GOD SAVE THE ESTEEM
Ep 10: Hell Is Other Parents

"Stand by," said Daria. "T minus five, four, three, two… ONE."

She turned the radio on and Strauss' The Blue Danube began to trickle out. Jane opened the bedroom door and, a few seconds later, saw Quinn run out her room, hands over her ears.

"EWWWWWW! Muh-oooooom, Daria's doing it again!"

"Okay," said Jane, "you win. I owe you five bucks."

"She does have some cultural tendencies. Every time I play Ode To Joy, there Quinn is, merrily headbanging along."

"What happens if you play Justin Bieber?"

"Then I kill myself and my family desecrates my corpse."

"Harsh but fair."

As if summoned by his name, the warblings of the pube-less pop crooner began to emit from downstairs.

"Erin, on the other hand, has special dispensation. She can't help being raised by Aunt Rita." Daria turned her radio up, trying to drown the song out.

"What would happen if your cousin's Bieber CD was replaced with Black Flag but she didn't realise?"

"That's a good question, Jane. I think I've got a new experiment to get on with…"


As the twin forces of classical and pop duked it out, Jake screamed in anger and shoved his head under the paper. With an enraged snarl, Helen shoved a Ramones CD into the kitchen hi-fi and cranked up I Wanna Be Sedated to ear-bleeding levels.

"That's better!"

"Daria just won't stop playing square songs, Mum!" wailed Quinn. "She just won't stop! I started to hum one of them yesterday!"

"I'll have a word with your sister – oh hang on, this is the good bit:"

"BAM BAM BA-BAM! BAM BAM BA-BAM!" yelled the three punks.

"Where was I? Oh yes, I'll talk to Daria about…" Helen frowned. "Jake, can you hear the phone?"

"I can," he said. "Damn! Don't worry, I'll turn the music up."

"Hold on, it might be important – but if it's Rita asking about Erin, put Sid Vicious on and crank to 11."

Helen picked up the phone just before its final ring: "Hello, Morgendorffers?"

"Ah, hello," said a cultured voice. "This is Angier Sloane, Tom's father?"

"When I see the price you pay, I don't wanna grow up! I don't ever wanna be that way, I don't wanna grow up!"

"…I'm sorry?"

"Sorry, favourite song. So, you're the… financial businessman," she said, in a tone similar to "so you murder babies".

"Yes, well, our Tom's been seeing a lot of your Daria-"

"She's not good enough for your decomposing old money, that it?"

"I, erm… have I called at a bad time?"

"Honey, can I skip to Poison Heart?" called out Jake.

"No, Snakey, skip to KKK Stole My Baby Away."

"I can call back later-"

"Oh no, Mister Sloane, let's hear what you have to goddamn say!"

There was an audible gulp. "Well… erm… since Tom and Daria have been going out for some weeks now, we thought it would be a good idea to get together with you and your husband, erm…"

"Oh!" Helen blinked. "Hang on – SNAKE! The Sloane super-fatcats want to meet us!"

"I'm free Friday!"

"How's Friday, Angier?"

"Th-that should be okay."


Two minutes after Daria learnt about this, her mobile phone rang. It was Tom.

"Daria! We've got an emergency, my parents want to meet your parents – you have to stop them hearing the phone-"

"Too late."

"Shit."

"It will be as bad as you think."

"When you both die of shame, can I have your stuff?" asked Jane.


On the way to school, Jane insisted on humming the Jaws theme.

"I wish I was going to be eaten by a shark on Friday. I might die and get out of this dump."

"They picked a date and it's Friday? Oh." Jane sounded sad. "Sorry to hear that. You'll miss the school's roller-hockey match with Z93's classic-rock DJs."

"Everyone will miss that."

"Oh, right, you weren't here last year. You don't know."

At the school's security check-point, Jane called out to the head guard: "Hey, Steve, what've you got in the pot?"

"Twenty bucks that he collapses during the half-time break. The rage will overwhelm him." Then he shoved an adorable puppy at her bag. It gave an adorable little bark. "Okay, you're clear."

Daria stared, aghast. "When I was told Li was getting bomb-sniffer dogs, I thought they were joking. Did it shrink in the wash?"

