Once upon a time, on the planet of Kanama, a young prince by the name of Zhaqu gazed out of his lofty window at the seven moons that lit up the sky like jewels. Even though he lived in a land of plenty, he was hungry.
“Sire, you sent for me?” asked his retainer Natha.
“Yes…I’m really hungry….”
“But Sire, you never touched your meal tonight…was the preparation not to your liking?”
“The whole meal was not to my liking…how many times do you expect me to eat an Omicronian? They’re tough bastards, with skin like shoe leather. And they’re so gamey…”
“I can have the chef prepare a Carcaron dish for you…maybe with a teriyaki sauce…”
“That’s not much better – I know that thing has been sitting in the fridge for a week - ever since the peace treaty.” The prince rubbed his bald head and ran his fingers through his short beard. “I didn’t mean to jump down your throat like that…I just get tired of the same old food night after night.”
Prince Zhaqu reminisced, and pulled a large book off of a clear plasteel bookshelf. He blew the dust off if it and smiled. “Now, this brings back memories…this was my father’s book – ‘To Serve Man.’ Now, those were the days…”
“Sire, that’s not a subject to be spoken of openly…”
“Tell me again why we aren’t cooking up humans anymore…I was very young when we stopped. My father never really spoke much about it. Every holiday my mother would prepare a human roast; the whole kitchen would smell great. My brother and I would break a tibia bone and make a wish.”
Natha gazed down at the book cover with affection. “Those were the heady days of interstellar cuisine, Sire. We landed on Earth, gave them several bits of our advanced technology, and then lied to them about what wonders our planet contained. I remember that they were so impressed with the way that we communicated with telepathy – a very backwards race. Heavens, they still threatened each other with atomic weapons on that shabby little planet of theirs. But that meat…that sumptuous meat – so tender, so delicious. I once served a big, fat stock trader for an entire dinner party! But those days are past…”
Zhaqu sipped some green wine from a glass. “Why are they past? Why can’t we just go over there now and grab a few of the humans? My father wouldn’t tell me.”
Natha’s facial expression turned sour. “I was there that night…it was another ordinary snatch-and-grab trip to Earth. All the human cattle were as happy as if they were in their own right minds until some woman came running up. ‘Don’t go up on the ship,’ she shouted, ‘it’s a cookbook!’ I told Zarlet not to leave the damned thing sitting around in the UN, but he never listened. This little blonde woman blew the whole thing for us. The next thing I knew, the conservationalists listed Earth as a no-fly zone, and humans as an endangered species – all because of their possible extinction because of their nuclear weapons. Oh, there were poachers to be sure, but a whole food industry went bankrupt. I had planned to start up a fast food franchise…all gone because of one lousy noisy Earth woman.
Zhaqu glanced back at his meal with disdain. “All I know is that I’ll gag if I have to eat one more bite of an Omicronian.”
“I’m sorry Sire – I can have a chat with the chef…”
Zhaqu suddenly got a burst of inspiration. “Natha, don’t we use an Earth company to deliver some of our packages?”
“I know we got contacted by one…but what’s that got to do with…”
Zhaqu dug around in his desk until he found a business card. He read it aloud. “Planet Express – our crews are expendable…your package isn’t.”
“Oh, you surely aren’t thinking of…”
“Natha, bring me the deep space phone…I’m going to order some carry-out.”
“Good News, everybody!”
“Okay,” Leela groaned, “go ahead and hit us with it. You want us to nearly get killed just to make a paycheck. Where is it this time – a return to the Zombie Planet?”
“Oh, no, Leela…this is a cinch. All you’ve got to do is fly to the planet Kanama, pick up some boxes of books, and deliver them to Amazonian.com. It can’t get much more easy or non-dangerous than that.”
“Books,” she said as she popped up an incredulous eye.
“Why, yes – it’s their best-selling book, To Serve Man.”
“What are some of their other books?” Leela asked.
“I don’t know…mainly just To Serve Man. Well, there's To Serve Man for Dummies, and the Idiot's Guide to Serving Man as well."
