"Daria, Interrupted"

a fanfic set in the "Real" Daria Universe

by Michelle Klein-Hass and Shelby McGowan

from ideas by Shelby McGowan



                                                           ACT I, PART I



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - NIGHT



            The song "Crazy" as performed by Willie Nelson fades up, then

            out.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As she lays on her side in the old, uncomfortable twin bed.

            She is reading "A Critique Of Pure Reason" by Immanuel Kant.

            The sound of an old, past-prime central air conditioner

            wheezing and clanking is the loudest sound you hear, until...



                                LOQUETA (O.S.)

                      Yo sucka! Don't you put your hands on me!

                      I'll sue your ass for sexual harassment!

                      Yo' ass is in big trouble!



                                DARIA

                          (sotto voce)

                      Oh god...



                                LOQUETA (O.S.)

                          (louder)

                      AAAAAAAAAGH!!! YOU PIGS!!! AAAAAAAGH!!!

                      DAMMIT!!!



            LOQUETA'S voice trails off.



                                DARIA (V.O.)

                      Time passes extremely slowly in the 2

                      East Ward. Aside from the screaming of my

                      dear roommate Loqueta, the only sound you

                      can hear is the damn air conditioner

                      trying to cool the searing air outside. I

                      was never fond of the outdoors, and

                      particularly never fond of muggy hot

                      summer nights, but anything is better

                      than here. Nine days and nine nights in

                      Bedlam. It could make an outdoorsy jock

                      even out of me. To think this all started

                      because of Jane's damn cat...



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LANE HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - MORNING



            The Lane family cat, Zachary, is wedged in the wall, a few

            feet from where JANE and TRENT'S dad Vincent knocked a big

            hole in it. JANE, TRENT, TOM and DARIA are looking at the

            wall.



                                JANE

                      You know Dad, right...he never finishes a

                      home improvement job he starts.



                                DARIA

                      We're going to get to school on time,

                      right?



                                ZACHARY (O.S.)

                      MROWWWRRRRRR....



                                DARIA

                      Yeah, that's your Dad alright. I guess

                      that's where you get it from, Trent.



                                TRENT

                          (perturbed)

                      Get what?



                                DARIA

                      Your ability to stay on-task, for one

                      thing. Remember the multimedia project?



                                TRENT

                      Never going to let me live that down,

                      huh?



                                JANE

                      Nope.



                                ZACHARY (O.S.)

                      MWOWWWWRRRRR....



                                TOM

                      I've got an idea...fry a fish nearby.



                                JANE

                      We tried that. He wouldn't budge. OK,

                      who's got the smallest hands?



            The four of them extend a hand, and it becomes clear that

            DARIA'S child-sized hands are the smallest.



                                DARIA

                      Guess who drew the short straw. Me.



            DARIA sighs and walks towards the hole in the wall.



            It is clear that DARIA is actually short enough to walk

            partially into the hole.



            DARIA enters the hole.



            INT LANE HOUSE, INSIDE THE WALL - MORNING



            ANGLE ON: ZACHARY



            He's wedged in there pretty good.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As she reaches her arms towards the big fat cat.



            ANGLE ON: ZACHARY



            As he flexes one free paw to strike!



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LANE HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - MORNING



            JANE, TRENT and TOM are watching DARIA wiggle around in the

            hole, half in, half out, when...



                                ZACHARY (O.S.)

                      MWRAWWW PFFFFFTT!!!!!



                                DARIA (O.S.)

                      OWWWWWWWW!!!!!!



                                TOM

                      That can't be good.



                                TRENT

                      I'll go get the Iodine.



                                JANE

                      You would, wouldn't you. I'll get

                      everything else.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LANE HOUSE, BATHROOM - MORNING



            JANE is washing DARIA'S arm off. There are four parallel

            scratches on it...they look pretty deep and nasty.



                                DARIA

                      Well, at least I got your damn cat free.



                                JANE

                      Mucho appreciado.



                                DARIA

                      No problem.



                                JANE

                      Do you think we should take you to the

                      hospital? These might require stitches.



                                DARIA

                      Please, no more needle-like objects.

                      Hospitals and I just don't get along. I

                      want to just bandage myself up and get to

                      school.



                                JANE

                      Damn. And I have a math test I would love

                      to get out of.



                                DARIA

                      Sorry to disappoint.



                                JANE

                      Anyway, Trent's going to drive us to

                      school to make up some time. We might

                      miss first period but we'll definitely

                      get there for second period.



                                DARIA

                      Great. Mr. O'Neill. At least we can ease

                      into our school day rather than be jarred

                      into it by Mr. DeMartino.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LAWNDALE HIGH, O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM - DAY



            Intro to "Crazy" by Seal up and out.



            Mr. O'Neill is writing notes on the blackboard about Sylvia

            Plath's "The Bell Jar."



                                O'NEILL

                      Now, when reading "The Bell Jar," Ms.

                      Plath's own despair which led to her

                      tragic suicide is very apparent. This is

                      a harrowing read. If any of you are

                      suffering from depression, I will give

                      you an alternate assignment. All you have

                      to do is ask after class.



            SFX: Bell rings.



                                O'NEILL (CONT'D)

                      OK, see you tomorrow after you've read

                      the first chapter.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As she turns to leave. The bandages on her left arm are very

            obvious.



            ANGLE ON: O'NEILL



            As his expression turns to alarm.



                                O'NEILL (CONT'D)

                      Daria?



                                DARIA

                      Uh, yeah...



                                O'NEILL

                      Come here, we have to talk.



            MS: DARIA AND O'NEILL



            As DARIA walks over to the desk.



                                DARIA

                      Mr. O'Neill, you have no reason to worry

                      about my reading this. I'm not depressed.

                      I'm just a realist.



                                O'NEILL

                      It's not just that, Daria. It's your arm.

                      I saw the bloody bandages. What happened?



                                DARIA

                      I helped Jane get her cat out of a tight

                      spot. And no good deed goes unpunished.



                                O'NEILL

                      You see, Daria, I have had girls in my

                      classroom who...uh, this is kinda hard

                      for me to say without getting the

                      creeps...cut themselves.



                                DARIA

                      Oh brother. I helped rescue a cat. And

                      now you think I practice self-mutilation

                      all the sudden! (sighs)



                                O'NEILL

                      You do fit a profile.



                                DARIA

                      Let me guess. You went to one of those

                      teachers' workshops about teenage

                      depression recently.



                                O'NEILL

                      At the very least, let the school nurse

                      see this.



                                DARIA

                      Fair enough. At least it will get me out

                      of Trig.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LAWNDALE HIGH, NURSE'S OFFICE - DAY



            The SCHOOL NURSE has removed DARIA'S bandages. She is looking

            at the gashes in DARIA'S arm with a lighted magnifying glass.

            O'NEILL is close by.



                                SCHOOL NURSE

                      My, those look bad. Deep. And such clean

                      cuts too!



                                DARIA

                      That's cat scratches. Just cat scratches.



                                SCHOOL NURSE

                      A cat scratch isn't this deep or this

                      clean. That looks like a razor cut.



                                O'NEILL

                          (dramatically)

                      Just as I feared...



                                DARIA

                          (bewildered)

                      This isn't happening. This isn't

                      happening.



                                SCHOOL NURSE

                      I'll go get Ms. Li and Mrs. Manson.



                                O'NEILL

                      I'll stay by Daria's side. She needs me.



