Tales From the 'burbs, part V
By Thomas

Thanks to Steve Brown for helping me with my grammar.

(The living room of Mrs. Johanson. Mrs. Johanson is watching "Heather's" on the TV)

Mrs. Johanson: <Wheeze> Have you ever had the experience where you think back at some teen movies you saw years ago, only you can no longer remember who played in what, or which scenes belong to what movie? <Wheeze> I think the reason is that they all seem so alike. <Wheeze> You got the crazy teacher, the brain and her geek friend, the popular girl with a heart, the popular girl without a heart, the token black guy, the air-headed cheerleader with the dumb jock for a boyfriend. <Wheeze> And the plots. (sigh) Don't even get me started on the plots. Sometimes, however, a movie comes along that stays with you. <Wheeze> Like the one I'm watching now. But even if it's a great movie I never expected for it to have a sequel. Fellow crypt lovers, I give you...


(Morgendorffer living room. The fashion club is having a meeting. Sandi is reading from "Waif")

Sandi: "So in conclusion having a spirit animal has been very important to me. It's good to know someone is looking out for me, and unlike a real pet there is no danger it'll ruin your furniture."

Stacy: Wow. These fashion models are so deep. You think if we were models we could have our own spirit animals?

Sandi: Oh, sure. In the article one of the models says she got her spirit animal before becoming a model.

Tiffany: I want a dog.

Quinn: Um... Tiffany, I'm not sure you get to pick your own animal.

(Daria and Jane walk past them on the way to the kitchen. They stop and listen to the conversation)

Tiffany: You mean I might get a fat dog?

Jane: Spirit animals?

Daria: Quinn, you know you have to ask mom and dad before getting a pet.

Quinn: Oh ha, ha, Daria. This article says that many famous models have spirit animals. So there's no reason why we can't have any.

Jane: These spirits. Would they be the ghosts of their fur coats?

Daria: (annoyed) I though your gullibility had peaked with your "guardian angel". But it appears I was wrong.

(Quinn gives Daria a dirty look)

Sandi: Excuse me, geeks. Just because you're too unpopular for any spirit animal or guardian angel to like you doesn't mean we have that problem.

Stacy: Well said, Sandi.

Tiffany: I'm confused. If my spirit animal is a dog, does that mean my guardian angel will take it for walks?

(Everyone stares at Tiffany)

Tiffany: What?

(Morgendorffer kitchen. Daria and Jane are standing at the open fridge getting something to eat)

Jane: Did you know that before we met I never saw a well stocked fridge?

Daria: And did you know my parents at one point considered charging you for all the meals you've had here?

Jane: Hmmm. You don't suppose I could have "Waif" run a story telling Quinn to pay for me?

Daria: (sigh) I've been a witness to this phenomenon over and over, but it never ceases to amaze me. As long as it's in "Waif" these girls automatically assume it's true. Be it what to wear, what to eat, what to think, what boy band of the week is hot. I know that Quinn can think for herself occasionally. But never once in my life have I heard her question anything coming out of that magazine. Not even when it's said one thing in one issue and the opposite the next.

Jane: (smirk) Wait a minute. You read it?

Daria: Only when there was nothing else in the house. Besides to defeat the enemy you have to study him first. And all this would be funny if it didn't remind me of something out of "1984".

Jane: Imagine if we had that power over their minds. If we told them something and they automatically assumed it's true.

Daria: Then again, would we want to rule over the fashion club? It would mean spending time with them, you know.

Jane: Good point. Besides what would we tell them?

(Tiffany enters. Daria and Jane don't notice her)

Daria: Here's one. Tiffany, you don't need to worry about what to eat anymore. The secret to staying thin is to lie in a bathtub filled with ice cubes one hour a day. The cold will prevent your body from expanding.

Jane: (smiles) Good one.

Tiffany: (to herself) Wow.

(Lawndale High. The auditorium. All the students are getting seated. Ms. Li is standing at the microphone. Mrs. Manson is sitting behind her)

(Cut to Daria and Jane)

Jane: Do you know what this is about?

