Morgan Proctor stepped out of her supervisor's office with that look on her face. She made eye contact with her admin Zelma Flaherty, who gritted her teeth into a makeshift smile as if it would help. "It didn't go well, did it?"
"Zelma, if I have to lose my ass one more time over that stupid delivery company, I..."
"It's the property taxes, isn't it Miss P?"
"Zelma, didn't I tell you about a huge old safe they had in their basement? I know I've seen it when I was snooping around down there."
"They have the money...I know they do. They're nothing but a bunch of tax cheats, that's all they are. You've just got to know where to squeeze them." She thought a minute. "Zelma, when was the last time we dropped a dome on someone?"
The young bespectacled girl sighed. "It was the turkey farm, Miss P. The dome cut scores of them into pieces, and we had to buy all the damaged ones. Many of the others dropped dead of fright. Most of them we gave to the employees in lieu of their usual holiday bonuses - it absorbed our money loss, so you ended up looking good anyway to the higher ups."
"Zelma, put me in touch with Jerry in Dome Section..."
"But Miss P - you know ever since the memo that we need to convene a Section 9 meeting before we do that...Number 5 sent the memo out."
"Zelma, who's going to complain? Professor Farnsworth? Show some initiative. We get our money, they get their bills paid off - it's a win-win for everyone."
"Miss P," Zelma said in a worried tone, "it's not your supervisor I'm worried about. It's people way above his pay grade."
Sal and his wife were having one of their classic arguments in their tiny apartment in New New York. Fry and Bender heard the shouting, as they lived right next to the Planet Express Building, but they had long been able to tune them out.
"Yous stays on your sides of the apartments, and I'll stays on mines," Sal bellowed. "Just picture an invisible wall between yous and me. Stays over there!" After his fiery discourse, he settled in to watch his grav ball game with a beer in hand.
"Just do something, you lazy bum. Anything!"
Sal just shook his head.
"Listen up, Professor, I have it on good authority that you have a safe filled with money underneath your building; I advise you to open it up and pay us the money you owe us. This whole matter can be finished, easily and quickly."
Farnsworth shook his finger at the image of Morgan Proctor. "What is this - blackmail? I do not intend to pay a penny of the back taxes that you thieves say I owe you!" He turned to Hermes. "Hang up on her in the rudest manner possible."
Hermes got a worried look on his face. "Are you sure dis is da best thing to do?"
"Hermes, I am still your captain....if you must, you go down on the ship with me."
Morgan Proctor scowled at her wristphone. "I can still see you, you bunch of hermit crabs." After watching the infamous crack hang-up, she started a call to her bosses. "Yes, this is Proctor. Morgan Proctor." She heaved a sigh of frustration. "Yes, employee number 156458. Yes, they told me that they weren't going to pay. Yes, they did the crackslam on me. Jerry, I need a dome delivered - I'll give you the address. And this time try to keep collateral casualties to a minimum - I don't want to hear about neighbors missing arms and legs on the nightly news."
Fry and Bender took a rare opportunity to goof around in the summer sunshine. Around them in the street several children played a game of stickball.
"I know you're pretty savvy on the 20th century," Bender observed, "but I don't think you're playing mumbly-peg right."
"Yeah, you're right...the pocketknife shouldn't be sticking in my shoe..." Fry started hearing a rumbling sound, like a mild earthquake. "What's that?"
"Don't tell me you don't hear that - don't you robots have seismic detectors?"
"No...but what we do have is a better developed danger sense than a human. It's built in."
"If this was a dangerous sound, I would have run away by now. As a matter of fact - "
Fry was nearly knocked off of his feet as something huge and heavy slammed to the ground nearby. He turned back to Bender, who was in some distress. "Bender?"
"I didn't run in time! I'm a goner! Leave me!" He flailed his one arm around helplessly in the air.
Fry's jaw popped open as he watched Bender fall into two pieces; each side of him had an arm, a leg, and an eye. All of his contents spilled to the ground...coins, dollar bills, jewels, wristwatches, a revolver...it was as if someone had broken open a piggy bank.