"Cheapest bid." He shoved the puppy at her. It slobbered on her jacket. "Okay, you're clear."

"And suddenly, I'm in favour of neutering."


Jodie was selling the tickets for the hockey game and, to Daria's surprise, was actually approaching her and Jane with a smile.

"I know you two will want these."

"What's your bid?" asked Jane.

"Last few minutes and then major attack. Fifteen bucks. Mohammed's running the pool."

"All right," said Daria. "You've got me interested in something school-related. Spill."

"Last year, when fighting for the puck with Rock-and-Roll Randy, Mr DeMartino had a serious heart attack. He almost died twice." Jodie grinned. "And he's been practicing all year to get his revenge, and that's a whole year of added stress and age..."

"So this is all a sick obsession with whether or not a teacher will survive a pointless game, akin to watching a car race in the hope of seeing a gore-ridden crash?" Daria sighed. "I really wish I could buy a ticket but I'm busy that Friday. I'm going to Room 101."

"Her parents are meeting the Sloanes," explained Jane. "At the country club, no less."

Jodie's mouth hung open. "I... her parents at—But that's just not—" She backed away from the girls, reaching for her phone in the process. "Oh god, my parents are going there on Friday, I have to warn them!"

"Ah," said Daria, "now there's the Jodie we all know and tolerate."

"You can still put a bet down," said Jane. "I'm going for a collapse in the first ten minutes."

"Hmm. Is Trent going to be awake on Friday?"

"No one can answer that but God, Daria."

"Because I'm not going to suffer public humiliation, not when I can be watching someone else's humiliation. You are going to help me and Tom bust out."


"...97, 98, 99, 100!"

DeMartino removed himself from the gym's single weights machine (Li had wanted a new set of locks) and allowed himself a celebratory wad of nicotine gum. And, when that didn't work, two more wads at the same time.

"Urrr MNN, 'Rk-n-LLL' RnDMM!"

Over in the corner, Barch had set up several male Resusci-Andy dummies and was practicing on them. Specifically, she was hitting them over and over in various places with a hockey stick. DeMartino was trying not to notice that too much.

"No school board or government regulation or 'rights of the child' protecting THESE men! Hahahahaha, NOTHING CAN STOP ME ON FRIDAY!"

In her dark lair, surrounded by the glow of CCTV monitors, Angela Li watched her teachers practicing and rubbed her hands together with glee. Laaawndale High would win this year at last, oh yes indeed...


"Are you..." Angier paused, trying to work out what to say. "Are you sure we should be meeting the Morgendorffers this early? It's only been a few months, and we may be assuming the relationship is stronger than it really is-"

"He dated that Jane for six months," said his wife, Kay, "and that seemed pretty serious, and we never managed to meet her parents, they were always busy or on some foreign jaunt. I was never happy about that, Angier, we should know more about the girls our son is involved in."

"True, true, but... Well, maybe not at the club, maybe we should do it somewhere... I don't know, are there any other clubs in Lawndale? Seriously, I don't think there are any except the Lodge, but surely everyone else in the town goes somewhere in the evening..."

"Well, there you go! Besides, the club does brilliant food, they'll love it there." Kay frowned. "You do seem pretty nervous about the meeting. Is there something wrong?"

"I don't know, Kay, I just don't know. Something feels..." He trailed off. "I'm sure you're right. I'm sure it'll be fine."


"DAMN IT!" roared Jake, punching his wardrobe. "I can't find my Fuck All Bankers T-shirt! Wall Street Are Bastards just isn't aggressive enough, damn it!"

"I'll check in Quinn's room, she might have borrowed it – Snakey, should we do something with our hair? I mean, it's not every day we get to go mess with a country club and anything elaborate will take prep work..."

"How about Mohawks, but... but I have pink hair and you have blue! Fuck up their gender-defined world something fierce! YEAH!"

Helen grinned. "What would I do without you? Come here, you!"

Downstairs, as the 'sounds' come down, Erin and Brian sighed and put their earplugs in.


