Page 40 of 40 Quinn's Code Cafe Geekdale

Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)

Installment 3: Cafe Geekdale

Monday, October 18, 2005

Quinn Morgendorffer grabbed the morning paper as she entered the kitchen. "Break in at downtown Cybercafe!" she exclaimed.

"Gaaaahhhhh! I thought this town was safe!" her father, Jake, exclaimed as he came into the kitchen.

"Daddy, the crime statistics for Lawndale are much lower than those for Highland," Quinn said.

"They are?" Jake asked.

"Yes, the statistics for Highland are twenty times higher than those for Lawndale," Quinn's sister, Daria, said as she approached the kitchen.

"Oh!" Jake said.

"What's this about a break-in?" Daria asked.

Quinn read from the paper; "Late last night, the .Com Cybercafe was broken into and Computer equipment stolen, police sources say. This is the ninth break-in at a Lawndale business this year."

Daria grabbed the paper from her sister and looked at the article herself. "Interesting," she said.

"What is?" Quinn asked.

"It says here that the Cybercafe is jointly owned by the Carter County School District and Lawndale State University," Daria said.

"That is interesting," Quinn said.

"Are you saying that a cybercafe is owned by the educational institutions?" their mother, Helen, asked as she came to the kitchen.

Daria handed the paper to her mother.

"Oh, my! A break-in. That never happened to a cybercafe in Highland."

"I don't think there are any cybercafe's in Highland," Quinn said. "At least, I never heard of any," she said.

"You do have a point there," Helen said, after some thought.

"If there was, they would have been broken into almost as soon as they had opened," Daria said as she put some bread into the toaster.

Both Helen and Quinn had to admit that was a correct assessment of that town.

"Well, this probably not the last time we're going to hear about this," Helen concluded.

.a

Quinn met her friends Kristen Bell and Cindy Robinson-Brolsma halfway to school, near Cindy's street.

"Hi, guys." Quinn said, coming along side them.

"Hi, Quinn," Kristen said, brushing her dyed red, bangs out of her eyes.

"Morning, Quinn," Cindy said, as she pushed her trapezoidal glasses up her nose.

"Have you read the Sun-Herald this morning?" Quinn asked.

"I haven't, I usually read the paper after school," Kristen said.

"This is about the Cybercafe, right?" Cindy asked.

"Right, it's bad that people break into places, but that is low. I mean some people can only get access to the internet at a cybercafe," Quinn said.

"You're right, but that wasn't the only cybercafe that Lawndale has. There are a few others, and more in Oakwood and elsewhere in the county besides," Cindy said.

"Oh," Quinn said. 'Of course there would be more in town. Lawndale's almost a city afterall,' she thought.

"Mr. Fun's Games, Cafe and Internet is a particularly good one for instance," Cindy said in remembrance.

"That's because you spent most of seventh grade playing Counter-Strike there." Kristen said.

"Good times," Cindy said.

'Counter-Strike? Eeeewww!' Quinn thought. Then again, she did play Halo on her X-Box. 'But that has a story.' "So that place is still open?" she said.

"Definitely!" Cindy said.

"With the VR-simulator and a 32 PC LAN, it is the most popular venue for multiplayer gaming in Lawndale," Kristen said.

"Cool," Quinn said.

"That is understating it," Kristen said.

They continued talking about the many Cybercafes in Lawndale as they continued on their way to school.

.b

"Class, I thought today we'd take a break from the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to discuss the real life tragedy that happened last night here in Lawndale. Let's share our feelings of violation following the loss of our beloved cybercafe .com," Mr. O'Neill said to the Sophomore Language Arts class. "Who would like to start." He looked at Kevin. "Charles? Charles, did you hear me?"

"You mean, Kevin?" Kevin said confused.

"Kevin, heh. I'm sorry. You uh, look like somebody else. What do you have to say about last night's horrible event?"

"I was home all night. You can ask my parents. Besides we have a computer," Kevin said,

"No, Kevin. I mean, how did the theft make you feel?" the teacher asked.

'You're asking the wrong person!' Jennifer Burns thought. She thought that the break in at the Cybercafe was the action of people who should have known better.

"Um, sad?" Kevin finally said.

"Are you asking me or telling me?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

"Angry?" Kevin said.

Mr. O'Neill was in thought, then he asked Jodie Landon what she thought about the cybercafe break in.

"I think the cybercafé served one very particular segment of the community, but it still pisses me off when people take what isn't theirs," Jodie said.

"That's how I feel!" Kevin broke in.

'Oh, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin!' Jennifer thought, knowing that the QB was a lost cause. 'Why does he have to focus on football so?'

"Thank you, Kevin. Jodie, about that word, 'community.' Isn't that the whole idea of a cybercafé? To jack us into the global community? I think what's most disturbing about this crime is the symbolism involved. Don't you agree, Jane?"

"No," Jane Lane said.

"Suddenly, we're cut off. We can't hail our friends across the globe and say, '"It's a beautiful day in the cyberhood.' They didn't just take a few computers. They took the symbol of our virtual community. To visit .com was to come together with the planet!"

'Cyberhood! I am sure Cindy, and a few others, would be pleased to correct you about that!' Jennifer thought.

"Oh, come on," Daria said.

"Yes?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

"Come together with the planet? By staring at a screen for hours? Sitting in a room full of people you never say a word to?" Daria said.

'Very good point, Daria,' Jennifer thought.

"Hmm, Interesting point, Dorian," the teacher said.

"It's Daria!" Daria exclaimed.

'Easy, Daria!' Jennifer thought.

Jane looked at Daria as if to say "What brought that on?"

"Sorry, Uh! Damn spiders. Daria, you believe that while connecting Lawndale citizens to our global neighbors, the cafe was alienating us from each other."

"I'm saying if you really miss the place, put a Mr. Coffee in the computer lab," Daria said.

"So, in your opinion, what we really need is a return to the traditional coffee house of yore, where you'd watch some performers and share a cup with your friends, face to face."

'Uh, oh!' Jennifer thought.

"You're a visionary," Jane said sardonically.

"The coffee house! We'll plan it, locate it, raise the money, and open it!"

Daria blanched "Would that qualify as an extracurricular activity?"

"Of course," Mr O'Neill said.

"Then I'd like to register as a conscientious objector," Daria said.

.c

During lunch, Daria sat with Jane and Jennifer at the usual table.

"What do you think is going to happen with Mr. O'Neill's idea?" Jennifer asked, wondering if an old style coffee house in Lawndale would be successful.

"Nothing," Daria said.

"Nothing?" Jennifer asked.

"Ms. Li will not shell out for it," Daria said.

"Are you sure?" Jane asked.

"Look at how stingy this Cafeteria is. It is obvious that the Principal keeps a tight rein on the purse strings," Daria said.

The three teens looked around. They could see that the décor dated from the early '90's at best, with hints of 70's and '80s here and there.

"So this morning would be the last we hear of it?" Jennifer asked with a slightly dubious tone. 'It could be a money raiser,' she thought.

"Want to bet on it?" Daria asked.

"Sure," Jennifer said

.d

After school, the Anime Club met in the library.

After approximately fifteen minutes of talking about an upcoming convention at the beginning of December, the topic of the conversation changed to the events of the day.

"And so, I will be cosplaying as Ichigo at the convention," Quinn said, referring to the main character of Tokyo Mew Mew. She then went back to her seat. 'The convention is going to be really cool,' she thought.

Jenna Schwartz stepped back up to the front. "Very good, Quinn. That concludes official business for today," she said.

"Jenna? What do you think of Mr. O'Neill's proposal for an old style coffeehouse?" Koichi 'Rob' Robazaki asked.

"It sounds like a very good idea," Jenna said.

"What is this about a coffee house?" Quinn asked.

"After hearing about the break in at .Com last night, Mr. O'Neill canceled the lesson that he had planned on Romeo and Juliet to talk to the class about their feelings about that break in," Jenna said.

"How did that lead to a proposal for an old style coffee house?" Quinn asked.

