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Morgendorffers vs. Amazon

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Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)

Installment 5: Morgendorffers vs. Amazon

Monday, November 7, 2005

Daria Morgendorffer, Jane Lane and Jennifer Burns were watching Sick Sad World in Daria's bedroom.

 

An encyclopedia is an unusual product for a supermodel to promote, isn't it?” the SSW reporter asked a supermodel in skimpy clothing.

 

But you see, what's different about my encyclopedia is you only buy the letters you find attractive. And it's got big margins to draw your own pictures! How do you call them? Margins, yes?”

 

You say you wrote every word yourself....”

 

Yes, I did!” the supermodel said.

 

That's interesting.”

 

“Ya!

 

 

“I've said it before; I'll say it again: you have the coolest room,” Jane said.

 

“I agree,” Jennifer said.

 

“It's got pros and cons. You can't hurt yourself in here, but you can't hurt anybody else in here, either,” Daria said.

 

Jane got up from where she was sketching on the bed and walked over to the wall between the closet and the music set up. She pressed against the padding. “I wish there'd been a schizophrenic shut-in living in our house before we moved in. Of course, we've got Trent there now. That's almost the same thing,” she said.

 

“Is it?” Jennifer asked.

 

“Well, he's narcoleptic,” Jane conceded.

 

“I suppose,” Jennifer said under her breath.

 

“My mother's threatening to redecorate again. Every time she brings it up, I stumble and grab a handrail. But I think she's catching on,” Daria said.

 

“You need to stumble somewhere else in the house. Cut yourself badly. She'll reconsider,” Jane said sarcastically.

 

'Not really,' Jennifer thought. “Or say that your music would sound rather louder without the padding,” she said.

 

“Thanks for your help,” Daria said.

 

Jennifer gave a small smile.

Next on Sick, Sad World: the Malibu Primate Diet.”

 

“Like anyone would replicate the eating habits of apes?” Jennifer asked quietly.

 

“Are you sure?” Jane asked.

 

“Not even Kevin.”

 

“Maybe,” Daria said.

 

 

As Jennifer drove home, she gave Daria's sister Quinn's friend Cindy Brolsma a lift home.

 

“Thanks for taking me home,” Cindy said as Jennifer pulled out of the Morgendorffer family's driveway.

 

“That's quite alright,” Jennifer said.

 

“You know, Daria, right?” Cindy asked.

 

“Somewhat, I know Jane more,” Jennifer said.

 

“That's mostly what Quinn said a few weeks ago. I thought it might have changed,” Cindy said.

 

“It hasn't,” Jennifer said.

 

“Oh,” Cindy said, as Jennifer turned off Glen Oaks Lane.

 

“Did you have a point?”

 

“Yeah, do you know why Daria is hostile towards Quinn?”

 

Jennifer was silent for a moment as she thought. “She hasn't said anything,” she said.

 

“Quinn hasn't either,” Cindy said as she thought.

 

“So, what were you doing tonight?” Jennifer asked.

 

“We watched a couple episodes of One Piece.

 

“That's the pirate anime, right?” Jennifer asked, wondering.

 

“Yeah, about this boy who wants to be King of the Pirates.”

 

“Sounds cool.”

 

“The way Quinn described it, yes, and those episodes support that,” Cindy said.

 

Jennifer smiled as she turned another corner.

 

Cindy pondered the situation as the Beetle approached her house.

 

 

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Is Mr. Thoreau really turning his back on the world by moving to Walden Pond, or is he, by his example, trying desperately to save the world after all?” Mr. O'Neill asked.

 

Brittany Taylor raised her hand.

 

“Normandy?” Mr. O'Neill asked, confused.

 

“Brittany. He wasn't on Walden Pond because he hated the world. He was just mad at Jane Fonda. You know, he was her father in real life too.”

 

Mr O'Neill didn't have time to correct Brittany before there was an interruption in the form of the principal, Ms. Li, entering the room.

 

“Good morning! I hope I'm not disrupting the learning process,” she said.

 

“Oh... no,” Mr. O'Neill said.

 

“I've got some exciting information for you all. A team of talent scouts from Amazon Models will be here this week as part of their national talent search, and the most promising Lawndale High student will receive a professional modeling contract,” Ms. Li said.

 

'Uh oh!' Jennifer thought.

 

“They got my letter!” Brittany said, excitedly.

 

“I guess that explains why they are here,” Jennifer said.

 

“Certainly,” Jane said.

 

“Why here?” Jodie Landon asked.

 

“I guess they found out what a good-looking group you are,” Ms. Li said. She laughed. “But, seriously, this is a great opportunity for you, and the even greater good of Lawndale High.”

 

“Excuse me?” Daria asked.

