Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)

Installment 4: Geekery at the Mega-Mall

Monday, October 25, 2005

"A hundred miles? To go to a mall? Dammit, there's a mall five minutes away!" Jake Morgendorffer ranted.

"Sit down, dear. We're not going," his wife, Helen, said, reassuringly.

"Oh, oh!"

"It's not a mall, it's a super mall! The Mall of the Millennium. Everything under one roof. I could spend days there..." their younger teen daughter, Quinn said.

"If you play that John Lennon song backwards, it says, 'Imagine all the people, browsing in a mall.' Isn't that weird?" Quinn's older sister, Daria snarked.

"It's too far away, Quinn, and you've done enough shopping for this quarter," Helen said. 'All computers all the time. It's all I can do to tear her away from them!' she thought.

"Mo-om! As a member of the Computer and Programming Clubs, I have to keep on top of the current trends in computer equipment. Some of that equipment is not available in Lawndale!"

"Computer and Programming Clubs? Did you know that she was in those clubs, Helen?" Jake asked.

"Yes, Jake."

"The Computer and Programming Clubs? I thought she was in the Anime Club."

"She is in that club too, Dad!" Daria said, not looking up from her plate of lasagne. 'She is definitely overachieving.'

"Say, what do you think of this PDA?" Jake said, as he took his PDA out of his pocket.

Quinn looked at it. "It's quite obsolete, Daddy. You may as well have a Newton," she said with a slight nervous laugh. "Now, if you drive me to the Mall of the Millennium..."

"No! We're not going to a mall outside the county," Helen said.

"How will I hold my head up in the Computer and Programming Clubs?" Quinn whined.

"A traction pulley?" Daria snarked.

Quinn turned to her sister. "Just because you're not interested in what's new and up-to-date!"

"Oh, I'm interested. But why go a mere 100 miles away? I bet they have some fascinating malls in Japan for your tech-head and otaku needs!" Daria said.

"Daria," Helen said, trying to defuse the situation.

"I wouldn't go that far," Quinn said.

"Japan? To go to a mall? Dammit!"

"Sit down, dear. It was a joke," Helen said.

"Oh!" Jake said.

Quinn ran out of the kitchen.

.O .0

Quinn entered her room and slammed the door. "Damn it!"

She opened her cellphone and called her friend Kristen Bell. She also noticed that Cindy Robinson-Brolsma was online in the Instant Messenger Screen on her main PC.

She changed her online status from Busy to Annoyed.

"Hi, Quinn, what's up?" Kristen asked.

Cindyquill: Hi, what are you annoyed about?

"I can't go to the Mall of the Millennium!"

Geek_princess91: My parents won't let me go to the Mall of the Millennium!

Cindyquill: Oh?

Geek_princess91: I want to get some equipment and software from the Cuter Computer store there. It's the closest store to Lawndale.

"Why would you want to go there? It's quite large. Very easy to get lost."

Cindyquill: There are also Cuter Computer's in Pittsburgh and Richmond.

"I guess so," Quinn said, thinking. She didn't want to go into Pennsylvania or Virginia though. "I want to buy some stuff from a store there, that isn't available here." 'And the rest of the chain is much further away!' she thought.

Geek_princess91: I'm not sure.

Cindyquill: If you can't go, you can't go.

Geek_princess91: I would still like to go.

"That would be either an Anime DVD or computer equipment, right?"

Quinn began typing 'Computer equipme'. She stopped. 'Oops!'

"Computer equipment. If it were a DVD I would get it from Amazon."

Cindyquill: Too bad Cuter Computer doesn't have an online store.

"That is a good idea; I have been doing that with books for a while now. Too bad you can't get the equipment you want that way."

Geek_princess91: I have heard that they are going to set one up next year, but it wouldn't be quick enough.

Cindyquill: Impatient?

"Yeah."

Geek_princess91: Yeah, I like to keep up to date, to keep up with the latest equipment as it becomes available, you know.

Cindyquill: I know

"So there is a store in the Mall of the Millennium that sells equipment that's not generally available?"

"Yeah."

Geek_princess91: I guess I may have to wait, but I don't have to like it!

"What is this store called?"

"Cuter Computer."

Cindyquill: True

"And there aren't any closer?"

"No, Cindy said that the next closest are in Richmond and Pittsburgh," Quinn said with a slight giggle.

Geek_princess91: I would still like to go.

Cindyquill: I am sure you might find a way, just not too soon.

Geek_princess91: Certainly.

.I .1

Tuesday, October 26, 2005

"In economics, we call this flow. We have a scenario of supply and demand, where a new demand is created by a previous supply. Does everyone follow?" Lawndale High School Economics teacher Diane Bennett said as she tried to teach her sophomore class.

She paused to wait for responses.

"Can anyone give me a concrete representation of this abstract theory?"

There was a long pause. "Daria?" she finally asked.

"If we're talking concrete, I'd have to go with that repository of human greed and debasement: the mall," she said.

Mrs. Bennett had an idea "Very good, Daria. The mall is a beautiful illustration of these economic principles. In fact, it would make for an excellent field trip."

"All right! Field trip!" Kevin Thompson said. "Where are we going, man?" he asked Daria.

"The field."

"Cool!"

"We'll visit the Mall of the Millennium. It's the perfect emblem of a modern day economic structure."

"Um, I think that's a really bad idea," Daria said.

"Don't be silly, Daria. It's your idea and it's perfect," Mrs. Bennett said.

'Her sarcasm is too much for all of the teachers at this school,' Jennifer Burns thought.

"I second Daria. The mall is a dangerous influence on today's teens and the fluorescent lights give you seizures," Jane Lane said.

Jennifer smiled at Jane's sarcasm.

"We'll take a vote. All in favor of a class trip to the mall this Friday instead of our usual surprise quiz?"

