Dusk. When you're running there seems to be a deadly air to it. I can hear
the sirens and shouts behind me. I run harder, faster, trying to gain some distance
on my pursuers. There had been a hard rain a few hours ago; the trees still dripping
water. Even though I'm getting wet, I couldn't ask for a quieter getaway. The
wet leaves won't give away my position. The sounds of my pursuers come closer.
I'm going to have to stash this somewhere, because I'll be caught soon and this
is more important than I am. They've made me a fugitive, saying I stole their
property. They're lying, but they're a powerful corporation. Who are the police
more likely to believe? I found a big tree, with a space carved inside. I stashed
it in there and covered the hiding place with leaves. Then I continued to run.
I screamed out as I felt a dart burrow its way into my back. I fell to my knees,
then crashed to the ground, stomach first. My sight becomes blurred and sleep
begins to overtake me, but I manage to see the form of my pursuers before succumbing
to the powerful sleep drug.
A hour later
There was a knock at the door. "Come in," the gruff voice said in a demanding tone. The man sitting in the chair with his back to the door hears the door open and close. He sighed deeply as the footsteps approached the desk. "Report Travers."
The skinny brown-haired man twitched at the sound of irritation in the man's
voice. His hands gripped the folder tightly. He knew how Smith hated to be disappointed.
He laid the file on Smith's desk and with his now free hands, wiped his glasses
off. "Well, sir, we tried our best, but we weren't able to recover the book."
"Damn it, Travers! I give you a real job and you blow it!"
"I'm sorry, sir, but we did capture the fugitive. I'm sure we can get him to
Smith sighed exasperatedly. "It won't do any good. He'll never talk."
"Why not, sir?"
"In his eyes, that book is more important than his own life."
"Wow indeed." Smith grabbed the case file and threw it up in the air. He turned
to Travers and threw him up against the wall. "Now, you listen to me," he yelled,
"find that book or else. Understand?"
"Yes, sir!" Travers strangled out.
"Good!" Smith released him.
"Sir, if you don't mind my asking, can't we just run with the program anyway?"
"No, Travers. In order for the program to be successful, we have to destroy
THE GROENING JOURNALS
"Why is the book so important, sir?"
"It's a long story, Travers, but it begins with a man by the name of Matt Groening."
"Isn't he the creator of the popular cartoon show known as The Simpsons?"
"I'm impressed, Travers. You know your people."
"Well, it's one of the reasons you hired me, sir."
"Yes, so I did. Well, let me finish my story."
It all began about 13 years ago. We were a small television network back then.
We had just begun to add on programs. Then we came up with the idea of putting
subliminal messages in our shows. In order to see if it was going to work, we
need a fresh new program. It was around this time that Groening came to us and
pitched his idea of a cartoon centered on a wacky family. It was like our prayers
had been answered. We immediately accepted his idea and named the project after
the show that started it. It was called The S.I.M.P.S.O.N.S. Project.
"The S.I.M.P.S.O.N.S. Project?" Travers asked, with a confused tone.
"The Super Impressionable Minds Programmed by Subliminals On New Shows Project," Smith explained.
"Ah, thank you, sir."
"As per the project's name, we put subliminal message in all of our new shows,
but The Simpsons remained our main transmitter of such messages. We started
out small, with messages geared toward creating a fan base. Then we gradually
expanded our control. We were to take complete control on March 1999 with a message
that told viewers to obey the FOX Corporation. It was to be repeated during the
entire Simpsons episode. A few weeks before the doomsday episode was to air, Groening
pitched a new show to us. We accepted the show as a means to attract other viewers
to the Simpsons. We advertised the heck out of it and showed it before The
Simpsons, with the reasoning that people would stay tuned to watch The
"That makes sense."
"Yes, so we thought. After we ran the show, we noticed that our test group began to reject their programming from the Simpsons. To avoid a worldwide uprising, we halted the showing of the doomsday episode and played another episode. After extensive study of the new show, we discovered subliminal messages that made people aware of the programming in the Simpsons and accept the new show. Groening had known about our plan and had created a deprogramming show he called Project Freeing Unconsciousness Through Undoing Ramifications Against Minds Affronted or Project F.U.T.U.R.A.M.A."
"What is the importance of The Groening Journals in all of this, sir?"