Amy started to make a strange growling sound like a panther. “Sounds erotic.”
“I heard that, young lady – there will be none of that. I have it on good authority that this is a cookbook, thank you very much. You bunch of hoodlums might get a gourmet meal out of this whole thing if you play your cards right.”
“Hey,” blurted Bender, “maybe I can get some free cooking lessons.”
“Now you’re on the trolley,” Farnsworth said, “that’s the idea.”
“So, who is this race of galloping gourmets?” asked Leela.
“They’re called Kanamits. Now, be prepared for a bit of a shock when you first meet them; they communicate telepathically, and they have a head shaped sort of like a large cantaloupe. Oh, and they stand nearly nine feet tall.”
Again Amy let out a high-pitched growl. “Imagine it – a planet filled with tall guys!”
“Oh boy,” Bender said, “They’d better lock up their sons – Amy’s on the loose!”
Farnsworth got an angry scowl on his face. “For the love of all that’s decent, young lady – could you please pretend that you have some standards! I can see now that I’m going to have to have Hermes show you that filmstrip on ‘Moral Conduct in the Workplace.’ After the filmstrip, and a short quiz, you’ll all be free to go.”
“Whatever, Gramps. That film is so old that it was made back in the 22nd century during the days of the Code of Virtuosity.”
“Yes, and that code was only enacted after the infamous Days of Debauchery in the 2140’s. It was a good film back then, and it still is today.”
Bender got up and started to walk out. “Well, Pops, it’s a good thing I’m a robot…”
“Bender, you are still very lecherous, even for a machine. You don’t get off the hook that easy – join the others.”
Fry just scratched his head. “Where have I heard of a book like that before?”
Zhaqu paced around his office. “Natha, where is your niece Gorsa with those books?”
“She should be here shortly…she had to go down to the warehouse and dig them up; no one's read the blessed things in years. I always liked the pictures with the cooking tips in the later editions.”
Soon, the two heard a tap at the door. They opened it to find a young female Kanamit with a grav sled full of books. “Here’s what you asked for. What on Kanama did you want with them?”
“Gorsa, the young prince here is hoping to lure a group of humans in for a meal.”
“Oh, no…that’s ridiculous. Do you realize what the fines are if a conservation officer finds that stuff in your refrigerator? I had a friend at school that was caught with a human in his ship after a hunting trip – he had to pay 2,000 platiluminum zar’gns to get out of that mess. Those bleeding heart liberals will eat you alive for it.”
“Gorsa,” asked Zhaqu, “would you be interested in such a fine meal?”
“Well…uh…I certainly wouldn’t refuse it, if that’s what you mean…”
“Good, than it’s settled. Natha, we are going to need lots of spice beer…I want this to be a meal to remember.”
The trip to Kanama wasn’t a long one, but everyone had a chance to enjoy some leisure time. Amy played around on the computer while Leela drove the ship. Fry and Bender played cards.
“What’s keeping you so pre-occupied on the Galactic Net?” Leela asked her.
“It says here in Wikipedia that Kanama has more beaches than anywhere in the known universe…and many of them are nude beaches.”
“Oh, I’m not going through that again…the last time we stopped by one of those we had to tear a tattoo off of Fry’s butt.”
“I know,” said Fry, “it gets sore just thinking about it.”
“You’d like this, Leela – it says here that Kanama has a refuge for endangered animals in its capitol city of Banumbitts. The refuge is home to more than a thousand rare and vanishing species.”
Leela looked at the screen. “Fry would like this – it says that Kanama is known for being a leader in videogame technology, and that they have yearly tournaments there.”
“I bet there’s no robot porn there,” grumbled Bender. They got everything for you meatsacks, but nothin’ for a robot. It just ain’t fair.”
“You’ll live,” quipped Leela.
The Planet Express Ship circled around the city of Banumbitts before finally coming in for a landing. As soon as the gangway extended to the ground, the crew could see the three Kanamits waiting for them. As they came down the gangway, they became aware of just how tall these beings were. The two men were easily 9 feet tall, and the woman was the height of a basketball center.