"The new girl in our Language Arts class, Daria, I think her name is, said something that inspired Mr. O'Neill," Rob said.

"Interesting," Jenna said.

'Daria! Oh no!' Quinn thought, pondering how her sister got herself into that mess. 'Possibly some snide remark that Mr. O'Neill misread,' she thought.

"What is wrong?" a blonde named Tania Kingston asked.

"That's my embarrassing sister," Quinn said.

"Oh," Rob said.

"Anyway, continue," Quinn said, being quite anxious to know more about Mr. O'Neill's Coffee House idea.

"Right. O'Neill than says that it would be place to watch some performers and hang out with friends," Jenna said.

"Interesting idea," Quinn said.

"We could read episode reviews there!" Tania said, excitedly. 'Then they will know that anime is better than it sounds!' she thought.

"Or cosplay and read episode reviews, or fanfic!" Tatiana Olivova exclaimed, emitting a squee-like squeal.

The others just looked at her.

"What? There's nothing wrong with fanfic!" she said.

"There isn't if it is well written. Most of it on that site is not," Jenna said. 'There is a reason why I don't go on there anymore,' she thought. Most of her online fandom activities were concentrated on LiveJournal.

.e

"Right," Tatiana said.

"We didn't hear about the Coffee House in the freshmen class," Quinn said, steering the conversation away from Tatiana's mention of fanfic.

"Really?" Rob asked.

"Yes," Tatiana said.

"So you would like the junior class, and not just the sophomore class to be able to participate?" Jenna asked.

"Yes, otherwise it wouldn't be fair," Quinn said.

"You can bring that up with Mr. O'Neill tomorrow. I will also talk to him about it," Jenna said. 'Quinn does have a point.'

"That would be great," Quinn said.

"Absolutely," Tatiana said.

The Anime Club continued to talk about the idea for another ten minutes before breaking up to head home.

That night, after dinner, Cindy and Kristen visited Quinn.

"An old style coffeehouse?" Cindy asked, when Quinn had finished telling her and Kristen about what had happened at the Anime Club meeting. 'It would certainly add more variety to night activities here in Lawndale, that is for sure,' she thought.

"Yes," Quinn said.

"What brought that on?" Kristen asked.

"What do you mean?" Quinn asked.

"How did Mr. O'Neill think of the idea?" Kristen asked.

"Koichi said that Mr. O'Neill was inspired by a remark that Daria had made," Quinn said.

"That explains that," Kristen said.

"So, then I suggested that the freshmen as well as the sophomores can do performances there. That would, like, be rather cool," Quinn said.

"It would be," Cindy said.

"I know what you would like to do," Kristen said to Cindy.

Cindy shrugged.

"Anyway. I could read some poetry," Kristen said as she thought. 'Some of the audience would appreciate it.'

"It's not too angsty, is it?" Quinn asked, knowing that Goths often wrote poetry that was quite angsty.

Kristen looked away. "It really depends on how one defines angst, doesn't it," she said. 'I don't think it's that angsty.'

"Sorry," Quinn said, also looking away.

"Don't worry, she does get like that sometimes," Cindy said. 'One thing I have learned is; don't judge Kristen by her appearance!'

"Anyhow. I would bring some of my more hopeful poetry to the first night, whenever that is going to be," Kristen said.

"I would certainly listen to it," Cindy said.

"I know that you have listened to some of it," Kristen said with a smile.

"I really should listen to it, huh?" Quinn said, guessing where she had gone wrong in the last minute.

"Yes," Cindy said, jumping in.

"Sorry about that," Quinn said. Then the sound of metal music came through the walls.

"Who's playing that music?" Kristen asked, wanting to change the subject from the discussion about her poetry.

"Oh, that is just Daria, playing her music really loud," Quinn said. "A good thing that her room has that soundproofing," she said, quieter.

"It sounds a little interesting, if a little sad," Kristen said.

"Of course it's sad. Daria's a misanthrope!" Quinn said.

"The question would be; why is she a misanthrope? Wouldn't it?" Kristen said, as she went to the door.

"I wouldn't disturb her, she's rather private," Quinn said.

"I'll be back, after I ask Daria about that music," Kristen said. She left.

"You think that Daria won't talk to Kristen?" Cindy asked.

"She will tell her to leave her alone and then slam the door in her face. Otherwise she will just ignore her," Quinn said.

"Maybe Jane and Jennifer have had a positive effect on her?"

"The likelihood is remote. Jennifer says that she feels that her friendship with Jane is closer than that with Daria."

"It's still possible," Cindy said in thought.

"I guess so," Quinn said, as she looked out one of the front windows.

.f

Kristen walked up to Daria's room and knocked on the door. After a minute of the music continuing at the same volume she knocked again.

'Nothing for it, except to just go in,' she thought. She grabbed the handle and slowly opened the door, preparing herself to see whatever was inside.

However, she was not prepared to see what she actually saw. Padded walls like those in a psychiatric institution.

She looked around in slight shock, at the archaeological print, the wheelchair rail, the plain brown bed, the sawn off bars in the windows, the models of a slice of cheese and a human heart, the television on the trolley, the keyboard set up and amplifier, the set of drawers, computer set up, Kafka poster and book shelves.

She saw the short, auburn-haired, teen playing the music on a bass guitar with the lead plugged into the amplifier. She was reading the music off a handwritten sheet held above the keyboard and softly singing the lyrics. Kristen stepped into the room and listened to the sad metal tunes.

After another minute Kristen made another move. "Daria?" she asked.

At the sound of Kristen's voice Daria started "Eep!" and dropped the guitar on the keyboard. She swiftly turned around, causing her bleached bangs to fall across her face. She blew them aside with a harsh blow. "How long have you been there?" she asked, with a stern expression.

"Only about a minute," Kristen said.

Daria thought for a moment "That's alright I guess. But you shouldn't just barge in uninvited and listen to my internal musings!" she said.

"I guess so. But you sound so sad," Kristen said.

"You would sound sad too if you grew up in a town like Highland, and your younger sister hogged the spotlight constantly!"

"I guess so," Kristen said. She was the youngest, but she did feel that Kelly did hog some of the spotlight in the eyes of her parents. 'She even dyed her hair the same as me. I dyed it this way first!' she thought. She shook her head, turning her thoughts back to Daria. 'She isn't telling the whole story.'

"Out!" Daria said.

"Wait!" Kristen said.

"What?" Daria asked.

"I would like to ask you about your music, besides the personal aspects, that is."

Daria thought for a moment. "Fine. I write metal, it suits my mood. I also listen to metal, otherwise it would be punk or rock. Anything from any other genre would have to have an existential bent to it," she said.

"That would include blues and country and western, wouldn't it?"

"Yes."

"What I like, is similar, but a little more upbeat. Also more Gothic in tone," Kristen said.

"As I expected," Daria said, playing an improvisational piece on the keyboard. She stopped, then flipped pages in the notebook and quickly wrote down the notes she had just played.

'She's quite talented,' Kristen thought. "What was expected?" she asked.

"The Gothic tones."

'Of course,' Kristen thought. She would have said something more except that Quinn came into the room.

"Um, I thought you were fighting," Quinn said diplomatically.

"We weren't. I was just asking your sister about her music," Kristen said.

"Oh, she almost never talks about her music," Quinn said.

"I got that impression. She hasn't told me very much," Kristen said. 'But it is enough to know that Daria is quite withdrawn and moody,' she thought.

"Quinn, Kristen, you can leave now!" Daria said.

"What is your problem? We were about to leave!" Quinn said.

"My problem! You are my problem!" Daria almost shouted.

"Oh really?" Quinn began. Kristen slipped out of the room.

"Yes!" Daria shouted.

.g

512 Grandstaff Drive

The Fashion Club were having a sleepover at club president Sandi Griffin's house. After dinner they had all gone up to Sandi's bedroom.

"There is a reason why I asked you to stay over tonight. We have to, like, do something about Quinn," Sandi said.

"Why?" Stacy Rowe asked. The Fashion Club didn't usually do sleepovers.