                                DARIA

                      You make an awful lot of assumptions, Mr.

                      O'Neill.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT. LAWNDALE HIGH, MS. LI'S OFFICE



            O'NEILL, MS. MANSON and the SCHOOL NURSE are standing behind

            DARIA, who is seated in a chair in front of MS. LI'S desk.

            MS. LI has a very grave expression on her face, as does

            O'NEILL and the SCHOOL NURSE. DARIA is just bemused.



                                MS. LI

                      Sooooo, Ms. Morgendorffer...what seems to

                      be the trouble?



                                DARIA

                      Uh, I got scratched by a cat. That's all.

                      Nothing sinister about it.



                                MS. LI

                      Are you suuuuuuure?



                                O'NEILL

                      I have seen this before. And after the

                      symposium I took in psychological warning

                      signs recently, I am fairly confident

                      that Daria may be harming herself.



                                MS. LI

                      Let's hear from the expert...Ms. Manson?



                                MS. MANSON

                      Well, Daria has gone through our Self

                      Esteem class, and there have been some

                      reports of Daria exhibiting some trouble

                      signs in the past. I have not examined

                      her thoroughly recently, but she does

                      indeed fit a profile of potential teen

                      depression.



                                MS. LI

                      And also, there is the potential of

                      exposing Laaaawndale High to legal

                      liability if we fail to act in the face

                      of this evidence. And the budget here

                      cannot survive another lawsuit like the

                      one we won on behalf of Mr. DeMartino

                      recently...hmmf! So we must proceed

                      proactively here. I'll contact Ms.

                      Morgendorffer's parents right now.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            HELEN MORGENDORFFER'S OFFICE - DAY



            The phone rings.



                                HELEN

                      Marianne, would you please get that, I'm

                      busy reading this contract!



                                MARIANNE

                      I'm on it...



            MARIANNE picks up the phone.



                                MARIANNE (CONT'D)

                      Hello?



            You hear muffled speech over the phone, PEANUTS style.



                                MARIANNE (CONT'D)

                      Daria WHAT?



            More muffled speech.



                                MARIANNE (CONT'D)

                      WHAT?



            Still more muffled speech.



                                MARIANNE (CONT'D)

                      I'll get Helen on the phone right away.



            MARIANNE puts the phone on hold.



                                MARIANNE (CONT'D)

                      Helen, it's Ms. Li at the High School. It

                      sounds like an emergency.



                                HELEN

                      A real emergency or something that you

                      can handle on my behalf?



                                MARIANNE

                          (indignant)

                      Mrs. Morgendorffer...it seems like

                      your daughter Daria has made an attempt

                      on her life. If that isn't a real

                      emergency I don't know what is.



            HELEN blanches and darts over to grab the phone.



                                                                 MONTAGE



            HELEN MORGENDORFFER'S OFFICE - DAY



            The beginning of "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osborne is heard, and

            most of the song plays over the montage.



            HELEN talks on the phone, looks worried.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            EXT. LAWNDALE EXPRESSWAY - DAY



            HELEN weaves her car in and out of traffic...she's

            desperately trying to get to DARIA at the High School



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT. LAWNDALE HIGH, MS. LI'S OFFICE - DAY



            HELEN arrives, winded. She runs to DARIA and gives her a hug.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT. CEDARS OF LAWNDALE HOSPITAL, PSYCH WARD - AFTERNOON



            HELEN brings DARIA in, and DARIA is examined.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT CEDARS OF LAWNDALE HOSPITAL, PSYCH WARD - AFTERNOON



            HELEN is given a slip of paper.



            ANGLE ON: SLIP OF PAPER



            It has the address, "Lighthouse Hospital, 233 Lawndale

            Heights Rd., near the RX Plex."



                                                                 CUT TO:



            EXT LAWNDALE EXPRESSWAY - AFTERNOON



            HELEN is driving DARIA to the hospital. DARIA looks at HELEN

            and grimaces.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, INTAKE - AFTERNOON



            DARIA is grilled by several people, some wearing white coats,

            some wearing "business casual" clothing. One thing you see a

            lot of is DARIA shaking her head "No."



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - NIGHT



            "Crazy Train" fades out.



            You see DARIA, still reading Kant.



                                DARIA (V.O.)

                      So this is how I got here. The worst part

                      of it all is that here I am, a person who

                      prides herself on being an individual, a

                      non-conformist, suddenly conforming to

                      something. A stereotype. I read the

                      papers. I watch the sensationalist news

                      magazines on TV. Even Sick, Sad World was

                      not above doing breathless exposes about

                      teens wrongfully committed to adolescent

                      mental hospitals. I had hoped the day

                      would never come, but it had. Yet another

                      non-conformist teenager committed to a

                      looney bin. My life had just become a

                      cheap cliche. Great.



            DARIA sighs and flops face down on the bed, casting the copy

            of Kant to the floor.



                                                          FADE TO BLACK.



                                                     END OF ACT I, PART I



                                                          ACT II, PART I



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, GROUP THERAPY ROOM - DAY



            "Young Women's Group" is on. DARIA is sitting there watching

            the fireworks.



                                LOQUETA

                      It's racism, man. It's racism. Why is it

                      that I'm the only black woman on the ward

                      and I never get my status upgraded, and I

                      always get static from the orderlies?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Could it be that your behavior is the

                      problem?



                                LOQUETA

                      You don't know, man. You're a White man

                      who probably never grew up with a momma

                      on crack and a daddy who you never even

                      seen!



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Some people come from good homes, some

                      people come from dysfunctional homes.

                      However, this doesn't have to be destiny.

                      You always have a choice to better your

                      life. Anyone have any comments?



                                KATHY

                      This self-pity crap is making me sick.



                                TRISH

                      Yeah. Get over it.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Do you have anything to say to Loqueta,

                      Daria?



                                DARIA

                          (sighs)

                      No, not really. She has a point, though.

                      The rest of us are white people from the

                      suburbs. We haven't a clue as to what

                      she's been through.



                                DR. WALDEN

                          (sing-songy tone)

                      You're talking like an enabler, Daria.



                                DARIA

                      I don't approve of her behavior. However,

                      we all have baggage from our childhood.

                      Some more than others. Ridicule is no way

                      to help a person through.



                                DR. WALDEN

                          (patronizing)

                      Mmkay. So how have you been, Daria?



                                DARIA

                      I'm stuck here for nothing. Just because

                      teachers at my school suddenly lost all

                      semblance of reason when they saw my arm

                      clawed up by Jane's cat...



                                DR. WALDEN

                      They told us that you have had self

                      esteem issues and that you appear to have

                      been mutilating yourself.



                                DARIA

                      I helped my friend Jane get her cat out

                      of a crawlspace. The thanks I get is claw

                      marks on my arm and a cell in a loony

                      bin.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Number one, you have a room here, and

                      this is a therapeutic environment, not a



            DR. WALDEN makes "quote" gestures with his fingers



                                DR. WALDEN (CONT'D)

                      looney bin.



                                DARIA

                      OK, I don't go along with your

                      politically-correct euphemisms.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Why do you feel the need to judge this

                      place?



                                DARIA

                      I don't belong here.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Denial is not just a river in Egypt,

                      Daria.



                                DARIA

                      I'm not in denial, dammit!



            DARIA'S eyes go wide as she realized what she just said.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Ah. Those are telling words, Daria.

                      Comments, ladies?



