daria

daria

in

"Community Disservice"

NOTES:

This is a fifth-season story, taking place before "Fizz Ed" (October, to be precise). For those who have read it, it also takes place just after my story "Is Summer Over Already?" but for the most part the goings-on in that fic won't be referred to in this one, so there's no need to worry about reading that one first (I do ask you to read it just for the sake of doing so, however). I prefer each of my stories to stand alone.

However, readers may understand some of the references better if they've seen the following episodes:

"The Old and the Beautiful"

"Speedtrapped"

"Is It Fall Yet?"

part one

INT: O'Neill's classroom

Mr. O'Neill is "teaching" while the students show their usual bored indifference. Daria and Jane sit near the front.

O'Neill: Before we get started on "A Tale of Two Cities" I wanted to ask the class about some of our feelings upon completing "Wuthering Heights". I know it was a very… emotional tale, and some of our more sensitive students might have come away from it feeling a bit… shall we say, disturbed.

Daria: (to Jane) "Disturbed." Yes, I think that describes some of us very well.

O'Neill: Jane!

Jane: What the hell did I do?

O'Neill: You're an artist, Jane, and so you must be very in touch with your deepest emotions. How did this book make you feel?

Jane: I'd have to go with… sleepy.

O'Neill: Huh?

Jane: (sighs) I don't know, Mr. O'Neill… I just couldn't identify with the lead character. I found it really hard to put myself in that kind of position, and really relate to the story. It's… kind of troubling, really.

O'Neill: Oh, that's a shame. I'll leave you to sort out your inner turmoil. Anyone else?

Daria: (whispers) Nice save.

Jane: You don't go through self-esteem class seven times with this guy without learning what the right things to say are.

O'Neill: Moving along – Heathcliffe is often described as a Byronic Hero. Kevin, what do you think this means?

Kevin: Whoa, you mean he had a mechanical arm or something? Man, now I wish I'd read the book!

Jane: You know, he can actually be kind of entertaining to watch, in a monkey-at-the-zoo kind of way.

Daria: Unfortunately, there's a drawback.

Jane: What?

O'Neill: Daria, what are your thoughts on Wuthering Heights?

Daria: (to Jane) That.

Before Daria can speak, Ms. Li barges into the classroom.

Jane: Saved!

Daria: Guess again.

Ms. Li: Students, I have wonderful news!

Jane: (aside) Ooch, this can't be good.

Ms. Li: In cooperation with many different worthwhile organizations here in Laaawndale, your school has embarked upon an innovative and forward-thinking new program that, I am sure, will inspire our students to maximize their potential as citizens and as human beings.

Daria: (aside) She's been reading that list of power words again.

Jane: (aside) How intriguing and progressive of her.

Ms. Li: This program will be called "Laaawndale Outreach!" It will be a chance for you young people to bond with your community, by performing various acts of community service throughout this, er, community.

Daria: (aside) I'm feeling more communal all the time.

Jane: (aside) Da, comrade.

Ms. Li: Furthermore, the state is offering a grant to the school which shows the most dedication to the service of its community.

Daria: (aside) Ah. Funds. This all makes sense now.

Ms. Li: So, today after class, students will be asked to come down to the main office and sign up for a community service assignment.

Daria: (aloud) "Asked" as in "Compelled"?

Ms. Li: Let's have none of your backtalk, Miss Morgendorffer! Of course, participation is strictly voluntary, except in select cases where students do not choose to volunteer. However I fail to see why any student would choose not to participate in this wonderful program, which is sure to teach valuable skills to the students of Laaawndale High, foster bonding with the city of Laaawndale, and give pride to the citizens of Laaawndale.

Daria: (aside) If she says "Laaawndale" one more time, I'll gnaw my own leg off.

Jane: (aside) Save me a drumstick?

Ms. Li: In addition, students involved in the program will receive Participation Credit, without which you cannot graduate.

Daria: Excuse me? What the hell is "Participation Credit?"

Ms. Li: It was all explained in the School Review Meeting held last Sunday. Handouts were given to attendees.

Jane: Both of them?

Ms. Li: Here at Laaawndale High, we recognize the need for students to experience the, quote, "Real World."

Jane: I don't get cable at my house.

Ms. Li: I should think you would all be thrilled to be presented with such an opportunity to help others in your town.

Daria: As a former participant in "Awareness of Others Week", I suggest that I've done my part and it's time to pass the torch to the underclassmen.

Ms. Li: (ignoring her) Remember! Sign up today at three o'clock! Carry on, Mr. O'Neill. (exits)

O'Neill: Well! What an exciting opportunity! I hope that you all take advantage of it and learn one of life's most valuable lessons: that great feeling you get when you give of yourself.

Daria: We learned all about that in Health class last year.

Mr. O'Neill goes red with embarrassment. Fortunately for him the bell rings. Everyone grabs up their books and makes for the door.

Daria: Come on, let's get to that sign-up sheet.

Jane: Quite the little joiner, aren't we?

Daria: Remember what happened last time?

Jane: (getting up quickly) I rather enjoyed it myself, but for your sake, let's move.

INT: Hallway

Sandi and Stacy are leaving class together.

Sandi: I can't believe this. The Fashion Club is a community service in and of itself. We should be exempt from this kind of thing.

Stacy: You are so right Sandi!

Sandi: Of course I am. Someday, they'll see that.

Stacy: Uh-oh. There's a bunch of people going for the sign-up sheet. Shouldn't we hurry?

Sandi: I'll tell you what, Stacy. Why don't you run in there and sign us both up for something? There's no reason we both have to scramble through that crowd.

Stacy: Oh… but, Sandi, I don't think I should pick for you, I mean, what if I pick the wrong thing?

Sandi: I have complete confidence in you, Stacy. Besides, as President of the Fashion Club, it is my duty to delegate responsibility. Go now, quickly!

Stacy: Ohhh! I bet I get all sweaty! (Stacy takes a deep breath, holds it, and plunges into the crowd that's rapidly forming around the sign-up lists)

Sandi: And don't sign up for clothes donation! (shudders) Never again…

CUT TO: Quinn and Tiffany, leaving a different class.

Quinn: Don't worry, Tiffany, I'll make sure we get something good. As Vice-President of the Fashion Club, it's my duty to take responsibility.

Tiffany: You're sooo smart, Quinn…

Quinn: But I'm not like, you know, a brain or anything!

Tiffany: Of course not…

Quinn: All right, so I'm trying harder and getting better grades and stuff, but I'm still the same Quinn!

Tiffany: There's a different girl named Quinn? Where?

Quinn: Look, I'll prove it to you! (she spots the three J's) Joey? Jeffy? Simon?

Joey: Hi Quinn!

Jeffy: Hey, Quinn!

Jamie: (whiny) Quinn! That wasn't even close!

Quinn: Sure, Johnny. Listen, could you guys do me a favor? I can't get to the sign-up sheet because there are too many people in the way.

Joey: I'll get 'em out of the way!

Jeffy: I'd move mountains for you, Quinn!

Jamie: Life sucks. (Quinn bats her eyelashes at him) Whatever you want, Quinn!

The three J's plow forcefully into the crowd, leaving a hole in their wake and getting a lot of people very angry.

Quinn: You guys are the best! (she strides into the gap left behind by the J's and makes her way straight to the sign-up sheet) Let's see here… parks and recreation maintenance, not! Serving food to the homeless… yeah, right. Clothes donation drive – oh God, never again! Reading to day-care students… ick. Here we go! Animal Shelter Volunteer! All those cute little puppies and kitties need me… hey Tiffany, I found a good one!

Quinn signs her name and Tiffany's to the list, then moves back out of the crowd, which crushes behind her as the three J's lose their footing and are practically trampled.

CUT TO: Jane and Daria, arriving on the scene.

Jane: Did you ever want to see what would really happen if you went into a crowded room and yelled "Fire!"

Daria: Tempting… but I suggest we use more subtle methods. Just follow my lead.

Jane: I leave it in your capable hands.

Daria leads Jane into the crowd

Daria: (loudly) Say, Jane, isn't this where they're having the signups for the ballet team?

Assorted Football Players: WHAT?? (they run for it)

Jane: No, I'm pretty sure that this is the Chess Team tryouts!

Several Other Students: NO WAY!! (more students run for it)

Daria: Wait, I've got it! This is the line for summer school!

Many more students stampede out of the way.

Daria: That thinned the herd a bit. Let's go.

Jane: I'm lost in admiration.

They move forward to sign up.

Daria: (looking over the sheet) Hm.

Jane: Not much to choose from. Ballet team might have been preferable. Wait, here's a good one! (she signs her name)

Daria: What is it?

Jane: Graffiti removal! Closest thing to painting they've got. Unfortunately, there's only one opening left.

Daria: I'm heartbroken. (sigh) Let's face it, there's nothing actually appealing here. (she signs her name)

Jane: (looking over) What did you pick?

Daria: I'll tell you later. The crowd's coming back, I suggest we make a hasty exit.

They leave just as the crowd crushes against the tables again.

INT: Pizza Prince

Jane and Daria sip cokes while waiting for their pizza. Trent moseys in and takes a seat next to Jane.

Trent: Hey, Jane. Hey, Daria. What's going on?

Daria: The usual zaniness.

Trent: Where's Tom today?

Daria: He's out of town for a while. His parents are making him check out a few Ivy-league colleges. Judging by his experiences, I can thank my lucky stars that my parents can't afford to fly me around the country doing the same thing.

Jane: Yeah, lucky you. You get to go to Middleton.

Daria: And on that day, Satan will be going to work in a snow plow.

Jane picks up a paper in front of her and glances over it.

Trent: What's that? You doing homework or something?

Jane: Trent, how long have we known each other?

Daria: It's Ms. Li's latest scheme. We're all doing community service projects. Ms. Li provides a free source of slave labor, in return for which she gets kickbacks.