"Sta-cy! We need to stop the Geekiness of that Geekendorffer from getting any more popular!" Sandi exclaimed.

"Why?" Stacy asked.

"Tori?" Sandi asked, turning to the Vice President, Tori Jericho.

"According to my sources, whom I have asked in the last week, the popularity of various science fiction and fantasy media amongst Lawndale High students has gone up drastically," Tori said. She took a bar chart out of her bag. "According to this, the popularity of Stargate Atlantis has gone up by 33%!"

"Is that all?" Stacy asked. 'That is nothing to be concerned about. Even if he's a brain and a jerk, that McKay guy is cute.'

"What do stars and gates have to do with a ci-ity that saaank in the oce-an?" Tiffany Blum-Deckler asked.

"That's not all, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and by association, the other Narnia books, by 50%," Tori said.

"That's probably due to the movie which is coming out in a couple of months, not due to Quinn," Stacy said.

"Sta-cy!"

"Eep!"

"I wasn't finished," Tori said.

"Sorry," Stacy said.

"Futurama, 10%. Lord of the Rings, 30%. Halo,75%. World of Warcraft, 95 %. The Matrix, 80%. Battlestar Galactica 45 %. Wheel of Time, 25%. Redwall, 55%. Back to the Future, 70 %." Tori then listed a few more; some not even sci-fi or fantasy.

"I get the point!" Stacy said, even though she liked some of the stories listed.

"Yes. Tori, I see that the games have become very popular. That is why we need to destroy the Geekendorffer's popularity!" Sandi said.

"I have an idea," Tori said.

"Then tell us, Tori!" Sandi said.

"Today, some of the sophomores were saying that Mr. O'Neill plans to open an old style coffee house for performances," Tori said.

"The point being?" Sandi asked.

"The point being, Sandi, that it is a venue we can use to discredit Quinn! We can write a speech denouncing her Geekiness!" Tori said.

Sandi thought about it. That was a very good idea. She smiled. "Excellent!" she said, subconsciously copying the mannerisms of Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons.

'Oh no!' Stacy thought. "But there is a problem," she said.

"What is that?" Sandi asked, turning to Stacy.

"Only the sophomores will be performing at the Coffee House."

"Oh, Really? I will see about that. I will ask Mr. O'Neill to allow freshmen to perform," Sandi said.

"Great idea, Sandi," Tori said.

"Yes, it is," Sandi said.

.h

Back at the Morgendorffers, Helen went upstairs to find Cindy and Kristen waiting outside Daria's door with concerned looks on their faces. "What is going on?" she asked.

"Mrs. Morgendorffer, Quinn and Daria have been arguing for around ten minutes," Kristen said.

"Oh my! They usually get tired of arguing after five minutes!"

"I knew something was up," Kristen said.

Cindy nodded.

"Don't worry. They don't usually come to blows," Helen said, although her voice showed some apprehension.

The door opened and Quinn came out, visibly sweating. She closed the door and said; "I don't want to talk about it."

"Are you sure?" Helen asked.

"Something is up between you and your sister," Cindy said.

"Most of the issues are on her side anyway. You would have to ask her. Good luck with that!" Quinn said as she headed back to her room.

"I would still like to know," Kristen said.

"I'll tell you when I'm ready. Not right now," Quinn said as she went into the room.

Cindy followed Quinn into the room. "We don't need to know now. But we can be there when she wants to tell someone," she said as she stopped at the door.

"True," Kristen said, as Cindy entered the room. She remained in the hallway for a few moments longer.

"I wouldn't worry overly much. Quinn is strong, although a little obsessive sometimes," Helen said.

"I know, on both counts," Kristen said. "Thanks, ."

"You're welcome," Helen said as her daughter's goth friend went back into the room.

.i

Tuesday, October 19. 2005

Daria entered the kitchen for breakfast to find her mother waiting for her. "Didn't you have a 7:00 AM meeting?" she asked.

"When I called Eric for directions, he said that the meeting was canceled," Helen said.

"Oh!" Daria said.

"You know, Daria, it wouldn't hurt if you got involved in some after school activities once in a while."

Daria just grabbed a box of breakfast cereal.

"I'm serious. When you apply to college, they're going to be looking for that sort of thing."

"They're going to be looking to see whether I can pay for school. This might be a good time to talk about setting up a trust?"

Helen sighed. "I just want you to think about it, Daria. That's all I ask."

Daria just poured some milk on her cereal.

"Otherwise we might have to make it up over the summer. Send you to some kind of camp."

"You wouldn't," Daria said.

Helen just gave her daughter a poignant look.

"You would. But I would have to interpret it as punishment for doing something, very, very, wrong."

"Nonsense. It would just be an easy way of getting some extracurricular activity on your college applications... If you weren't able to come up with any on your own.

"You're good. When you put your mind to it, you're very, very good."

"You'll find something to get involved with. It'll be fun."

"Swell," Daria said.

"I also heard that you were involved in another argument with Quinn last night," Helen said.

That brought Daria up short. "Who told you that? I know Quinn didn't."

"Kristen did. She and Cindy are close to Quinn and want to know what is going on between you two."

Daria just took a bite of her cereal.

Helen sighed.

.j

Sandi arrived at her Language Arts class early, only to find that Quinn was already talking to Mr. O'Neill. 'Of course, her Language Arts class is first," she thought. She hung back in the doorway and listened in on their conversation...

.k

"So, you want the Freshmen to be able to perform at the opening night of the Coffee House?" Mr. O'Neill said.

"Yes. You are always going on about students maximizing their potential or whatever," Quinn pointed out.

"That is a good point," Mr. O'Neill conceded.

"So are the freshmen going to be able to perform at the opening night or not?" Quinn asked.

Mr. O'Neill stammered and cowered slightly before saying; "Yes, as well as the Juniors and Seniors, also any middle schoolers that are also interested."

"Very good."

"Thanks, Quinn," Mr O'Neill said as she left.

Quinn noticed Sandi standing near the door as she left the room, but didn't give her any attention. 'Doesn't matter whether she was eavesdropping or not,' she thought.

After Quinn had gone, Sandi entered the room. "Mr. O'Neill, we need to talk," she said, a little more forcefully than she had intended.

"What about, Sandi?"

"I heard about this Coffee House you are, like, setting up and apparently it's only for sophomores!" she said.

"Yeah, I have just talked to that new girl, Quinn Morgendorffer, about that. I have decided to throw it open for everyone!" Mr. O'Neill said.

"Excellent," Sandi said, momentarily ignoring the teacher's mention of Quinn for the moment.

"Yes, it will be excellent for the students who participate," Mr. O'Neill said.

"Of course," Sandi said.

"Is There something else you want to talk about, Sandi?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

"Nothing," Sandi said as she left the classroom, leaving the teacher confused. 'Let him be confused,'

.l

Daria and Jennifer entered the Language Arts classroom a few minutes early.

"Daria, I 've talked to Ms. Li and she said that your idea is a great idea!" Mr. O'Neill said when she arrived at the Language Arts Class.

"So it's going ahead?" Jennifer asked, with slight surprise.

Yes. Opening night will be this Friday. If money can be raised via fund-raising by that time, that is," Mr. O'Neill said.

"Great," Daria said. She then thought for a second about the conversation with her mother that morning. "Actually, I would like to volunteer to work on the coffee house."

"You do?" Jennifer asked with a raised eyebrow.

"My mom is forcing me to do an extracurricular activity."

Jennifer shook her head "That's not right," she murmured. 'But hardly unexpected, given what they have both said about her,' she thought.

"Anyway, that's great! I guess you want to read one of your essays."

"No, I wasn't actually thinking about performing," Daria said. 'Why did he have to assume that,' she thought.

"Maybe that one about feeling like a big misfit whom everybody hates. The other kids will really relate to that. I know I do."

"I don't know if that's such a great idea. That's the one that compares the sophomore class to barnyard animals. It names names," Daria said.

"Except Jane and myself, of course," Jennifer murmured.

"Oh, yeah," Mr. O'Neill realized.