"The Groening Journals is rumored to contain Futurama's past,
present, and future. If we destroy the book, we destroy Futurama."
"But, sir, wouldn't it be easier to cancel the series?"
"No, it has a huge fan following. If we canceled it, there would be a huge boycott on our network. We've been trying to counter the effects by not advertising it. It can't get new fans if they don't know it's there."
"I see. Can't we just have the programming in the Simpsons tell the fans not
to like Futurama anymore?"
"No good. Groening has been making bad episodes and the Futurama fans
can now see the messages encoded within. God, the episode where we tried to use
subliminals to have people join the Navy was a complete disaster."
"So how is destroying the book going to be more effective?"
"Supposedly, if we destroy the book, Futurama will never exist and we
won't have to halt the doomsday Simpsons episode."
"I see. How long do I have to find it?"
"We managed to push back the premiere of Futurama until December 9th.
You, however, have one week."
"The premiere is two months away!"
"Exactly! I want Futurama wiped from existence A.S.A.P.!"
"Yes, sir!" Travers hurried out of the office.
Smith smiled. He liked these newbies. They were always eager to please.
Meanwhile at the Robot Arms Apartments
Fry sat up in bed and yawned. All of a sudden, something hit his head. "Ow!"
he said, rubbing his head. "Hey what's this?" He picked up the book he assumed
was responsible for his concussion. It was dark brown with felt gold lettering.
"The Groening Journals," Fry read aloud. He flipped it open to the first
page and began to read. "Philip J. Fry had responded to a prank call for
some pizza to be delivered to The Applied Cryogenics Lab. Realizing it had been
a joke; he sat down with a soda to celebrate the coming of the New Year. As New
York counted down to midnight, Fry's chair began to wobble. As the countdown neared
one, he fell into the open chamber and the door closed on him, freezing him for
1,000 years." Fry looked up. What the heck is this? Someone had documented that
He flipped to the middle of the book where he read "What the heck is this? Someone had documented that fateful night?" Fry dropped the book in shock. "This is weird," he thought to himself. He picked up the book and put it on the shelf.
"Come on, skintube! We're late for work!" Bender shouted.
"Since when do you care about work?"
"Since the TV broke and the only way to watch All My Circuits is at
"Why wasn't I informed?"
"You were busy watching reruns of I Love Leela in your head."
"Oh, that could be it."
"Yak, yak. Less talking, more moving!" Bender shoved Fry out the door.
"I'm going! I'm going!"
Meanwhile somewhere in the woods
Travers had been looking for the book for quite sometime, but wasn't having any luck.
"Stupid lousy job. No one at that company even knows I exist, except for Mr.
This was true. All Travers really did was spy on the other departments for Smith. He had an office that was no bigger than Smith's bathroom. This was due in part because it was Smith's bathroom. He couldn't complain about the pay though. He was being paid close to the amount that Smith was paid. That was the only reason he stayed on.
Travers' cellphone rang.
"Hello, this is Travers."
"Are you close to finding the book, Travers?" Smith practically whispered.
"Uh, not yet, sir."
"Well, find it soon!"
"Yes, sir." Travers hung up the cellphone and continued walking.
"Stupid job, whoa!" Travers fell to the ground. He looked around and realized he'd tripped over a tree root. He stood up to brush himself off and accidentally knocked away the leaves covering the hole in the tree. "Hello, what have we here?" He reached in and saw his hand disappear from view. He pulled back in alarm. Then realization dawned on him. He pulled out his cellphone and hit redial. "Hello? Sir, good news! I may have found it. I'm going to need some equipment though."
"What will you need?"
"Just a bulldozer strong enough to push a tree from its roots."
Back at Planet Express
"For the last time, Fry, no I don't want to go out with you," Leela angrily
"The last few times we tried to have a relationship, it ended up a disaster."
"No, it didn't! You just never gave me a chance. When I had worms and got rid of them to see where your heart lies, out the door I went. When the time skips happened and we got married, two seconds later we were divorced."
"Look, Fry, I understand where you're coming from, but I'm not ready for a
"Oh, but you'll gladly go to bed with pompous windbags and shape-shifters." Fry received a sharp smack.