Fry looked at Bender, and then got curious about what was going on. He put his hand up to an invisible wall that had just cut his robot friend in half. It felt like glass when he touched it. He rapped it twice with his fist, and it was quite solid. He then looked down in horror at his friend.
"Bender - this thing sliced you like a holiday ham!"
"Well don't just stand there," Bender told him, "gather up my money...at least on this side."
Fry then spotted Morgan Proctor walking around on the other side of the wall. He pounded the wall and shouted to her for help, only to have her point to her ears and shake her head. She produced a piece of official paperwork on her clipboard, and slapped it up against the wall. It was a Writ of Sequestration, technically a seizure of any and all items on Planet Express property. She wore an evil, toothy grin, and Fry again pounded on the wall.
Morgan scribbled a note and held it up for Fry to read. It read: "You're professor is a funny man...very, very funny. He will pay me, one way or the other. I will be in touch. In the mean time, I'm taking half of your robot." She then grabbed her half of Bender by his footcup and dragged him off; coins and other trinkets fell out of him as he went.
What was left of Bender lamented. "I feel like half of me is gone..."
"Half of you is gone...let's get you inside and talk with the Professor."
As Fry got ready to drag his friend back in the building, a child outside waved and pointed to his baseball that was lying inside of the wall. All Fry could do was shrug his shoulders and walk away.
"Bad news, everyone."
"Mon, I told ya dat was a bad thing to do..."
"Quiet, Hermes. Is everyone here? Where are Leela and Amy?"
"Dr. Zoidberg is here. Leela is at the eye doctor," Fry answered. "Amy, I don't know about."
An angry Amy came walking in. "Will someone tell me what is going on? All this shaking messed up my toenail polish! I want to get going so I can catch the huge sale at Costington's."
"Good luck with that," Fry told her.
"What's that supposed to mean? What did he mean by that?"
The Professor touched a button on the table, and a holographic representation of the dome appeared in the air above them; it floated a bit, then slammed down onto a computer picture of the Planet Express Building. "That's what this is about. I uh, got into a little trouble with the Bureaucracy, and they've enclosed us under a large dome."
"Da fat head here hasn't paid any property taxes since da beginning of time," Hermes spat. "Now they've trapped us in here like animals."
Zoidberg looked around in a panic. "Oh, for the love of all that's decent, tell me I can still get to the dumpster."
"You can still get to the dumpster. But the church down the street won't be throwing any of their leavings from the fish fry in there for a while." Farnsworth cringed as Zoidy began to blubber like a sad child.
"But my sale..."
The Professor offered Amy a conciliatory smile. "...the fall sales will be coming up soon enough - you can get a new winter coat then. Besides...the sales will be even better at the end of winter. Then the spring fashions will be out...ah, yes...and if you wait long enough, the summer sales will be out and the whole process will begin again. At some point you'll be able to catch a sale; I just don't know when."
Amy's eyes got huge. "Jeesher-maneesher! You mean we can't leave here? Until the fall? Or next fracking year?"
"Oh, don't over-exaggerate, Amy...we have plenty of board games to keep us occupied. Think of it as sort of a family outing."
Before Amy could complain, the face of Morgan Proctor appeared on a nearby screen; she stared at them coldly. "Comfy?" she asked sarcastically.
Farnsworth pointed a finger at the screen. "You...you did this to us."
"I seem to remember someone not paying their property taxes. Pay up, and I will think about taking away the dome. Personally, I enjoy watching you people squirm in there...reminds me of when I used to trap bugs in jars as a child. You know they eat each other after a time - fascinating to watch. Then we'd just throw out the dead bugs."
"We'll stay in here until hell freezes over before I pay you!"
"Speak for yourself, ya ratty old man," Hermes bristled. "Maybe some of us want to leave here someday."
Morgan grinned. "Ha! You'll be cannibals within days. Which would be a pity - I want my money, and I want someone alive in there to be able to pay me. You're completely shut out from the world except for Bureaucracy communications, so don't bother trying to call for help. Ta ta for now." Morgan's face disappeared from the screen.