"I'm really not much of a performer. I'm thinking more along the lines of that fundraising you mentioned?" Daria asked.

"Oh. Well, we're selling magazines, CDs, and wrapping paper. Jump in!" Mr. O'Neill said with enthusiasm.

"Can I join?" Jennifer asked. 'Seeing Daria doing an extracurricular activity is worth it. Besides I will be letting her knock on the doors!' she thought.

"Good for you, Jen!" Mr. O'Neill said.

"Can Jane join to?" Daria asked.

"If she wants to," Mr. O'Neill said.

"She's a big joiner," Daria said.

The sarcasm went over Mr. O'Neill's head.

'He doesn't get sarcasm, does he?' Jennifer thought.

.m

When all the class was seated Mr. O'Neill made the annoucement to the class. "This Friday night is the inaugural Performance Night at the new Café Lawndale Coffee House. I would like to discuss with you possible ideas for performances."

Jodie Landon put her hand up.

"Yes, Jodie."

"Ms. Li has agreed?" Jodie asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes, Jodie. She says that it will increase the school's visibility in the Lawndale community," he said.

"Right," Jodie said. She knew what Ms. Li meant when she said that though.

"Anyone else?"

"We can practice cheerleading routines there?" Brittany Taylor asked.

"Sure, Brittany, but wouldn't you like to do anything else?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

Brittany twirled one of her pig-tails as she thought. 'We have been working on Shakespeare.' "Some lines from Hamlet would be good for me and Kevie to perform," she finally said.

"That would be good, Brittany."

"But, Babe!" Kevin objected.

"I am sure that you could learn them in time, Kevie!" Brittany said.

"But the words are confusing!"

"That is what Language Arts Class is for, Kevie!" Brittany said. 'I may not get more than a D+, but I do understand the language in those plays!'

"Um, Okay," Kevin said.

"Twenty if Kevin doesn't remember the lines," Daria said to Jennifer.

"It's a given. That is too much," Jennifer said.

"Five, if he doesn't remember the lines," Daria said.

"Losing to me hurts, doesn't it?" Jennifer asked.

Daria grumbled.

"Anyone else?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

Andrea Hecuba raised her hand. "I will read some poetry," she said.

"Excellent!"

.n

That afternoon, Jennifer and Daria went to Casa Lane prior to fund-raising for the Coffee house via the selling of chocolate.

"No way. Are you two out of your mind?" Jane asked as she painted.

"My mom is forcing me to do an extra-curricular activity," Daria said.

"You have to admit that the Coffee House is a good idea," Jennifer said.

"True," Jane admitted.

"So, you are coming?" Jennifer asked.

"No," Jane said.

"Come on. Do it for Friendship," Jennifer said.

"Maybe," Jane said.

"Then do it for the opportunity to look inside people's houses and find out what screwed-up tastes they have," Daria suggested.

Jane perked up. "I'm bringing a Polaroid!"

.o

"Hi! We're selling long distance phone cards," Quinn said to the young man whom had opened the door.

"I just use a credit card," the young man said.

"Are you really happy with the service?" Cindy asked.

"It's fine," the young man said.

"Does your internet go really slow, for instance?" Cindy asked. 'That is one way a person can be dissatisfied,' she thought.

"It doesn't. I just got broadband," the young man said.

"Are you happy with that?" Kristen asked.

"It's fine," the young man said.

"I mean, are you really happy with the voice quality on your long distance calls?" Quinn asked, honing in on the reason why they were there.

"I don't get you. W-why shouldn't I be?" the young man asked.

"I mean, are you ever really looking forward to talking to someone, and then can't hear them because of crackling and static?" Quinn asked.

"Not really," the young man said.

"She means, that if one of your friends received a call from you, they'd want to listen to you, not some static!" Cindy said.

"You have a really nice voice. Your friend should be able to hear it," Kristen said. 'And that is the truth,' she thought.

The young man backed up a bit. "They usually, uh..."

The three friends looked at each other. "Just pretend you're calling one of us," Cindy said. 'That is one way to get our point across,' she thought.

"What?" the young man asked.

"Really, just try it. My name's Kristen, and the others are Cindy and Quinn."

"What's your name?" Quinn asked.

"Danny."

"So call me, Danny," Cindy said.

"Ok," Danny said, he made a gesture in imitation of a telephone. "Hello? Uh, Cindy?"

"Is that you? Danny?" Cindy asked.

"Hi! Cindy?"

"Speak up, Danny. I'm afraid I can't hear you!" Cindy said.

"Hi! Cindy? It's me, Danny."

"I've been thinking about you all day. The way your eyes glisten when you laugh. I can't get it out of my mind," Cindy said.

"Really?" Danny asked.

"You have to speak up, Danny! Listen, do you want to come over tonight? I have the house all to myself for the weekend."

"Yeah! I mean, um, s-sure, Cindy."

"Oh, that's OK, Danny, I understand. I'll see if Jamal wants to come over." Cindy said.

"But I said..."

"Bye!" Cindy said.

"Wait!" Danny said.

"Click!" Cindy said.

"See what can happen with bad long distance service, Danny?" Quinn asked.

"Who's Jamal?" Danny asked.

"Oh, someone at school. I'm not sure that is even his name..." Cindy said.

"So you would like a phone card?" Kristen asked.

"I guess so," Danny said.

Jennifer rang the doorbell, but was then surprised when a very obese woman answered the door, wheezing as she moved. "Um, hi. I'm selling chocolate bars for the new student coffee house," she said.

"Speak up! I can't hear you," the woman said.

"We're selling chocolate bars for the new student coffee house," Daria said.

"New coffee house?"

"Our cybercafé got trashed." Jane said.

"Well, I enjoy chocolate. Doctor says I'm not supposed to have too much of it, but he wouldn't mind if it's for a good cause."

'Somehow I think that he would mind, even if it's for a good cause,' Jennifer thought.

The woman went inside for some money which gave opportunity for Jane to take a photograph of her living room.

"Just... just a second, girls," the woman said as she returned.

"Are you alright?" Jennifer asked.

"Yeah, yeah. Just, just, I was in the basement when the doorbell rang. Need to catch my breath a little. How many chocolate bars you got there?"

"We've got about two boxes. That's twenty-four," Daria said.

"Tell you what: I'll take all of them."

"All of them? Really?" Jane asked.

"That's not really fair for others, is it?" Jennifer asked.

"You sure that's okay with your doctor?" Daria asked.

"It's okay as long as he don't know about it! Dammit! Where's that purse?" the woman then coughed, fainted and fell to the ground.

"That's not good!" Jennifer said.

"Uh-oh!" Daria uttered.

"Did she hit her head?" Jane asked.

"I don't think so," Daria said.

"Do either of you know CPR or anything?" Jane asked.

Jennifer nodded. "I do, but has been a while since I did the training."

"I once gave the Heimlich maneuver to Quinn," Daria said.

"Did it work?" Jane asked.

"She wasn't choking," Daria said.

'Quinn hasn't told me about anything like that!' Jennifer thought. It was more evidence of angstier than usual sibling rivalry.

"We should be doing something now. I'm sure of it," Jane said.

"Yeah, I think you're right," Daria said.

"Help me move her into the recovery position," Jennifer said, as she stooped down. 'I have to do something!'

Daria and Jane shrugged and also stooped down to help Jennifer. This coincided with the woman returning to consciousness.

"What are you doing!" she demanded.

"Moving you into the recovery position, but since you are now conscious, there's no need," Jennifer said.

The woman stood up. "Damn hyperglycemia. I'm sorry, girls, I'm holding up the works. Okay, now, how much apiece on those chocolate bars?"

"Ma'am, I'm not sure I can sell you any chocolate bars," Daria said.

"I'm afraid that I have to agree with her," Jennifer said. 'She just fainted from Hyperglycemia and she still wants the chocolate bars!

"What's the matter? My money's not good enough for you?"

"It's not that, it's just... maybe it's not such a good idea," Daria said.

"The reason should be obvious!" Jennifer projected.

"Give me those chocolate bars!" the woman shouted.