Daria: Maybe the skeleton from biology collapsed and she's looking for a donor to give his bones to the school.

Jane: Naaa. Ms. Li would just raid the cemetery.

(Cut to the stage)

Ms. Li: Students at Lawndale High. I have some terrible news. One of your fellow classmates Tiffany Blum-Deckler, committed suicide last night.

(Loud murmur among the students)

(Cut to the rest of the fashion club. Quinn cries. Stacy is hysterical. Sandi remains calm)

Sandi: Just great. Now I have to look for a replacement. Why can people only think about themselves?

(Cut to the stage)

Ms. Li: The initial reports indicate that she took a bath in ice cubes and subsequently died of hypothermia. And while it's certainly among the least messy ways to kill yourself, the school must nevertheless seek to ensure that we won't see any more of this. Who knows, one of you might attempt suicide on school grounds next time. I therefore leave the work to Mrs. Manson. And remember, you're free to go talk to her whenever you feel like it.

(Cut to the front row where the teachers are sitting. Mr. O'Neill cries and collapses on the floor)

Ms. Li: Except for you, Timothy. If you go to see her, I'll take it out of your salary.

(Cut to Daria and Jane who both look absolutely stunned)

(The cafeteria. Daria and Jane are sitting at their usual table)

Jane: Maybe it's not our fault. Maybe Tiffany got the idea on her own.

Daria: Will you listen to yourself? "Got the idea on her own". Of course it's our fault. She must have heard what we said in the kitchen and taken it as a real piece of advice.

Jane: You think anyone'll...

Daria: Suspect us? I don't think so. Everyone seems to accept the idea it was suicide. And I doubt if she's left anything behind to finger us.

Jane: So unless we're dumb enough to tell anyone we're in the clear?

Daria: Exactly.

(Daria and Jane sit and eat in silence for awhile)

Daria: You know, I often wondered what it would feel like to be at fault for someone's death. I always assumed I would feel guilt and remorse.

Jane: And do you?

Daria: Not at all. I know I'm to blame for Tiffany's death. But it feels more like I squashed a bug.

Jane: Me too. (pause) So should we try and kill more people?

Daria: Absolutely.

(Lawndale High. The fashion club is walking down the hall. Quinn looks sad. Stacy is crying)

Sandi: (beat) Will you stop doing that? She's been dead for two days now. Don't you think we have more important things on our mind? Like replacing her.

(Stacy sobs uncontrollably)

(They walk past Daria and Jane who are standing at Daria's locker)

Jane: How about Sandi?

Daria: We already killed one fashion drone. Wouldn't that be like repeating ourselves?

(Upchuck walk past)

Jane: There's a candidate.

Daria: Face it. If it was possible to get Upchuck to kill himself, someone would have beaten us to it.

Jane: (beat) Okay. Then who?

(Mr. O'Neill walk past. Daria and Jane smirk)

(Lawndale High. Mr. O'Neill is walking down the hall. He passes Mrs. Manson who's dragging a screaming Stacy behind her. Then he sees Daria and Jane who are walking in front of him. They slow down just enough for Mr. O'Neill to come within hearing range)

Jane: I can't believe it. You're saying that *O'Neill* is to blame for Tiffany's death?

(Mr. O'Neill looks shocked)

Daria: Quinn told me. It seems Tiffany did leave a suicide note. She said it was bad enough to be dumb without him making it worse all the time. When he told her to "realize her actuality" he pushed her over the edge.

Jane: It's amazing he didn't kill any students sooner. Remember when he wanted us "to succeed at failing." Jodie told me she felt like swallowing glass. And I know of at least one student who did try and kill himself. Only his family hushed it down.

Daria: Who said Tiffany is his first? Remember that kid with the glasses in self-esteem who ran away and got killed? That was O'Neill who drove him to it. He told me that discussing "positive reinforcement of your self image" had made his life unbearable.

(Having heard enough Mr. O'Neill turns around and hurries away. Daria and Jane smile)

(Sandi's room. Sandi and Quinn are having a meeting. Sandi is reading from a piece of paper)

Sandi: First item on the agenda. Find two replacements for the club. Now I'm thinking we consider letting Brooke in. She may be slightly disfigured, seeing how her nose is almost gone, not to mention the scars on her lips. But on the plus side she does as she's told.