 

“Yes?” Ms. Li asked.

 

“Isn't modeling about dropping out of school to pursue a career based solely on your youth and your looks, both of which are inevitably declared over by age twenty-five?”

 

“Good point, Daria,” Jennifer said.

 

“Oh, certainly,” Jane commented.

 

Ms. Li ignored Daria’s friends and asked; “Do you have a point, Ms. Morgendorffer?”

 

Too Soon... “And don't fashion people squander their lives loudly worshiping all that is superficial and meaningless while the planet keeps riding a roller coaster to hell?” Jane asked.

 

“Modeling is a competitive field, yes, but the financial rewards are great. As principal, I'd be cheating our student body if I didn't allow them every opportunity to fulfill their potential,” Ms. Li said trying to emphasise the advantages...

 

“Excuse me. Can we assume the financial rewards are great for the school as well?” Daria asked, sure that the principal was getting something out of it.

 

“That is really none of your business!”

 

“But I don't want to miss a lesson in applied economics. I'm trying to fulfill my potential,” Daria said.

 

“Good one, Daria,” Jennifer said.

 

The principal heard what she said, but decided to ignore it for the time being, and so carried on regardless. “The school is receiving a fee for its cooperation, but every cent is going to capital improvements! We're finally going to get those bulletproof skylights for the swimming pool.”

 

“Really?” Jennifer asked, slightly louder than before.

 

“Yes!” the principal answered.

 

“Well, I for one am very excited about this. I can feel myself getting into the modeling spirit,” Jane said with sarcasm.

 

“Excellent!” Ms. Li said.

 

“May I be excused? I'd like to go to the girls' room and vomit up breakfast.”

 

“Ms. Lane! Eating disorders are a serious matter!”

 

“Then why are you bringing in people who might encourage that sort of behaviour?” Jodie asked with a shake of her head.

 

“Nonsense, Ms. Landon, Amazon encourages those who attain their standards with a minimum of risk,” Ms. Li said.

 

Jodie and Daria each raised an eyebrow at this statement.

“Not according to what I've heard,” Jodie said.

 

“Then the source was probably wrong,” the principal said.

 

 

“...Now, can somebody, tell me the name of the Emperor who invaded Britain in the 1st Century AD?” Mr. DeMartino asked.

 

“Claudius,” Cindy said.

 

“Very good, Ms. Brolsma...” Mr. DeMartino began. However Ms. Li chose that moment to enter the classroom...

 

“Good morning! I hope I'm not disrupting the learning process.”

 

Mr. DeMartino growled and gritted his teeth. 'I get an intelligent answer from a promising student and she has to interrupt!'

 

The principal noticed the history teacher's agitation. “I take it that I am Interrupting?”

 

Yes, Angela!”

 

“You can get back right to it after this announcement.”

 

'But the moment will have been lost. I waste enough time as it is!' he thought. “What is the announcement?” he asked.

 

“I've got some exciting information for you all...” Ms. Li repeated the spiel she had spoken to the other classes.

 

There was some murmuring amongst the class.

 

“Really?” Stacy Rowe asked.

 

“Cool!” someone else said.

 

“Yes,” Ms. Li said.

 

“Is that such a good idea?” Quinn asked.

 

“What do you mean, Ms. Morgendorffer?” the principal asked, wondering if both sisters were going to object to the classes.

 

“I think she means; should a school really be pushing something that may be bad for those whose body images aren't the best?” Kristen asked.

 

“What are you getting at Ms. Bell?” Ms. Li asked, remembering Jane's remark. 'I have keep an eye on her more!' she thought.

 

“Should the school be having Modeling classes at all?” Cindy asked.

 

“Not you too, Ms. Robinson-Brolsma!”

 

Cindy just looked at the principal.

 

“Is it the place of the school to be pressing modeling on their students?” Quinn asked.

 

“I'm giving students every opportunity to achieve their goals!” Ms. Li said.

 

“Even if the goal is something that will not last more than a decade at most?” Quinn asked.

 

“Nonsense, there are models in their thirties and forties!” Ms. Li said.

 

“But those are very rare,” Kristen grouched.

 

“Nevertheless, they do exist!”

 

 

Daria, Jane and Jennifer were eating lunch when Jodie came up to them.

“Where's your lunch?” Daria asked.

 

“I ate during student council,” Jodie said.

 

“Come on, you're not fooling anybody. You fed your lunch to a stray dog. She's gonna have that modeling contract sewn up before we even get a chance,” Jane said.

 

“Very likely,” Jennifer said.

 

“You really ought to stick to mineral water and parsley,” Daria said.

 

“You know, you don't always have to be against everything. If a kid wants to take a modeling class, you can't tell her no,” Jodie said.