Most of the class raised their hands.

"All opposed?"

Daria, Jane and Jennifer raised their hands.

"This is great! Kevin and I love going to the mall during school," Brittany said.

Mrs. Bennett frowned.

"I mean, between classes. I mean... what do I mean, babe?" Brittany said, trying to clarify.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Bennett. I can't go to the mall. I have a skin condition," Daria said, trying to get out of the field trip.

"What are you talking about, Daria?" Mrs. Bennett asked.

"If I'm in an enclosed space for too long, I get hives," Daria said.

"But you're in an enclosed space now," Mrs. Bennett said, seeing Daria's excuse for what it was.

"Yes... and I'm really itchy."

"These hives get bad, Mrs. Bennett. I've seen them, they get really red!" Jane said.

Jennifer nodded as support for Jane's assertion.

Daria glared at her friends.

"Just trying to help," Jane said.

Daria grumbled.

.II .2 .10

At lunch the Fashion Club sat at one of the 'popular' tables.

"I have an idea, let's ditch school on Friday and go shopping, like, at that Mall of the Millennium," Club President Sandi Griffin said.

"Is that such a good idea, Sandi?" Stacy Rowe asked.

Sandi glared at her.

"Eep!"

"She does have a point, Sandi. There is a quiz in Home Economics on Friday," Vice President Tori Jericho said.

"Precisely, like, this early in the year we can afford to miss it!" Sandi said.

"I agree with Sand-di," Tiffany Blum-Deckler said.

Sandi smiled at Tiffany.

"I guess one quiz won't matter. An opportunity like this won't come up every month," Tori said.

Stacy mumbled.

"What did you say, Stacy?" Sandi asked.

"I will go to the Mall of the Millennium with you!" Stacy said.

"Excellent," Sandi said.

After school Quinn walked up to one of her fellow Computer Club members. "Um, Xavier? I'm wondering if you could drive me to the Mall of the Millennium on Friday?"

Xavier Daldon thought for a moment. "Isn't that in southern Delaware?" he asked.

"So?" Quinn asked. 'What's wrong with Delaware? At least it's not Texas...'

"I will have to think about it," he said.

"You don't have to answer right away," Quinn said.

"I will give you my answer by Thursday night."

"Cool," Quinn said.

.III .3 .11

Jennifer drove Daria and Jane towards Jane's house.

"There's no way we can get out of this field trip, is there?" Jennifer asked.

"No," Jane said.

Daria sighed. "I'm sure it won't work, but I will ask Mrs. Bennett tomorrow to call off the field trip," Daria said.

"I'm not sure that will work," Jane said.

"I'm going to ask anyway. I can be quite stubborn," Daria said.

"We've both seen that," Jennifer murmured as she turned into the Lane's driveway.

.IV .4 .100

Wednesday, October 27, 2005

Quinn entered the Programming Club meeting, followed by Wolfgang Shuhardt "I could drive you to the Mall of the Millennium, Quinn," he said.

"How did you know about that?" Quinn asked with surprise.

"I was talking to Xavier in Computer Studies; he mentioned that you had asked if he would drive you there," Wolfgang said.

"Oh?" Quinn asked. 'He should really have not told Wolfgang,' she thought.

"He said that he wasn't sure that he would go."

"If you can take me that would be great!" Quinn said.

"I'll see if I can borrow my mother's car."

"You can get back to me by tomorrow night," Quinn said. 'Cool,' she thought, hoping that Wolfgang's mother's car was something relatively new (or a classic like Jennifer's).

"I hope I will be able to."

.V .5 .101

After school, Daria knocked on the faculty office door. The head history teacher, Mr. Anthony DeMartino, opened the door. "Ms. Morgendorffer, to what do I owe the pleasure?" he said.

"Is Mrs. Bennett here?"

"She is, I'll send her out."

.VI .6 .110

Mrs. Bennett soon came out.

"What is it, Daria?" she asked.

Why are we going on a field trip to the Mall of the Millennium?" Daria asked.

"I stated the reasons in class," Mrs. Bennett said.

"Yes, but there are malls much closer," Daria said.

"Malls that you are familiar with, Daria. Take a chance, make a small mistake, but minimise the mess, we're going on the field trip."

Daria tried to argue.

"Is it the place of the school to preach the consumerism aspect of our culture?"

"I don't know what you mean, Daria," Mrs. Bennett said.

"I mean what I said, Mrs. Bennett!" Daria said.

.VII .7 .111

"And so Mrs. Bennett wouldn't change her mind. The only way I can think of to make a real protest would be to blog about it," Daria said as she and her two friends ate pizza at the Pizza King.

"Absolutely," Jane said.

"But there would be no way for it to get on Slashdot. Although maybe Technorati," Jennifer said quietly.

"Somehow, I don't think it's meme-worthy enough," Daria said.

"So, we're going to the Mall of the Millennium. No big deal," Jane said.

"It just won't be enjoyable," Daria said.

"I agree with that," Jennifer said as she took a bite of pizza.

.VIII .8 .1000

As Stacy went to bed she wondered what the trip to the Mall of the Millennium on Friday would be like. 'I hope Sandi will allow me to shop where I want!' she thought as she went to sleep.

.IX .9 .1001

Thursday, October 28, 2005

Quinn entered Mr Fun's Games, Cafe and Internet 15 minutes after leaving school. "Quinn?" Koichi 'Rob' Robazaki asked.

"Yeah?" Quinn asked.

"I can take you to the Mall of the Millennium, Quinn," Rob said.

"How did you know about that?" Quinn asked, surprised. 'Does everyone know that I'm going to the Mall of the Millennium?'

"Jenna told me," Rob said.

"I should have guessed," Quinn said, knowing that Jenna and Rob were close. (How close, she wasn't sure.)

"Yeah," Rob said.

