The funeral was long and very boring. Fry sat, trying not to sleep, watching lecturer after lecturer go up and eulogize the Professor, telling some obscure story or another from their past together. Eventually the speakers finished and the family was sent into the final chamber for the Professor’s launch into space. There were two big surprises waiting for them when they walked into the room. Sitting in the second row of the chapel was Mom and her three sons and on the other side was Guenter. Fry hadn’t seen the monkey since Freedom Day in 3002, but he looked pretty much the same.
Not able to decide where to go, he walked over to Guenter and sat down next to him. “Hey, monkey man,” he said. “What are you doing here?”
“What, I’m not allowed to mourn the man who took me out of the jungle and made me a successful business monkey?”
“I thought he tried to talk you out of it, chimp-stain,” Bender said, coming up toward the other side.
“Yeah, well he just wanted a genius to take after him. Don’t know why he bothered. Cubert was already in the tank. All he had to do was wait for him to finish growing. He didn’t need me. And he showed that by not caring about me after he set me loose.”
“Cram a plantain in it, Bubbles,” Mom yelled from across the aisle. “You were a failure, that’s why Hubbie ditched you, you diaper wearing fur ball.”
“Hey, I’m toilet trained, thank you very much. That’s better than you can say for yourself at this age, Granny. Isn’t it your nap time?”
“Don’t talk to Mother that way, monkey boy,” Walt said. “Why she-,” he was cut off by Mom slapping him and his brothers hard.
“Cram a sock in it, you puke,” she said. “I don’t need you to defend me from a stuffed animal. You think you got the better of me monkey with that little business on Calufrax? I’ll crush you like a bug before I’m done. Planet Express and whatever you have going will be ground into dust.”
“That’s tough talk from someone who can’t even chew her own food anymore,” Cubert said walking up the aisle. “You’re just jealous that dad was able to make something without you, and I intend to keep it going, just to annoy you.”
“You do that, clone. We’ll see how long you can go without a delivery license. I can get it revoked just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers.
“Sure you can,” Cubert said. “That’s why we’re still in business after all these years. You may have high powered lawyers, Mom, but I have something better. I’m a genius, I have several very good bureaucrats working for me, and I have my own source for dark matter. Come with it, Granny. Will see if there’s anything you’ve got that can touch Planet Express.”
Before she could respond, the priest came in and walked to the podium to give the final sermon. He was thankfully brief. Then according to his last wishes, Fry and Cubert walked to the platform to send him into space. Suddenly, Mom walked forward to stand with them. Fry understood, but Cubert started to object.
Mom surprised him by saying, “Cubert, I loved you father for longer than you’ve been alive. He’s the only man that I’ve ever loved. I should be here.”
“She’s right, Cubert,” Fry said. “Like it or not, she should be with us. She’s almost part of the family.”
“I’m still going to crush you, crap-cake,” she said. “This is for him, not for you.”
The three of them reached out and pushed the button, sending Hubert J. Farnsworth into deep space and his final rest.
They sat in the Accusing Parlor of the Planet Express building, simply because it had the most seating. Most of them were there: Fry was standing by the clock, eyes shifting between Leela and the door; Leela sitting in one chair, pointedly looking away from Fry, with Bender standing behind her; Hermes and LeBarbra sitting on the couch with Scruffy and Guenter; and Zoidberg was in the corner eating a bucket of krill that Cubert had bought for him. Missing were Amy, Susu, and Cubert. Most of the prime suspects, Fry thought. The door slid open and in walked Cubert, Amy, and 1-X. The lights dimmed and a projection of the Professor came up.
“Bad news, everyone,” the image said. “If you’re watching this, then I’m dead. 1-X, pause the playback for one minute so they may wail and gnash their teeth. Thank you. Now, I know that none of you care about the deep and profound things that I have to say concerning life. All you greedy little bastards want is my money. So, here we go then; you will all receive $100,000 for each year that you’ve worked for Planet Express. Cubert and Fry, as my only surviving relatives, you will each get $500,000 for each year and joint control of Planet Express. I hope that the two of you will continue to run the company in the manner that it has: a total disregard for the health and safety of the crew. Only the package counts. Well, goodbye, everyone.”
“That’s it,” Cubert said. “As of right now, in front of you witnesses, I shall hand over my portion of Planet Express to an independent trustee: Guenter.”
Guenter looked shocked, but he recovered quickly. “With a heavy heart, I accept.”