Fry got a worried look on his face. "But we'll suffocate! We'll die in here."
"Oh, pish-pash. These domes have air vents up near the top - at least I think they do."
"Then we can use a rocket belt to escape..."
"They're a little too small for that, my boy. They would have thought of that."
Fry looked down at the table. "Then she's right - we really are like...bugs in a jar. Complete with holes in the lid."
Next door in the tiny apartment, Sal put his hand on the invisible wall which had cut his abode in two. "What does ya think of that? It's likes the Great Walls of China - only youse can sees through it." His spouse kept shouting at him, oblivious to the wall - Sal mocked her. "I can'ts hears ya - blah, blah, blah. Hey, I could learns to like this."
Leela came back from her eye appointment only to find a small group of curious people milling about the outside of the dome; like everyone else, she touched it and wrapped her knuckles on it. "They can't do this," she whispered, "at least not legally." She tried to call Fry on her eyephone, only to find her service to that number blocked. "They're completely cut off."
Leela came over to visit Fry at the dome wall; they were forced to do the only natural thing, which was to scribble notes and hold them up to be read.
"Amy's father is charging $10 a head to look into the dome," Leela wrote; this made him chuckle.
He put his note up to the wall. "Can't your mom or dad just swim in through the sewers?"
"They've tried - the dome cuts down pretty deep."
"That must be why the Professor built that laser-thingee in the basement, since we've got no sewers. We've really got nothing - no TV, no radio...just Morgan to pester us 'bugs' in the jar. We really don't know what's going on outside the dome." He shrugged his shoulders and looked at the ground.
"We've got a bad storm coming out here." She ended it with, "Hang in there, Goofbag..."
Sal was a man that never missed confession on a Saturday. Now that he was behind the dome wall, this would be hard to pull off. Father McGillicuddy, who knew this, came up to the dome wall and gestured for Sal to give his confession. He did the only thing he could do, which was to scribble notes on a paper. It didn't help matters that curious onlookers were starting to congregate around the elderly priest.
His note read, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned...I gots angry at some bum out on the highway the other day, and used many nasty words at him..." As he held up the paper, the onlookers peered at it. He gave them a mean look. "Gets away, youse bums!"
The priest now held up a note. "Say three hail Mary's...you are now absolved."
The crowd outside of the dome was growing, and Leo Wong took advantage of this. He held a sign, and spoke to the crowd with a bullhorn. "My daughter is political prisoner inside of dome; she being held in their against her will by the evil Bureaucracy." He tapped a young man on the shoulder. "You get moving on; ten minute limit - you know that. Give someone else a turn, or I charge you again."
Morgan Proctor sifted through her desk looking for some paperwork when she stumbled across an old photograph. It was a picture of herself with Fry in a photo booth, shot years ago. She pressed her intercom button. "Zelma," she said, "I'm going to need some legal documents."
Fry hop scotched his checker piece around the board. "Gotcha again - this is the eighth time in a row! Woo-hoo!"
"That's not fair," complained Bender. "I'm only working with half of a CPU here; takes me twice as long to think."
The screen in the lounge came to life, and the haunting face of Morgan Proctor appeared. She smiled sarcastically. "So," she asked, "how are the bugs doing?"
"We may be bugs," Fry ventured, "but we're proud bugs."
"Fry, I've got a special deal for you. Come out to the dome wall - I think I can get you out."
"I think I can get you out of this whole mess - I've found a loophole in my paperwork. Anyway, the Professor is the one I want in there - not you."
"How about me, Granny?" asked Bender.
"Half of you is already out anyway. I'm enjoying using it as a coat rack."
Morgan grinned. "I did use the money in your belly to buy a nice new pair of shoes - it was, after all, undeclared earnings."
"That's not funny," growled Bender.
Fry wandered outside of the front doors, with Zoidberg and Amy in tow. It was very surreal, as it was starting to rain outside of the dome, but inside it was still dry and comfortable. What was even weirder was that the rain made no noise inside of the dome wall.
