Matters of Life and Death, part 21 - Valendie
By Dwayne Anderson
Warning - The situations portrayed in this story are based on real deaths and are extremely graphic.
Valentines Day. February 14th is considered the most romantic time of the year. Every year during the days leading up to this occasion, flower, greeting card and candy sales rise higher than the Empire State Building. The people who sell them make a killing.
For couples, Valentines Day is when a man and woman in love express it through gifts, gestures, and time spent together. But for those without someone special in their life, Valentine's Day can get pretty lonely.
Our favorite crew all have someone special to share Valentines Day with. Hermes is taking his wife out to dinner at Elzars. Kif and Amy are going to the opera. Farnsworth and Amy are going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Bender is going to his favorite bar to pick up fembots. Fry is taking Leela out to his favorite pizza parlour and then to a dance.
Love is in the air for everyone. And in this story, so is death for one unlucky bachelor.
At Family Bros Pizza, Fry and Leela are enjoying a soda and a pizza with the works. Fry has even put on a romantic song on the jukebox to play for the occasion. At the same time, he is ignoring the stares of a few patrons who can't believe or understand that his date has only one eye.
Love is blind right? And under these conditions, what could possibly go wrong?
See. There I go again. But if bad things didn't happen, we wouldn't have much of a story now would we?
"I got you a gift Leela," said Fry. He takes out a small thing rectangular box wrapped in pink paper with a red ribbon and hands it to her.
"For me?" asked Leela. She pulls off the ribbon, tears off the paper, and opens the box. Inside, she finds a new cuff for her wrist, only it's made entirely out of a clear smooth crystal that resembles diamond.
"Like it?" asked Fry.
"Fry," said Leela, "what's so special about a new cuff for my wrist?"
"Well," said Fry, "it reflects light and creates little rainbows everywhere. Go ahead! Try it out!"
"If you say so," Leela says putting the cuff on her other arm. Fry then holds up a small flashlight and shines it onto the diamond cuff. To Leela's astonishment, a small spot colored like the rainbow reflects back onto Fry.
"It's even more beautiful and spectacular in the sunlight," he says.
Leela smiles. "Fry, this is has got to be the best present anyone has ever given me!"
Little do Fry and Leela realize is that they are being watched. For someone else also has his eyes on Leela. You probably already guessed who it is.
"Hello Leela!" a voice pipes up.
Fry and Leela look away from each other and to their left to see Zapp Brannigan grinning at Leela.
"You!" Leela groans.
"You call that a present Fry?" asked Zapp. "You have to give the girl what she wants. And all women like flowers and chocolates!" He holds up a bouquet of roses and a heart-shaped box of candy.
"Get lost Zapp!" said Fry. "She's with me!"
"You heard him Zapp!" said Leela. "Beat it before I beat you!"
"Come on," Zapp's grin grows. "Why would you want to hang out with this dork when you can be with a real man?"
Apparently, Zapp hasn't learned his lesson at all from "Birthday Bash".
"Look Zapp," said Leela standing from her chair and poking him in the ribs with a finger, "Fry, may not be as good looking as you, but he's generous, kind, caring, and a whole lot more that you aren't!"
"And vice versa!" Zapp beams.
"Come on Fry," said Leela, "let's get out of here away from captain Jerk!"
"Right behind you Leela!" said Fry as he rises. He pays the bill and leaves with Leela.
As Zapp watches Fry and Leela leave, his eyes narrow in anger. His fists clench into fists as he drops the candy and flowers. Once again, he has been spurned by Leela. But in favor of Fry? To a woman, no man is more dangerous than a man whose ego has been scraped.
"Have it your way Leela," he mutters. "But if I can't have you, then neither can Fry!"
Fry takes Leela to a disco club where he shows off his best moves in front of Leela. He invites Leela to join him on the dance floor, encouraging her to show off her new diamond wrist cuff. The lights from the neon ball shine upon it, painting hundreds of miniature rainbow spots everywhere. The more she sees what it can do, the more Leela enjoys her present.
The DJ changes the song from a dance hit into a romantic tune. Every couple gets out onto the dance floor and slow-dances in each other's arms. Fry and Leela are no exception. If Zapp were here, he would be boiling with jealousy.
Oh wait, he already is boiling with jealousy. In fact, he will soon blow off his cork.
After leaving the disco, Fry begins to escort Leela home like a true gentleman.
"Thanks for the night out Fry," she said.
"My pleasure Leela," said Fry. "I hope you had a happy Valentine's Day."
"Well it ain't over yet," said Leela. "And I just once again want to thank you for the present you gave me. I regret that I don't have anything to give you."
"Oh really?" asked Fry with a smile. "You know Leela, good things don't always come wrapped up in ribbons and paper."
Leela grins. "You're right."
The two stare at each other longingly. Their faces draw closer. But just as their lips are about to connect, a dark figure emerges from a nearby darkened alley several meters away and pulls out a laser gun, aiming it at Fry. Fry doesn't see him, but Leela does.
"Fry! Look out!" she cries. A split second later, the gunman fires his weapon, emitting a pink laser aimed at Fry's heart. Leela quickly pushes Fry out of the way, putting herself in harm's path and holds up the arm wearing the diamond cuff. The laser beam reflects off the crystal, right back at the gunman. Before he realizes what has happened, the laser cuts right through his chest. He screams in pain and agony for several seconds before his cry is silenced forever and he keels forward.
Fry can't believe what has just happened. His gift to her has actually saved his life!
"Leela, you just save my life!" said an astonished Fry as he hugs her. "And that's the best present you could ever give me!"
"Don't thank me Fry," said Leela. "Thank your present!"
But the question on both of their minds is, who was the gunman?
They run towards the darkened figure's lifeless body. As they approach, the stench of burning flesh attacks their sense of smell. Fry struggles to hold down the pizza as Leela rolls the man over on his side.
"Oh my god!" she shrieks as she jumps back.
It's Zapp Brannigan. A large gaping hole has been cut through the front of his clothes and even through his heart. A large puddle of blood is spreading underneath his body.
Fry can't hold down the pizza anymore and vomits into a trashbin.
When Zapp fired the laser beam, it bounced off of Leela's cuff and rebounded back at him. The shot meant for Fry burned through Zapp's chest and heart. Damage to the heart caused it to shut down. The heart is often considered the most important part of the body. Without it, the body cannot sustain life. Zapp's cause of death: Cardiac arrest.
Valentines Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. But for those who miss out on love, that's another story. Love is the most powerful force in the world, but hell hath no fury like a man or woman scorned. Driven by his own jealousy and anger fueled by being rejected, Zapp Brannigan tried to murder Fry, but his plan backfired and left him with nothing more than a broken heart.
But hey, hearts were meant to be broken!
To Be Continued