Trent: Whoa. Ever see the Shawshank Redemption?

Daria: There's a difference here. In prison, there's a chance to escape.

Jane: I signed up for graffiti removal. This is a list of some of the more defaced areas of town. I picked it up on the way over here.

Trent: Cool. What did you get, Daria?

Daria: I'm assisting at an elementary school for gifted and talented kids.

Jane: What do they need tutoring for, if they're so damn smart?

Daria: The way I see it, if that's the case, I get off easy. And if not, I get to mold the minds of our future leaders. It's a win-win situation.

Jane: Daria, when will you learn? Since when did you have a win-win situation that worked to your advantage in the end?

Silence.

Jane: While you're thinking about that, could we get some pizza? I need some Canadian bacon.

INT: Cranberry Commons, Food Court

Quinn and Tiffany are sitting together over salads and tiny sodas.

Quinn: So then I said, Look lady, if you're all out of salmon pink lip gloss, don't think for a moment that you can get me to buy melon pink lip gloss and think it's the same thing, because not only do I have a flawless color sense but I was not born yesterday and I'm not going to be taken in by your fast sales talk, and she just had nothing to say to that so I turned on my heel and walked straight out of there.

Tiffany: Wow, Quinn, you really –

Quinn: So then I just went over to Blushes and Brushes and they had just gotten a whole new box of salmon pink lip gloss and that glittery eyeshadow right off the truck that morning so I was the first one to dip into the box, but I only got a half-dozen of each because who knows what I'd do with it next month when everything points to darker reds coming back in.

Tiffany: Really, that's –

Quinn: Anyway, I'm so glad that we're going in together on this project because it's going to be so great helping all those cute little animals find homes and besides, I really like talking to you, Tiffany.

Tiffany: Sure, Quinn. (sees Sandi and Stacy approaching, and looks happy and relieved) Hey, guys! It's really great to see you…

Stacy: (ignoring Tiffany) I'm really sorry, Sandi! I'm really, really, really, really sorry!

Sandi: For the last time, Stacy, just let it go!

Quinn: What happened?

Stacy: It's like this –

Sandi: (interrupting) Stacy signed us both up to assist in the annual quilting bee at the Better Days Nursing Home.

Stacy: (crying) It said there would be fabric samples! Fabric samples, Sandi!

Quinn: Oh, Sandi, that's a shame. But look on the bright side! You'll learn so much about sewing, maybe you can make your own outfits instead of having to go to Cashman's all the time! (smirks)

Sandi: (scowling) And what, if I may ask, is your contribution to the community this year?

Quinn: Oh, Tiffany and I are volunteering at the animal shelter! We're going to help all those adorable little animals find a home.

Stacy: (stops crying) Really? That's so nice, Quinn!

Sandi: Too bad we'll be sewing quilts all day. Think of all the animals that won't ever find homes because we won't be there to help them.

With a loud bawl, Stacy resumes crying. Quinn and Tiffany glare at Sandi, who glares back for a moment. Then she notices that a number of other people, some of them Lawndale students, who have taken note of Stacy's distress, also glaring at her. Realizing that she may have gone too far, she gets a slightly ashamed look on her face.

Quinn: (getting up) Come on, Stacy. Let's go to the bathroom and fix your makeup. We can't have people seeing a member of the club go all to pieces.

Stacy: (blubbering) It s-said there would be f-fabric, Quinn.

Quinn: There, there now… it'll be all right.

Tiffany and Sandi sit in awkward silence for a bit.

Tiffany: Um… I need another soda. (she leaves)

Sandi watches her go, and then slumps onto the table, her chin resting on her hand. Glancing around, she sees the crowd mostly going back to their business. She also notices Jodie, who focuses back down at a newspaper just after Sandi notices her disapproving look.

Sandi: What are you looking at?

Jodie: (not looking up) Do you really want to know?

Sandi: (getting riled up) Hey, how I handle Stacy is none of your business!

Jodie: I didn't say anything.

Sandi: Go on, tell me what you really think. That I'm a cast-iron bitch who treats her friends like dirt.

Jodie: (finally looking up, and getting ready to leave) Sounds like I don't need to tell you. (she exits)

Sandi looks like she's about to say something, then collapses with an air of defeat.

INT: Quinn's room

Quinn's on the phone.

Quinn: God, that was so embarrassing! I mean, her mascara was running all down her cheeks and everything, she didn't even want to leave the bathroom.

Tiffany: (from phone) I know…

Quinn: So, what happened to Sandi?

Tiffany: She just left…

Quinn: That's weird. Anyway, it's probably just as well, I think Stacy would have started crying again as soon as she saw her. So, what do you think we should wear to the animal shelter?

Tiffany: Hmm… that's hard, you know? I mean, we don't know what colors the animals will be…

Quinn: It's something to think about. (-click-) I'm getting another call, Tiffany, I'll see you tomorrow.

Tiffany: Okay, Quinn… bye –

Quinn cuts her off by clicking over

Quinn: Hello? Oh hi, Sandi. (a little less enthusiastic than usual)

Split-screen

Sandi: Hi Quinn. Listen, I hope you don't mind that I had to run off like that… I, um, had an eyelash in my eye or something.

Quinn: Sure, Sandi. These things happen.

Sandi: Um, Quinn? You don't think I was too hard on Stacy, do you?

Quinn: Um… well… Stacy's just so tenderhearted, you know?

Sandi: I wouldn't want her to feel too bad about the whole quilting thing. I mean, it was just a misunderstanding.

Quinn: Yeah, well, she feels really bad about it.

Sandi: Uh, yeah. Well, I should go now.

Quinn: Sure, Sandi.

Sandi: I'll see you tomorrow. (hangs up)

Quinn: (also hangs up) What a bitch.

Daria: (standing in the doorway) Talking to your friends again?

Quinn: Eep! Daria, don't do that!

Daria: If you're finally off the phone, I want to call Tom.

Quinn: Daria, wait.

Daria: (sigh) Yes, Quinn?

Quinn: Did you ever know someone that you'd been hanging around with for a while, and although you knew she had a bit of an attitude at first, you thought you could live with it, and after a while it just got worse until you begin to wonder why you stay around because she just gets on your nerves?

Daria: Actually, I feel that way right now.

Quinn: Fine, just go call your little boyfriend! (chucks smiley pillow at Daria and misses)

Daria: Quinn, if Sandi's getting on your case, just tell her off. You're smarter than she is, you should be able to take her on in any verbal volleyball match.

Quinn: It's not me, Daria. It's Stacy! I feel so bad about how Sandi treats her!

Daria: If Stacy's decided to be a doormat, there's nothing you can do for her. She has to figure it out for herself. Just make sure you're there for her if you want her to have someone to turn to when she needs it. (she leaves)

Quinn: (sighs) Thanks Daria.

Quinn turns to the wall, deep in thought, until she's startled by the smiley pillow hitting her gently in the back. She starts to get mad, then realizes Daria didn't throw it very hard, and smirks a bit before going back to her brooding.

The Next Day...

EXT: Lawndale Learning and Growing Facility for the Gifted and Talented

The school is an old brick building, two stories tall, with a playground out back.

INT: Classroom

Daria walks into the classroom, and stops in the doorway.

Daria: Ah. The ninth circle of Hell.

The classroom is, in a word, untidy. The usual student desks and molded plastic chairs are present, but strewn about in a way that suggests that they were dropped from a great height and let scatter where they may. The walls are decorated with what is probably student art, and it makes Jane's stuff look tame by comparison. In addition, there are a number of animal cages with the tops off, and only about half of them still have the animals inside. The kids are engaged in various activities, including creating more hideous works of "art", playing with the animals, reading, writing, pulled into discussion groups, etc. There are about thirty of them and two adults, one of whom perks up and notices Daria.

Teacher: Oh, you must be Daria!

Daria: I suppose it would be pointless to deny it at this stage.

Teacher: Please, come in. I'm Marge, and I'm one of the coordinators of the Blue group.

Daria: Good. I'm feeling a little blue about this myself. (a minor explosion from a nearby chemistry kit makes her jump) What's going on, is this recess or something?

Marge: Oh no, we don't artificially structure the day in this facility. Our children are permitted to learn when they choose, teach when they choose, and recreate when they choose.

Daria: Does that mean I can go home when I choose?

Marge: (not paying attention) In this way, each learns at her or his own pace and at those times best suited to themselves. Come, let me introduce you to the people you'll be sharing your time with. This is Gordon, he is the other Blue coordinator.

Gordon: Hello, Daria. It's wonderful that you could be here with us. Perhaps you could join our discussion of the cultural mores during the Wan-Chu Dynasty once you get settled.

Daria: (looks at the kindergarten-aged kids involved in the discussion) That's a little unsettling right there, actually.

Marge: Oh, and this is Lester, one of our promising young poets.

Lester's about six years old.

Daria: Hey, Lester.

Lester: I sense the weight of personal regret heavy on your bosom.

Daria: Excuse me?

Marge: Oh, and this is Elaine.

Elaine (a twelve-year old girl) twirls over to Daria, makes a graceful curtsey, then spins on her toes in the other direction, letting her long hair drape over Daria's shoulder as she does so.

Marge: Elaine is experimenting with communicating through interpretive dance. She just said how nice it was to meet you, and she hopes you'll become good friends.

Daria: How does she dance to people she doesn't like?

Marge: You'll have a chance to meet everyone as time goes on, of course, but it's best that they introduce themselves in their own time.

Daria: As long as no one is communicating through the use of blunt objects, I think I can handle that.

Marge: Wonderful! I'm going to leave you to find your own potential as Coordinating Assistant. Feel free to join any of the discussions you see, or facilitate learning and growth wherever you can lend a hand.

Daria: Can't wait.

