The Assassination of Richard Nixon's Head
The mob of Lucy Liu lookalike robots showed no sign of tiring as they
pursued Fry into a darkened alley. Just as it occurred to him to stop
running and surrender, he woke up.
"Uuunngh," moaned the young redhead. "I must be the only guy in the 31st
century who gets hung over from Slurm." He yawned, stretched,
and didn't feel any better than before, so he yawned and stretched
again. After the fourteenth yawn and stretch, he managed with
tremendous exertion to pull one of his legs off the mattress and land
his foot on the floor.
Bender, bright and chipper as ever, had already seized the day by leaning
back on the couch and activating the TV. "Next on The Today
Show," announced the preserved head of Meredith Vieira,
"we'll talk to a man who's devoted his life to the legalization
of spinach. But first, a word or two from our sponsors."
Off. Apply directly to the forehead. Head Off. Apply directly to the
forehead. Head Off..."
looked aside, and an image even more gruesome than the one on the TV
screen appeared before his lightbulb eyes. Fry's face was a mask of
stubble, his hair resembled a chunk of unruly coral, and his faded
boxers were barely clinging to his waist. "Mornin', gorgeous,"
said the robot.
man," grumbled Fry. "I can't believe how groggy I am."
easy to explain," said Bender. "It's your body's way of
telling you it's time to go to work."
glanced at the digital clock on the wall, which read 0900 hours. "Oh,
crap," he said in a raspy morning voice. "I unintentionally
said Bender mockingly.
seconds, Fry was scrubbing his back, brushing his teeth, and flossing
his teeth simultaneously. "Leela is gonna kill me,"
he mumbled through the toothpaste foam.
said Bender flippantly. "She's cool. She'll let you off with a
slap on the wrist."
really think so?" said Fry, squeezing into his blue jeans.
"Gosh, maybe she'll hold my hand while she's slapping me."
the cluttered living room scurried Robopuppy, yapping wildly. The
little cyberpet hopped up and down at Fry's feet, prompting him to
say, "Cool, I've got voice mail!"
fell back on its haunches and emitted beams of digitized light from
its eyes, which coalesced into the form of Leela. "This is an
automated message," said the cyclops officiously. "If you
are listening to it, then you have just been fired."
turned to his robot friend. "It's for you, Bender."
welled up in Fry's heart as the holographic image of Leela dissolved.
"I don't believe it," he lamented. "Leela just fired
me. A moving picture of Leela just fired me. She didn't even
have the nerve to face me eye to eye...er, I mean, eye to eyes...I
his buddy's plight, Bender felt moved to offer some insincere
condolences. "You're too good for that dump anyway," he
said, rising from the couch. "If I were you, I'd march into
Leela's office, wrap my cold steely fingers around her throat, and
threaten to strangle her unless she writes me a glowing letter of
you were me, you wouldn't have cold steely fingers," Fry
said Bender. "On the other hand, this could be an opportunity in
disguise. A meatbag with your qualifications can get a job as a
delivery boy anywhere in the universe."
dropped onto the couch and lowered his face into his hands. "No,
I can't, Bender," he said miserably. "I only got this
job because Professor Farnsworth's my
great-great-infinity-grandnephew. I'm in over my head with all this
31st-century tech stuff. I don't even know how to program an espresso
maker--I have to pay someone to work it for me."
so that's why the witch doctor was here the other day,"
what little courage he possessed, Fry jumped to his feet and waved a
fist in the air. "By gum, Lyndon LaRouche never gave up, and
neither will I," he declared. "I'm going to get my Planet
Express job back, and nothing will stand in my way, not even the fact
that I haven't de-liced my scalp yet."
"Now that's determination," remarked Bender.
Leela saw the grim stares that Fry and Bender were directing towards
her, the first thing she said was, "Fry, did you forget to
de-lice your hair?"
redhead made a fist and pounded forcefully on his end of the table.
"You fired me, Leela," he stated firmly. "My
job is all I have, and I want it back. I'm willing to wait until
after the delivery to the Screaming Nebula of Death, but no longer
narrowed her eye at him. "I don't know what you're talking
about," she said simply.
this will jog your memory," said Bender. He opened the
door to his chest compartment and Robopuppy leaped out, yapping
gleefully. Seconds later the mechanical pet sat down on the round
table, fired light from its eyes, and replayed the recorded message
Fry had received.
it ended, Leela chuckled dismissively. "Pay no attention to
that," she said to Fry. "It's just an automated thing that
kicks in after five unexplained tardies. As long as Hermes has your
personnel record on file, you're still an employee of Planet
let out a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Leela. You're a lifesaver.