"I'm still waiting to hear from a couple other people," Quinn said.

"Ok, who?" Rob asked.

"You don't need to know," Quinn said.

"I don't?" Rob asked with a frown.

"I will hear back from them tonight. I'll give you a call if I don't," Quinn said.

"That's cool," Rob said as Quinn went towards one of the arcade machines.

.X .A .10 .1010

Later that night, Quinn waited for Wolfgang and/or Xavier to call whilst doing her homework.

The clock on her Windows PC changed to 10:00.

She stood up. "Ugh! I will have to call Rob, after all," she said as she grabbed her cell phone.

"Hi, is this Quinn?"

"Yeah, Koichi?"

"Yeah, Quinn?"

"You can take me to the Mall of the Millennium tomorrow."

"That would be very good, Quinn."

"I would like to leave Lawndale by 8:30, so there will be plenty of time for shopping when we get there."

"That is ok. I usually leave home by 8:00, so I will be at your place by 8:15 at the latest," Rob said.

"Cool," Quinn said.

"I will see you in the morning," Rob said.

"See you then, bye," Quinn said, and hung up. She then continued her homework.

.XI .B .11 .1011

Ten minutes later, the cell phone rang. "Who could this be?" she said prior to taking the call. "Hello?"

"Hi, Quinn, it's Wolfgang."

Quinn moved the cell phone from her ear and covered the microphone with her hand "Oh, dear!" she said. She then placed it back at her ear. "Um, I have already arranged with Koichi to go to the Mall of the Millennium with him."

"Oh!" Wolfgang's voice sounded slightly hurt.

"You're welcome to come with us if you want," Quinn said, with a slight agitated giggle.

"What are your plans?"

"Koichi is going to pick me up at 8:15 and be out of Lawndale by 8:30," Quinn said.

"Ok," Wolfgang said.

"We could pick you up; it wouldn't do to have your car parked on the street near my house all day."

"No problem there, your house isn't that far from mine. I can walk."

"Are you sure? We could go by your place."

"I'm sure."

"Cool, I'll see you at 8:10 then?"

Wolfgang agreed and hung up. Quinn hoped that the situation wouldn't go out of hand. As she placed the phone down it rang again. 'I guess that this is Xavier!' she thought with slight agitation. "Hello?"

"Quinn, I hope I am not too late!" Xavier said.

"Depends how you define 'too late.'"

"I am too late, aren't I?"

"Yeah, you are, Xavier, but you can still come with if you still want to skip school," Quinn said sweetly.

"That would be good. What time can I come around?"

"About eight, but not any later."

"About eight?"

"Yes."

"I can do that."

"Cool," Quinn said.

"So, who is picking you up?" Xavier asked.

"Koichi."

"Oh, OK."

"Is that alright?"

"It's alright, I wasn't expecting it is all."

.XII .C .12 .1100

Friday, October 29, 2005

Quinn saw Daria leave the house at 7:50, heading towards Jane's house, from one of her bedroom windows. She had heard her parents leaving for work earlier. She then left the room to get breakfast.

.XIII .D .13 .1101

Xavier found the Morgendorffer's house at 8:00. 'Eleven-Eleven, this is the place. Quite a large house,' he thought. He rang the doorbell.

Quinn opened it soon afterwards. "Hi, Xavier, the others aren't here yet,. You can come in and wait," she said.

"Sure, Quinn," he said. He stepped inside and took in the sight of the living room... "This is quite large,"

"It is, isn't it?"

.XIV .E .14 .1110

Wolfgang arrived at Quinn's house slightly early. He knocked on the door. Quinn opened it "Hi, Wolfgang, we're just waiting on Koichi now," she said.

"How soon?" Wolfgang asked as he came inside. He saw Xavier watching the news on the TV. "Hi."

"Five to ten minutes," Quinn said.

"Cool," Wolfgang said.

.XV .F .15 .1111

When Jennifer arrived at Jane's house she could see that Daria and Jane were waiting for her.

"So, ready for the mall trip?" she asked.

"As I'll ever be," Daria said.

"Same here," Jane said.

"You don't usually wait out in the front," Jennifer said.

"I want to get there early," Daria said.

"Ok," Jennifer said.

"Sure," Jane said.

.XVI .G .10 .16 .10000

At 8:25 Koichi drove his mother's SUV out of Lawndale on Maryland State Route 276. Quinn was sitting in the passenger seat and Xavier and Wolfgang were in the back. "We should be at the Mall of the Millennium by 11:00 at the latest, Quinn," he said.

"Very good, but it would be good idea to keep the radio on to listen for traffic conditions," Quinn said.

"Sure, Quinn," Rob said.

"I'm not sure it would make much of a difference," Wolfgang said.

"Why?" Quinn asked.

"There is only one bridge over the bay," Wolfgang said.

"I meant for within Baltimore," Quinn said.

.XVII .H .11 .17 .10001

At 8:35 the Fashion Club also left Lawndale on the same route, being driven by a male victim escort.

"Why did we have to do this again?" Stacy asked.

"Because, we had to take up this opportunity!" Sandi said.

"Right!" Stacy said.

"I don't think that answers the question, Sandi," Tori said.

"I think it does, Tor-ri," Sandi said.

Tori grumbled.

.XVIII .I .12 .18 .10010

Maryland/Delaware Border

The Fashion Club stopped at a gas station immediately on the Delaware side of the border.

"Why are we stopping here?" Sandi asked.

"We need gas!" Guy, the Fashion Club's driver, said.

"Didn't you fill it up back in Lawndale, like, before you picked us up?" Sandi asked.

"No, you were insistent on leaving so quickly!"

"Right! I'll fill it then!" Sandi said. She went to the pump herself.

Guy grumbled.

.XIX .J .13 .19 .10011

Guy drove the car away from the gas station.

