drowning Mona and The Skulls,” Jane simply said with a shrug. “Does that help?”

“Not really,” Daria conceded.

“Daria, unless you really don’t want to do this, you know you’ll squirm and whine and then give in,” Jane pointed out.

Daria glared at her friend, her arms crossed defensively in front of her chest. The ‘Old Daria,’ the one who had moved to Lawndale, would have been screaming (or more likely muttering) in outrage. The one who had confronted Tom would have fled in terror. Despite all that, Daria steeled herself and said, “I better like this, and if I get a hickey on my boobs, you will pay.”


It was shortly after 1:00 a.m. when the pair returned to their cabin. The night was cooler than the oppressive heat of the day, but it was still around 80, muggy and not a hint of a breeze. Daria was surprised when Jane followed her into the bathroom. “What?” she asked tiredly as she finished taking out her contacts.

“I see Fred was no better at retying your top than Ted was doing mine,” Jane answered. She simply touched the string, and the poorly-tied knot fell apart. “I thought I’d check for hickeys. Come on, show me your boobs, and I’ll show you mine.”

Daria was too tired to argue and complied. “No hickeys, right?”

“No,” Jane agreed. “Mine?”

“No. Can I take a shower now?”

Jane looked Daria over, and then blinked. “Daria, what’s that on your shorts?”

“Yes, it’s a DNA stain. Yes, I really feel like I need to vigorously wash my leg and hand, even though we had all those napkins. In addition, I really want to wash all the slobber off. Yes, it was interesting, and I am not going to say anything more about it, ever. Okay?” Her eyes narrowed. “From what little I observed, you need to gargle as well as brush your teeth.”

Jane blushed. “Good point. I started off doing what you apparently did, and I had never done what you did before, let alone finish it off like I did.”


“Different,” Jane admitted.

Daria shrugged and pulled off the shorts, glaring at them with distaste.

“You shower and I’ll rinse this off for you before I gargle. We’ll do laundry when we get up.”


SUBJECT: week eight in review
DATE: 08/11/00

Dear Dad, Mom, Quinn, and Amy

Mystic Spiral was to show up by 4:00 yesterday, with their gig starting at 7:30. We hoped they would show on time for the gig. They surprised us by pulling in a few minutes before 5:00. We hosed them off and got them to dinner right at 6:00. They played for free room (granted, it was our main room) and board and $25 each. They more than ate a good appearance fee over the three meals they’ve had here so far. They just left to set up at the Club; Jane and I are joining a group going in to watch them. We’ll leave in about half an hour.

Jane and I will come back around 11:30; who knows when they’ll roll in? Probably around 3:00. We’ll wake them up somehow around 11:00 so they can have lunch, and then they have a four hour drive to the next place. I hope they have a good time; I know I wouldn’t want to live like that!

Classes continue to go well for both Jane and myself; I have to say a few of Jane’s oils, although not quite finished yet for the most part, are truly magnificent – they’re sort of between 19th century academic realism and photorealism in style. I think Jane would like to try full photorealism, but that takes a lot longer than we have here. All the art instructors are amazed she can pull off this degree of realism in such a short amount of time.

It’s hard to believe that two weeks from tomorrow our summer is over; neither of us would really want it to stop. We’ve both learned so much, and we’re even greater friends than we were before. About the only thing I am not looking forward to is two weeks from tonight. The best short play scenes will be staged, and we writers have to form part of the company of players (we can, however, recruit other student and staff members to play parts, but we are responsible for casting). It looks as if at least one of my scenes will be used. I know Dad was just going to drive up to get us when the art show closes early in the afternoon Saturday (which we appreciated), but, could you (Dad, Mom, and Quinn) please come up a day early in the SUV to watch the mini-plays? I know that means you two would have to take at least half-days off (more likely all day Friday). Mother, I will point out that you lost most of your vacation days last year because Eric wants his hand held at all times by his associates. If you can take the time – I know you are now the senior associate – have him bother some of the new people for a change and come up. Amy, I know you would want to, but you did say you will be giving that paper in Seattle then. I will let you know the odds of any of my scenes being performed as soon as I can.

Next week is the end-of-session poker tournament, but I’ll write early.


As Daria sent off the e-mail, Jane came out of her room. “Ready to go, ‘freakin’ friend’?”

