All Rodents Lead To Home
By Stephen Beer
EXT. PLANET EXPRESS BUILDING DAY
(A USPS@hotmail.com truck pulls away from the Planet Express building.)
INT. PLANET EXPRESS LOUNGE DAY
(Fry is sitting in chair in front of the fire channel, his back to everyone, reading Reader's Digest Digest. The Professor and Hermes are quietly talking, Bender is relaxing. Leela enters.)
Leela: Mail call. Let's see… "Whores and Ammo" for Bender.
Bender: My two favorite parts of the 2nd Amendment.
Leela: "Crankhead" for the Professor.
Professor: Ooo, an interview with Tony Randall.
Leela: You mean Tony Randall's Head?
Leela: (to Hermes, motioning to Fry in the chair) Who's that?
Hermes: See for yourself.
(Leela walks over to Fry and gasps, amazed to see that he's actually reading.)
Leela: You!? You're…reading? You read, period?
Fry: What can I say, I like a magazine that panders to my quarter-second attention span.
Leela: Ooo, "pander." Sounds like it's helping your vocabulary too.
Fry: Sorry, what? I wasn't paying attention.
Leela: Well, that explains this envelope from them…I'm sure you forgot to pay your bill.
(Fry opens the envelope.)
Fry: Yes! I'm in!
(Leela, Professor, and Hermes gather around.)
Fry: (continuing) See, this magazine will pay you for a "Humor in The Military" story. So I sent one in for when Bender and I were in the army.
Bender: (suddenly interested) Bender?
(Bender crowds in with the rest around Fry.)
Leela: What'd you write?
Fry: (reading) "My friend, one time, he was on a planet, and if he said 'ass' he'd explode, and it was funny." Wow, their editors really know how to pad these things.
Hermes: So how much money did you get that you'll never remember to report to our beloved IRS.
Fry: 400 bucks. From what I sent them, that's like a hundred bucks a word.
Professor: Well, Fry, let's not forget what my dear Uncle Preston used to say. "When you get a fat roll, make with grub or I'll slap the grin right off ya."
(Everyone looks at him strangely.)
Professor: "P. Uncky" had rhythm.
All except Professor: (understanding) Ohhhh!
Fry: Then it's settled, lunch for my friends.
(Zoidberg races into the room.)
Zoidberg: Did someone say free food for Zoidberg?
Fry: There's a little leather left on some shoes I threw in the dumpster yesterday.
Zoidberg: And maybe some gum too! It's mine, it's mine, everybody back!
(Zoidberg races out of room.)
Fry: Now, lunch for my friends.
EXT. OF FAST FOOD RESTAURANT McKINGDY'S WAY DAY
(Fry, Professor, Bender, Leela, and Hermes are sitting on the patio.)
Fry: You know, I think I'm nearly pretty much close to fully getting used to the future.
Professor: The present, dingus.
Fry: Yea, right, the present dingus. I mean, my friends are all deathly old, or robots, or mutants, or cannabis-based. I fly around every day in a spaceship, visit alien worlds, and make-out with Typhodian virus women. Life couldn't be much better. Still… (He tosses some crumbs to the street owls and sighs) The only thing wrong with New New York is that it doesn't have rats. Sure, the owls are great, but when I think of New York, I think of my cuddly, greasy little pals. Whatever happened to them?
Hermes: He doesn't know?
(They all stare at Fry for a few seconds, and he shakes his head.)
Bender: You're finger-licking them right now.
(Fry stares at his plate. It looks like a normal half-eaten hamburger.)
Hermes: Well, there goes the vocabulary.
Leela: Everything's made of rat. Has been for 200 years.
Fry: But the signs at all the restaurants say "100 percent beef."
Leela: Sure, 100 percent rat beef.
Fry: And chicken nuggets…?
Leela: Chicken nuggets made from rat meat.
Fry: (scared) And Rocky Mountain Spotted Oysters?
Leela: Don't worry, they're still made from sheep testicles.
Fry: (relieved) Whew! At least they didn't touch my sheep testicles.
Bender: No one would, pal.
Fry: (annoyed) So you guys just swept up all the rats with an electrified broom and boiled them into hamburgers? And then just dropped owls from the sky with parachutes on them?
