Me - "I'm fancinated by Leela, does it show."
Friend - "Yeah dummy, it shows."
Leela was, is a beauty. Make no mistake. Like a package newly arrived. The anticipation kills before you can feel the cardboard edges. before your hands can understand the weight and judge the contents. Around her were her friends, as close as come to defining the term. They handled her lightly, for the reason one discards and old pair of sneakers. You know you can't have them anymore, and, sitting on your shelf, you're not sure exactly what to do with them other than to forget they were ever there. Like that, her friends who had the initiative of foresight were nervous in approaching her on anything. From a regulatory business matter, or asking personal favors. In the benefits of consensual banality, this was never discussed. As of now, the meeting held by the professor had turned into a routine search for reprieve.
Fry doodled on his arm, a flip page book of him kissing Leela around a square circle and few skewed lines trying to be a sunrise. Amy's secret make up kit allowed for the extra five minutes she spent that morning cleaning Farnsworth's dentures not mess up her look. Across from her, Hermes Conrad hummed an archaic Rastafarian tune, running lyrics in his head, and did his best to appear he was not doing that. Bender Leela and Zoidberg? What else but drinking, amusing himself with his immense catalogue of crimes. Zoidberg was waiting, but not naturally. Every word, every action was paid careful attention, to judge when edging in flattery or a new joke into other people's conversing would be best. And Leela, was paying attention. Really.
"Now crew," drolled the Professor, "since you worked hard through the various holidays, uh." He held up a finger for each count. "Thanksgiving, Robanza, Robonadon, Halloween, and Suicide Day, I've called in a few favors and brought us some genuine good cheer." They al looked up, and he pointed to a large five foot tall, two foot wide glass jug of a golden liquid that had appeared in the corner. The crew encircled it, each privately toying with its possibilities. Having the professor stand silently for an awkwardly long pause, Fry moved to speak what everyone had been wondering.
"What is it?"
"What? Oh, Oh! It's a beverage made from the thousands of rotting carcasses of a near extinct plant. The Dandelion."
Having drunk heavily every 20 minutes since early that morning, Bender was right on time for another refueling. "Free Booze! Its like the goodness of all cross denominational holidays rolled into one giant tank!"
"It's Wine." Farnsworth corrected.
"Dandelion wine?" Fry could help keep ordinary observations from escaping if he decided he was no longer going to do so. But commitment like that is something he puts into love of death situations, not design flaws. "That's what my Uncle made back on his pig farm. He send us a few bottles every Christmas, I mean X-Mas."
"How did you get so much?" asked Amy. "I remember my Mom buying a mini-bar bottle worth, that alone emptied her PlanetBlaster card."
It was Hermes who answered. "That ball falls into my jurisdiction."
"Yeah and my court, too." Bender Chimed.
"Hermes continued. "We asked the only holder of such quanities, Judge Whitey, for a few dozen gallons. For old times sake."
"The black mail pictures didn't slow things down, either."
"Yes yes Bender-mon, weh all know you like Blackmaling."
Leela had stood pondering. She believed that good was good and what else was bad, unequivocally. Her hard Captains logic, tuned to the discordant hell of failing, puzzled over Farnsworth's kindness. "Professor, I don't mean to sound like I don't trust you, but is this really a product a new and potentially fatal invention?"
"Uhh, no No. Don't be silly. Incidentally, there are some 'vitamin' pills I wanted you to try out later, but that can wait for tomorrow. Let's all have a round or two right now."
It did not appear to move through the spigot and into the glasses. Zoidberg had noticed this and gave the tank a good clank with his claw. It did not stir, so he filled his cup and moved away teswting its conetents with his tentacles. It poured like a sheet of glass, burdened by heat to displace itself reshaped, then torn roughly from its greater half to complete its change. They raised them to the sun light and drank.
"By the Sugar Cane Fields of Alaska!" Hermes was pleased, and took another cup, directly finishing it.
They all had a few more, except the professor. He tottered off to his mechanical kidney to process the wine out of his blood. Amy had to help him along to work the machines unnecessarily big levers. Hermes took a fourth with him to his office, partly for sample analysis in his Consignment of Intoxication Forms. Bender had left then with Zoidberg saying he needed his 'glass cutting' claws, mildly surprising Leela and her modest five glasses.
Fry was laying under a flow of wine the spigot, cooling his tongue. Leela found her way to him, stepping in a small puddle that had welled under Fry's soaking hair.
"Fry," he saw she was concentrating, "don't get the floor wet." She flopped her ponytail back, which had landed over her face, twisting her head slightly upwards. Back to the table she walked, setting herself on the edge, feet holding on her chair in a betraying position.
"Sorry Leela," Fry got up, turning the tank off, "wow, I can't believe this tastes just like my uncles did." He walked over and hopped on the table next to Leela as spoke. "My parents let us try a glass for Xmas. Those were good times, us drinking, me falling down, falling down again as everyone laughed." He chuckled from the memory.
In Leela's hand were two more glasses. She downed one, her arm noticeably sluggish, the glass noticeably shattered on the floor.
"Fry, do me a favor, Drink this last glass for me?" She handed it over towards him, but pulled it back, gulping. She left only a few drops. Smash
"Hey Leela, you alright?"
"Hell Yeah, why?" She got up to leave. Standing in front of Fry, bending down to dust off her clean boots.
Fry exhaled a low whistle, and then said, "Leela, you not going home are you?"
"See you later." She made her way to the door.
"Wait, I'll come with you." Moving her from the meeting room, out the hallway and back into living room, Fry announced they were at her apartment.
"Home sweet home." Leela didn't say anything as he directed her to sit down, and then guided her head to the cushions. She looked up like she was trying to talk, but her body relaxed itself, sending her to sleep.
Morning, at the same meeting room. Life went on as it did, make no mistake. Across the table, fry was at work on his newest comic. He glanced now and again at Leela. She caught him staring, and her expressionless face softened into a smile. She mouthed the words thank you, brushing a strand of hair back in an unconscious act of girlish indulgence. Fry returned her favor, and both pulled back their attentions to ignoring, listening to the Professor. They had a long delivery ahead, it seemed.