“I am,” Daria agreed. Both were in their boots, jeans, and Mystic Spiral t-shirts (Trent had brought the others Jane had made in the hopes they could sell them). “You have to admit, that is their best song to date. Even most of the lyrics work.”

“True,” Jane agreed. “What was that notebook you gave Trent?”

“New lyrics for their old songs,” Daria replied. “I never want to hear the words to ‘Icebox Woman’ again.”

“I could stand not to hear what passes for the tune, but if they adopt your lyrics, at least it would be an improvement.” Catching Daria before she could respond, Jane added, “Even though I haven’t read your lyrics, yours couldn’t cause unintentional brain damage.”

“Only intentional,” Daria agreed.

They heard a car drive up and honk; there were at least five different loads of people from the colony off to see the band play again, and Daria and Jane were catching rides each way.


Daria was surprised to wake up the next morning not having been awakened by the band. Concerned, she got up and peeked into the main room – the four motionless forms assured her the quartet had indeed returned at some point during the night. Daria dressed, used the bathroom, and slipped out of the cabin. There was enough time for her to still make breakfast, but she wasn’t really hungry. She had snacked enough at the Club, and she still wasn’t the caffeine hound Jane was. She took her time and walked around the loop that circled the studios and other non-residential buildings of the colonies twice. About a quarter of the way of her third circuit, Jane ran by, waving but silent. Daria trod on, Jane making four easy circuits to Daria’s two.

At that point, Jane ran past, slowed, and then walked back thirty feet to join her friend in a final circuit.

“Yes?” Daria asked, after a few moments of silence. She knew Jane was likely to join her on her rare morning walks only if she had a question.

“I’d like to ask you something without getting my head bitten off,” Jane replied.

“I thought I had given that up for the summer,” Daria pointed out. Her eyes narrowed. “Trent?”

Jane merely nodded.

“Just because I wrote those lyrics doesn’t mean I am still interested in him,” Daria stated.

“Well, it could,” Jane pointed out. “Plus, now that you’ve been in the back seat with Fred, you might be more accepting of your inner urges.”

“My urges largely know their place these days,” Daria replied. “My crush on Trent is gone, and has not been replaced by any deeper interest. If there were some global disaster, and I had to participate in the repopulation of the Earth, I can think of many worse than Trent to do my part with, but since that has not happened, I can’t see our being anything more than friends. I certainly have no interest in pursuing anything more with him, other than, perhaps, as a lyricist.”

“Fair enough,” Jane said. “And young Thomas?”

“If it wouldn’t bother you, and he calls me, I would consider seeing him for a few trial dates. I wouldn’t be leaping into the backseat with him. I have to say there is no one else I know of off -hand I would consider seeing.”

Jane considered that more a moment. “I don’t think it would bother me if you see Tom, and if it does, at this point it shouldn’t stop you because I’d just be acting silly. On the other hand, he didn’t like that I was changing a bit, and I think you’ll agree you’ve changed your outer persona from what it was he knew.”

“That’s true,” Daria admitted. “I haven’t changed a lot on the inside, although I have probably changed more than I would want to admit to, but I have changed how I act a fair amount.”

“Even your voice is slightly more expressive.”

Daria looked at Jane, her eyebrows raised. “Really?”

Jane nodded. She decided not to mention the lip gloss Daria now wore every day.

“Huh. Mother will be so pleased.”

The pair walked in companionable silence until they neared the turn off towards their cabin. They found the band still asleep. Knowing that once the band members were stirring they would monopolize everything until they left, Jane and then Daria used the bathroom and took quick showers – the day was already very warm, although not overly hot. They then managed to wake Trent up by sitting him up and waving coffee under his nose until he drank it.

That got Trent moving. When he came out of the bathroom, he was given more coffee while he woke up Nick. Nick then did the same, waking up Max. When Max came out of the bathroom he was given his coffee, and the trio managed to wake up Jesse. The quartet ate through some of Daria and Jane’s surplus food supplies, and then allowed themselves to be dragged over to the dining hall for lunch. The teens donated a few more of the supplies they had which didn’t call for the microwave to expand the band’s in-van food supply of gummy bricks. After another round of coffee, the band finally left around 3:35, several hours earlier than the pair had anticipated.

“Seems strange not to be going out for pizza and then the drive-in,” Jane said.

