Don't Own Daria, Trent Lane, Monique or anything else to do with the show. Viacom does.

Monique, Monique
by medea42


I just found my very first lyrics notebook.

What it says in there has me contemplating setting fire to it. How few words rhyme with Monique, my Angel in Black.

The real peg-fucking bitch of it all was that Monique should have been my soulmate. She's gorgeous, she's unmotivated, she's musically gifted and she totally understands the creative process -- and how much sitting still that it takes. I feel bad for her. Things just never quite work out between us, mostly because she schedules her laziness and calls it "weekends" and "vacation."

I still remember that first time, singing with her as the lead of Bats with Gats. We did this duet thing -- real crowd pleaser. We even performed for high school prom together. We still laugh together at how dense we were as kids.

We were packing up that night, watching all the teenage couples wander off to lose their virginity or at least their dignity. Monique was just kind of standing at the mike, staring out into space.

So I kind of tapped her. "You OK Mon?"

She blinked, shuddered a moment. "Yeah, yeah, I'm OK..." and lost herself into space again. If it were Jesse, I would have found the shiny object and removed it, and if it were Nick I would have kicked his ass since he was probably trying to get out of breaking set. But Monique -- normally she was right there with us guys, sweating and grunting and tearing down amps. I followed her gaze. There was some couple making out, one of those cheerleader types in entirely too much pink and her black-tuxed boyfriend. "You know them?"

"I wish I was them."

I backed up a minute. "You don't like that quarterback do you?"

She shook her head no.

"The cheerleader?" I'd never known Monique to date, if she was into girls that might be why.

"Nah, that's not what I mean." She walked over, sat on the edge of the stage.

"Hey, c'mon man, we gotta finish up here, there's a party at Nick's!" Jesse yelled across the stage.

I waved my hand at him, our signal for "shut up, dude!" before taking a seat next to her. "C'mon, you're my duet partner. You can tell me anything."

Monique stared at her combat boots. "I wish I was one of those couples out on the floor tonight, having a good time, rather than up here on stage just watching from the outside."

I was totally confused. "Why would you want that?"

Monique sniffed. "I just want to know what it's like to have a boyfriend, Trent. It's not like I can date anyone since I hang out with you guys all the time."

I figured that that was where a guy was supposed to kiss the girl. So I didn't. For crying out loud, it was Monique. Monique, who at that moment looked so.... like a girl.

"C'mon you two, or we're taking your share of the gig money!" We'd been payed $200 dollars to play the Lawndale prom. We were off our asses in a shot -- $50 bucks could keep me in gas and Monique in black nail polish for a month.

It was like a door of "Vulnerable OK" had opened up with that prom night. Monique would actually talk to me about stuff -- the more she talked to me, the less she was one of the guys. Right before graduation, the improbable happened.

We were finished playing some cheerleader's party, and the rest of the band found some drunken freshman to play out their warped fantasies with, leaving only myself and Monique to clean the mess. We sucked, but that didn't matter -- we still had a $100 bill to split between the four of us.

"I've got something to ask you," she marched up, tottering a bit. Wetting the pipes sped from a glass of water every other night to four beers, a whiskey chaser, and some fruity poison referred to as "Wop" on this night. She'd even wandered among the sea of preppies, asking someone to mix her "Dutch courage," whatever that was.

I grabbed the red plastic cup from her hand and took a drink. I choked a minute on the strength of it -- I'd expected maybe some soda and whiskey; what I got was whiskey and a marching band in my throat. The room blurred for a minute as tears ran down my face; by the time my body recovered from the liquid onslaught, Monique had her cup back in her hand and her arm around my shoulder.

I watched in amazement as she took a gulp without a wince. She brought her wet lips close to my ear. "Come to my house for dinner tomorrow?"

I put a friendly arm around her waist, mostly because it felt like she'd fall over and the Nirvana T-shirt I wore was my favorite. I wanted to avoid an acid spill. "Yeah, OK, " I said.

Then Monique threw up. So much for my Nirvana T-shirt.

Dinner became a ritual for two reasons: first, because Monique and her mom had a sit-down dinner every night. It was a novel, beautiful experience for me. The second, because Monique's mom was just cool. She was a French immigrant, gorgeous as any porn-star fantasy, and she had this way of making the most disgusting stuff, like snails, seem like a delicious adventure. That and she served wine at every meal. When I was under 21, that rated as total coolness.