Quinn: Wait a minute. What do you mean "two replacements". And shouldn't we wait for Stacy to get here.

Sandi: Who?

Quinn: Stacy. Our secretary.

Sandi: I don't know who you're talking about.

Quinn: (nervous) What do you mean? Has something happened to Stacy?

Sandi: (beat) Quinn, isn't it bad enough we have to be around the unpopular at school. Surely we don't need to mention them at our meetings.

Quinn: Unpopular? Why would Stacy be unpopular.

Sandi: Gee, Quinn. She can't be popular if she's got a thing , now can she?

Quinn: A thing? What's happened to her? (yelling) Where is Stacy?

(Morgendorffer kitchen. The Morgendorffer's are having dinner. Jake is reading the paper. Quinn has her face buried in her hands. Helen is attempting to serve lasagne)

Helen: (to Jake) Will you stop reading that? And Quinn, what's wrong?

Jake: I think it's about her teacher...

Helen: Who?

Jake: (reads) "Lawndale High teacher Timothy O'Neill was been found dead in his apartment. He apparently hanged himself. In his suicide note he wrote that the world would be better off without him, and apologized for traumatizing his students."

Helen: Oh my. O'Neill. Wasn't he your English teacher?

Daria: If you mean the guy who assigned books I'd already read, I believe so, yes.

Helen: Daria! You could at least attempt to show some remorse. Look at Quinn.

Daria: Do I have to?

Quinn: (takes her hands down) Please, mom. You think I'd grieve over a teacher? What do you take me for? I'm sad because Stacy has become unpopular.

Helen: Stacy? What happened?

Quinn: She got sent to Mrs. Manson who called her parents who took her to the retreat. You know, the one where I couldn't get a facial, only they came back without her. They say she's under "intensive observation" whatever that means.

Helen: Oh. Um, you shouldn't worry, dear. Stacy will probably be back soon.

Quinn: Mu-oom. She's got a thing now. Don't you see? She can never come back to the fashion club again.

(Helen sighs)

Jake: (reads) "Lawndale High School principal Angela Li said, "His loss is a great disaster to the school. I'll never find anyone with that little backbone again." While his coworker Janet Barch said, "I can't believe skinny's gone. I feel my life has become unbearable.""

Daria: She said that? (smirk) Like shooting fish in a barrel.

(Lawndale High. Daria and Jane are walking down the hall)

Jane: I've been thinking about who to get rid of next. How about Mack?

Daria: Mack? Why? Mack's never done anything against us.

Jane: But he's never done anything for us either, has he? Besides, in teen horror movies the black guy always gets killed.

Daria: What has that got to do with anything? Besides I think Ms. Barch would make a worthier target.

Jane: Ms. Barch? But she's never done anything against us either. In fact she's the only teacher who's ever given me a "B" just for being a girl.

Daria: Ms. Barch only serves as a stepping stone.

Jane: Oh? You got a plan?

Daria: Maybe. Now here's what we're going to do...

(The girl's bathroom. Ms. Barch enters)

Ms. Barch: (to herself) Damn you, Angela. You got enough money to pay for bulletproof windows for the staff bathroom, but can you afford a plumber?

(Ms. Barch enters a stall. A moment later Daria and Jane come in and walk over to the mirror)

Jane: And you're sure about this? That it wasn't a suicide? The police thinks Mr. O'Neill got murdered?

Daria: That's what I heard my mom talk about on the phone. I get to hear a lot of stuff now that she's started working for the DA's office. Apparently O'Neill had approached them offering to provide evidence off massive embezzlement here at the school. Also, they found signs of a struggle at his home.

Jane: So what now?

Daria: Nothing it seems. They've got no leads. And without O'Neill's testimony no case either.

(Daria and Jane leave. A moment later Ms. Barch steps out. She looks visible shaken)

(A while later. The girl's bathroom. Ms. Li enters)

Ms. Li: (to herself) Damn those plumbers. Can't they understand security in more important than digestion?