                                TRISH

                      You don't have to be ashamed, Daria. This

                      isn't High School. We don't judge, we

                      don't criticize. We help each other get

                      over our problems.



                                KATHY

                      Yeah, Daria. You're safe to say anything

                      here. Cutting makes you feel less pain,

                      doesn't it? I know that's why I do it.



                                DARIA

                      I don't cut.



                                KATHY

                      C'mon Daria, you know you do. Admit it to

                      yourself. Free yourself.



                                DARIA

                      For the last damn time I don't cut!



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Let's go on here. Daria will come out of

                      her denial when she's ready. I just have

                      to remind you that your defensive

                      behavior in Group is going to mean you

                      aren't going to move on to the next level

                      and more privileges.



                                DARIA

                      So that's it. If I don't tell you what

                      you want to hear, I stay on Level One for

                      the rest of my stay. You know, this place

                      operates more like a prison than like a

                      hospital. Then again, I go to Lawndale

                      High, which is operated more like a

                      prison than a school.



                                DR. WALDEN

                          (clearing throat)

                      OK, how are you doing, Kathy? Do you

                      still feel compulsions to harm yourself?



                                KATHY

                      Yeah, but I'm working on it. The meds

                      seem to be working.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      That's good to hear! Well done.



                                DARIA (V.O.)

                      Yep. I hit the nail on the head, didn't

                      I? Say what they want to hear, and you

                      get privileges. Don't say what they want

                      to hear, or call them on their BS, and

                      you stay at Baby Level. Kathy's on her

                      way out of here. She knows how to work

                      it. My problem is this...I don't lie very

                      well and moreover I don't want to learn

                      to lie very well. It's a life skill that

                      certainly has served my mother well, and

                      that Quinn knows and uses to her

                      advantage. Well, maybe I can take a short

                      nap for the rest of Group.



            DARIA closes her eyes.



                                                               FADE OUT.



                                                                FADE IN:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, COMMON ROOM, 2 EAST - EVENING



            DARIA is sitting on a couch, waiting for her visitors. There

            is the sound of a buzzer, and she gets up and looks out the

            door at the entry door. Through the windows, she sees JANE

            and TRENT.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            Her eyes light up a little.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            As JANE and TRENT are let in. DARIA walks over to them, and

            they all hug. The three of them walk back into the COMMON

            ROOM.



                                JANE

                      You certainly seem happy to see us.



                                DARIA

                      Right now, I'd be happy to see Upchuck,

                      I'm so bored here.



                                JANE

                      Maybe you are in the right place after

                      all.



                                DARIA

                      Bite me.



                                JANE

                      I'm just making the observation that

                      nobody in their right mind would be happy

                      to see Upchuck. The space cowboy. The

                      gangster of love. Upchuck, who speaks of

                      the pompatus of love.



                                TRENT

                      Hey...speak of the pompatus of love.

                      Great song lyrics.



                                JANE

                      You're a little late to claim it. By

                      about 25 years. Steve Miller.



                                TRENT

                      Damn.



            The three sit down on a battered, stained, but still

            overstufffed couch.



                                DARIA

                      Glad you could make it.



                                JANE

                      Of course. Nobody likes being cooped up

                      in a hospital. It's lonely and it's

                      boring.



                                DARIA

                      Yeah. The boredom is the worst. I don't

                      even have privileges yet to watch Sick,

                      Sad World...usually I have to watch Funky

                      Videos because that's on at the same time

                      and Loqueta hogs the TV.



                                TRENT

                      Ooh...bummer.



                                DARIA

                      I mean, I like some of it, but it's just

                      overkill, you know?



                                JANE

                      Word is getting around about you being in

                      here.



                                DARIA

                          (blanches)

                      You didn't tell everyone...



                                JANE

                      Ms. Li made an announcement, requesting

                      that everyone "pray for Daria."



                                DARIA

                      Oh god.



                                JANE

                      God had nothing to do with it. O'Neill

                      takes the blame for this one.



                                DARIA

                      Yep.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            HELEN and JAKE are seen at the entrance.



                                DARIA (CONT'D)

                      Oh wow...Mom and Dad. They only allow me

                      to have two visitors at a time. So you've

                      got to go back to the lobby. This won't

                      take too long.



                                JANE

                      OK...we'll be back.



                                DARIA

                      Please.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, ART ROOM - THE NEXT DAY



            "Low Self-Opinion" by the Rollins Band up and out.



            DARIA is sitting working with a lump of clay. MS. COLLIER,

            the art therapist, is winding her way through the room.



            DARIA begins to see a shape in the clay...the big grey Maine

            Coon mix cat that was the source of all the trouble she now

            found herself in.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Ah, Daria...such a delightful looking

                      cat! I volunteer at a cat rescue when I'm

                      not working here. Maybe when your

                      privilege level goes up I can get you a

                      pass to come visit the rescue...



                                DARIA

                      That will never happen. I don't say what

                      the staff want me to say, particularly

                      what my Doctor here wants me to say. So

                      I'm probably going to be stuck at Level

                      One until someone springs me.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Why do you say that?



                                DARIA

                      Because I shouldn't be here. I know

                      that's the truth. The reason I am here is

                      because of a colossal misunderstanding.

                      Everyone thinks I am depressed. No, all I

                      am is a sarcastic realist who doesn't

                      walk around with a fake-ass smile and a

                      perky personality. I was clawed on the

                      arm by my best friend's cat, and everyone

                      at Lawndale High jumped to conclusions

                      and thought that I was cutting myself

                      with razors.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Can I take a look at your arm?



                                DARIA

                      Why should I?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I work at a cat rescue. I also work at

                      the teen ward of a private psychiatric

                      hospital.

                      Believe me, I have seen both self

                      mutilators and the victims of cat

                      scratches. I can tell the difference.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, BATHROOM NEAR ART ROOM - DAY



            DARIA takes off the bandages. The claw marks have scabbed

            over.



                                DARIA

                      Unlike my disturbed psyche, the wounds

                      seem to be on their way to healing.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Very funny, Daria. Let me take a look.



            MS. COLLIER takes out a magnifying glass and looks.



                                DARIA

                      Well?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      You weren't lying.



                                DARIA

                      You see, that's one of the problems. I'm

                      not a good liar.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Come again?



                                DARIA

                      I can't even lie to myself. Some Queen of

                      Denial I make.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      So the Doctor thinks you're in denial.



                                DARIA

                      In denial about being a chronically

                      depressed self-mutilator with a bad case

                      of low self-esteem. If I didn't have such

                      low self-esteem, a diagnosis like that

                      would really get me down.



                                MS. COLLIER

                          (snickers a little)

                      I think I know what's really going on

                      here. Have you thought of contacting the

                      County Office of the Patient Advocate?



                                DARIA

                      Who's that?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Well, the person who is there to sort

                      mistakes like this out.



                                DARIA

                      You believe me?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      You said it yourself. You don't know how

                      to lie.



                                                               FADE OUT.



                                                         ACT III, PART I



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, OFFICE OF THE CEO - DAY



            DR. ROBERT MILLS, the head of Lighthouse Hospital, is having

            an informal meeting with DR. WALDEN.



                                DR. MILLS

                      So, Theo, how's things in the Teen

                      Program?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Well, there are several boys in 2 West

                      but the population of the girls in 2 East

                      is beginning to slip. We're going to lose

                      a few.



                                DR. MILLS

                      Why?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Well, there are two who are going to max

                      their health insurance in a couple of

                      days.



