he Song That Jane Likes: A Daria Fan-Fiction
By: Sam Lincoln (email@example.com)
Ratin g: PG, nothing too objectionable though
Spoilers: This makes a whole lot more sense if you've seen Is It Fall Yet? Also really helps to have read my earlier story Busted Stuff
Summary: Yes, another Post-IIFY Jane crises of
just what the world needs.
Dave Matthews Band 10-26-1993. Cool old school
The Song that Jane
"Would you like to play/With the thought of a
a distant passing stage"
Mr. O'Neill began his senior English class with even more enthusiasm than normal. "Oh class, I have such wonderful news. Lawndale High will be staging a production of Dylan Thomas's beautiful play Under Milkwood. Now I can't make participation mandatory, but I will be awarding extra credit to everyone who shows up to audition for a part, or volunteers to help out with the technical aspects of the production." He wrung his hands as he tried to gauge the student's reaction; apathetic was the most charitable description. "I can tell you're all worried that you'll audition and not get a part."
"I can't say that was one of my worries, but ok," Daria replied drolly.
O'Neill continued, ignoring Daria, "Don't worry, there are plenty of speaking roles in this play; in fact many people will have the opportunity to play two or more characters."
"Yeah, that'll be a real big selling point," Daria editorialized. She looked over at Jane, curious as to why her friend hadn't chimed in. To her surprise, Jane was actually paying attention to O'Neill. Before Daria could talk to Jane, O'Neill switched topics and was talking about a paper assignment, something Daria wanted to listen to. Daria did not get a chance to talk to her friend for the rest of the class period.
As soon as the class finished, Daria turned to face Jane. "Boy that was a spine tingling class huh?" she said as they walked into the hall.
"Huh?" Jane asked, confused. "Oh, yeah, a thrill a minute," she said distractedly.
"What's up, for a while there I thought you were actually paying attention in class."
Jane shrugged, "It was just a crafty
stratagem to only
you really weren't listening to O'Neill
"When have I
"Good, because for a moment there I
thought you were thinking
about signing up for that
"And what if I was?" Jane asked
the harm in
"It doesn't seem like the sort of thing
you'd do, that's
all, after all it's school
"But the theater is another
expression of art, and you
know me, I'm the art chick," Jane
said, a hint of bitterness
creeping into her
"Uh yeah, ok," Daria replied
Jane sighed, "Look, could we just drop
this? So, have
a hot date with Tom tonight?" She said, trying to
Daria looked at Jane quizzically,
"We're planning on going
to the movies actually, unless you want
to do something else instead."
"Oh no, far be
it for me to intrude on your 'Tom Time.'
"Well, are you sure you don't want to
come along? I'm
"Daria!" Jane shouted,
cutting Daria off, "You
have a boyfriend who just so happens to
be a great guy and cares
a lot about you. Spend time with him, don't
worry about me, I'll
I..." Daria started to say.
"Don't sweat it
Daria, I'm not mad at you. Now don't you
have that fancy AP class to
"Uh yeah, see you at lunch?"
see...probably...definitely...care to swap
Daria nodded, and walked down the
hall. Jane watched Daria
walk off. She sighed and walked to her next
t;I'm worried about Jane," Daria told Tom as they
sat in the
Sloanes TV room.
Curious topic to bring up
now," Tom quipped.
"Sorry, I'll be good," Tom said
what's the problem with
Daria frowned, "She seemed really
distant today at school."
"We are talking
about behavior at school here, I've been
known to be a tad distant at
Daria shook her head, "It's not
that, I don't know, I
thought we settled everything this summer...but
I really felt
a wall between us today."
his eyebrows, "Well I guess you'd know since
you are the
resident expert on emotional walls." Tom started
"I really fail to see the humor of the
Daria said crossly.
it's just the thought of you being upset about
someone shutting you
out; some might say it reeks of
"Others might say it just reeks,"
"There's that too," Tom agreed
"I just don't know what to do, I mean I tried to talk to her, I even invited her to the movies with us tonight."
"Did she, er, accept?" Tom asked nervously.
"Eh? No, she didn't. She said she didn't want to intrude on my 'Tom Time.' I'm afraid she's still holding a grudge."
Tom shrugged, "I can't answer that definitively, but I got the feeling that she's made her peace with you."
"Then what's her problem?" Daria protested.
"How the hell should I know, I'm not psychic. If it's bugging you that much, go talk to Jane."
"Yeah, I know," Daria said, sighing. "But it really would be easier if you had all the answers."
"Well Deus isn't my middle name I'm sorry to say."
"I can't say, it's a long standing family secret."
"I'll just ask your sister, I'm sure she'd love to expose your little secret."
"Is that all you're looking to expose?" Tom asked lecherously.
"Back off rich boy, you still have to pay for that resident expert crack."
"Oh I am huh?"
"Yeah, it wasn't appreciated."
"Even though it's true?"
"That's not the point."
"No, I was trying to say something serious and important and you were making jokes, bad ones too."
Tom leaned over and hugged Daria, "Hey, I'm sorry about that, you know me, if all else fails make a joke." He kissed her, "I really am sorry."
"Well, I forgive you," Daria said, her face softening visibly. "Just don't think you can sweet talk me out of being angry and you every time you piss me off."
"Then I guess I'll have to not piss you off."
"So you'll talk to Jane?"
Daria sighed, "Yes, I'll try to talk to her tomorrow...if she lets me."
"Well at least try, and if she shuts you down try again until she doesn't, not much more you can do."
"I know, and that's what bugs me."
"Can't argue with you about that, but this way at least Jane knows you still care."
"Yeah," Daria said pensively.
"Come on Daria," Tom said while dragging her to her feet. "Let's go get some dinner before the movie starts." Daria allowed herself to be led out of the room, still deep in thought.
Jane sat on her bed, staring at a blank canvas. "This is getting ridiculous," She thought to herself. "Come on Jane, paint something." She stood up and angrily splashed paint on the canvas.
She surveyed her efforts and sighed, "Oh forget it, this is crap." She tore the canvas off the easel and tossed it on a pile in the corner of her room, alongside a picture of a stick figure and a crude drawing of a house. She dropped back onto her bed, dejected. "What the hell is wrong with me?" She wondered aloud.
Trent had taken the opportunity to amble by her room at that moment and heard Jane's cry of frustration. "I don't know, you didn't eat any of those pickles I found, did you?" He asked, sticking his head in her room.
"Oh, hey Trent," Jane said, not looking up.
"What's the matter?"
"Who said anything's the matter?"
"Alright, alright, if you must know,
that is the problem,"
She pointed at the pile of discarded
"Whoa, that's a lot of
"No, it's not," Jane replied
that's a big pile of crap."
Trent walked over and
picked up Jane's most recent addition
to the pile, "I don't
know, this one's pretty cool."
Jane stood up and
snatched the painting out of Trent's hands.
"No, it's not,
there's nothing behind it beyond my
"Does it matter where it came
from so long as it's cool?"
"It does to
me," Jane said flatly.
"So you're in a bit of
a funk, no big deal."
"Trent I haven't done
anything since I got back from that
art camp this
"Whoa," Trent said eyes wide in
what's the problem?"
shrugged, "I don't know..." she trailed
"That's a double
the problem Janey?"
"I told you, I don't
"I think you
"What is it
"That damn art camp!" Jane
shouted. She paused. "Damn
Trent, that was sneaky. Where'd you
pick up that trick?"
Trent shrugged, "Some
cartoon I saw last night. So, the
Jane sighed and sat back down on her bed,
"Yeah, the art
"Why, I mean I know
you hated it, but you did some really
"Because I found out first hand that
the art world is
filled with shallow, duplicitous bootlickers who've
a creative thought in their lives. And I guess on some
not sure if I really want to have anything to do with art
now on because of that."
"Are you serious
"Yeah, I think I
"But haven't you always wanted to be an
"And you're going to let a couple of
posers deny you your
more to it than that," Jane
Jane paused, "I don't remember why
I wanted to be an artist in
the first place," she said in
that about?" Trent asked.
"I've been sitting
here, thinking about why I want to
be an artists and all the reasons
I've come up with are crap."
"Oh come on, I'm
"Reason one," Jane said, cutting
her brother off,
"Because it makes me 'edgy.' Reason two, to
prove how outsider
I am. And lastly, reason three, to please Mom and
Dad. As best
I can figure I'm as bad a poser as those idiots I had
for at that camp."
we had this conversation before?"
about kiwi-flavored lip gloss, Trent. What's
the point of being a
unique individual if you're just like all
the other unique
"So in other words, you've lost
the fire to be an artist?"
"Yeah, I guess you
could say that."
"Ok, then go do something
else, it doesn't make much sense
to me to try and do something your
heart's not into," Trent
"Yeah, you're right."
"So, what'cha gonna
"I think for right now I'll sit on my ass
and do nothing.
Trent nodded, "That's cool, hey
I've got a gig I need
to go to; are you going to be
"Yeah, sure I'll be
"Want to come along? We're debuting
some new stuff tonight."
"No, no, that's quite
alright. I'll be safer at home,
less chance of heartbreak," Jane
laid back on her bed, head
propped up by her
"Ok, well, take care Janey. There's kung pao
the fridge if you want it."
I'm not suicidal," Jane replied dryly.
laughed spasmodically, "That's all I need to hear,
see you later
"Bye Trent, have a good show,"
Jane told her departing
brother. She waited until she heard the front
door slam before
rolling over on her bed; eyes clenched shut, trying
to drive all
thought from her mind. As she tried in vain not to, her
with Daria earlier that day bubbled to the
"Hmm, there's an idea," she thought
to herself. "Find
myself something else to do huh? Well, it
beats selling my body
for smack." She stood up and walked over
to her painting
supplies. Jane picked up brush and started at it
sighed, "Nothing, damn, time for Plan B." She
the brush and tossed a drop cloth over the pile.
he following day at school Daria saw Jane walking down the
Daria sighed and sped up to catch up with her
"Hey Jane, wait up," Daria called out.
Jane stopped and turned, "Hey Daria, what's
Daria came to a stop in front of Jane,
"Not much I just
wanted to know if you wanted to walk to class
"Oh, how sweet, do you want to carry
my books for me as
well? Or how about we hold
"Hardy har har. Maybe you should have
taken that art bitch
up on her offer."
she was only after my hot, jailbait body. I'm looking
for something a
little more long term." Daria stared at Jane
"I knew that," Daria said
as they resumed walking.
"Sure you did," Jane
replied sarcastically. "So,
"You already asked me that."
"Oh no, I'm not playing that
mind, it's not important."
"Uh Jane, are you
"Ah ha! So that's what you
were trying to gauge my mental health, weren't
"Why wouldn't I, you're acting like a
"Can you stop being manic for a few
minutes, I'm trying
to talk to you," Daria said
"Huh? Oh sure, sorry, got a little carried
"What can I say, I'm feeling
"When have you ever felt
"And what's brought on this bout of
"I decided to give up art last
night, and boy, is that
a weight off my
"You what? Daria said in
"I gave up
"You, huh, wha, but...why?" Daria
"So I can sell my body for
crack on the street of course,"
Jane deadpanned. Daria looked at
Jane darkly. "Ok, ok, I
lost the urge to paint, sculpt, or
anything else I used to do."
"Why are you
being so nonchalant about this? For as long
as I've known you, you've
been doing one artistic thing or another,
and now you're no longer an
Jane shrugged, "I had a moment of clarity last night. All of my reasons for being an artist were crap, so I decided to try my hand at something different. If the old batteries recharge that's great, if not, that's fine too."
"Fair enough, but what are you going to
do with yourself
while you're recharging these batteries of
"I don't know, maybe I'll take up
"Are you even listening to the
words coming out of your
mouth? You hated your time on the track
"Correction, I hated all the phony
privilege that came
with being on the team. The running part was
Jane shrugged, "It's what people
would least expect of
me, and I do try to buck
"You're doing a hell of a job
"I am? Thanks Daria, that means a
lot to me." Jane
replied brightly as they walked into O'Neill's
"Glad to be there for you in your time
"I'm weirding you out with all this
"No, not at...well ok, yes you
"Sorry, I'm just trying to be true to
me, you understand
suppose," Daria said as she took her seat. "Though
say anything about 'keeping it real' I'll hurt
"I guess I wont
"Class, may I have your attention
asked querulously. Remarkably the class did
quiet, a little. "Thank
you, now before we resume our discussion
from yesterday I would
just like to remind everyone that auditions
for the school play
are still underway, attendance last night was,
well, less than
"Did anyone show
up?" Daria asked.
"Well, no, but it was just
the first night, I'm sure people
just had prior commitments last
"Right, like my prior commitment to my
"Daria! You minx," Jane teased.
"I didn't know
you and Tom had that sort of a
"I think I liked you better
when you were distant and
just like to take this opportunity to remind you
all that the
auditions continue tonight in the auditorium. I would
also like to
remind everyone that I am giving extra credit for
just trying out for
a part, or for joining the technical
"But are they technically a technically
crew?" Daria quipped.
need to speak to Tom, you have too much time on your
hands if you can
think up stuff like that."
"So I expect to see
all of you in the auditorium tonight.
Remember, it's not that you get
the part that's important, it's
"Do or do not, there is no try,"
Daria said, deadpan.
"You'd better be careful
Daria, if you keep making jokes
like that people might think there's
a little Tom in you,"
Jane said, leering.
blushed faintly. "I'll do serious, permanent damage
to you Jane,
friendship or no," she growled.
"Now class, if
we could all get out our copies of 'Things
Fall Apart.' I'd like to
continue our discussion on how by attempting
to force his son into
his culture's masculine archetype Okonkwo
only succeeded in pushing
his son Nwoye away."
