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The Halloween Spirit

No Words for How Weird This Is
by Jill Palmer

Brittany’s having a Halloween party. The Cynics Five attend, and a little ways into it, everybody in costume suddenly starts acting a little *too* weird, even for Halloween. Features appearances by Brian Taylor and someone from the ep which shall not be named.

I did not create Daria, or any of Lawndale’s citizens, braindead though most of them are. MTV did. Post this story on your site if you so desire, but tell me where it is if I didn’t send it to you. I like to keep tabs on my personality and parts thereof.

Brittany Taylor bounced up to Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane between classes at Lawndale High, two envelopes in hand. She handed one to each of them.
“Party invitations,” Jane commented, one eyebrow raised, once hers was opened.
“Costume party invitations at that,” Daria added. “Any special reason we’re invited?”
“No,” Brittany replied. “I didn’t know there had to be one.” And with that she bounced off, seeking out her next victims... I mean invitees.
“Did you guys get party invitations from Brittany too?” Andrea Lister asked at lunch.
She, Daria, Jane, Jodie Landon, and Stacy Rowe (NR: Stacy’s eating lunch as opposed to going to study hall.) were sharing a cafeteria table and poking at something that vaguely resembled food.
“Yeah,” the other four answered in near unison.
“Are you going?”
Jodie started off the answering round. “I have a reputation to uphold. What’s that tell you?”
Daria threw her answer into the mix. “Judging by the look on Jane’s face, she has a brilliant costume idea that involves both of us, so yes is a safe assumption.”
Stacy asked a question and answered all at once. “Are *you* going?”
“I guess that makes it unanimous,” Andrea said. “I’m assuming you all need a ride there?”
“Why not?” Daria replied before Jane could answer. _Just because I’m going along with your twisted plan does NOT mean Trent is giving us a ride there._
“Sure,” Jane threw in, sounding slightly disappointed. _Dammit, Daria! You’re no fun._
“I can get a ride there with Mack,” Jodie said. “Not that I don’t trust you, Andrea, it’s just that I’m expected to show up with him.”
“Understood. Stacy?”
Andrea smirked slightly. “All right then. I’ll pick you three up at Jane’s. Look for a red VW Microbus.”
“I’m afraid to ask what your brilliant idea is, Lane,” Daria said to Jane that afternoon. They were in Jane’s room, the hostess working on a new masterpiece.
“It’s simple. We dress as each other, and see how many people notice.”
“Outside of Stacy, Jodie, Andrea, and Mack, you mean?”
“Yeah. Think they will?”
“We’re talking about Lawndale High students here. Some of them make Trent look observant on their better days.”
“Point taken.”
“I said already, I’ll tell you when Andrea picks us up!” Stacy exclaimed. Jane had just asked for the umpteenth time why she wasn’t wearing a costume. True to the plan, Jane and Daria were dressed as each other.
“Hold your horses, Lane,” Daria told her friend. “In the meantime, try and come up with some good reasons why you’re making me wear my contacts. And I won’t be satisfied with ‘because I don’t wear glasses’ either.”
Daria didn’t get her answers, however, because at that moment a horn honked outside.
Inside the Microbus, Andrea asked the question that, while Jane had worn out its welcome, was bound to come up several more times over the course of the evening.
“How come you’re not wearing a costume, Stacy?”
Stacy sighed, then launched into her best possible Wednesday Addams imitation. “This is my costume. I’m a homicidal maniac. They dress just like everyone else.”
Everyone in the van burst out laughing, even Daria. Andrea was laughing the hardest, but that could’ve been due to the fact that her costume of choice was from _The Addams Family_ - Morticia’s dress, to be exact.
“Damn rent-a-cop,” Andrea muttered as she parked. “Where do they *get* these guys from, anyway?”
“Don’t ask me,” Jane replied. “Last time we were here, I wasn’t on the guest list, so I had to distract him with my sketchbook.”
“I don’t even want to know.”
Inside the Taylor residence, the costume party was already in full swing, to the tune of “Broadway” as performed by the Goo Goo Dolls. The hostess, dressed as Sailor Mars, was making sure everyone was having a good time. And that they all knew there were both flat and ridgy chips.
Two of Quinn Morgendorffer’s suitors, Joey and Jeffy, were decked out in Rocky and Bullwinkle outfits. Quarterback Kevin Thompson and team captain Jamie White were in costume as characters from _The Tick_ - as the Tick himself and his sidekick Arthur, respectively.
The Fashion Club was taking the “teen diva” tack, costumed as follows: President Sandi Griffin as Britney Spears, VP Quinn as Christina Aguilera, and coordinating officer (also treasurer on the days when her little mind could take it) Tiffany Blum-Deckler as Jessica Simpson.
To put a nice topper on it, Jodie and her boyfriend Michael Jordan “Mack” MacKenzie were dressed as Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Russian nemeses, Natasha Fatale and Boris Badenov. Mack even had a fake mustache.
“Daria? Jane? Stacy? How come you guys didn’t wear costumes?” Brittany squeaked.
“We *did* wear costumes,” Daria and Jane chorused indignantly, while Stacy didn’t even bother explaining. Brittany would bother to take the movie quote seriously.
Stacy only repeated the “this is my costume” line for Jodie and Mack. As predicted, they got a good laugh out of it.
A Goth-looking girl in front of a computer smirked, her face lit up by the screen.
_Hmm... from ten until midnight. Works for me. Any time less and I couldn’t get results, but any time more and they’d figure out what was going on. Like the kids in Sunnydale. Damn Slayers. At least there aren’t any in this group...
_Waitaminnit! Those two girls from the whole band fiasco are there. Keeping them out of it, as well as anybody not in costume, should give me enough of an answer group.
_Five till ten. Better start now._
She started typing, the smirk turning into an evil grin.
At 9:59 p.m., the lights in the Taylor residence went out. Any electrical appliances on shut off.