I'm gonna buy you so many lizards." The cyclops responded
with a grim glare. "Uh...Hermes does still have my
personnel record, doesn't he?"
the accounting office, Hermes hummed idly to himself while rifling
through the many folders in his file cabinet. "Most of these
people are dead," he remarked. "I don't know why they're
still in here. I need to have a talk with Scruffy." As Fry and
Bender reached the breaking point of their patience, Hermes pulled
out one of the files and grinned. "Here it is," he said,
yanking it open. "Philip J. Fry--position, delivery boy."
wiped his sweaty forehead with the sleeve of his jacket. "Hold
your horses, mon," said Hermes, his tone solemn. "This
refers to a different Philip J. Fry--your evil duplicate from
a parallel universe, who I hired to replace you when you didn't show
up last Friday."
brain nearly burst out of his head upon comprehending the news.
you get the memo?" said the Jamaican flatly. "Oh, that's
right. You weren't here."
Fry stammered in horror.
Fry's trying to say," Bender interceded, "is that he is
the evil duplicate."
smiled. "That's right," he said menacingly. "I am Evil
Fry, and if I ever come in contact with Good Fry, both universes will
try, mon," said Hermes as he let the file slide back into its
position in the drawer. "But Evil Fry has a scar running down
his left cheek, plus he's hiding in the janitorial closet at
this very moment."
is?" said Fry, rising abruptly from his chair. "This
I've gotta see."
"No, mon!" cried Hermes in terror. "You'll destroy us all!"
The sky was clear and sunny, the only clouds being those that covered
Fry's mind with a veil of hopefulness. He trudged along the dingy
sidewalk, slouched over, his misty eyes fixed on the concrete. Bender
followed suit, matching his human friend's pace and posture.
gave him a peevish look. "What are you so depressed
about?" he asked.
not depressed," replied the robot. "I'm just making fun of
groaned bitterly. "I've lost everything that matters to me,"
he complained. "I can't even go back to Planet Express without
blowing up the universe. What's left? Why go on?"
at the bright side, pal," said Bender. "I still have
rounded a corner, and his eyes caught sight of a large, bluish-green
chamber. He stopped and stood upright, and a hint of hope returned to
his face. "What is it, bud?" said Bender.
plaque attached to the side of the chamber read, SUICIDE BOOTH, 50
smiled as if all his cares had been flushed away. "Bender, I'm
going to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time,"
he said calmly. "I'm going to kill myself."
humans and a robot were lined up at the entrance to the suicide
booth, and Fry took his place behind them. The man ahead of him had a
gruff, unshaven appearance and a patch over his right eye, and he
looked more miserable than Fry felt. Bender, queueing up after his
friend, asked, "Are you sure I can't talk you out of this, ol'
only shook his head.
bad," said the robot, "'cause you owe me money."
two chums stood in silence. The tall, lanky robot at the head of the
line stepped into the booth and closed the sliding door. Seconds
later the door reopened automatically, and nothing was visible but a
computerized wall console.
wonder what happens to the bodies?" said Bender idly.
was Fry's reply. Eyeing a vending machine half a block away, he said
to his robotic friend, "Hey, could you keep my place for a sec?
I'm gonna grab some Soylent Green to snack on."
pal," said Bender.
Fry away on a quest for food, the man with the eyepatch turned and
began a conversation with Bender. "Can you believe they raised
the price to 50 cents?" he complained with a Harvard accent. "As
if it's not enough that they make our lives hard, they have to make
our deaths hard, too."
the good old days," remarked Bender, "when you could buy a
beer, a comic book, and a painless death for less than a buck."
stubbly man stretched out his palm. "I don't suppose you could
loan me an extra quarter," he requested. "I promise I'll
pay you back."
seem like a guy who can be trusted," said Bender. Sticking his
hand into his chest cavity, he first pulled out a silver slug on a
string, then a gold doubloon, and finally a genuine 25-cent piece.
"Here you go," he said, planting the quarter in the man's
hand. "Don't spend it all in one place."
stranger closed his fingers around the coin and said, "You're
very generous. May I ask your name, my metallic benefactor?"