Morgan pressed a command on her wrist computer, and a manhole-sized opening appeared in the dome. Fry climbed on through, and then it closed behind him. Zoidberg's head made a banging sound as he struck the wall. "Please - let me out! I've got to get to the fish fry!"
Amy slapped her palms against the dome and shouted, but could not be heard outside.
"Thanks for springing me out of there," Fry told her, "but I've got to get a hold of Leela...she's probably worried sick."
Morgan Proctor placed a thin chain with a tag on it around his neck.
"Property tag - it identifies you. This way you won't get lost or misplaced."
"Misplaced? Anyway, I'll be going now."
"I didn't say you could leave. Here - staple this paperwork."
"I just told you to staple this paperwork. Chop chop - get at it."
"What? But you freed me."
"I didn't free you, I merely took possession of you." She opened up a briefcase and pulled out her paperwork. "It states clearly in this form that any assets in the seized area of the dome are our property. You were on said property, so ergo, concordantly, you are now owned by the Bureaucracy. Furthermore, since you are a moveable item on said property, you are considered a chattel - I am therefore taking possession of you, ipso-facto, quid pro quo. I have also officially requisitioned you, making you officially mine to keep...I've got the paperwork for that too."
"Taking possession of me? I know you like me..."
"Fry, you are now considered to be little more than an office machine by the Bureaucracy. When I mash a button, I expect you to do what I tell you to do - just like a copy machine. Now get stapling."
"Hey...wait a minute...didn't some guy named Lincoln put a stop to that sort of thingee?"
"Honey, the Emancipation Proclamation was in the 19th century. We in this age no longer view your constitution as being legal or binding. This paper I have here is a Writ of Replevin, which states that you are to be returned to my apartment immediately, forth with and with all." She used her wrist computer to summon an air taxi, which came quickly. She opened the door of the vehicle, and motioned for Fry to enter.
She continued. "Mind you, I get off at 6:30 pm sharp. I like my herbal tea piping hot. I'll expect my neck and shoulders to be rubbed when I get home...I find it relaxing." She then grabbed Fry around the neck and gave him a romantic kiss. "You're going to enjoy your new life I'm giving you; you're finally all mine to keep. Now get in."
"Let me guess...property?" He stapled the paperwork and gave it to her.
"Property. Get in." As he climbed in, she gave the robo-pilot her address. She tapped on the hood of the vehicle, and it lifted off into the rainy skies. She then straightened out her dress. "Hmm...I think he took that well." She then smiled and pumped her arm. "I've finally got my 'dirty boy' back. Just like Cicero once told us - for justice, each one gets what is his..."
The air taxi landed at Morgan's addition in the rainy evening. He considered bolting away, but he knew that everywhere he went he'd be considered Bureaucracy property, and that he'd just be returned to Morgan like a lost dog. He was a bit hungry, so he went inside the condo. In the living room he found an old pair of men's pajamas that hadn't been washed in a while. Attached to them was a note that read: "Make yourself comfortable back in the bedroom, Dirty Boy. Meanwhile, I've got more paperwork to collate and staple - knock yourself out."
He walked into the bedroom and found the whole thing a mess.
"Holy crap...she planned this whole thing out." It was then that Fry heard the familiar sound of a house shield going up at the front door. He ran up to the open door and tapped on the electronic field - he was now trapped in Morgan's fantasy world of collating and steamy desire...
"As the Planet Express crisis drags on into its second week," Morbo said, "the insignificant puny Earthlings inside can only cringe at the mighty power of the Bureaucracy. Even as they face their doom, they have no way of knowing that Superstorm Moe is fast approaching New New York. Whether inside the dome or outside, death awaits all of you puny humans!!"
As Leela and Amy exchanged notes, Leela was surprised that Fry was no longer in the dome. The wind was kicking up, and blowing the notes around.
"They took him away? The Bureaucracy?"
"She took him away - Morgan Proctor."
"Whatever for?" Amy shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.
