They stopped. Daria was there, mouth agape and eyes wide.
"Eap!" said Tom, jumping away from Quinn like he'd been burned.
"You little back-sabbing slut," she said, finally.
"Oh, Daria, it's like that old General Nathan Bedroom Forrest once said, 'He who gets there fustest with the mostest wins."
"After I poured my heart out to you about how much I missed Tom, you pull this!?! I could kill you!"
"Oh, come on, Sis, weren't you going to do the same thing to that artsy friend of yours? The one who told you she regretted ever having let their relationship sour and if she had a chance..."
"Yes, Morgendorffer," came a voice from the shadows, "that sounds precisely how I put it."
Jane stepped out with a look of shear hatred on her face.
"She actually giggled when she told me," said Quinn with a smirk.
"Uh, Daria, Jane... Look, I'm not worth this..."
"Just like the last time, isn't it, 'friend.'" Jane's face screwed up and she wiped her eye. "To think I let my guard down and TRUSTED you again! BITCH!!!"
Jane pulled a straight razor and charged Daria. Quinn squeeled and retreated, leaving Tom rooted in the spot.
"Jane! Noooooo!" he yelped.
Daria ducked Janes charge, the razor whizzing through the air inches above her head. She slipped by Jane, kicking her in the back of the knee.
Jane stumbled but caught herself on the wall. Daria came in and threw a punch that Jane deflected, slashing out with her razor.
Daria gasped, slapping her cheek with the palmed blood pack, as she turned toward Tom.
"You slut!" she said, shocked. "That hurt! Oh, you have had this coming for some time, Lane."
Daria drew her fake knife from her pocket. She flicked her wrist and released the telescoping blade with her thumb for the illusion of a switchblade.
"Bring it on, backstabber!" Jane growled, raising her blade high.
They ran together, but suddenly Tom was between them. "Stop!" he cried.
Daria's blade hit him full in the stomach. Something wet gushed over her hand as Tom's eyes grew big.
"Tom?" said Jane.
"My stomach!" he moaned as he stepped away from them. "Oh, God, Daria, what have you done..."
Daria starred in confusion, looked at the red fluid on her hand and brought it to her nose. She dropped the knife and stepped back. "J-j-j-jane..." she said, "this is b-b-blood!"
Tom collapsed to the ground. "What did... you expect? Oh, God, call an ambulance!"
"But it's a fake knife!" said Jane. One of those telescoping knives."
"Didn't you know... oh, Gooood... they... sometimes.... fail..."
Tom's eyes rolled back in his head and he gave a shuddering gasp. His body relaxed.
"D-daria?" whined Qunn. "You didn't... did you..."
Daria looked up into Jane's frightened eyes. "I... I killed him..." Her hands went to her mouth. "I KILLED TOM!!!"
"Bravisima!" said an oily voice to the accompaniment of his applause, "Do I detect the hint of real emotion in your voice?"
Daria, Quinn and Jane whirled. "UPCHUCK?!?"
"Oh, must we bring that wretched nickname out of retirement? And how fair you my esteemed coleague?" he said, reaching down.
"Never better," said Tom, accepting the proffered hand-up, "Though my clothes seem a bit worse for the wear."
"You bastards!" said Daria.
"Ah-ah-ah!" said Chuck, "Are you saying you can dish it out but can't take it? After all, you're on candid camera!"
Brett Rutheimer stepped out from behind a dumpster, and with a sweep of his hand brought their attention to Brad, up on the fire escape. Both held camcorders.
"You rotten, scheming little bastards! Dammit, Jane, why didn't we think of filming it! And what the Hell is this blood?"
"Pigs blood," said Tom, "from the butcher's shop. You'd have figured it out too soon with that syrupy stuff."
"I should have known," grinned Jane, "I should have known you'd do something like this, you sneak!"
"Sweet Jane, you expected me to let the guantlet lay after you'd so gallantly slapped me with it? Once the police examined the spot and told me what had happened, I knew your next target would be the talented Mr. Sloane. My Uncle Bert golfs with Angier, so it was quite easy to get in touch with young Thomas."
Daria smirked. "Okay, okay, buy us a drink and we'll call it pax."
"Certainment, ma belle dame sans merci. You must tell me where you gained such skill."
"I'll change out here and join you in a minute," said Tom. "I can't believe you'd have thought me so caddish as to slip into a back alley with your sister," he added with a wink.
"Well, I was a tad disappointed in you," said Quinn. "I'd have thought you'd have been a tougher catch."
With that, they left for the bar, while Tom slipped into the shadows with the sack of clothes Brett handed him, wondering where Elsie had gone. She was supposed to have been there with the third camcorder.
Silently the police cars pulled up to the alley way on the anonymous tip of a naked man skulking therein.