"Boy, I bet that brings
back memories," Jane quipped.
reason I've never let my dad see me while I'm
"That really would set him
Daria nodded, "Clouds have touched off
"Wow, I'll keep that in
"Mack, do you have anything you'd like
to add to this
because you might have a unique perspective on
"You mean because I'm a black
"Um err, well...oh dear. Charles, how
O'Neill said hastily. Mack leaned back in his seat,
a smug grin
r class Daria and Jane caught up with Mack and Jodie, who
standing in the hall; Jodie was staring angrily at
"Nice job in English Mack. If I didn't know
I'd say you really were indignant," Daria told the
"Hey Daria, thanks." Jodie
smacked Mack on the back
of the head, "Hey, I said I was
"And I'm still mad at you. That was a
mean thing to do
to Mr. O'Neill," Jodie said
"Don't tell me you didn't think about
doing the same thing
when he asked you that question about Okonkwo's
"Just because I
thought about it doesn't mean I'd actually
"I think the better point is that you
probably did the
reading, while Mack didn't," Jane said
"You didn't do the reading?" Jodie
"Well, no, but I will finish
the book before the test,"
"Mack, this is the only book about
Africa on the curriculum.
If we don't look like we care about it,
then people will think
we aren't interested in our own
heritage!" Jodie shouted.
"Come on, let's let
them sort this out on their own,"
Jane said to
"Don't you even feel even the slightest bit
starting that fight?" Daria
"Nah, they'll make up by the end of the
shrugged, "Besides I wanted to make a
"And that is? Beyond the fact that you
can make even the
most well adjusted couple break into a full blown
"That's how I was starting to feel
about art." Jane
said, ignoring Daria's sarcastic
me to be an artist, so I was, and then
I'd be forced to act in way
people thought were 'artistic.' And
I don't want to be an artist for
just that reason."
"Jane, stop rationalizing,
I see your point."
"Yes, I do."
really mean that?"
"No, I'm just trying to get
you to shut the hell up so
I'm not late to my next
"Oh, well why didn't you say
"I was trying to be
"I think you do see my point and
you're just trying to
find some witty way to get me to stop
"Believe what you want. I'm going to
"Lunch at the usual place?" Jane
"I don't have any other pressing engagements
sure," Daria said over her
"You never do!" Jane shouted back.
She watched Daria
walk down the hall for a few moments before heading
to her next
class. Along her way she saw a flyer for the play
alright I can take a hint," Jane said
to no one in
Later that day as the student body rushed out of Lawndale
Daria walked over to Jane's locker. Jane was slowly
books from her locker to her
"Hey Jane," Daria said, "Want
to go do something?
I'm Tom free this evening. We can go celebrate
your freedom from
the tyranny of art, or
"Uh sure, but can we raincheck for
a little while? There
are a few things I need to do here before I can
Daria shrugged, "I can
"No, no," Jane said hastily,
"you don't have
to, I wouldn't want to bore
"What are you doing exactly?" Daria
"I'm uh, cleaning my stuff out
of the art room. Yeah,
since I'm no longer an artist I don't need to
keep all that crap
in the art room. So I figured I'd just tidy up a
bit. See, something
you'd have no interest participating
"Uh sure," Daria replied,
me a call when you get home,
"You got it compadre. Talk to you tonight
Jane said, shooing her friend
"Yeah, right," Daria said, skeptically,
but not wanting
to pry into Jane's affairs. Daria walked out of the
stopped after going a short distance. "I should go
talk to Jane, she's hiding something." Before Daria
return to the school however, Tom drove up in his
"Hey Daria," Tom called
"Tom? What are you doing here? I thought you
He shrugged, "It got
rescheduled and I suddenly had some
free time on my hands. So I
figured the best way to spend that
free time was with you. Come on
in, if we hurry we can catch the
start of that 'Sick, Sad World'
Daria hesitated, unsure of her next
move. "Well Jane didn't
want me around, and who am I to
pry?" She rationalized with
herself. She got in the car,
As Daria drove off with Tom, Jane was standing in the
outside the auditorium, gripped by
"Do I really want to do this? I mean,
being the art chick
is one thing, but being a theater geek is
something all together
different. Am I ready for that level of
stood there debating with herself a trio of
students walked past
her. "Huh, that tall one's pretty good
thought to herself. The trio continued past her
and into the auditorium."Well
that settles it, ostracism doesn't
sound so bad when you've got
someone to share it with." She
followed the group into the
theater, Jane saw a large cluster of students surrounding
down in front of the stage. The threesome she had seen
enter had made
their way down front and were sitting on the edge
of the stage. As
unobtrusively as possible Jane slipped into a
seat towards the back
of the group.
"Might as well not announce my
presence to the whole world,"
she thought. She watched as more
students continued to file in.
She never even noticed the figure
walking down her row until it
"Hey, watch it!" Jane
"Uhm, sorry," an all too familiar,
perky voice said.
"Quinn?" Jane asked in
amazement, "What the
hell are you doing
"Jane? I could ask you the same
"Signing up for the tech crew."
Jane replied simply.
"Trying out for a part to get
the extra credit."
"Let me guess, you don't
want anyone to see you so you
came back here." Quinn nodded.
"Pull up a chair and
we can be invisible
"Ewww, why would I want to do
"You're at the tryouts for a school
You can't hurt your social standing any more by
sitting next to
Quinn thought about this for a
moment then shrugged, "I
guess, but we're not sitting together
if anyone asks."
"Boy you sure know how to
kill a romantic moment."
"Ewwwww, that's it,
I'm leaving," Quinn said, standing
sorry, forget I said anything," Jane said hastily.
what brings you here?"
"The extra credit of
course," Quinn said as she settled
back into her
"But I thought you had transformed into an
over the summer."
that's what I'm trying to do, but it's hard when
they keep piling
stuff on. Why can't I, like, work at my own
"And how is adding the school play to
your to do list
going to help you out
"I'm just here for the extra credit. I
don't want to actually
be in the play,
"How silly of me to think
"Ok everyone," O'Neill called
out. "I know you're
all excited to be here and I'm sure we all
want to get through
this as quickly as possible. Now, for those of
you who are here
to volunteer for the crew, if you could just wait
until the auditions
are finished, I'd like to have a word with all of
you. Also, even
if you are just signing up for the crew, please feel
free to get
up on stage and work a scene for
"Yeah right," Jane
"Now, when you come up to do your scene,
could you please
sign the book on the stage so I know who's tried
clapped his hands in anticipation, "Ok, then,
"I'll go," Kevin
"Oh, this should be a trip," Jane
muttered to herself
as Kevin climbed onto the
"Hi, I'm Kevin, I'm the QB," Kevin
"What scene are you going to be doing for
"Uh," Kevin looked
down at the script in his hands,
"Waiting for Godot, scene
one." He said, mangling
"Ohhh, 'Waiting for Godot,'
excellent choice." Unlike
Kevin, O'Neill pronounced the name
Kevin lookeddown at the script and began to
One, Scene one. Two men are
"Hehehe, Kevin, you don't have to
set the scene for us,
just act our the
"Oh, ok." Kevin resumed his
What are we doing here? He paces.
waiting for Godot. Estragon sits down
and rubs his feet."
"Now Kevin, you're not
supposed to read the parts in parenthesis,
you're supposed to do
"Ok, not a problem." Kevin picked
up where he left
off. "Vladimir: Why are you rubbing your feet?
Kevin quickly sat down and began to rub his foot.
Because my toe
"Thank-you Kevin, that's enough,"
O'Neill said hastily.
"Are you sure? There's a lot
more play left."
"No, no, I think we've all
seen your range as an actor."
"About as far as
I can throw him," Jane muttered.
"Did I get a
part?" Kevin asked.
"Well, it's a little early
in the casting process, I'll
let you know, but hehe, don't get your
hopes up, there are a lot
"Cool, Coach wouldn't let me be
in the play anyway, he
says I've got to keep practicing," Kevin
left the stage.
"Ok then, who'd like to go
next?" O'Neill asked.
Another student raised a hand.
"Great, get up there and show
us what you've
One by one the students all got up on the
stage and did little
segments from various plays with varying degrees
of skill. Eventually
no one was left except for
"So, has everyone tried out that wants
"Not quite Mr. O'Neill,
there's one left!" Jane called
that? Oh, Jane, are you trying out?"
Jane shook her
head, "Not me, but Quinn said she was
"I don't know what possessed me to
sit next to you,"
"Hey, I'm just
giving you the kick in the ass you so
"Quinn, this is wonderful, why
don't you show us your
acting chops," O'Neill said
Quinn made her way up to the stage. She scanned
the crowd and
breathed a deep sigh of relief when she realized she
most of the faces she saw. "And besides,"
"all the people I do recognize are losers, and who
"So, what will you be
performing for us today?" O'Neill
going to be doing a passage from 'Antony and Cleopatra,'
Act IV Scene
15," Quinn said confidently. She looked down
at the piece of
paper she was holding and took a deep breath to
"No more but even a woman, and commanded
by such poor
passion as the maid that milks and does the meanest
Quinn began dramatically as she launched into her
"It were for me to throw my scepter at the injurious
She started pacing around the stage, gesticulating
tell them that this world did equal theirs till they
our jewel. But all's naught; patience is scotted and
does become a dog that's made: Then it is sin to rush into
secret house of death before death dare come to us?"
laid an arm across her forehead in mock
"Oh brother," Jane muttered as she
chew scenery on the bare stage.
continued her performance, "How dare you woman?
What, what! Good
cheer! Why how now Charmian! My noble girls,
ah women, women look our
lamp is spent, it's out! Good sire take
heart we'll bury him and
then, what's brave, what's noble let's
do it after the high Roman
fashion and make death proud to take
us. Come away: this case of that
huge spirit now is cold: ah woman!
Woman! Come, we have no friend but
resolution and the briefest
end." Quinn concluded the soliloquy
Jane did her best to keep from laughing as the
rest of the
group digested Quinn's over the top performance. Soon
began to clap, "Quinn, that was very good. I'm sure we
find a part of two for you after that strong
Quinn looked aghast at hearing this,
"Me, have a part
in a school play? Do I have to? I mean I'm like
so busy with all
my other activities."
why did you try out for the play if you didn't intend
Quinn looked around and realized she was
stuck. "I suppose
I can fit in the play too," she muttered,
head hung dejectedly.
"Excellent, now then I'll
have the cast listings posted
tomorrow and we'll have a read through
of the play after school.
At that time I'll hand out the rehearsal
schedule and we can start
talking about who gets what role. Thank-you
for coming everyone;
let's give ourselves a big round of
applause." O'Neill was
the only one to applaud. "Eh, hehe,
well now, if all the
people interested in the technical side of the
mind staying a few more minutes I'd like to have a
few words with
you. Everyone else can go with my
"Great," Jane muttered,
"I'm glad to know my
afternoon won't be a total waste."
People began to file out
of the auditorium until at last the only
people left were Jane,
O'Neill, the trio Jane had been watching and
O'Neill looked around and cleared his
throat nervously, "Ah
well, it looks like a gathering of the
usual suspects. Why don't
you boys sit down here so we can start
talking about how we're
going to stage this play. You too Ann."
He called out to
the other girl.
Jane cleared her
throat, "Ah Mr. O'Neill, I'd like to
sign on for this suicide
"Jane, that's wonderful,"
O'Neill gushed. "So
you'd like to paint a mural for
"No!' Jane said
"Oh," O'Neill said, crestfallen.
"Well I'm sure
we can find something for you to do, right
Mike?" He asked
a red haired youth.
sure we always can use another person to aim spots
at," the boy
said sullenly. He glared at Jane for good
"Great," Jane thought, "I can be
in a group of outsiders. Boy you sure have the best
"Don't let Mike get to you, he
can be a little protective
of his turf, but he's a good guy
underneath," A voice said
from beside her.
jerked her head around and saw that the girl O'Neill called
sat down beside her. "Well sure, who doesn't love
territorial asshole, I know they're my
"Me too, Mike and I are
going out." Ann said.
Jane's face reddened a little
"Oh jeez, I didn't mean,
er, if I had known...uh, I'm
sorry?" She finished lamely.
"Are you sorry
for insulting my boyfriend, or sorry that
he is my boyfriend?"
Jane slouched down in her seat. "Would you like me
kill myself now, or dig my grave a little
"I think you should stop while you're
girl held out a hand, "Hi I'm Ann Raeder. I'm
in charge of
the costumes, props, makeup, and general 'talent'
Jane shook Ann's hand, "Jane Lane
at your service, former
artiste supreme, currently on the lookout for
a new hobby."
"What are you interested in
doing?" Ann asked.
"I dunno, what does he
do?" Jane pointed to the tall
member of the
"Ryan? He builds the sets and helps out with
why do you ask?"
"He seems like a nice enough
"You mean you think he's cute."
"That too," Jane said with a smirk.
"May I suggest you talk to him before making any decisions."
"Why?" Jane asked guardedly, "Is he a flaming ass or something?"
"No, nothing quite like that," Ann said cautiously. "Ryan is just Ryan and that's not something everyone can handle."
"Oh pish, I've yet to meet anyone who's too much for me to handle," Jane said confidently.
"Yeah, sure, don't say I didn't warn you."
"Besides, it's not like I'm looking for someone to go out with anyway. I'm here to help put on a play, not to meet guys."
"But it doesn't hurt to look right?"
"Damn straight," Jane said agreeably.