"Welcome to our world," Zhaqu told them.
Bender squinted his eyes. "Are you a ventriloquist? That's just plain creepy."
"We use telepathy to communicate...we've moved far beyond the need for speech; as we've evolved, our vocal chords have all but disappeared."
"Telepathic," said Amy with a smile. "Can you tell what I'm thinking now?"
"Yes I can," said Zhaqu as he smiled back, "and you should be ashamed."
Leela gave Amy the angry eye. "I'm glad we're not telepathic – that would have been an ugly Polaroid."
“We have your books ready,” Zhaqu told them, “but I insist that you spend some time on our world. We would like to turn our planet into a tourist area someday. We’d like to know what you Earth people think of our city.”
“If you don’t mind me saying so,” Fry added, “those outfits you’re wearing remind me of what Ozzy Osbourne used to wear at his concerts.”
“Funny you should say that,” Natha answered, “but we had his manager for dinner once.” Gorsa stepped on his shoe, and put pressure on it. “I mean, we had him over for dinner once…with a bottle of Chianti, if I remember right. He was quite a character…”
"And fava beans," Bender added, "all you meatbags love fava beans with your meals."
"I think you're right about that, Metal Man. We had fava beans with him...his meal."
“Small universe,” said Fry.
“Then it’s settled,” said Zhaqu, “you’ll be able to spend a bit of time with us. We’ll get to know a little more about you, and find out what your interests are. I would like to see our planet become a vacation hot-spot in the near future – somewhere where groups of humans could enjoy a recreational outing.”
Without wasting any time, Amy grabbed Natha by the hand. Like a child, she placed her outspread palm into his. “Big,” she cooed. “Show me your city, big guy.”
“What about me?” asked Bender. I got interests too, ya know.”
“Stay with the ship,” Leela answered. “We won’t be gone too long.”
“I got interests…and hobbies and stuff. I like pimping, for one. And I can steal stuff…” Bender watched as the others walked away from the landing tarmac. “Aw, who needs ya anyway. I got Fry’s collection of old “Scary Door” episodes to go through.”
Fry turned around. “Check out that episode from Season 5 – A Meal from a Blue Planet. It’s a classic.”
“This is just one of our animal sanctuaries,” Zhaqu noted.
“Look at all those animals,” Leela said as she gazed across the grassy landscape.
“Yes…that’s a rare llorse – a cross between a llama and a horse. Go in there a pet it.”
“Sure,” Zhaqu told her. “Let me open the force field; we’re able to keep them safe in here.” He tapped a button on a small computer terminal, and a circular opening appeared in the field. “Just walk right in.”
Leela couldn’t turn the invitation down, so she stepped onto the grass from the sidewalk. The blue-furred animal gently purred as Leela began to scratch its neck. “You like that, don’t you?”
Leela found several other endangered species around the containment area. “Hey, Zhaqu – is that a one-eyed fung bat?” He didn’t answer. “Zhaqu?”
She walked back up to the sidewalk, and found no opening in the force field. Zhaqu was nowhere to be found. “Where the heck did he go?” She tapped the force field with her hands, and found it to be quite solid. She then tried to contact Amy on her wrist thingee, but the field apparently blocked the signal. Leela started to probe around the perimeter for an opening, but for now she was just another rare species of animal in the refuge.
Gorsa led Fry through a beautiful city park at the edge of the skyscrapers of Banumbitts. The planet’s seven moons shone like diamonds in the afternoon sky.
“You’re a lonely man, aren’t you?” asked Gorsa. “Sort of a ‘Little Boy Lost.’”
Fry looked up at the alien, who resembled a bald woman with a tuft of hair sticking up from the back of her head. She had the same bulbous forehead that her male counterparts sported. Her ‘wizard’s cape’ was pink, unlike the others.
“Did you pick that up telepathically?” asked Fry.
“Yes, but then I can sense it as well. A woman can read a lot about a man by the way he acts, the way he moves…”
“I guess you’re right, really.”