Friday morning came. Daria finally sought out Mohammed, who was clearly enjoying his role as bookie and was wearing a trenchcoat and shades inside.

"How many times have security searched you?"

"Four times a day," he said nonchalantly. "Gotta let you know, Mr D was spotted jogging earlier today – we're up to 2 to 1 odds on a first-quarter heart attack, and 2 to 1 that he dies."

"Who did your maths again? Never mind: I'll put ten bucks down on Rock and Roll Randy giving him a knee injury deliberately, and in the first quarter."

"Seven to one odds!" He pocketed. "Shoulda guessed you'd be watching the game."

"Oh I'll be there."


Tom looked in the mirror, and at his suit, in horror. "Oh god I'm an undertaker."

"You look very nice, honey," said his mother, ruffling his hair.

"Really, Daria's parents will be perfectly happy if I'm dressed how I normally—"

"There's no harm in looking smart, Tom. I'm sure they'll appreciate the effort."


"Oh come on Daria, at least wear a leather skirt," said Helen, disappointed.

"Mum, we've been over this: I know you had the spraypaint done specially for my birthday, but I'm not wearing the skirt with 'What You Looking At Bitch?' written on the ass."

"It's not easy to keep that much writing legible, young lady!" She sighed. "Fine, fine, show up and embarrass your parents in public…"

Helen, it should be noted, had a giant blue Mohawk, a leather jacket with only a leather bra (torn) and tattoos on underneath, steel-soled knee-high boots with dried blood on, and "LOVE" and "HATE" written on her knuckles.

"So why didn't you decide to just turn up wearing nothing but a painted-on anarchism symbol?"

Helen blinked. "Damn it, that's a great idea – remind me about that next time I have to visit the bank!"

Daria stopped talking after that.

Jake soon entered, with his pink shock of hair, his beer-stained badge ridden jacket, Fuck All Bankers shirt (Quinn had both borrowed and puked on it), his own knee-high boots over ripped denim jeans, and knuckle writing "NOFU" and "TURE".

"I'm ready to – awwww, Daria, not even wearing a leather skirt?"

"I'm wearing it in spirit, in my mind where The Man can never oppress me."

"Oh, cool!"

On their way out, Helen handed Quinn some money and a sheet of paper: "Now I promised Erin she could have the house to herself, so here's thirty bucks and the current location and licence plate of Eric Schrecter's new car."

"Fuck yeah! Thanks, Mum!"

Daria noticed that Erin was casually inching towards the radio, a Bieber CD in her hands – the one Daria had replaced with Black Flag's. "Mum, Dad, you go ahead and start the car – I just want to check on something…"

Two seconds after her parents had left, Erin put the CD on. Four seconds after, the opening guitar snarl of Rise Above came out; Erin clasped her hands over ears and began to scream, with a look of pure, primal terror. (Daria noted this down)

"Oh, sorry Erin!" She stopped the radio. "I must've got our CD's mixed up."

"Oh. Oh. Okay," gibbered Erin. "For—for a minute there, I thought this house had infected the CD. Or my head."

"No, it just-" Daria broke off as the phone rang. "Hang on."

"That's silly though, punk's just a type of music, it can't alter reality, ahahahahahaha-"

Daria picked up the phone. "Morgendorffers: we all have alibis."

"Ah, Daria. I was hoping it'd be you."

She swallowed. "Hi, Gran. Erm, I can't really talk – I've kinda got a thing."

"Oh." The woman sounded disappointed. "Well, maybe another time. Where are you going?"

"My parents are meeting my boyfriend's parents. Tom Sloane. Yeah, as in those Sloanes."

"Those Sloanes? Good Lord! I had no idea – congratulations, young lady! That's a serious catch. How did you manage – wait, your parents are going to… Oh. Oh Lord. Daria, I'm so sorry."

She gave a short laugh. "That's kinda how me and Tom have been feeling."

"Tom and I."

"Yeah, you too of course."

"What? (Oh, wait, I just got it.) Please tell me your mother is at least dressing like a civilised human being."

"Well, she's dressing at least."

"God's sake," muttered Grandma Barksdale. "Always the same with Helen… I'm sorry you have to put up with that Daria, it's disgraceful."