They lapsed into silence as Ann focused on the discussion between O'Neill and Ann's boyfriend, Mike. Jane took the opportunity to size up Ann. She had almost classic Teutonic features, pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. It was hard to gauge her height since she was sitting, but Jane guessed she was a little taller than the other girl was. Ann's clothes did not scream rich, but they also did not bespeak of crushing poverty either.
"Must be a junior," Jane mused, "I don't remember seeing her in any classes." She paused, "Though that's not saying much." She realized O'Neill and Mike had stopped talking and that the teacher was now addressing the rest of the group.
"...I know we've got a lot of work to do, but I'm confident that we can pull it off." He stopped, "I almost forgot, there is going to be another student working on sound for the production."
"What?" Mike exclaimed, "That's Greg's job."
"And I'm sure Greg can use a hand in running the soundboard."
"Who is it?" The student named Greg asked.
"Oh dear, I seem to have forgotten his name, but he did seem quite qualified to help us out. At any rate he'll be with us at rehearsal tomorrow. Which is a nice way to segue into my next announcement. Our first read through of the play will be tomorrow. I'll expect all of you to be here as well so you can begin familiarizing yourselves with the play."
"Are we going to be getting scripts this time?" Mike asked.
"Well, no, probably not. There are an awful lot of parts, and the budget can only stretch so far. But on the brighter side, our request for new lights was approved."
"It was?" The group asked collectively.
"Yes, on the condition that we produce audio and video copies of the performance to sell as a way to recoup some of the expenses for the lighting equipment."
"Whose brilliant idea was that?" Greg asked.
"Ms. Li's so there's nothing we can do about it. I think it's exciting, the Lawndale High Theater starring it its very own movie."
"That nobody will buy," Jane muttered.
O'Neill looked down at his watch, "Oh dear, I have to go. I'm late for...err...an appointment and I don't want to upset Janet...er, the person I'm meeting." O'Neill gathered up his briefcase and scurried out of the auditorium.
"Don't forget the safety word!" Ryan, the tall crewmember, called out to the departing teacher.
The door slammed shut and Jane looked around. "Hey, well, I'm Jane Lane and I just can't wait to get started on this," she said with mock cheerfulness.
Mike looked at her for a long moment then sighed, "What the hell, welcome to the theatah!" He said dramatically and swept his arms open to encompass the space. "I'm Mike Grissom, I suppose I'm the head tech. That meansI get to design the lights and the sets, plus I run the light board during the performance. The 'twins' over there," Mike pointed to the other two disparately sized techs, "are Greg Enfield and Ryan Traczewski. Greg does a lot of the work up on the catwalk and runs the soundboard. Ryan builds the sets and helps out with whatever. I take it you've already met the lovely and talented Ann?" Jane nodded. "Great, do you have time for a quick tour of your new home?"
Jane shrugged, "If I had anywhere better to go, I'd already be there."
Ryan chuckled, Mike looked a little put out, "Ok, we'll start from the top and work our way down, come on up on stage." He motioned for Jane to follow him onto the stage. "This is the stage, obviously. Here's where the 'magic' takes place," the disdain in his voice was evident. "Stage right, left, and center. The big wall back there is called the cyc." He waved his arm in various directions, indicating these landmarks. "Ok, let's go backstage." He led Jane off to one side of the stage. "Backstage, exciting huh?"
Jane looked around at the jumble of equipment and set pieces strewn about. "I'm thrilled to death," she replied.
Mike smiled slightly, "You might just have the proper attitude for this job after all."
"Let's go check out the fun part of the theater, the catwalk." Mike walked over to a ladder with a cage surrounding its base. He turned the door's combination lock before opening the door. "I hope you're not afraid of heights."
Jane regarded the ladder coolly, "I've painted frescos on higher ceilings, lead on."
He shrugged, "Ok then, I guess I don't have to warn you not to look down." He scampered up the ladder.
Jane took a deep breath and followed Mike up. Climbing the ladder did not prove to be challenging, but transferring from the ladder to the catwalk did provide a brief moment of concern. She managed the transition without falling to her death and found herself standing on a dimly lit catwalk.
"Glad you could join us," Mike said sardonically.
"Oh shove it," Jane replied curtly.
"Well that sure is a pithy comeback."
"It's the altitude. It does strange things to my head."
"Right, anyway, this is the catwalk, we set up the lights that illuminate the stage here. We're standing on the Number one bar, there are also bars three and five further back to get different angles for lighting."
"What happened to two and four?" Jane asked.
"We don't talk about two
and four," Mike said
"That's how they were named when we got
here, and nobody felt
like changing it."
Jane figured it wasn't worth the
bother to think about it,
"I can accept
"Hey Mike!" Ann called out from
"Yeah?" Mike asked, looking down at the
"I need to get going and you promised me a
"Damn, right, one second." He
hurried past Jane on
his way to the ladder. "Looks like I have
to go, want to
continue this tomorrow?"
shrugged, "Why not?"
"Great, see you tomorrow then." He started down the ladder then stopped, "Oh, and welcome aboard." Mike disappeared down the ladder.
Jane waited until she heard Mike reach the floor before making her own, much slower, descent. She found Ryan sitting on the edge of the stage.
"Hey," he said,
"How was your
He nodded, "That's probably for the best, Mike likes to
throw a lot o
f stuff at the newbies to scare them off. The trick
is not to get to
worried about the terminology and just do what
you're told, the rest
comes in time."
"Thanks for the
Ryan smiled, "No problem. Hey, do you
need a ride home?"
"Uh, I don't...oh what the
hell, why not? You're not a
mass murderer or anything are
"No, I left the axe at
"And you're not going to break up with
me and start going
out with my back-stabbing best friend are
"Whoa, when did we start
"Oh damn, I said that out loud
"Care to talk about
Jane shook her head, "Not with you, not
right now at least."
Ryan nodded, "Uh, ok,
still want that ride? No strings
sighed, "Yeah sure, beats the
"Great, let me just lock the
theater up and we can go."
Jane waited outside the
theater patiently as Ryan ran a heavy
chain through the door handles
of the theater's main doors. He
secured the chain with a large Master
"You've actually got a key to the
asked when Ryan was
"Yeah, that and ones for the main doors
and the security
"Wow, how'd you get
"Li likes to rent the theater out
to whoever's got the
cash, and we all got keys so we can run the
theater during those
"About ten bucks an
"Cool, sounds like a profitable
"It is, though I do have to sit
through the shows in order
to get the
"Ass lousy doesn't even begin to
Ryan said as they walked down the
"Ouch, still a key to the security system has
to be pretty
"Oh, it is, and the best
part is there's no way of knowing
who's deactivated the
"Now that opens the door for all
sorts of fun scenarios,"
Ryan chuckled, "Trust me, we've done
most of them. Though
you didn't hear me say that," he hastily
"Hear what?" Jane said
"You're a pretty cool person Jane. I think
in just fine with the rest of us theater wonks. Here, let
that door for you." Ryan pushed open the
"Why thank-you, though I hope you don't think
of outmoded chivalry will impress
Ryan shrugged, "It never hurts to be a
from time to time."
notice I did thank you."
"And you're very much
welcome for those thanks,"
"Hey, why did Ann warn me about
He laughed, "She did? What did she
"That you're a person not everyone can
He chuckled, "She's too kind. What
did you make of that
Jane stared at him
evenly, "That I'm not most everyone."
stared at each other for a long moment before Ryan looked
"Uh, my car's over there," he said lamely, pointing
nondescript blue sedan. Ryan let Jane into the car and they
"While I'm sure driving around
aimlessly does have it
merits, mind telling me where I'm going?"
Ryan asked, finally
breaking the silence.
"Oh, yeah, that would be a good idea wouldn't it?" Jane started to give Ryan directions to her home.
"So, uh, Ryan, tell me
a little about yourself."
"Let's see, well,
for starters I'm a senior like you."
we must have different schedules then."
his head, "I'm afraid not, we're in a lot of
"Then why didn't I recognize you?"
"Just how often do you look behind you
he asked dryly.
"Yeah, I guess me paying attention in class
would be required,
so I take it you recognized me."
"Just as a
pretty face I like to look at in class."
my own personal stalker."
Ryan shrugged, "You
know how it goes when you're bored,
you start checking out all the
"You can't win for trying, do you know
"Story of my life, but you are
"Who am I to turn down a compliment.
Ok, so you're a horny
little toad with a keen eye and sophisticated
tastes, what else?"
As Ryan began describing his
family Jane took the opportunity
to check out the teen up close. He
was tall, easily over six feet.
His brown hair was roughly as long as
Jane's and was currently
held in place with a reversed baseball cap.
A pair of cheery,
blue eyes looked out from his open, friendly face.
did not maintain the most rigorous exercise regimen, but
not overweight by any means. He wore a simple pair of blue
t-shirt, and an unbuttoned over shirt. Everything about him,
his car to his clothes spoke of a solid middle-class
"...So that's basically the Traczewski
family. Me, my
dad the data base administrator, and my mom, the city
Ryan said, concluding his family
"Wow, aren't you a child of
Ryan shrugged, "Nothing fancy,
just the descendent of
hard-working Polish immigrants, with a little
Irish thrown in
for good measure. What about you? I know you style
outsider and are friends with that dour chick, but other
that there are some blanks in my
"What can I say, four other Lane
children have passed
through Lawndale High's hallowed halls before
me. My parents are
rarely home and I live with my brother. We somehow
manage to scrape
by and live every teen's dream of a life free of
"Damn, that's got me beat by a
"Don't feel bad, you came up against a
Master. When it
comes to dysfunctional family arrangements only the
has the Lanes beat."
pretty freaky weren't they?"
"And yet we could
never look away."
"Very much like a train
wreck," Ryan agreed.
"My house is the next one
on the right," Jane said
boy that sure is your house isn't it?"
Ryan commented as he
pulled the car into the driveway and turned
"I'll just take that as a compliment and move
Jane said dryly.
"Well, thanks for the ride," Jane
said as she got
out of the car.
"Here, let me walk
you to the door," Ryan said quickly
as he exited the
"I really don't think that's necessary
it's not even twenty
"But who knows what might happen in
twenty feet, a meteor might hit you on the head, or
"Oh really, and just how are you
going to save me from
a falling chunk of the cosmos?" Jane
asked, arms folded across
her chest and a bemused smirk on her
"I'd push you out of the way at the last
he replied confidently.
Jane sighed, "Fine, you can walk me to the door, but you aren't coming inside, I'm not that kind of girl."
"I wasn't implying that
you are. Nor was I trying to get
an invitation into you house. I just
want to fulfil my chivalric
duties and see you to your door, it's the
gallant thing to do."
"Do you really think
this is going to impress me?"
He shrugged, "It
can't hurt can it?"
Jane shook her head, "I
guess not. Come on, you can aid
me on the trek across the vast
distance to my door," she
"Excellent, shall we be off
"No, I want to stand out here all
night," Jane said
as she started walking to her
"You've got a lot of pent up hostility don't
Ryan commented as he fell into step with
She shrugged, "So the guidance counselor told
me in sixth
"What did you do in the
"I called my art teacher a
Philistine for not giving me
an A on a
Ryan laughed, "Why am I not
"I don't think Mrs. Dawkins knew
what a Philistine was."
"Not really, I remembered my parents
calling someone that,
it seemed like a good thing to say at the
"So, what possessed you to sign on with
the theater crew?"
"It's kind of a long
story..." Jane began.
"Then why don't you tell
it to me, say over dinner?"
Jane chuckled, "Are you asking me
"Maybe I am, what's it to
"Well I'd like to, believe me I
"I sense a but coming on," Ryan
"...but, now's not the best time for
"Let me guess, this has something to do
with the back
"Yeah, something like that, but that's another
"Care to tell me that one tonight, not
as a date or anything,
just as a friend?" Ryan asked, one
eyebrow quirked in an
Jane was about
to answer Ryan when she saw a familiar car pull
up in front of her
house, "Uhm, can I take a rain check on
that, I've got
Ryan looked over and saw Daria and Tom
walking up, "Let
me guess, the back stabbing best friend, and
the cause of the
like that, yeah. But she still is my best friend
so I would like to
talk to her."
Ryan nodded, "Ok, you can tell
me all about it tomorrow
thing, I love talking about my personal life with
Ryan chuckled, "While I might be a
little strange I hope
I'm not a stranger for much
longer." He reached over and gave Jane a quick hug.
watch the hands buster!" Jane snapped.
worry, I'm just a hugging person, nothing was meant
by it. Unless you
want it to of
course," he said, leering playfully. "See you tomorrow Jane," Ryan waved to Jane and
walked past a surprised Daria and Tom.
"Uh, hi guys,"
Jane said to her friend and ex. "What
brings you two
Earlier that afternoon while Jane was sitting through bad
school acting, Tom and Daria
were sitting through bad television.
"You know this show really has fallen
on hard times. You'd
think an expose on green-eyed
man goats would be more interesting," Tom said dryly.
"Mmm," Daria replied.
looked over at Daria and saw she was staring at apoint
television, "But the
piece on girlfriends who stare at inanimate objects to avoid talking to their boyfriends was
"I wasn't avoiding you, I was just
"Really, penny for your
"Come on, you can afford to pay
much more than that."
"Ok, a buck fifty, but
that's my final offer."
"The Sloanes didn't get rich by
throwing money around,"
Tom said sagely. "We only pay
fair value for what we buy."
thoughts are only worth a buck
"Actually, it's all I have in my
pocket right now."
Daria shrugged, "Good
enough, pay up."
"Hey, you offered, who am I to
refuse such a generous
"You're far too
mercenary for you own good, you know that
right?" Tom grumbled
handed Daria the loose change from his pocket.
"I blame my parents, society, and the
Daria said as she took the money from
Tom. "I'm really worried about Jane."
you did try to talk to her, right?"
talked, she quite happily explained to me why she's
was my reaction too."
