History Repeating, Part 4
See part one for disclaimers!
Four minutes after takeoff, Leela unbuckled her belt. "The auto-pilot will take it from here; we have an hour until we make landfall. Why don't you show Lisa some of the planets, Bender?"
Bender's yellow eyes rolled skyward. "Those're stars," Bender said lazily.
"Why did I ask?" Leela grumbled. "Fry?"
"Uh...that's the shiny one." He pointed to an unidentified spot. "And the blue one."
"Actually, that's the Andromeda cluster..." Lisa squinted out the window. "I'm afraid everything else is unfamiliar."
"Hey Lisa; I can get you some Slurm."
Lisa shrugged. "If it's recyclable and good for the earth - er, universe-, I'd be glad to."
Fry snorted, unbuckling his safety belt. "EVERYTHING in the future is recyclable."
Lisa followed Fry into the galley, where he opened up a can of Slurm and handed it to her. He watched her take a sip.
"What do you think?"
"Hmmm...flavorful...not without its truculent charm and...oh! I want more!"
"Woah, finish the can you have!" Lisa swallowed the entire thing in four gulps, and Fry handed her second can.
This one Lisa nursed. "You seem really comfortable with someone from the twentieth century."
"Yeah, that's because I came from there."
Lisa's shock required an explanation, and when Fry finished completely telling his story, she seemed dazed.
"You're your own grandfather?"
And then she started to laugh. Laugh until Fry sheepishly hung his head.
"I'm so sorry; I'm afraid I've allowed my lack of composure to get the best of me." Lisa covered her mouth. "I'm sure it's the shock to have come all of this way, and to be living among so many strange and fascinating beings. My manners are much better than this, I swear."
Fry wasn't listening to Lisa any more.
She noticed who he had been watching and smiled wisely. "You like Leela?"
"Ssh!" He pressed his finger to her mouth. "She doesn't want me to pressure her!"
Lisa dodged his finger. "But you'd rather pine for her at a distance?"
"She won't let me do anything else," he said glumly. "I married her, I chopped off my own hands for her, and she won't give me the time of day!"
Lisa winced. She was reminded, uncomfortably, of the way Milhouse felt about her. "Surely there has to be a way to see if she likes you."
"It's hopeless. She's still seeing other guys." Fry shrugged.
"We'll see about that," said Lisa. She licked her lips, finding a bit of Slurm left behind, she reached to wipe her mouth with her arm, then thought better of it. "Are there any napkins here?"
Fry scanned the countertops, then began to dig his hands through the contents of his jacket pockets. "I think I have one in here somewh..." He trailed off as he pulled something out of his pocket. He unfolded what appeared to be a thin piece of cardboard and simply looked at it, his thumb resting in a delicate way at the sides of the card.
Lisa jumped up and down, to see what was so interesting to Fry. When she saw what it was, surprise curled through her. "A basketball card?" Lisa wondered.
"I forgot that I had this," Fry explained, almost to himself. Larry Bird smiled beneath his touch, and Fry stroked the slick surface of the card, as though it were only some mirage. "All of these years..."
"It must be worth a lot of money."
Fry came out of his revierie. "I can't sell it. It's my brother's."
"You have a brother?"
"Yeah; he's older than me...well, not any more," Fry struggled visibly with his emotions. "We used to fight when we were kids, because he always wanted to copy me."
"He named his son after me."
The words had mighty resonance. "You never got to see him again, did you?"
Fry shook his head.
"Have you...ever wanted to?"
"Since the Professor showed us we could go through time." He shook his head. 'No, I couldn't do it. Leela told me that it would mess everything up. I don't even want to think about it anymore." He stuffed the card back into his pocket. "Do you have a brother?"
"His name is Bart."
"Do you miss him?"
Lisa shrugged. "He's probably descended directly from a tribe of chimpanzees, but I love him."
"Yeah. He probably misses you a lot. That's why you should-"
They both jumped as the electronic door opened.
"Will you jerkwads sit down?" Bender asked. "We're landin' in five minutes!"
Could it really have been an hour since she started drinking Slurm? In the future, Lisa supposed, time held no real meaning.
Fry allowed her to pass into the main cabin before shutting off the light.
Marge stared resolutely into the face of the recently-appointed hospital administrator, Lindsay Naegle. The woman had surfaced from the interrogation of Clancy Wiggums with nary a hair out of place. Lisa had been missing for a full ten hours, and no leads had turned up.
"You understand that Lisa's disappearance was beyond our control. Hospital security was optimal, and the security cameras in the hallways show no sign of an abduction."
"That's horse pucky!" Marge bit out.
"Marge!" Homer gasped.
"Well, it is! There must be something somewhere on some tapes!"
"Mrs. Simpson, I understand you're upset." Lindsay smiled, acid in her tone. "The hospital is willing to offer you free medical care, should you choose to have another child." She slid a book of coupons across the table.
"I don't want another baby. I want my daughter!" Marge exclaimed, exiting the room.
Homer took the book of coupons the woman had offered him. "Three bucks off a hair transplant! Woo-hoo!" he said obliviously, exiting behind his wife.