"Thank you for the offer though, ma'am, and for caring about the students of Lawndale High," Jane said.

"We could call your doctor or the hospital if you like," Jennifer said.

"Otherwise, we'll be going!" Daria said. The teens walked away to go to the next house.

"I don't need a damn doctor, I need a damn chocolate bar! Gimme! I'll pay ya five bucks apiece!" the woman offered.

"Have a nice day, ma'am," Daria said.

"Come back here!"

.o

As the teens approached the obese woman's next door neighbor's house they reflected on the situation.

"Five dollars apiece. We would've made over a hundred bucks," Jane considered.

'At the cost of her life!' Jennifer thought.

"Yeah, and all we had to do was take a human life," Daria said.

"You always see the downside, don't you?" Jane asked.

"In this case, yes," Jennifer said.

"Certainly," Jane said.

Jennifer knocked on the door. 'I hope that this person isn't like the other one,' she thought.

.p

"I'll say that is a successful afternoon, Quinn," Cindy said.

"Yeah, definitely," Quinn said.

"We definitely make a good team," Kristen said.

"One more house, before the sun goes down," Quinn said.

"Sure," Kristen said, as they turned from Pinewood Road into Glen Oaks Lane. 'It has definitely been a successful afternoon.'

.q

As they went towards the house on the corner of those two streets, they noticed that Kevin and Brittany were also approaching that house. 'This could be a problem,' Kristen thought.

"Hi, popular brains, you are fund-raising for the coffeehouse too?" Kevin asked, as he and Brittany came up.

"Of course they are, Kevie!" Brittany said.

"Yes, we are," Quinn said.

"Cool!" Kevin said.

"We were about to go and sell at that house. Would you like to join us?" Kristen asked.

"Sure!" Brittany said.

"Um, Okay," Kevin said.

"Very cool!" Cindy said.

The three geeks, the quarterback and cheerleader then went to sell their wares to the family in that house.

.r

Excerpt from the Diary of Anastasia Elizabeth 'Stacy' Rowe (October 19, 2005)

On that note, Sandi then said that she wants to use the Coffee House as a venue for the destruction of quote 'The Geekendorffer's popularity' end quote. I have to warn Quinn somehow, but I don't know her email address! I hope I will be able to find it out tomorrow...

.s

Wednesday, October 20, 2005

Ms. Li entered her office and immediately the phone began to ring. "Who could this be, that can barely wait to call Lawndale High?" she asked. She picked up the phone. She was immediately blasted by some ranting.

"Calm down, and repeat what you just said!"

"I said, that three girls from your school came around yesterday afternoon selling chocolates for a new coffee house, but they suddenly didn't sell me that chocolate, despite the fact that I eventually offered twice the value!"

'That is serious!' The principal thought. "I see. Do you have a name I can refer to in my investigation of this matter?" she asked.

"Mrs. Iris Johansen."

"Thank you. Can you describe these students?"

"Yes, they were very distinctive. One wore her blonde hair over one side of her face and a dark jacket with a red skull on the back."

Ms. Li wrote; Burns.

"The second one had long auburn hair, big round glasses and a green jacket."

Ms. Li wrote; Morgendorffer, D. 'I can see that she is becoming a troublemaker. Too bad she left that self esteem class.'

"The last had short black hair, although her eyes were blue, she wore a red jacket." Mrs. Johansen concluded.

Ms. Li wrote; Lane. "Thankyou, I will talk to the three students involved! Make no mistake, Mrs. Johansen, I take matters like these very seriously."

"Thank you," Mrs. Johansen said prior to hanging up.

'Now I have to deal with this impertinence!' Ms. Li thought as she put the phone down.

.t

Shortly before recess, the three friends sat in front of Ms. Li's desk.

"Why are we here?" Daria asked.

"The school received a phone call this morning from a Mrs. Johannsen. She said three girls came to her door to sell her chocolate bars, and then suddenly refused to do so. Hmm. Even after she offered five dollars a bar, or more than twice the asking price," Ms. Li said.

"She was hyperglycemic. The chocolate would've killed her," Daria said.

"She passed out while we were standing there," Jennifer said. 'There is no way she can refute that,' she thought.

"Did she ask you to feed her the chocolate?" Ms. Li asked.

"Of course not," Jane said.

"How do you know it wasn't for her family?" Ms. Li asked.

"We didn't see any family," Jennifer said.

"She has no family. She ate them," Jane said.

Jennifer glared at Jane through her hair 'That is not helping our case!' she thought.

Mr. O'Neill then spoke; "Daria, Jane, Jennifer, we're two hundred dollars short of what we need to open the coffeehouse."

"So, your refusal to sell chocolate to this woman was based purely on concern for her welfare," Ms. Li said.

'Of course, didn't you hear what I said?' Jennifer thought.

"And not wanting to do time for manslaughter," Daria said.

"I second that," Jennifer said.

"You have no overall problem with raising money for the coffeehouse?" Ms. Li asked.

"I believe in coffee. Coffee for everyone. But I don't want to sell any more chocolate bars. It makes me feel dirty," Daria said.

"The bad kind of dirty," Jane clarified.

"Well, I can't force you to do fundraising, but I can't give you credit for participating in the coffee house project, either," Ms. Li said.

'Uh, oh!" Jennifer thought.

"Wait. Daria, what about what we discussed? Reading something on opening night," Mr. O'Neill said.

"I don't think so!" Daria said.

"You do want this extracurricular activity, don't you?" Ms. Li asked.

"Remember your mom," Jennifer whispered to Daria.

"Fine!" Daria said.

"Fabulous!" Mr. O'Neill said.

"Although I still don't know where we're going to find that two hundred dollars. Well, maybe the freshman volunteers will make up some of it," Ms. Li said.

'I hope so,' Jennifer thought.

As if in answer to Jennifer's hopes, the office door opened to reveal Quinn, Cindy and Kristen with pockets and hands full of cash.

"Where do you want us to put this money?" Kristen asked.

"Just give it to Mr. O'Neill. He will take care of it," Ms. Li said, happy that the Coffee house would be able to open after all.

.u

As she walked away from the principal's office with her friends, Daria thought about what she would do about Friday night. 'I have to do something,' she thought. 'Maybe that Melody Powers song,' she thought.

.v

At lunch; Stacy crept along the corridors. She found her destination; the room where the Anime Club usually met after school. She looked around to ensure that no one in the Fashion Club, or any other popular clique was nearby. She saw no one (or any security cameras), so she opened the door and slipped inside.

Once inside; Stacy went to the desk and expertly fished out the sheet with the contact details of the membership on it. She quickly found Quinn's information near the bottom of the list. She took out a notebook and quickly copied all of Quinn's contact details, before placing the sheet back exactly where it was.

She then left the room, but not before ensuring that everything was exactly as it was when she entered and that no one would see her leaving the room.

However, she didn't notice that someone did see her leaving the room...

.w

A special meeting of the Anime Club was held in the library after school.

"The reason why I called this meeting is that I thought we could collaborate on possible performance ideas for the Coffee House," Jenna said.

"That is a good idea, Jenna," Quinn said.

"What about my idea for reading fanfic?" Tatiana asked.

"Well, not all of us write fanfic, Tatiana. But you can read your fanfic there if you want to," Jenna said.

"Cool!" Tatiana said.

"Perhaps, reviews of the various series. What they are about, how well they are produced and the characters," Rob said.

"That's a cool idea!" Quinn said. 'That is totally a cool idea. The audience will get an appreciation for each series,' she thought.

"Anything else?" Jenna asked.

"Reviews of individual episodes as I suggested on Monday, Jenna," Tania said.

"Any new ideas?" Jenna asked, wondering if there would be any.

"We could talk about games that are based on various anime and manga," Quinn said. She could think of many examples right there.

"Good idea, Quinn," Jenna said.

"Yeah," Quinn said.

"So which series do you think we could review?" Jenna asked.

"One Piece?" Rob suggested.

"That's a good one," Tania said.

"And quite cool too," Jenna said.