Bender," answered the robot. "That's short for 'Bender is
great and you suck'."
happy to meet you, Bender," said the man with a faint smile. "My
name's Orlando. Orlando Garrett. Remember that name, for you'll most
likely never hear it spoken again."
looking back, he marched into the suicide booth and inserted two
quarters into a slot in the wall. "Quick and painless, please,"
were the last words Bender heard from him before the door cut him off
less meatbag I'll have to kill, thought the robot. He looked to
the east, where Fry was struggling with an uncooperative vending
machine. When the young redhead found that shaking and punching the
machine yielded no result, he angrily tore a branch from a nearby
tree and used it as a club.
tin pants," grumbled the trashily-dressed old woman who stood
behind Bender. "Some of us have places to be."
by Fry's relentless assault on the vending machine, Bender slowly
became aware that several impatient people and robots were mentally
urging him to step into the booth and end his life. "Er, ah, I'm
just holding a spot for my pal," he explained to them. "I'm
not here to kill myself like you losers are."
the k--- into the booth, you y--- g---!" howled a short, fat
man. "We don't have all q--- h--- t--- day!"
New Yorkers, Bender muttered to himself. "Hey, Fry!" he
called out. "Speed it up a bit! We're dyin' over here!"
made over a dozen dents in the machine, Fry threw down his branch and
gave up. "I'm coming," he told Bender.
robot gave him a farewell pat on the back, and he walked hesitantly
into the empty booth. As the door clanged shut behind him, a feminine
computer voice asked, "Please select mode of death--quick and
painless, or slow and horrible."
air seemed ice cold and stagnant about him as he dropped his first
quarter into the slot. In a few more seconds, I'll either go to
heaven, go to hell, or cease to exist altogether, he mused. With
my luck, I'll probably go to hell.
be afraid, Fry reassured himself. Being dead is no different
from being asleep for a long, long time, with no hope of ever waking
take quick and painless," he told the booth computer, and he
raised his quivering fingers to release the second quarter into the
fateful slot of doom. What if I come back as a ghost? he
wondered. Or as a zombie? Or as both a ghost and a zombie?
suddenly dropped the coin, startled by an earnest voice in his mind:
You're making a huge mistake! His first impulse was to bend
over and pick up the quarter, but strange as it seemed, part of his
mind wouldn't allow him to move. That's funny, he mused. A
minute ago I wanted to die, but now I don't. It's like...it's like
there's something I still have to do.
more than a dozen blocks away, a hovertruck carrying a shipment of
tortilla chips and another hovertruck laden with potato chips
collided with a deafening CRUNCH. As the drivers ranted and swore at
each other, a certain slender old woman in a purple catsuit gazed
down at the wreckage from a lofty window. Those two didn't even
know each other, and now they're enemies, she thought. The
pettiness of human beings will never cease to astound me.
old crone known as Mom turned away from the cityscape. "Get in
here, boys!" she called out. "It's time!"
door whooshed open, and her son Walt marched dutifully into the
office, followed by his brother Larry, and the pumpkin-headed Igner
taking up the rear. "Which talking head are we teleconferencing
with this time?" Walt asked his mother.
biggest head of them all," replied Mom with relish. "The
President of the World, Richard Nixon."
how exciting!" said Larry. "There's not a man in the world
I admire more."
even your own mother?" said Mom, peering at him.
goody," said Igner, clapping his hands eagerly. "There's
something I've wanted to ask President Nixon for a long, long time."
you," said Walt, giving him a back-handed slap. "The
President of the World is not interested in your silly
underwear questions. He doesn't even wear underwear."
do you know?" Igner retorted. "Did you ask him?"
an ass in it, you stooges," said Mom, who was watching the
high-definition viewscreen light up. "Because there he is."
the tune of "Hail to the Chief", the image of Richard
Nixon's head inside a jar attached to the neck of a giant battlebot
appeared. "Well, whaddya know," said the pointy-nosed
president. "I asked the magic mirror to show me the hottest mom
in all the land, and whose face do I see? Howoooo!"
as always, Dick," said Mom with a pleasant smile.
let's get down to brass tacks," said Nixon. "Do you
remember our last conversation, where you offered to contribute
generously to my re-election campaign, in exchange for a bit of
harmless abuse of executive power to help you prop up your
I don't," answered Mom.
do I," said Nixon.
now that you mention it," said Mom, "I am having
some difficulty with an upstart delivery company called Planet
Express. That little crew has been snapping up the jobs that my
pilots are afraid to take--deliveries to hazardous regions of space,
like the Xenophobe Imperium and the Constellation That Eats People.
And somehow they manage to pull through and survive again and
again...as if there's a special bond of mutual tolerance between
yes," said Nixon, trying to nod. "I've had my dealings with
those petulant punks. My unrivaled intellect tells me that you have
three options. First, hire on some new pilots who don't know the
meaning of fear. Second, provide health care and life insurance
benefits to your existing pilots, and...oh, who the hell am I
kidding? I'll crush them for you, and I'll make it look like free
market forces did them in."
said Mom sinisterly.
Ooh!" said Igner, waving his finger. "Mr. President, I just
gotta ask you a question."
ahead, my young man," said Nixon.
clasped his hands and grinned. "Did you kill John Lennon?"