As Leela got ready to go, Amy tapped on the dome wall and held up one last note: "Got to have make-up...somehow. Got to shop...don't know how much longer I can hold out."
Leela just shook her head in agreement. She then started hacking into the Bureaucracy mainframe to get some news on Fry.
Her eye got wide with surprise. "He's listed as...property?" Leela turned as she was poked in the shoulder. It was Inez Wong.
"She stuck in there," Inez lamented. "How we supposed to get a grandbaby now?"
Morgan was whistling when she got back to the condo in the late afternoon; the light rain that had been falling was starting to get heavier. Distant thunder echoed across the patio, and it was windy. She turned to see a cyclops woman sitting in one of her deck chairs.
"How long have you been sitting there?"
"Just long enough to drop by a piece of paperwork."
"I'm sorry about your friends in the dome; there's not much I can do about that. They've made their bed, and now they'll have to sleep in it."
"I'm not here about them. I'm here to pick up a certain 'dirty boy.'"
"He's mine - I have the paperwork that proves it. You aren't jealous, are you? You could have had him at any time. I want him, and I'm taking him."
Leela held up the paperwork she'd brought with her. "This is an injunction: when you listed Fry as business property, you forgot one thing; according to your own paperwork, a piece of business property must generate revenue for the business. When has Fry ever generated revenue for the company?"
"Fine...you want to play hardball? I can play hardball too." She started tapping on her wrist computer.
Later, as the Bureaucracy Shuttle neared the Planet Express headquarters, an opening appeared in the top of the dome. The ship dipped in, the guards tossed Fry and Leela into the hangar area of the building.
"Enjoy your stay with the bugs," chirped Morgan. "I'll be back later to check on the jar." The shuttle left the hangar, and the opening closed up.
Leela yawned as she walked into the Planet Express Lounge. "You guys nearly watched old movies all night long last night...you were still watching 'The Caine Mutiny' when I went to bed."
Bender suddenly perked up. "Ah, the strawberries...that's where I had them - they laughed at me, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt by using geometric logic that a duplicate key to the wardroom did exist..." He got quiet again and began fiddling with some large ball bearings in his one hand. "The strawberries...the strawberries..."
"Oh, brother," Leela moaned, "does Bender go on and on like this?"
"Only every day...he usually starts up around 7 am and blathers through lunch." Fry chuckled. "That's nothing...you should see this bunch when we get issued our ration of soup."
"And does Amy spend the whole day painting her toenails?"
"Yep - what color today, Amy?"
"Cinnamon pink," she said, without breaking her concentration.
"Yesterday it was Malibu blue," whispered Fry. "And before that, sunrise orange."
"Hah," said Bender, "not that anyone will notice. They'll pull her carcass out of here someday and say, 'it's a pity the poor lady is dead, but gee - look at those stunning cinnamon pink toes!'"
She looked up from her toes. "At least I haven't been cut in half, Tin Man. I will be leaving here on a shopping spree someday, and I'll have the best looking toes around. Mark my words."
Leela rolled her eye. "Does anyone else here notice Amy mentally stripping her gears?"
"She's got to have hope," Hermes advised in a low voice. "You can understand dat. Tell her she's got the best looking toes around...don't crush her dreams...tell her..."
"Good news, everyone!" The Professor marched in with an old leather suitcase. "I'm ready to use my diamondium cannon to blast us out of here. Come up to the hangar so we can make our escape." Everyone enthusiastically followed him.
The Professor pulled back a lever on the gun-like device, and squeezed the trigger; as he did, large crystal-shaped pieces of diamondium came flying out of the barrel. All the pieces really did were to ricochet off of the dome wall and crash to the street. The Professor shut the machine back off and hung his head. "I've failed..."
"Hah," Bender yelled out, "I guess Amy's gonna have to go for 'fire engine red' on those toes tomorrow. Speaking of which, where is that crazy girl anyway?"
The group spun around as they heard a scraping sound on the bricks behind them.
Amy Wong began to sing in a low voice. "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way..."