"You didn't have to fill the car up," Guy said.

Sandi turned to him "I want to get to the Mall of the Millennium as soon as possible, like with a minimum of delay. We have already been in rush hour traffic, like back in Baltimore!"

"We still have plenty of time, Sandi," Tori said.

"But not as much as we could have had!" Sandi said.

"I guess not," Tori said.

"Right," Guy said, his eyes on the road. He saw a destination sign on the side of the road.

Crossbro, 30 Mi

.XX .K .14 .20 .10100

Crossbro, Delaware

Rob drove carefully as they approached the edge of the Mall of the Millennium's outer parking lots.

"It's going to take a while to find a parking spot and to walk in," he said.

"Of course," Wolfgang said.

"I know," Quinn said.

"I will park in the first one I find," Rob said.

"That would be best," Quinn said.

"I agree," Wolfgang said.

Xavier looked at the clock on the dashboard. It was 10:45. 'I has to be all that traffic in Baltimore. The radio didn't really help,' he thought.

It took a while for Koichi to find a space.

.XXI .L .15 .21 .10101

At 11:00 Sandi stalked ahead of the Fashion Club into the Mall of the Millennium's main entrance. "If you hadn't been late, Stacy, we would not have been, like, caught in Rush Hour traffic on the way through Baltimore!"

"I said I was sorry!" Stacy said.

Sandi glared at Stacy.

"Eep!"

Guy sighed.

"And if we hadn't needed more gas!" Sandi said to Guy.

"I did say I'm sorry!" he said.

Sandi just gave him a look of disapproval.

Behind her, Tori shook her head.

.XXII .M .16 .22 .10110

At 11:15 the Economics class had just entered the Mall and were already lost...

"We're in area B, section Pink, and we need to get to area C, section Orange. So, if we just bear right at area L, section Blue... oh, wait, sorry. Wrong level," Mrs. Bennett said, trying to get the class out of the predicament.

Kevin noticed an interesting store. "Look, Mack Daddy! The Sports Shorts! A whole store full of shorts for sports!"

"Uh-huh," Mack said, too tired to try to tell Kevin to not call him by that nickname. 'Why doesn't he get it through his thick head already!'

"Everyone, we'll walk down R Moss, and turn right at Q Canary. Please keep the flow, people, please keep the flow," Mrs. Bennett said.

"I could find the way if she'd let me have the map," Jennifer whispered to Jane.

"Maybe," Jane said with a shrug.

"Who would ever guess there'd be so many colors? The person who thought them all up must be a genius," Brittany said.

"Yeah, and we haven't even gotten to puke green yet," Jane said. She glanced at Daria, who still looked queasy from the bus trip. "Oh, yeah."

"I hope we find the executives soon," Jennifer said.

"Why?" Daria asked.

"So we can get out of this boredom," Jennifer said.

"Left at N Cranberry. Wait, is that cranberry or magenta? Jane, you're an artist," Mrs. Bennett asked, unsure of the colors.

"It's cranapple," Jane said.

'Very difficult to tell,' Mack thought.

Charles Ruttheimer III, otherwise known as Upchuck, noticed a store that piqued his purient interest. "Mrs. B? Can we please stop for a minute at Bikini Island? I'd like to buy a few trifles for the ladies, and perhaps you'd care to pick out something for yourself?"

"Not now, Charles. We'll be late for our meeting with the mall executives. I had to work very hard to arrange this. These are very important, very busy..." Mrs. Bennett trailed off as she was distracted by something that piqued her own interest.

"What is it, Mrs. B?" Upchuck asked.

Mrs. Bennet ran over to a store and looked in. "The Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee-Bit Shop! Herbert and I collect Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee Bits! Aren't they adorable? Look, a Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee Bits cactus! And look at that little bunny rabbit with its own Fuzzy Wuzzy carrot!"

"Great!" Daria said.

.XXIII .N .17 .23 .10111

They soon found themselves in a conference room.

"...And of course, when you go to the mall, you look for what?" one of the mall executives asked the class.

"Bikinis! Make that lovely, luscious, ladies in bikinis!" Upchuck said.

'Of course he would say that!' Jennifer thought with a slight shake of her head.

"I always look for security guards leading away someone in handcuffs. Shoplifters are the best judges of merchandise," Jane said.

"I agree. If it's so good that people want to steal it, I want it," Jennifer said, quietly after exchanging a look with Jane.

"I meant more along the line of the qualities you look for? The stores? What should they be like?" the executive asked, trying to get the conversation away from the topic of shoplifting.

"I have a question. Do you think our demographic can really be addressed by middle-aged middle managers telling us what's fun to buy?" Jodie asked.

The executives looked at each other. It was clear that they didn't expect a student with critical thinking skills to be on the field trip. One of them turned to Daria. "How about you? How many times a year do you go to the mall?"

Daria looked annoyed. "That's none of your business. By the way, don't people usually get paid for participating in market research?"

"Research?" the executive asked in a strangled voice.

"Now, Daria, these busy executives have been nice enough to give their time to help educate us on mall economics," Mrs. Bennett said. "Tell us about flow, would you?"

Daria leaned between her two friends and pointed to where Brittany was still prancing and making cheer moves. "I bet that's a two-way mirror."

"Possibly," Jennifer said.

"You mean, if you turn out the lights you can see through it?" Jane asked as she reached back towards a light switch.

Jennifer shrugged slightly.

"Oh, you don't want to do that!" one of the executives said.

Jane turned off the lights. The students could then see three observers through the glass wall. They murmured amongst themselves.

"This is wrong!" Mack said.

"The focus group is, um, a very important tool in mall management. We thought that with this live demonstration..." One of the executives began. He was interrupted by Jodie.

"I feel used. I feel abused. I feel that this is not a fun mall after all and the media should be made aware of it!"