Gorsa scooped up Fry’s hand in her enormous palm; her hand, although grotesquely large, was soft and feminine. “A woman is a woman across the galaxy. I’ve enjoyed your company, Philip Fry. You look like you could really use a friend.”
“But we’ve got to leave on our delivery…”
“But not before the dinner, surely. It’s the Feast of the Seven Moons. At least wait until the banquet – you’ll be…guests of honor.”
“Well, it all depends on how fast Leela wants to get rolling.”
“She’s busy with her animals…I’ll have Zhaqu ask her in a while. Right now I can show you a bit more of our city, and then we can play some videogames.”
“This bed is bigger than my first apartment,” Amy said with a smile as she dangled her legs over the side; her bare feet didn’t even touch the floor.
“You don’t mind, do you? We are a bit bigger than you humans…”
“I don’t mind; sometimes size is everything. What’cha doing?”
Natha playfully wiggled one of Amy’s toes. You have yummy feet, my dear...so soft…”
“Thanks! Hey, I’ve noticed you peaking at that book of yours from time to time. What’s it about, this To Serve Man?”
“Why, I’m hoping to serve you. We have a huge banquet meal coming up – your two friends will be there to share it with you. We all hope to serve you there. We’ve been trained to serve others.”
“You guys are really big on service…”
“You have no idea, Amy…you have no idea. You’ve got nice juicy arms, too…”
Amy giggled as he gently pinched her arms.
A frightened Bender sat in a dark corner of the ship’s galley, waiting for this next episode of “The Scary Door” to begin. He cringed as the narrator took a drag on his cigarette.
“Witness if you will Astronaut Victor Hodgson, late of Earth, who has discovered the hard way that not all aliens get their meals from a local restaurant. Victor is now just a menu item in that diner that lies just beyond…The Scary Door.”
Bender paused the show and turned the light on. “Oh, thank goodness that’s just a science fiction show – I’d feel terrible if my friends ended up in that mess.” He looked around the ship. “Where are those meatbags anyway? They should have been back ages ago.” He walked down the gangway. “I’m not going to let them have all the fun – I’m gonna have some fun too.”
Leela pondered what to do until another Kanamit showed up outside of the force field.
“Boy, am I glad to see you…that other guy left me in here…”
The Kanamit, a male wearing a uniform of sorts, entered the force field. He raised a weapon-like device and pointed it at Leela.
“Hey, wait a minute, bub – you don’t have to shoot me….wait…”
The weapon went off with a click, and Leela felt a dart hit her in the arm. She pulled the dart out, and then fell over onto the grass.
When Leela awoke, she had a headache; it took her a second to remember where she was. She slowly got to her feet, and noticed something on her neck – she was now wearing a radio collar, complete with a small antenna sticking out of it. She decided to worry about it later, as she continued to probe for a way out.
She then looked up in surprise to see Bender wandering up to the containment field.
“Where the heck have you meatsacks been? Here you are, playing with animals.”
Leela began jumping up and down, frantically waving her arms. She tried to yell out at him, but the barrier blocked most of the sound. Unseen vents did allow fresh air to flow in.
“I know yer having fun, but what’s wrong with your arms?” It was then that Bender slammed his head into the force field. “Hey!” He balled up a fist and tapped on the shield, making a muted thump sound. Why have you got a shield on, Big Boots?”
Leela started typing on her wrist thingee and held it up to show him. NEED HELP – GET ME OUT. She then pointed over to the computer unit that Zhaqu had activated the shield with.
“Oh, I get it – I think you want out.” He wrote on the field with his finger. “DO YOU WANT OUT?”
She typed again on her wrist-thingee, and gave him a mean look. GAH, YOU THINK?
"Hold on, Big Boots - I'll have you out of there in a jiffy."
Zhaqu’s Friend looked at him incredulously when he described his cyclopean captive.
“She’s a human?” he asked. “With one eye? And purple hair?”
“She’s the rarest of species – a mutant. I’ve been keeping her right here in the animal refuge.”