The door opened and Susu walked in. She was dressed like she had come from some sort of dominatrix Halloween party: a black halter top that barley covered her chest, thigh high black leather high heeled boots, and a black skit that was slit along the sides of her legs, all the way to her waist. Following behind her was Dwight Conrad, looking like a whipped puppy.
“Ah, right on time,” Guenter said. Cubert sat back in the chair and hung his head.
`“I trusted you,” Cubert said. “You said you loved me.” Susu just laughed.
Hermes stood up, “Boy, what’s goin’ on here?”
“Sorry, Pop,” he said. “It’s all legal.”
“What about you, Fry?,” Susu asked. “Don’t you have something to say?”
“Why?,” he asked. “Why did you do it?”
“Because I could, Fry,” the monkey said. “Farnsworth ignored me after I didn’t want to be a super-genius anymore. Do you know what that’s like, Fry? Being ignored by the only family that you’ve ever known? Your younger ‘brother’ getting everything that should be yours? I knew that Cubert here had no interest in the business, and I also knew that you were an idiot.
“So I used my dear friend Susu here to help take everything from you. She got all the information on Leela, thanks to Amy’s big mouth, and I was able to handle the rest. Dwight is a very passable forger, wouldn’t you say 1-X?”
“Yes sir, Mr. Guenter,” he said, weapons popping out of his arms. “Now if everyone will please stay where they are?”
“And now, Fry,” Guenter said, looking meaningfully at Leela, “you have an announcement to make, don’t you?”
“Nope,” Bender said, Extend-o-matic arms reaching out, and stealing the hat from the monkey’s head.
The room erupted as Susu and Dwight tried to escape and Guenter started to chew on his tail. 1-X came at Bender trying to get the hat back. Fry and Leela ran from the room, chasing Susu and Dwight. They caught them in the lounge, Fry tackling Dwight and Leela leaping, foot extended at Susu. The girl ducked and Leela flew over her head, landing in the doorway to the kitchen.
“Come on, little girl,” Leela said, motioning Susu to try and get past her. “Let’s see what you got.”
They charged each other, exchanging a flurry of blows that left Leela reeling. The girl was good, and faster and younger, too. The boots hadn’t hindered her as much as Leela thought they would, and her own dress wasn’t made for this. Fry, on the other hand, had already knocked Dwight out and was tying him up with the cord from the TV.
“How you doing, Leela?,” Fry asked as Leela struggled to fight Susu to a stand-still.
“Shut up, jackass. You’ll be lucky if you’re not next,” she gasped, out of breath. “Go get the robot and the monkey. I’ll deal with the skank.”
“Not quite, freak,” Susu said, catching Leela with a kick to the side of the head, knocking her down hard. Escaping into the kitchen, Susu ran for the rail, trying to jump to the ship and escape. Leela dragged herself to her feet and staggered after Susu. She staggered to the door frame and clutched at it to hold herself up. Her vision swam, but she noticed that Amy had beaten her there and smashed Susu in the face with a frying pan. Blood was everywhere as she fell to the floor with a thud.
“Sorry, girl,” Amy said. “She maybe a freak, but she’s our freak. No one messes with our family.” Leela and Amy looked at each other, and then nodded in mutual understanding. Suddenly the room began to spin. The last thing that Leela saw before it wall went black was Amy dropping the bloody pan and rushing across the room toward her.
1-X had trapped Bender behind the two chairs, while everyone else was hiding behind the couch. Guenter was swinging from the chandelier, oblivious to everything.
“Please, Mr. Bender,” 1-X said. “You’re just making this difficult on yourself. Hand over the hat and Mr. Fry can hand over the company. I already know the information regarding Captain Turanga, so capturing Mr. Conrad and Ms. Assi will do you no good. I can still broadcast the information to the police and to the Central Bureaucracy. Planet Express will belong to Mr. Conrad instead of Mr. Guenter, but the results will be the same.”
“I don’t know about dat,” Hermes said, pulling a pistol out of Leela’s purse and firing. 1-X was surprised, but returned fire immediately.
“That was very foolish of you, Mr. Conrad,” 1-X said. “Now I’ll have to deal with you as well.” 1-X started to destroy the couch, but kept his eyes on Bender, tracking him across the room.
Seeing an opportunity to deal with one of the problems, Bender stood up. “Hey, garbage can. Lookie what I got,” he said, holding up the hat.