The executive changed tack. "All right, little lady." He reached into his pocket. "Here's a coupon for a free frozen yogurt."

"Don't insult me," Jodie said with her arms crossed.

The executive reached into his pocket again. "Make it a ten dollar merchandise coupon?"

.XXIV .O .18 .24 .11000

"You're still insulting her," Jane said.

One of the other executives held out two handfuls of coupons. "Okay, a twenty dollar merchandise coupon for everyone in the class."

"You don't get it. There's a principle involved," Daria said.

"No, there isn't," Jodie said as she joined most of the other students.

"So much for idealistic youth," Jane said.

"Yes, there is, damn it!" Daria said. She clenched her fists and moved towards the executives. She quickly found herself being held back by her two friends.

"Whoa there, Daria, cool down!" Jane said.

"Getting into a 'tussle' with the mall executives would not prove anything," Jennifer said.

Daria calmed down and sat.

"How about a fifty dollar coupon for you, little lady?"

"Don't insult me," Daria said, repeating Jodie's line from earlier.

The executive held out another coupon. "One hundred dollars, final offer."

"I'll take it," Daria said.

"What got into you?" Mrs. Bennett asked.

"Integrity," Daria said.

"I suppose," Mrs. Bennett said.

"Good answer," Jennifer said.

.XXV .P .19 .25 .11001

After having looked through other stores, Quinn and her entourage finally found the Cuter Computer store.

"Finally," she said.

"There is a lot of stuff here," Wolfgang said as he looked in.

"Of course," Quinn said.

"What are you getting first?" Xavier asked.

Quinn started walking to the software aisles. "Apparently they have Photoshop Elements 4 on sale," she said.

"But didn't that just come out this month?" Wolfgang asked.

"Yes," Quinn said.

.XXVI .Q .1A .26 .11010

Quinn soon found it. "Here it is, Adobe Photoshop Elements 4." She saw that it was 10% off. She picked it up and handed the package to Wolfgang.

"You are going to make us carry all the stuff?" he asked.

"Of course not! I will carry some of it," Quinn said.

"Of course," Wolfgang said.

.XXVII .R .1B .27 .11011

The sophomore economics students looked at the coupons that they had received.

"Cuter Computer, for all things to do with computers. Aw, man!" Kevin said after looking at his coupon.

"Books by the Ton. Interesting, maybe they have business-related stuff there," Mack said after looking at his.

Upchuck looked at his coupon "Incensory, for all your incense and related pagan worship needs! I don't have any use for this!"

"Drat!" Andrea Hecuba said as she overheard Upchuck.

"The Doo Dad Shop? What's a Doo Dad anyway?" Jane said.

"Sports Shorts! I don't have any use for shorts for sports!" Daria said.

"Scissor Wizard?" Jennifer said perplexed.

"Probably a store full of scissors," Jane said.

"Such a store would be quite useless," Jennifer said.

"Daria, Jen and Jane, you'll observe traffic patterns at the food concessions, and Kevin and Brittany, you will study and report back on shrinkage," Mrs. Bennett directed.

"What's shrinkage?" Kevin asked.

"Shrinkage is the retailing term for shoplifting. I'd like you to analyze its economic impact. Does everyone else understand their assignments?"

The class murmured in assent.

"Now, we'll meet back here at quarter to three. Remember, area F, section Moss, level three. Got it? F Moss Three."

Daria, Jane and Jennifer walked away as Mrs. Bennett and Kevin talked about a mnemonic device that he was going to use.

"Where do we start?" Jennifer asked.

"Scissor Wizard, I can actually use a new pair of scissors," Jane said.

"Of course," Jennifer said.

.XXVIII .S .1C .28 .11100

Back at Cuter Computer, Quinn and her entourage had gathered much software and hardware. "Have you got everything yet?" Xavier asked when a packet of 1 GB USB flash drives fell of the pile of stuff he was carrying. He put the pile aside and picked the packet up before hefting the pile again.

"Almost," Quinn said as she took a copy of Age of Empires III off the shelf.

"Were going to need a trolley," Wolfgang said.

"We'll find the Walmart and borrow a trolley from there, after we're finished here," Quinn said.

"Great!" Xavier said.

"Here it is, Angejarni," Sandi said, having located the Fashion Label's store on D Moss 2.

"Why are we here?" Stacy asked.

"Sta-cy, Angejarni is, like heavily featured in Waif," Sandi said.

"Let's browse," Tori said. Tiffany followed her in.

"Come on Stacy," Sandi said.

Stacy sighed and followed Sandi into the store.

.XXIX .T .1D .29 .11101

Daria and her friends found Book by the Ton, which was larger than an usual outlet of that chain.

"That's a large bookstore!" Jane said.

"Come on, I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the mall," Daria said.

"Sure," Jennifer said. They went into the bookstore.

.XXX .U .1E .30 .11110

Quinn, Xavier, Wolfgang and Koichi left Cuter Computer, with the three boys carrying most of the hardware.

'Great! Why did I have to pay nearly a hundred dollars for a share of Quinn's stuff?' Xavier wondered. He saw that the three of them had paid for just over half of the price of the computer equipment. 'I hope she pays it back...'

"Right, the Walmart should be in C Orange Four," Quinn said as they started moving away from the store.

"That doesn't sound right," Wolfgang said.

"Oh?" Quinn asked.

"It was something else," Xavier said as he thought.

"I think it was B Amber Five," Wolfgang said.

"Or was it D Tangerine Three?" Koichi said.

"One of them. Look for that general shade of color, then for the number," Quinn said.

"I think the shade of color is multiple floor spanning," Koichi said.

"Then we will look for the numeral and then the shade of color," Quinn said.

"That will work," Xavier said.

As they left the vicinity of Cuter Computer they didn't notice the Fashion Club coming out of Angejarni in the other direction...