Daria glanced at her watch. “Come on, we can still catch the four o’clock shuttle to town,” she told Jane. “We can catch the four-thirty showing of Chicken Run, have pizza for dinner, and catch one of the last shuttles back.”

“Burger World is having a big special,” Jane pointed out.

“Beavis and Butt-head worked at a Burger World. I just don’t trust that franchise,” Daria replied.

“I don’t care how many times you claim it, I refuse to believe anyone has ‘butt-head” as part of his name,” Jane retorted.

Daria raised her right hand. “He hyphenated it, but the records claimed his last name was Head and his first name was Butt. If you wish to place a bet, I will dig out my ninth grade yearbook.”

“And the other?”

“Beavis Beavis.”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Sometimes, I’m actually glad I was born and raised in Lawndale.


The next Friday, as Daria and Jane exited the dining hall after breakfast, Jane turned to Daria and asked, “Are you taking bets on your parents actually showing up in time to see your skits?”

“Only if you give me at least four to one odds that they do,” Daria replied. “Seven to one on their being here on time to make dinner here.”

Jane considered that. “Those are tough odds. I think they really want to see you.”

“I’m sure you’re probably right,” Daria agreed. “But even if Quinn was getting slightly better by the end of last spring, coming here means seeing me as the center of attention. She didn't like that idea even times when she was pretty certain I was going to embarrass myself. She'll likely procrastinate.”

Jane crossed her arms. “Go on.”

“Plus my mother, taking off a week day, even a Friday, of work? That neurotic boss of hers calls her on weekends as it is. I don’t see them leaving before 2:00 at the earliest, more likely I’ll get a call or e-mail saying we can take the bus home tomorrow.”

“H'mmm,” Jane intoned doubtfully.

“Not to mention, since they’re bringing Mom’s car, she and Dad will likely fight for an hour about who is going to drive first.”

Jane considered this, and said, “I think you’re over-selling this. Even odds, or no bets.”

“Two to one?” Daria offered.




“Excuse me, Eric. Quinn! You aren’t even up yet? You’ve been doing very well this summer, and you were going to be earning a slight increase in your allowance.” Quinn poked her head out from under the covers. “However, if you are not dressed and in the car with your one overnight bag in one hour and forty-two minutes or less, you will be grounded until New Years and the only new clothes you'll be getting are from trading in what you have at a thrift store. Do I make myself clear, young lady?”

Quinn swallowed hard and quickly slipped out of bed as her mother left the room.

“Now, Eric, I need to put the phone in the charger” Helen stated just as firmly. “I won’t be available until late Sunday morning. My vacation doesn’t start until you hang up, remember, plus in a few hours we’ll be out of network. No, you can’t call the art colony! They have a number of major critics coming in from New York, Boston, and Washington, and the staff will be occupied with them, so we couldn’t tie up the lines. No, I don’t think I can call in from a pay phone!” Helen nearly growled. “We’re between major cases, or at least any cases I am concerned with. You have two other regular associates, plus four junior associates, not to mention all the rest of the law firm for any other problems! If I am the only person who can answer this type of question, shouldn’t I be a full part. . . ? Yes, Eric. Have a good weekend.” Helen shook her head and turned the phone off.

By then, Quinn was back in her room. Sighing, Quinn pulled her overnight bag from under her vanity. A puzzling thought hit her, and she wandered over to her set of mirrors, muttering, “Huh. The thought of Daria screwing up like she did at that dance recital doesn’t seem as funny now as it did then. Do I actually care, even hope, she succeeds?”

Quinn blinked at herself in surprise. “I . . . I am not like Aunt Amy, or Aunt Rita or Mom! I actually want my sister to succeed – well, so long as it doesn't lessen my popularity at school. This won’t. If anything, if Daria becomes a script girl or something in the movies, that would even be good for me.” Quinn smiled, and hurried to get ready.


“Are you nervous?” Jane asked as the pair sat at their desks for almost the last time.

“Oddly, no,” Daria replied. “Not about tonight, or about anything. I’m not unduly optimistic, but I'm also not nervous.”

Jane thought of several different ways which she could induce that nervousness, but since she was Daria’s friend rather than a sibling, she let it go. Then they heard tires on the gravel, making Jane look up. “Just after five; good thing I didn't let you sucker me into that bet!” Jane smiled when she saw Daria was already well on her way outside. Standing, she saw through the open door Daria was already allowing her father to hug her.