"Ghost in the Shell?" Quinn suggested.

Jenna wrote it down. "Cool!" she said.

"Ranma ½?" Tatiana suggested.

Jenna glared at Tatiana. "I don't think so," she said.

"Why not?" Tatiana asked, disappointed.

"They would not understand the idea of it," Jenna said, shaking her head. Tatiana grumbled.

"Anything else?" Jenna asked.

"Pokemon?"

"Most of them may be familiar with that, but sure."

"Yes!"

"Cowboy Beebop?"

"That is a good show," Jenna said.

"Cool," Quinn said.

"Bubblegum Panic?"

"Possibly."

They continued their discussion for another 15 minutes.

.x

When Quinn got home she went upstairs and logged on to her email accounts.

Almost immediately she found a mysterious email in her Hotmail account.

.y

ldtomboy91 Coffee House Peril 2005, 10, 20 03:45 PM

"Weird," she said. 'What is so perilous about the Coffee House?' she wondered. She clicked on the link to the message.

To: Geek_ Geek_Quinn(at)hotmail(dot)com

From: ldtomboy91(at)yahoo(dot)com

Hi, Quinn.

You don't know me, but I also go to Lawndale High. The reason why I am sending this email to you is to warn you that someone is going to use the Coffee House to discredit you, to try to destroy your popularity, possibly by saying a lot of mean things about you.

This will be my last communication.

From ldtomboy91

agzayuke aeuurrsmu uvaqi

.z

Quinn had to read it again, to be sure of what it said.

'Thanks for warning me, whoever you are,' she thought. She wasn't sure what to make of it. She knew of several of her classmates who were disgruntled about her influence since she started at Lawndale High. However the foremost of that group was Sandi Griffin, with her protégé Tori Jericho just behind her.

'You will not get away with this, Sandi,' she thought.

As the sun set, Daria and Jennifer arrived at Casa Lane.

Jane was watching Sick Sad World when they entered her room. She muted the show. "So, you have performance ideas for the Coffee House?" she asked.

Jennifer shook her head vigorously. "You know that I don't do well on stage. The Esteem-a-Teen course graduation assembly was the best that I could do," she said.

"Oh yeah," Jane murmured, remembering several middle school assemblies where Jennifer's stage fright had gotten the best of her.

"There is a song that I have been working on," Daria suggested.

"Do tell!" Jane said.

"It's about an American agent who hunts Russian spies in South America," Daria said as she sat on the bed.

"Sounds violent," Jane said.

"Mr. O'Neill will have a fit!" Daria said.

"Is that figuratively or literally?" Jennifer asked, uncertain what Daria meant.

"Both," Daria said.

Jennifer grumbled. "Can I see the lyrics?" she asked.

"I haven't finished it yet," Daria said.

"Can I look before you play it at the Coffee House?" Jennifer asked.

"Yeah, both of you can," Daria finally said.

"Cool, maybe I can show Trent!" Jane said.

"Aagh!" Daria exclaimed.

"May I take that as a no?" Jane asked.

"I think it is," Jennifer said.

Daria looked back at Jane. "What are you planning for the Coffee House?" she asked.

"Me? Nothing. I will watch everyone else embarrass themselves."

"I guess that you don't want the extra-curricular activity," Jennifer said.

"I don't," Jane said.

'Of course not,' Jennifer thought.

Thursday, October 21, 2005

Through the day, many of the students of Lawndale High, thought about what they might be seeing if they went to the Coffee House, or in a minority of cases, what they would be performing...

During lunch, Brittany was reading over the scene from Romeo and Juliet. 'Is that Caplet or Capulet?' She was excited about performing at the Coffee House, but she didn't know how Kevin would perform. 'At least he promised he would learn the lines.'

Jodie came up to Daria as they left Science. "Mr. O'Neill told me that you are doing something at the Coffee House," she said.

"So?" Daria asked.

"So, I would like to know what you are going to do?"

"You will find out when everyone else does," Daria said, as she walked off.

Jodie sighed. She had been hoping that she would be able to help Daria with whatever performance she had planned.

"What's wrong?" her boyfriend, Michael 'Mack' Mackenzie, asked as he came up.

"Nothing," Jodie said.

Mack didn't believe that, but he didn't press.

.δ

After school, Quinn met Andrea as she left the school building. "There will be a meeting of the Programming Club tomorrow," Andrea said.

"Yeah, Laurence told me," Quinn replied, referring to another member of the Programming Club.

"One of the things we will be discussing will be the coffee house," Andrea said, as she started walking.

Quinn followed her. "Why?" she asked.

Andrea looked back "You will find out," she said.

"I'll be there," Quinn said.

"Good," Andrea said.

'What is she up to?' Quinn thought yet again.

When Daria arrived with Jane and Jennifer at the Pizza King, many of the patrons were discussing the Coffee House. "Is that all they can talk about?" Daria asked.

"It's Lawndale. There's not much else to talk about," Jane said.

"I guess so," Daria said, as she went to order a pizza.

"Touchy, isn't she?" Jane asked Jennifer.

"Definitely," Jennifer murmured, as she remembered what Jodie told her about at lunch.

Griffin residence

The Fashion Club was in Sandi's room, they were nearing the end of their regular official meeting.

"Motion approved?" Sandi asked.

All three other members put up their hands.

"Motion carried," Sandi said.

Tori smiled.

"Coool!" Tiffany said.

"Last topic for this afternoon; tomorrow night's opening of the Coffee House," Sandi directed.

Stacy fidgeted as she entered the topic into her notebook, betraying her agitation about Sandi's antagonism towards Quinn.

Sandi noticed the fidgeting. "Sta-cy, is there, like, a problem?"

"Eep! No, Sandi. No, problem!" Stacy said quickly.

"Good. Now, I have written a speech in which I eloquently state the reason why Geeks, especially, like, that Quinn, should not be popular," Sandi said. She took a sheet out of the right drawer beneath her computer.

"Are you going to read it to us?" Tori asked.

"Sure," Sandi said. She then read the speech to the club.

"Good Evening, Students of Lawndale High and other Coffee House patrons..."

Later

"Opinions?" Sandi asked, looking at Tori.

"Quite argumentative. Most people will support us," Tori said.

"But, Sandi -," Stacy began to say, but she was interrupted by a glare from Sandi.

"No buts!" Sandi said.

"Sandi! What will Mr. O'Neill say?" Stacy asked.

Sandi snorted "Puh-lease, like Mr. O'Neill will do anything more than say 'Oh dear!' He won't say anything negative. He certainly won't say anything to Ms. Li," she said, imitating Mr. O'Neill when she said 'Oh dear!'

"That's riiight," Tiffany said.

'That seems to be true,' Tori thought.

"Maybe," Stacy said, more subdued.

Sandi smiled. "That concludes this meeting. Stacy, concluding time?"

Stacy looked at her watch and at Sandi's bedroom clock. Both were within two minutes of each other. "5:45, for a duration of 1 hour and fifteen minutes," she said, averaging the time between the two time pieces.

"Usual length of meeting, plus time to, like, read the speech," Sandi said.

Stacy wrote the concluding remarks down and closed the notebook.

Unknown to the Fashion Club, Sandi's mother, Linda, had listened to Sandi make the speech. She smiled a wicked looking smile. 'Very good, Sandi,' she thought. It was exactly as she had hoped. Sandi was following in her footsteps.

.ι

Friday, 22 October, 2005

Sandi awoke at 7:20. After getting ready, she took the speech and went to the bathroom.

"Sandi Griffin, Fashion Club President," she said, scrutinizing her near perfect appearance.

"Good Evening, Students of Lawndale High and other Coffee House patrons, I have prepared this statement to tell you that Geeks are not welcome, like as members of the popular cliques," she began.

"Thank you for your time." After this conclusion she was silent for a moment before looking at herself again. "You will be triumphant! Quinn, that Geekendorffer will not, like come back from this."

There was knocking. "Come on Sis! I need to go!" her brother, Sam said.

'Of course he would,' Sandi thought. She folded the sheet with the speech on it and opened the door. "All yours, you brat!"