"I, erm, I really do need to…"

"Oh right. Of course."

"Um, talk to you… talk to you soon, Gran."

She hung up, trying not to think too much about what her grandmother had said. She'd said just what she'd been thinking for the last few days – and before, many a time. There was a feeling, however, deep within, that she should be standing up for her mother against someone who said that. Especially when that someone was a woman who, Daria knew, had messed up her mother and her aunt, and when she'd known her—

Except she was saying what Daria thought, and the old woman over the phone seemed miles away from the unholy terror that had left her upset and scared as a child.

This wasn't something she could think about too much now.

On her way out of the house, she was dimly aware of Erin still talking: "…sometimes I have nightmares that I've become a punk…"


The Sedimentary Rock Country Club security guard looked up at the Morgendorffers.

"You're joking, right?"

"I got Pig-Dog Sloane to mail us a statement, with his signature, stating that we're his guests here," said Helen, holding up the statement with triumph.

"B-B-But y-you're-"

"Signature."

The guard started to cry.

"That means we can go in, right?" asked Jake.

Sighing, Daria sent Jane the text message: 'Have entered. Get here ASAP.' Now if she could just last the next fifteen minutes…


The Sloanes were sat at their usual table when they heard the commotion.

"That's odd," said Kay, frowning. "Did someone just… scream?"

"Oh darn it all, turns out I need to go the toilet really bad," said Tom, pushing his chair back so he could get up. "I might be a while, maybe, oh, an hour, but-"

"OH GOD." Angier stared across the room in horror, as the rich parted like the Red Sea to escape the filthy. "OH GOD."

"Is this a robbery? A raid? Oh dear lord, Angier, they're coming this way—"

Tom buried his head in his hands. "So, yeah, Mum, Dad… this is Daria's mum and dad."

"This is no time for jokes, Thomas!"

"Daria's with them," whispered Angier. "He's not joking. Dear God above, he's not joking."

"W-Well, he did s-say they came from Texas originally…"

The dread figures drew up next to the Sloane's table. Helen stared down at them and menacingly picked her nose before wiping it on the very expensive tablecloth. Angier moved in his chair slightly so he was between them and Kay. Every eye in the room stared, until Jake looked back and then everyone scattered.

"Hey Tomb Sloane!" said Jake cheerily. "Sorry to see you trapped in that corporate penguin suit, m'man!"

"I can use the tie to hang myself, so it's not all bad," said Tom.

"Right on!"

"Hi Mr Sloane, Mrs Sloane," muttered Daria, looking down. "These are my parents. Mum's a lawyer."

"Public lawyer?" asked Angier, in a voice that sounded like he was on the verge of understanding something.

"I've defended a few people that the pigs have seen fit to step on," she growled.

"And I work in Consulting!" said Jake. "Hey, want to spruce up your company's image? I can make sure nobody thinks 'insider trading' and 'home stealers' when they think of Grace, Sloane and Page!"

"N-Now, we were cleared of the insider trading charge two years ago—"

Helen belched, and Kay jumped back into her seat like she'd been shot.

"So!" Tom clapped his hands together, grinning like a loon. "Who wants drinks, eh?"

"Cyanide, please," said Daria.

Jane, for the love of god, hurry.


Jane had been running half her life. She was good at it. She was fast. She was able to reach the basement just before Trent and Mystic Spiral started playing.

"AW DAMN IT!" snarled the drummer as the door banged open. "Now I lost my groove! I gotta start my chant all over again!"

"Please don't, Max," said one of the guitarists, Nicky. "Please."

"Up yours, Nick! Ahem… COME, THEY TOLD HIM, PARAPA-PUMPUM!"

Trent sighed. "Hey, Janey. Did I forget to close the fridge again?"

"Yeah, but this is something else. I need you to drive to the country club out of town and get Daria, it's super-important-"

"…NEWBORN KING TO SEE, PARAPA-PUMPUM!"

"Um, well, we kinda got a gig." He pointed at the webcams littered around the place. "Pay-per-view live webcast, starting… uh, a minute ago now, but it's pretty important. Sorry."