"She says she's lost the fire or
something like that.
Her logic seemed shaky at best to
"What is she going to do
"I'm not entirely sure, but I have my
"Want to go by her house and see
how she's doing?"
"Uh sure," Daria said
hesitantly, "that's not
quite what I expected you to
"What you thought I was going to say
that Jane has to
live her own life through her own choices and
whatever we say
like that yeah."
Tom shrugged, "This just
sounds so off for her, something
must be up, and chances are good
that whatever is bothering her
will spill over to you and then I'll
affect me so I figured we
take care of the problem now, before it
Daria smirked, "Your logic is as
impeccable as always
you for thinking so Ms. Morgendorffer."
do you want to leave?"
Daria thought for a moment,
"How about when the marathon
is over, no sense in bugging Jane
while that's on."
Tom arched an eyebrow, "So
you're worried about Jane's
well being, but not enough to keep
you from watching Sick Sad World?"
kind of like this. I offered to go and do something
tonight, before I knew
you were free and she basically blew me off."
"And you don't want to stick your head
back into the proverbial
lion's mouth?" Tom
finished for Daria.
you're not thrilled with the prospect of me and Jane
you're perfectly content here with me, and you don't
want to wreck
"Quit while you're ahead
"Come on Daria, admit it, you like
this 'quality time.'
There's no shame in saying so." He wrapped
an arm around
Daria stiffened, then
relaxed against Tom, "Why the hell
do you always have to be so
right?" She growled.
"You show affection in the strangest
"At least I don't have pleasure mixed
up with pain."
"You don't? Damn, there goes
Daria punched Tom on the arm,
"Twit, watch the TV."
Several hours later
Daria and Tom were driving up to Jane's
should have come sooner," Tom said.
could've known that special on the Spanish Inquisition
was going to
"I for one wasn't expecting it, but then
"Don't say it Python Boy,"
"All right, all right...say,
whose car is that?"
Tom asked, seeing Ryan's car in the
"Forget the car, who's that?" Daria
"The owner of the car I'd
"You think?" Daria asked
much I figured out, I want to know who he
"I don't know, we go to different
"Should we go introduce
"I don't...crap, Jane saw us, I
guess we don't have a
choice any more."
still could floor it," Tom said
"No, that wouldn't be
"What's the fun in being mature? I'm
sure there's a show
on the peasant revolutions in
Renaissance Germany on right now."
"Tom out of the
Tom sighed and killed the ignition. "Yes
They got out of Tom's car and walked to the
front door. Daria's
eyes widened when she
saw Ryan hug Jane.
"Looks to me like Jane's doing pretty well for
Tom quipped. Daria couldn't form a
comment. They watched in silence as Jane and Ryan said their good-byes. Ryan walked
past them and neither he nor they said hello. When Ryan was past them Daria nudged Tom
in the ribs and they continued walking towards Jane.
"So you have no clue who that
was?" Tom whispered
"No clue, he
might be in one of my classes though."
Daria shot Tom a disapproving glare, but
Jane's greeting cut
off any further comment.
guys, what's up?"
"We were in the neighborhood
and just decided to drop
"Right, Daria, why are you and lover boy
"Because we're worried about
you Jane, you've been acting
weird the past couple days and
I--we, want to know if there's anything we can do to help."
"Truthfully Daria, I'm fine. I
appreciate your concern,
but you don't have to
"Then who was that
"Oh, that was Ryan, he gave me a ride
home, that's all."
"He sure was here a long
time, school's been out for hours,"
Daria said dryly.
"Nah, Ryan and I just got here as
Daria arched an eyebrow, "Really,
that's quite a few missing
hours there, what's the
Jane shrugged, "No mystery, I
stayed after the play tryouts
to get a tour of the theater,
there's nothing going on between--oh crap," Jane exclaimed suddenly when she realized
what she had just said.
Daria smirked, "I thought
"You volunteered for a school play?"
"Yes I did, and I'm getting extra credit
in English to
do so. Got a problem with
"No, not at all, just surprised that's
all. I didn't think
you were much for joining
"Neither did I," Daria added,
"And Mr. O'Neill's
made the same extra credit offer every year
and you've never taken the bait before."
sighed, "If you must know I'm doing the theater thing
otherwise I'd be bored
beyond belief. I mean you two are spending more time together, and that's perfectly fine. I
don't want to be an extraneous wheel, that would just be too weird."
"An excellent point," Tom added
hastily, Daria frowned.
"And since I decided to
give up art I had to do something
to pass the time, and going on a
crime spree seemed like a bad idea. So I figured why not give the theater thing a try."
purely a coincidence that a cute guy is involved,"
This time it was
Tom's turn to frown.
wasn't that good looking," he groused.
Daria, you've gone and made Tom jealous,"
"Hey don't try to change the subject,
we're talking about
you here," Tom
"He's right, you're ducking the
question. I'll address
"All right, no I didn't volunteer to
be a tech just because
Ryan is on the crew, the extra credit
really was a big incentive for me," she paused, "Ryan is just a bonus."
"So this isn't
some cry for help?"
Jane shook her head, "Nah,
I'm just trying to find my
"You do know
the theater's considered one of the arts,"
"Yeah, so?" Jane shrugged,
"I'm not painting,
sculpting, throwing pots, or any of that
crap I used to do. I'm not acting in the play, I'm just helping put it together."
"Hey, it's not like I'm trying out
for the cheerleading
squad again. This is the theater, is
there anything more outsider I could have joined?"
"I suppose not," Daria
"Look Daria, I appreciate your concern,
but I'm ok. I'm
just trying out something new
right now that's all. You can chalk it up to my 'impulsive nature' if it makes you feel any
"You're really ok?" Daria asked.
"I'm fine," Jane said
"I hate to break up this love fest,
but I have to get
home in time for dinner. Daria, do you
want a ride home?" Tom asked.
"Uh," Daria said
hesitantly, looking at Jane.
"It's ok Daria, you
"Of course I'm sure!" Jane
shouted. "I'm glad
you came by Daria, but I'm not some invalid
who needs to be hovered over."
right," Daria hesitated, "Talk to you
"But of course, see you later
"Bye Jane," Daria walked to Tom's
Tom turned to leave but Jane caught him by the arm,
;Does she really mean that much to
do you really care that much for her? There's
no way you'd be
standing there if it
wasn't because of her."
Tom shuffled his feet, "I'd like to
think you and I have
reached some level of friendship since our
"That's crap, how many of you
ex-girlfriends have you
actively sought out to inquire about
their well being?"
"Well, er, you're the
first, but keep in mind there aren't
nearly as many as people
"And would you be here if it wasn't
"Would any of
"That's a wonderfully vague way of
evading the question."
Tom shook his head,
"No, it's a valid question. Would
either of us be at this place
"I don't know...but I'm not blaming for
her for anything. And
wishing she wasn't here."
"So, to repeat my question, does she
really mean so much
to you that you'd visit your ex-
girlfriend at her insistence?"
Tom thought for a moment,
"Well, I'm here aren't I? So
I guess she
Jane nodded, "That's cool. Don't screw
this one up Sloane."
"Or what, you'll come
take me out?"
"It's not me you should be
worried about, it's her,"
Jane nodded in Daria's
"True, I'll have to remember that. Well,
I do have to
go, bye Jane."
Jane watched Tom and Daria get into Tom's
car then drive off. She let
herself into the house and started
"What was that all about?" Daria asked
Tom as they
drove to the Morgendorffer
"Oh nothing, just clearing the air over
a few old issues,
it wasn't anything really earth shattering,"
nonchalantly. "So, are you satisfied that Jane's
Daria shook her head, "Not entirely, but
where she's coming from so I'm not as concerned."
"Jane will go to a couple rehearsals, see how
whole affair is and quit, or not, like she said, it is her
"She never said
"Ahh...so, what do you want to do
asked, trying to shift the
Daria sense Tom's desire to not talk about Jane and let the conversation drift to other matters. They managed to avoid mentioning Jane for the rest of the ride.
Quinn looked up from her book and
sighed, "No, 'Under
Milkwood' by Dylan
Daria arched an eyebrow in surprise,
"Thomas huh, what's
have to have a reason to read great
"Quinn your idea of great
literature has always been the
annual mascara edition of 'Waif.'
I'm not buying it."
Quinn sighed, "All
right, I'm reading it for Mr.
"See now if you'd just
said...wait a minute, that wasn't
on our reading list last
"He, uh, added it this
"I don't think so, not with that
"Ok, I'm reading it for
extra credit. Does that satisfy
Daria shrugged," I suppose
so...hold on, isn't that the
didn't O'Neill offer extra credit to anyone who tried
out for a
"I guess, I wasn't exactly paying
me just throw out a random guess here, let
me know how close to the
get. I think you heard about the O'Neill's offer for the extra credit and so you auditioned,
only you ended up with a part, despite your best efforts to the contrary. Am I on the right
Quinn hung her head, "That
pretty much sums it up. He
didn't even let me turn down his
"How awful for you. You tried to
abuse the system and
is serious, promise you won't tell
"That would require me to talk right?
Don't worry, your
secret is safe with
"Thank-you, this is the sort of thing
that could ruin
me. Having the starring role in the
school play, what was I thinking?"
"Quinn, how much of that
play have you read?"
"I haven't gotten past
the introduction, why?"
"The sub-title is 'A
Play for Voice.' There are over thirty
parts and none of them could
considered a starring role."
you know, have you read the play?"
"No, but I
did read a biography of Thomas that described
the play. Sorry Quinn,
an ensemble piece."
you find this all very amusing,"
"No more than anything else in
life," Daria replied.
"If Mom or Dad are looking for me
be in my room. Good luck with the Welsh." Daria walked off before Quinn could reply.
The rest of the day passed without incident and Jane
herself back in the theater; this time watching O'Neill
cast read through the play.
"Are they going
to get better?" She asked Ryan who
was sitting next to
"Probably not. Let's go check out the
"Is that your come on
line to all the girls?"
"Only the ones I
really want to nail," he replied.
"Ok, I won't
respond to that blatant display of
Ryan chuckled, "You've taken
too many classes with Barch."
"And I've taken
her self-defense class, so you'd better
be on your best
"Say no more, you have nothing to
worry about from me.
I happen to have quite a fondness for my little
"Little huh?" Jane said,
quirking an eyebrow.
"I meant in relation to the
rest of me, besides what do
you care? I thought the time wasn't
right for you, or something."
what they say, time heals all."
it?" Ryan asked hopefully as he stepped
into Jane's personal
"Possibly," Jane replied
"Hey Ryan, stop hitting on the new girl and
get your ass
over here!" Mike said sharply
from the back of the auditorium.
Jane and Ryan looked at each other for
another long moment
"The theater waits for no one I
guess," Ryan said
lamely. "The booth's this way," he
led Jane to the back
of the theater, coming to a stop in front of a
"Ok, are you really sure you want to
do this? Once you
pass through this door your life will be
"Enough with the ominous
crap, open the damn door. I'm
already a pretty twisted
"Don't say I didn't warn you,"
Ryan said as he opened
the door and walked into the
Jane followed, and was met by a wall. To her left
she saw a
short flight of stairs. She
ascended the stairs and looked around the room. "Well, it's obvious O'Neill doesn't come up
here too often," she commented dryly. "Are those condoms?" She asked, pointing at a
group of distinctly shaped objects pinned to a makeshift alter.
"Welcome to the inner sanctum," Mike
"Yes, those are condoms, they're
offerings to Leroy, god of the light booth."
"You see one
night Ann and the three of us were working
late on the lights and we
had taken adinner break," Ryan
"All of a sudden we saw this large black
guy in the back
of the auditorium." Mike said,
jumping in. "Ann asked him what his name was and the guy said 'Leroy.' Greg offered
him some pizza, which he refused. All of a sudden Leroy was gone, and when we went
over to where he had been standing we found a fluorescent yellow condom."
"Creepy," Jane commented,
"We later decided that we had been
visited by the god
of the light booth, Leroy, who
dispenses fluorescent yellow condoms to the faithful and smites the unbelievers with badly focused spots."
"We burn some
incense and offer Leroy a new condom before
every show to appease
"It also makes a great
stress reliever," Ryan whispered
"Ok, well, that's pretty strange, but whatever
through a show I guess," Jane said
"Exactly, you're catching on. Now,
this is the booth,"
Mike said, "You're in the nerve center
of the play. From here we run the lights and the sound for the show. The light board is on
the left, the sound board in on the right," Mike pointed to two tables in front of the room's
dual windows, "In between is the dimmer panel. It's like the fuse box for all the lights in
the theater. Behind the door over there is what we like to call the Tiki Room. It's where we
store stuff and just sort of relax."
"Uh-huh," Jane said
non-committally as she took in
the booth. Strings of Christmas lights
hung from the ceiling and the walls. A large bean bag chair lay in one corner of the room.
The walls were covered with posters from previous productions as well as other, weirder
pictures. Jane shrugged, "So what, did you expect me to run screaming from the room
never to bother your littler world again?"
"That was never my intention,"
Ryan said hastily.
"I was talking to your fearless
leader over there,"
Jane nodded at Mike. "You're trying to
get in my pants, metaphorically speaking I hope, so I figured you wouldn't be trying to drive
"I just wanted to let you know what
you're in for by working
here. Long hours, no pay, no
respect, you have to watch a bunch of half wits try to act for a couple of months, and then
there's the stress of the actual performance. If you think you can handle all that by all
means stay. If not I'm sure Ann could use a hand with makeup."
