Common People




            Daria walked into the Zon and blinked, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dimly lit room. After a moment she spotted a bemused looking Jane sitting with, of all people, her sister Quinn. She made her way across the room and took one of the empty seats at the table.

            “Hi, what the hell are you doing here?”

            “Well,” Quinn said. “It’s the funniest co-incidence. You remember me declaring that I was done with high school boys?”

            “I seem to recall something to that effect, yes.”

            “Well, my friend Lindy has been introducing me to a bunch of really nice older guys, and things have been going really well for me.” Quinn giggled and leaned across the table, giving her sister a mischievous look. “Really, really well.”

            Daria slowly looked from her sister’s smug expression to Jane’s shocked one and said, “Please tell me this isn’t leading where I think it is.”

            Before anyone could answer, the crowd gave a half hearted cheer as Mystic Spiral came out on stage. The guys picked up their instruments and Trent tapped on the microphone, causing a brief surge of feedback.

            “Sorry about that,” he said, smiling down at the crowd. “We’re Mystic Spiral, and this first song is something new I wrote for my new girl.”

            “Oh God,” Daria muttered, watching Quinn smile brightly as she looked up at the stage. She glanced over at Jane and frowned to herself; the artist’s expression had shifted from surprise and disbelief to almost predatory amusement.

            Trent leaned into the mic and started singing:


“She came from Lawndale,
she had a thirst for knowledge.
She went to parties at Middleton College.
That's where I caught her eye.

She told me that her Dad was loaded.
I said, ‘in that case I'll have a rum and coca-cola.’
She said ‘fine’, and in thirty seconds time she said,

‘I want to live like common people.
I want to do whatever common people do.
I want to sleep with common people.
I want to sleep with common people, like you.’

Well, what else could I do?
I said, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’

I took her to a supermarket.
I don't know why, but I had to
start it somewhere, so it started there.

I said, ‘pretend you've got no money.’
She just laughed, and said
‘oh you’re so funny.’ I said, ‘yeah?
Well, I can't see anyone else smiling in here.’

Are you sure you want to live like common people?
You want to see whatever common people see?
You want to sleep with common people?
You want to sleep with common people, like me?
But, she didn't understand,

She just smiled and held my hand.”

            Daria looked away from the stage, and saw that her sister was now the one wearing a shocked expression. This was apparently not what Quinn was expecting from a song which was apparently dedicated to her.

            Trent began singing again, this time with Jesse joining him for back-up:

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some cigs and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.

But still, you’ll never get it right.
When you’re lying in bed at night
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you called your Dad he could stop it all.


You’ll never live like common people
You’ll never do whatever common people do.
You’ll never fail like common people.
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view,
and dance and drink and screw
because there's nothing else to do.

Sing along with the common people.
Sing along, and it might just get you through.
Laugh along with the common people.
Laugh along, even though they’re laughing at you
and the stupid things that you do
because you think that poor is cool.


            The song continued, but Quinn jumped up from the table and ran for the door. Daria was shocked to see the tears running down her sister’s face, and turned angrily towards her best friend to demand an explanation.

            “Don’t you dare get all righteous with me, Morgendorffer.” Jane smirked and her eyes sparkled like frozen sapphires. “That little twit had it coming.”

            “Trent slept with her and then publicly humiliated her,” Daria said. “I want to know why.”

            “Didn’t you listen to the song?” Jane leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Of course, even if you did you wouldn’t understand. You can’t . . . hell, he may as well have been singing about you, anyway.”


            “You rich people really do live in your own little world don’t you? Do you think I should just shut up and be grateful I’m allowed into your orbit? All those years you actually seemed to think you were some kind of outcast, even though you had everything you wanted handed to you on a silver platter by Mommy and Daddy, even though you had more spending money than you knew what to do with, even though you hung out with all the most popular kids in school.”

            “J-Jane . . . .”

            “Yeah, and there was little Janey being pulled along for the ride . . . at least as long as I was the perfect sidekick and nothing ever came up to distract my attention from you. You’re such a goddamn prima donna, Daria. Your sister is worse than you are, but at least she doesn’t lie to herself about it.”

            “But, I . . . .”

            “Shut up, and go away. I’m tired of being sabotaged and told to be grateful for it.”

            Daria stood, and with an expression of stunned disbelief followed her sister out of the bar. Jane sat quietly by herself and finished off the beer she’d been drinking. A few minutes later, Trent dropped into the seat across from her.

            “Well?” he asked.

            “God, I’ve been wanting to say some of those things since our junior year. I probably would have kept on putting up with her, too. If it hadn’t been for the Tom thing, I mean. God, I don’t know why I didn’t let her have it then.”

            “Daria could be pretty cool when she wanted to be.”

            “And I was grateful for the attention. God, how pathetic does that make me?”

            “You want another beer?”


            Trent stood and went to bar to get his little sister another beer. He had a feeling he’d be carrying her upstairs tonight, but he was ok with that. He liked looking after his kid sister, it was more than anybody else had ever done for her.



Disclaimers: Stereo Hifi font is ©1997 by Cathy Davies. This story based on characters and situations created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis. The Daria TV show is a trademark of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. and is referenced here without permission, and without profit. Common People lyrics by William Shatner and Ben Folds. Original characters and situations created by the author are under (K) – all rights reversed. Hail Eris.


            Author: the NightGoblyn