It was a beautiful summer day, and the streets were crowded as Fry rushed out through the new doors of Planet Express (not so new, he reminded himself) and onto the street. He blinked in the bright sunlight, then shrunk back, glancing left and right to see if he could spot a ponytail. He felt nothing at the moment, except a desperate, urgent need to find Bender. He darted down the street, past large swarms of creatures of all manner of limbs, colors, and feelers. The one thing they all had in common is that they did not seem to realize that Fry’s life had just ended.
He had been in denial that he had vanished for a year, but twenty seconds of looking at Leela’s unmasked hatred of him had ripped through all his deliberate ignorance and now he found himself almost sprinting down the street looking for answers. Well, more like jogging now.
And Leela. She had been mad at him before, but when she had lost her temper it had always been a short tempest, and there had always been a layer of affection even in her worst toungelashings, which invariably contained more disappointment and resignation than anger. But this—this, was something new. He was scared of her now. And he didn’t even know what for or why.
He was walking and sweating as the Robot Arms apartments came into view, and up ahead he saw Bender doing his pimp walk toward the entrance.
The pimp walk became more of a pimp run, but Fry managed to place a hand on Bender’s shoulder, or what would have been a shoulder on a human, before Bender reached the door.
“Do-be-do-bee-doIdontseeyousoldyourstuff,” sang the robot, pulled forward away from Fry’s hand, and closed the entrance door. Fry heard the door lock, and pressed his face against the clear plastic and banged with his fists to try to attract the robot back. But Bender just jived on up the stairs.
When Bender reached his apartment, he walked to his window, looked below and watched Fry run his head into a brick wall.
10001111100111001memory address 100101000…
Now this was what every day should be like! A Bender is great day! Two flooziebots, one on each arm, telling him things he already knew, but it was good to have it spelled out for the stupid ones out there.
“Bender, honey, you’re the greatest! No other robot could throw a party like you can!”
“Tell me something I don’t know, baby! How about a little Ole Fortran for ya?”
Huge barrels of his favorite beer lay scattered across the room, as robots danced at a 60 Hz rhythm to a song written by yours truly.
The robo DJ shouted, “Do the Bender, everybody! (Yeah!) Do the Bender every way!(Yeah!) Do the Bend but don’t break, ‘cause if you break you’re a pathetic loser who’s not like Bender!(Yeah!)”
Oil jets suddenly squirted from the walls and the dancing robots waved their arms/probes/chainsaws in the air. Bender shook some oil off a Zuban cigar before lighting up. A small fireball enveloped him and the floozibots, but burned away quickly. Oh yeah, tastes good like an oil-soaked cigar should.
His pet was in front of him, slipping a little on the floor, smiling.
“Oh hey, Bender, this is amazing. Sorry I can’t stay.”
“Hmm?” said Bender, distracted by the voltage arcing from the floozibots.
“I’m leaving for a long time. Don’t know when I’ll be back.”
“OK, be sure to pick up some more beer for me at the mart.”
“No, I mean I’m leaving town. For a long time. This is goodbye.”
He had not precomputed this probability scenario. He swiveled his eyes onto Fry. His human pet looked much the same as usual, except he had a backpack on.
“Not that I care, but you’re leaving just like that? I thought you were still trying to network with bossy big boots-“
“Yeah, things didn’t quite go as I planned-“
“She was Linux, you MS-DOS?”
“Uh, sure. Anyway I thought I would leave and see a bit more of the universe, so I’ve packed up all my things.”
“Good idea. Let’s ditch these losers and see what other pockets can be picked in the galaxy!”
“You don’t understand, Bender. You can’t come with me. I’m going some places you can’t go. I’m trying to forget some things, and I think there are some places that can help.”
“You mean—you don’t want me to come?”
“No, not that! But do you know how many warrants for your arrest are out there?”
“Well, no one tells Bender what he can do! I’m coming too!”
“Tell you what. I’ll pay you not to come after me.”
Well, that changed everything.
“A dollar a week. It’ll go right into your account.”
Bender pumped his fist in the air. Everything’s coming up Bender again! Money for no work! He had learned a lot from humans. Someday he would learn all he needed from them, and then he could kill them all.
“So there’s the deal. If you don’t look for me, and don’t try to talk to me, you get one dollar a week. As long as that money keeps coming, I’m not here.”
“Yeah, I got it the first time. So do I get paid now?”
“Just a moment.” Fry pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Bender, who glanced at it and stuffed it into his chest. “I’m hoping to visit this place, but to go there I need to give that letter to someone close to me. That’s you.”
Bender supposed that this would be a tender moment among humans, but the floozibots were flashing their LEDs suggestively. He replayed his request.
“So do I get paid now?”
His former roommate then fished a dollar coin out of his pocket and flipped it to him, who held it up to the light to make sure that Nixon was growling at him from the coin face. The Nixon dollar was the two-hundred and fifty-first attempt by the Earthican government to produce a dollar coin, and for some reason it still looked like a quarter.
“I was never here. Bye, buddy. Go ahead and sell what I don’t take of my stuff, and have a drink on me.”
“Hey baby, do you hear something? Because I don’t.”
“Just those askin’ for you, honey. Bender, don’t you see we’re lonely over here?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s going to end right now!”
And with that Bender threw his head back and poured the entire contents of an Olde Fortran bottle down his mouth. But even though the beer was great, the floozies were great, and he was the life of the party, for fifty milliseconds he noticed a glitch in his processing capacities. His human pet was leaving, and there seemed to be some residual capacitance in his pleasure processors. Well, the money would take care of that.
It was the greatest party he had ever thrown. And yet he rarely downloaded the memory. In fact it was a memory sequence he sometimes considered erasing from storage…
Bender watched Fry on the street as he remotely accessed Fry’s account. And there it was—this week’s payment. And as long as the payments kept coming, Bender would hold up his part of the deal.
But it was so sad how his first and only friend kept hitting his head on the wall….