Marge goes back to her group of students. Daria stands in the middle of the room for a bit, looking at the scene around her with deadpan eyes. There's a tug on her sleeve. Daria looks down to see a little girl holding a large white rat.

Daria: Yes?

Girl: He peed on me.

EXT: City Hall

Jane and someone in coveralls with a clipboard stand in front of a brick wall that's been liberally defaced with spraypaint.

Floyd: (that's his name) Okay, Jen, let me give you the lowdown on this graffiti thing.

Jane: It's Jane.

Floyd: Sure. Anyway, you start with this wall, go around the civic center until you get all this crap painted over. Then we'll head over to Lawndale Commons, and you can do the same thing there.

Jane: Easy enough.

Floyd: Here's a gallon of white and a roller. Have fun.

Jane: Excuse me, I don't paint with (shudders) rollers. I have some pride.

Floyd: You want to do half a mile of walls with a brush, I won't stop you.

Jane: (sigh) Van Gogh, forgive me. (she takes the roller between thumb and forefinger, holding it as far away from her as she can, and turns to start on the wall) Wow, look at this stuff. Hey, did anyone take a picture of this?

Floyd: No, and we didn't take pictures of the landfill before the Director of Public Works built his house on it, either. Just cover it up.

Jane: Yeah, but this is really cool. Look at this design. And this was all done with spraypaint?

Floyd: It's graffiti. Get rid of it.

Jane: It's art. I can't just destroy it!

Floyd: Hey, if you want to be an art critic, do it on your own time.

Jane: You don't get it, do you?

Floyd: Look, you can paint it white, or I'll get someone else to do it. It's no skin off my back.

Jane: Go find someone else, then. (she drops the roller and paint bucket and stalks off)

INT: Animal Shelter

A man (Mr. Clay) is giving Quinn and Tiffany the tour. Quinn's dressed primarily in browns, Tiffany in avocado leggings and a white shirt

Mr. Clay: This is where we keep the larger dogs. They need to be fed once a day, and make sure each of them always has something to chew on.

Quinn: Where are the cute animals?

Mr. Clay: Over here is the vet's office. We have trained people to take care of the sick animals, so you won't have to deal with that much. Over there is where we keep the cats.

Tiffany: Kitties… cool…

Mr. Clay: They generally get fed twice a day, but they won't usually eat everything in front of them all at once. Litterboxes should be changed once a day.

Tiffany: Why would you keep a box of trash in there with them?

Mr. Clay: (ignoring Tiffany) Moving right along, here's the smaller adult dogs, anything under twenty pounds. The puppies are in a different room.

Quinn is distracted by a poodle which is nosing the bars. She looks at the nametag.

Quinn: Hi, Snookums! Oh, aren't you precious!

The dog noses Quinn's offered hand and lets her scratch its head.

Quinn: That's a good puppy! (she takes a closer look at the nametag) Hey, this tag has tomorrow's date on it. Weird. Oh well, bye-bye Snookums!

Snookums whimpers a bit when Quinn leaves, then sits back down in the back of its cage.

Tiffany: (from up ahead) What's that?

Mr. Clay: It's a chinchilla.

Tiffany: Chin… Chin-chin… hmmm…

Quinn: Hey guys, wait up!

INT: Nursing Home

Sandi and Stacy come in through the front doors. Stacy looks as though she may start crying any moment, and Sandi looks worried about it and peeved about it at the same time. They are met by a nurse.

Sandi: Hello, I'm Sandi Griffin, this is Stacy Rowe. We're here to volunteer.

Nurse: Not for reading, I hope? Not to be rude, but our residents are very picky about the tone of voice that our readers have…

Sandi: (frowns) Exactly what is the matter with my voice?

Stacy: (small voice) We're here for quilting…

Nurse: Oh, wonderful! Come right this way. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get young people interested in the art of quilting.

Sandi: (glances at Stacy) I'm, um, sure it's fascinating.

Stacy: I didn't mean to, Sandi!

Sandi: It's all right, Stacy! You don't need to apologize any more, we're just going to make the best of it!

Stacy: It said (sniff) there would be fabric samples…

Sandi sighs with exasperation as they round a corner into the sewing room.

Nurse: Do either of you have sewing experience?

Stacy: I have some… I mean, I can sew a button and stuff…

Sandi: (hopefully) Out of curiosity, what if we don't?

Nurse: Oh, our residents would be happy to teach you, of course! Now, Sandi, this is Mrs. Peabody, you'll be working mostly with her.

Mrs. Peabody: Margaret? Is that you, dear?

Nurse: No, Mrs. Peabody, Margaret isn't here. (aside to Sandi) Mrs. Peabody always wanted a daughter, but she had eight boys instead. This week, she's been asking for her nonexistent daughter named Margaret. Don't be concerned if she wants you to call her "Mother".

Sandi: Umm…

Nurse: Stacy, over here is Ms. Chaney.

Stacy: Hi.

Ms. Chaney: Well, aren't you a pretty little thing?

Stacy: (shy smile) Um, thanks.

Ms. Chaney: Oh, but I'm being such a silly old woman, I'll bet you hear that all the time from the boys in school. You don't need to hear it from me too.

Stacy: (blushing) That's really nice of you to say, Ms. Chaney…

Ms. Chaney: Please dear, call me Janice. If we're going to be working together, we should be friendly with each other, don't you think so?

Stacy: Well, if you say so Ms Chan– Janice. (she giggles)

Ms. Chaney: Well dear, let's get right to work. I'm not getting any younger, and we need to finish this quilt before I head down the tunnel of light. I imagine that you have an excellent color sense, I can tell by your clothes.

Stacy blushes and smiles, unused to so many compliments.

Sandi, in the meantime, is speaking with Mrs. Peabody.

Sandi: So, do you have, like, fabric samples or something that we're supposed to be looking at?

Mrs. Peabody: Do you know that you have your father's nose, Margaret?

Sandi: I'm Sandi, Mrs. Peabody.

Mrs. Peabody: (a bit surprised) Oh! Forgive me, dearie, these eyes aren't what they used to be.

Sandi: It's quite all right.

Mrs. Peabody: You just look so much like your sister Margaret, it's hard to tell you apart.

Sandi rolls her eyes.

EXT: Highway

Kevin and Upchuck, both dressed in green coveralls, are standing by the roadside with a similarly dressed fat, balding man named Leon. Upchuck looks angry about something.

Leon: (talking around a cigar) Here's the drill, boys. Ten miles that way is the city limit. Pick up all the trash between here and there, bag it, and leave it to be collected the next morning. Any questions?

Kevin: (raising his hand) Yo, dude!

Leon: Yes?

Kevin: What are all these cars doing on our highway?

Leon: (Looks at Kevin as if he's a moron) Well, I'll tell you. A few years back, someone realized that driving on the highway was a lot less bumpy than driving on plain dirt, and the idea caught on. Any more stupid questions?

Kevin: No, I mean, isn't the highway, like, ours? I mean, we adopted it, right?

Leon: Huh?

Upchuck: Don't bother, he's dumber than the pavement he's standing on.

Kevin: Hey!

Leon: Whatever. Just pick up the trash and watch out for traffic, we've got enough roadkill around here. (He gets in his pickup and drive off).

Kevin: (to Upchuck) Dude! That was like, really uncool!

Upchuck: Don't you know what "Adopt-A-Highway" even means? It means we pick up trash and that's it! What kind of idiot signs up for this in the first place?

Kevin: Hey, maybe I'm not a straight C student like some people, but I know my rights! This highway is mine now!

Upchuck: Whatever.

Kevin: Hey, besides, if you're so smart, what are you doing here?

Upchuck: How should I know? I signed up to volunteer at the YWCA therapeutic massage clinic! Someone switched my name, and if I ever find out who…

A fast-food takeout bag flung from a passing car strikes upchuck in the head, splattering him with a ketchup-mustard mix. He grits his teeth and shakes his fist at the blue convertible from where the bag came.

INT: Blue Convertible

Ms. Barch: Enjoy your volunteer assignment, male scumbag! Ha Ha!

The next day...

EXT: Lawndale High

The lunch bell rings.

INT: Cafeteria

Daria and Jane sit at a table, picking at their food, not eating it.

Jane: Shouldn't we be talking about how our volunteering went, or something?

Daria: Sucked.

Jane: Ditto.

Silence.

Jane: So, why did yours suck so much?

Daria: It's like an entire room full of Guptys.

Jane: Ooch. Bummer.

Daria: They throw these kids together into this classroom with absolutely no boundaries whatsoever. I mean, I'm all for defying authority, but when there's no authority to defy, it kind of messes everything up, you know? Am I making sense?

Jane: Not really. Actually, it kind of sounds like growing up in my house.

Daria: So, what sucks about your gig?

Jane: They want me to paint over graffiti.

Pause.

Daria: (motions for more with one hand) And…

Jane: I don't want to.

Daria: Jane, forgive me if I seem obtuse, but what did you think "Graffiti Removal" actually meant? Did you think they would move the vandalized walls brick by brick to a museum and then rebuild them?

Jane: Yeah, I know, but I figured it would be a bunch of meaningless squiggles and hearts with "Kevin Luvs Brittany" misspelled in them. Some of this stuff is real, genuine art. Just because it's on a wall in spraypaint instead of on a canvas with oils, they call it vandalism.

Daria: The nerve of some people.

Jane: You don't understand, Daria. Being raised by bohemians has taught me some important things: don't eat anything that moves; ask for I.D. when presented with so-called long lost relatives; never let anyone into the house who's wearing a suit and tie; and, above all, respect art in all its forms. The images on these walls may be made by hoodlums with spraypaint, but they're talented hoodlums with spraypaint who, like it or not, added some much-needed character to our little burg. I've spent my life creating art. I can't just destroy it.