Professor: (loud and pointing menacingly at Fry) Wrong! (back to normal, smiling) You see, precious Fry, the owls not only replaced the rats, but those horrible pigeons too.
(All at the table except for Fry shiver at the thought.)
Professor: It all started in 2809. The rats, jealous of the attention pigeons were getting on the street, all came to the surface. For years, rats and pigeons contested to be the preferred street pet of New New York. Both animals tried to be more and more appreciated by the humans, so they redoubled their efforts to impress mankind. Pigeons crapped more, especially on peoples' heads. The rats imported every disease they could find. But alas, the expressions of affection by both animals only angered the humans more. War were declared. Scientists worked tirelessly for years trying to find a way to eradicate those damned pigeon-birds once and for all. They tried disease, they tried genetic engineering, and they tried crapping right back on the birds' heads. Finally, the super-scientists realized that poo-poo wasn't the ultimate weapon…it was P.P.: Pigeon Pox! This glorious disease killed most of them worldwide within days. Squads with Alka-Seltzer bottles took care of the rest…
Fry: (short pause) And the rats?
Professor: The rats we smacked with boards.
Leela: Except for two ultra-clean rats we saved to preserve the species.
Professor: Oh, but our hubris! Guess what mooing animal Pigeon Pox also happened to kill.
(The Professor draws on his PDA a rough drawing of a cow and holds it up in a Memento poster pose. While he's holding it, the PDA interprets the image and it morphs into a photo of a cow.)
Leela: With moocows gone, a "Survivor" contestant suggested we breed the rats to replace them. And from those rats came every tasty bite that's on your tray.
Bender: Which becomes every bit that comes out of your pasty white…
Professor: (interrupting) Soon after, a public vote was held to determine which creature should be our new street pet. It was a tight race between the Screaming Cockroaches and the Flightless Owls. The Cockroaches won the popular vote, but in the electoral college...well, you know the rest… (he gestures to the owls eating the crumbs on the sidewalk)
(Cut to Fry looking dumb.)
(Cut to Professor.)
Professor: Dammit, Fry, I'm not drawing you a picture this time.
(Cut to Fry looking dumb and pleading.)
(Cut to Professor slapping down his PDA and drawing on it.)
(He draws a picture of three owls jumping up and down, cheering.)
(Cut to Fry, stupefied.)
(Cut to Professor. His PDA has interpreted the image and added simple animation to it. The owls are now jumping Tagamachi style.)
(Cut to Fry, still not understanding.)
(Cut to Professor.)
Fry: Well, um, where do they raise all these food-rats, anyway?
Leela: After the famous "screw it, you're getting owls" speech given by the mayor, it was agreed that the rats would only be raised in the last place anyone would want to visit…South South Dakota.
Fry: There's no South South Dakota!
Professor: (mumbling) Gonna start charging for these history lessons, yo. (regular voice) Actually, darling doofus, after the success of New New York's name change, Nebraska changed its name to South South Dakota. If only a simple name change would have worked for North Oklahoma…
(All except Fry bow his or her head in sorrow.)
Fry: (whispering to Leela) North Oklahoma?
Leela: (whispering back) Kansas.
Professor: We gave it to the flies…
Fry: So I have to go all the way to South South Dakota just to see some rats?
Leela: Would it make you feel better if we went to visit The Farm?
Fry: (perking up) You know, I'd like that. Who else wants to go?
Professor: Good news for me, everyone. It's Tuesday and I own you 'till Friday. We can visit The Farm on the weekend, when Hermes is busy doing the surprise invasion-of-privacy locker checks.
Fry: (standing proudly) And then I get to visit the true heirs of New New York's gutter. (Fry falls over, as his shoelaces have been tied together.) Hey, who did that?
(The owls innocently go on about their business, searching for scraps.)
EXT. FOUR DAYS LATER. SHIP FLYING SOUTHEAST TO SOUTH SOUTH DAKOTA DAY
INTERIOR OF SHIP DAY
(Leela is piloting, Fry is watching out the window. Professor is arguing with his PDA. Bender is enjoying the Professor's copy of "Crankhead." )
Bender: (to himself) Ooo, good pointers.
Leela: Fry, except for being a connection to the century you didn't really enjoy anyway, why such an interest in nature's dirty needle?
Fry: If I tell you, you'll all laugh at me.
Bender: …but if you're lucky we'll do it in front of your back this time.