"How dare you say that!" She stomped off to the docking area
Fry just sat there, holding a hand up to caress his stinging cheek. "What is wrong with me? I know she didn't do those things gladly." Fry continued to mull over this in his head until the end of the workday.
"Fry, it's 5:30, go home!" Hermes shouted.
"Huh? Oh. Sure Hermes." Fry walked outside and took in a deep breath of fresh
air. He decided to take one of the travel tubes. He wanted to get home quickly
tonight. He approached the tubes, stated his destination and was sucked into the
tube. He whizzed along looking at the blur of a landscape. Then, he was deposited
in front of the apartment. He rubbed his butt to ease the pain of slamming onto
the pavement; he still hadn't gotten the hang of landing on his feet, but you
couldn't beat the speed of getting home.
Fry walked into his closet bedroom and sighed. He fell onto the bed with a
heavy thump, causing the dark brown book to fall from the shelf. Fry noticed this
and picked it up. He flipped back to the first page and saw for the first time
that it was written in pencil. He took a pencil and erased the first few lines.
Then he started to write in some new words. "Philip J. Fry was a freak according
to some because he only had one eye. The only job he could get was as a pizza
boy." He finished the sentence and sighed. He didn't really know why he had done
that. "Probably because she'd only love me if I were a cyclops like her."
He sighed again and went to sleep.
"Fry, it's time to wake up," a feminine voice said.
"Aww, I don't want to get
up?" Fry jolted awake and looked up to see Amy's smiling face.
"Morning sleepyhead!" she giggled out.
"Ahhhhhhhhhh!" Fry jumped out of bed. "What are you doing in my apartment,
and you're naked?"
"I think you mean our house and we always, ya know, at night."
"What?" Fry put his hands on head and shock and felt something different. He ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror and discovered he only had one eye!
"Honey, what's wrong?"
Fry whipped around to see Amy behind him. "Honey? What are you talking about? Oh no!" At that moment, he'd caught a glimpse of Amy's hand. It had a wedding band on it.
"Are you sick again, sweetie?"
"Kind of. Could you do me a favor and pretend that I forgot everything that's happened since I was unfrozen and tell me what happened?"
"OK. Well, the first person you met was Leela. She was quite infatuated with
you. She just couldn't bear to give you your job assignment as a pizza delivery
boy. She helped you to escape and you both came to work at Planet Express. You
guys went out for a while, and it looked like you two were going to get married,
when you guys went on a rescue mission to Vergon 6 and by accident met Zapp Brannigan
and Kif. Leela wound up sleeping with Zapp by accident. Kif was there to comfort
her, and she liked that. She dumped you soon afterward and started dating Kif.
This November will mark their one year anniversary of being married."
Amy went on, ignoring the screaming Fry. "Well, after you guys broke up, I confessed my secret crush on you. You were touched and we started going out. After a few months, you proposed to me and I accepted. Now we've been married for a few months."
Fry barely heard her. He was already out the door, running in the directions
of the travel tubes. He had to see if it was true. He shouted out his destination
to the tubes and found himself delivered there within minutes. He began to pound
on the door until Leela answered. "Hey, Fry. What's up?"
"Please tell me it's not true. Please tell me you're not married to Kif."
"Now, Fry, I know you're still upset that I chose Kif over you, but you don't
have to act like it's the end of the world."
"It is the end of the world, MY world!"
"Oh Fry." She reached out and touched his cheek. "I wish you wouldn't take it so hard. Amy's a great catch."
"No, I've got to fix this!" Fry took off down the street in the direction of Amy's apartment. He didn't remember ever running so fast in his life. When he reached Amy's apartment, a playful Amy tackled him from behind. After several failed attempts to remove her from his body, he gave up and engaged in making out with her. After she had fallen asleep, Fry slid off of her and began to search for the book. He threw things around in hopes of recovering the lost book. When he finally lay his hands upon it, he began to erase the first two lines he had written and substituted them for the original words. When he was finished, he shut the book and took one last look at the present he'd created before it vanished from view.
"So, let me get this straight. You want me to bull-doze this tree without knowing
why?" the burly man behind the bulldozer inquired.
"That's right," Travers replied. "That's not a problem is it?"
"No, just seems like a curious order is all." The man started the machine and butted the tree. Then he backed up and tried again, this time succeeding in knocking the tree down. In doing this, a big hole was revealed.