Daria: Jane, have you considered the consequences of failing to deliver on one of Ms. Li's pet projects during your senior year?

Jane: I can take it.

Daria: Can you take being in the same class as Quinn and her friends?

Jane shrugs.

Daria: Another year of Mr. DiMartino?

Jane looks doubtful.

Daria: Kevin and Brittany are probably going to flunk too, you know.

Jane: (shudders) That wall will be white by next Tuesday.

Daria: Atta girl.

Jodie approaches.

Jodie: Hey guys, mind if I sit here?

Daria: Before you say anything, be aware that we each already have one more extra-curricular than we'd ordinarily deem prudent.

Jodie: (a little miffed) Look, Mack's sitting with his football buddies. I just want a change of company for a bit.

Jane: Forgive my blunt friend. Have a seat.

Jodie: Thanks.

Daria: Sorry, Jodie.

Jodie: (shrugs) Eh. No big deal. So, how are things going with you two?

Daria and Jane: Sucks.

Jodie: Really? That's too bad. What are you doing for your volunteer project?

Jane: Reverse vandalism.

Daria: Remedial brainwashing.

Jodie: Oh yeah, Daria, you signed up for that Talanted and Gifted School. Funny, I'd think that would be interesting.

Daria: Picture this: Take Albert Einstein, Socrates, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin. Put them all together in a room with no rules, no limits, just a lot of opportunities to learn, grow, and discover new things.

Jodie: Sounds pretty cool.

Daria: Now replace the geniuses with a bunch of kids whose parents just thought they were brilliant because they could count higher than the Cookie Monster.

Jodie: Ew. I see your point. So, Jane, what did you really get?

Jane: Graffiti removal.

Jodie: Oh. Well, I can see why that would suck.

Daria: And what are you doing, if I may ask without seeming too interested?

Jodie: Oh, I'm volunteering at the soup kitchen, the crisis center, and I signed up for an internship at Congressman Sach's office. Extra credit, you know.

Jane: Good God, woman, don't you ever sleep?

Daria: Wait a minute. Aren't those all things you were doing anyway?

Jodie smirks and folds her arms across her chest in satisfaction.

Jane: I'll be damned.

Daria: I don't know whether to be impressed with your little scheme, or pity you for being in the position to pull it off in the first place.

Jodie: (sighs) I'm teetering between those two possibilities myself.

EXT: Lawndale High

Bell rings.

INT: Cafeteria

Sandi and Stacy sit at the popular table, in silence. Sandi looks vaguely uncomfortable, Stacy looks edgy and timid – in other words, normal.

Sandi: So…

Stacy: I'm really sorry, Sandi! I screwed up and got us a bad assignment and I'm just so, so sorry and it will never happen again!!

Sandi: (wincing) Stacy, people are looking at us!

Stacy: (whisper) I'm sorry!

Sandi: (sighs) Stacy, give it a rest! You don't have to apologize for everything, you know.

Stacy: I'm sorry!

Sandi rolls her eyes.

Quinn and Tiffany approach and sit down.

Quinn: Hi guys! What's new?

Sandi: Well, we were about to discuss the pros and cons of quilting, if we could just get past the sticky point of it being all Stacy's fault that we're doing it in the first place.

Stacy: I'm sor–

Sandi: (quickly interrupts) So, how are things at the pound?

Quinn: Oh, it's so great to be able to help all the cute little animals there!

Tiffany: I fed the chin-chinny…

Quinn: I mean, sure, some of them aren't so cute and little, but they just look at you with those big, sad eyes and your heart just melts, and you just want to bundle them in your arms and tell them everything is going to be all right…

Sandi glances over at Stacy, who's looking at her with big, sad eyes.

Quinn: So, how's quilting?

Stacy's eyes start to well up with tears, and her chin trembles.

Sandi: Well as I was saying, Stacy and I were just talking about that, and I was just about to tell her how it's, um… (mumbles) not as bad as I thought it would be?

Stacy: I'm really sor– huh? (she's fairly surprised)

Quinn: That's great, Sandi!

Tiffany: Really cool...

Stacy: But I thought – I mean, you didn't look like you were having a good time, with that woman who wanted you to call her mother and everything…

Sandi: Well, naturally, I wanted to… maintain a certain emotional distance. (growing confident as she continues her line of BS) I mean, after all, it would have been psychologically damaging to that poor woman if I had actually acted like her daughter, don't you think?

Quinn: That's so thoughtful of you Sandi.

Sandi: Are you implying that I'd ever be un-thoughtful?

Quinn: Of course not, Sandi!

Tiffany: You're a very thoughtful person…

Stacy: Um…

Sandi glares at her.

Stacy: Always thinking of others, that's Sandi!

Sandi tries to smile, but fails and looks glum. Even she's not so dense as to think any of it's true.

One Week Later…

INT: Lawndale Learning and Growing Facility for the Gifted and Talented

Daria is in a discussion with one of the "students" who is sitting on her feet.

Daria: Why must you do your paintings while sitting on my feet?

Marty: Why not?

Daria: It's annoying.

Marty: We're allowed to work wherever we want to.

Daria: And while I suppose I should be honored that you've chosen my feet, I still feel compelled to recommend one of the many chairs which have been placed in this classroom for just such an eventuality.

Marty: Your boots are really uncomfortable. Could you take them off?

Daria: I'm going to say this once, kid: Don't dis the boots. And if they're so uncomfortable, maybe that's a sign that you should go sit somewhere else. This place spent a lot of good money on chairs.

Lou Ann: (another student, overhearing) I just had a discussion with Gordon about experimental societies that don't use money.

Daria: Could we try to keep this discussion focused on alterative places to sit beyond my feet?

Lou Ann: Discussions should be allowed to evolve without constraint.

Marty: I think society would be better off without money.

Daria: Yes. That's an interesting thought. And if we had no money, there would be no campaigns for political office, since those are wholly dependent on money. Without politicians, we would need other sorts of leaders. Perhaps a leadership structure more like a corporation, with a board of directors, and a chairperson. The chairperson would likely sit in a chair of some kind, as opposed to someone else's feet. Why don't you try that, Marty?

Marty: You have a very closed mind.

Daria: Let me try this from another angle. The leg muscles are among the strongest voluntary muscles in the human body. I estimate you weigh approximately seventy pounds. How far do you think I could launch you across that carpet with a single kick?

Marty: (glares at Daria) Violence never solved anything.

Daria: Get off my damn feet.

Marge: (from the other end of the room) Children! If I may intrude upon your time, I'd like to introduce a new learner to our facility. Everyone say hello to Larry!

Link: (for it is he) My name is Link, you retard.

Daria: (suddenly interested) Link?

Link: (Rather surprised) Daria?

Marge: Oh, you two know each other? Isn't that wonderful! Daria, you can help with Link's introduction to the facility!

Link: (coming over to Daria) What are you doing here?

Daria: You know me. I'm a sucker for trendy new-age learning environments.

Link: So is my mother. She figured regular school isn't stimulating me enough. (mockingly) That's why I'm so down all the time. It couldn't possibly be because my stepfather's such a jerk and my damn mother spends every afternoon watching talk shows or that stupid Sick-Sad-whatever.

Daria: Um… sure. Well, I wish I could say that this place will work wonders for you, but so far it seems to me like "OK to Cry Corral" on amphetamines. I'll tell you what, though, I'll try to make it a little more tolerable for you while I'm here, if you could try to do the same for me. And look, there are thirty kids in this room, they can't all be flakes.

Link: (watching Elaine toe-dance around the carpet) Don't bet on that.

Daria: In the meantime, maybe you can help me with something.

Link: What's that?

Daria: Can you get this kid off my feet?

EXT: Lawndale Commons

Floyd: (remember, he's the supervisor for Graffiti removal) So you're back.

Jane: Yeah. Ready and raring to go.

Floyd: Sure. Anyway, you know the drill. Here's your roller. Have fun.

Jane sighs and turns to the wall.

Jane: Look at it this way, Jane. It's a shopping center. It doesn't deserve something this good painted on it. (with obvious distaste, she starts to paint the wall)

INT: Nursing Home

Stacy is sewing under the direction of Ms. Chaney.

Ms. Chaney: That's very good, dear. You really do have a natural talent for this sort of thing.

Stacy: Thanks, Ms. Chaney.

Ms. Chaney: Now Stacy, we've talked about this! You're going to make me feel like an old woman. Of course, I am an old woman, but that's beside the point.

Stacy: Sorry. Janice. (smiles)

Ms. Chaney: That's better. Let me see what you've done so far. (She accepts the quilt corner from Stacy and looks it over) Very nice, dear. Corner stitching can be the hardest part, and you do it so very well.

Stacy: What are we making these quilts for, anyway?

Ms. Chaney: They don't tell us. I think it's just to give us something to do, actually. Somewhere under this building there are probably boxes filled to bursting with moldy old quilts.

Stacy: Really?

Ms. Chaney: Of course not, my dear! They're given to the homeless, or those in need, or they're sold to those who take pity on us for producing such horrid things.

Stacy: (with that droopy I-said-something-stupid expression she does so well) Oops! I'm sorry!

Ms. Chaney: What on Earth for?

Stacy: For being so stupid! I always say the wrong thing!

Ms. Chaney: No dear, I'm sorry that I made you feel that way. Forgive me for saying so, but you seem a trifle nervous. Is something wrong?

Stacy: Why would something be wrong?

Ms. Chaney: My point exactly. At the risk of seeming like an old woman spouting platitudes, living a life can be a lot like making a quilt. If you make one little mistake from time to time, it's not the end of the world. Just adjust the rest of the pattern to fit, or pull out a few stitches and start over.

Stacy: Um, okay.

Ms. Chaney: I could go on to say how life is a patchwork of experiences, held together by the thread of time, and in the end you have something warm and memorable, but then I really would sound like an old woman spouting platitudes, and as a teenager your instincts would lead you to smile, nod, and not listen to a word I say.