.XXXI .V .1F .31 .11111

Guy exited the fashion label store carrying all of the Fashion Club's purchases (although he had noticed that Stacy had bought the least stuff). 'Why can't they carry their stuff themselves?' he asked himself.

"Where are we going now?" Tori asked.

"I'm sure there are other label stores here, Let's look for them," Sandi said.

"Suurrre," Tiffany said.

"Okay!" Stacy said.

"A great idea, Sandi," Tori said.

"Absolutely," Sandi said.

.XXXII .W 20 .32 .100000

Daria, Jennifer and Jane met Mack as they left the bookstore.

"I thought I would see if there is a large business section," he said.

"And you got the coupon," Jane said.

"There's that too," Mack said.

"I didn't see any, but then I only looked at the fiction, history, music and philosophy sections," Daria said.

"Oh," Mack said.

"There is one there; I found it as I looked at the Computer section," Jennifer said quietly.

"Thanks," Mack said.

Jennifer gave a small smile.

'Of course,' Daria thought.

"Let's find Scissor World," Jane suggested.

"Sure," Jennifer said.

"See ya," Mack said as he went into the bookstore. Jennifer waved.

.XXXIII .X .21 .33 .100001

They soon found said store, and found that it was a hair salon.

"This is unexpected," Jane said.

Jennifer walked up to the counter.

"You got here just in time," one of the hairdressers said. She looked at Jane and Daria "You're almost in time."

"I have this coupon," Jennifer said, shyly as the hair dresser started leading her to a chair. "But I just wanted a pair of scissors," she objected.

"We don't sell scissors, we cut hair. Which show?"

"What?" Jennifer asked, slightly confused and starting to back out. 'This isn't good,' she thought. She wanted out of the situation.

"Which TV show do you want your style from? Most of our clients go for a sitcom. Personally, I think you would look good without your hair over your face."

"Um, I like my hair the way it is!" Jennifer said. 'I don't want a cut here, in an unfamiliar place!' she thought.

"Keep your scissors away from her hair," Daria said.

'Thanks, Daria."

"She means it," Jane said.

"I could just style it. Choose a show and I will style it that way."

"Have you heard of Sick Sad World?" Jane asked.

Jennifer frowned. 'Not a good idea, Jane!'

The hairdresser frowned. "I saw an episode once. It was just too weird!"

.XXXIV .Y .22 .34 .1000010

"That was scary. Although it was nice of her to exchange the coupon for cash," Jennifer said after they had left Scissor Wizard.

"My stomach is grumbling. Let's participate in the food court traffic pattern," Daria said.

"Sure," Jennifer said.

"Sure, then afterwards we can find out what a Doo Dad is!" Jane said.

"Certainly," Jennifer said.

Daria's stomach grumbled loudly.

.XXXV .Z .23 .35 .1000011

With Wolfgang pushing a Walmart trolley full of computer equipment, Quinn and her friends approached one of the food courts for lunch. "How many outlets are there?" Xavier asked.

"Too many," Koichi said.

"Not sure," Quinn said.

.XXXVI .! .10 .24 .36 .1000100

Daria, Jane and Jennifer went to the end of a line in front of a take away pizza outlet.

'Wait a minute, that short-haired redhead looks familiar,' Jennifer thought. She quickly tapped said redhead on the shoulder...

.XXXVII . .11 .25 .37 .1000101

Quinn felt someone tapping her on the shoulder. She quickly turned around to find Jennifer, with Daria and Jane standing behind her. "Uh, oh."

"Well. What an unexpected opportunity for sibling bonding," Daria said.

"I'm going to be sick," Quinn said.

"Is that, like, a family thing?" Jane asked.

"What's that, Quinn?" Wolfgang asked.

"It's my sister and her friends."

"Oh, the sophomore Economics class field trip," Xavier said.

"You knew about this?" Quinn asked.

"Yeah, sorry," Xavier said sheepishly.

Quinn turned back to Daria and her friends.

"Sorry," Jennifer said.

Quinn gave her a smile, showing that she had no hard feelings towards her.

"I'm sure Mom and Dad will be really pleased to hear I ran into you. Here at the mall. On this lovely school day!" Daria said flatly.

"State your terms, Daria,"

"It's weird. The only thing I can think of is more of our download allowance," Daria said.

"You wouldn't!" Quinn said.

Daria smirked.

"You would."

"There is an alternative," Daria said.

Quinn sighed. "What is this alternative?"

"I wouldn't mind taking it easy around the house for a month," Daria said.

"That seems a bit exorbitant," Jennifer murmured.

"It does, doesn't it. A month, Daria?"

"Or you can just never set foot inside a mall for the rest of your sorry adolescent life. And a ride back to the Suburban hell known as Lawndale would be appreciated too," Daria said.

"Oh really?" Quinn asked.

"Uh, oh," Jennifer said, backing off. Jane, Xavier, Wolfgang and Koichi backed off also as the Morgendorffers began to argue about their deal for never mentioning the trip to the Mall of the Millennium at home...

.XXXVIII .# .12 .26 .38 .1000110

After five minutes, Daria and Quinn came to an agreement. "Here's the deal; I will do most of Daria's chores for a month, She gets an additional 20 megabytes a month and we will take her, Jane and Jennifer back to Lawndale with us," Quinn said.

"It'll be a tight squeeze, but we can manage it," Koichi said. He looked at the equipment. "Even with the equipment."

"Has to be better than the bus," Jane said.

Jennifer gave a small smile.

"I certainly won't get sick," Daria said.

"Well, well. If it isn't like, the Geekendorffer!" Sandi said as she approached, with the rest of the Fashion Club behind her.

"Of course she would be here!" Quinn said. "Murphy's Law and all."

"Uh, oh!" Jennifer said, remembering the happenings at the coffee house.