(Ms. Li enters a stall. As it happened before Daria and Jane enters a moment later and walks over to the mirror)

Jane: And you're serious? Mr. O'Neill was going to the police to rat on Ms. Li?

Daria: That's what I heard.

Jane: Lucky for her he never got that far.

Daria: I wouldn't say that. According to what I overheard my mom say. The police got another witness. Someone close to O'Neill. Someone who's made copies of all Ms. Li's secret documents. She just hasn't turned them over yet.

(Chez Pierre. Quinn is having dinner with Skyler)

Quinn: It's really great to go out with you, Skyler. Did you know you're the only popular guy at school I've only dated once? Apart from the guys who're faithful to their girlfriends I mean.

Skyler: It's okay. We don't have to talk about your friends if you don't want to. I understand.

Quinn: Understand what?

Skyler: That you'd rather want to talk about yourself. I can imagine it must be hard with what's happened to Tiffany and Stacy.

Quinn: Yeah. You know something strange about Tiffany? Now that she's dead, it's like I can't remember her.

Skyler: (frowns) Don't you mean you feel like you never really got to know her?

Quinn: That too. But mostly it's difficult for me to remember that she was even there. She never seemed to say or do anything, like, you know, a mannequin.

Skyler: Then what about Stacy? You two seemed close.

Quinn: I know, it's absolutely awful. Her parents told me she's finally calmed down and may be back in school next week.

Skyler: That's wonderful.

Quinn: How can it be wonderful? I have no idea how to behave towards her. Now that she's got a thing she's bound to become unpopular.

Skyler: (angry) Quinn, I went out with you because I thought you could need a kind word. But now I see you're as shallow as the last time. I just hope it's a phase and not pathological. Now if you'll excuse me I hope never to see you again. (gets up and leave)

Quinn: But you can't go. Who's going to drive me home?

(The head waiter walks over to Quinn's table)

Pierre: (French accent) Is there a problem?

Quinn: Yeah. My date just left so could you get me a cab?

Pierre: Forgive me if I ask a silly question. But with your date gone. How do you intend to pay for all this?

Quinn: Pay? But I never paid for a meal here before.

(Pierre laughs. Quinn starts laughing too)

Pierre: (stops laughing) I was laughing because I was thinking about what we do to people who don't pay the bill.

Quinn: (nervous) You're not going to make me wash dishes, are you?

Pierre: Of course not. You've seen too many movies.

Quinn: (relieved) Whew.

Pierre: We roll them in trash cans.

(Quinn stare at Pierre with open mouth)

Pierre: But lucky for you one of our employees called in sick tonight.

(At another table at Chez Pierre. Joey is having dinner with Brooke. Despite having next to no nose Brooke doesn't look too badly disfigured)

Joey: So then the coach said that if we didn't win the game, he would make us eat our pigskin. And Kevin asked what it tastes like. So I said "like chicken". (laughs) Did you get that? "Like chicken."

Brooke: (beat) If I say yes, do you promise not to tell me any more jokes?

(Quinn walks over to their table. She's dressed as a waiter)

Joey: (disbelieving) Quinn!?

Quinn: Would you like to see the menu?

Pierre: (off camera) Ahem!

Quinn: (French accent) I mean, would you like to see the menu?

(Late night. The Village Green. Ms. Barch walks over to the statue not noticing that two figures clad in black are sneaking after her. Five minutes later Ms. Li shows up)

Ms. Li: Janet.

Ms. Barch: Angela.

Ms. Li: Get to the point. Why did you want to meet me here?

Ms. Barch: It's your fault my Timothy's dead. I've come to make you pay. (puts her fists up) Get ready to swallow teeth, bitch.

Ms. Li: (smiles) Oh, really. (takes a revolver from her pocket and points it at Ms. Barch)

Ms. Barch: Oh, hell.

(Cut to behind a shrubbery where Daria and Jane are lying in hiding)

Jane: Weren't they supposed to shoot each other? What do we do now?

Daria: Don't worry. I expected something like this would happen. (takes a pistol from inside her jacket)

Jane: Where did you get that?