“Yes, Mr. Bender,” 1-X said, “I am aware you have the hat. NO! What are you doing?”
Bender took it in his hands and started bending. “What I’m programmed to do, jerkwad. Bend.”
There were sparks and pops as the hat was destroyed. 1-X spun around and started firing on Bender, leaving Hermes in the perfect position to hit him with several precise shots, shutting him down. 1-X crushed the remains of the coffee table, and rolled to a stop in front of the clock.
“And that’s why I’m called Bender the Magnificent,” Bender said, pulling out a beer from inside his casing.
“No it isn’t, ya mechanical loony. Now grab dat monkey. We’ve got a company to resurrect.”
“Now,” Fry said as he paced through the kitchen, “what are we going to do with the two of you?”
Susu and Dwight were sitting, tied to their chairs as Leela lay down in the lounge, an ice pack on her head. Bender had destroyed the remains of 1-X, getting rid of most of the evidence against Leela and the company. They just had to find where Guenter had hidden the rest of it.
“You’re going to let us go and hand over the company or else,” Susu said, a little blood still coming out of her shattered nose.
Smiling, Fry squatted down next to her. “Now look, Dominatrix Barbie, you really aren’t in the position to be giving orders to anyone. As I see it, you and your boyfriend here can either hand over the rest of the evidence, or you can go up the river for assault, attempted murder, blackmail, and forgery. Oh, I’m sorry, didn’t you hear the monkey confess and implicate the both of you? Bender.”
Bender pushed the button on his head and Guenter’s voice said, “Because I could, Fry. Farnsworth ignored me after I didn’t want to be a super-genius anymore. Do you know what that’s like, Fry? Being ignored by the only family that you’ve ever known? Your younger ‘brother’ getting everything that should be yours? I knew that Cubert here had no interest in the business, and I also knew that you were an idiot. So I used my dear friend Susu here to help take everything from you. She got all the information on Leela, thanks to Amy’s big mouth, and I was able to handle the rest. Dwight is a very passable forger, wouldn’t you say 1-X?”
“Do you need to hear it again?,” Fry asked. “Or, are you going to tell me where the stuff is?”
“I’ve got it,” Cubert said, coming down the stairs with a bundle in his hands. He threw it to Fry who caught it and opened the package, just to make sure. Inside was all the evidence that Guenter and Susu had collected, including the two pictures from Leela’s dresser.
“Right. That’s everything, then. Now, what should we do with the two of you?”
“I tell ya what we should do wit ‘em,” Hermes said. “Fire ‘em out of a cannon into the sun. How could ya do this, boy? You know the first rule of accountancy, don’t ya?”
“Bureaucracy before ho’s,” Dwight said, defeated.
“Dat’s right. You’re going to have to learn that lesson again, I’m afraid. For your part in this Dwight, you’ll be demoted and shipped back to the underground file room at the Central Bureaucracy, until they determine that you’ve served your time long enough.”
“So what do we do with her?,” Fry asked.
“Oh, I’ve got an idea,” Amy said smiling.
The road across country was cold and lonely, just like his departure from New New York.
Fry had talked to Amy for a few minutes after all the excitement died down, but she made a few quick phone calls and left when a Wong Corporation Security team showed up to take Susu and Guenter away. Bender had left to go catalog Susu’s stuff and separate it for proper hocking. Hermes took Dwight into custody and left immediately for the Central Bureaucracy Headquarters. Scruffy, who Fry was certain he had never seen before the funeral, was busy cleaning the Accusing Parlor. Cubert sequestered himself upstairs in the Professor’s old apartment, being alone with his grief he said. Whatever. Fry thought he just wanted to avoid everyone after his part in this whole mess. He had no idea where Zoidberg was, and that was just fine with him.
Which left Leela, who wanted nothing more to do with him. They had one brief encounter: she slapped him and walked out.
Cold and alone, Philip J. Fry rode out of his past and back into his present.
May 5, 3010
Red Lodge, MT
It was later than he usually ate, but today was a special circumstance. He had finished the rest of Zim’s drilling and all he had to do tomorrow was get the cores sent back east. Wonder where I can find a delivery company, he thought bitterly. For a brief second, he toyed with the idea of calling Hermes.