"Shouldn't have left a sharp object lying around, Sparky."
Leela sighed. "Give it a rest, Amy...that was a lousy Jack Nicholson."
"You guys have got to sleep sometime, and I'm fed up with eating cans of soup. Who's going to be first - Fry?" She put her arm around Fry's neck, and whispered loudly in his ear. "Yummy, yummy Fry, with all that baby fat on him." She then pointed to Zoidberg with the piece of diamondium. "Or maybe I'm in the mood for a seafood buffet; all I'd need is a little butter."
"Give us a break," Leela said, "you're not a cannibal, Amy."
"She might be a Wong," Zoidberg added, "but she might as well change her name to Donner, I tell you. Leela - it's gotten dangerous in here...you need to sleep with one eye open."
"She's only got one eye, you brain wipe," Bender declared.
"As do you, Bender," Leela retorted.
The video screen came to life, and the group found Morgan staring at them. "The bugs are trying to use tools...how amusing. The dome is made of pure diamondillium, designed in part by your old friend Dr. Wernstrom. I'll bet that sticks in your craw, doesn't it Professor?"
Zoidberg raised a claw. "I'm the only one here with a craw, Miss Thing, and you are a crazy lady I tell you. I'm going to declare a medical emergency in here, why not - Amy is becoming a very sick woman. We're going to have to start checking for bite marks..."
"Why that simply requires a 305/7B medical form. Oh, that's right - you're enclosed in a dome and don't have access to the proper paperwork. Sorry about that. PAY UP."
Amy held up her piece of diamondium toward the screen. "You know, Morgan, a bureaucrat once tried to test me...I ate her liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." She got up closer to the screen. "When I get out of here, I'm going to find you and eat you...alive."
"Miss Wong, we have special rooms designed for people just like you. Professor, pay me my money and I'll let the bunch of you go - I know you've got it in a safe down in the basement. Oh, and you'll be assessed a $35 fine for littering the street with diamondium chips." Morgan's face disappeared from the screen.
Leela pointed at Amy and scowled. "That is why we are no longer watching any movies!"
"This is Morbo reporting again, as New New York copes with its worst storm in years as Superstorm Moe ravages the East Coast. Meanwhile, inside the dome, the tax cheats living within are comfortable and dry. I have only one message for those Cretans inside of the Planet Express Building - may all of you die a horrible, drawn-out death!"
Fry leaned against the dome wall, watching in wonder as the storm raged on.
"Goof-bag," Leela said, "watchya doing out here?"
"Just watching the storm...wow, that was a big blast of lightning."
"Come on, Fry - I've got an idea. Follow me."
As the water rose, tree branches and debris from the buildings went floating on by. Flashes of lightning illuminated the dome.
"Look at that water...is that a fish that just went by us?"
"Come on..." She pulled on his arm, and he went into the building.
Leela and Fry travelled deep into the bowels of the building like two children on an adventure. They finally arrived at an alcove where the Professor had a safe stashed away. Unfortunately, the safe was guarded by the Professor, who stood there with a laser pistol.
"Trying to rob me, I see...ah yes..."
"Step away from the safe, Professor. I'm taking whatever's in there and paying off Morgan before somebody upstairs loses their mind."
"Get away...or I'll shoot! I'm an old man, and I'm not going to be ripped off by you two."
The two got in a struggle for the pistol, and it went off - a fist-sized hole was made in the bricks behind them. Leela managed to get the gun away from Farnsworth.
"I ought to spank you for pointing this at me...now open the safe."
He reluctantly did, and there was no money inside. He looked up at her. "These are my trade secrets that I've been guarding all these years...I even have the formula for diamondium in here. I'd die if Morgan got a hold of them. I guess I'm just a foolish old man."
Leela looked at his face with sympathy. "I'm sorry...we'll just head back up to the building."
Fry, meanwhile, was poking his fingers through the hole in the wall. "Guys, is there anything beyond this wall?"
Farnsworth looked confused. "Don't look at me - I forget."