Daria: Gee, Jane. It's America isn't it.

(Cut to the statue)

Ms. Li: Now I want you to give me those copies of my documents you made.

Ms. Barch: What copies? I haven't made any...

(A shot gets fired. Ms. Li sink to her knees)

Ms. Barch: You! Daria, what in heavens name...

(Daria walks over and takes Ms. Li's revolver)

Daria: I'd get running if I were you.

(Ms. Barch turns to run but after taking just two steps Daria shoots her in the head with Ms. Li's revolver. She then places it in Ms. Li's hand)

(Jane walks over to Daria)

Jane: Oh god, oh god. What have you done?

Daria: What does it look like. (smiles) At least Ms. Barch was wearing gloves. Glad to see at least "someone" is trying to make my job simpler.

(Jane starts shaking. Daria wipes the pistol clean and lets it fall on the ground. She then dips her fingers in Ms. Li's blood and smears it on her face)

Daria: They do this in England after a fox hunt you know. Smearing the blood of your first kill on your face. It's a very ancient custom. Of course it wasn't foxes people hunted originally. Do you want some?

(Jane starts crying)

Daria: Guess not. Now lets get out of here before the police show up

(Lawndale High. Sandi is emptying her locker. Quinn walks over to her)

Quinn: Hi, Sandi.

Sandi: Do I know you?

Quinn: Oh ha, ha. With everything that's been going on people have hardly noticed my little "mishap" at Chez Pierre. So your pretending not to know me because I'm unpopular isn't going to work. Because I'm not.

Sandi: God, Quinn. I don't care if you're popular or not anymore. I'm just practicing on what to say should the unthinkable happen, and I run into any people from this place in the future.

Quinn: What do you mean?

Sandi: After all those things that been happening here lately, my parents started thinking that maybe this place isn't good for me. So guess what. They're having me transferred to Fieldings. The place where the wealthy parents send their kids. Come to think of it, I don't even know why they sent me here in the first place.

Quinn: But your parents aren't that wealthy.

Sandi: They have more money than yours don't they? But then again, who doesn't? Now if you'll excuse me I don't think I should be seen around you anymore. (takes her stuff and leaves)

Quinn: But you can't leave me. I'll be all alone.

(Daria's room. Daria and Jane are watching TV. Jane's eyes are red from crying)

TV: According to Police sources, Janet Barch, a Lawndale High teacher, shot Angela Li, the Lawndale High principal. However, before she died Angela Li managed to shoot and kill Janet Barch. The police have yet to determine what the confrontation was about. But it's speculated that the recent suicide of Timothy O'Neill was the cause of their disagreement.

(Daria turns the TV off)

Daria: See? I told you so. There's nothing to worry about.

Jane: (shaking) The blood. I can't forget about the blood. Seeing you standing there...

Daria: (sigh) Look I know where this is coming from. You're like the kid who likes to eat burgers until the day he visits a slaughterhouse and sees just how they get made. It just takes some getting used to. Thats all. Now remember how you wanted to get rid of Upchuck? I think I found a way to pull it off.

Jane: (stares at Daria as if seeing her for the first time) You... You're insane. You've gone completely insane.

Daria: Jane...

Jane: (gets up) It's over. I won't have anything more to do with you. You're not to contact me or speak to me ever again.

(Jane tries to leave but Daria gets in the way)

Daria: Jane, wait.

Jane: Get away from me you... you freak!

Daria: There's something I have to tell you. Just hear me out. After that I promise we'll never have anything to do with each other again.

(Jane looks around. Then she goes back to the bed and sits down. Daria walks over to her desk where a vacuum flask and two cups are sitting)

Daria: First have a cup of coffee. It's fresh.

(Daria fills the two cups. Hands one to Jane and takes the other herself)

Jane: (mumbles) Thanks.