                                DR. MILLS

                      Ah, that's too bad. No parents signing

                      their kids out, though, right?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      That hasn't happened in a while.



                                DR. MILLS

                      Good, good. And of course, we have our

                      County patients too...



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Yes, Loquita, Tony and Javier are our

                      little bank accounts, aren't they?



                                DR. MILLS

                      Yes indeed. Any new kids?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Just Daria Morgendorffer so far. Also

                      another girl, her name escapes me, who's

                      coming in this afternoon.



                                DR. MILLS

                      Ah, that's too bad. Only two new

                      patients? You're slipping, Theo.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Bob, please. What do I do, pull them out

                      of the mall?



                                DR. MILLS

                      That might not be a bad idea. We'd

                      probably have some legal problems,

                      though.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Yeah.



                                DR. MILLS

                      What does Daria's case look like?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Well, for one thing the mother has very

                      good health insurance. We could get a few

                      months out of them.



                                DR. MILLS

                      Good, good. What's your prognosis, then?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      She's a real hard case. She needs

                      intensive therapy to get over some very

                      profound disturbances. She's a self

                      mutilator and possibly suicidal.



                                DR. MILLS

                      No, really.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Not sure. She might legitimately be

                      disturbed, but I think she might just be

                      a bright but disaffected loner kid.

                      However, gotta stick to the diagnosis.

                      Probably when her insurance runs out,

                      she'll be fine. Probably if she never

                      came here, she'd work out fine. But of

                      course, if she never came here, she

                      wouldn't be a source of income.



            Both DR. MILLS and DR. WALDEN laugh.



                                DR. MILLS

                      I like your attitude. That's why I put

                      you in charge of the Teen program.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      My attitude has served me well over the

                      years. It's certainly kept my wallet nice

                      and fat.



                                DR. MILLS

                      So, will I be seeing you at the Country

                      Club this weekend?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Sure. You're buying drinks at the

                      Nineteenth Hole, right?



                                DR. MILLS

                      Of course.



                                                               FADE OUT.



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - DAY



            "Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" by Pink Floyd up and

            out.



            DARIA is taking a nap. While she sleeps, her roommate packs

            and leaves.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - DAY



            DARIA is still napping. TERRI, one of the Interns, has

            brought in the new girl.



                                TERRI

                      Daria? It's 2pm, and you're still asleep?



                                DARIA

                      Not much else to do around here.



                                TERRI

                      Your new roommate has arrived.



            DARIA gets up, rubs her eyes, and puts on her glasses.



            POV: DARIA



            As she sees, through bleary eyes, STACY, usually of the

            Fashion Club.



                                DARIA

                      What are you doing here?



                                STACY

                      What are you doing here?



                                DARIA

                      Haven't you heard? Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill

                      think I'm depressed and that I self

                      mutilate.



                                STACY

                      Well...last night I tried to kill myself.



            DARIA looks at STACY, thunderstruck.



                                DARIA

                      What happened?



                                STACY

                      Sandi stole my boyfriend, and my mom

                      spilled bleach all over my nice new

                      outfit. I also failed Algebra and English

                      Lit, and I'm definitely going to have to

                      go to Summer School this year. I couldn't

                      take it...it was all just too much.



                                DARIA

                          (sighs)

                      Number one, no guy is worth your life. No

                      outfit is worth your life. You can always

                      study and push your grade up. None of

                      this is worth killing yourself over.



            STACY starts to cry.



                                DARIA (CONT'D)

                      Oh jeez...Stacy, don't cry. I'll help you

                      through this. You're not alone.



            DARIA gets up and gives STACY a hug.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            You see DARIA wince as she hugs the sobbing fashion fiend.



                                DARIA (V.O.) (CONT'D)

                      Although I wish I was still alone here.



                                                                FADE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, GROUP THERAPY ROOM - EVENING



            Another day, another Group Therapy session. DARIA is sitting

            around, looking very disaffected. Predictably STACY is

            babbling. Oddly, KATHY and TRISH are very interested in what

            she's saying.



                                STACY

                      So, like, my mom? She does the laundry

                      sometimes and she, like, really doesn't

                      have a clue. Cashman's had a sale, and,

                      like, I found some really cool

                      clothes...you should have seen those

                      Eggplant bells I found!



                                KATHY

                      Ooh...sounds cool!



                                TRISH

                      Yeah!



                                STACY

                      But like, mom put them in and poured

                      bleach all over them!!!



                                TRISH

                      That's so wrong.



                                STACY

                      Yeah...it's cool you understand. I think

                      I'm going to like it here.



                                KATHY

                      Yeah...but they don't allow us out to

                      shop. That's such a bummer.



                                STACY

                      They don't? Oh m'god!!!!



            STACY begins to hyperventilate, and KATHY and TRISH reach

            over to comfort her.



            DARIA clears her throat.



                                DARIA

                      That's no reason to try to kill yourself,

                      though.



            KATHY and TRISH look daggers at DARIA.



                                TRISH

                      You are so cold.



                                KATHY

                      Yeah, you're mean, Daria!



                                TRISH

                      And you're a brain. You wouldn't

                      understand.



                                DARIA

                          (sighs)

                      God.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Now Daria, don't be judgmental...



                                DARIA

                      Doesn't this strike you as, well, absurd?

                      Attempting suicide over clothes. To quote

                      Trish, that's so wrong.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Daria, you don't live in Stacy's skin.



                                DARIA

                      I'm glad that's the case.



            DR. WALDEN picks up his cell phone.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Front desk? Yeah, page a couple of

                      orderlies and have them come to the Group

                      Room in 2 East. Yes, I have a girl here

                      who needs some time out in the Quiet

                      Room. No, it's not Loqueta, you don't

                      have to get anyone especially burly. It's

                      Daria. Thanks.



            DR. WALDEN flips his small, trendy-looking cell phone shut.



                                DR. WALDEN (CONT'D)

                      Daria, I think you need to think about

                      the cruel things you just said. Just

                      because you think you are superior to

                      these other girls doesn't give you the

                      right to ridicule them.



                                DARIA

                      That wasn't ridicule. That was

                      questioning an irrational reaction to

                      very trivial matters.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            As two white-coated orderlies come in the room. DR. WALDEN

            points DARIA out, and one takes DARIA'S arms, the other

            DARIA'S legs. DARIA goes limp, and the orderlies drag her

            out.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, CORRIDOR - DAY



            The orderlies have a better grip on DARIA now, and are

            walking her briskly to The Quiet Room.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, QUIET ROOM - DAY



            DARIA sits in the corner of the padded cell. There are

            restraints there, but DARIA is not in them.



                                DARIA

                      Well, at least it's a little like home

                      here. This isn't so bad.



            DARIA slumps down and catches up on her sleep.



                                                               FADE OUT.



                                                                FADE IN:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DR. WALDEN'S OFFICE - EVENING



            MS. COLLIER walks in, angrily. DR. WALDEN is calmly eating a

            burger at his desk.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Do you realize you have a patient here

                      for absolutely no good reason at all?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      And who might that be?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Daria Morgendorffer. She's been here for

                      ten days and the only reason is that her

                      teachers mistook a cat scratch for self

                      mutilation.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Ask me if I give a damn.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      You should give a damn. Daria could be

                      damaged here from her stay. You could

                      actually cause neurosis and possibly even

                      psychosis if she stays here

                      unnecessarily.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Again, ask me if I give a damn.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      What do you care about, if not your

                      clients?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Daria's mother is a lawyer with a nice

                      fat health insurance policy. Daria could

                      stay here for several months more, and

                      keep you in clay and tempera paints.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I thought this was a place of healing,

                      Dr. Walden. Keeping people who shouldn't

                      be here directly violates the Hippocratic

                      Oath. And it also robs the people who

                      really should be here of the attention

                      they need and deserve.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Do you like your job, Ms. Collier?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I like it fine.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Good. Speak no more of this, then.