"I see you skipped school too!" Sandi said.

"Only for today," Quinn said with a hard edge to her voice.

Sandi looked at the trolley filled with equipment. "Only you would like, go to a Mega-Mall for computer equipment," she said.

"I'm sure others would!" Quinn said in retaliation.

Sandi stepped closer to Quinn. "No they wouldn't!" Sandi said.

"I would," Jennifer said.

"What did, like, Burnout Girl, say?" Sandi asked.

'Not a good idea, Sandi!' Wolfgang thought.

Jane and Tori stepped back further and Stacy ran off to a nearby table.

"I hate that name!" Jennifer exclaimed.

"She said that she would also go to a Mega-mall for computer equipment," Jane said.

"None of your business anyway," Daria said.

"Whatever!" Sandi said. She turned her attention back to Quinn "Now, Geekendorffer, tell me why you think that you can be popular!"

Quinn glared at Sandi "You already know that. My whole side of the debate at the Coffee House!"

Sandi stared at Quinn.

Quinn stared back.

"This is going nowhere," Tori said with some exhasperation.

"Oh really, then perhaps you can ask her, as President of the Fashion Club!"

"No Sandi, I wouldn't replace you, but this confrontation is going nowhere," Tori said.

Jennifer timidly moved beside Quinn in a show of support. Wolfgang also moved next to her.

Sandi glared at Jennifer, who, after a few seconds, ducked behind Quinn.

Jane quickly replaced her. 'You are not getting away with what you're attempting,' Jane thought as she added to Quinn and Wolfgang's stares upon Sandi.

A few minutes later Sandi and the rest of the Fashion Club left the food court. "Why are weee leaving?" Tiffany asked.

"After failing to make the Geekendorffer see sense, I like, decided to leave, and try again at a different time," Sandi said.

"That's not what I remember," Stacy said. Sandi glared at her. "Eep!"

'She's right, Sandi!' Tori thought.

"But I'm still hungry," Tiffany said.

"Tiffany, dear, one good thing about a Mall the size of this one is that there are like, multiple food courts," Sandi said.

"O-oh."

'Thank goodness,' Stacy thought.

"That was strange," Jennifer said as she watched the Fashion Club and Guy leave.

"Don't worry about it," Daria said.

Jane turned to Quinn. "Where do we meet before we leave?" she asked.

"D Lavender Five, it's close to the secondary entrance," Quinn said.

"You got that?" Daria asked.

"There's nothing to it," Jane said.

"Easy to remember," Jennifer said.

The two groups then got their lunch before going their separate ways.

.XXXIX .$ .13 .27 .39 .1000111

Quinn reflected on the situation. 'Why is it that, Sandi has to oppose the notion of a geek like me being popular so stridently?' She had thought about it quite a lot since the opening night of the Coffee House. She hadn't come to any conclusion. One thing was certain, she and Sandi were likely to remain enemies for the rest of their high school years...

She also thought about the situation with Daria. Their relationship seemed to be getting better, Jane and Jennifer having a positive influence. Their discussion/argument about the terms of her silence of the matter of her having skipped school may have been longer even a couple of weeks before.

"What's up, Quinn?" Wolfgang asked as he finished his burger.

"Just thinking about what just happened," Quinn said as she sipped her diet soda.

"You mean with Sandi?"

Quinn nodded.

"She'll get over it," Wolfgang said.

"I'm not sure she will," Quinn said.

"Eventually," Wolfgang said.

.XL .% .14 .28 .40 .1001000

Daria, Jane and Jennifer soon found the Doo Dad shop. "What is this stuff?" Jane asked, looking at the contents of the store in dismay.

"Who would buy such crappy, useless junk?" Daria asked.

"It definitely looks that way," Jennifer said.

"Then this coupon is useless!" Jane said.

Kevin and Brittany then came out of the store. Kevin was singing Hundred bottles of beer on the wall.

"Did you see the cute little thingy with the cute thingy?" Brittany asked.

"I got it for you, babe."

"Oh, Kev, this is the first cute thingy that you've bought me since... wait... you didn't steal this, did you?" Brittany asked.

"It was shrinkage, babe!" Kevin said.

"Oo-ooh!" Brittany dragged her boyfriend back into the store.

Jennifer, Jane and Daria then entered the store. As Jane entered a bell went off. The staff rushed up to her. "When your feeling bad or mad or sad, buy a doo dad! You'll feel glad! It's not too sad, to buy a doo dad, today!"

Jennifer glared at the staff.

"What are you doing to our friend?" Daria asked.

One of the staff gave Jane an armfull of merchandise. "You're our lucky ten-thousandth customer. All these doo dads are yours for free!"

Jane glared at him.

"Don't you get it? You're our winner!" the staff member said.

"I get it, but I don't want this stuff. What is it for anyway?" Jane said.

"You collect it," the staff member said. The other staff members gathered around them, and a photographer took a photo of the group.

"Look, I came here because I got a twenty dollar coupon, but since I got accosted by the staff, I'm just going to leave it on the counter and leave!" Jane said.

"Why didn't you say so?" one of the staff said. She immediately piled additional 'doo dads' on the pile that Jane already held.

"Look! I'm not leaving with either this stuff or the coupon," Jane said.

"Neither am I," Daria said when the staff turned to her.

"Nor I," Jennifer said.

One of the staff went behind the counter. "Here is a twenty in exchange for the coupon," she said.

Jane dumped the pile of 'Doo-Dads' on the counter alongside the coupon, grabbed the twenty and dashed out of the store.

Daria and Jennifer quickly followed her.

.XLI .^ .15 .29 .41 .1001001

Brittany placed the 'Doo Dad' that Kevin had 'shrinkaged' back on the shelf. "No more, shrinkage, Kevvie!" she said.