Fry: Well, when I was growing up I kept two rats as pets in my basement. They were from the same litter, so I called them Cain and Abel. Then Abel ate Cain…even I didn't see that coming. But I still loved Abel, and once, when I was lost in the dryer, Abel was the one who showed me the way out. And then he went off to college and he never wrote and I never heard from him again.
Bender: (short pause) I thought you said this was a funny story.
Professor: Very true, Bender. That story wasn't funny at all.
Fry: No! I said you'd laugh at me.
Leela: We'll have to wait for that… we're here.
EXT. SHIP FLYING OVER SOUTH SOUTH DAKOTA DAY
(It's easy to tell when they hit the border of South South Dakota. There are so many rats that it looks like a snowy television screen.)
(We see Fry looking out the window.)
Fry: Leela, why does the ground move?
(The ship gets lower to the ground. Distinct buildings and pens become visible and go on a far as the eye can see.)
Fry: It's huge. How many animals does this farm keep?
Leela: Just one. That's all we need.
(The ship lands in front of a large sign. The Rat King logo is an overhead, silhouetted view of four rats with tails to each other, and they have intertwined DNA strands for tails. The rest of the sign reads "Rat King, Inc. Welcome to Neo-Amish country. No buckles beyond this point.")
(They go up to a tour ticket booth. A young Neo-Amish man is inside, his arm propping up his sleeping head. Neo-Amish look the same as Amish of the 20th century except they have soul patches instead of beards. Fry pushes a button that reads "Ringeth for servith." The man inside is startled and wakes up.)
Neo-Amish Ticket Seller: Customers! Wow, tourists! Sorry for the shock…we don't get too many people out here wanting to see how their food is made. Most people like to live in ignorant bliss.
Bender: There's another way?
Fry: (pointing inside the building) We want answers. The Jungle didn't have them, The Jungle Book didn't have them, and Jungle 2 Jungle especially didn't have them. Now I've come to see what you've been doing to my friends.
Neo-Amish Ticket Seller: Friends…? …yea, okay, whatever, you can work on your neuroses inside.
(Trying to figure out how to charge them, Neo-Amish Ticket Seller looks at Leela.)
Neo-Amish Ticket Seller: (continuing) Let's see, you're a, uh…that's…uh…five, seven, no…eight (looking at Fry) and you're obviously a… Plow it…four white males between the ages of 18 and 45. 20 bucks.
Professor: Will you trade for beads?
Neo-Amish Ticket Seller: Sorry, you've got us confused with the Amish who don't give a crap about money.
(The Neo-Amish Ticket Seller accompanies them to the front of the building.)
Fry: You guys look a lot like the Amish from the 20th Century, except you wear your hats backwards.
Neo-Amish Ticket Seller: You know, you're the first person to ever notice.
(As they enter the large building, a sign says "Unadorned Hard Hat Area.")
INT. MASSIVE SHEET METAL BUILDING DAY
(Leela, Bender, Fry, and the Professor are now wearing wide-brimmed yellow hats with a black stripe. They get on what looks like a moving sidewalk. Zoom out, we see that the whole section of walkway is being pulled forward on rails by a black, steam powered horse.)
PA System (off screen): Welcome to the South South Dakota Rat Emporium, where we ensure the cleanliness that nature left out. We'd like to thank you for visiting us and remind you that there is no smoking, drinking, or dancing allowed on the tour.
Bender: (lighting up a cigar and tap dancing) Try 'n' stop me, pal.
(A hose sprays his cigar out and curved restraints come up from the platform and encircle his feet. He mumbles some choice words.)
(They are pulled past animatronics of people and animatronic rats and pigeons reenacting scenes from the Professor's earlier story, including a rat being smacked with a board.)
PA System (O.S): The story of the rat begins in 2809…
Professor: Fast forward!
(Instead, we have a TIME SEGUE FADE into the end of the story as heard previously. Fry is not looking happy.)
PA System (O.S):…and from those two rats comes every tasty bite that you have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything about the rat is healthier and more efficient than cows of yesteryear. Rat milk and meat is leaner. They reproduce more quickly. And their size prevents the herders from getting fresh.
Fry: How can rats be healthy? I though rats were disgusting and full of germs.