Igner," said the president firmly. "I was never a member of
the conspiracy to murder John Lennon. I went to one of the meetings,
Bender's disappointment, Fry emerged from the suicide booth without a
mark on his body, and with an expression of fresh confidence. "Wuss,"
the robot mocked him.
maybe I am a wuss," said Fry in a carefree tone. "Or
maybe I realized that getting fired from Planet Express may have set
me on the course to my real purpose."
give me that 'real purpose' crap," said Bender. "My
real purpose is to destroy all humans. My assigned purpose is
to bend girders. Yours is to be a delivery boy. You gotta do what you
guess you're right, Bender," said Fry glumly. "Well, if I
gotta be a delivery boy, then I'll be the best damn delivery boy
ever. I'll rise so high, I'll have delivery boys working for me."
flash, Fry," said Bender. "There's only one place in town
where 'delivery boy' is a career path."
turned his gaze skyward. In the distance, partially obscured by
smoggy haze, stood a mighty tower with a large sign that read, MOM'S
FRIENDLY DELIVERY COMPANY.
azure-blue tower that hosted Mom's Friendly Delivery Company stood
like a mighty colossus in the center of New New York, its endlessly
tall spire seeming to lose its outlines and merge with the sky. It
was bigger than any building Fry had ever stood, awestruck, at the
base of--the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, the
Museum of Modern Art. Yet it was a dwarf in comparison to the city's
tallest structure, the mile-high monolith which New New Yorkers
affectionately called "The Finger".
can't believe I'm resorting to this, he thought as the plexiglass
entrance doors slid apart to make way for him. I've tangled with
Mom before. I don't know whether she's pure evil, or just chronically
constipated. I hope she doesn't remember me as the guy who ate the
last anchovies in existence. Nah, it's been a long time.
well," he heard a petulant male voice from the reception desk.
"If it isn't my old friend, Anchovie Boy."
was Mom's boy Larry, who had pinned a nametag to his gray uniform.
"Been a while," said Fry casually to the smirking man.
Above his head, a gigantic screen showed a looping video of Mom
preparing a batch of cookies.
punched a button on his desk console and barked, "Walt, Larry.
Tell Mom that Anchovie Boy just arrived. She may want to cancel her
dead silence filled the spacious lobby. Fry knew he was probably
imagining it, but the video image of Mom seemed to set down her tray
of cookies and glower at him.
a protective visor over her eye, was welding one of the Planet
Express ship's fuel lines in place when Bender strolled into the
launch bay. Switching off her torch, the cyclops asked him, "How's
alive, as usual," replied the robot flippantly.
to hear it," said Leela, raising the shield from her face. "I
was worried he'd try to kill himself."
did try to kill himself," said Bender.
gasped. "Oh, my God!"
to worry," said Bender, snatching a beer from one of the
refrigeration compartments. "I was able to convince him that
life's worth living, even for a human."
is he now?" asked Leela.
Bender could answer, a cascade of Olde Fortran flowed down his
Zoidberg's clinic, the crustacean doctor scuttled in to find a young
man with flaming red hair and a prominent scar lounging in an office
chair. "Evil Fry," he stated, "I thought I told you to
check the expiration dates on my pharmaceutical stock, yet there you
Fry gave him a weak glance of acknowledgment. "If you wanted it
done quickly," he said, "you should've asked a robot."
asked you," Zoidberg insisted.
redhead yanked his legs away from the top of the doctor's desk. "In
my universe, we wouldn't dream of assigning such a mundane
task to a human being," he related, swiveling about in his
because your universe is evil," said Zoidberg with a
dramatic wave of his claw.
criminy," said Evil Fry peevishly. "How many times do I
have to say it? Your universe is the evil universe. Mine is
the good one."
was escorted to the 157th floor by Igner, who stopped suddenly in the
corridor and began to scratch his head. "What's wrong?" Fry
asked him. "Are you lost?"
replied Igner. "It's really hard to walk and scratch my head at
the same time."
he walked along, Fry noticed a row of portraits attached to the wall,
each with a small plaque reading "Mom of the Year" and
featuring, oddly enough, the same person. The only exception was the
2976 picture, which indicated a tie between Mom and the Statue of
or briefs?" Igner asked him out of nowhere.
said Fry, taken aback. "What kind of question is that?"
only stared vapidly as he stopped in front of an imposing double
you're talking about underwear," said Fry. "Boxers."
pressed a button in the wall, and a pleasant chiming noise was heard.