 

“Maybe not, but you don't have to let the fashion mob push the classes on school grounds, either,” Daria said.

 

“Yeah, it's not fair to the drug dealers. They have to wait behind the parking lot,” Jane said.

 

Jennifer shook her head at Jane's statement. “Jane!”

 

“What? Bad example?”

 

Jennifer nodded.

 

“Sorry,” Jane said.

 

Daria decided to ask Jennifer later, what the problem with Jane’s joke was.

 

“It's completely voluntary. What's the problem?” Jodie asked, after a pause.

 

“No problem. But why stop at modeling? Maybe there's a go-go bar downtown that would like to come here and recruit lap dancers,” Daria said.

 

“That wouldn't be good,” Jennifer said.

 

“Don't mention that idea to Brittany,” Jodie said.

 

“No way!” Jennifer said.

 

“Of course not,” Daria said.

 

 

“This modelling idea is not cool!” Quinn said at lunch.

 

“Totally! It could make some people go over the edge in regards to their self image!” Kristen said.

 

“Ms. Li is miguided!” Cindy said.

 

“We have to do something about it,” Quinn said.

 

“I agree, but what?” Samara Collins asked.

 

“Um, no idea,” Quinn said.

 

“We will have to wait and see,” Tania Kingston said.

 

“I guess so,” Kristen said.

 

“We watch and find out what they are up to,” Quinn said after some thought.

 

Cindy nodded.

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

“The fashion industry may be considered a perfect implementer of marketplace psychology. The business ensures its own survival by training consumers to focus on arbitrary styling distinctions, rather than quality and durability,” Mrs. Diane Bennett said in economics.

 

There was then some laughter from the door.

 

“Huh? You must be the representatives from the Amazon Modeling Agency,” the teacher said.

 

“Well, I would hope so. We're a little long in the tooth to be attending high school,” the male, said.

 

“Speak for yourself, grandpa-pa,” the (older) female said.

 

After they had talked to Mrs. Bennett for a short while, Brittany spoke up. “This is the most exciting day of my life! Being a model is all I've ever wanted to be.”

 

“Uh, hey...” Kevin began to say.

 

He was interrupted by Brittany, “I mean besides being the girlfriend of the cutest guy on the team! Oh, and winning the national high school cheerleading championship! Oh yeah, and helping the starving kids in the desert, or wherever.”

 

The lady held Brittany's chin and examined her face. “Well, let's have a look! Hmmmm... lovely. What is your name?”

 

“Brittany? Is that okay? Because I was thinking of changing it to... Blue.”

 

“Can you take off your coat and walk for us?” the male asked.

 

“Just slip out of that jacket and do a little runway, sweetie,”

 

Brittany took off her jacket, revealing that she wasn't wearing her usual outfit of a cheerleaders uniform. Rather she was wearing a pink strapless gown. She then started walking in the classroom as if she was on a catwalk.

 

 

“...so then Ms. Li admits they're doing this to pay for new bulletproof skylights. The whole thing's enough to turn your stomach. Which I guess is good if you want to be a model; eases the transition to bulimia,” Daria said, talking to her parents, shortly before dinner.

 

“You really feel strongly about this,” her mother, Helen, said.

 

“What do you mean?” Daria asked.

 

“Well... you're talking to us,” Helen said.

 

Daria had to admit that she did, otherwise she would not have gone to her parents about. Complaining to Jane and Jennifer only did so much. 'There has to be something Mom can do,' she thought.

 

“I'm glad you feel strongly about it, Daria, and for the record, I agree with you,” Helen said.

 

“So do I!” Daria's father, Jake, said.

 

“These people sounds like opportunists feeding off the vanity of naive young people. I pity the kids who get sucked in by them, and I pity their poor parents,” Helen said.

 

Quinn then entered the kitchen. She then also complained about the modeling classes, before the phone rang.

 

'Who could that be?' Daria wondered.

 

Helen picked it up. “Hello?”

 

Am I speaking to the mother of Quinn Morgendorffer?” came Romonica's voice from the phone.

 

“Yes, this is Quinn's mother.”

 

This is Romonica... “ She then let out a sharp squeal. “Romonica DeGregory, with the New York Amazon Fashion Agency. Have I called at a bad time, Mrs. Morgendorffer?

 

“Please, call me Helen,” Helen said wondering when Romonica would get to the point. “What can I do for you, Monica?”

 

Please, call me Romonica. Helen, your daughter has been selected along with a mere handful of girls to participate in a complimentary class in the Lawndale High auditorium.

 

“A complimentary class?” Helen asked dubiously.

 

Absolutely complimentary, Helen, and an experience that we expect will generate many compliments.

 

Helen interrupted. “But Quinn hasn't shown any interest in the modeling classes and she already has extracurricular activities.”