"Daria's parents are meeting Tom's parents."

"Whoa." Trent placed his guitar down, gently. "Sorry guys, emergency."

"But we gotta gig!" protested Nicky.

"Hey, people come to see the sounds, man. You can manage without me."

The largest guitarist, Jesse, blinked. "Um. Where's the audience again? I forgot."

"…come on, Janey."

"SO TO HONOUR HIM, PARAPA-PUMPUM! WHEN WE COME!"


By mutual consent, Daria and Tom sat between their parents as a demilitarised zone. A state of hostile staring had commenced.

"…what's 'Ture'?" asked Angier slowly, looking at Jake's fist.

"That's NO FUTURE, capitalist! A LAMENT for all the kids whose lives have been WRECKED by the actions of YOU and oh hey, here come the drinks!"

The waitress almost flung the drinks at the table in her hurry to escape.

"We may never come here again," muttered Kay, anger in her voice.

"My heart bleeds," said Helen.

Daria fidgeted. "So, erm, Mr Sloane… How's business?"

"Er, f-fine Daria, going real fine-"

"Raping the nation must pay real well," said Helen, teeth bared.

"Last week, it was WalMart that were raping the country," said Daria.

"Don't forget those lousy gas companies," growled Jake. "I'm not made of money DAMN IT!"

"Well who doesn't hate gas companies!" said Angier. "Always ripping people off-"

"Oh, the poor-little-rich-man routine huh? HUH?"

"So where's Quinn?" asked Tom politely.

"Oh, the little scamp's off destroying some prick's car," said Helen.

Kay paled. "You… you let your daughter destroy people's property? You encourage it?"

"DARIA NEVER DESTROYED ANYTHING AND YOU CAN'T oh, Quinn, sorry, I wasn't paying attention." Jake turned back to his drink. "Why aren't there any rocks in this damn Scotch, anyway?"

"Are you telling me how to raise my children, bitch?" whispered Helen, rising up.

"You raise them to be destructive monsters, then damn right."

"Oh yes, poor Eric Schrecter, how dare the man who supports monstrous bastards—"

"Oh, wait, Schrecter's car?" Kay breathed out. "That's fair enough."

"That guy always has to boast when he's in here and he never tips the waiters, and I tell you-" Angier jabbed a finger at the punks to emphasise his point. "One time I played golf with him for networking reasons, he tried the spare-ball-up-the-pocket, 'oh look how far I shot' trick! That's just tacky."

"Hate is such a unifying force," said Tom.

"Damn right!" cheered Jake.

"Um… would you mind reducing the profanity?" asked Kay.

"YES," said both punks.

Daria sighed. Jane, if you do not call in FIVE SECONDS -

Daria's phone rang.

Thank you, Satan. I owe you one.

"Hello, this is Daria, coming to you live from Hell."

"Help!" said Jane, in a torrent of bad acting. "Someone from the town hall is coming to bust us for noise pollution! I need help erecting barricades at the front door!"

"I hear you, Jane! I'm at Sedimentary Rock, send Trent asap!" She hung up and turned to her parents. "You heard that?"

"Too right!" spat Helen. "Go give those bully-boys hell, Daria!"

"Will do. Tom, want to help?"

"YES."

"Um…" Angier bit his lip. "While it's admirable for you to help a friend in need, Tom, I don't think you should be-"

"Oh no, let's not take risks, we only need to do bend the law when we can PROFIT! Gah damn it I bet you'll send him to military school! OR DID YOU ALREADY?"

Daria grabbed Tom's arm and dragged him out of the club with her. "Don't look back. There's nothing we can do. We need to regroup and hope for medical treatment."

"I sometimes wondered where Quinn came from. I never will again."

"It's disgraceful we have to put up with it."

Tom glanced at her. "Daria? You okay?"

"…I will be. Let's get to the school."

The two of them exited the building just as Trent pulled up (the guard looked at Trent's car and started crying again). Trent alerted the kids by, somehow, doing the opening chord to Come As You Are on the car horn.

Daria opened the door, pushed Tom in, and then flung herself in. "Get us out of here, Trent! Only the promise of a teacher dying can save us now!"