The friend peered into the containment area. “What…behind the llorse?”
“What? Buckets of zorgl crap! She’s gone!” He turned to the friend. “We’ve got to find her…before those bleeding heart crater-huggers get a hold of her!”
“I think I’ll pass on this one, Zhaqu. Just tell me how the hunt…and the meal goes.”
Behind an enormous thick red bush, Leela turned to Bender and mouthed the words, “The meal?”
As Zhaqu watched his friend walk away, he spotted a conservation officer walking toward him.
“Uh, excuse me, sir…can I ask you something?”
“Why, certainly, Prince Zhaqu.”
“I, uh, put a new specimen into the containment area today…for the entertainment of our Royal Court. Do you know where she is?”
“The human with the one eye?”
“I tagged her today, but she shouldn’t have been released out into the wild yet.” He pulled out an instrument, and turned it on. “She’s not in there? She should be easy to track with her radio collar on.”
“Oh, yes…tracks their migration…breeding habits…I didn’t know you had such an interest in conservation…”
“Oh, I just don’t know what I’d do if the poor dear got hurt…I need to get her safely back in her cage.”
The giant conservation officer turned around to the bushes behind him. “Sir, she’s very close.” His large hand dug through the bush and pulled out the collar, which had been torn in half. “This is odd – she’s a very clever species to have done this…”
“How are we gonna find Little Boots?” asked Bender. “I know she’s a pain sometimes, but I couldn’t live with myself if she got eaten. We’ll probably just find the bones…Oh, curse this metal body of mine – I wasn’t in time!”
Leela intently studied her wrist-thingee. “As long as she’s got an employee chip, I can track her down. She’s up there – just beyond that window. But how are we going to get up there?”
“You forget that I have a rocket in my tailpipe, sister. Grab on for dear life…”
After the ascent the two climbed in through the open window, and they found Amy on the enormous bed.
“What the hell are you two lunkheads doing here? Can’t a girl get some privacy on a date?”
“We’re saving your life, Amy…this guy is planning on eating you,” Leela told her in a loud whisper.
Amy let out a wicked chuckle. “I know…he’s talked about doing that. He likes to nibble my toes…”
“No, you idiot – he’s really going to eat you…as in dinner.”
“Oh, get out of here… he’s charming. He was showing me his Ginsu knives earlier – he bragged about how they can cut through a hunk of lead pipe.”
Leela spotted the book, and held it up to show her. “This book…To Serve Man…it’s a cookbook!”
“Spluh, I know that, dummy…that’s all he’s talked about all night…what a great chef he is. He’s down in the kitchen making a meal for me right now. Isn’t that sweet?”
Thinking quickly, Leela opened up the book and showed an illustration to Amy. It depicted a horrified human being on a garnished plate with an apple in its mouth.
Amy’s jaw dropped open, and her eyes got huge. “Oh, for Pete’s sake…they do that here?”
The voice of Natha came in from downstairs. “I’m almost finished with the sauce, my dear…”
“Uh, can’t wait…guys - what am I going to do?”
“We’ve got to bail before the Jolly Green Giant gets back. Grab your boots!”
Natha finally came back upstairs. "I'm nearly finished with my gravy, sweetheart. Amy? Amy?"
"Where are we going now?" asked Amy. "Isn't the ship that way?"
"We are not leaving Fry behind...I've almost got his signal located."
"Amy, you should be ashamed," blurted Bender. "Wouldn't you feel terrible if our best little buddy ended up on that awful woman's plate? For shame! Didn't you learn anything from that morality filmstrip?"
"Why, did you?"
"Good point, Amy."
As Fry and Gorsa walked through the city park, they ran across another of the conservation officers, this time a woman. Gorsa had a look of surprise on her face.
“Where are you taking this animal?” asked the officer.
“Oh, uh…I just took him for a walk and I was taking him back to the containment area.”
“Why, he’s not even on a chain. Here, I’ll take him back for you.”
“Oh, okay…that would be nice.”