"But Babe, Mrs. Bennett wants us to do it!" Kevin said.

Brittany glared at him. "No, Kevvie, She meant something else!"

"Really, then what?"

Brittany twirled her hair in thought. "To examine its effect on something," she said.

"Oh."

"Its impact on economic performance?"

"Ok."

.XLII .& .16 .2A .42 .1001010

Andrea waited outside the Insensory store for Upchuck. 'He had better come and go quickly!' she thought. Then Upchuck turned a nearby corner and approached her.

"You said you wanted to swap coupons, you feisty maiden of darkness?" he said, sleaze dripping off most of his words.

"Yes, you creepy casanova!" She held out the coupon that she had been given, hoping to get this encounter over with!

Upchuck grabbed that coupon and immediately placed the Insensory coupon into the palm of her other hand. Andrea then dashed into the store with a rather hasty and barely audible "Thanks."

"Feisty."

.XLIII .* .17 .2B .43 .1001011

Jodie and Mack met at one of the food courts. Mack could see that Jodie had bought a large number of books. More than he had bought with his Books by the Ton coupon. 'I guess there is another bookstore in this Mall,' he thought.

"Hi, Mack."

"Hi, Jodie."

"So you used your coupon?" Jodie asked.

"Yeah, I figured that I may as well," Mack said.

"Cool," Jodie said.

"Which coupon did you get?" Mack asked.

"Toy Universe."

They continued talking about their experiences at the mega-mall.

.XLIV .( .18 .2C .44 .1001100

Daria, Jane and Jennifer entered the D Lavender Five section. They could see that Quinn and her male companions were waiting for them.

"Hi, Daria," Quinn said.

"Let's go, I want to get as far away from this mall as possible," Daria said.

"Sure," Quinn said.

"What are you going to do with all that stuff?" Jennifer asked as they headed towards the exit.

"And how are you going to sneak it all inside, without your parents noticing?" Wolfgang asked.

"With luck, only Daddy will be home," Quinn said with a nervous laugh. "I'll take it all into the garage, and then take it up to my room slowly."

"You mean, through the laundry chute?" Daria asked.

"Some of it, yes," Quinn said.

"That would take a long time," Jane said, with an eyebrow raised.

"I'll just wait until neither of them are home, then take the rest up," Quinn said as the group reached the exit.

.XLV .) .19 .2D .45 .1001101

Mrs. Bennett did a head count as the class re-entered the bus to go back to Lawndale. "Oh dear, we're three short!" she said.

"Jane said that she, Jennifer and Daria were heading back to Lawndale with another group of Lawndale High kids," Jodie said.

"She also said that the bus made Daria sick," Mack said.

"Oh, OK," Mrs. Bennett said.

XLVI .- .1A .2E .46 .1001110

Lawndale

Koichi drove the large group back into Lawndale on State Route 276 at 4:40.

"Where to first?" he asked.

"My place, 111 Howard Drive," Jane said.

"Sure, but that's on the other side of town," Koichi said.

"We can drop someone else off on the way," Jane said with a shrug.

"I need to get my car from the school," Jennifer said.

"There you go," Jane said.

"Sure," Koichi said.

.XLVII .+ .1B .2F .47 .1001111

They arrived at Xavier's house, at 83 Nicoll Avenue, first. "Bye, Quinn, thanks for letting me come," he said.

"That's ok," Quinn said with a slight laugh.

After leaving Xavier's house they went towards Lawndale High, so that Jennifer could get her car, then dropped off Jane at Casa Lane, and finally went to the Morgendorffer's house.

Neither of the Morgendorffer parents were home, so Koichi backed up the SUV to the garage door, which Quinn then opened.

"Ok, just unload it all on that bench over there," she directed.

"Sure, Quinn," Wolfgang said.

"Ok," Xavier said.

Daria went through the garage to the dining room as the boys started unloading the computer equipment.

XLVIII ._ .1C .30 .48 .1010000

Koichi watched as Xavier and Wolfgang walked away after having said goodbye to Quinn. He turned back to Quinn. "Thanks for the trip, Quinn, it was fun," he said.

"Yeah, it was fun," Quinn said with a giggle.

"Definitely. Anyway, I must get home, my parents will be wondering, see ya, Quinn," Koichi said. He got into the car.

"Bye."

.XLIX .= .1D .31 .49 .1010001

Later that night, Sandi pondered on the situation that she had found herself in earlier that day. Did she act immature when she had encountered that annoyingly popular geek at the Mall of the Millennium?

.L .{ 1E .32 .50 .1010010

Flashback – Mall of the Millennium

Sandi, and the others in the Fashion Club walked away from the food court where they had encountered the Morgendorffer sisters and their friends.

The Fashion Club sat a table after they had bought their lunches.

"Sandi, I think you could have handled that confrontation better," Tori said.

"Oh, really? What do you mean?" Sandi asked, annoyed at Tori.

'

"You didn't act like the mature teenager you are, you acted more like either of your brothers would have," Tori said.

Sandi stared at Tori.

Stacy slid down in her seat.

"Gee, Tori, you like insulting me don't you?"

Tori stared Sandi in the eye. "I'm not insulting you, Sandi, I'm telling you what I saw."

Sandi stared back.

Tori continued staring.

"Fine! But that geek, like, deserved it!"

Tori shook her head. "If you keep it up, your popularity will continue its downward slide. Quinn is totally catching up on you," she said.

Sandi crossed her arms. "I suppose."

Tori sighed.

The Fashion Club continued eating their lunch in silence.

End of Flashback

.LI .} 1F .33 .51 .1010011

Sandi stared at herself in the mirror and frowned. 'I suppose that I did act immature.' She thought for a few minutes before deciding to stay away from Quinn and leave her alone. 'The novelty of a popular geek will go away and there will be nothing she could do about it!'