                      Remember, having an on-premises art

                      therapist is a luxury here, not a

                      necessity. We could use the money we

                      spend on you and your supplies to buy the

                      school another teacher or the wards a few

                      more orderlies.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      May I speak freely, sir?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Please.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      You're a really unpleasant little man.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      I'll pretend I didn't hear that. Oh, and

                      isn't your shift over, Ms. Collier?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Yes it is. I think I'll stop by the cat

                      rescue before I go home...I need to

                      relax.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Good. You do that. See you tomorrow.



            MS. COLLIER walks out the door. DR. WALDEN gets up, and goes

            to a filing cabinet. He pulls a folder.



            ANGLE ON: FILE FOLDER



            It's MS. COLLIER'S personnel file.



            ANGLE ON: DR. WALDEN'S DESK



            As DR. WALDEN sits down. He grabs a pad of Sticky Notes, and

            writes "Keep an eye on Collier" on it. He opens the folder

            and begins to read through it, alternately turning pages and

            taking bites out of his hamburger.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, QUIET ROOM - NIGHT



            DARIA is still taking a nap in the Quiet Room. The picture

            pushes to the left side, and...



                                                          FADE TO BLACK.



            The song "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies is heard

            over the end credits.



                                                   END OF ACT III, PART I



                                                          ACT I, PART II



                                                                FADE IN:



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, DINING ROOM - NIGHT



            HELEN, JAKE and QUINN are eating Lite Delite frozen Lasagna,

            as always.



                                HELEN

                      So do you want to visit your sister in

                      the hospital tomorrow?



                                QUINN

                      No way.



                                HELEN

                      I heard that Stacy is also in the same

                      hospital...isn't she one of your friends?



                                QUINN

                      Mu-ommm...both Daria and Stacy are in a

                      loser place with a bunch of psychos. I'd

                      have to say they're where they belong.



                                HELEN

                      That's no way to talk about your sister,

                      Quinn...



                                QUINN

                      Please don't remind me...I've been trying

                      to forget that she's my sister. And Stacy

                      is...well...a real weirdo. She's always

                      behaved strangely. For a while there she

                      was copying everything I was doing. It's

                      like that movie...Single White Female.

                      And you know how that ended up...



                                JAKE

                      Eew...creepy....



                                HELEN

                      Jake, we need to stay on-message here.

                      Quinn, you only have one sister, and

                      sisters are forever. And Stacy might be a

                      little disturbed but she's been a great

                      friend to you.



            ANGLE ON: PHONE



            SFX: PHONE RINGS



                                QUINN

                      I'll get it...hello?



            Split-screen between MS. COLLIER in the Art Room and QUINN in

            the dining room



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Hello, is Mr. and Mrs. Morgendorffer in?



                                QUINN

                      MOM! It's for you.



            QUINN passes the phone to HELEN



                                HELEN

                      Helloooo!



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Yes, hello Mrs. Morgendorffer.



                                HELEN

                      Helen. Please call me Helen.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      OK Helen...I'm Audrey Ann Collier, one of

                      the counsellors at Lighthouse Hospital,

                      and I wanted to make you aware that

                      perhaps your daughter Daria is not in

                      here for any good reason.



                                HELEN

                      Well, Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill at Lawndale

                      High told me that Daria was exhibiting

                      signs of self-mutilation, and the

                      professionals at Lighthouse seem to be

                      very emphatic that there is indeed fire

                      under the smoke...



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Helen...I have examined Daria's wounds.

                      They were cat scratches, completely

                      consistent with Daria's story. They were

                      not clean enough to be razor cuts, and

                      would have had far less scabbing. Razor

                      cuts heal cleanly. The four scratches are

                      consistent with the paw of a large cat.



                                HELEN

                      Are you a Doctor, Ms. Collier?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      No, but I am a licensed MFCC and a

                      certified art therapist. I also work at a

                      cat rescue when not at the hospital, so I

                      have seen both cat scratches and the work

                      of self-mutilators.



                                HELEN

                      Still...that nice Dr. Walden said...



                                MS. COLLIER

                      That nice Dr. Walden is only after your

                      insurance money. You're a lawyer, you've

                      certainly have had to deal with insurance

                      fraud before?



                                HELEN

                      Yes, I have represented insurance

                      companies dealing with fraudulent

                      claims...



                                MS. COLLIER

                      So this situation should ring very

                      familiar to you, Ms. Morgendorffer. I

                      strongly suggest you sign a release form

                      and take your daughter out of here. Daria

                      is in fine shape now but a few months

                      here could cause her to be harmed. This

                      is not a place for an intelligent and

                      well-adjusted young woman.



                                HELEN

                      I understand your concern but I take the

                      opinion of a Doctor of Medicine over that

                      of an art therapist. If you can give me

                      documentation, please do so. If not,

                      please let the more than qualified

                      doctors at the hospital do their work.

                      Good evening, Ms. Collier.



            HELEN hangs up, and the split screen effect cuts out.



                                QUINN

                      So what was that?



                                HELEN

                      The art therapist at the hospital. She

                      let me know of her concerns about your

                      sister. She thinks that Daria doesn't

                      belong in the hospital.



                                QUINN

                      You know she's wrong.



                                HELEN

                      Maybe. Maybe not. I'm going to check on

                      something at Lexis.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, HOME OFFICE - NIGHT



            HELEN boots up her Thinkpad. The familiar "Starting

            Windows98" screen is seen. The little rising tones are heard,

            letting HELEN know the modem card is in the slot and

            recognized.



            The Thinkpad's desktop is seen, and HELEN opens an Internet

            connection. She then opens her browser, and goes on to the

            Lexis/Nexis site.



            HELEN types in "Lighthouse Hospital Lawndale" in the search

            box. The results scroll down the screen.



                                HELEN

                      Oh my...



            There are literally dozens of lawsuits filed against

            Lighthouse in the past few years.



            HELEN looks at one of the cases...Walker v Lighthouse

            Hospital, Dr. Graham Walden, does 1-50 inclusive. She then

            opens another search box, and types in "Dr. Graham Walden

            malpractice". Yet another stream of results.



                                HELEN (CONT'D)

                      OK, he never got nailed...but the

                      majority of these cases ended in no-fault

                      settlements. Not a good sign.



            HELEN closes her browser and logs off the Internet. She seems

            a little shaken.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - THE NEXT DAY



            DARIA has headphones on and is listening to a Walkman. STACY

            is busy folding and putting away clothes...her parents bought

            her a few new outfits to cheer her up.



                                STACY

                      Daria?



            DARIA can't hear STACY...her Walkman is blasting "Butterfly

            Wings" by Machines of Loving Grace. The sound is loud enough

            to be audible through the headphones.



                                STACY (CONT'D)

                          (much louder)

                      DARIA????



            DARIA hears this, groans, and flicks one side of the headset

            off her ear.



                                DARIA

                      I thought we had a deal. You don't bug

                      me, I don't bug you. We are both the

                      Invisible Roommates.