Leela: (reading) According to this pamphlet, toilet water is removed from the state daily by a hydraulic cannon aimed directly at North Oklahoma. Apparently, toilet water is the "Mr. Hyde" factor.
INT: THE MILKING ROOM DAY
(The next room is so large that you can't see the ceiling. Rats are in cages as high as the eye can see.)
PA System (O.S): Welcome to our milking room. Here our female rats enjoy the professional robotic hands of our STMs, or Swedish Teat Masseuses.
Bender: (quietly) Oooo, I gotta get me one of them.
Fry: So how many rats do they have here?
Leela: (looking at pamphlet) At any given time…more than 7 ga-trillion.
Fry: Sounds like a lot. Professor, is that a gasp-able number?
Professor: (checking on his PDA and nodding) Gasp on, homes.
Fry and Leela: Gasp!
INT: COMPUTER COMMAND CENTER DAY
(They pass the computer command center.)
PA System (O.S.): Here we have our command center, where we keep track of every rat on the premises.
(Fry leans over the shoulder of one of the Neo-Amish workers at a computer.)
Fry: I thought you guys weren't allowed to use computers.
Amish Computer Worker: We're allowed to use computers only if they're so old that no one else in the world will use them. For instance, we're using last year's operating system, OS-XI.
INT: SHOWCASE ROOM DAY
(Their cart takes them into another room as described by the PA system.)
PA System (O.S): Of course, we don't use rats for just milk and meat. Much like the resourceful American Indians, who once used this land but then gave it to us willingly and without incident, we use every part of the animal. Rat fur is used to make mink coats. Rat eyeballs are used to make caviar and capers. Their toenails: calcium supplements and toothpaste abrasive. Here in our Showcase Room you'll see just a few of the many items we can make with the rest of our bio-degradable friend.
(They are pulled past a row of products, such as:
Imitation Imitation Crab Meat.
"Potted" "Meat" "Food" "Product"
I Can't Believe It's Neither Butter nor Rat
Royalty-grade toilet paper
(At least one of the products needs the tag line "Now with apparently less feces.")
INT: RAT FINISHING SCHOOL DAY
(They stop at a room that looks like a rat finishing school. The rats are behind a large plate glass window so that they are not disturbed.)
PA System (O.S): But our rats aren't only bred for food and fuel. The most comely and intelligent rats are entered in beauty and talent pageants around the universe. Here you see our virginal ladies learning English so that they can be understood anywhere in the universe, save Los Angeles and Denver.
INT: LARGE EMPTY ROOM DAY
(They come to the end of the tour. The horse stops suddenly. Professor, Leela, and Fry fall forward and tumble. Bender is still strapped down.)
Bender: Hey, he said no dancing!
PA System (O.S): And thus ends the tour.
(We find that the PA is actually a Neo-Amish guy riding the steam horse and speaking through an unpowered megaphone.)
Leela: Well, Fry, now you know the whole story. Next stop is the "courtin' candle" zoo…I guess they have a problem with the word "petting."
Fry: Wait, wait, I'm confused. What happened to the rats again?
(Professor slaps his own head in frustration.)
Professor: No, wait, that's not the smack-down I wanted to enact.
(The Professor removes his hard hat and smacks Fry with it so hard that Fry now faces back the way they came, down the long corridor filled with rows of trillions of rats.)
Fry: Oh, yeah…(then getting slightly angry) Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. (then stupidly) Wait, I'm confused…
EXT. PENS OF RATS DAY
Fry: Listen, Bender, I want to get some of these rats out of here and back to New New York.
Bender: Now let me get this straight… you want to get all of the rats out at the same time?
Fry: No! (he throws a rat at Bender, and Bender's head spins around) Pay attention! I said a some, and a some means a thousand. Maybe under the fence…
Bender: Or some sort of flying machine…
(We see the ship behind Bender.)
Fry: Now that's just stupid talk. Wait, I've got it…
Quick cut to INT. SHIP.
Fry: I'm not going to support a society that has turned my rat friends into nearly every product on the market.
Bender: You're giving up veal burgers?
Bender: Crotch lubricant?
Fry: Now for two reasons!
Bender: Well, aside from your recent freak accident in getting published, I doubt a letter-writing campaign will work…if it did, Family Guy would still be on TV.
Fry: Then I won't just stand and/or write…I'll do something.
Fry: Now, how do we get the rats on board?