The last couple of weeks had gotten him back into his routine and left him with blessed little time to think about Leela. The death of the Professor had left him very rich. $1.5 million dollars, even in the future, was nothing to sneeze at. Plus, he owned half of the company now, so there would be money from that. If he ever bothered to sign the paperwork like Hermes kept bugging him to do, that is. But he really didn’t care about that, though. The one thing that his week in New New York had taught him was that all the money in the world and all the work he could do wouldn’t make him happy. There was only one thing that could make him happy, and she wanted nothing to do with him.
Since it was later than he usually came in, his regular table had been taken by some tourists. Unhappy, but not really feeling like causing a scene, he placed his order and went out onto the back deck to sit at a table there. It was still early enough in the year to be cool at night, but he didn’t mind. All it meant was that he was alone now, and that’s what he wanted.
The waitress Mary, a pretty young woman of Crow descent, came out with his beer and told him it would just be a few more minutes for his sandwich. The two of them had hit it off nicely throughout March and April. She seemed to cool off after he came back west, but she had apparently gotten over whatever it was that was bothering her. She smiled sweetly and asked if there was anything else he needed, anything at all. She looked a little disappointed when he said no, but it didn’t look like she was going to be dissuaded very easily. Mary came out three more time, asking every time if he needed anything else tonight. Finally, Fry told her point blank that he tired and just wanted to be left alone. She was unhappy, he could tell. But he also saw a familiar look in her eyes. One, he knew, that looked exactly like the one had for a few years in the early portion of this decade.
“So this is what it’s like to be Leela,” he said with a sigh as he sipped his beer.
“Philip J. Fry, you have no idea what it’s like to be Leela,” a familiar voice said behind him. Turning around, his jaw dropped. Standing there, holding his sandwich in her hand, was Leela.
“Wha-, wha-, what…,” he stammered.
“That education is serving you well, Fry. After all that happened between us this last month, that’s all you have to say to me?”
“What do you want me to say, Leela? You pretty much made your position clear. You nearly broke my jaw.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” she said, putting his sandwich down in front of him. Taking one of his fries, she added, “Sometimes I just don’t know my own strength.”
They sat in awkward silence for a few minutes, with Leela eating more of his fries than he was. Despite having her right here in front of him, he wasn’t happy or even very hungry anymore. After playing with his food a little bit, he asked her, “Why are you here, Leela?”
“I’m here to say thank you. And that I’m sorry.”
“Thank you for saving my life after Guenter attacked me. For sticking by me and trying to help me, even when you knew that I wouldn’t accept your help. In short, thanks for being there when I needed you the most, Fry.”
She hesitated a few seconds before she said, “Fry… Phil, I’m sorry for treating you like crap. And for not believing you when you told me you didn’t write those horrible things. And for not thinking that you might need someone when one of your last living relatives died. In short, for not being there when you needed me.”
She seemed to be holding her breath, waiting for him to say anything. Fry saw a flash of light and looked down at the table top. She was still wearing their rings. He looked up at her and smiled. “So, have you made up your mind?”
She lifted her hands up from the table, revealing his ring. Sliding it over to him, she said, “Philip Fry, will you marry me? Again?”
“What about your parents?”
“They’ll have to learn to live with it. They don’t like you, but they’re not the ones asking you to spend the rest of your life with them, are they?”
“What about flying?”
“I quit. I’ll find something somewhere,” she said sighing. “I just want to be with you. I love you, Phil. We wasted seven years without each other. I don’t want to waste any more.”
Picking up the ring, he slid it onto his finger. It felt good, like it belonged there. Looking at the ring, he said, “Leela, I have a small problem that maybe you can help me with. See, I’ve recently become part owner of a delivery company. It’s got this ship that can travel vast distances, like say from southern Illinois to New New York City for example, in a very short period of time. Minutes, even. But, it seems that I’m without a pilot. Would you happen to know any good pilots who wouldn’t mind a small commute every morning in an intergalactic spaceship?”
“You know it’s funny,” she said smiling. “I know this pilot that would love that exact situation. And she’s recently become available.”
“Oh, that’s good,” he said. “Do you know how I could get in touch with this pilot? Normally I’d let a professional Bureaucrat interview any perspective employees, but I think I want to handle this one myself. I mean, after the last person my Bureaucrat hired, I think it’s important that I be a hands-on type of owner. At least with something as important as hiring my pilot, that is.”
“Oh, I agree. As a matter of fact, that pilot I was talking about? She’s staying here in town right now and I know that she’d love to work for a hands-on type of owner.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?,” he asked as he stood, taking her hand.