"Who is it?" gushed an elderly female voice.
it's Igner," replied the pumpkin-headed man. "I've brought
Mr. Fry to see you."
about time, you blundering excuse for a...er, I mean, thank you,
Igner. Mommy loves you the most."
doors flew apart, revealing a spacious office with a vaunted ceiling.
Several picture windows offered a view of the crowded New New York
skyline, and before them sat Mom in a battered old rocking chair,
yarn and knitting needles in her hands, a heart-shaped coiffure on
her head. "Come in," she said tenderly. "Igner, you
may leave us."
the doors had closed behind Fry, Mom leaped to her feet with
surprising agility. She hurled one knitting needle, then the other,
so forcefully that they pierced the flaps of Fry's jacket and
embedded themselves in the paneling. Pinned helplessly, the redhead
could only listen and wriggle as Mom launched into her tirade.
you, Philip J. Fry! I could have made billions with those anchovies,
but to you they were no more than hors-d'oeuvres! And now you have
the gall to look me in the face! Impudent worm! I should grind you
into a pulp and make you clean up the mess with your tongue!"
don't destroy me," stammered the quivering Fry. "I-I only
came here to ask for a job."
indignant expression softened into a toothy smile. "A job,"
she said, clasping her hands. "You want to work for me.
I accept. When can you start?"
right away," was Fry's response.
put forth her spidery left hand, and the knitting needles pulled
themselves out of the wall and flew to her under their own power.
"There, there, my pets," she addressed them. "You'll
have ample opportunity to kill later."
grinned with relief. "I have lots of experience as a space
delivery boy," he told Mom. "I used to work for Planet
Express, until they replaced me with an evil twin from another
dimension. I can also break dance. I have an encyclopedic knowledge
of Star Trek, and on a good day, I can belch both
verses of the National Anthem."
no more," said Mom with haste. "Just answer me this one
question. I need someone to ship a top-secret package to the planet
Genocidus within the next solar day. Can you do it?"
said Fry, intrigued. "You mean the planet with the big war
memorial and theme park?"
the other Genocidus," said Mom.
there's two of them," said Fry eagerly. "Sign me up,
was only seconds before he held a pen in one hand and a contract in
the other. Sure, I'm giving away my soul, he thought, but
look at the nifty pen I'm getting in return. Now all I have to do is
sign the thing, and...
musings were interrupted by the buzz of a video screen being
activated. Glancing aside, he noted that Mom was gazing intently at
the image of World President Mixon's head on the wall. I wonder
what Mom and Mixon have to talk about, he thought. No, forget
it, it's none of my business. Just sign the damn contract.
he pressed the tip of the pen against the dotted line, Mom's words
caught his attention: "I just solved my own Planet Express
problem, Dick. Philip J. Fry works for me now."
exclaimed the disembodied president. "I love it when I don't
have to get my own hands dirty."
couldn't take his eyes away from the chuckling head in a jar on a
robot body. That Nixon was a schmuck was no secret to him, but at
that moment he felt something more--dread, anger, hatred.
unfamiliar emotions quickly passed. Whoa, he thought. What
hello, Mr. Fry," the President's head acknowledged him. "I'm
glad to see that you've finally realized who your true mother is.
Tell me, how did you take it when your so-called friends at Planet
Express let you go? Did it make you bitter? Vengeful?"
paused to search his feelings. "Yeah," he admitted. "Yeah,
I am bitter. And vengeful, too."
the spirit, my boy," said Nixon. "Together, the three of us
will teach those filthy commies a lesson they won't soon live
unexpected burst of outrage seized Fry. "You're the
filthy commie!" he shouted, pointing at the screen.
said the startled president. "How dare you!"
dare I indeed, Fry said sheepishly to himself. I have no idea
how that came out of my mouth.
'filthy commie' is not a title of respect," Mom chided
him gently. "Your manners could clearly use some improvement. I
suggest you sign up for my mandatory obeisance seminar. Now, hurry up
and sign the contract. I don't have all solar day, you know."
voice in Fry's gut simply would not be denied. "I'm sorry,"
he said, slowly tearing the contract in two.
once again wearing nothing but his boxers, stared with bleary eyes at
the newscast on the TV screen. "After centuries of mistrust,
North and South Dakota have finally become one state," reported
the lovely Linda. "The historic unification has attracted media
attention unprecedented in the history of the two states. In other
hunched lower in the sofa, stuck his nose toward the ceiling, and
sighed plaintively. I just threw away the opportunity of a
lifetime. Why? Why couldn't I sign my name on that line? I don't owe
those geeks at Planet Express anything. If Mom and Nixon want to
force them out of business, then...no, it's not right! Don't you get
it, Fry? This is why small companies like Planet Express can't get
ahead in the world. This is why guys like me end up unemployed or in
dead-end careers. It's a problem inherent in the System. Wait...why
do I suddenly care about the System? And what exactly is the System
more you use your Platinum Visa card, the more points you
accumulate," said the TV pitchman. "Accumulate enough
points and you'll qualify for our HMO plan."