It only took a few minutes for the Morgendorffers to enter, with Helen explaining, “I’m sorry we're just a little later than we thought we would be, but traffic around Washington was even worse than we expected, and of course we checked into that motel about twenty miles down the road. . . .”

“That's fine,” Daria replied. “We just have to be at dinner right when it starts, so we can leave for the rec hall early to get ready.”

“I never thought of you as an actress,” Quinn put in. Both she and her mother were too startled to see that Daria was actually already wearing lip gloss to comment on it. Quinn did wonder what brand her sister was using.

“Me neither, but I had little choice,” Daria agreed. She held out some papers. “Mom, could you look this over really quick?”

“What is it, Sweetie?”

“One of the people in script writing is an indie film maker. She's putting together a film of little vignettes about family, and wants to include the film versions of my scenes. It only pays $200, but. . . .”

“But it's a start,” Helen agreed. “Here, see if these are also good news.” Helen handed Daria two large envelopes and then looked over the contract.

After a few minutes, Helen said, “This is very straightforward, Daria. More good news?”

Daria looked up and nodded. “Yes, and so-so. The poetry journal accepted my poem, and sent along a check for $10. The mystery journal placed my story as its first runner-up. If I agree to hold off sending the story out to any other publishers for six months, I get $50, and if one of the winning stories is dropped for any reason, they’ll use this one.”

“That’s a good start, though, right?” Jake asked.

“Well, it's a start at least,” Daria agreed. “It’s better than a lot of really good writers are doing, especially at my age.” Daria gestured around. “Do you need to glance at what little is here, or shall we take the scenic route to dinner?”

“Err, let me use the facilities,” Helen said, heading for the bath room.

Daria took the opportunity to learn over and whisper to Quinn, “There is at least one line in the last scene you won’t like,” she told her sister. “Just remember, I wrote the story it’s based on at the end of our first year in Lawndale.”

“Alright,” Quinn said, “I’ll try and forgive one line.”

Daria winced slightly, and said, “I assure you, over all your character looks good in both scenes. I hope you like them.”

Quinn turned to face her sister more fully. “I hope so, too. Will they have anything I think is decent to eat?”

“Probably,” Daria answered. “Some of the artists and staff have your eating habits, so there have always been plenty of salads.”


“Did either of you win medals?” Jake asked as they walked to dinner.

“All of Jane's paintings did,” Daria said. “You'll see those tomorrow. Some of her drawings did, too.”

“No grand prizes, though,” Jane added in a faux regretful tone. She was very happy with her results.

“My stuff from the first session you know about,” Daria added. “The scripts aren’t medaled, but the best short scenes are performed. I have two.”

“On the other hand,” Jane broke in, “the best play is performed last, and hers is the last play.”

Even Quinn looked impressed by that.

“Anyway,” Daria continued, “two of my short stories received a gold and silver respectively, and Bill Woods had me submit them to different journals. As for the romance stories workshop. . . .” Daria sighed. “You might not know, but those romance club series books are written to formulas. One club has nine basic formulas; we had to pick one, write the opening two chapters, and submit those and an outline. Professor Hollis liked mine so much, she had me submit that. It earned the only silver medal in the category for the session.”

“It was the highest scored romance writing all summer,” Jane put in, making Daria roll her eyes.

“How did you two place in the second poker tournament?” Helen asked.

“I got bumped in the second round, but made my entry fee back this time,” Jane answered.

“Only fourth this time, but since the pool was a bit larger, I still made forty-eight dollars.”


All the scenes would run between six and twelve minutes. There were six in the first half of the show, and five in the second. Daria's first scene was next to last in the first half. Quinn was a little worried about that one, as its title; The Princess' New Nose seemed ominous to her.

Sure enough, it was a scene about Brooke and her nose job, but set on a college campus. It was also one of the longest scenes. The fashion club became four sorority sisters (Mu Mu Mu, according to the playbill, and all four were in very heavy stage makeup) with different names confronted by a rejected pledge, now cuter than the four because of a nose job done over spring break. The four sorority sisters were sincere in their praise of the Brooke character, but none of the other students believed them, which got good laughs as the harder they tried (especially the Quinn character), the less the others believed them.