“Brian, you’d better *not* be playing with the fuse box!” Brittany yelled.
“*I’m not!!*” came the reply.
“This is weird,” Jane started. “This is very weird. There are *no* words for how weird this is.”
“You say that like we didn’t notice,” Daria and Stacy chorused, completely deadpan.
An orange, lightning-like light crackled across the ceiling.
Brittany eep-squeaked.
The lights came back on.
Brittany was talking, but the only real indication of that was that her lips were moving. She sure wasn’t acting like Brittany.
“What do you *mean* there’s not a youma here? I’m gonna *kill* whoever sent in that false alarm...” From a bystander’s vantage point, she proceeded to look for something on her person. When she obviously didn’t find it, she started swearing.
In Japanese.
Daria, Jane, and Stacy looked at each other. The look on Stacy’s face plainly said _This couldn’t possibly get any worse._
Brittany shouted, “Where the *hell* did I leave that thing?” and rushed out of the room.
And things got worse.
Outside, the threesome caught their breath - they had to run outside to avoid being trampled - and went over the facts.
Daria started listing things, ticking them off on her fingers as she said them, going slow enough that Jane could write them down.
“Jodie and Mack are chasing Joey and Jeffy around for no apparent reason. Brittany’s wondering why there’s not a monster in her house, running around looking for something, and swearing in Japanese. Andrea’s in the kitchen, dead-heading roses that are in full bloom. Kevin’s running around yelling ‘SPOON!’, and Jamie’s going to give himself a concussion if he keeps trying to stick himself to the wall. Anything I missed?”
Stacy peeked back in through the window. “It looks like the Fashion Club’s having a battle of the divas,” she reported. “Jane, please don’t start that ‘this is very weird’ thing again. We’ve figured that out.”
Brittany’s younger brother Brian came tearing out of the house, looking WAY too scared to carry out his usual hobby - disaster in general.
“What happened to *you?*” Daria asked. She still remembered what he’d done to the lab mouse from her project with Kevin, and figured that was sufficient information to guess this was not his normal attitude.
“After the lights came back on, I started up my computer,” he started. “I went to check the email, and there was something in it that wasn’t for me. If it was a family computer, I would’ve been expecting it maybe, but it’s just my computer. I went down to ask who DariaM is, and...”
“Enough said,” Jane replied. “That scene would scare anybody. We’ll all three go back up there with you.”
Predictably, there was pure chaos inside. Brittany was still swearing in Japanese, a fair indication she hadn’t found whatever she’d been looking for. Jamie had knocked himself out (courtesy of “Operation Wallstick”), and Kevin was trying to rally him back into the land of the living. The battle of the divas, judging by the glares Sandi and Quinn were treating each other to, was about to erupt into the catfight of the divas.
Jeffy had his hand inside a top hat, thus indicating he was about to pull something out of it. Or that he’d just stuck something back in.
The latter proved to be more likely, as he dropped the hat and he and Joey ran like hell. Jodie and Mack soon came tearing after them. Andrea was sitting on the couch, looking like she didn’t know whether to laugh or vomit.
And all this was to the tune of “Crazy”, as performed by Barenaked Ladies.
Brian, Daria, Jane, and Stacy navigated their way through all the insanity as best as anyone could.
Brian’s room looked like what you might expect of a pre-teen boy with a fetish for torturing animals. Daria sat down at the computer and opened the email. She read it, and her eyes went wide.
“Oh no,” she groaned, “anywhere but there!”
Stacy and Jane read over Daria’s shoulder.
“Do we have to?” Jane asked.
“Look on the bright side,” Stacy said. “It’s within walking distance, and it’s not the mall.”
At Good Times Chinese, the Goth-looking girl sat at a table, calmly eating an egg roll. A casual observer might think she was waiting for someone.
Sure enough, when Daria, Jane, and Stacy came in, she looked up, smirked, and invited them to sit down.
“Look,” Daria said once she was seated. “I can understand mind games, seeing as how often I use them myself. But was this whole trip really necessary?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it was,” Stacy deadpanned.
“How’d you guess?” the girl shot back.
“I was *right?*”
“She was *right?*”
“She was right.” The girl leaned back in her chair and started to explain.
“A couple years ago, I decided to try the same thing on a group of high-schoolers in California. I never finished the experiment there. One of them figured it out.”
“Out of costume?” Jane had to know.
“No. She... had special talents. Anyway, I need to know what the results are. And that’s why you’re here.”
“You want reactionary statements, ask a zebra,” Daria deadpanned. “In as few words as possible... scary as hell.”
“I don’t know,” Jane mused. “I thought Brittany’s initial outburst was amusing.”
“No comment,” Stacy opined.
The girls got back to the party shortly after midnight. By then, everyone was acting like their normal selves (sans Jamie, who was still knocked out) and none the wiser...
...Except for Brian.
As soon as the threesome were inside the door, he went over and handed each of them an envelope.
“I took four pictures of everything,” he explained, “one for me and one for each of you. Brittany tried to attack the guy in blue, and while I was getting the Polaroids of that, I nearly got run over by the ones in the Rocky & Bullwinkle outfits. And I think the Teen Diva Trio burned some new holes through the walls, what with all their glaring.”
“Oh no,” Brittany squeaked from the kitchen, “what happened to the roses?”
Brian smirked. “I think I got pictures of that, too.”
Daria smirked herself. “Thanks, kid. Maybe we’ll see you around some other time.”
“No problem,” he replied, “and maybe.” And with that he was gone, off to make up for lost torture time with the family cat.
“Girls!” Andrea called from the doorway. “The bus is leaving whether you’re on it or not!” Daria, Jane, and Stacy looked at each other, shrugged, and headed in that direction.