 

I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but we feel that Quinn is something quite special!

 

“We think she's pretty special, too, but so is my other daughter, Daria. She hasn't got any extracurriculars.”

 

Daria, but she is so plain!

 

“That's my final offer,” Helen said.

 

Then the phone was disconnected from the other end...

 

“What a strange woman.”

 

“Mom, what were you saying about me and extracurriculars?” Daria asked warily.

 

“You are going to join those classes, and keep an eye on what Ms. Li is intending. It would also give you an extracurricular activity.”

 

Daria grumbled.

 

“You are going to be in the classes. End of discussion.”

 

 

Romonica hung up on Helen Morgendorffer as the beautician ripped another strip of wax from her body. “Aeeeeee!” 'I will get Quinn into the classes!' she decided.

 

 

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quinn met Cindy and Kristen halfway to school, near Cindy's street. “Hi, Quinn,” Cindy said.

 

“Hi, guys!”

 

“What's up?” Kristen asked.

 

“It's these modelling classes. That Romonica called last night and tried to get my Mom to put me into the classes,” Quinn said, shaking her head.

 

“She didn't succeed did she?” Cindy asked with concern.

 

“Of course not!” Quinn said. She then showed a whimsical expression. “Although, my Mom did tell her that Daria will be in the classes.”

 

“Daria? In the modelling class?” Kristen shook her head. “I'll believe it when I see it,” she said, with some curiosity in her voice.

 

“Mom said that she is putting Daria in the classes to keep an eye on Ms. Li. I'm sure she's planning something,” Quinn said.

 

“From what I have seen of your Mom, I wouldn't put it past her,” Kristen said.

 

“Yeah,” Quinn said in agreement.

 

“Daria cannot have agreed with that,” Kristen said.

 

“She protested, but ultimately agreed,” Quinn said.

 

“She must have her own plan,” Cindy said, wondering.

 

“You can be certain of it,” Quinn said.

 

 

“Daria, you are rather quiet,” Jennifer said as she drove herself and Daria to school.

 

Daria looked at Jennifer.

 

“A lot quieter than usual.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“You're making me look like a chatterbox,” Jennifer said.

 

“Oh. It's just that my Mom has told me to join those modeling classes,” Daria said.

 

Jennifer lightly chuckled, but stopped when she noticed Daria's serious expression. “You're serious, aren't you.”

 

“I wish I wasn't, and to make it more difficult, Romonica will still want Quinn to be in my place.”

 

“She wanted Quinn in the classes?”

 

Daria nodded.

 

“But Quinn is as against them as we are,” Jennifer said.

 

“Doesn't make sense.”

 

“So why...” Jennifer began.

 

“Quinn has extra-curriculars. I do not. Therefore I have to join the modelling classes.”

 

Jennifer sighed. “I guess I will have to join too.”

 

Daria gave her friend an incredulous look.

“I was there, at the Mall of the Millennium, Daria. You were about to fight the executives...”

 

“And you think that I would do the same to Claude and Romonica...”

 

Jennifer nodded as she saw the school in the distance.

 

Daria decided it was time to ask Jennifer about two days earlier, when Jane had joked about drug dealers. “... So, what’s the deal.”

 

Jennifer sighed. “This isn’t to be repeated, right?” she said as she stopped walking, the school still in the distance.

 

Daria nodded. She could tell that Jennifer was going to tell her something very personal...

 

 

Jane jogged up as Jennifer and Daria entered the school. “Yo, amigas!”

 

“Hey,” Daria said.

 

“What's up with her?” Jane asked.

 

“Her mom has forced her to join the modelling classes,” Jennifer murmured.

 

“Bummer!” Jane said, she could barely hear Jennifer.

 

“According to her, I have to figure out what Ms. Li is planning,” Daria said as the trio entered the school.

 

“That would be interesting,” Jane said.

 

“Certainly,” Jennifer murmured.

 

‘I should ask what’s up with her too...’ Jane mused.

 

 

“And so, we, like, shall be 'shoo in's' for the modeling contract,” Sandi said as she and the Fashion Club approached the school.

 

“Very good, Sand-di,” Tiffany Blum-Deckler said, said.

 

“Are you sure?” Stacy asked.

 

Sandi glared at Stacy.

 

“Eep!”

 

Tori shook her head at Sandi's treatment of Stacy.

 

 

As she went between classes, Daria signed her name on the sign up sheet for the modeling classes. “There, it's done,” she said to Jennifer.

 

Jennifer signed her name below Daria's. “Same here,” she said quietly.

 

“Let's get to class,” Daria said.

 

 

Tori noticed Daria and Jennifer signing their names on the sign up sheet. 'What are those misanthropes doing, signing up for the modeling classes?' she wondered.

