Categories > Cartoons > Daria

Big Sister Is Watching You

by abe1803 0 reviews

What might Daria do the summer after her final year of high school, in order to avoid something like the previous year's OK to Cry Corral?

Category: Daria - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Daria - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2016-11-03 - 2110 words - Complete

What might Daria do after her final year of high school, in order to avoid something like the previous year's OK to Cry Corral? Here's a relatively mild take on a possible answer.

The idea of Daria having been forced into an Information Technology internship by Ms. Li during the school year was used in Welcome to the Rat Race by Mystik Slacker (see the website outpost-daria-reborn dot info), but this story is not otherwise related to that one.

Disclaimer: MTV and Glenn Eichler own the Daria TV series and the characters therein, I don't. This fanfiction is for entertainment purposes only and does not result in any money changing hands.

Big Sister Is Watching You

by abe

When it comes to seeking a summer job, the wages of procrastination are embarrassment, vexation, and a significant chance of chaos or calamity — at least if one's mother is Helen Morgendorffer.

Daria Morgendorffer felt that she was already overly familiar with the first two of these; and while chaos and calamity might sometimes be entertaining to watch from a sufficient distance, she had no wish to experience them again herself. Her previous encounters with these were quite sufficient as well. She hoped to avoid anything as dangerous as enduring a hurricane on the school's roof, or chancing freezing to death in a blizzard on a mountain, or nearly having the library roof fall on her, or getting involved in that school shoot-out back in Highland, or... Come to think of it, she had experienced more than her share of catastrophe and near-catastrophe as well, and would be perfectly happy to avoid any chance of it in the future if she could.

In previous years a bit of fatalism, a dash of laziness, and a certain amount of buried and unacknowledged optimism had led her to passively accept the summer activities her mother had found for her. Never again, though! Last summer's job at the OK to Cry Corral had been sufficiently aggravating that she was prepared to go to almost any lengths to avoid whatever her mother might have in store for her this year. The fact that it was her final summer before college would make her mother even more determined to find her a job, internship, or other activity. But this year she would preempt any such possibilities by finding something for herself before her mother got around to setting anything up.

She started thinking about this summer job search more than a month before the end of school. Taking summer courses at Lawndale State would not be very helpful to her, and might not be very interesting either, considering the relatively low repute of some of the faculty there; moreover, her mother might balk at the cost, especially when facing the oncoming expenses of college. An internship might be more acceptable to her mother, if any were available. Ms. Li had forced her into an internship during her senior year, in the IT department of a local company, and it had proved to be unexpectedly tolerable. She would keep an eye out for anything of that sort. But unless the internship were with a law firm — which Daria was determined to avoid — a job that would earn her real money might be best of all when seeking her mother's approval. Finding a job that didn't completely suck... that would be the hard part.

The first thing to do, of course, was to talk with Jane. She would likely find additional funds useful too, and any job Daria could find would be more tolerable if her best friend was there with her. But it seemed this was not to be.

Jane was almost bouncing when the two of them met up after their last classes of the day to head home together. She burst out at once: "You know when Ms. Defoe had me stay after art class this afternoon? She told me that she'd gotten some government grant this year that would let her hire me as an assistant for that art class she runs at Lawndale State each summer — she's the only one who managed to get this grant, and she says all the other profs there are green with envy. I accepted on the spot: no way was I going to find anything better to pick up some moolah this summer. Isn't it great? Art and money both, and none of that 'recreating the works of old masters' that I did for Gary's Gallery to pay for the gazebo repairs."

I shouldn't be disappointed; there was never really much of a chance that Jane and I could find jobs at the same place anyway, Daria thought to herself, and did her best to be enthusiastic for Jane's good fortune. "Sounds wonderful; and Ms. Defoe should be a better boss than most you'd find, too."

"Yeah," Jane replied, "though it seems I barely missed having to put up with Commandant Li for the summer as well. Lawndale State is renovating the building where Ms. Defoe usually teaches her summer class, and most of the classes will be relocated to — guess where — Laaawndale Hiiigh. But Ms. Defoe managed to finagle space in one of the other Lawndale State buildings. I guess she wants to get away from Li and Lawndale High as much as I do, even if it's only for the summer in her case."

"Who wouldn't?" Daria said. "I'll be looking for something this summer to keep my Mom from sticking with something like the OK to Cry Corral again, but spending the summer at Lawndale High would be almost as bad. Let me know if you hear of anything that might be worth trying for."

"I'll keep an eye out," Jane promised. "Or an ear. Or both."