-Of course, with a party at Brittany’s, you may have been expecting a few more references to “The Invitation” than just mentioning the rent-a-cop. Not in THIS continuum! : ) Seriously, I was considering having Daria and Jane at the rent-a-cop booth again, but decided against it.
-A couple of fanarts have had Daria and Jane dressed up as each other for Halloween. Sounded good to me, and besides:
-The alternative was to have Daria, Brittany, and Jane dressed up as the Powerpuff Girls - as a matter of fact, the fic was inspired partially by a fanart I *did* of that. But then I came up with Brittany’s little rant, and that was too good to pass up.
-Stacy’s “this is my costume” line is from the first Addams Family movie, towards the end.
-Why Rocky and Bullwinkle costumes? Why not? Consider it a tribute to the movie... AND a bit of foreshadowing... can you take the suspense??
-Eep-squeak (eap-squeak, whatever) is a word I made up for when Brittany says “Eep!” (“Brittany eep-squeaked” is easier that “‘Eep!’ Brittany squeaked” beside the point.)
-If you couldn’t tell, “youma” means monster. Japanese, I think - I’m no big fan of Sailor Moon, but I know enough to have figured that out.
-Andrea dead-heading the roses was based on a scene in the first Addams Family movie where Morticia does just that.
-The lab mouse is, of course, a reference to “The Lab Brat”. I think that’s Brian’s only appearance to date, stop me if I’m wrong. (This was written before “Groped by an Angel”, which just goes to show how long it’s been sitting around rotting. I mean any possible times Brian showed up betwixt “The Lab Brat” and GBAA.)
-If you haven’t guessed, this was partially inspired (alongside that fanart I mentioned) by an episode of _Buffy the Vampire Slayer_ that I no longer remember the name of. I think it was their first Halloween special.
- “you want reactionary statements, ask a zebra” - this line was inspired by the Simon and Garfunkel song “At the Zoo”, making it on of the more obscure refs in Daria fanfics. Hey, I couldn’t resist using the line!
-Of course there’s gonna be music on at a party, but why the music I picked? Well, I used “Broadway” because of the video, and the fact that I like the song. As for the other one... Well, if you don’t know why I picked it, reread the scene it’s in. Pure chaos, right? Right. : )
-What with all the thinking I did in here, feel free to let me know if I got something wrong. Muchas gracias in return if you spot it.
-Special thanks to Morgan for her help on Brittany’s rant.
-Thank you readers, and have a day.