suppose I should get off my duff and start looking for a job,
thought Fry. But this is the 31st century--shouldn't a job come
looking for me?
doorbell suddenly rang. There it is, thought Fry as he
clambered to his feet and threw on a bathrobe. I just love this
opened the door to the "closet", stepped into the small
metal chamber which Bender called home, and peered through the
spyhole, catching a glimpse of a Chinese girl in a pink sweatsuit.
"Oh, it's you, Amy," he said with a tinge of
were expecting the lottery commissioner, maybe?" said Amy with a
smirk. The blocky-haired girl stepped into Fry's cluttered apartment
and sniffed the air. "You've got a mold problem," she said,
and Fry quickly examined his armpits.
soon is I heard you'd been fired, I called my folks on Mars,"
Amy related to him. "They said they could use a hand on the
ranch. It's not much of a job--mainly milking buggalo, scaring away
crows, and junk--but it includes room and board."
smiled gratefully. "Your parents are wonderful people, Amy, but
I don't think I'm ranch-hand material. If they could set me up with
something else, though..."
do have one other open position," said Amy. As Fry opened
his mouth to inquire, she added, "Son-in-law."
said Fry thoughtfully. Hmm...why not? She's cute, she's rich, she
likes to have a good time...and her tangible assets aren't bad
honestly think you'd be better suited for the ranch-hand job,"
Amy told him.
got me there, thought Fry. "Okay, I'll consider it. I guess
I could get used to the hard work and long hours and crap."
said Amy sheepishly. "I forgot to mention the crap."
one thing," said Fry. "My career chip makes me a delivery
problem," said Amy. "On Mars, you can be anything you want.
It's like America was before the New New Deal."
grinned. "Mars is sounding better and better. When can I meet
with your folks?"
morning, first thing," replied Amy. "I'll even fly you
know how to fly?" said Fry, surprised.
said Amy. "Leela's been training me as a substitute pilot."
that really hard?"
it's easy. All I have to do is think of the control column as a..."
yeah. A joystick."
let's do it," said Fry.
said Amy eagerly. "And just to make sure you don't starve to
death before Saturday"--she drew a tiny metal box from her
handbag--"I brought you some Shrinkies."
said Fry, scrutinizing the small item in his palm. "Never heard
the latest development in food technology," said Amy. "Just
add a little water, and you'll have a month's supply."
said Fry. "Thanks, Amy."
moment the Asian girl had left, he wandered toward the kitchen sink,
gazing pensively at the little box. Hmm...Shrinkies. I hope this
isn't one of the professor's wacky inventions.
flipped open the box, allowed a few drops of water to fall in, and
was instantly buried in an enormous pile of cream-filled pastries.
Fry reported to the Planet Express HQ the next morning wearing black
patent shoes and a stylish leather jacket. His hair was well-groomed
and well-conditioned, and his red whiskers had been shaven to the
point of being undetectable. He was, to Leela’s eye at least,
an all-around class act.
morning, Evil Fry,” said the cyclops, who was passing by his
(formerly Fry’s) office dressed in her pilot’s uniform.
Leela,” said the Fry duplicate, his feet resting on the desk,
his nose deep in a technical manual.
universe’s Fry never has anything interesting to talk about,
mused Leela. I wonder if this guy is the same. Stepping
cautiously into the office, she asked, “Did you ever finish the
job Dr. Zoidberg assigned you?”
care of,” said Evil Fry flippantly. “I finally got tired
of his constant nagging, so I reprogrammed Bender to do the job.”
moment later, Bender marched into the room on his corrugated legs.
“I scrubbed the walls in the decontamination chamber like you
instructed me, master,” he reported with a quick salute.
done,” said Evil Fry. “For that, you get two hours of
bowed politely. “My master is too kind,” he said, and
scurried away in search of booze.
shook her head, and her purple ponytail wagged back and forth. “I
can’t believe I’m saying it,” she remarked, “but
I liked him better as he was.”
have way too much freedom in your universe,” Evil Fry
commented. “I’ve been told you even have a Robot Mafia.