Monique's mom would kiss me hello. "Come in Trent, try this Bordeaux. It's an 1863."

Monique would sit in the corner, staring into her pop. She never really drank much after our tender moment of vomit. Monique's mom talked, mostly, and soon she got us to talk about our music. "Come on, sing for me, Monique talks about your duets all the time."

Such a revelation would have been fine, but the day Monique's mother invited an encore performance was exactly eight days after Bats with Gats broke up. Monique and I had developed creative differences -- she was creative, I was just a slacker.

That and she'd enrolled in community college. All I could see was an ending, while Monique insisted it was time for a new beginning. But I was still just showing up for the free food until Monique told me to stay away.

So for a month, I sat in Monique's mom's living room, surrounded by wine bottles, records and musical instruments. Monique always sat at the piano bench, slouched over while I spoke to her mother. Today, though, she sat by the stereo, a guitar in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.

"Do you want to do this Mon?" I asked her.

Monique slammed the entire bottle of expensive-looking wine. "No." she said.

I sat down. "OK, whatever."

"I want to do a solo," she announced.

Monique's mother raised her eyebrows. "My darling wants to put on a show for her Mama?"

Monique gave her mother this long, brown-lidded look that caused her mom to set down her glass and stand up. "I see, this is a private show for Trent." With that, she left.

So Monique began to strum something, not really hard rock but somehow, lyrically... pointed.
"It's all for you
What I put myself through.
Not that you get the message.
Trent, baby, I'm a mess over you."

She then dropped the guitar, grabbed me by the jaw, kissed me hard, and then yelled, "Get out!"

All I could think as I left in utter confusion that night that Monique was incredibly hot.

So I called her every day for a month. Her mom would answer, give me one excuse or another. Washing hair. Studying tantra. Trying to get more depressed. By month number two, her mother told me Monique had gone to Europe. I didn't believe her until Monique started sending my postcards.

"Germany is beautiful in the fall," with a picture of some clock tower.

A postcard of the Eiffel tower. "French men suck in bed. The women are another story."
Saved that one.

"British men, now there's a surprise." Tossed that one right out the window.

So I forgot about Monique. Janey made a friend, the house almost got foreclosed on again, I managed to get more paying gigs for Mystic Spiral, the temporal name for my band. I concentrated on Jane, mostly, since concentrating on my music just brought me back to Her. Monique, my buddy Monique, had become in my mind, Her.

When I saw her at the piercing parlor, though, my knees damn near gave out on me. There was Daria with that innocent face all scared by her first piercing. She was so sweet, and I felt so protective. Then in came Monique, with this new self-confidence I'd never seen before, and all of a sudden she wasn't just girl, she was WOMAN, and all of a sudden I was a man and I wanted the WOMAN. Poor Daria, I was really thinking about her "that way," but next to Monique I realized that Daria would just be an ego trip for me, while Monique would be a challenge.

For the first time in my life, I wanted to put forth a little effort.

"How's it going?"

"I'm still singing with the Harpies." The new chick band, I realized the lead that some folks on the Lawndale music scene had been drooling over was none other than Monique.

She took off, "See you around."

Daria I'd recognized as a future challenge, and I considered cultivating her. But Monique, with all that aloof coolness brought on some internal panting.

Monique was a series of firsts. I tried asking her out for a date.

Her answer, "Maybe."

"Maybe?"

This low, dark laugh. "You ARE a dense one, aren't you Trent?"

Twenty minutes later, the chaos in my bedroom had two people making love in the middle of it.
Forty minute after that, she stormed out.

And that's how it's been ever since. Hell of a night, fighting over of all things Daria's parents. But now that Daria's growing up a bit, compared to Monique, she's starting to look sensible. Compatible. Gentle. Except for the age thing.

Then Monique comes in like an ecstatic thunderstorm, and nothing else matters but the here, the now, and the glory of always failing in her eyes. My loserhood makes me a sex object to Monique, and I love it.

At least I used to love it. I'm starting to want to love me. She's gotten more brazen about her cheating -- first guys she knew I didn't like, then women she knew I did like. Now, my friends.

Am I really outgrowing the trauma of Monique?

I saw her with Jesse last week. Wasn't even mad. They both seemed..happy. Not even a fight, blow up, or creative disagreement. She just told Jesse what she wanted, and he did it.

"Why wasn't it so simple with me?"

She gestured the waitress for another glass of water. "You're all about expectations Trent."