Stacy giggles.

Ms. Chaney: Let me tell you something else that I hope you can take to heart: You're not alone in being a little insecure. Most people don't have any idea what they're doing. Show me someone who acts all self-confident and self-assured, and I'll show you someone who's scared to death that they'll be exposed as a – what's the word you kids use today? – "Poser".

Stacy doesn't say a word, but looks thoughtfully over at Sandi.

Sandi: Ouch! Dammit, why do they make these needles so sharp!

Mrs. Peabody: Margaret! You watch your language! What would your father say?

INT: Animal Shelter, dogs' cages

Quinn is feeding the dogs.

Quinn: …And there you go, Ralphie, that's for you… (she scratches the dog's head) oooh, you're so adorable, I wish I could take you home with me! (she glances at the tag) That's the strangest thing, why do they have the wrong dates on all these tags? It says tomorrow's date, just like Snookums' did last week. Oh well. Here's some food for you Frankie, and for Dusty, and for… where's Snookums?

Quinn has stopped in front of a cage that used to hold Snookums, but now there's a different dog in there.

Quinn: Snookums must have found a home! Oh, that's so wonderful! But I'm really going to miss her… Anyway, here's one for you (checks name) Boxer.

INT: Animal Shelter, lobby

The phone rings. Tiffany answers it.

Tiffany: Hello… you've reached the… Lawndale… Animal… Shelter… can I… help you?

(pause)

Tiffany: I'm wearing white and avocado… it goes well with the animals… why do you ask?

Quinn skips by happily.

Quinn: Hey Tiffany!

Tiffany: Hey Quinn… (pause, then into phone) That was my friend Quinn… no, there's actually four of us in the club… what do you mean, threesome?

Quinn continues to an office door and knocks.

Voice: Come in!

Quinn enters. In the office is the director of the shelter, Mr. Clay.

Quinn: I finished feeding all the dogs, Mr. Clay!

Mr. Clay: Very good work, Quinn! I'm glad to see you showing so much enthusiasm.

Quinn: Well, what can I say, I love animals. And it's so nice that we're helping them the way we are. I mean, I'll miss Snookums, but it's nice to know she got a good home and stuff.

Mr. Clay: Snookums?

Quinn: Oh, she was this little white fuzzy poodle or something I saw here last week. Oh, and that reminds me, someone's not dating the information cards right, some of them have tomorrow's date on them.

Mr. Clay: (suddenly rather grim) Hm. Quinn, do you have a moment? I need to talk to you about something important.

Quinn: Sure. What's up?

Mr. Clay: Have a seat. (he gets up and goes to close the door). You see Quinn, we're a very small facility here in Lawndale, and we serve not only this community but everything else in a twenty-mile radius. To put it concisely, we have very little space and a lot of stray animals to care for.

Quinn: I know. Isn't it great that so many of them get adopted? I think there's almost a dozen that were here last week that aren't here now.

Mr. Clay: (sighs) Quinn, you don't understand. There aren't nearly enough people interested in taking home new pets to keep us from getting dangerously overfilled with animals. We just don't have the resources to hold them all here until they are adopted.

Quinn: Oh. So, who's taking them home? I'd kind of like to see Snookums again, actually.

Mr. Clay: Quinn, we can't care for all these animals, and no one is taking them home. We are in a position here where we have no choice but to use euthanasia.

Quinn: Huh? You're sending them over to kids in China?

Mr. Clay: No, Quinn. We… put them to sleep. Painlessly. We try to be as humane as possible.

Quinn is struck speechless.

Mr. Clay: I know this must be hard for you to accept, but understand that we really have no choice. There are simply too many of them for us to handle. I hope we won't lose you as a volunteer, you're one of the best people I have, and that includes the paid staff.

Quinn's chin trembles. Tears are running down her face.

Mr. Clay: I can see that you're a very caring person. I'm sorry that this has upset you so much–

Quinn: (interrupting, whispering) You killed Snookums.

Mr. Clay: Quinn, try not to look at it that way–

Quinn gets up and runs out, crying in earnest now. Mr. Clay sighs and turns his chair toward the window, watching her leave.

EXT: Animal Shelter

Quinn bursts out of the front doors, barely able to see through her tears. She doesn't go far, soon collapsing in a sobbing heap on the walkway in front of the building.

after a few minutes...

Voice: Quinn?

Quinn looks up. It's Mr. Clay.

Quinn: Go away, you murderer!

Mr. Clay: Quinn, it's not a perfect world. If I could save all these animals, I would. But we only have so much space, and so much money. If they don't get adopted, what are we to do? Let them starve, or turn them back out on the street?

Quinn: (not crying so hard anymore, but still sobbing a bit) But… there has to be something you can do besides killing them!

Mr. Clay: We try, Quinn. Every week I write letters to the mayor's office and the governor asking for more funds. We hold bake sales, we get some money from private donations, and sometimes we're able to send animals to other, better-equipped shelters. Most of all, we depend on our volunteers. People like you, Quinn.

Quinn looks up, her eyes no longer so angry.

Mr. Clay: If it weren't for our volunteer staff, we would only be able to hold half the animals we do. And the number coming in doesn't get any smaller. If you still want to go, I'll understand, and I'll give you a passing grade on the project. But we do need you, and I hope you consider coming back. I'll leave it up to you.

Mr. Clay turns and heads back inside. After a moment, Quinn gets up and follows.

INT: Animal shelter

Quinn is tenderly scratching a cat behind the ears.

Mr. Clay: (calling from the lobby) Quinn! It's time to lock up for the night!

Quinn: I'll be there in a moment!

Deliberately, Quinn places her backpack down beside the cage, then runs out.

EXT: Parking Lot

Mr. Clay: I'm glad you decided to stay, Quinn. I know it's painful, but I think in the end you'll know you made the right decision.

Quinn: I hope so, Mr. Clay. (she snaps her fingers) Oh! I left my backpack inside!

Mr. Clay: (looks at his watch) Quinn, it's late and I have an appointment. Can it wait until tomorrow?

Quinn: No, it has my history paper in it, I have to turn it in tomorrow morning!

Mr. Clay: (digs out his keys) Go ahead, Quinn. But be quick.

Quinn: Thanks! (she runs into the building)

Mr. Clay waits for a moment, which turns into a longer moment. He taps his foot impatiently. He checks his watch again.

Jake's Lexus pulls up, and Daria rolls down the passenger side window.

Daria: Where's Quinn?

Mr. Clay: She forgot her backpack. Apparently, she also forgot where she left it. How long does it take?

Daria: Quinn couldn't find her left foot if you showed her the right one and told her to look for one just like it.

Mr. Clay: You must be her older sister.

Daria: How'd you guess?

Mr. Clay: I have an older brother.

Jake: Daria, this is the right place, isn't it?

Daria: Yes, Dad. Quinn's just saying bye-bye to all the animals.

Mr. Clay: Ah, Mr. Morgendorffer, I presume?

Daria: No flies on you.

Mr. Clay: I'd like to tell you how proud we are of Quinn. She's the best volunteer we have. A very caring and sensitive girl.

Jake: Um… thanks!

Quinn: (Running up quickly, tossing the keys to Mr. Clay) Found it! Thanks, bye!

Mr. Clay: Goodbye, Quinn. See you next week.

Jake: How was your day, Quinn?

Quinn: Dad, step on it! We're going to miss Fashion Vision!

Daria: Yeah, Dad. You wouldn't want to miss that.

The Lexus pulls out, leaving Mr. Clay shaking his head with amusement.

INT: Lexus

Quinn is sitting nervously in the back seat, looking over her shoulder. Her backpack is held tightly on her lap.

Daria: It's okay, Quinn. He's not following us.

Jake: Someone's following us? It's that guy who said how sensitive you are, isn't it? I knew it, he's a stalker! Those beady little eyes, that leering look! I'll teach him to leer at my daughter!!

Quinn: Da-AD, he's just my boss. But, um, don't let that stop you from driving faster, there's no telling who else might be following.

Daria: Uh-oh. Quinn got the paranoia gene.

Noise: Mew!

Daria's looks up, and turns around. Quinn's backpack is wriggling.

Daria: Quinn?

Quinn stares at Daria with wide, pleading eyes.

Jake: Did you hear something, kiddo?

Quinn: Must be the radio, dad. Can you turn it up, I can't hear it very well.

Jake turns up the radio.

Noise: Meow!

Daria, still turned around, notices a kitten poking its head out of Quinn's jacket. She says nothing, however.

Jake: I'm sure I hear something. Quinn, is that you back there?

Quinn: Mew! Mew-mew! I'm, um, practicing my kitty noises. It makes the animals more relaxed around me.

Daria: Quinn, hasn't anyone ever told you it's a bad idea to take your work home with you? (She points at the kitten coming out of Quinn's jacket.)

Quinn pushes the kitten gently back inside, only to have a rabbit poke its head out the other side. Daria shakes her head with disbelief. Quinn puts a finger to her lips, desperately signaling quiet.

Daria: Dad? Have you ever tried cooking rabbit stew?

Jake: Hmm… interesting idea, Daria!

Quinn hurriedly zips up her jacket.

Noise: WOOF!!

Jake checks the rearview mirror.

Quinn: (smiling nervously) Um… bow-wow?

INT: Morgendorffer home

Quinn bursts in, runs up the stairs with her backpack and holding her jacket tightly together, dashes into her room, and slams the door.

Daria follows soon thereafter, walking calmly up the stairs.

Jake comes in.

Jake: Rabbit stew… sounds like it's time to break out the ol' crock pot!

INT: Quinn's room.

Quinn opens her jacket, allowing two kittens, a larger cat, and a rabbit out onto her bed. Then she unzips the backpack, withdrawing a small dog from one compartment, and two more kittens from the other.