"Finally!" he said as he dashed into the bathroom past his sister.

Helen was preparing to leave for work when the door bell rang. "Who could that be?" she wondered. She went and opened the door. "Oh, Hi, Jennifer! Are you here for Quinn or for Daria, neither of them have come down for breakfast yet."

"Hi, Mrs. Morgendorffer. For Daria. I am helping her with her performance at the Coffee House this evening," Jennifer said.

Helen opened the door wider, allowing the quiet girl in. "It is great that she is participating in an extra-curricular activity. She is still quite anti-social and stubborn," Helen said. 'I see that you have been a good influence,' she thought.

"I had to encourage her," Jennifer murmured. She knew what it was like to be shy and emphasized with Daria.

"What was that?" Helen asked, not quite hearing what Jennifer said.

"Yeah, it's great," Jennifer said with a little sarcasm.

"You can go right up," Helen said, pondering Jennifer's tone.

Jennifer knocked on Daria's door.

Daria quickly opened it. "Hi, are you ready?" she asked.

"I am. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't."

Daria smirked briefly, prior to letting Jennifer into the room.

"Close the door. I don't want Quinn complaining about the noise."

"Sure," Jennifer said, as she closed the door and glanced at the padded walls. 'Excellent soundproofing,' she thought.

Daria grabbed her guitar, carefully swung it around and began to play.

15 minutes later, Daria had gone through her performance twice.

"That's a little better. Mr. O'Neill will still react to it though," Jennifer said.

"I want him to react," Daria said.

"Make him think that the Coffee House is a bad idea?" Jennifer asked.

"Yes," Daria simply said.

Jennifer shook her head in good humor.

Quinn and Jenna were talking as they approached Lawndale High.

"...And then Jennifer said that Daria doesn't want the Coffee House to succeed," Quinn said.

Jenna stopped. "She wants it to fail?" she asked.

"Yeah."

"I hope that her song, whatever it is about, won't be that bad."

"Well it's metal music, so I think it might be borderline," Quinn said with a nervous laugh, as they came to the front of the school.

"I will try to convince Mr. O'Neill to have the Anime reviews first," Jenna said.

"I have my Ghost in the Shell review."

"That's good!"

Quinn smiled.

Quinn approached the Programming Club meeting with aprehension. "Why are you so apprehensive, Quinn?" Wolfgang Schuhardt asked.

Quinn turned to the nerdy boy. "Have you ever thought that Andrea may be a hacker or something?" she said quietly.

Wolfgang stopped and looked around. "I have, but only after others have told me their suspicions," he said.

"No one has told me, but she gives off that vibe, you know," Quinn said uneasily.

"She does give off an unfriendly vibe, but I don't think that means that she is a hacker."

"What of the network share at her house?"

"You don't have to share files there if you don't want to."

"I guess not," Quinn said.

Wolfgang opened the door. "Girls first," he said.

"Thanks," Quinn said.

Andrea arrived last. She looked at the half dozen members. "I'm sure you're wondering why I called this meeting today?" she asked.

There was brief muttering among the members.

"It has to do with the Coffee House."

The members looked at each other in confusion, what did the Coffee House have to do with anything that the Programming Club did?

Quinn raised her hand.

"Yes?" Andrea asked.

"What about the Coffee House?"

"I am reading a poem there and I would like an opinion," Andrea said.

'Weird,' Wolfang thought.

"Really?" someone asked.

"Yes," Andrea said.

"Let's hear it," Quinn said, wondering what it would entail...

.ο

Quinn left the Programming Club meeting slightly annoyed. "Andrea didn't need to call a meeting for that!" she murmered.

"I agree," Wolfgang said as he followed her out of the room.

"And I don't want to think about that poem of hers. It's quite creepy and macabre," Quinn said, with a shudder.

"Remindes you of her house, doesn't it?" Wolfgang said.

Quinn nodded.

"She invited me over alone once when we were in middle school. That's a day I wouldn't ever forget."

"Don't tell me!" Quinn said with hands raised.

"I wasn't going to," Wolfgang said quietly.

"Good," Quinn said relieved.

"We can talk about what else may be performed at the Coffee House."

"Sure."

At her house, Cindy was talking to one of her cousins on an instant messenger progam.

Brols_trekker: So how's your new friend?"

Cindyquil: She is settling into Lawndale well, although one of our classmates has taken umbrage to her becoming popular.

Brols_trekker: Oh?

Cindyquil: The school has set up a new Coffee House and Quinn has received a mysterious email which says that someone wants to use the Coffee House to destroy her popularity.

Brols_trekker: That's not good!

Cindyquill: It definitely isn't

At the Lane house, Daria was playing the song for Jane in the basement. She had plugged her guitar into Mystik Spiral's equipment.

Trent came down the stairs, curious about the unfamiliar song which was coming up from the basement.

Daria suddenly noticed that Trent was there and fumbled with the guitar, dropping it into a nearby pile of clothes.

"Woah!" Trent said.

"Yes, Daria is a musician," Jane said, having neglected to tell her brother that possibly pertinent information.

"Hi," Daria said as she blushed.

"Wow, you're really good, Daria," Trent praised.

'He does have an effect on her,' Jane thought.

"Um, thanks," Daria said, quietly.

Jane took Trent aside. "Could you go and get us some water?" she asked.

"Sure, Janey."

After Trent had gone up to the ground floor, Jane said "Wow, you do have a crush on him, don't you?"

Daria grumbled and picked up her guitar. She started playing from the point where Trent had interrupted her.

'Amazing. She is definitely a lot better than all four of them combined.' Jane thought as she continued listening.

When Brittany arrived at the Coffee House with Kevin, she noticed that there were almost no seats left. "I told you we should have come earlier, Kevie," she said.

"There are few seats left," he said.

'He doesn't get it,' she thought "Oooh, but they are not where I wanted to sit!" Brittany said.

Kevin winced as Brittany's voice squeaked higher than usual. "Sorry, Babe!" he said. He didn't like it when she hurt his ears.

.σ

The audience applauded as Quinn stepped off the stage after reading her Ghost in the Shell review.

"Thank you, Thank you," she said, as she gave a bow.

Sandi seethed. 'You won't be so cheerful for long, you Geekendorffer!' she thought.

"That's not how one should treat their guitar!" Daria said as the boy on stage started throwing it around, after he had caused some feedback.

"I didn't care for his song either," Jennifer said.

"All he was saying was 'I loathe you'," Jane said.

"No, there were other lyrics..." Jennifer pointed out.

Brittany was on stage, performing a scene from Romeo and Juliet. "Oh Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?"

"I'm right here, babe!" Kevin said, also on stage, holding a skull.

Some football players cheered Kevin on.

"Deny thy father and refuse thy name! Or thou will't not be but sworn, my love, and I'll no longer be a caplet!"

"Hey! Yo! I'm down here! Check it out!"

Brittany was rather annoyed. "Check it out? You promised to learn your lines, you, you clown! And what's that skull supposed to be?" She stalked off stage, giving off vibes of barely contained anger.

"The skull's cool," Kevin said, his usual oblivious self.

'You don't get it,' Jennifer thought with a slight shake of her head.

Andrea was up on stage. "I'm here. But where are you? Sure, I see your body. Anybody home in that rotting bag of flesh?" she said as she concluded her poem.

"See? You don't want to do poetry for this crowd," Jane said.

"You think it's too late for me to learn juggling?" Daria asked.

"Yep," Jane said.

Mr. O'Neill walked up to the stage. "Thank you very much, Andrea. It takes a lot of courage to expose your raw emotions that way."

As a spotlight focused on her table, Andrea put the bottle that she had been drinking behind her. She didn't want to get caught drinking at a school related event.

"And now a commentary on social relationships at Lawndale High, by Sandi Griffin."

"Good Evening, Students of Lawndale High and other Coffee House patrons, I have prepared this statement to tell you that Geeks are not welcome, like as members of the popular cliques," she began.