"I've found it!" Travers exclaimed.
"Found what?" the burly man asked. He had climbed out of the cab to take a look at what he had uncovered.
"A portal, you fool! A doorway to another dimension."
"Okay, mister, you've lost it."
"No I haven't, in fact I can still save it!"
"Your mind? It's a bit too late for that."
"NO! My job."
"Well, I'm gonna go now." The man ran off like a bat out of hell.
"Go on, coward! I'm going to change the world!" He jumped into the hole and
Fry woke up with a start. His hands flew to his face to feel two eyes once again. Everything was normal again. He found the book next to him. He bent down and picked it up, looking curiously at it. "What kind of book are you?" he asked. The book, of course, did not answer. "This book must have the power to change my life. Last time didn't work out so well. I wonder if it would work if I wrote my needs clearly enough."
He opened the book again and skimmed the pages. He took the pencil in hand again and began to write. As soon as he was done, there was a knock at the door. He opened it to reveal Leela in a skimpy see-through nightgown. Her hair was let down and she struck a sexy pose before the shocked Fry. She wore a look of utter desire and wanton that scared Fry. "Okay Fry, last chance. Amy or me?"
"What do you mean? Of course, I choose you!"
"Too bad I don't believe you. I thought our life was perfect, but then I find
you in a lip lock session with Amy." She held up Amy's head in a jar. Amy looked
scared. "I've taken care of her. Now, as for you, if I can't have you, no one
will!" She pulled out a gun and pointed it at Fry.
"I thought you were crazy about me?"
"I am, but I won't let anyone else have you." Her finger trembled on the trigger. Fry used this split second to narrowly dodge death. He raced toward the door, causing her to miss again, and ran out of the apartment.
Travers landed with a thud on the concrete. He slowly picked himself up and looked around. Everything looked surreal and had a cartoony look to it. He looked rather pleased with himself. He had crossed between dimensions. Now he had to finish his job.
He noticed that he stuck out like a sore thumb, being real. So he found a store
and brought some cartoon clothes. He hurried out with his purchases before the
shopkeeper noticed the money wasn't real for this world. He quickly stepped into
a deserted alleyway, dressed and merged with the crowd. He wore the FBI style
coat and glasses and walked like a man on a mission. Soon, he was gone, off in
search of the book.
Fry had found a safe place to hide for now. He sat cowering in the corner of a comic store. He whipped the book out to see what possibly could have gone wrong. His fingers singled out the changed paragraph and he began to read.
Leela knew she was crazy about Fry, and one day decided she was going to
tell him. She called Fry and asked him to come to the apartment for an emergency
meeting of the crew. Fry, upon arriving, was quite surprised to find he was the
only one there. The door slammed shut behind him and he turned to see Leela in
a dress that could seduce a man to do anything.
"Fry," she whispered, "I love you."
Fry trembled. "I've been waiting so long to hear that."
Leela smiled. "I've been waiting just as long to say it." She grabbed Fry, dragged him into the bedroom, and pushed him backwards onto the bed. She climbed on top of him, lowered her head and
"Hey buddy, can't you read? The sign says Cowering Corner - five bucks for
five minutes." Fry snapped up from his reading and paid the nerdy guy five bucks.
"Thank you!" Fry grumbled, the guy had made him lose his place. He began reading
the open page.
As the weeks went on, Fry noticed that Leela was terribly possessive and
extremely jealous when other girls looked at him. He was not happy and related
his troubles to Amy, who was sympathetic. They eventually found themselves in
a lip-lock session, hidden in the closet. The door swung open, and the two immediately
made excuses for their scandalous positions to a shocked Leela. She relented in
her profanity-laced tirade directed at Amy, appearing to believe them.
"Which brings me back to where I am," Fry muttered to himself. He looked up
to see the revenge-bent Leela searching for him. "This is my fault. I made her
a love-crazy psychopath." He attempted to sneak past her, in order to leave without
incident. He was just a few inches shy of the exit, when he bumped into a guy
with a trench coat and sunglasses. He apologized quickly and tried to leave, but
the mysterious person prevented him from doing so.
"What are you reading?" the mystery man inquired.
