The Tree of the Three Lies
Daria and Jane sat on the grass nearby the fenced off little stub that was the Tiffany Blum-Deckler Memorial Tree, which had been dubbed the 'Tree of the Three Lies' when the memorial plaque had been set up next to it.
"Why is it called the Tree of the Three Lies?" Daria had once asked her friend and Jane had grinned and answered thusly.
"Well first they misspelled her name as 'Tiffine Blump-Feckler'," Jane had said while pointing to the name on the plaque then moved to the next lie, "Then this bit about her being 'taken from us by fate' since Tiffany didn't die by some act of God, she was killed by her so-called best friend."
"And the Third Lie?" Daria had asked and Jane pointed to the line about her being missed.
"Oh. Daria had breathed before walking away with Jane, and following the budding tradition around the tree by throwing her trash down in front of it.
In the present Daria didn't even give the stump a thought or a glance, it was just part of the scenery, instead she thought about Jodie who had asked for help on a speech about some football player named Tommy Sherman.
Then the shrill voice of her sister cut through her internal peace and Daria turned her head and saw Quinn chatting away with her friends Tori and Brooke and was relieved when they went their way without bothering her or Jane, then she saw the other friendly familiar face approaching, her short brown hair flowing freely in the gentle breeze.
"Hey Stace." Daria said to her other snarky friend in her baggy jeans, converse sneakers, ragged shirt, and devil may care attitude.
"Hey Lady D," Stacy Rowe replied and sat down next to them, "Hear about Tommy Sherman coming to school today? Word of warning, my sister Susie was in his class and she said he's a total asshole."
Jane and Daria both nodded at that.
Then Stacy asked if either of them had some gum, Daria offered her a piece and Stacy replied, "Thanks, I forgot to buy some this morning, it helps distract me from nic fits."
"Anything that helps you quit is good in my book." Jane answered, glad that her previously only friend until Daria came into the picture was kicking the habit.
"I never did ask you this," Daria spoke up suddenly, "When did you start smoking?"
"Oh that," Stacy replied much more quietly, "Well you know I used to be one of the idiot popular girls right? Well I was with Sandi and Tiffany in middle school and when we came to Lawndale, our tyrant, Sandi was horrified to learn that she wasn't the Alpha popular girl and she went from nice to bitchy and the smokes helped to take the edge off of dealing with her."
Stacy laughed, "I had no spine then, if it wasn't for Jane and later once you moved here Lady D..."
Stacy trailed off and Jane gave her a brief hug.
"Well to make a long story short, after Sandi's little prank on Tiffany I really turned to cigs and weed and booze, if it hadn't been for Jane and her bro finding me at the Zon blitzed out of my skull I... I don't know what would have happened."
Stacy then gave them both a big smile, "But I do know that afterward I bonded with my Amiga, picked up skateboarding instead of harder drugs, and that I have the coolest friends in the world."
"I hear that!" Jane said and Daria said sarcastically, "We're cool?"
Everyone laughed at that and got up to get into the building for class, but Daria then asked one more question, "How did Tiffany die anyway?"
Without missing a beat Stacy replied, "Sandi put a mirror at the bottom of a pool and told Tiff that it was a magic mirror that could make her thin... if she could get it off the bottom."
She then sighed, "But the idiot didn't know that Tiffany couldn't swim, but Tiff was too stupid to remember that also, so she jumped in the pool fully clothed and Sandi was so busy laughing that she didn't hear Tiffany scream for help until it was too late."
It was on that note that the trio entered Lawndale High, and it kept Daria from asking the last question in her head.
What happened to Sandi?
She never did get an answer.