"Let's find out," said Leela. She pointed the pistol and began blasting the bricks away. The three climbed through the hole. They walked on for several meters until they ran into that hideous dome wall again.
"Darn it," the Professor said, "I didn't realized it went down this far."
"Stand back - let's see if I can blast through." Leela pointed the weapon at the wall and began firing until it started to glow. After nearly using a full charge, she put the gun back down. The glow went away, and she put her hand up to it.
"Nuts - it's already cool enough to touch - it's dissipated most of the heat. I can't blast through it. We're trapped."
When Leela got back up to the PE lounge, she spotted Amy on the couch painting her toenails. Leela pulled her boots and socks off. "Let me see some of that polish, kiddo."
Without being distracted from what she was doing, she handed Leela a bottle. "This silver is really nice..."
Father McGillicuddy decided to hold a mass up near the dome wall while his church was being repaired from the storm. Sal faithfully went up to the dome wall, but really couldn't participate much. It really grated on him when he couldn't greet the other parishioners.
"Peace be with you."
"And with your spirit."
"Now, let us offer each other a sign of that peace."
As everyone outside of the wall began shaking hands and saying, "Peace be with you," all Sal could do was just smile and wave. And, of course, there was no way for Sal to receive a communion wafer. Father McGillicuddy, observing this, held up a wafer in honor of Sal and blessed it for him. He bowed and gave back a sign of the cross.
Fry sat in the dark lounge watching a film, even though Leela had advised him not to. He wasn't of the Woodstock Generation, but had seen the film so many times over the past few days that he was able to mouth the words.
"...Just to see it...just to really realize what's really important..." Fry continued to mumble the words, as if in a trance. "What's really important is that if we can't all live together and be happy, that you have to be afraid to walk down the street, that you have to be afraid to smile at somebody, right?"
Fry was suddenly startled by Leela, who rubbed his neck. "Oh, baby...look at you. You're a wreck. You need to do something else besides watch old movies."
"Ya know," Fry told her, "they sure don't make pictures like that anymore."
Suddenly Fry heard phones ringing. He looked around in a panic.
"What's the matter, Fry?"
But the phones kept ringing. And ringing. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Finally Fry shouted out as he covered his ears.
"There are no phones ringing, damn it! There are no phones..."
Leela then realized that Fry, like Amy, was crossing a line into madness.
At a large mansion in Groton, Connecticut, a young Chinese girl in a miniature Bureaucracy uniform scanned over her butterfly collection in a home office. Her mother was busy typing away on a computer pad. She reached in and pulled a live butterfly out of a jar.
"That's a fascinating specimen," her mother commented as she continued to work with her computer.
"Oh, yes - it was genetically created on Mars." The creature struggled, but was helpless to escape the girl's giant grasp. She casually placed a pin in the creature's back and attached it to the board. Another one for the collection. The animal soon quit moving as the life left its body.
This, in fact, was no ordinary young girl - this was Irene Wu, the infamous Number 3.14, daughter of the dreaded Number 2 at the Bureaucracy. Even though she was only ten years old, everyone at the Bureaucracy lived in terror of the child. She was like a miniature tornado in a trailer park, that could end any lower-grade bureaucrat's career with the stroke of a pen - all it took was a wrong look, or a wrong word. She had a terrible habit of prowling around the Bureaucracy headquarters like a small tiger looking for someone to devour. Morgan Proctor found her intensely annoying, and secretly referred to her as "that little brat." Morgan didn't think she knew this, but she knew. As she placed a label under her butterfly specimen, she got her mother's attention.
"Mother, are you aware that the Planet Express Company has been put under a dome for tax evasion?"
"Yes, dear. I believe Number 5 authorized that."
"No, he didn't. Do you realize that the dome was authorized by Grade 19 Morgan Proctor?"
This produced a look of surprise. "Morgan Proctor can't authorize a dome without a Section 9 meeting - she knows this. Number 5 did send out a memo."
"Mother, we don't like Miss Proctor, do we?"
"No, Honey, we don't like her one bit."