Quinn: It's okay, guys, you're safe now. No one's going to hurt you.

Knock-Knock

Quinn: Um… I'm not decent!!

Daria: That's way too easy a setup, Quinn.

Quinn: Daria! Go away!

Daria: Fine. I'll just go mention to Dad that I've found the first ingredient for his stew up here.

Quinn: No, Daria!

She jumps up, opens the door, and pulls Daria inside, closing it quickly.

Daria: Hey! I was kidding about the stew, you know. I'd never actually encourage him to experiment in the kitchen.

Quinn: You're not going to tell him, are you?

Daria: Depends.

Quinn: On what?

Daria: Well, I think ten dollars a pet will keep me quiet.

Quinn: Daria!

Daria: Of course, there's Mom, too. Maybe I should up the price to twenty…

Quinn: Fine! (she whips out her purse and counts seventy dollars into Daria's hands) There, are you happy?

Daria: (riffles through the bills) Actually, I'm impressed. I didn't think you could multiply that accurately.

Quinn: Just don't tell Mom and Dad, all right?

Daria: You know, you're not going to be able to keep this a secret for long.

Quinn: I'll worry about that later.

Daria: A pleasure doing business with you. Enjoy your pets.

She leaves.

INT: Daria's room

Daria dials the phone.

Jane picks up. Split screen.

Jane: Yo!

Daria: Hey.

Jane: Hey, how was your day with our future leaders of America?

Daria: Ran into an old friend. Remember Link?

Jane: The kid with the complex? Sure. How's he doing?

Daria: Depressed, cynical, and cranky with the world.

Jane: My kind of kid.

Daria: That wasn't the most interesting thing that happened all day though.

Jane: Oh? Do tell.

Daria: Quinn brought home a few inmates from the pound. A dog, a rabbit, and at least four cats. Sneaked them in right under Dad's nose.

Jane: Well, Jake never was one of your more perceptive people.

Daria: Sure, getting them home was no problem, but she'll never keep them under wraps for long. If she wanted a pet so badly, why didn't she just ask for one? Dad's always wanted a cat.

Jane: I'm guessing she had other motives.

Daria: Well, apart from the rabbit, they don't seem like they'd be very tasty.

Jane: Obviously you've never been to Korea. But seriously, she was probably just trying to save their little hides

Daria: From what? I mean, doing time can't be pleasant, but it's not like they –

Pause.

Daria: They do, don't they?

Jane: If you mean buying them a one-way ticket on the Heavenly Express, that's a big yes. There was a local controversy about it a few years ago, but then Tommy Sherman won the State Championship and suddenly there were more interesting things to talk about.

Daria is silent for a moment. She looks at the money in her hands with a guilty expression.

Jane: You still there?

Daria: Um, yeah. Listen, I need to go check on something. I'll call you later, OK?

Jane: Whatever.

Daria hangs up, and sits for a moment with a thoughtful look on her face.

INT: Quinn's room

Quinn is petting a kitten. There's a knock on her door.

Quinn: Um… I'm not feeling well, come back later?

There's no answer.

Quinn: Daria? Dad? Mom, is that you?

Still no answer. Quinn moves the kitten and the rabbit off her lap, tiptoes across the room, and cautiously opens the door. There's a small box in the hall, which she drags in, and looks at the note attached to it.

Quinn: (reading) Dear Quinn, don't you dare think I've gone soft. Daria.

Puzzled, Quinn opens the box. Inside are three open cans of tuna, some chopped-up meat, a pile of lettuce leaves, and a carrot. In addition, there's the money she gave to Daria.

Quinn: (smiling) Thanks, Daria.

Next Morning...

INT: A bathroom

Jake, in his bathrobe, enters the bathroom and looks at his face in the mirror, rubbing at his whiskers. He shakes up a can of shaving cream and sprays it into his hand. A cat jumps onto the counter and meows at him.

Jake: (sleepy) Hi, kitty.

Jake applies the shaving cream to his face while the cat watches.

Cat: Mew!

Jake: Helen, did you feed the cat?

Helen: (from bed, where she's still almost sleeping) We don't have a cat, Jake.

Jake: Oh yeah. My mistake.

Jake commences shaving. He's about halfway done when…

Jake: (suddenly freaked out) GAAHH!!

Jake drops the razor and looks frantically about for the cat, which has moved on to other, more interesting places. In short, the cat is gone.

Jake: HELEN! Where did the cat go?

Helen: I told you, Jake, we don't have a cat.

Jake: But… but there was a cat here! Right here in the bathroom!!

Helen: Yes, and last week there was a squirrel in the pantry. Jake, I'm really very tired, I was at the office very late last night…

Jake: There was a cat! I know I saw a cat!

Helen: Oh, for the love of God, Jake…

INT: Quinn's room

Quinn is holding the cat in question while listening at the door.

Quinn: Whew! At least it was just Dad. (to the cat) Snowball, what have I told you about leaving the room while Mom and Dad are home? You know we're all in trouble if any of you guys get caught!

Cat: Mew!

Quinn: I know, you're hungry. Dad will be gone in half an hour, and then I can get you some food. We just have to wait a little, that's all.

INT: Lawndale High

Daria and Jane are walking to class.

Daria: So it seems you were right. Quinn's brought all these animals home out of the goodness of her heart, and hasn't been entirely successful in keeping them under wraps. I wonder if she'll learn the value of thinking things through.

Jane: Speaking of which, have you considered that the shelter offs a few animals every week? Quinn's not likely to stop here.

Daria: Couldn't just let me be miserable in the here and now, could you? You had to point out the black clouds on the horizon as well.

Jane: Look on the bright side. Quinn's going to get in so much trouble over this, she'll be grounded until her senior prom.

Daria: True. The funny thing is, I think she's doing something genuinely unselfish and decent for the first time in her life. I don't think I'll get much satisfaction watching this one blow up in her face.

Jane: No good deed goes unpunished. Look at me – I sign up to remove graffiti, and they actually make me remove graffiti.

Daria: Think how I feel, surrounded by all these would-be child prodigies. At least the graffiti isn't looking for hidden meaning in the works of Beatrix Potter. If I have to sit in on one more of those ridiculous pseudo-deep discussions, I'll probably blow a gasket.

Jane: Why not try a little creative education into the ways of the real world? We did pretty well with Guptys.

Daria: Three problems: There's no TV, the other coordinators would catch on and put a stop to it, and I don't have a partner in crime.

Jane: There's always Link.

Daria: We'd still be outnumbered twelve to one, and the lack of TV is a considerable handicap. But it may be worth a shot. Now that we've solved all my problems, how are things in the world of monochrome wall painting?

Jane: I die a little bit with each swipe of the roller. Other than that, peachy.

EXT: Lawndale High

Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany stand around outside the front doors. Sandi looks very impatient.

Sandi: Where is Quinn?

Tiffany: Um…

Sandi: Stacy, how late is Quinn now?

Stacy: Nine minutes, Sandi.

Sandi: This is entirely inappropriate behavior. Coordination check is not something to be blown off like some math quiz. We can't possibly accessorize without everyone here for –

Quinn: (coming in running) I'm here! I'm sorry! I got held up at home!

Sandi: Quinn, if you aren't going to take Coordination Check seriously, please let the rest of us know so we can plan as a threesome for the day rather than as a foursome.

Tiffany: That guy on the phone said something about a threesome… maybe he was psychic…

Quinn: I'm so sorry, Sandi! Really, I am! It won't happen again.

Sandi: I suppose we can forgive this one transgression, Stacy.

Stacy: Huh?

Sandi: I mean, Quinn. (Sandi sniffles for no apparent reason) That habit you have of constantly apologizing for everything; it threw me off.

Stacy looks a little miffed, but says nothing.

Sandi: Anyway, Tiffany, if you would assume your duties as Coordinating Officer, we can proceed. (Sandi rubs her eyes and sniffles again)

Tiffany: All right… We'll start with roll call… Sandi?

Sandi: We're all here, Tiffany! (sniffles more forcefully. She's starting to sound distinctly stuffed up) Get on with it!

Tiffany: Um… All right. Quinn, isn't that the same jacket you wore yesterday to the shelter?

Quinn: Is it? I must have, um, gotten dressed in a hurry this morning.

Sandi: There are some things you make time for. (sniffles) There's no excuse for repeating any garment twice in as many days. As Vice President of the Fashion Club, Quidd, it is incumbent upon you to set an example -

Quinn: Quidd?

Sandi: I said – (she sneezes suddenly) Ah-CHOO!!

Stacy: Bless you.

Sandi: As I was saying, you of all people should know the importadce of takig the decessary tibe to dress id the mordig… AH-CHOOO!!

Tiffany: Sandi… eww…

Stacy: What's wrong, Sandi? Your eyes are all red!

Sandi: I dod't dow what's wrog! Wait… is there a buddy aroud here?

Quinn: A buddy?

Sandi: Not a buddy, a buddy! A bud-dy! A buddy rabbit!!

Quinn: I don't think so…

Tiffany: We fed the bunnies yesterday at the shelter…

Quinn: (looking over her jacket) Oh look, there's still some rabbit fur on my jacket.

Sandi: Quidd, I'b allergic to buddies!!

Quinn: Oops.

Stacy: Oh no! Sandi, your skin's getting all blotchy!

Sandi: Oooh!! Ah-CHOOOO!! (she runs off)

Tiffany: Hmm… no one else is wearing rabbit fur, so I guess that won't be a problem… (she looks around) Where did Sandi go?

INT: Pizza Prince

Jane and Daria are splitting a pie.

Jane: So, tell me more about this Link character. You know, what kind of pizza does he like, what kind of music does he listen to, is he single?

Daria: Jane, he's eleven years old.

Jane: Hey, he'll be legal in five, then. Seriously, what's the lowdown on this kid?