As Gorsa quickly scurried away, the conservation officer placed a collar and a leash on Fry. He looked at her in confusion. “Where are you taking me? She was going to show me some videogames…”
“I’m taking you somewhere where you’ll be safe. Where you’ll be with others of your own kind.”
“I’m kind of hungry…will there be food in that place?”
“Oh, yes…lots of yummy food…come along, now.”
“Fry’s on the move,” said Leela as she eyed her wrist-thingee, “back over to that park where they kept me.”
“Are they going to eat him, too?” asked a worried Amy.
“No –just put him behind a force field like a zoo animal.” As they got closer, Leela pointed to some bushes. “Quick – in here.” They all stuffed themselves into the bushes.
The three watched as the conservation officer fed Fry, much like a seal at the zoo.
“Does he do tricks?” asked Bender. Leela slapped him on the top of his metal head.
Finally, the conservation officer left Fry and stepped out of the containment area with her leash. It took Fry a few seconds to find out that he wasn’t free to leave the area; he fumbled around on the shield with the palms of his hands like it was an invisible pane of glass. Leela waited until the gigantic conservation lady left the scene before jogging up to Fry. “Open the shield,” she instructed Bender. With the click of a button, the entire shield went down.
Fry looked confused. “The food was really good,” he told them, “but where are the videogames?”
“Let’s get going, goofbag, or you’ll spend the rest of your life in here like a pet.”
The four turned around as a voice came from behind them. “Where do you think you guys are going?”
“What do you mean gone?” asked Zhaqu.
“She slipped out the window,” said Natha. “I had the gravy ready and everything. What are we gonna do? Where’s the purple-haired one, anyway?”
“Oh, I stashed her in the animal preserve near the park – I’ll just go by later to pick her up. It was the perfect place to hide her.”
“What’s Gorsa coming up here for…without the guy?”
"I told you simpletons that this wasn't going to work," huffed Gorsa.
"Guys, we're telepaths!" Zhaqu eyeballed the two. "Let's get our dinner back!"
“Look, lady, we are not fracking zoo animals…we came here to pick up a package and return to Earth.”
The officer pointed her stunner weapon at Leela, and she shoved it out of the way with her hand.
“Bad behavior has consequences, little one.” The conservation officer began spraying Leela with a pump-sprayer filled with water, which only made her angrier.
“Will you stop that! I am not an animal…I am a mutant! Mu-tant!”
“Hear her roar,” Bender said jokingly.
“Shut up, Tin Man.”
The conservation officer paused. “I was under the impression that some rare species of animals were delivered here – weren’t they for the Royal Court, Prince Zhaqu?”
The Planet Express Crew turned to see the three Kanamits walking up.
“Oh, thank heaven you found the precious little creatures,” Zhaqu said. “I was so worried that they might get hurt out here. We’ll just take them off of your hands.”
Leela turned and began angrily poking Zhaqu in the stomach, emphasizing each syllable. “You guys have been trying to eat us all afternoon! We're not going anywhere with you!”
This prompted a look of concern from the officer. “Is this true? You know that humans are a protected species…”
“Oh, heavens no – they were to be our entertainment at the Feast of the Seven Moons. We were going to dress them up in costumes for the amusement of our guests. We had special pens for them to stay in. We wouldn’t think of hurting these fascinating animals. We’ll just take them to their cages now…”
The conservation officer gave Zhaqu a stern look. “Oh, no you don’t - they’ve got to stay here in the refuge until we get this whole thing sorted out.”
“Like hell,” Leela spat, “I’m going back to my ship!”
Before Leela could take two steps, the conservation officer pulled a device from her belt and pointed it at her. Leela was encased in some sort of an electronic bubble where she floated around immobile in stasis; the officer picked Leela up effortlessly and placed her inside the force field. The others tried to scurry away, but were pushed back into the grassy area by an invisible force of energy. After the field went back up, the officer pressed another button and Leela’s bubble disappeared; she fell to the ground. Leela started pounding the field with her fist, but it wouldn’t budge. The giant Kanamits tried to argue their point with the officer, but all Leela and her friends heard was a faint mumbling outside of the field.