I guess no one here has ever heard of Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws
me,” said Leela, who had no idea what he was saying.
law,” Evil Fry related. “A robot
may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human
being to come to harm. Second law. A robot must obey orders given
it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the
First Law. Third law…”
those laws,” said Leela. “Yeah, we’ve got
them, but they were repealed in 2364.”
figures,” said Evil Fry with a sigh.
more comfortable now in the presence of the alternate Fry, Leela came
forth with a question. “Tell me,” she said curiously,
“is there another Turanga Leela where you come from?”
grinned and lowered his feet from the desk. “Yes,” he
replied. “She’s a lot like you—she has your hair
and your eye. She’s different in some ways, though. She was
raised in the sewers, but moved to the surface when she learned she
wasn’t a mutant, but an alien. Which was great, except that
she brought some of her sewer habits with her. She doesn’t
bathe. She doesn’t flush. She makes no effort to cover up
get the picture,” said Leela.
the worst part,” Evil Fry went on, “is that she has a
crush on me big enough to crush me.”
me of someone I know, thought the cyclops with displeasure.
Her own dimension’s
Fry was in a helpless, vegetative state, his only stimulus being the
images that flashed by on the wall-sized TV screen. “We now
return to Louse, M.D.,” stated the unseen announcer.
Louse, the patient is going into cardiac arrest!” exclaimed a
a miracle can save her!” said a chaplain who was standing near
the hospital bed.
her 50 cc’s of hydromethachlorophyll,” Dr. Louse ordered
Dr. Louse,” the young man protested, “hydromethachlorophyll
is only prescribed to patients who are getting elective surgery to
turn into plants.”
Louse only glowered at him. With a reluctant groan, the intern
filled a syringe with a green liquid and stuck the needle into the
dying woman’s vein. Seconds passed, and the cardiograph showed
that her heart was beating again.
do you believe in God?” the chaplain asked Dr. Louse.
am God,” the physician replied.
significant exertion, Fry raised his arm high enough to grasp the
remote control and flip to the next station. An advertisement was in
progress: “It’s come to our attention that you haven’t
purchased any Lightspeed Briefs for more than six months,” said
a stern-faced man. “You may have switched to a less expensive
brand, or, heaven forbid, to boxers. You may think there’s no
difference, but your crotch certainly feels it. Listen to your
crotch, Fry. Listen to it.”
following commercial piqued his interest. “Do you ever feel
like there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way our
world is being run?” inquired a gaunt-faced Asian man. “Do
you ever look at your paycheck and wonder if your endless labor is
only making the rich richer?”
exactly how I feel, thought Fry, a chord echoing in his heart. I
didn’t know how to put it into words before, but now I can just
tell everyone to watch this ad.
the Diverse Panthers,” the man on the screen continued, “and
we feel the way you do. If you want to help bring about real change
in the System—if you want to take up arms against a sea of
troubles, and by opposing end them—then you’re already
one of us, and you haven’t been paying your dues.”
fingers and toes tingled with newfound strength. That explains
everything, he thought. My anger at Nixon, my worries about
the System—I’m a Diverse Panther, and I didn’t even
luck would have it, the global headquarters of the Diverse Panther
party was located two quick tube trips from Robot Arms Apartments.
Anxious to make a good impression, Fry placed a pair of Lightspeed
Odor Absorbers in his sneakers before departing. When he reached the
inconspicuous glass doors of the small office, the first person to
greet him was a blonde robot receptionist. “Uh, hello,”
he said to the cherry-lipped automaton. “I’m here to
learn more about the Diverse Panthers.”
receptionist’s teeth glowed briefly. “Please fill out
this form,” she said, slapping a sheet of paper onto the
varnished surface of her desk.
muttered to himself while looking over the form. “Hmm…how
did I hear about the Diverse Panthers? Select one of the
following…TV advertisement, Yellow Pages, White Pages, Black
Pages, web search, recommended by friend, led here by God, passing
by, passing through, woke up with no memory of how I got here,
other.” He deftly checked the “TV advertisement”
box and moved on to the next question: “Your gender…male,
female, androgynous, undecided, gnurrvox, other.”
through the survey, as his feet and knees were growing tired from
standing, he encountered a question that caused him concern: “Which
of the following activities interests you most: writing letters to
congressmen, singing folk songs, staging peaceful protests,
door-to-door campaigning, prayer circles, voting.” He fought
back an urge to slap his forehead incredulously.
me,” he said to the robot girl, who by this time had started
filing her nails. “The ad I saw on TV gave me the impression
that your group was interested in real change.”
we are,” the receptionist assured him. “Do you
remember the proposed Staten Island incinerator facility that was
voted down? That was primarily our doing, although the
Reorganized John Birch Society helped out a little.”
said Fry with uncertainty. “But what does an incinerator have
to do with fixing the problems inherent in the System?”