                                STACY

                      But Daria...I want to know what you think

                      of this place.



                                DARIA

                      It sucks. Isn't it obvious?



                                STACY

                      Not to me. I dunno...this is the first

                      time I have really been liked for who I

                      am somewhere. I don't get abused by my so

                      called friends, and people really want to

                      hear what I have to say.



                                DARIA

                      Well...you think what you want to think.

                      All I know is that I don't belong here,

                      and that I have got to get out of here

                      before I do.



                                STACY

                      Fine. You do that.



                                DARIA

                      You'd better not rat me out.



                                STACY

                      I won't. Why should I? I'm getting what I

                      want out of this place. You aren't.



                                DARIA

                      Good. Now we can go back to the Invisible

                      Roommate policy.



            DARIA puts the other headphone over her ear and turns the

            volume up even louder.



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, CAFETERIA



            STACY, KATHY and TRISH are all eating salads and talking

            between bites.



                                KATHY

                      So, my mom just brought the newest issue

                      of Waif magazine for me! It looks like

                      it's going to be white, white and more

                      white for the Summer!



                                STACY

                      White? Oh god, that makes you look like

                      you're 10 pounds heavier than you are!

                      What are they thinking?



                                TRISH

                      You know, you could do what I do. What

                      goes down doesn't necessarily have to

                      stay down.



                                STACY

                      You don't mean?



                                TRISH

                      Yeah. Barf it all up.



                                STACY

                      EEW!



                                TRISH

                      Works for me. I've been 98 pounds since I

                      started High School and I haven't gained

                      an ounce.



                                STACY

                      Is that what you're in for?



                                TRISH

                      Yeah. But you just have to be sneakier

                      here. They don't allow you to go to the

                      bathroom immediately after you eat. So I

                      keep baggies in my room.



                                KATHY AND STACY

                      That is so gross!



                                KATHY

                      Yeah, you'd better not do that around me.



                                TRISH

                      Well, the first chance I get, I throw the

                      barf bag out. I've never had to wait more

                      than a couple of minutes. The doctors,

                      the nurses, the orderlies, the

                      counselors, the aides...they never

                      suspect a thing.



                                STACY

                      That's still so gross. I'd rather diet

                      more than do that.



                                TRISH

                      You don't want your parents to think

                      you're anorexic, now do you? That would

                      mean you'd stay here longer.



                                STACY

                      What if I told you I liked it here?



                                TRISH AND KATHY

                      No way...you like it here?



                                STACY

                      Yeah. I've got friends here, people

                      listen to my problems, the salads are

                      nice, and school is easy.



                                TRISH

                      I'm at Level 4...I should be let go soon.



                                KATHY

                      Yeah, and I only have three more days to

                      go on my hold.



                                STACY

                      So you both want out of here, right?



                                KATHY

                      Yeah. Big time.



                                TRISH

                      Uh-huh.



                                STACY

                      So where do you live?



                                KATHY

                      Oakwood.



                                TRISH

                      Riverdale.



                                STACY

                      Well...I guess that means when you go,

                      there's like no way we'll be able to keep

                      in touch.



                                TRISH

                      Not necessarily. Lawndale's not too far

                      away, and besides, I'm going to be coming

                      here for evening Group just about every

                      week.



                                STACY

                      That's good.



                                KATHY

                      Did you see that cute orderly who just

                      started here...what a babe.



                                STACY AND TRISH

                      You mean Michael? Ooh, yeah, he's cute!



            DARIA walks by, listening to the blather only briefly before

            finding a table in the corner. She has a copy of "Animal

            Farm" by George Orwell and her Walkman, as well as a tray of

            food. She is about to sit down and eat, when



                                TERRI

                      Ok girls, time for PE...



            DARIA grimaces.



                                DARIA

                      Maybe I'll wind up looking like them when

                      I'm done here.



            She takes her full tray with uneaten food on it and puts it

            in the bussing rack with a heavy sigh.



                                                               FADE OUT.



                                                    END OF ACT I, PART II



                                                         ACT II, PART II



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - LATE NIGHT



            Music: "The Saint" by Orbital up.



            DARIA is asleep. STACY is also dead to the world.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            There's someone walking through the open door.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As the figure walks closer to DARIA.



            ANGLE ON: PERSON



            As it becomes clear the figure is MS. COLLIER.



            As DARIA stirs awake, MS. COLLIER makes a shushing gesture.



            DARIA gets up, slowly and quietly.



            She grabs her duffle bag, and her book bag. That's the only

            stuff she brought. She puts her Walkman into the duffle.



            ANGLE ON: STACY



            STACY flops over, but she is still sound asleep.



            DARIA and MS. COLLIER sneak out.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, CORRIDOR - LATE NIGHT



            MS. COLLIER uses her badge to open up some of the normally

            closed doors and avoid checkpoints. It also becomes clear

            that DARIA did not get a chance to tie her bootlaces...her

            boots flop around on her legs limply.



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As she stumbles but ultimately doesn't get tripped up by her

            boots.



            DARIA takes her boots off and tucks them under her arm.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            EXT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, SERVICE ENTRANCE - LATE NIGHT



            MS. COLLIER and DARIA hustle out the SERVICE ENTRANCE. They

            run to MS. COLLIER'S vintage VW Bug.



            INT MS. COLLIER'S CAR - LATE NIGHT



            As they drive off.



            Cut "The Saint" off as MS. COLLIER puts in a CD, and "Sugar

            Magnolia" by the Grateful Dead plays.



                                DARIA

                      So, this means you'll probably lose your

                      job.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      That's ok...the cat rescue needs me more

                      than the hospital does at this point.

                      This was worth it. I didn't get anywhere

                      with Dr. Walden, I didn't get anywhere

                      with your Mom, so it was time for direct

                      action.



                                DARIA

                      You know this might also get you in

                      trouble with the law, right?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      So what? I have been in jail before.

                      Let's see...Diablo Canyon, nuclear tests

                      in Nevada, the Oprah Winfrey veggie libel

                      law trial...I was arrested all those

                      places during protests. Sometimes you

                      have to lay your freedom on the line for

                      a good cause.



                                DARIA

                      So I'm your next good cause, huh?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Looks like.



                                                                FADE OUT



                                                                FADE IN:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DARIA'S ROOM - MORNING



            STACY wakes up, and notices that DARIA is not in the adjacent

            bed.



            ANGLE ON: STACY



            As her eyes widen.



                                STACY

                      Oh my god...Daria's gone!!!



            STACY puts on her bath robe over her nightgown and runs out

            into the hallway.



                                STACY (CONT'D)

                      Someone! Anyone! Daria's gone!



            An ORDERLY runs over.



                                ORDERLY

                      Calm down, calm down...Daria

                      Morgendorffer is not in the room you

                      share?



                                STACY

                      She's not there...I saw her when I fell

                      asleep, then when I woke up...she wasn't

                      there!



                                ORDERLY

                          (gets on walkie-talkie)

                      Uh, security, we have an AWOL

                      situation...Daria Morgendorffer turned up

                      missing just now. (pause) OK, sure, will

                      gather the rest of the 2 East security

                      staff...yeah, you're right, this is

                      really bad...no excuses. See you in a

                      few.



            The ORDERLY clicked off his walkie-talkie and turned back to

            STACY.



                                ORDERLY (CONT'D)

                      Thanks for letting us know about this.

                      It's only 5 AM, you should go back to

                      bed. We'll find out what's what.