"Oh dear," Mr. O'Neill said, as he realised what Sandi was trying to do. He hoped that not too many self identified geeks in the audience wouldn't be traumatised.

'This doesn't sound good,' Quinn thought as Sandi began. She listened in disbelief as Sandi continued her rant against Geeks. 'Good thing I came prepared.' She took the speech she had written the night before out of her pocket, and gave it a look over. 'It will have to do.'

"You are going to read that?" Cindy asked.

"I'm going to have to," Quinn said.

Kristen nodded in agreement.

Sandi came to a conclusion.

"And, that is why I believe that Geeks should not be popular and that new kids should not, like, rock the boat. Thank you for your time."

She then stepped off the stage, smiling.

"That was great, Sandi," Tori said.

"Thanks."

Quinn stood up as Sandi went to her seat. "Mr. O'Neill? Can I read a rebuttal of Sandi's speech?"

Mr. O'Neill lit up. "Sure, Quinn," he said.

Quinn went up to the stage.

"Why Geeks can be popular, a general rebuttal of the previous speech. Good Evening, Students of Lawndale High, and Lawndale and Glenfield Middle Schools. Some shallow and yet popular students may take umbrage at Geeks being popular for what may seem to be petty reasons. Why do they do this, you may ask..."

.aa

Sandi seethed as Quinn went on, rebutting most of the points of her own speech. 'This cannot stand!' she thought. She turned to Tori. "Tori, we need to rebut this speech!"

"How, Sandi? We; and by we, I mean you, didn't plan for this occurring," Tori said.

"Then I will have to, like, improvise."

'I hope Sandi's improvising skills are up to the task,' Tori thought as she looked at the Coffee House patrons taking in Quinn's speech.

As Quinn continued her speech the Three J's smiled more and more in admiration of her eloquence.

"...And that is why Geeks can be popular amongst their peers. Thanks for your time," Quinn said as she concluded.

Most of the audience stood up and gave a standing ovation, even Daria. 'What Sandi is trying to do is wrong,' she thought.

Only the Fashion Club didn't. Stacy started to, but was cut off by Sandi's glare.

"Eep!"

"What were you thinking?" Sandi asked.

Quinn bowed, as she took in the adulation, before going back to her seat.

.ab

Sandi then stood up. "Um, Mr. O'Neill. I would like, like to rebut Quinn's rebuttal," she said, with an edge to her voice.

"Oh, a debate. Go ahead, Sandi."

Sandi then walked up on stage again. "My points from earlier are still valid. Now, I'm like, going to explain them..."

She struggled to rebut Quinn's points and the audience began to laugh at her.

"Oh, dear!" Mr. O'Neill said.

Sandi's face hardened as she remembered some speeches that her mother had made. The reminiscence allowed her to make a recovery, and thus she continued.

.ac

"Uh-oh!" Jennifer said.

"She's weakening though," Jane said.

"Probably going to be close one," Jennifer said.

.ad

"What is up with her?" Quinn asked Kristen and Cindy.

"She won't admit defeat," Cindy said.

"I agree," Kristen said.

"I will have to rebut her rebuttal," Quinn realized.

"Good luck," Cindy said.

"I'll need it," Quinn said with a nervous laugh.

.ae

By the end of Sandi's rebuttal most of the audience had given her their rapt attention. Half of them clapped as she came off the stage.

"Oh, dear! Quinn, would you like to come up for your rebuttal?" Mr. O'Neill asked.

"Of course," Quinn said as she took up. Cindy, Kristen, Jennifer, Joey, Jeffy, Jamie and Mack gave her encouragement as she passed them. She said "thanks," to each of them. The eyes of the audience were on her as she went up to the stage...

She paused briefly before beginning.

Again the audience listened to Quinn attentively, even Kevin.

"Go, Quinn. All right!" the QB shouted.

Brittany sighed.

Quinn rebutted most of Sandi's rebuttals, before stepping down once more. Most of the audience clapped.

.af

"Now, Sandi will come and give her concluding remark," Mr. O'Neill said.

Sandi came out again, although she knew that most of the audience was on Quinn's side. 'How could this go so wrong?' she thought. She concluded weakly.

She seethed as Mr. O'Neill asked Quinn to go up for her concluding remark.

.ag

Quinn once again rebutted the majority of what Sandi had said about Geeks, and the reasons why they shouldn't be popular. She concluded the discussion by saying; "...and that is why Geeks can be popular. Thanks for your time!"

Mr. O'Neill began the standing ovation.

.ah

In the midst of that ovation, Sandi ran out of the Coffee House, holding back tears. Tori followed her. 'I hope that she isn't too devastated,' she thought.

.ai

Quinn took in the adulation.

.aj

Sandi ran from the Coffee House in the direction of her home.

"Sandi! Wait!" Tori called as she exited the Coffee House.

"Why should I, like wait! The Geekendorffer won!"

"Sandi, she may have won now, but there is still a lot of high school left! Besides not everyone was here tonight," Tori said.

Sandi lit up. "That's right," she said. She turned back to the Coffee House. A stern expression came onto her face. "You may have, like, won tonight, Morgendorffer! But I will have the last say, and I will be more popular!"

"That's the Sandi Griffin I know!" Tori said.

"Absolutely." She turned back in the direction that she was already going in. "Come, Tori, we must prepare for next month."

Tori groaned slightly. "Why Sandi? What are we doing next month?" She asked.

"The same thing we will do every month, Tori. Try to take over Lawndale High," Sandi said with a little humor.

"We don't need to start planning now, and I would like to see what performance was scheduled after your speech."

"It's only the Misanthropic sister of that Geek. It would be like, almost as bad as Andrea's poem," Sandi said as she led Tori away from the Coffee House.

"It might not be," Tori said.

"Let's go anyway," Sandi said.

Tori followed her away from the Coffee House, in the direction of the Griffin residence.

Hardly anyone saw Sandi, or Tori, run from the Coffee House; only Stacy and Tiffany. Stacy took the opportunity to applaud Quinn.

"Where's Sand-di?" Tiffany asked.

"Who cares!" Stacy said as she applauded Quinn.

Tiffany joined her.

.ak

It took a few minutes for the adulation to die down once Quinn returned to her seat. "Guys, guys, that's enough, thanks," she said.

Once the noise had died down, Jane said; "She was really good."

"I would never be able to do that," Jennifer said with slight shake of her head.

"She was in the Highland Middle School debate team," Daria said as she grabbed her guitar.

"Oh."

.al

"Now our final performance of the evening; a song by Daria Morgendorffer," Mr. O'Neill said.

Daria started playing.

"Melody reflected; What special agent could resist the opportunity to fill a few Bolshevik cemeteries?"

Most of the audience wasn't sure what she was singing about, but the tune was good...

.am

Aleesha Nibblett walked out of the Coffee House by herself. 'That was a very interesting discussion,' she thought. She thought that Quinn was interesting. 'Maybe we can be friends?' she pondered.

She continued to think about the debate as she went home. 'Sandi is becoming a megabitch' she thought.

Saturday, October 23, 2005

Jake read from the Sun-Herald as Daria and Quinn ate breakfast.

"'Cafe Lawndale is a success'. Isn't that the coffeehouse you were working for?" he asked Daria.

"It is, I have the extra credit," Daria said.

"School authorities have declared that Lawndale's new young adult Coffee House is a success after an impromptu debate against bullying of geeky students resulted in a few standing ovations. 'The students who participated in the debate wish to remain nameless,' explained Coffee House director Timothy O'Neill, a teacher at Lawndale High."

Quinn smirked briefly before taking another spoonful of cereal.

Helen entered the kitchen at a brisk pace; "Breakfast meeting at the Royalton," she said as she grabbed a snack and ran.

"But you haven't even tasted my soufflé," Daria commented sarcastically.

"'Cafe Lawndale will remain open to allow students to maximize their potential,' O'Neill said," Jake read aloud as he continued to peruse the paper.

"That's cool," Quinn said.

"I'll say! It's great that they get a place to 'hang out'."

Contains dialogue from Cafe Disaffecto by Glenn Eichler