 

Tori wasn't the only 'popular' student to notice Daria and Jennifer's names there...

 

 

In the period before lunch, Romonica entered Ms. Li's office. “May I help you, Ms. DeGregory?” Ms. Li asked.

 

“I have noticed that Quinn Morgendorffer has not signed up for the classes,” Romonica said, her tone implying that she expected Quinn's name to be on the sign up sheets.

 

“Quinn Morgendorffer? I believe that she already is bringing honour and glory to this school as the member of three extra-curricular clubs.”

 

“She may be, Angela, but I believe she may have potential as a model.”

 

The principal noted the former supermodel using her first name, but decided not to take the bait. Instead she decided to offer an alternative. “What are you suggesting? That I make it mandatory that she attend the classes? But there is also the option of her sister, Daria. She may have equal potential.”

 

“Daria? But she is so plain!” Romonica projected.

 

“Ah, but that is just the image she puts forward. She's Quinn's sister. Her looks should be very similar.”

 

“No! I want Quinn. Make it mandatory, if that is what it takes! Otherwise I will withdraw the classes!”

 

Ms. Li narrowed her eyes at the modeling agent. 'Why focus on Ms. Morgendorffer when there are hundreds of other students, here at Lawndale High?' she pondered. After another moment she made her decision. She didn't want to lose this opportunity! “Fine! I will call Quinn Morgendorffer here.” She switched on the intercom.

 

“Very good,” Romonica said.

 

 

Quinn Morgendorffer, please report to the Principal's Office.

 

“What is this about now?” Quinn wondered, as she got up.

 

“It may have to do with the modelling classes,” Cindy said.

 

“Gah! I hope not!” Quinn said as she went up to the teacher for the hall pass.

 

 

Quinn warily entered Ms. Li's office, still wondering what the principal's intentions were. She immediately saw Romonica and knew what it was about.

 

“Sit down, Ms. Morgendorffer,” the principal said.

 

“What's this about?” Quinn asked.

 

“Straight to the point, that's good,” the principal began.

 

“I'm missing History,” Quinn said.

 

“Right, it's come to my attention that that you have not signed up for the Modelling classes,” Ms. Li said.

 

“I'm not interested.”

 

“Nevertheless, I have decided to make your attendance in these classes mandatory.”

 

Quinn was outraged. “You can't do that!” she said.

 

“I'm afraid that I can,” Ms. Li said.

 

Quinn wasn't ready to admit defeat, not by a long shot. “I'm sure that you can't,” she said.

 

“Any particular reason?”

 

“The modeling classes are not part of the curriculum!” Quinn said.

 

“They don't have to be. Attendance is mandatory.”

 

“Then you leave me with no option, but to call my mother,” Quinn said. 'She will know what to do,' she thought.

 

“Wait!” the principal said.

 

“What?”

 

“Surely there are incentives I could give you,” Ms. Li said.

 

Quinn thought for a moment and then knew what to ask. “Why are you so ardent in wanting me in the classes, Ms. Li?” she asked.

 

“What?”

 

“Tell me, and I may think about joining them,” Quinn said.

 

Romonica spoke up “I talked your principal into calling you here because I believe that you have potential.

 

Quiinn knew what she meant. 'So that's it,' she thought.

 

“So you see you have to join the classes!” Ms. Li said.

 

“I'm calling my mother,” Quinn said.

 

“Go ahead,” Ms. Li said.

 

“Sure,” Romonica said.

 

Quinn smirked as she grabbed her cell phone.

 

 

Lawndale Offices of Vitale, Davis, Horowitz, Riordan, Schrecter, Schrecter and Schrecter

“...And where is that file? I asked for it an hour ago!” Helen ranted.

 

“He hasn't come yet, Helen,” her legal assistant, Marianne Kingston said.

 

“What do I have to do around here to have an errand run?”

 

Marianne sighed at her boss's usual behaviour as the phone rang.

 

“I don't have all day!”

 

“Helen, it's your daughter from school. She says it's about the modeling classes there,” Marianne said.

 

“I told Daria that she was joining them. Tell her to join them.”

 

“Actually, it's Quinn,” Marianne said timidly.

 

“Quinn?” Helen walked over and grabbed the phone off Marianne. “What is going on there, Quinn?”

 

Ms. Li has made it mandatory for me to join the modeling classes, because Romonica talked her into it!

 

“Go on.”

 

And that happened because Romonica wants me in the classes. You have to come here,” Quinn said.

 

Helen thought for a moment. It was serious. Someone was trying to force her daughter into doing something she didn't want to do. (Of course, she was doing the same with her other daughter, but that was her perogative as a parent.) “I'll be right there!”