"Well, son, I'm with the FBI. We've been alerted that there's a dangerous book floating around. My orders were to find this book and destroy it."
"Why is it so dangerous?"
"Well, I'm sorry, but I haven't seen any of those kinds of books."
"I don't believe you. The book's description matches the one you're carrying."
"Well, I guess there's only one thing to say. HEY, LEELA! THIS GUY'S GONNA KILL ME BEFORE YOU DO!"
Leela's head whipped in the direction Fry was yelling. She became enraged.
No one was going to rob her of her revenge. She ran with her gun pointed ahead
and attempted to shoot the man confronting Fry. Travers ducked the death beam.
He whipped around to ask Fry why this maniac was shooting at him, but Fry was
gone. "I'm not getting paid enough to do this," he muttered. He then took off,
with Leela in hot pursuit.
Fry panted heavily as he came to a stop. "Ok, let's see where I stand," he
said aloud. "I've got an FBI spy guy after me and the love of my life is now a
basket case." He looked at the book he was holding. "At least I can fix one thing."
He took out his pencil and erased the words he'd written and replaced them with
the original. He felt a wave of dizziness and shook his head. "OK, I think I've
learned not to mess with this book. Everything I do to it turns out wrong anyway."
He felt a laser gun shoved into his back.
"How nice," Travers sneered, "you learn something and I get something. Hand over the book."
"No, kill me if you want, but I won't give you the book. You'll do bad things with it,"
"My, my, such bravery! Well you might be willing to give your life for
the book, but what about hers?" He shoved Leela into view and pointed another
gun to her head. "She's pretty, you've got good taste, kid. If you don't hand
over the book, you won't get to date her 'cause she'll be dead."
"All right, here." Fry looked dejected as he tossed Travers the book.
"Thanks kid! Here's your girl." He shoved Leela toward Fry and took off.
"Are you OK?" Fry asked.
"I'm a little dizzy, but all right. What did that guy want?"
"Nothing too important. Let's get you back to the apartment."
Leela, although confused, allowed herself to be guided home.
Travers barged into Smith's office and slapped the book onto his boss' desk.
"I got it, sir!"
Smith looked joyous as he reached for it. "Finally, what took you so long?"
Travers snatched the book from Smith's reach. "Not so fast. First there's
the matter of a promotion."
"Oh, nothing big, I was thinking Fox's head executive."
"Head executive? That's
"Your job?" Travers finished.
"If you think you're taking my job. Think again!"
"That's where you're wrong, sir. I've alerted police to your little mind control
project and everyone will accept me as the guy in charge, thanks to your little
mind control project. Every Fox employee is required to watch the boring orientation
"You little sh-" At that moment the police burst in and restrained Smith, slapping handcuffs on him.
"Sir! I've been nothing but loyal to you, why do you attack me now?" He smiled
as Smith was led away. He sat down in the comfy chair and propped his feet up.
"Ah, life is good." There was a knock at the door. "Enter!" he called out.
A blonde wearing a business suit poked her head in the door. Her eyes had a vacant look to them. It was the kind of look that said there was space to rent upstairs, an effect of the mind control. "Mr. Travers, I'm Miss Nicole, your new secretary. Do you require anything?"
"Yes, I do, Miss Nicole." He tossed her the book. "Sell this book, please,
I have no need of it anymore." Miss Nicole nodded and left the room.. Travers
picked up the phone. "Yes, Mr. Groening, the FOX Corporation has decided not to
renew Futurama. We'll be keeping The Simpsons. I'm sorry, we gave
it the best chances and it just didn't work. Goodbye." Travers smiled. It was
only a matter of time. Soon he would be master of the world.
Unknown to Travers, however, The Groening Journals were bouncing around
from owner to owner. The book quickly found new homes, as people realized the
value of what they had. Its newest owner happened to be a fanfiction writer who
had purchased the expensive tome, in hopes of getting new ideas. Also unknown
to Travers was the fact that his entire adventure had been recorded in the book.
The writer had heard through a reliable source that the show had been cancelled.
Knowing this, he smiled. It was far from over. He'd use his talents as a writer
to tell the book's story and stop Fox's evil plot. It may take a while, but he
had patience and he knew this way he could gather an army of fans. He turned on
his laptop and began to type.
Fox was going down.