Bender: Duh, I dunno. Why don't I just axe them?
Fry: You speak rat?
Bender: C'mon, Fry, I am fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication.
Fry: I thought it was six…and three of those are bad accents in Esperanto.
Bender: And I speak rat Esperanto. I'll talk some on board, but it'll cost you.
Fry: I've only got 200 bucks left. Wait, I've got it…what do rats follow? Filth!
(They both look around at the sparkling cleanliness of the ship. Bender opens the door to their mutual shipboard sleeping quarters. Trash spills out around their feet. About a thousands rats are on board in seconds.)
Bender: That'll be two hundred bucks.
INT. GIFTSHOP DAY
(Leela and Prof are in the Dr. Rizzo Memorial Gift Shop. Lots of visual gags, like a rat in a glass paperweight, shot glasses, posters of Ms. Rat America. T-shirts include: "Squeaky Clean in SSD" "Rat's Gym (and Processing Plant)." "On one side of me is Stupid, who also happens to be in South South Dakota" "Get processed in South South Dakota" "I visited The Farm and all I got was this lousy T-shirt, and also a benign version of the plague. No, just kidding, rats no longer carry such diseases")
Leela: Wait a minute, where are dorkus and rob-you the robot?
(The tail end of the ship crashes though the gift shop roof. Fry's voice comes over the ship's loudspeaker.)
Fry: Leela, I'm borrowing the ship for a few hours. I've got 1000 rats on board and I'm taking them back to New New York to reclaim the streets from the owls.
Neo-Amish Man #1: He's stealing rats, leave him alone!
Neo-Amish Man #2: Forgive him! Don't stop him!
(Hearing the Neo-Amish guys, the Professor starts stuffing souvenirs into his lab coat.)
Professor: Fry, don't! They'll kill each other. When you're a street pet, you're a pet all the way.
(Cue opening chord of West Side Story sound alike.)
EXT. SHIP SPEEDING BACK TO NEW NEW YORK DUSK
(Fry lands the ship just outside the Planet Express building. Fry opens the doors to the ship.)
Fry: You must go, my greasy brethren, reclaim what is yours! Infect these 30th Century board-less wonders. The streets and sewers are yours!
Rat #1: (subtitle) What's the human talking about? We should show our gratitude to him by finding him a plague.
Rat #2: (subtitle) My instinct says I want my bite to infect him.
Fry: And I don't care how tasty you are in both butter and nugget form…I'll reinvent the cow if I have to, but I won't have everything that means New York to me be eaten by a hungry public.
Bender: Uh, pal…
(Zoom out, showing all the rats are already off the ship.)
(We see the rats sneaking up on the owls. An owl spins around, knife drawn. We hear a sax play the five-note rumble music sound-alike from West Side Story. Another owl in a different location pulls a lead pipe, another a garrote, another nun chucks. Well-choreographed dancing fights ensue. It obvious the owls are ready and are easily winning. The rats are easily killed or knocked unconscious and kicked into the sewers or thrown back on the Planet Express ship with contempt. An owl pushes the door close button on the ship's leg, and the ships nose hits the ground. The owls, with shifty eyes, put the weapons back under their wings and continue their hunting for food scraps.)
Fry: Whassa? What just happened? It's over just like that?
Bender: Well, Fry, once again you've helped kill a whole bunch of animals that would have died anyway. You know, we're getting pretty good at this pointless killing thing.
Fry: Revolution is hard work. I guess the rats just don't have the oysters anymore to rule New New York. Let's get a burger. Fie on them.
Bender: Ooo, someone's been reading the vocabulary page.
(Fry and Bender walk away.)
EXT: THE DOCK OUTSIDE PLANET EXPRESS SUNSET
(Just before the episode ends, we see one rat emerge from the shadows by the dock. For a second we think it's a lame "the rats will return" ending as the circle to black zooms in on the rats head, but the circle to black pulls back open when but he catches the eye of one of the owls. Cue "Tonight" sound-alike from West Side Story. They move closer to each other, entranced with one another. They are about to embrace in the sunset, but at the last second Zoidberg runs by and gobbles both up. He sits on the dock, enjoying the sunset.)
Zoidberg: Mmmmm, tastes like shoe.
(Circle to black on Zoidberg.)
ALL RODENTS LEAD TO HOME
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