 

Be quick, Mom, I'm missing History.

 

Helen got it. “I'll be there, bye!” She hung up the phone. “I'll be at the school; something important has come up,”

 

“Yes, Helen.”

 

“If anyone asks where I am, tell them that I'm at the school dealing with something,” she said.

 

“Yes, Helen.”

 

 

As Helen reached her car, she took out her cell phone. “Marianne, find out all you can about the New York Amazon Modelling Agency.”

 

Yes, Helen.”

 

 

Quinn hung up. “My Mom is on the way here. May I go back to History until she gets here?” she asked.

 

“Negative! She will be here in less than fifteen minutes,” Ms. Li said.

 

Quinn grumbled and looked at her watch. The period was just about half over. 'Good thing Cindy shares her notes with those who ask.'

 

 

Helen arrived at the school ten minutes after leaving work. After she had locked the car her cellphone rang. “Yes?”

 

I have researched the Amazon Modeling Agency as you asked, Helen,” Marianne said.

 

“Fill me in,” Helen said, as she went towards the school buildings.

 

 

“Now, what is all this about?” Helen asked as she entered the principal's office.

 

“I have made it mandatory that your daughter attend the modeling classes,” Ms. Li said.

 

“Is this true?” Helen asked

 

“It is as I said, Mom,” Quinn said.

 

“Ms. Li, Quinn has no interest in attending the modeling classes. According to the county bylaws you cannot force her to join them,” Helen said. She then noticed Romonica. “Ms. DeGregory, I presume,” she said with a glare.

 

“Yes, I believe that your younger daughter has potential. That is why I pressured the principal into making her attendance mandatory,” Romonica said.

 

“Pressured, how?”

 

Romonica remained silent.

 

Helen stared back.

 

“I said I would withdraw the classes from this school if Quinn is not in them!”

 

“You would follow up on this threat?” Helen asked, her voice low.

 

“I wouldn't make it if I wasn't prepared to follow up on it!” Romonica said.

 

Whilst this exchange was going on, Ms. Li looked on it with trepidation. 'Things are getting out of control!'

 

Helen smirked. “In that case, Ms. Li, if you continue to harass my daughter to join, I will bring a suit against this school.”

 

“You don't mean that!” Ms. Li said.

 

Helen's smile was all the answer she needed. If she had any doubts, they disappeared.

 

“Fine!” Ms. Li said. She turned to Quinn. “Ms. Morgendorffer, you are no longer required to join the modelling classes.”

 

“Good,” Quinn said with a sigh of relief.

 

“What!” Romonica exclaimed.

 

“I do not want a lawsuit brought against the school!”

 

Romonica smiled deviously. “Mrs. Morgendorffer may not, but I will!”

 

The principal glared at the modelling agent. “If that is your wish. Nevertheless your suit would not bring the bad press that a parent-led suit would. Still I beg you to reconsider, for there are other students with similar potential, including the aforementioned sister of the particular student you were after.”

 

Romonica looked to be in thought. She shook her head and said “No. Quinn will be in the classes or they are off and there will be a suit!”

 

“A suit you would loose,” Helen said.

 

“What?” Romonica asked.

 

“Depending on the contract, you may not have a leg to stand on?”

 

“And I suppose you have experience in this area?” Romonica asked.

 

“Close to twenty years,” Helen said, her voice adopting a lower tone.

 

“The school has no legs to stand on!” Romonica said.

 

“I glanced through the contract before I signed it, Ms. DeGregory. I think Lawndale High has a chance against you. Now, if you are not going to reconsider, get out of my office!”

 

“You haven't heard the last of this!” Romonica said.

 

“Good day!” the principal said.

 

Romonica turned on her heel and stalked out of the office.

 

 

After about fifteen seconds Helen asked. “Why did you change your mind?”

 

“I am aware of the reputation of the Senior Partner of your firm, Mrs. Morgendorffer. I don't want that firm litigating against the school!”

 

“I see,” Helen said. She stepped closer. “Understand this, if you do pull a stunt like this again I will enter into litigation. Do I make myself clear?”

 

“Crystal clear, Mrs. Morgendorffer,” the principal said. She turned to Quinn. “Are you absolutely sure you don't want to do those classes, Ms. Morgendorffer?”

 

“Of course!” Quinn said.

 

“Stop badgering my daughter, Ms. Li.”

 

“I'm going back to class! See you tonight, Mom.”

 

“See you then, bye.”

 

“Wait!” the principal exclaimed.

 

“You know my answer,” Quinn said as she left the office.

 

“If there is nothing else, I need to get back to work. Good day,” Helen said. She also left.

 

“This is just great!” the principal said to the otherwise empty room.