"Look, I've submitted more pieces art
than I can remember, I know all about
stress, and do you know what? It's not a big deal to me because I know in the end it's just
not the end of the world regardless of the outcome." Jane said angrily, holding her ground.
"Jane, I'd love for you to stay, we always
can use more
hands helping out. I'm just trying to
let you know what you've gotten yourself into."
can always use her to focus lights on,"
Greg added. Ryan shot
Greg a dirty
"Hello, anybody home?"
A new voice called out. Jane
turned and saw Dave Wylie enter
the booth. He was burdened by a large blue bag slung over one shoulder, and a large spool
of cable on the other.
"Who're you?" Mike asked.
Dave carefully set his bag down and let the cables drop. He walked over to Mike with a
hand extended. "Dave Wylie, pleased to meet you. I volunteered to run sound for the play
and O'Neill told me to go here."
Mike coolly shook Dave's hand, "I'm Mike Grissom, head tech. That's Greg, he's the sound
chief, that's Ryan, set guy, and that's Jane, the newbie. You'll be working for Greg,
"Ok then, so Greg, how are you plan ning on setting things up?"
Greg, a short individual with a shock of curly black hair, looked a little perplexed by the question. "Uh, I'm going to play the sound effects when the cues say to."
"What about the house sound? And this recording we have to make?"
"The speakers in the theater have worked well enough before. As for the tapes I guess we'll use a camcorder, I don't know, we haven't talked about it yet. Why, what were you planning?"
"I'm glad you asked," Dave said happily. "I took a quick look around the space before coming up here and the room's acoustics seem pretty good so normally I'd say mics wouldn't be necessary. But since we want to record the show I'd do this. For starters I'd hang a pair of B&K 4021's over the stage. I'd back those up with a pair of Neumann TLM-170's, probably run cardiod maybe omni, with one on either side of the stage. I'd finish it all off by running a pair of Schoeps tubes with some kind of cardiod cap from up in the lighting rig, back about oh 20 feet or so from the stage. I'll mix those signals at the board, which is also where the sound effects will be added. I'll have all the effects recorded on a DAT. The board signal will then go out to the house speakers, obviously. I've got some JBL's at home I'm not using right now so we can use them here. That's the house sound. As for the recording I'll send a digi-out from the board into my PortaDAT with a timecode module attached to handle the audio. For the visual I'll use a pro model digital camcorder. Then it's just a matter of synching the visual with the audio and you've got yourself a high quality digital tape. We could even record it on DVD. Unless you'd rather do things Greg's way," he finished with a smile.
"Ok, everyone in favor of making Dave chief sound guy raise your hand," Mike said, they all raised a hand.
"Ok, it's official. Dave, you're in charge of sound. Greg, help him."
"Cool, come on, let's go get to work running mic cable," Dave told Greg, who reluctantly
followed him out of the booth.
Jane looked at the remaining two techs. "Did any of that make sense to you two?"
Ryan shook his head, "Not a bit."
"Uh, yeah, a little," Mike said in the hesitant tones of an unpracticed liar.
now what?" Jane asked.
"We sit around, there's
not much to be done until they
get the play al; blocked out,"
"That's not entirely
true," Mike countered. "We
can go check the lights for
bulbs and start training Jane in the finer points of rigging."
"If you want to be anal about things
then yes, that's
what we should be doing," Ryan said,
giving Jane an "I'm sorry" look.
"Yes I want to be anal about it. I don't want
surprises later on when we're setting things up. If
on your plans to hit on Jane I'm sorry, but the play's
than your love life," Mike said angrily before
of the booth.
Jane's eyes widened in
surprise, "Jeez, what an ass. I
thought you two were
Ryan shrugged, "Mike's just blowing
off steam. He can
get a little high-strung about things. O'Neill told
him the new
lights won't be in for another month and he's a touch
it," Ryan said as they followed Mike out of the
"And since he couldn't yell at O'Neill he
ripped you a
new asshole, I get it. Lovely
"Yeah, but we love him
"Why is he the
"He's the one who sat down and read the
manual to the
light board, that gave him the inside
track on the job."
"Such qualifications," Jane
"Back when we first started out working on
lights it was,"
Ryan led Jane up onto the
"So, what are we doing anyway?" Jane
"Checking the lights. Mike's going to lower
here and we'll plug them in and see
if they go. If they don't we replace the bulb."
simple enough," Jane replied.
"Oh it is, just
"You ready down there?"
Mike called out.
"Lower away," Ryan
"Now maybe I'm not seeing something, but
why are we doing
this? Wouldn't it be easier to
just check them up there?" Jane asked as she watched a light descend from the catwalk.
"You'd think, but the power up there is
from the booth, we have a test plug
setup down here, not to mention a workbench."
I can admit when I'm wrong."
"How were you
supposed to know? It's a valid question.
Keep asking them and you'll
up to speed in no time," Ryan said as he caught the light. "Could you untie this rope?" He
nodded at the rope tied to the light.
"Sure thing," Jane
Ryan took the light over to a small
workbench set in a corner
of the backstage area. "Okay, this is
one of our lighting
instruments, more specifically a spot. I know
that you've heard
of spotlights, right?" Jane nodded. "This
is a spotlight.
It throws a lot of light onto wherever you point it.
We use 'em
as our primary stage illuminators." He rested a hand
"These little lever deals control
the shutters inside
the light which affects the shape of the beam. We
can also focus
the beam as needed, cool
"I'm positively beside myself,"
Jane replied evenly.
"It's noticeable," Ryan
replied in similar fashion.
"Ok, let's fire this sucker
up." He plugged the light
into a special socket and flipped a
switch. The light blazed into
full glow. Ryan turned it off. "Ok
one down, a whole assload
to go." He carried the light back over
to the rope. "Hey
Mike, got the next one set? This one's
"Great, I'm ready to go up here."
"Cool, hey Jane would you mind tying the rope back
Jane looked at the light
hesitantly, "Why don't I hold
it and you
Ryan shrugged, "Okay, whatever suits
you. Grab hold."
Jane grabbed the light by the yoke
and Ryan expertly secured the rope. "Hoist away!" he shouted.
"So how many of these are there
exactly?" Jane asked.
"Oh I don't know, fifty
"Great," Jane muttered.
"Just what I needed
The rest of
rehearsal passed slowly as Jane helped Ryan test
out the lights.
the last spot was checked and raised back to its perch.
Ryan stretched his sore back, "There that's
you did good Jane."
Jane looked around the theater, "Huh,
I guess we're closing the
O'Neill and the cast were nowhere to be seen.
"That's always the way," Mike said as he
way down the ladder. "We put in the
longer hours for none of the credit."
"But you're not
bitter or anything," Jane
"We all deal with it in different
ways," Greg chimed
in as he joined the growing circle of
people. "I like to moon the stage at the end of every show."
"You're kidding." He said nothing
to refute the claim.
Jane faced Ryan, "Please tell me he's
"I'm afraid not, every show I
look over and there's Greg
"Ewww," Jane shuddered.
"Uh, no offense,"
she hastily told
agree with Jane, there's nothing nastier than Greg's
"I don't know about that, I think
it's kind of sexy,"
Mike said with an affected
"Mike, stay the hell away from Greg's
ass!" Ann shouted.
Mike jumped, "Uh sorry
about that sweetie," he rushed
over and kissed Ann. "Are
She nodded, "I am if you
"Great," he turned and faced the
rest of the group,
"Pizza King for dinner?" The group
nodded in agreement. "How about you Jane, want to come with?"
Jane looked at the clock and saw that it was
well past dinnertime,
"C'mon Jane, it'll be fun," Ryan
"And hey, there are other people
around so it won't be a date."
Jane pondered for a few
additional moments before shrugging,
"Only if you
"Fine, thought wouldn't that be
considered a date?"
"Not if other people are
around," she replied impishly.
"Are you two
finished? I'm starving." Mike
"Yeah we're done," Jane
"Hey Dave," Ryan shouted, "We're
going to Pizza
King, do you want it?"
Dave, who was
just coming down the catwalk ladder, nodded,
The group left the
auditorium and walked to their cars.
Two hours, and several pizzas, later Ryan dropped
at her house. "Well, I hope
your first rehearsal didn't scare you off or anything."
Jane shook her
head. "Nah, it was kind of fun, in a weird
and twisted kind of
Ryan chuckled, "That it is," he
I know I had a lot of fun at
"I did too actually," Jane
"And I think we could have even more fun if
it was just
the two of us," he said
"You never give up do
He shook his head, "Not
Jane sighed, "If I told you the
reason why I have to say
no, will you
"Depends on what the reason
"How about if you just ease up a
Ryan shrugged, "Hey I'd stop if you
didn't seem like you
wanted to go out with
"Now that's an arrogant...well I guess I
do, kind of.
But it's still an amazingly arrogant
"No...and here's why," she added
hastily when she
saw him deflate. Jane then told Ryan the
whole story of herself, Daria, and Tom, including her adventures at art camp. Ryan sat back
and listened in silence. "...So that brings us up to the present. I'm ok with Daria and Tom
going out, but I'm still a little too wounded to start dating again myself, not to mention the
whole lost the will to paint thing. If all things were equal I'd go out with you, but there're
not so I can't. I hope you understand."
somberly, "Yeah, I can. I can't say I'm thrilled
to hear about
all this, but I can
you're not going to get mad or storm out in a huff
because I'm not
willing to go out with
"You are interested in going out with me
then, I'll just keep asking till you
"Great, that's all I needed to
"There's an easy way to get me to
"Yeah, go out with me," Ryan
grinned, pleased with
"I think this
is where I say goodnight, sir," Jane
said, trying to hide a
"All right," Ryan leaned over and
hugged Jane. "Take
your time, I'll still be
"You sure about
He nodded, "Yeah, you look like you
could use a friend,
and I think I can do
"In that case maybe you can take me out
to dinner tomorrow
night, as a friend," she added
"Ok, when and
"Whenever, and wherever," Jane
"I can handle
"See you tomorrow
"Yeah, see you tomorrow
Jane got out of the car and watched Ryan
drive off. She walked
into her house and found
Trent sitting on the couch.
Janey, whoa, you're home late."
rehearsal ran over, and then a bunch of us went
"Sounds like you're having a good
"I guess I am, for now at
"I'm going to be in my room if you need
"Ok, oh, Daria called looking for
Trent shrugged, "A
"I'll call her back then. Take it
"I know, just don't slip into a coma
while you're at it,"
Jane joked. She left Trent hacking in
the living room and walked up to her room. She picked up the phone and dialed the
"Hello Morgendorffer residence, all the
you'd want to speak to are already
on the phone if you wish to leave them a message please do so after the beep...beep."
"Oh hi Jane, did you just get back
"Pretty much, we went out for
ot;No, just the crew."
"Getting pretty chummy
with them huh?"
"Oh for Pete's sake. Daria,
we're not going to go through
this again are
"What, me being irrationally jealous over
a new person
in your life? No, I've gotten over
"I should hope so, you're dating
him now after all."
"Please don't bring that
up right now. I'm trying to be
supportive. What I meant to say was
that I'm glad you don't hate your fellow thespians."
"Well, there is one guy who does
sort of bug me."
"Mike, the self-appointed leader. He's
a bit of an ass."
"Is that like saying Quinn's
a bit self-absorbed?"
"Something like that
"You could always
"Wishful thinking Morgendorffer. I'm
riding this thing
out to the bitter
"Just so long as you don't regret the
"Nah, I've got a feeling this will
all work out quite
"You haven't eaten
any more of those pickles Trent found
"Dammit Daria, could you just drop that?
I offered to
buy you new drapes."
"Oh, nothing, never mind, it's not
important, bye Daria,"
Jane said hastily before hanging up
on Daria. She smirked to herself, "That's one way to end a conversation." She pulled a
textbook out of her backpack and got started on her homework.
Life proceeded to settle into a routine of sorts for
During school she hung out with
Daria like always. After school she spent her afternoons in the theater, working on the play.
Her evenings were either spent at home in an attempt to keep on top of her schoolwork or
out with Ryan. The production progressed with all the attendant troubles of any technical
undertaking. One day Jane was helping Mike and Greg rig a set of lights for a specific
are you going to do this?" Jane asked as
she handed a light to
"Normally I'd just use a blue gel, but we got
things with the new lights." He held
up a small piece of metal with a pattern cut into the middle. "This is a gobo, we install it into
the light and get a nifty wave pattern shown on the floor."
"Oh boy, isn't
this a red letter day."
"You know if you don't
care you don't have to say anything,"
"Fine by me." She watched as Mike
fumbled with the
gobo. "You do know how to use that
"Of course he doesn't, we've never
used one before and
it didn't come with
"How hard can it be?" Mike
asked rhetorically. "You
just slap this thing in front of the
beam and..." He tried to place the gobo in the gel holder only to see it fall out. "Dammit!"
"Maybe it goes inside the
light," Greg offered helpfully.
probably it." Mike and Greg quickly
set about opening up the
have got to be kidding me," Mike cried out in frustration when the gobo again did not fit.
"Jane get me the tin snips. I'm going to ghetto
"Aye-aye boss," Jane
said with a smirk. She walked
over to the other end of the catwalk.
"Hey Ryan," she called
"Do you have
you put them in the bucket, Mike needs them to
get those gobo things
"Hang on, I'll bring them up myself.
This I've got to
see," Ryan dropped his hammer and
ran over to the ladder.
"Such personal service," Jane
said wryly when Ryan
met her at the top of the
"What can I say, seeing Mike out of his
depth is a rare
treat," he replied while handing Jane
"And me without my camera," Jane
quipped. She frowned
when she thought about what
she had just said.