"Might I recommend that she be sequestered for a few days until an investigation can be made? She mustn't go anywhere until we can bring her in for questioning."
The woman beamed with pride at her daughter. "That would be a good move, at least until we can find out what's going on. I think Miss Proctor has gotten a little big for her britches."
She began tapping on her computer pad.
Gleefully, the child opened up her jar and grabbed another helpless butterfly. As she readied the pin, she told the creature: "You're going to make a nice specimen..."
Sal was rudely awaken by the poking of a broomstick. "Get up, you lazy bum, and fix the roof."
"Hey - what are youse poking me for?"
"The roof - it needs fixing!"
Sal got up from the couch and examined the slice going through the roof and walls; sunlight filtered in and he could hear birds outside. It was as if a gigantic knife had sliced through a loaf of bread. He then turned his attention to his wife.
"Hey - hows come I cans hears ya? Gets back over to your side of da apartment!"
"Fix the roof before it rains again, you lazy bum!"
Amy was awaken on the couch by Leela. In a tired voice she asked, "What do you want?"
Leela handed her one of her credit cards.
"What's this for?" she asked.
"You and I are going shopping," she told Amy. "The dome is gone."
Leela and Amy joined the others up on the balcony; they enjoyed the fresh clean morning air for the first time in two weeks. Leela pointed down to Fry who was playing stickball in the street with that same group of kids from two weeks ago.
Father McGillicuddy was there, and he looked up at Zoidberg; in that thick Irish brogue he asked him, "Are ya going to be joining us for the Fish Fry? We had to reschedule it because of the storm. All of you are invited this evening."
Zoidberg rubbed his claws together. "I'll be there, why not...but there's just one problem, Father."
"What might that be, my crustacean friend?"
"I promised God that I'd become a priest if he got me out of the dome. And I'm not even catholic."
McGillicuddy laughed. "Don't worry...I'll put a word in for you."
Zoidy smiled. "I think I've just seen the light..."
Half-Bender chuckled. "Or you just woke up and smelled the cod."
"Baked beer-battered cod," said Zoidy in a dreamy voice. "I'll be in heaven!"
"Where's that crazy old man?" asked Bender. "I'm gonna need him to weld me back together when I get a hold of my other half."
The Professor came up to the balcony after speaking with someone on the phone. He looked at everyone with a smile on his face. "Good news - I just sold the patent idea for diamondium - some company in New York State wants to start making costume jewelry out of the stuff...and they have industrial uses planned for it as well. This should pay off the tax bill and enable me to start paying you again."
Hermes scratched his head. "I was wondering when we were going to start issuing paychecks again...I thought you were just conserving on paper to save the planet."
"Let's go shopping," Amy said to Leela. "I've got a ton of stuff I want to see."
Leela tapped on her wrist-thingee, and her eye got big with surprise. "Actually, I've got one stop to make first."
Morgan Proctor's eyes popped open, and she instantly knew that she was running late. Why didn't Zelma give me a wake-up call?
She hastily got dressed, and hopped down the hall as she put her shoe on. Halfway down the hall her forehead slammed into something hard. She put her hands on it. "What the..."
She quickly ran to the front door, and went out into the yard of her condo. All she could see in all directions was a dome, slicing into the grass in a circular pattern and running around to the back yard. One of her lawn decorations, a garden gnome, had been crushed to bits under the dome wall. "No...no...no...no!!"
Morgan Proctor soon spotted an air taxi coming down for a landing from the sunny skies. The door slid open, and Leela stepped out. Morgan pounded her hands on the dome wall. "Leela - listen to me! There must be some kind of mistake!"
Leela pointed to her ears and shook her head. "Can't hear a thing, Morgan."
Leela then held up a jar with several bugs in it; she pointed to it, and then pointed at Morgan. She then placed the jar down by the dome wall and held up a piece of paper with a message written on it: "If you need anything, just scribble a note on paper. It works really well. Ta ta." She waved and walked back to the taxi.
As the taxi rose up into the air, no one could hear Morgan shouting obscenities at the top of her lungs.