“The food is actually really good here,” said Fry; all this did was bring angry looks from the girls.
“Then we’re trapped here,” sobbed Amy.
Leela thought about their predicament. “Bender, can’t you penetrate the field from in here?”
“What do you mean, sort of?”
“I can make a tiny hole, if I broadcast the right kind of microwave signal…but it won’t last long.”
Leela reached out and grabbed his antenna in her hand. “A hole about this big?”
Bender did as he was instructed, and then popped his antenna through the hole. Leela took a wire from inside of Bender’s door and plugged it into her wrist-thingee.
“What’s that?” asked Amy as she looked at the screen.
“It’s their world news web,” answered Leela. “You’re the PhD...can you figure out their language?”
“With a little help from Bender’s memory circuits, sure. But what do you want to write?”
“About a case of ‘cruelty to animals’ here in the capital city.”
“Cruelty to animals?” asked Fry. “There’s been no cruelty. The food they gave me was pretty tasty…kind of like Popplers. And they promised to show me some videogames…”
“Fry, step over here.” Leela reared her fist back, and then struck Fry in the eye with some force.
“Ouch! What the hell was that for?”
“Now there’s been cruelty.” She examined Fry’s eye. “Yep – yer getting a shiner.” She used her wrist thingee to snap a picture of his eye, which was now starting to darken and swell up. “If this doesn’t bring out an animal activist, I don’t know what will.”
“So,” said Amy, “you’re hoping for a rescue…”
“Or at least a way to plead our case – it couldn’t hurt.”
It was in the middle of the night when an opening appeared in the force field. A half asleep Leela turned to see a Kanamit sneaking in. “Who would you be?” she asked.
In a loud whisper the Kanamit answered. “I’m Purnamessi, of the Animal Liberation Front. I got that message on the Planetary Web about the cruelty to animals…what an awful picture that was…”
Leela reached out and turned Fry’s head to show him.
“Poor little guy – they must have cuffed him good! Kanamits can be so cruel…”
“We appreciate you coming so quickly,” said Leela.
“The elders of this world don’t share my extremist views, but I believe that animals were born to roam wild - they were…born free.”
“That’s pretty good,” Bender added, “you ought to make a movie with that title.”
The Kanamit stood up outside the force field. “Well, good luck to you guys…spread the word of the movement.” He gave a power salute, and disappeared into the night.
Natha quietly gazed out the window of Zhaqu’s apartment as the Prince ranted. “I may be going crazy, but I could swear that I just saw a blue llorse run by – followed by a fung bat.”
“We almost had it,” Zhaqu grumbled, “nice, juicy human meat. We would have really had a meal fit for a king! This screwed up the whole banquet – if we go back for those guys, we’ll get fined!”
Natha eyeballed something else out of the window as he glanced up at the night sky. “Hey…isn’t that the green ship the humans arrived in?”
Zhaqu pressed his face against the metaglass pane. “That’s my meal…leaving in a space ship…that’s my dinner! My dinner! Nuts!”
“Hey,” Natha responded in a cheery tone, “we still have some Nudar from lunch…”
“Do you know how much gristle those things have? Half of them is nothing but cartilage.” He looked back at Natha. “Okay…let’s grab a late-night snack.”
In the dark of the galley, Bender and Fry nibbled on half-burned popcorn. Fry still held an ice pack up to his eye, which was nearly swollen shut. “What did I tell ya?” asked Fry. “This is a classic episode.”
On the screen a lone woman came running up to the dark gray saucer with a piece of folded paper in her hand; she shouted out to a man entering the ship. “Doctor – I’ve translated this piece of paper with the stain and the strange numbers at the bottom,” she cried, “it’s a menu for carry-out!!”
Bender shivered. “I don’t know about you, Fry, but that scares the be-jeebers out of me.”
The narrator took one last puff of his cigarette as the camera came in close.
“The moral to this tale is a simple one; there is a fine line that separates the eater from the eaten in this quaint little restaurant that lies just behind…the Scary Door.”