"Hey, I didn't like O'Neill either, but that's going too far, Daria…"


The school gym was packed: every student was there, watching the hockey game with hungry eyes and slathering mouths. Daria, Jane and Tom would've been unable to sit together, except Daria had cunningly placed signs saying "Unpopular Seats" on three seats: the football team and their dates were split asunder by it.

"Of course, now we're confirming we're unpopular," said Jane.

"That boat has sailed, Jane."

"People hate me for my looks," said Tom.

"You don't dress that badly."

"You win this round, Daria."

Over on the football player's side, Kevin pointed at Daria's crew and went "AHA!". He then turned to Mack: "Ha, and you said there were no such thing as Unpopular Seats! In your face, Mack-Daddy!"

"I believed you and almost sat in one!" said Joey reproachfully.

Mack opened his mouth, closed it, then turned to his girlfriend Angie. "Please tell me you know what's happened here. I'm not the only one, right?"

"I dunno, Kevin's kinda got a point."

"…oh look, violence!"

Down on the rink, DeMartino and the corpulent DJ Rock-and-Roll Randy circled each other over the puck, sweat and scowls on their faces like warring apes.

"Come ON…" hissed DeMartino, swiping at the puck. "Take your PUNISHMENT… like a MAN!"

"I'm not the Man, dude! I'm a rocker!"

The teacher sneered, then swiped the puck. "HA HA! Where's your classic rock NOW?" He rapidly accelerated. "There's many try to prove they're FASTER! But THEY didn't last and DIED as they tried! HELL BENT FOR LEATHER, HELL-"

Randy whacked DeMartino in the leg.

"AAAARGGG!"

"Every day, it's a' getting faster, bitch!" crowed Randy, stealing the puck.

DeMartino stayed down, clutching his knee – in the audience, Andrea stood up and screamed "YES!" – before standing up again, roaring in pain. ("Damn it," muttered Andrea)

"Drat," said Daria. "There goes my bet, unless attempted knee injuries count."

"Cheer up," said Jane, "Randy might for the same target again. Or it might be a delayed fracture."

Over to their side, next to his nerdy girlfriend Stacy, Jeffy scratched his head. "Was DeMartino… singing or screaming? I'm not sure."

"That was a Judas Priest song, they're a famous and iconic heavy metal band known for telling it like it and rocking the ***** " Stacy stopped in mid-sentence. "Um, um, sorry Sand- er… It's a heavy metal song. I heard it a few times."

Remember which persona you're in, Stacy. You can't afford another slip-up like that.

"I thought Judas was a disciple. Huh, the more you know!"


Half of the country club lay empty, apart from the Sloanes and the Morgendorffers. They made enough noise to fill it up, however.

"I don't see why I should feel guilty because you refused to grow up—"

"—act all down-with-the-serfs but you still live in lah-de-dah ***** Crewe Neck—"

"—surprised your daughters know how to talk the way you've been—

"WHY CAN'T YOU UPPER CLASS JERKS JUST CALL IT 'SCOTCH WITH ICE' STOP TRYING TO CONFUSE ME!"

"We made a mistake letting you in-"

"—made a mistake coming to this pukefest—"

"—half a mind to forbid Tom from—"

"RIGHT THAT'S IT I'M SICK OF THIS!" Without warning, Jake leapt to his feet. "We're taking this OUTSIDE, posh boy!"

"That is the first sensible thing you have said all night, asshole!" roared Angier, flinging his chair to the ground.

The two of them ran to the exit. Helen watched them go, then bared her teeth at Kay.

"I'm game if you are."

"If we all leave, we forfeit the table. Besides, I wouldn't want to make you cry 'oppression' when I whoop your ass."

"Not going to pay some trafficked immigrant to do it for you then, eh?"

"St Joan's Prep swim team, surprised if your school let you have exercise beyond walking to 'Mickey D'."

Outside, as the argument heated up, the two men shoved past the security guard and headed onto the lawn.

"Give you one free move, pig –it's all you'll SQUIRREL!"

Both men jerked over to see the offending mammal.

"Those bastards got into my wine cellar one time and ate all my Wheat Thins!" growled Angier.