Then Daria and Jane entered the stage dressed in their usual outfits (they were noted as graduate students in the program). After the pair had gotten laughs for the snarky comments they had made about Brooke in real life, the Quinn character took her sister aside, confessing her own doubts about the quality of her looks, and then, shocking the audience with her honesty, about the lack of real value of those looks. “I know it's shallow of me,” the Quinn character confessed with anguish, “but this is what I have to work with in life.”

Daria upstaged the actress, put her hands on her shoulders, and managed to look both the character and the real Quinn in the eye, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with your brain, but you don’t have any direction. So what? Lots of freshmen and even sophomores are in the same boat. If you want to play the same games you did in high school, well, you have another year to play as long as your grades stay high. As for your looks. . . .”

Here Daria pushed the Quinn character back to arms length and shook her head. “You are one of the most beautiful females on campus, and you reduce most males to goo without even trying. I guess the fact that even a beauty like you is worried about your looks just shows you're human.”

Daria turned slightly so she could be upstaged in turn. The Quinn character hugged her, saying, “Thanks, Sis!”

At that point, a huge shout went up from the others on stage, and the stage itself was quickly emptied of all but Daria, Jane, and the Quinn-substitute. “What happened?” Daria asked Jane as she joined the sisters.

“Complete nasal relapse,” Jane answered.

“Huh?” the other two asked.

“Her nose fell off.”

“It’s a good thing we all have natural beauty,” ‘Quinn’ said over the audience’s laughter, ending the scene.

As the crowd applauded, Jake a bit too wildly, Helen noticed the silence on her other side. A glance saw a very downcast Quinn.

“Are you alright, Quinn?”

Quinn looked up at her mother, ashamed. “Daria said something very similar to me when Brooke got her nose job. But I didn’t hug her, I blew her off.” She looked down. “I’ve been trying to treat her better, but I never realized that sometimes she was already trying to break through to me.”

Helen just hugged her younger daughter as the final scene of the first half started.


Helen of course knew the story Daria had based her second scene on -- she reread her copy of it almost every time she was frustrated with either daughter, so she practically had it memorized. As one line approached, she took her eyes off the stage – difficult to do when there was a college student on it pretending to be her!

The line hit, just as Helen remembered it: “Oh, Daddy, I was a stuck up little nightmare!” Helen saw Quinn wince, but then sit up straight, accepting the comment, and enjoying the rest of the play.

Helen also noticed that Daria had made slight changes and improvements, extending the play by nearly 30 percent, although she missed the significance of Marcello the academic being replaced by Tom the corporate executive.

The ending also changed slightly: “Deal me in, Dad,” Daria said, smiling fondly at her ‘father.’

“Okay, Kiddo!” ‘Jake’ smiled as he sat down. “Hey, I win!” ‘Jake’ said, standing back up. “Dad died an embittered man barely into middle age! I get to enjoy my retirement,” ‘Jake’ went on, placing a hand on his ‘daughters’ shoulders, “and even play a game of hearts with my beautiful wife and my two great kids!” ‘Jake’ kissed each ‘daughter’ on the top of her head.

Jake was out of his seat, applauding loudly. The many actors from the scenes all came out and bowed. Those who had not written any of the scenes then dropped back, leaving the seven authors to take a second bow.


As the three Morgendorffers got out of the SUV at the motel, Helen hung back to talk to Quinn. Seeing that, Jake went into his and Helen's room.

“Do you want to talk, Quinn?”

“Not really,” Quinn admitted. “At least not about me.” She looked her mother in the eye. “I never thought Daria could act, at least not that well.”

“I think we were all taken by surprise,” Helen admitted.

“I always knew Daria was a brain,” Quinn mused, “but I thought she was just a regular brain, if a bit smarter than any of the others I’d met. I didn’t realize she was primarily a creative brain. No wonder she fits in well with Jane, and hated Grove Hills.” She looked at her mother. “We’ve all stifled her, haven’t we? We’ve spent so much time trying to get her to act ‘normal’ that we never bothered figuring out what might be best for her.”

“Maybe, Quinn,” Helen had to admit.


Some dialogue and ideas lifted from Too Cute, Monster, Through a Lens Darkly, and Write Where it Hurts, as well as the Beavis & Butt-head episode Pierced and any of the episodes showing them working at Burger World, especially Tainted Meat.
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