But as Daria had anticipated, good summer jobs were thin on the ground. The summer courses offered by Lawndale State were generally as uninspiring to her as she had feared, though perhaps some of them... "Hey, Quinn!" Daria hailed her sister when she came in from a date later that evening: unexpectedly early for one of her dates, but then she had been cutting back on them quite a bit. "You know that Mom's going to force us into some sort of job or extracurricular this summer if we don't find something for ourselves. You've brought up your grades to the point where tutoring like you had last summer wouldn't be very useful to you; but it occurred to me that if you don't find anything better, one or two of these Lawndale State summer courses might not be entirely horrible for you. And Mom might go for it if she thinks they'd help with your college applications." The improvement in the relations between the sisters was such that Quinn actually thanked her, and never even considered scrutinizing Daria's offering of the Lawndale State summer course list for signs of some devious and dastardly plot.

Daria spent much of her spare time over the next several days on her search. The libraries and most of the museums in the area were facing funding cuts, while bookstores were dealing with competition from video games and online stores; no summer positions were on offer from any of them. The few internships to be found were in fields for which Daria had neither interest nor qualifications. There were a few IT-related possibilities where she might be considered suitable, due to her IT-department internship experience during the school year; they would be less mind-numbing than most jobs in retail — and generally better-paying too — so Daria dutifully applied for them, despite being certain that they would go to people with more computer experience than she could claim.

She then lowered her sights a bit, starting by checking out the stores on Dega Street. She'd move on to look at the chain stores and malls later, giving a careful miss to Nutty, Nutty World — objectively it might be no worse than several of the other stores, but her previous experience there would probably give her nightmares if she tried to return. She really hoped she found something before she got around to restaurants that were hiring temp waitresses for the summer. Someone like Quinn might find waitressing to be remunerative and relatively tolerable, but for Daria it would probably be barely preferable to whatever her Mom might stick her with.

Fortunately, someone at Heimdall Surveillance and Security was a friend of Daria's supervisor at her earlier IT-department internship, so the glowing recommendation letter her supervisor had written for her had extra weight there. With an assured summer job, a better one than she had expected to find, Daria was in a good position to preempt any plans her Mom might have considered.

Quinn, too, was all set. She had convinced her friend Stacy to join her in taking a double-hours Costume Design summer course given by one of Lawndale State's Theatre Arts instructors. The two of them were beginning to aspire beyond slavishly following the teen fashion prescriptions of Waif, and were not entirely sorry to have a good reason to spend less time that summer with the two Fashion Club members who were still under Waif's sway. Costume Design might not be the same as fashion design, but they could hope for some overlap, and they would at least be learning some relevant skills.

To sweeten the pot for her Mom, Quinn would also be taking two other courses, one on Shakespeare and one on techniques for essay writing and researching; Stacy would not be joining her in these, but at least they'd be together for half the class time. All three of these courses were among those that would be taught on the premises of Lawndale High this summer. This would make attendance more convenient, since Lawndale High was much closer than the campus of Lawndale State, though the two friends could only hope that the presence of college professors would provide at least some insulation from Principal Li.

All was in train for a better Lawndale summer than any of them had experienced to date.


Three quarters of the way through her summer job at Heimdall Surveillance and Security, Daria discovered that as usual Murphy had it in for her. Daria's supervisor told her, "Principal Li installed one of our top-of-the-line surveillance systems at Lawndale High a little while back: high definition cameras and monitors, full color, disk storage for several weeks' worth of video surveillance, the works. It's still under warranty, and Ms. Li is complaining that the video is glitching intermittently. We've checked the cameras and monitors, and they all seem to be working fine with good connections to the wiring, but an intermittent problem might not have shown up. It might also be a problem with the wiring itself, but only the ends are accessible for checking without tearing out the walls. So your next task for Heimdall will be to go to Lawndale High and scan through as much of the stored video as you can, to find exactly which feeds are glitching and need closer examination."

Damn! Daria thought. I'd hoped I had escaped from Lawndale Hell for good, but it seems fate is sending me back once more.

Renewed contact with Principal Li was less than pleasant, and fast-forwarding through surveillance videos of usually empty school corridors in the hopes of catching glitches was only marginally more interesting than watching grass grow, with the added joy of potential eyestrain. But there were some compensations.

Quinn's Costume Design course apparently involved having the students not only design the costumes, but also make them and wear them for long enough to get an idea of any design flaws or poor fit. Quinn was thriving on this, and enjoying it rather more than she had expected, or even hoped. Daria developed the habit of slowing the video to normal speed whenever, among the students scattered through the halls between classes, she caught a glimpse of Quinn in one of her costumes. A year or two ago this would have been for amusement or in the hopes of obtaining blackmail material, but at this point in time such motives were far from Daria's mind. She was aware that she would be seeing very little of her sister after college started at the end of the summer, and she found it pleasant to see her sister looking genuinely happy, as she had seldom appeared before, in costumes that were undeniably attractive and aesthetic.

Daria watched the video of Quinn smiling and laughing unselfconsciously with Stacy, and decided that perhaps this wasn't the worst part of her summer job after all.
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