Ryan noticed the shift in Jane's mood, but didn't
up. "Come on, let's go enjoy the
show." They walked over to where Greg and Mike were working.
"Finally, hand me those snips," Mike
took the cutters from Jane and began
trimming the piece of metal. Ryan leaned back against the railing to watch.
"Hey Mike, how much do those things
cost?" Ryan asked.
Mike sighed, "I don't know,
why do you want to know?"
"I'm just curious
how much money you're wasting cutting
that thing up, that's
"Oh go back to building the set,
jackass. I'm working
my ass off trying to get this play off
the ground, and you're not helping. Besides," he added with a sly grin, "it's not my money
I'm wasting, so who the hell cares."
Ryan laughed, "Excellent point,snip
Mike finished cutting and placed the
modified gobo into the
light, this time it fit. "Ha, I'm
still the champion. Greg, get this light rigged, I'll get the other two gobos setup."
"I feel curiously
unfulfilled," Jane commented.
"Me too, it's
probably for the best thought. The more
boredom in this job the
"Hey, want to help me build
"Oh, can I really?" Jane said
"It's either that or keep
helping Mike with the gobos."
Jane and Ryan worked on building flats
until Mike and Greg
came down from the catwalk.
"Got the water spots done yet?" Ryan
"Yeah, we're going to test them now,"
"Cool, we'll come
The group filed into the light booth where
Dave was sitting
hunched over the soundboard,
listening intently to a pair of studio monitors.
"Hey Dave," Ryan
said, "What'cha doing?"
asked, "Oh, just listening to the
mix, I'm going to swap out the
sub-cards for the Mk4v cards, they're better suited for speech pickup anyway."
"Right," Ryan said
hesitantly, "I'll just pretend
that made sense and move
"Sorry, what I meant to say was that the
mics I currently
have hanging from bar five
displease me and I'm thinking about replacing them with a pair whose characteristics are
better suited to the conditions here."
Dave shrugged, "I tried, so what're you
folks up to?"
"Mike and Greg finished the
water spots so we're trying
"Cool." He turned in his chair to look
Mike readied himself in front of the light
we go," he dimmed the house lights
and brought up the new spotlights. "Oh hell." The front of the stage was illuminated by
three, murky indistinct puddles of blue, with no discernable pattern.
sucks," Dave commented.
"Tell me about
it," Mike grumbled as he turned off
the spots and restored the
"When O'Neill shows up for rehearsal
today I guess we'll
have to tell him the gobos are a
"Hehehe, that rhymes,
funny," Ryan chortled.
"Do you appreciate the
fact that we're screwed?"
but you have to admit that was kind of
"I agree with Ryan, that was pretty
"Who asked you?" Mike
"Sheesh Mike, chill out a little,"
Greg said. "So
we have to yank the gobos out of those
spots, big deal."
As Jane watched the debate
unfold she thought she felt a familiar
tugging at the back of her
mind. However, when she tried to focus on it, the sensation fled. "Weird, for a moment I
thought I saw a painting there." She shook her head, "Must have been a bit of indigestion,
or a headache, or something."
"Hi guys," O'Neill said from
the foot of the stairs.
"How are things
"We go the water spots up with the
gobos installed, but
it doesn't look very good," Mike
"Oh, let me
"All right," Mike said grudgingly
and turned the
spots back on.
wonderful. It just gives you the suggestion
of water, perfect!"
He faced the
crew, "Good job people, keep up the great work." He walked out of the booth, leaving behind a stunned crew.
Mike banged his head on the board slowly. "This is
happening," he kept repeating to
"Did that actually just happen?" Jane
"I think so," Greg
"So we're going to keep the ass ugly
"Looks that way," Ryan
Later that afternoon Jane and Ryan were sitting in the
taking a break. Ryan was
rubbing Jane's shoulders they were both half-watching the rehearsal on stage. Quinn was
working on a scene with two male cast members.
"And what, what, dammit, what's the
shouted in frustration.
'and what do we do after the drapes?' Quinn,"
"Right, I knew
"Also, Quinn, one more time, it's not
'Laregub,' the town
is pronounced, 'Yar-a-gub.' Say it
"Fine, fine, 'Yeargh-a-gub' is that
said, deliberately over-pronouncing the
name. "What, do you have a problem?" Quinn snapped when one of the other cast
"Yeah, I do. We've been at this for weeks
and you can't
even remember the easiest
"Hehehe, why don't we put this scene
down for right now?
Let's move on to a Captain Cat
Quinn stormed off the stage, her fists
clenched and her face
turning a bright shade of red.
"Oh, that jerk, how dare he..." she trailed
too mad to speak.
Ann looked on sympathetically,
"Hey, Quinn right?"
Quinn looked over at Ann,
"Yeah, who are you?"
"I'm Ann, I'll be
helping you with your costumes and I'll
do your makeup before the
"Oh, say aren't you that brainiac
in all my classes?"
"I've always gotten A's if
that's what you mean."
"Well you don't have to
pick out my costumes. As Vice
President of the Fashion Club I
don't need the help of some brain."
do you have period-appropriate clothes?" Ann
"It'd be a shame if
you were out there in the latest from Cashman's while everyone else was wearing period
ecause you'd look stupid that's
"Oh...well I guess you can help me out
with the costumes,
but I get veto power over any
outfit that's not cute enough."
"Sure, fine, whatever,"
"Quinn, are you back here?"
"Yes Mr. O'Neill, I'm over
"Ah good. Quinn, I'm worried. I don't
want to look like
I'm stifling your creative energies,
but I also expect you to at least know your lines and be able to pronounce the names
Quinn said sheepishly. "If you want
me to quit, I understand.
I'm just not cut out
for the theater I guess."
"No, no it's far too late for us to
recast your parts.
I'm afraid we'll just have to work through
"But how? I've tried to
memorize my lines, but it
"Hmm," O'Neill mused,
"Maybe you need a dedicated
"Is that like a
"Yes, very much so. Now let's
see," O'Neill scanned
the theater until he saw who he was
looking for. "Ah, perfect. Oh Dave!" He called out to the sound tech. Dave was hunched
over a microphone set on a corner of the stage. He was wearing a pair of headphones and
appeared to be listening intently to something. "Uh, Dave?" O' Neill asked again when he
didn't get a response.
"I'll get him Mr. O'Neill," Jane
called out. She
hopped up and walked up to where Dave
was crouched. "Hey Dave!" Jane shouted into the mic, causing Dave to jump up in shock.
"Hey, watch it, that's a
valuable piece of equipment,"
Dave complained as he took the
"Pay attention, you freak,
O'Neill wants you."
"Heh, uh thank-you
Jane," O'Neill said as Jane returned
to her seat. "What
were you doing
that was so engrossing, Dave?"
He shrugged, "I was making sure the
side pickup mics were
set to the right polar
"So you were listening to a
microphone and you didn't
listening to the sounds, I wasn't paying attention
to them. What do
"I was wondering if you'd like to
help Quinn out with
"Why me, I don't know anything about
"You're good with sound, I'm sure you
can think of something.
Oh dear, that's not right,
excuse me." O'Neill muttered to himself as he scurried off to handle the next disaster.
Dave looked over at Quinn
apologetically, "Hey, I'm sorry
Quinn, but I know jack about
acting. I mean if you really want me to I can try to be of some help, but I can't imagine why
"Well, maybe you can help me with
something else. You
do well in all your classes
"Uh yeah, I get
"See my problem is that I don't have
enough time to get
all my schoolwork done and
memorize these lines. If I had somebody to help me with my homework I'd have more time
for the play."
"So you want me to do
your homework for you so you can
focus on the
"No just tutor me, you don't have to do
my work, just
help me with it, like last year with my
"If you care so much for the theater
why don't you just
skip the school work. It's not like
you have any great love for it after all. Something you proved all to well last year."
Quinn stared at him for a long moment
before realization hit,
"Oh right you weren't here
over the summer."
"No I was following Phish, what does
"Because I decided I want to do
better at school, I got
a tutor and
"Doesn't that make a
Dave looked thoughtful for a moment.
"No," he said
simply and walked
"Ooooo!" Quinn huffed, and stormed
"Quinn I..." Ann started to say, but
Quinn left the theater. She sighed and
followed Quinn. "Quinn, wait up." Ann caught up with Quinn in the hall. "Are you ok
"Yes," Quinn said
"No, Quinn replied, sniffling a
"Look Quinn, don't let those guys get to
you. This is
your first play right?" Quinn nodded,
"Some of those people have been acting for years.
sure they were worse when they
"Fat lot of good that does me
"True, do you really want someone to
help you out with
Quinn nodded, "Yeah I do."
"I guess I could give you a hand when I'm
not too busy."
"How could you help
"Do you know just how many plays I've
seen? Don't worry
I can be a lot of help to
"That's great, but, uhm, why are you,
like, being so nice
"Mostly because I
don't want to see all the work I've
put into this play go down the
but also because you remind me of myself."
"I do? How?" Quinn asked,
"You see the reason I'm here is
because it will look good
on my college applications. That's
what you're doing right?"
here for the extra credit, I never thought
Ann shrugged, "It's the same thing really, and if I can make a fellow grade obsessed person
feel a little less stress then great." She paused, "Also, I could use your advice on
advice? But you're like the big brain."
and I are going to be celebrating our
"Wow, I could never do that, why limit
Ann looked momentarily confused,
"Because we care about
he always takes you out to the nicest places
"Uh no, most days we just hang
"I just don't get that, what's the point
of going out
with someone if you don't get anything
out of it?"
"You've never really cared about anyone
Quinn frowned, "That's not true,
there is one guy I care
aren't you going out with him?"
doesn't feel the same way," Quinn
said with great reluctance.
"Amazing, a boy resistant to the charms of the
Quinn Morgendorffer, who is he?"
doesn't go to school here. Look can we not talk about
embarrassing enough as
don't have to talk about it, but it's not a sign
of weakness to have
feelings for a
"It's not that...what did you want advice
"Uh, what should I
Quinn's face brightened, "Now that's
something I'd be
happy to talk about."
Mike and I don't normally get all dressed up for
a date, but I want
this one to be
special and I know you're better than I am at choosing an outfit."
"Too true," Quinn
said condescendingly. "Err,
I mean, uh," she tried to catch
Ann laughed, "That's ok, you've got a better sense for clothes. I can accept that. I'm the
better trumpet player I'd wager. It's all just a matter of time management. Long ago I
decided I was going get a four point GPA and be the best trumpet player in the state. If I'm
not up to date on the latest fashions so be it. Unlike you my parents aren't rich."
don't have to worry about college tuition, your parents
foot the bill, all you
have to do is scrape by academically and you're set."
"That's not entirely..."
Quinn began to say.
"Meanwhile I've got to work my
butt off to make sure I'm
valedictorian so I get that
scholarship money. I've got to practice trumpet an hour a day so I can get a trumpet
scholarship. I do volunteer work in hope of getting scholarship money from them, not to
mention how well that looks on a college resume. If I'm lucky by the time I graduate I
should hopefully have enough money between the scholarship and my job so that I'm only
in debt for half my adult life instead of the whole of it."
breathe?" Quinn offered.
"Sorry, I just get a
little stressed when I think
"Obviously, so uh, how do you want
to work this?"
"Why don't we go to my house
after rehearsal, we can get
started on your lines and you can
pick apart my wardrobe."
"Sounds good to
"Great, I'll see you then ," Ann
walked back into
the theater, leaving Quinn to think about
Jane was building a piece of the set when Ryan called
her. "Hey Jane, could you
grab the other end of this thing?" Jane looked over at Ryan and saw him holding one end
of a bulky flat.
"Sure thing, where are we
"Outside to be
Jane paused, "You sure you don't
want someone else to
"Oh come on
Jane, it's just slapping paint on wood, what's
"It's still painting, and I don't do
"You're just being silly. Look,
it's either help me paint
these flats, or help Mike focus spots,
which would you rather do?"
"If you put it that way hand me a brush."
spotlights involved Jane
staring directly at a spot, trying to decided when a circle became visible. It was not how
Jane liked to spend time.
"I knew you'd see things my
way," Ryan said with
a grin as he held out a
"What can I say, I like to see," Jane
the brush from Ryan.
"I'll be over
there if the paint tries to attack you or
anything," Ryan said
to another set piece waiting to be painted.
Jane stared at the gallon of paint sitting on
the ground. "Ahh,
my old nemesis." She opened the can and slowly stirred the paint. "It's not big deal Jane,"
she told herself. "There's no underlying artistic statement to be made here, you're just
slapping paint on wood." She dipped the brush into the paint. "No shapes, no patterns,
definitely no pictures. Just a solid block of color, any monkey can do that. It's not art, it's
house painting." She watched the paint run off the brush back into the can. "Slapping paint
on wood, paint on wood," She repeated to herself as she took her first stroke. "There, that
wasn't so hard now was it? Just do another of those." She ran the brush over the flat again.
"What was my problem anyway?" She said aloud
dipped the brush back in the can.
Jane kept spreading paint onto the flat for a while then stopped and surveyed her work. She
frowned, "Hmmm, something's not right here," She walked over to the pile of paint
supplies and grabbed a few more cans of paint. She dropped the paint next to the flat and
returned for some paint thinner and an assortment of brushes.
"Now let's see here," she thought.
needs a smidgen of red there..." She quickly
became consumed in what she was doing and lost track of time.
"Hey Jane, how's it going?" Ryan called
haven't heard, well anything from over here
so I was beginning to get worried...Whoa," Ryan finished when he saw Jane's progress.
"What?" Jane asked,
"That's some job of flat
painting," Ryan said bemused.
"We can't use it for the play
course, but still, it's most impressive."