 

 

As she stepped out of the school building, Romonica took out her cell phone. “Claude, it's me, Romonica. The classes have been canceled.

 

The principal didn't see it our way?” Claude asked.

 

“No, and it was a lawyer parent's fault! I will see the school, and her, in court!”

 

Are you sure?” Claude asked.

 

“Absolutely!” Romonica said.

 

As you say,” Claude said.

 

Romonica hung up and clicked the phone shut. She turned back to the school. 'You haven't heard the last of this!'

 

 

Daria, Jane and Jennifer entered the hall to find many confused students there. “Ah, there you are, Ms. Morgendorffer and Ms. Burns,” Ms. Li said.

 

“Yes, we were dragging our heels.”

 

Jennifer laughed at Daria's sarcasm.

 

“As I expected,” The Principal said.

 

Daria looked around and noticed that Romonica and Claude were absent. “Where are the teachers of these reputed classes?” she asked.

 

“Take a seat! I'll make the announcement to everyone,” the principal said.

 

“Ok.”

 

“Looks like something unexpected has happened,” Jane said as they proceeded to the seats.

 

“Possibly,” Daria said.

 

“Of course,” Jennifer said.

 

 

There was much murmuring as Ms. Li took her place at the podium. “I see that everyone who signed up for the modelling classes is here. Unfortunately, due to unforseen events, the classes have been canceled!”

 

“What?” Sandi asked.

 

“As I said. They have been canceled. Someone, who will remain nameless, sabotaged the school's chances, and they will no longer be held.”

 

“That's terrible,” Sandi said.

 

“Sooo Wrong!” Tiffany Blum-Deckler said.

 

“For once I agree with you, Ms. Griffin, Ms. Blum-Deckler. There may be similar opportunities in the future,” Ms. Li said.

 

“I hope so,” Sandi said.

 

“Me too,” Stacy Rowe said.

 

“This is good news, I don't have to do modelling anymore,” Daria said.

 

“But I wonder how the classes were canceled,” Jane said.

 

“Her choice of words is intriguing,” Jennifer murmured.

 

“I guess so,” Daria said. 'It certainly raises questions,' she thought.

 

“Now, everyone, you can go to your normal classes,” Ms. Li said.

 

“Yay!” Jane said sardonically.

 

 

Daria, Jane and Jennifer exited the hall to see Jane's brother Trent outside. “Trent? Do Mom and Dad know that you're outside the house voluntarily?” Jane asked in surprise.

 

“Huh?” Trent asked, confused.

 

“What are you doing here?” Jane asked.

 

“I thought I would see the modelling classes for myself.”

 

“Oh, but they've been canceled,” Jennifer said as she noticed Daria blushing.

 

“Oh,” Trent said in surprise.

 

“I'm sure we will find out something,” Jane said as they began to walk away.

 

“Maybe,” Trent said as he thought.

 

 

“I bet that someone had something to do with this,” Sandi groused as she headed back towards class.

 

“The geek isn't responsible for everything, Sandi,” Tori said.

 

“I'm not blaming her! Someone else is responsible!” Sandi said.

 

''Good,' Tori thought.

 

 

Quinn met with Kristen and Cindy as they left school. “So you can tell us what happened now?” Kristen asked.

 

“Once we're away from the school. I don't want to take any chances,” Quinn said.

 

“Sure,” Kristen said.

 

“OK,” Cindy said.

 

 

Once they left the school grounds, Kristen asked “So something happened?”

 

“Yeah, Ms. Li called me into her office and told me that my attendance in the modeling classes was mandatory, Quinn began.

 

“That must have been a shock,” Cindy said.

 

“It was,” Quinn said.

 

“So, what else happened?” Kristen asked.

 

“So I argued with Ms. Li before calling my Mom at her work,” Quinn said.

 

“She may not have expected that,” Kristen said.

 

“Maybe not...” Quinn continued to tell her friends what happened.

 

 

Schloss Morgendorffer - at Dinner

“So, Daria, how was school?” Helen asked when she had finished handing out the lasagne.

 

“Let's see, the usual happened, and oh, yes, the modelling classes were mysteriously canceled,” Daria said with some dissembling.

 

Helen and Quinn exchanged a look.

 

Daria noticed it.“You had something to do with it, didn't you?”

 

“Some things are meant to be mysterious, Daria,” Quinn said. She felt that Daria didn't really need to know.

 

“Possibly, but I will keep asking you, Quinn.”

 

“Fine!” Quinn said.

 

“Wait, Quinn. I'll tell her,” Helen said.

 

“Okay...”

 

And so Helen filled Daria in on what had happened in the Principal's Office...

 

 

After dinner, Daria went up to her room, and pondered the recent events. She picked up her guitar and strummed. There had to be a way to dissuade Ms. Li from attempting similar stunts. After a few minutes she had it...