                                STACY

                      Thanks.



            STACY walks back to her room.



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, SECURITY HQ - MORNING



            The room is tense. The entire night shift is being held over

            to be interrogated.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            As DR. WALDEN walks in. His face is bright red with anger.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      This is an outrage! We haven't had a

                      successful AWOL in two years, and now our

                      perfect record has been shattered!



                                SECURITY CHIEF

                      Please, Dr. Walden...



                                DR. WALDEN

                      What happened to our hourly bed checks?  

                      What happened to patrols? What happened

                      to just doing your damn job????



                                SECURITY CHIEF

                      Uh, um...



                                DR. WALDEN

                      YOU are FIRED for this!!!



            DR. WALDEN turns on his heels and walks out.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            EXT CAT RESCUE BACKYARD - DAY



            MS. COLLIER and DARIA are adding kibble to a big trough.

            There are cats all over the place.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Come and get it!



            A literal avalanche of cats runs towards the trough. Cats

            swarm it, some up on top of it, some hanging off the sides.



                                DARIA

                      They're certainly enthusiastic.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      It's one of the highlights of their day.

                      There's seven more feeding stations to

                      fill, let me show you the rest of the

                      house.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT CAT RESCUE LIVING ROOM - DAY



            MS. COLLIER drags a wheelbarrow with two big bags of Kitty

            Kibble in the payload. DARIA walks around, collecting empty

            food dishes.



                                DARIA

                      So all these dishes need to be filled?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Yep.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT CAT RESCUE KITCHEN - DAY



            The cats are fed, and now it's time for a little break. MS.

            COLLIER is making coffee, and has a tray of muffins out.



                                DARIA

                      You know, it's probably just a matter of

                      time before the cops arrive.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I know. Have some of this coffee...it's

                      100% Kona.



                                DARIA

                      Nice.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Yeah, I usually live on veggies, rice,

                      beans and day old bread, but you have to

                      treat yourself sometimes. Oh yeah, the

                      muffins are special too...made at the

                      Good Karma bakery with no dairy or eggs.

                      I don't eat animal products.



                                DARIA

                      So I take it milk for my coffee is out of

                      the question?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      You have your choice: almond milk or soy

                      milk.



                                DARIA

                      Cool. Let me try the almond milk then.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT HELEN MORGENDORFFER'S OFFICE - MORNING



            HELEN has just gotten in. It's 8am, just before MARIANNE

            comes in. The phone rings.



                                HELEN

                      Hello, Helen Morgendorffer Esq. speaking.

                      (beat) What??? Daria isn't in the

                      hospital???? She's gone AWOL??? How did

                      this happen? Oh, you don't know, huh?

                      I'll be right over. Yes, I will take

                      time out of my extremely busy

                      schedule to make sure you folks are

                      on-task and FIND MY DAUGHTER! Of

                      course, bring the police into this!!!



            HELEN slams the phone down, scribbles a hasty note, then

            grabs her briefcase and rushes out the door.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, LOBBY - DAY



            The hospital lobby is bustling with media, police and staff.

            HELEN is in the center of the cyclone, basically attempting

            to run things.



            Sweeping through the room in his long white coat, DR. WALDEN

            rushes right up to where HELEN is.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Ms. Morgendorffer, you are turning my

                      hospital into a madhouse!



                                HELEN

                      Think of what you just said. And consider

                      that two out of the three major networks,

                      plus two independents and CNN are

                      represented here.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      What I'm trying to say is that this is

                      unseemly. Let law enforcement and the

                      staff handle this!



                                HELEN

                      I don't trust you to handle this, Doctor.

                      Now have you checked out which staff have

                      shown up today and which have not?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      That's underway. Let me call Human

                      Resources.



            DR. WALDEN gets on his cell phone.



                                DR. WALDEN (CONT'D)

                      Yes, Human Resources? Who on the day

                      shift showed up today? Uh huh...uh huh...



                                HELEN

                          (interrupting)

                      Have you ever thought to find out if Ms.

                      Collier has shown up today?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      How about Ms. Collier...she hasn't? Thank

                      you very much.



            DR. WALDEN hangs up the phone.



                                HELEN

                      There's your culprit.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Now I have to figure out where that damn

                      cat rescue is.



                                HELEN

                      How many cat rescues could there be in a

                      small suburb like Lawndale? There's Kitty

                      Heaven and that's about it.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Ah. Kitty Heaven. I think I remember her

                      saying something about that.



                                HELEN

                      Well, what are we waiting for, then?

                      Where's that police captain? Captain

                      Flagg! Damn public servants...



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            EXT CAT RESCUE FRONT YARD - DAY



            DARIA and MS. COLLIER are doing some puttering around the

            yard, when the sound of sirens is heard, faintly at first,

            then louder.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      Well, sounds like fate is calling us.



                                DARIA

                      Thanks, Ms. Collier. I really appreciate

                      your sticking your neck out for me.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      No problem. It's what had to be done.



            DARIA and MS. COLLIER walk back into the house.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LAWNDALE HIGH, AUDITORIUM - DAY



            The coverage of the search for DARIA is being shown on the

            projection TV screen.



            PAN THROUGH AUDIENCE



            You can see many of the regular characters in the crowd. Jane

            is here, along with her elder brother Trent. Brittany is

            silently praying. Kevin is rapt, watching everything unfold

            on the screen. Jodie and Mack are holding hands. The faces

            of the students are solemn and worried.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - DAY



            JAKE is sitting on the couch in his bathrobe. There is a

            bottle of vodka on the living room table. He stares at the

            TV, and a silent tear rolls down his cheek.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            EXT CAT RESCUE FRONT YARD - DAY



            Several police cars drive up, along with a Lexus containing

            HELEN and a Mercedes containing DR. WALDEN. Soon the sound of

            choppers pierces the air, as both news and police helicopters

            take their place circling around the Cat Rescue.



                                POLICEMAN ON BULLHORN

                      Come out peacefully. We don't want any

                      trouble.



                                                          FADE TO BLACK.



                                                   END OF ACT II, PART II



                                                        ACT III, PART II



                                                                FADE IN:



            INT CAT RESCUE LIVING ROOM - DAY



            DARIA sits in an easy chair, with four cats surrounding her.

            MS. COLLIER is pacing back and forth.



                                DARIA

                      Perhaps it's time for you to come out.

                      You really don't want the cops breaking

                      in and whisking me out like Elian

                      Gonzalez. And you definitely don't want

                      them taking out their frustrations on you

                      or the cats.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I suppose you're right. But hell, I want

                      them to work for it. I want a standoff.



                                DARIA

                      Do you want to go down like Bonnie

                      Parker?



                                MS. COLLIER

                      That wouldn't be so great.



            MS. COLLIER goes to the window.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            EXT CAT RESCUE FRONT YARD - DAY



            ANGLE ON: FRONT WINDOW



            As you see MS. COLLIER hold up her hands.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I'm not armed!



                                POLICEMAN ON BULLHORN

                      Come out and bring the girl.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I did this because nobody would listen.

                      Daria doesn't belong in a mental

                      hospital. She's a healthy girl who has it

                      together. But Dr. Walden didn't listen.

                      All he cares about is how much money he

                      can extort from families. And he had the

                      wool pulled over Mrs. Morgendorffer's

                      eyes.



                                POLICEMAN ON BULLHORN

                      We'll talk later. Come out with your

                      hands up and bring the girl.