"What are you talking
about?" Jane took a step back
and for the first time looked at
she had done. The flat was covered in a kaleidoscopic array of colors and patterns, all
intricately woven together in such a way that they suggested a cohesive whole without
actually displaying one. Jane looked at the flat, then at her paint stained hands in
"Let me guess," Ryan
said jokingly, "it's a
sailboat, no wait, a
"You don't say. Hey, I thought you
had given up painting,
that you had lost the ability to
since you couldn't remember why you wanted to be an artist."
"That looks a hell of a lot like art to
"Yeah, it does," Jane paused.
"Pencil and paper,
quick!" She snapped. Ryan ran over to
backpack and retrieved the desired items. He handed them to Jane who immediately started
this look?" She asked as she showed Ryan a
portrait of himself
"Wow, you really are
Jane looked at the sketch, a small smile
played across her
face. "Yeah, I guess I
"Want to bag this and have a celebratory
Jane nodded, "I'm down with that."
Daria was reading in her room when the phone rang.
it up, "Hello Morgendorffer Sanitarium, cut-rate
care since 1975."
"Hey Daria, Dave
Wylie, nice side business you've got
"Hello Dave, what do you
Dave chuckled, "It's always right to
the point with you
isn't it? No chit-chat or
"The less I know about your
affairs the less chance I'll
"I sense someone's making an
editorial comment on my choice
"I can't say anything else, the
phone lines aren't safe."
"Ok, I can take a
hint, no chit-chat. So to get down to
business, I've got a question
"Your sister, at rehearsal today she
asked me if I would
help her out with her school
Daria raised an eyebrow, "And you said?"
"What do you think I said? No, she'd
try to figure out
a way to get me to do the work for
"Um, that's not necessarily
true..." Daria said hesitantly.
"So she wasn't
"About wanting to do better at school,
or her getting
a tutor over the summer."
wasn't lying. For whatever reason she's had a minor
"Yeah, there was a tutor
involved..." Daria trailed
and to think I missed all of that just to
follow Phish around for the
"You don't even know the half of
really my story to tell, but what the hell,
it'll answer your
question," Daria then told
Dave about Quinn's relationship with her tutor, David.
"The guy's name was David,
she had the hots for
't that a funny coincidence."
"Don't read too
much into it."
"For one thing you're not in
"For another she knows
"Ouch, that was
"I just call them like I see
"Even if we concede that, why'd she ask
for my help?"
"Because you've helped her in
the past maybe?"
"Mmm, true. So basically I
was a major ass today."
"Great, I guess I'll apologize to her
"Are you going to tutor
"If she asks again I don't see why I
can't lend a hand
as my schedule
"You, uh, won't bring up the other
"That whole crush on the tutor
thing? Not directly for
sure, although the mischief
potential is too high to pass up."
"And you're not reading
anything into this?"
"No I'm not reading
anything into the fact that by some
weird fluke Quinn had a thing for
a tutor with the my name."
one more thing."
"We never had this
"Gotcha, is this anything like
the conversation I never
had with Jane about your summer?
And how is Tom by the way?"
Daria stiffened, then
sighed, "Everything she told you
Dave chuckled, "Now that much I really
"Why, what did she
"How should I know, we never had a
"You're a bastard, you
know that right?"
"So I'm told. Hey, thanks
for the info Daria."
"Good to hear I'm of some
use to somebody."
"Talk to you
"Bye Dave," Daria hung up the
phone and reflected
on the conversation. "Why on earth
did Quinn have to ask him for help?" She wondered. Daria shrugged, filed it away in her
list of oddities and returned to her book. Shortly thereafter the phone rang again. Daria
sighed and answered it. "If this isn't Tom Sloane I'm hanging up."
"I used to date him, does that
count?" Jane said
"Oh hi Jane, I
wasn't expecting to hear from you. To what
do I owe this unexpected
"You have to come over to my
house right now. No, wait,
go get Tom and then come
questions Morgendorffer, just do it!" Jane shouted
phone then hung up.
She looked at the phone for a moment then smiled. "That should get her over here." Jane
picked up her brush and went back to work on the painting on her easel.
"Hey Janey, I thought I heard
shouting...whoa, what are
you doing?" Trent asked as he
stuck his head in the room.
what does it look like?"
"You got the fire
congratulations Janey," he said before
Jane chuckled to herself and turned back
to her painting. As
she worked on the piece her
thoughts drifted back to the conversation she had with Ryan earlier that evening.
"I'm really happy for you Jane," Ryan said
mouthfuls of pizza.
"I'm happier than you
are I bet," Jane said impishly.
probably," Ryan said, chuckling. "It must
feel good. To
know you've got your
does I guess, thought I hope I was still me when I
"I guess we'll have to find out,
but tell me, would you
have joined the play if not for your little
Jane shook her head, "No, probably
Ryan raised his glass, "Then here's to
and their demise."
their glasses together, "Hear hear. I must
admit I do feel kind
of silly about
the whole thing though."
really jumped to conclusions, I have one little uncreative
suddenly I'm not
longer an artist? What was I thinking?"
Ryan shrugged, "I don't know, you
"If I had it figured out I wouldn't
be asking you now
"I just build
sets, don't look at me for answers."
what the hell are you good for?" Jane said
"Other stuff," Ryan
"Really, and just what is that other
"You know what you have to say to find
"Dammit Ryan, how many times do I have
to tell you?"
"Sorry, sorry I know, just
making a joke that's all."
Jane sighed, "No
don't apologize I shouldn't have blown
up at you like that. It's just
really jumped into my last relationship..."
"And it bit you in the ass,
yeah you've said."
"I suppose I
"Here's my question for you. Now that
you've got the art
thing back are you going to
stay on with the play?"
"I...don't know. Let me think about it
"Sure take your time, just remember
you did make a commitment
"And you don't want me to
quit," Jane added drolly.
"Don't worry I'll give it a lot of
thought. At the bare
minimum I'll paint a killer drop for
"Great, I'm sure it will be
Jane's reverie was interrupted by a knock upon the
Trent," she shouted, "can
you go get that, I'm expecting Daria and Tom so if it's them send them up." She didn't
hear an acknowledgement from Trent. "Trent?" She called out again.
bother," Daria said, "we let
"Yeah, we figured you'd be home
since you called us over
here. So what's the big
emergency?" Tom asked as he followed Daria into the room.
"It's not so much an emergency as it's an
Jane said smugly. She turned
the easel around to show Daria and Tom the painting, a realistic portrayal of a spot falling
on Mr. O'Neill. "I'm back," she said simply.
"Jane, that's great news," Tom said
"So, what was the grand reason for
being an artist?"
"I picked up a brush today and it clicked.
I guess I'm an artist
"Makes about as much sense as the rest
of this hair-brained
Jane sat down on her bed,
"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry about
all of this, I really overreacted
"Hey, don't be so hard on
yourself," Tom said encouragingly.
"You had a rocky summer,
there was bound to be some spillover."
Daria sighed, "Tom's right, and
joining the theater was
the best thing you could have
"Well, with the change of scenery you
broke out of your
old routine which had too many
negative memories for you, or some sort of psychobabble explanation like that."
"What's it matter so long as I'm back
to my usual self
"You're the one who's
spent the past month insisting you
"I did, didn't I?" Jane shrugged,
we can put all that unpleasantness behind us
"And act like nothing
happened?" Daria asked wryly.
never mention any of this..." Jane trailed
off. "I guess
that's not going to
happen anytime soon is it?"
"I'm not going to let you forget that you
to work on a school play if that's
what you mean."
"I would have been worried if you
weren't going to give
me a hard time over
"That reminds me, are you quitting the
Jane frowned, "Now why would I
"The subject of your current work
for one," Tom quipped.
"Who asked you Sloane?
This is a satirical look at the
way a theater tech thinks of the
"Sure, fine, whatever you say
Jane," Tom replied
"More to the point
it's not what the 'Old Jane' would
"Maybe this is the introduction of the Jane
Three. Supremely confident in
her art and more willing to try out alternative expressions of art, even if they're school
"In other words you don't want
to wreck things with this
yeah there's that too. It's funny, he asked me the
dinner, when we were celebrating my triumph."
frowned, "Just when did you have this
"At rehearsal today. I had to
paint some flats and it
all just went from
"So you rediscovered your artistic
side when left with
no other choice?"
sums it up, why?"
"I'm trying to get an
accurate picture of this miraculous
"Ok," Jane said unconvinced,
"you're not mad
at me that Ryan was the first person I
talked to about this are you?"
"No he was
right there, it makes perfect sense. Besides
why should I be mad
"I don't know, it just seemed
like you were."
"It's my latent hostility
towards the world shining through."
"Jane, I'm really glad to hear you've
retrieved your artistic
ambition, and honestly if you
want to keep working on the play that's your call. I'll back you either way."
"And besides, if I stay on with the play
that will give
you more time with Tom right?"
Jane asked with a smirk, Daria started to blush.
right, stay with the play Jane," Tom
Daria hit Tom in the stomach. "Don't listen to the
teen, his opinions are irrelevant
to the matter at hand."
"He's irrelevant huh? Do I sense
trouble in paradise?"
Jane asked coyly.
she just hates to admit she likes spending time with
Daria's blush deepened, "That's not
is...there are worse things to
Tom leaned over and kissed Daria, "Good,
I like being
around you too." Daria looked
Jane laughed, "You know, I'm glad
the two of you are going
out. This is so
Daria frowned, "I'm glad we've found
a purpose in life."
"You're just so much fun
to tease Daria, I never miss
a favor Jane, next time, just let it go."
you could fight back, I know some very interesting
facts about your
friend Ms. Lane
and I'm sure they can be coaxed out of me for the right price," Tom said casually.
don't," Jane threatened.
"Take off your shirt," Tom
"Now wait a second here," Jane
off somewhere secluded."
"Don't I have a say
g at your house."
"Guys, this is
"Wow, look at the time what a
shame, I'm sure both your
folks are worried sick. It was
nice of you to come over though," Jane started to push the couple towards the door.
"That's what I said, ok. I kiss,
you tell." With
that Daria grabbed Tom and kissed him
"When Jane was in the third grade
she had a gerbil named
Mr. Gerbilator and she still
visits his grave in the backyard," Tom blurted out when they broke for air.
"Tom you're a slut!" Jane shouted.
"I told you
that in confidence."
used wiles," Tom protested.
"You had better
find some dirt on her and give it to me,
or there will be hell to
"And you had
better the hell not do that or there'll be
hell to pay," Daria
Tom looked between the two teens nervously,
going to be in the car, bye
Jane, congratulations and all," Tom backed out of the room and dashed down the hall.
The two friends looked at each other and smirked.
wasn't nice," Daria said
"He had it
"So, what are you going to
Jane shrugged, "I don't know, I'll
probably keep working.
They do need a painter after
Daria nodded, "Sounds like you Jane. I'd
better go, my
ride's probably quaking in the car
"Bye Daria, don't make out in my
Daria stopped in the doorway and looked
over her shoulder.
"Say hi to Ryan for me."
Daria walked out of sight and out of the
"Damn, she's getting good at that,"
Jane told no
one in particular. She put a fresh canvas on
her easel and began a new painting.
The next day Dave caught up with Quinn outside the
"Hey Quinn, can we talk?"
"Because I'm here to
"Oh well ok, but make it quick I
don't want to be seen
talking to a geek like
"Fine, if you don't want to be seen
talking to me we don't
have to talk. I won't lose sleep
over it," Dave turned to leave.
"No wait, I didn't
mean that. Say what you wanted to say."
reminds me, how have you explained your thespian
activities to your
"Thespian? Ewww, I'm not a thespian,
I like boys."
"Quinn, thespian, not lesbian,
Quinn's face colored, "Oh, heh,
right, thespian, an actor,
"Well, how have you explained it to
"They, uh, don't really
"How'd you manage
"I told them Mr. O'Neill forced me into
working on an
after school project. I just didn't
elaborate on what the project was. That and rehearsals haven't conflicted with any Fashion
"You know the two
are going to collide at some point."
deal with it when it happens," Quinn said
"Didn't you say something about an
did some asking around and I guess
I was wrong about
"How so?" Quinn asked
"My sources tell me you have made a
to academics and it was wrong
of me to blow you off like that. And for that I'm sorry."
"We can't all be perfect," Quinn
"Nor can we all have as
interesting a summer as some of
us have had," Dave said
"What's that supposed to
"Oh nothing, just that some people met
individuals than I did."
no, I didn't," Quinn frowned, not following Dave
"That's funny, my sources tell me
"Dammit, you're not making a damn
bit of sense, what the
hell did your 'sources' tell
"That you had a torrid affair with a
person who has a
"We did not have an affair!" Quinn
told you that?"
just seemed like a good way to fish for
Quinn sighed, "What have you
"Just that you had a tutor over
the summer who's name
"Not really, although could you explain
to me why people
think we're about to date? Ever
since school started up this year I've had folks walk up to me ask as me how you're doing."
"What do you tell
"I say I couldn't tell em, but I feel
fine thanks for
asking," Dave said with a
"Heh, uh, well, you see David...that
"You went out with
"No!" Quinn said
"But he asked?"
"You did? You had a thing for your
"So, what's the problem with that?
Yes, I liked my tutor,
asked a guy with the same name to tutor
"No it's not, you helped me out in
Dave nodded, "That I
"And it was nothing more that a big
coincidence that my
tutor from the summer also is
named David. Besides, the two of you are like, completely different."
"Yeah, he's like, not afraid to wear
his glasses, unlike
you and your contacts. He's nice,
smart, dresses...well neatly at least. You're none of those things, well except for the smart
"I do, now can we please not talk
about David, I'd rather
not think about it."
sighed, "Ok, I'm sorry I brought it up. I can see
you're sensitive about,
and I haven't exactly behaved in a mature manner..."