Daria: Well, he's a tough kid in a tough situation. His family life is really screwed up, and unfortunately he's smart enough to realize exactly how screwed up it is. Actually, I don't really know him all that well.

Jane: Sounds like you've got some insight into his feelings. You know him well enough to know he's angry and depressed.

Daria: Anyone who talks to him for five seconds can tell that. He bites the heads off people who try to get close. He's angry at the whole world.

Jane: I thought you said the two of you were hitting it off.

Daria: We seem to have similar outlooks on life, but his walls are miles thick. He's got a lot of emotional baggage for someone his age. Most people aren't that bitter until they get deep into middle age – sooner if they become teachers. I don't know if I'll ever really be able to connect with him.

Jane: Look, Daria, it's not easy getting to know a hard-bitten cynic with a black perspective on the world. Trust me on this one. But you never know, sometimes the effort really pays off.

Daria: (a little embarrassed) Um… thanks, I guess.

Jane: Of course, I got stuck with you, but on the other hand Link might be worth getting to know.

Daria: (smirks)

INT: Daria's room

Daria flops down on her bed.

Cat: MEOW!!!

Daria: Aaah!!

The cat (which Daria inadvertently flopped down on) scrambles out of her room. Daria looks like she's contemplating running after it, but decides it wouldn't be worth the effort. Instead, she turns on the TV.

TV: A thirty-foot jungle snake on the loose in Saskatchewan targets the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for lunch! The Mounty Python, next, on Sick-Sad-World!

Daria switches off the TV, picking up the phone instead. She checks a note on her bedside table, then punches in a number.

INT: Hotel Room

The phone rings. Tom picks it up.

Tom: Hello?

SPLIT SCREEN

Daria: Hey, Tom.

Tom: Daria! I didn't expect to hear from you tonight.

Daria: Better get those coeds out of your hotel room, then.

Tom: If I do that, the chambermaids will just figure it's their turn. How's life in Lawndale?

Daria: Eh, same old same old. Except for the pitter-patter of little feet around the house.

Tom: Wow, Quinn works fast. I've only been gone two weeks.

Daria: You're more right than you know. Remember that community service thing?

Tom: Sure. But I didn't realize they meant that kind of service.

Daria: Quinn's working at the local animal shelter. Turns out they euthanize the excess animals, and Quinn's little heart went out to them. So we now have half a dozen new housemates.

Tom: How are your parents taking it?

Daria: They don't know about it yet. It's only a matter of time, but meanwhile I'm sharing my bedroom with escaped cats.

Tom: Hm. You know, I remember something about that shelter. My mother was thinking of making a private donation to them last year – you know, tax write-off – but she didn't like their policies so she sent it to the Fremont shelter instead.

Daria: The Fremont shelter?

Tom: Yeah, there's a larger facility there. And it's a no-kill shelter. My mother preferred their more enlightened attitude.

Daria: Of course, if she'd given the money to Lawndale, they probably wouldn't have to kill the animals.

Tom: I mentioned it at the time. She wasn't impressed.

Daria: Hm. So how's the college hunt going?

Tom: You'll be pleased to know that football is even more important at this level than it is in high school. But on the upside, the professors are allowed to use off-color language in their lectures.

Daria: Your tuition dollars at work.

Next week…

INT: Animal Shelter

Quinn is sitting at the front desk, handling the phone. She's also going down a list of animals at the shelter, making little stars next to some of them. Once she's finished with that, she flips through her coral pink day planner and selects a number.

INT: Joey's room

Joey's hanging out with Jeffy and Jamie, watching football. In one corner of the room is a shrine to the worship of Quinn, with lots of pictures and a red telephone (the "Quinn Hotline") which has never, ever rung.

The red telephone rings. Needless to say, the three boys are thunderstruck.

Joey: D-did that really just happen?

Jeffy: It can't be!

Jamie: Hang on a second…

The phone rings again.

Jeffy: MINE!! (lunges for the phone)

Jamie: I GOT IT!! (similar lunge)

Joey: IT'S MY ROOM!!! (jumps over both of them)

There's a mad struggle for the phone, which ends with Joey on top.

Joey: Hello? Quinn? Is that you?

SPLIT SCREEN

Quinn: Well of course it's me, Joey. I mean, unless you've been giving this number out to other girls!

Joey: I'd never do that, Quinn! Never, never, never!

Jeffy: What's she saying?

Jamie: Did she mention my name?

Joey: Quiet, guys! (into phone) Sorry, Quinn, the other guys are being kind of rude.

Quinn: Oh, that's okay, just tell them hi and I'll talk to them soon. Listen, Joey, have you ever wanted a pet? Like… (Quinn consults her list) … a terrier, or a cocker spaniel?

Joey: I don't know… I never really thought about it, and my mother said once she wasn't too keen on having a pet…

Quinn: Oh, that's too bad. There's the cutest little dog down here at the shelter that's about to get adopted by some Russian family who's taking him back to Moscow, and I'd just miss him so much! I was thinking, if only someone I knew would adopt him instead, and take him home, and take really good care of him, I could come by and see him.

Joey: I just don't know…

Quinn: I'd come by and see him a whole lot, Joey.

Joey: I've always wanted a dog! What do I need to do?

Quinn: Just come on down to the shelter, and I'll set it all up for you! Thanks so much, Joey, I've always liked you best. Can you put Jeffy on, you know, so I can tell him?

Joey: Sure! (hands phone to Jeffy with a smirk) Quinn has something to tell you!

Jeffy: Hi Quinn!

Quinn: Hi, Jeffy! You know how I've always liked you best… have you ever considered adopting a pair of cats?

EXT: City Park

Jane approaches a long wall with a roller in her hand and a camera around her neck. An almost visible cloud of guilt hangs over her head. She looks down the wall, seeing the swirls of color painted by some of Lawndale's anonymous artists. Trent approaches behind her.

Jane: See what I mean, Trent?

Trent: Yup. It's a wall, all right.

Jane: I wonder if I got enough pictures. Maybe I should get something from this angle too.

She takes up the camera and fires off a couple of shots toward the far end of the wall. Suddenly, she's very angry at the whole thing.

Jane: Dammit, what am I doing? I'm not a sell-out! I mean, next year I'll be eighteen, I can just drop out of high school and they'll have nothing to say about it!

Trent: Come on, Janey. You don't want to do that.

Jane: Yeah, I know. But think of how you'd feel if someone told you to go to a record store and rub all the albums with sandpaper.

Trent: Hmm... can I start with the Disco collection?

Jane: (smiles in spite of herself) Oh, well. I guess the guys who painted this stuff up here didn't expect it to last anyway. I just hate being the one who has to white it out.

Trent: You know, Janey, if I were painting that wall, I'd do it in black. It would make more of a statement, I think.

Jane: Yeah, well if I were painting it, I'd leave these walls alone, and do a huge mural on that other wall that shows how I feel about this town and this stupid project.

Trent: Um, Janey… you are painting it.

Jane's eyes go wide, her jaw drops, and the roller slips out of her hand to splash wetly on the concrete.

Jane: You know something, Trent? You're absolutely right. (she smiles in a crafty way) Lawndale, when it comes to graffiti, you ain't seen nothing yet!

INT: Lawndale Learning Facility for the Gifted and Talented

Link is sitting by himself in a corner of the room, playing with a checkerboard. He makes a move, then spins the board around so he can play the other side. A girl about his age approaches.

Megan: (the girl) Hey new kid, do you want to join our discussion on current events?

Link: I have a headache. That current enough for you?

Daria: (approaching from behind) Don't steal my material, Link.

Link: (looking up) Thank God, someone almost normal. Where the hell have you been?

Daria: Hey, it's a long walk. (to Megan) Link and I are going to have some one-on-one, Megan. Why don't you ask Elaine to join your little discussion?

Link: Yeah, maybe she'll waltz some interesting arguments about conflicts in the Middle East.

Megan shrugs, and exits.

Link continues playing solo checkers.

Daria: Could you use an opponent?

Link: Are you kidding? You'd kick my butt.

Daria: Why else would I ask to play?

Link doesn't smile.

Daria: So, is this place getting you down?

Link: It's not home, so it does have one thing going for it.

Daria: Things are rough at home, huh?

Link: Don't play shrink with me, Daria. I have enough people doing that.

Daria: I'm not trying to be a shrink. I'm trying to be a friend.

Link: Okay, friend. Why don't you tell me about all of your problems?

Daria: Fair enough. We can start with this idiotic assignment. I signed up to be a tutor, I end up being a babysitter. Present company excepted, I don't think I've ever seen such a bunch of wackos. And I've been to High School.

Link: See? That's the thing. You signed up for this. You had a choice. I don't have any choices.

Daria: My other choice was clearing out the storm drains on Main Street, but yes, in a technical sense I had a choice.

Link: Whatever.

Daria: It's a fact of life, Link. We all go through it. When you're a child, you don't get much of a choice. It won't get much better anytime real soon, unfortunately. But it will get better eventually. Especially since Ms. Li will probably retire by the time you get to Lawndale High.

Link: Whoopty-doopty-do.

Daria: Link, this isn't easy for me. Could you try to meet me halfway here?

Link: What's not easy? Being a friend, or being a psychiatrist?

Daria: I haven't got that much experience at either one. And I'm not trying to psychoanalyze you. I'm trying to get to know you.

Link: (looks her in the eye for the first time) You want to get to know me? Fine. I'm the kid that everyone always says was such a quiet young man, never really talked much. Not the kind of person you'd expect to climb a clock tower with a machine gun and wipe out half his graduating class.

Daria: Link –

Link: Don't freak out on me, it's not like I could get a machine gun anyway.

Daria: Link, let me tell you something. And if you never listen to anything else, listen to this.