                                MS. COLLIER

                      I don't want to see any guns out. I'm not

                      armed, I can't harm you, so no guns.



                                POLICEMAN ON BULLHORN

                      That's fair.



            The Policeman with the bullhorn motions to the officers with

            their guns drawn to holster their weapons. Some do, some just

            hold them pointed down.



            ANGLE ON: DOOR



            As it slowly opens.



            MS. COLLIER walks out, hands up. So does DARIA.



            HELEN runs to embrace her daughter.



            MS. COLLIER gets down on her knees and lays down prone on the

            grass.



            As HELEN escorts DARIA away from the action, several

            policemen swarm MS. COLLIER, holding her down while she is

            handcuffed.



                                DARIA

                      Isn't that a bit excessive, Mom?



                                HELEN

                      Well, they don't know for sure that she

                      isn't packing something. But yeah, that's

                      a lot of cops to handle one middle-aged

                      woman.



            DARIA and HELEN go back to HELEN'S car. DR. WALDEN

            approaches.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Ahem, Morgendorffer ladies.



                                DARIA

                      I'm not coming back.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      Your treatment is not complete, Daria.



                                HELEN

                      I have the right to discharge my daughter

                      at any time, am I correct?



                                DR. WALDEN

                      This is true.



                                HELEN

                      Good. I intend to discharge my daughter

                      until I can get to the bottom of this

                      whole situation.



                                DR. WALDEN

                      You're making a big mistake, Mrs.

                      Morgendorffer.



                                HELEN

                      To the contrary, Dr. Walden. I think

                      perhaps you, most of your staff and

                      certain faculty members of Lawndale High

                      were the ones who made the mistake.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LAWNDALE HIGH, AUDITORIUM - DAY



            The students who are watching the event on the big screen are

            cheering as DARIA gets into the car with HELEN.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - DAY



            JAKE is standing up and cheering, and at the same time is

            swigging out of the bottle.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT LAWNDALE HIGH, AUDITORIUM - DAY



            Truck in on SANDI, QUINN and TIFFANY, who are sitting in a

            corner of the auditorium.



                                SANDI

                      Quinn, isn't that your mom with...that

                      girl you live with?



                                QUINN

                      Don't remind me.



                                TIFFANY

                      This is....so....moving....



                                QUINN

                          (sardonically)

                      Yeah. Like I would love to just move out

                      of Lawndale and go far, far away.



            EXT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, FRONT LAWN - DAY



            Already, news Nuke Trucks have shown up outside.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - DAY



            JAKE sees the news vans.



            ANGLE ON: JAKE



            As one word escapes his lips...



                                JAKE

                      Eep!



            JAKE runs upstairs with the bottle of vodka.



                                                                 CUT TO:



            EXT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, FRONT LAWN - DAY



            As HELEN drives up the driveway with DARIA.



            HELEN opens the car door, and is besieged with MEDIA.



                                HELEN

                      Can't you vultures find some other family

                      to harass? Get off my property or I'll

                      sue the lot of you.



            The MEDIA back off a little as HELEN spirits DARIA into the

            house.



            INT MORGENDORFFER HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - DAY



            JAKE is dressed, and the vodka bottle is back in the liquor

            cabinet as HELEN and DARIA walk in.



                                JAKE

                      My girl is OK!



                                HELEN

                      Spare us both. Daria, you are in very big

                      trouble. Ms. Collier is going to be

                      facing felony charges...the Little

                      Lindbergh Law kicks in with a kidnapping.

                      Was this your idea?



                                DARIA

                      I'd say it was a collaboration.



                                HELEN

                      I want the truth right now. Did you try

                      to harm or kill yourself before you went

                      to school that day?



                                DARIA

                      No. I helped Jane get her cat out of the

                      crawlspace behind the living room wall.

                      I'm being honest with you, Mom...why

                      would I lie?



                                HELEN

                      I don't know. Mental illness still holds

                      a stigma.



                                DARIA

                      I'm stigmatized regardless of whether I

                      did or did not mutilate myself. Everyone

                      knows what happened to me. Everyone knows

                      I was in a psychiatric hospital. Whether

                      I was there legitimately or whether I was

                      there by mistake doesn't matter. I was in

                      a psychiatric hospital for 12 days, Mom.

                      Nothing can change that. So again, Mom,

                      why the hell would I lie? The damage has

                      already been done.



                                HELEN

                      I see what you mean. I guess you wouldn't

                      lie at this point.



                                DARIA

                      And you know I'm a bad liar. I can't lie

                      with a straight face. You know when I'm

                      telling the truth or not.



                                HELEN

                      Yes....very true. You'd be a criminal

                      defense attorney's worst nightmare.



            HELEN smiles and goes into the kitchen.



                                HELEN (CONT'D)

                      You probably didn't have breakfast, did

                      you? And it's almost lunchtime. Want me

                      to warm up some lasagna?



            ANGLE ON: DARIA



            As she suppresses a laugh.



                                DARIA

                      Sure. Lasagna will be fine.



                                                            DISSOLVE TO:



            INT LIGHTHOUSE HOSPITAL, DR. WALDEN'S OFFICE - INDETERMINATE



            "Free" by Vast is playing in the background



            A pair of disembodied hands set a file folder down on the

            desk, and opens it.



            The first page shows a Polaroid picture of DARIA, and the

            text on the page says, "Daria Morgendorffer never went back

            to Lighthouse Hospital. Any thought of studying Psychology in

            College has been completely purged from her mind as a result

            of this incident."



            The disembodied hand turns the page.



            The second page shows a Polaroid picture of MS. LI, MS.

            MANSON, the LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL NURSE and MR O'NEILL. The

            text on the page says, "Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill were sued by

            Helen and Jake Morgendorffer on their daughter Daria's behalf

            for their hasty judgment of her sanity. The budget of

            Lawndale High School will have to weather another legal

            settlement."



            The disembodied hand turns the page.



            The third page shows a newspaper clipping of Dr. Walden and

            Dr. Mills being led off in handcuffs from Lighthouse

            Hospital. The headline reads "Hospital administrators in

            insurance fraud scandal." A sticky note on the newspaper

            clipping reads "Dr. Walden and Dr. Mills are now on a lengthy

            vacation at the State Hotel, Casino and Penitentiary. They

            are also on permanent vacation from their licenses to

            practice Psychiatry."



            The disembodied hand turns the page.



            The fourth page shows a Polaroid picture of STACY. The text

            on the page says, "Stacy Rowe continues to be a patient at

            Lighthouse Hospital. However, her status has been raised to

            Level 4, and she is considered trustworthy enough to go on

            short, supervised visits to Cranberry Commons to shop."



            The disembodied hand turns the page.



            The fifth page shows a Polaroid picture of MS. COLLIER

            flashing the "V for Victory" sign. The text on the page

            reads, "Since Helen refused to prosecute, all charges were

            dropped against Audrey Collier. Ms. Collier did not return to

            Lighthouse Hospital, but has signed a million-dollar book

            deal with Simon and Schuster for her story. She intends to

            give half of the money to the Kitty Heaven Cat Rescue, and

            half to PETA.



            The disembodied hand turns the page one last time, to reveal

            a picture of Daria as a doctor. The camera zooms in on the

            picture, then it pushes to the left side of the screen as the

            credits roll.



            "Free" by Vast plays until end of credits.



                                                          FADE TO BLACK.



                                                  END OF ACT III, PART II