"You talked to Daria about
it didn't you?"
"Uhm, I can't
"You knew the real story the whole
"Er, the possibility
"You asshole, why on earth would you
lie like that?"
Dave shrugged, "It seemed like
the best way to see if
Daria was telling the truth. Though in
hindsight that probably wasn't the swiftest move I've ever made."
"But come on, look at it from my
perspective. You fall
for your tutor, whose name is David? What are
"I didn't plan on it happening,
besides David doesn't
care about me so what's it
Dave frowned, "Er, ok, while I
sympathize with your problem
I don't see what it has to do
with my apology."
"Huh?" Quinn asked,
"Well, I thought...Uhm,
why don't we just drop
"Now that's a good
"Excellent, also as a way of making
amends I'd like to
offer my assistance with your schoolwork, if
you're still interested.
Strictly on an as my schedule permits basis
" I'm sure I could use a little
help every now and then."
"Ok, just let me
know when you need some help and I'll
see what I can
"I'll do that," Quinn looked at a
clock mounted on
the wall. "Well, I'm late for class, I'd better
Quinn started to walk away. "Bye Dave,"
She said over
"Bye Quinn," Dave
watched Quinn depart before opening
the door to the auditorium and
Later that day, after school, Daria and Jane were walking
the school. "So, reach a
decision yet?" Daria asked.
Jane nodded, "Yeah, I
stick it out with the theater, I figure I owe it
"Plus you talked to Mr. O'Neill and
learned the extra
credit was contingent on you taking
part in the whole production."
too," Jane admitted. "But even
if that wasn't the case I'd
have stuck around. I
mean I get to impart my artistic vision onto something everyone will see."
the parents of the people in the play. That still
"So long as you don't place an
amount on that value I
whatever it is Tom sees in you I just fail
"I'll tell you when you're
Jane stopped suddenly, "Daria, veiled
from you. I don't believe it, you're
growing up so fast," she sniffed back mock tears.
discovered it drives my parents batty, how could
Jane chuckled, "It all makes
perfect sense now."
She resumed walking, "So have any hot
dates on tap tonight?"
Daria shook her head,
"Tom has to attend some fund raiser,
I avoided it by the skin of
"Want to come hang out at my
house when I'm done with
They stopped in front of the
door to the theater. "You're
welcome to hang out here if you
want," Jane offered.
"That sounds too
much like participation to me, I think
"You can watch Quinn make a fool of
"Why didn't you say so in the first
"I was hoping you were enough of a
friend that I didn't
have to use sibling humiliation as an
"You should know the answer
to that by now. There are
certain things I'll only do if the
humiliation of Quinn is involved."
yes, how silly of me."
They entered the theater.
"So where can I sit?" Daria
deadpanned as she stood
the empty auditorium.
seat, any seat. Though I recommend one in the
back. Less chance of
you and making you stage manager or something."
"Thanks for the tip," Daria
said. "Isn't that
Ryan?" Daria pointed at a lone figure on
"Why so it is, make yourself
comfortable, I have to talk
to him." Jane walked down to the
stage, leaving Daria behind.
"Sure, I don't
mind," Daria said to herself as she
took a seat and retrieved a
book from her
Ryan looked up from the set piece he was fussing over and saw
Jane coming towards him.
"Hey Jane, how you doing?"
know what they say, time heals all." She
leaned against the set
"Oh really, that's good to hear. Have you
made up your
mind about staying with
can't get rid of me that easily."
staying?" Ryan asked, a grin on his face.
shrugged, "Yeah, I guess so."
particular reason why?"
"I felt like I owed
you people my time, it seemed silly
to quit this far into the
she trailed off.
Ryan shook his head, "No, there's
more, I can tell."
Jane sighed, "This will
only serve to make your head more
bloated, but you were also a
reason for me to stay."
"Yes, but a very small factor, tiny,
She held her thumb and index finger close
together to illustrate her point.
the damage is done, I know you care about
"Well in that case in for a penny, in for
Jane grabbed Ryan and pulled him into a
"Wow," Ryan said when they came up
for air. "So
I guess this would be a good time to ask
you out?" He asked playfully as he hugged her.
"Yeah, could be," Jane laughed,
"Just not tonight."
"No, Daria is coming over to my
house and we're going
to hang out."
can't ditch her?"
"Hell no, this is important
to me. Ryan, I really like
you, but Daria's my best friend, right
now she comes first. Although I will be free the rest of the week. Besides, you've got me
for the rest of rehearsal."
"That's an excellent point. Come
on, there's something
in the Tiki Room I have to
"You sly dog. I like your style,"
Jane said appreciatively.
The two linked arms and walked
up towards the booth. Jane waved to Daria as they walked past. "Don't wait up for me."
"Yes, I'd be delighted to meet your new
friend, hi I'm Daria
"Oh hell, Ryan meet Daria,
Daria this is Ryan."
"Hi Daria, it's good to
finally meet you. Jane's told
me a lot about you, most of it's
"Whatever she says is not true. Jane's
a compulsive liar,
and a kleptomaniac, she's got very
"Oh kind of like circus
know, carnies, you can't trust 'em, they've got
"Run that by me
"Don't bother," Jane cut in,
"he thinks he's
Mike Myers, that's
"Hopefully not the knife-wielding
"Hey, I do not think I'm Mike
"No, you just mimic his every
"The truth hurts, and so do
I'm standing right here," Daria said
"Oh sorry, I forgot. See Daria here hates
people act human around her," Jane
told Ryan lightly. "Unless of course she's around Tom, then all bets are off."
"You're going to pay for that one
"Just try, I've got a big strong man
here to hide behind,"
"Yeah, you've got to get through me to
get to her,"
Ryan said threateningly.
have to kill you too, makes no difference to me,"
Daria said in
an offhand manner.
"I'll defend the fair Jane down
to my last breath."
"You're just saying that
because Jane's standing right
"Of course he's saying that because I'm
here, but it's
still endearing," Jane said before
"That reminds me, weren't we going
"That we were, bye
Daria. See you after the rehearsal?"
thoughtful for a moment. "Give me a call
when you get
Daria shook her head, "I don't think
"Not even to see
"No, it's tempting, but I don't think
I can take the mental
abuse right now."
if you insist, but it's your loss."
"Look, if you really want me to I'll
stick around, but
watching a high school play's rehearsal
is not my idea of a fun time."
"Then why'd you agree
to come in here in the first place?"
rays?" Daria said lamely.
"Uh-huh, I think
you're just uncomfortable because you
think that Ryan and I are going
make out somewhere in the theater."
"Aren't we?" Ryan asked. Jane
elbowed him to keep
"That would be
pretty childish of me if it was true."
"Of course it's not so I'll be
if it really doesn't bother you then sit
"And I can't decline
because it's going to suck?"
"You were more
than happy to be here before you saw Ryan
"I..." Daria started to
protest before realizing
she was stuck. "Ok fine, I'll sit
damn rehearsal. But I'd like to go on record and say that this is the modern equivalent of
trial by water, no matter the outcome I'm screwed."
screwed, Tom's not around. Unless you've got
some sort of secret life
"You will rue that
remark Jane, mark my words."
"Blah, blah, less
talk, more sit," Jane replied cheerfully.
"See you after
took Ryan's hand and they walked off.
"That was pretty nasty of you," Ryan
Jane shrugged, "Maybe, but it was fun to
buttons like that. Trust me, she
wanted me to do that."
"You've got a weird ass friend
"Less talk, more
Daria leaned back in her chair and tried
to focus on her book
as the rehearsal went on
around her. "Why are you still here?" She asked herself. "What does it matter if Jane
thinks I can't handle the thought of her making out with Ryan. Come to think of it, why
should that bother me? It doesn't, so why am I here?" Daria stood to leave.
"Oh Quinn," O'Neill called out,
"Are you ready
to try that Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard scene
"Ah yes, that would be the
reason," Daria thought
as she sat back down in her
Quinn walked onto the stage with two other cast members. From the looks on their faces
Daria could tell they expected this to take a while.
"Ok, let's take it from the
top, and go."
"Ok, Mr. Ogmore, Mr. Pritchard,
what do we do first to
get ready to go to bed?" Quinn
Daria watched on as Quinn proceeded to
recite the scene with
a high degree of accuracy,
and in the properly imperious tone.
"Quinn, that was very
good," O'Neill said when the
scene finished. "Did you and
work on your lines like I suggested?"
"No, Dave doesn't know anything
about acting," Quinn
said bluntly. "But Ann was quite
helpful." Quinn looked over at Ann who gave Quinn a thumbs up.
"Well damn, that was
anti-climactic," Daria thought
to herself as she stood up and
out of the theater. "Now there's definitely no reason to stick around."
"Ok people, lets move
on to Organ Morgan's next appearance."
Daria heard O'Neill say
she shut the door to the theater behind her.
P>Later that evening Daria was thumbing through the newspaper
living room when the
"How long did you stick around?" Jane
"Long enough to see Quinn not make an ass of
"Who'd know she'd get competent help
from a Lawndale student?"
"Come on, let's go
up to my room." They started up
the stairs. "Nice hickey by
Jane slapped a hand to her neck.
"Heh, uh, you know how
it goes in the Tiki
"No, I don't, nor do I want to
Jane chuckled, "Ask Tom when you're
older, I'm sure he'd
love to show you."
to say he hasn't," Daria said
"Daria, why didn'y you tell me...no
what it's probably
better that I don't know, some images are
just too weird."
"I agree, I propose we
don't talk about this again...ever."
"I love parliamentary
procedure," Jane quipped. They
walked into Daria's room.
'Sick Sad World' is on?"
"There's always a 'Sick Sad World' on,
just look out your
window." Daria turned on the
"Fish playing hockey? Grouper
goalies next on Sick Sad
"I think it's
a law of nature or something," Jane
mused, "Like the
"It's very simple, at any given
time there is a TV station
showing an episode of
"No, that's stupid," Jane
pointed at the TV, "the
MacGyver Principle is
can we watch the stupid TV?"
lapsed into silence until the next commercial
break. "Ok, let me
see if I have
this straight. You lost your faith in your artistic ability and gave up art."
"So in a
fit of depression you volunteered to work on
you met a guy you like."
"Then you re-discovered your artistic
"So now you're back to painting,
you've got a new boyfriend,
but you're still attached to the
"Can't win em
"Did I forget
"No, that pretty well sums it
"Ok, so what's the
"The moral, lesson, nugget of wisdom.
What can we learn
"Daria," Jane asked, "Does
everything have to
have a moral behind it?"
thought for a moment, then shook her head. "I
"Good because the show's back. Now
shut up and let me
watch." Jane leaned back against
Daria's bed and smiled.
The Song that Jane
And in plays to write the wire in
I'll come back again
Torching time talking rhymes in
I'll come back again
Would you like to play
With the thought of a friend
In a distant passing stage
While you lie around
With your hands up and out
So resigned you will fall down
While you around here play
Wild on the warm and far away
While you around here play
The days keep scribbling themselves in tidy lines
Would you like to play
With a fool holding hands
With a one-eyed jack of spades
While on the deck they sing
All of the captain's cards are kings
Still he and the queen are lost at sea
I hope it isn't you or me
And I'll be back 'round again
Yes I'll walk in time with you old friend
And we'll find that place
That we had danced in so long ago
And in plays to write the wire in
I'll come back again
Torching time talking rhymes in
I'll come back again
With this resigned the letter I sign.
Why, please tell us why? --Not much I feel like saying after this one. Suffice to say I'm one of those people who felt that Jane was in a much darker place in IIFY than the shows painted her. Such that the dinky little "pick-me-up" speech Daria gave her would not be enough to improve her mood. This is just one possible outcome of that dark mood. Hope it jibes sufficiently with the character we all know and love.
What's with all these people? --Is it a Daria fan-fic if the main characters are secondary characters? Good question, yeah, there are a lot of author-invented characters here. But they had to be. The problem with writing a story that involves some aspect of LHS that we haven't seen is that none of the cast are believable participants with those activities. It would require quite a bit of fast-and-loose with the characterizations to get them all into the play. Thus the need for new characters. One of these days I'll write a story that only involves the cast.
The story you are about to see...--The main reason I wrote this one is because I had a bank of great anecdotes from my time as a light tech in high school theater that I wanted to use in a Daria story. Everything theater related pretty much actually happened, especially "Leroy" and the gobo bit. In fact I left out a couple bits for time considerations. Also, yes Mike, Greg, Ann, and Ryan are all loosely based on fellow crew members. If any of them for whatever reason read this and realize that they are involved, uh, I'm sorry it's all in the spirit of good fun.
Why Quinn? --No real
good reason for Quinn's involvement, I
did want to address that whole
David versus Dave Wylie thing.
Obnoxious that I made a character who
has some similarities to
the infamous tutor of IIFY, but you've got
to make lemonade out
of those lemons and I realized that it made for
of some interesting interaction between Dave and
Quinn. Now what
might happen if David shows up
Where's the play? --There's a very good reason
the story ends
before the actual production. Namely, I used the play
Milkwood" because it was the last play I've seen. I
pretty much no recollection of any of the lines, and it was
increasingly difficult to write the story and not reference
play. So I just left room for a sequel and ended in the middle
the production. Plus it kind of fits with the "must there
moral?" theme at the end.
Special thanks to all the kind souls who offered to beta read this behemoth, your input was most valuable. Thanks to everyone who reads this humble work, I hope it amuses when it should, provides points to ponder when it should, and generally makes your day that much morepleasant.