Daria: (walks over to the window and looks out) Have you ever thought about how growing older means losing your dreams? When you're a little girl you dream without worries. You want to become an astronaut, president, or Miss American Teen. Only later do you realize that's not going to happen, so you dream smaller dreams instead. Like becoming a famous author, a neurologist, or the CEO of a major company. And even then, deep down, you know that's not likely to happen either. In the end your fear of disappointment becomes so great you're being afraid of dreaming at all. (pause) But you know. This last week has taught me stuff. It's shown me I can do things I wouldn't have imagined doing a week ago. I'm not afraid anymore. I can be the girl of my dreams. Look at me Jane! The Daria you knew doesn't exist any longer. I have become Melody Powers. (pause) Jane?

(Cut to Daria's bed where Jane is lying with her eyes open. A fly lands on her chin. Jane doesn't react)

Daria: (looks at her cup) Hmmm. You don't suppose there's something wrong with the coffee do you?

(Daria puts the cup down. She walks over to her closet and returns with a small box)

Daria: I hoped to the end this wouldn't be necessary. We were a great team. Only you clearly don't have the stomach for this, and if there is one thing I don't need it's the idea of you getting a nervous breakdown someday and confessing to everything. You understand.

(Daria opens the box. It's filled with big bottles)

Daria: I was planning to use this to get rid of Upchuck. But that shouldn't bother you. After all you'll make a lot prettier picture on the milk carton than he ever would.

(Cut to the bottles. The labels read "Sulfuric Acid")

(Morgendorffer kitchen. Quinn is sitting at the table writing something on a notepad)

Quinn: (voiceover) My suicide poem, By Quinn.
Life can change,
One instant, it seems,
Is all it really takes,
To gain a memory and dream...
Dammit this garbage doesn't even rime.

(Quinn tears the paper off and tries again)

Quinn: (voiceover) My suicide note, By Quinn. In the past week I've lost all my friends except for my stuffed animals. And even if the smiley face pillow isn't an animal I still think of it as...

(Quinn sighs. Curls the paper into a ball and starts over)

Quinn: (voiceover) My suicide note, By Quinn. In the past week dead people got more attention than me. This doesn't mean I want kill myself to get more attention since once I'm dead it won't matter to me. Rather it's because it feels deeply unfair...

(Quinn bangs her head into the table)

Quinn: (voiceover) Dammit. I'll never get it right. Why do these things have to be so hard to write? I should just get it over with.

(Quinn gets the bottle with liquid rooter and pours some of its contents into a cup)

Quinn: (voiceover) If Cleopatra could drink snake poison so can I. Except I don't like snakes so this'll have to do instead. (takes a sip) Eeeew! Maybe it'll go down easier with some orange juice.

(Quinn gets the bottle with orange juice and pours some into the cup)

Quinn: (to herself) Goodbye cruel world. I hope you'll manage without the fashion club. (pause) Wait a minute. With Sandi gone I'm president of the fashion club. (smiles) I'm president of the fashion club.

(Daria enters. Quinn rushes over to her and grabs her shoulders)

Quinn: (happy) Daria, isn't it great? With Sandi gone I'm president of the fashion club.

Daria: Congratulations. Now might I suggest you find some new members and leave me alone.

Quinn: Good idea. (leaves)

Daria: (voiceover) God what a mess. I thought Jane would never dissolve. It looked much simpler to do in "Nikita". I don't think I can ever use a bathtub again after this. I need something to drink.

(Daria walks over to the table and takes Quinn's cup)

Daria: (voiceover) Mmmm. Orange juice. (looks at the notepad) What have we here? The beginnings of a suicide note. But she seemed happy a moment ago, guess she changed her mind. I wonder how she had intended to go trough with it.

(Daria drains the cup)

(Mrs. Johanson's house. Mrs. Johanson is gluing Quinn's suicide notes into a thick scrapbook)

Mrs. Johanson: <Wheeze> Did you know the Latin word for a stamp collector is "philatelist", or that the word for a coin collector is "numismatist". I wonder if they ever had a word for me. <Wheeze> I collect suicide notes you see. It's quite a rewarding hobby, as long as you're doing it for fun, and not because you're looking for any famous last words. <Wheeze> Nine out of ten it's some boring version of "Goodbye cruel world". <Wheeze> Okay so maybe the one who died wasn't the one who wrote them. Still Quinn's were a welcome change.