"One broke into my garage and crapped on my car! Hours cleaning it! Hours!"

"Overgrown rats-"

"LET'S HEADBUTT THE FUCKER!"


When the game reached half time, a battered and panting DeMartino slumped down on the sidelines. When the game resumed, he rose up briefly, like a dying man grasping for help, and then fell down. A quick check found he was just too exhausted to move and the attempt to do so might kill him (seven students cheered at the news, many dollars richer).

"Well, there goes the only reason to stay," said Daria. "To the Zon?"

"Not yet," said Jane, "there's still an opportunity for someone else to get injured. Ya gotta have faith."

Down on the rink, Janet Barch sighted the puck and accelerated. The puck was held by Rock-and-Roll Randy. He was open. Vulnerable. Male.

With a great scream, she swung for the puck and 'accidentally' hit Randy right in the balls with god-like force.

"eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

"Oh dear! Clumsy me!"

She took the puck and headed for the enemy goal, and every male player fell over themselves to escape her.

"See?" said Jane.

"That was awesome," said Daria.

To the side, every football player was whimpering.


"ONCE SNAKE AND YOUR FASCIST REAL-DOLL GET BACK, I'LL TAKE YOU WITH ANY WEAPON-"

"YOU COULDN'T EVEN SPELL WEAPON, CRETIN! WHATEVER YOU ATTEMPT-"

The conversation broke up when the men entered the club, clothes ripped and covered with mud, hands clasped together, cheering a great victory chant:

"...and Scooby Doo if you came through you're gonna have yourself a Scooby Snack! That's a FACT!"

"I love that song!" beamed Jake. "Hey honey, Angier and me totally beat up a squirrel!"

The women stared at them in silence.

"...let's just go home," said Kay, a beaten woman.

"Aw Kay, dear, I'm sure there's time for one more dr-"

"Lets. Just. Go. Home."

The Sloanes left, with Jake high-fiving Angier on his way out. He crashed down next to Helen, oblivious of her stare.

"That Angier's alright! No, not Angier... Anger Sloane! Yeah! What do you think?"

"Snake, you totally fucked up the night."

"I did? Awwww..."


After Barch had been disqualified, there was no more reason for the students to stay and watch. Everyone flooded out, with Daria's crew a little more morose than the rest.

"At least one of us is going home to a very uncomfortable silence," said Daria.

"As long as we're not barred at gunpoint from seeing each other, it's fine," said Tom.

"It could happen."

"Well, if you want to put it off," said Jane, "Trent's band are at my house and should be getting drunk soon. Want to see what happens when they try to belch out a Nirvana song?"

"Yes. Yes I do."

DeMartino had only just made it to the changing rooms, where Barch was using the hockey stick to turn a working locker into a broken one.

"And THAT is what you get for not giving me an org- damn it the stick broke!"

"MS Barch, could you please LEAVE so I can get changed in PRIVATE?"

"Like your privates are worth seeing, man! You're just like those DJs! MALE! I hate you all!"

"Not as MUCH as I HATE them and YOU, you obnoxious, REPRESSED, virulent HARPY!"

"You make me glad I'm single, creep!"

"SAME to YOU!"

There was an angry, tense pause.

"Take your fucking trousers off," she muttered.

O'Neill would come in a minute later and then rapidly leave again.


Tom crept into his house very quietly. To his surprise, his father was on the couch, in his pyjamas.

"Don't ask," said Angier.

"A sensible course of action." He gulped. "So, erm... Daria sure isn't anything like her parents, eh?"

"Oh yeah, your mother doesn't want you going round Daria's house except when her parents are out. Try not to get caught lying about that, eh son?"

Tom digested this. "Mum wants me to go round my girlfriend's house... without parents around. I'll try not to think too much about the implications here."


Daria crept into her house very quietly. To her mild surprise, her father was on the coach, and drinking.

"Your mother doesn't want me going round Angier's house," he muttered, then took a swig.

"Is it okay if Tom comes round tomorrow?"

"Sure! I think we've got some squirrel problems around here, he can help-"

"I'll go round his house."

THE END