 

Soon she had sent an email to one her classmates.

 

 

To: Goth_Hacker@hotmail.com

 

From: Misandorffer@hotmail.com

 

 

Casa Lane – Later that night

“Woah,” Trent said. He, Jane and Jennifer had listened to Daria explain what had happened to cause the modelling classes to be canceled.

 

“That puts it succinctly,” Daria said as she filled a glass at the sink.

 

“So, Romonica clears out whilst Ms. Li gets your Mom's eye on her,” Jane said.

 

“She doesn't know what she's getting into,” Daria said.

 

“Hmm, yes,” Jane said in thought. She knew that Daria's Mom was a rather good lawyer.

 

“However, I have another idea,” Daria said. She opened her laptop, and connected to one of the Lane's neighbours' unsecured wifi network. 'It's their own fault if they don't put a password on it.'

 

“What are you up to?” Jane asked as she looked at the site that Daria had loaded.

 

Jennifer wasn't sure what Daria was up to.

 

“Weird idea, Daria,” Trent said.

 

“It is,” Jennifer murmured.

 

 

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lawndale High School Assembly

Ms. Li was at the podium. “I'm sure you're anxious to know why the classes held by the Amazon Modelling Agency were canceled.”

 

“Just what is her spin on it?” Jane wondered.

 

“Probably a watered down and twisted version of the truth,” Daria said.

 

“Likely,” Jennifer said.

 

“Yeah,” Jane said.

 

“It came to my attention that Amazon Modeling wanted students who didn't want to participate to actually participate. Hm, so I was forced to terminate their services or allow legal action to brought against the school. It's obvious what my decision should be.”

 

“Fairly close to the truth,” Quinn said.

 

“I agree,” Cindy said.

 

“So that is what happened,” Ms. Li said.

 

 

However, something unexpected then occurred.

 

A group of men in military garb appeared and approached the stage. A song came from a boombox that one of them was carrying. “Kill the en-em-y! Whoever it hap-pens to be! Huh! Huh!

 

“What?” Jane asked.

 

“Watch,” Daria said.

 

The leader of the group of soldiers took the podium. “Ms. Li, I presume. Thanks, I'll take it from here.” He signaled for the boombox to be turned off. “Students, young people, red-blooded youth of America! I'm General Buck Conroy, publisher of Brutal Mercenary Magazine, and I've come to your school today to find out who among you has what it takes to become a soldier for hire in today's exciting world of geopolitical violence!”

 

“What in the name of God?” Ms. Li said in surprise.

 

“Now, now, ma'am, a deal's a deal. Sad to say, America no longer engages in the kind of ground wars that made this country great! But that doesn't mean that savage hand-to-hand combat is out of your reach. Mercenary soldiers go where the money is. You not only kill, but get paid well for doing it! Whew! What a racket! Next week, we'll have a complimentary class right in the auditorium,” General Conroy said.

 

“What are you talking about? Who invited you here?” Ms. Li asked in panic.

 

“Why, you did, ma'am. We have the email and Paypal receipt right here!” He held up the printouts of the mentioned documents. “Oh, look! The media!”

 

“Oh no!” Ms. Li said.

 

“Oh yes!” Daria said quietly.

 

“Let's see her try to spin her way out of this one,” Jane whispered.

 

 

Daria walked home alone that afternoon. She left the school after Jennifer and Jane had driven off. She stopped a block away from the school and turned. She saw the person she was meeting coming along after her. She held out a twenty. “Here's the agreed upon amount,” she said.

“It will do,” Andrea Hecuba said.

 

“What do you think of the use to which I put it?” Daria asked.

 

“A great use. I would have called Conroy in long ago if I could have come up with an excuse,” Andrea said.

 

“Good,” Daria said with a slight smirk.

 

“If you want to hire my services again, just ask. Just don't tell your sister.”

 

“Like I would give her the satisfaction.”

 

“Good,” Andrea said as she left.

 

 

That night, the Morgendorffers watched the evening news.

And while Principal Angela Li denies inviting the mercenary recruiters to Lawndale High, News Five has learned that she did recently allow a modeling school to solicit students on school grounds,” a reporter said.

 

“Wow! That's all I can say. Wow! Does no one have any ethics anymore?” Jake commented.

 

“Only you and Thoreau, Dad,” Daria said.

 

“You are so right!” Jake said. He looked at his watch. “I gotta call that baby formula guy.” He left.

 

“I know you have something to do with this, Daria!” Quinn said.

 

“What do you mean?” Daria asked.

 

“I know you used to subscribe to the General's magazine.”

 

“But you can't prove it,” Daria said as she left.

 

'She does have a point there,' Quinn thought.