Link: I'm listening. (he doesn't seem to be listening very hard)

Daria: You know that I'm not one for opening up to people. We have that in common. But I learned, after a while, that you need someone in your life, even if it's just one person, whom you can trust. I can live with it if you don't think I'm that person. Just make sure you find someone. Because eventually, people stop trying to get to know you. And loneliness is everything it's cracked up to be.

Link: (unmoved) I could use a little more loneliness right now.

Daria stands up and walks away, throwing one last look over her shoulder. After a moment, Link looks up, as if he's about to say something. But he doesn't, and instead turns sadly back to his checkerboard.

INT: Nursing Home

Sandi is struggling to get two squares of fabric sewn together. Her fingers are well-bandaged by now.

Sandi: How the hell is this supposed to work? The needle isn't even straight!

Mrs. Peabody: Now Margaret, I've told you about that language!

Sandi: Look lady, I've been as patient with you as I possibly can under very trying circumstances, but my name is Sandi and I'm not your freakin' daughter!! Besides, if you had a daughter, she's be, like, fifty years old by now!

Mrs. Peabody: Well, I never! You young people are so rude these days! You come into my home and start acting all high-and-mighty, thinking you can be discourteous to someone just because they're elderly! You should be ashamed of yourself.

Sandi: (a bit guilty) Um, I'm sor –

Mrs. Peabody: Besides, you'll be old yourself one day, and when you are you'll be sorry you were so nasty to your poor mother!

Sandi: Oooh!!

In the meantime, Stacy is putting a few finishing touches on her quilt.

Ms. Chaney: Very good, dear. I don't think I've ever seen anyone catch on to the art of quilting so quickly. We'll be done ahead of schedule by a whole week!

Stacy: Well, you're a really good teacher, Janice.

Ms. Chaney: Perhaps we should help your friend over there. She seems to be getting awfully frustrated.

Stacy: (under her breath) Good.

Ms. Chaney: Pardon, dear?

Stacy: Hm? Oh, nothing. Tell me, do you know how to sew clothes too?

Ms. Chaney: Why certainly, dear. I made clothes for all my children while they were growing up, and my mother did the same for me. Of course, the Depression was on, so she didn't have much choice. It was either learn to stitch or let the kids go naked.

Stacy giggles.

Ms. Chaney: Oh, but you don't want to hear an old woman go on about things you learn about in History class.

Stacy: No! I… kind of like hearing about it. I mean, you make it sound interesting, like it really happened instead of it just being all dates and places and stuff.

Ms. Chaney: That's sweet, dear. It's really nice to know that kids today can sometimes remember that we were all young once, and we knew how to live. Let me tell you about the summer of '41, that was a wild one –

Ms. Chaney is interrupted by a loud clatter over in Sandi's direction.

Sandi: What did you just say??

Mrs. Peabody: Oh dearie, there's no need to get all upset. Your mother just needs a little help using the commode, that's all. Come now, it never bothered you before…

Sandi: That's IT!! I've ruined a manicure, my dress has blood on it, I've got some kind of rash from Quinn's stupid rabbits, and this quilt – (she holds up three sewn together squares of material, one of which promptly falls off) – this STUPID QUILT is never, never going to get done because all you do is sit in your delusional world when you're supposed to be showing me how to sew without putting holes in my fingers, and now you want me to help you with the TOILET?!?

Mrs. Peabody: Now Margaret, you're making a scene. Just get over here and help your mother to the bathroom.

Sandi's face goes bright red. She looks like she might explode. Finally, she does.

Sandi: AAAAAUUUUGH!!!!

She runs over to Stacy and pulls her out of her chair by the lapels.

Sandi: Stacy! I can't take this anymore!! Get me out of here, I… I need to shop!! (her eyes get a crazy glint) Take me to Cashmans! I need to see the new winter fashions!! I need to make Quinn feel inferior! I need to tell Tiffany she doesn't look fat!! I need a credit card – FOR GOD'S SAKE, SOMEBODY GET ME A CREDIT CARD!!!

Sandi starts hyperventilating. Stacy, who was understandably startled, pulls herself together.

Stacy: (shaking Sandi by the shoulders) Sandi! Get a grip!! (she slaps Sandi on the face, not too hard, but enough to get her attention)

Sandi: (catching her breath) I… I… um…

Stacy: It's all right, Sandi. It's going to be okay. Just sit down here, and I'll get you some water or something.

Sandi: Um…

Stacy leaves to go get some water. Sandi sits for a moment, calming down, glancing around at everyone staring at her. Her cheeks are flushed with intense embarrassment.

Sandi: (more to herself than anyone else) I'm okay… I'm okay… no problem… I'm the President of the Fashion Club… I'm in charge… I can handle it…

Mrs. Peabody: Well, Margaret? Aren't you going to help me? I can't hold it in forever, you know.

Sandi: (to Ms. Chaney) Save me!

Ms. Chaney: Of course, dear. I'll get a nurse. (she starts to stand up)

Sandi: No! Don't leave me with her!! Please!!

Ms. Chaney sighs, and sits back down to wait for Stacy.

INT: Animal Shelter

Quinn: (on phone) That is so sweet of you, Corey! …Sure, we're on for Chez Pierre this weekend! I can hardly wait! Just come on down here sometime before six o'clock and little Bowser will be waiting for you!

Quinn hangs up the phone and slumps back into her chair. She's fairly exhausted.

Quinn: God, who would have imagined talking on the phone could get so tiring! Let's see now, I found homes for Daisy, Nicodemus, Vinny, Ming, Sunshine, Alex… and Bowser. But that still leaves two dogs, three cats, and another rabbit! What am I going to do?

Mr. Clay walks by the desk.

Mr. Clay: Oh, Quinn, there you are. I just met some of your friends, coming in to pick up some animals. I'm glad to see you're spreading the word around. Every pet that gets adopted makes room for another homeless one.

Quinn: I'm trying so hard, Mr. Clay. I just hope it's enough.

Mr.Clay: (more serious) Quinn, I know what you're trying to do here, and while I applaud your efforts, please realize that we've been down this road before. I think it's commendable that you're doing everything in your power to get more animals adopted, but in the end I'm afraid you'll find that there are more strays and unwanted pets than there are people to take them in.

Quinn: (softly) I just want to save as many as I can…

Mr. Clay: And that's understandable. Just… try not to set yourself a hopeless task.

Quinn: Yes, Mr. Clay.

Quinn turns back to her list as Mr. Clay leaves. She sees a number of names crossed off, but an equal number that have stars next to them and are not crossed off.

Quinn: I guess I should go say goodbye…

INT: Morgendorffer Home

Jake is getting ready to prepare one of his infamous dinners.

Jake: Let's see, got the wok, got the mushrooms, got the beef… wait a minute! This package had two pounds of meat! Who took the meat out of this package?!

Jake checks the package on a small kitchen scale..

Jake: Dammit! Only a pound and a half! Where am I going to get half a pound of beef?

Jake turns to rummage through the refrigerator. A rabbit hops leisurely across the counter behind him and starts nibbling on the shredded cabbage.

Jake: Hmm… got some beets, got some corn, got some leftover kitchen sink stew – hey, I haven't made that in two months! Why the hell do we eat frozen lasagna every night when we have all these leftovers?

A dog jumps onto the counter opposite the rabbit. It growls softly.

Jake: Why don't we have any damned meat in here? Hey, here's some meatloaf! I could make a stir fry with that! Hm, and if I add this leftover burger from the Labor Day cookout, that should just about cover it!

Dog: Woof WOOF!!

Jake: GAAAHH!! (he jumps, startled out of his wits, and bumps his head on the refrigerator shelf. An avalanche of food and drink cascades down on him) What the hell was that??

Jake scrambles to his feet and slips in the eggs, but manages to grab the counter and hang on. He looks around frantically, but the rabbit and dog have been scared off by his accident with the refrigerator. Jake runs out of the kitchen into the living room, but there are no animals to be seen.

Jake: You can't hide from me, dammit! I'll find you!! So help me, I'll find you ALL!!!

INT: Animal Shelter

Quinn is petting a small dog, looking sadly into its eyes as she does.

Quinn: Goodbye, Frankie. I'm going to miss you. I'm sorry it had to be this way.

Quinn is momentarily distracted by someone walking by with an armload of boxes. He bumps her slightly on the shoulder.

Theo: (that's his name) Oh, 'scuse me, miss. Didn't see you there.

Quinn: It's all right. (making conversation) Haven't seen you before.

Theo: Oh, I just deliver the dog food. Big shipment in this week. Gotta get rid of these boxes.

Quinn: Sure. (she pauses, struck with a thought) Hey, do you think I could have a couple of those? My, um, cousin is moving up to college.

Theo: Take all you want! I sure don't mind not having to drag 'em out.

Quinn: Thanks! (she runs off)

Theo: Hm. Cute girl. (He goes to fetch more boxes, whistling as he works.)

INT: Animal Shelter Lobby

Quinn grabs the phone and dials.

Quinn: Hi, Dad?… Yeah, I'll be ready to leave at six-thirty... Animals? No, I haven't seen any animals around the house... Listen do you have room in the car for a few boxes? I, um, need to pack up some clothes and put them into storage, you know, to wait until they're retro… Great, thanks Dad!

She hangs up, and dials another number

Quinn: Hey, Marcus? It's Quinn. Remember last week, how all the animals got adopted and you didn't have to come in to, you know, euphemism them?… That's what I said. Anyway, all the animals on the list this week got adopted at the last minute… I know, isn't it weird? Two weeks in a row… Anyway, you don't have to come in tomorrow… Sure, no problem, I'll take care of the paperwork! G'bye.

Quinn hangs up again, pulls out her list of animal names, and crosses off the remaining six. She looks back over her shoulder toward the kennel.

Quinn: I hope you guys don't mind sharing a room.

end part one...