robot’s tone became condescending. “Great wars are made
up of small battles,” she told him. “That’s the
philosophy of the Diverse Panthers. You can’t hack at the root
until you’ve cleared away the branches. If you want to change
the world, start by changing your neighborhood. Think globally, act
at the base of Fry’s mind suggested that he had heard all of
this before, and more than a few times. “Hold on,” he
said to the platinum blonde. “Just how long ago did this
Staten Island…thing…take place?”
was twenty-four years ago,” she replied dutifully.
years?” said Fry, his frustration growing. “And what
have you accomplished since then?”
said the robot smugly, “we did manage to raise enough
money for a TV spot.”
he didn’t understand why or how, Fry knew he was headed for a
highly uncharacteristic explosion. “Now you listen to me,”
he snapped at the receptionist. “I was only able to come here
today because I have no job. On top of that, my friends are about to
be put out of business by an insane old woman who’s so evil
that she probably hires people to poison the squirrels in
Central Park. And the worst part of it is, people like her are in
bed with President Richard Nixon.” He paused to wipe the sweat
from his forehead using a jacket sleeve. “Haven’t you
ever wanted to go to bed with Richard Nixon? I know I have. But we
don’t get that opportunity, because we’re the little
guys. And that’s why nothing ever changes. That’s why
the System stays broken. So you can take your incinerator and shove
it up your USB port, because it doesn’t make a freaking
robot girl’s oblivious expression didn’t change, except
for a slight, sheepish drooping of her eye plates. “Since
you’ve put me on the spot,” she said calmly, “there
is one thing I can recommend, even though we officially don’t
endorse specific candidates.” After a furtive glance left,
right, and above, she went on, “John Jackson and Jack Johnson
will run against Nixon again in 3004. Jackson’s our man.
Johnson favors a gradual withdrawal of our troops in Karjakistan, but
Jackson supports a full redeployment, and that alone is enough to
earn him our votes.”
heart pounded angrily. None of that made a lick of sense, he
thought, and I sure as hell know when I’m being obfuscated.
hands deeply entrenched in his pockets, he marched away from the
Diverse Panther Party headquarters with a mighty scowl. It’s
all about Nixon, he told himself. I don’t know how I
know, and I don’t know how I know that I know, but I just know
that he’s the cause of this sickness. I’ve known it ever
since I saw his two-faced face on the screen in Mom’s office.
bub,” a gruff voice called to him. “You made the right
decision by walkin’ outta that nickel-and-dime joint.”
looked around. Out of the many unshaven, sullen-looking, secretive,
downright scary New Yorkers that surrounded him, he noticed one who
was peering at him from an alleyway. Nervous but intrigued, he
the information you’re lookin’ for,” said the
strange man, holding up a glossy pamphlet. “But be careful—you
could be killed just for readin’ it.”
said Fry, taking the piece of literature in his hands and unfolding
it. Before his curious eyes appeared an extensive chart in the form
of a tree and leaves, with the root at the top. “Cool,”
he remarked. “A multi-level marketing scheme. Can I start at
closer,” said the man. Fry scrutinized the chart, and observed
that the topmost square contained the name, PRESIDENT NIXON.
can’t you see it?” ranted Fry, who was gripping the
pamphlet in front of his robotic friend’s eyes. “It’s
all right here, as clear as the nose on your face!”
got that right,” said Bender, who didn’t have a
expression frantic, Fry turned to the other PE staff members,
including Hermes, Zoidberg, and Scruffy. “You’re all in
danger,” he warned them. “Mom’s plotting to shut
you down, and she’s got Nixon in her corner. I heard the whole
crazy talk, mon,” said Hermes. “We got the law
do you mean?” said Fry vehemently. “You’ve got no
lawyers! You’ve got nothing!”
be a lawyer, why not?” said Zoidberg. Nearby, in the lounge,
Amy rested on the couch with a copy of Space Flight for Ditzes
in her slender hands.
at this,” said Fry, waving his fingers at the fine print.
“Since Nixon took office, the overall sales of the porn
industry have more than tripled. All My Circuits introduced
TV’s first openly naked character. A hate crime bill
protecting mimes was passed. The Robot Devil was granted a liquor
can’t even drink liquor without a license,” said
are you?” Hermes asked him.
nation’s morals have gone down the tube,” Fry continued,
“and I haven’t even gotten to the people who went
bankrupt, or were put in jail, or mysteriously disappeared. Like
Richard Persimmons, the fitness guru, who promoted diet and exercise
as the only way to lose weight. His competitor, Electropancreas
Incorporated, contributed heavily to Nixon’s campaign, and a
within month after he was elected, Richard Persimmons lost his
fortune, left the planet, and was never heard from again.”
good enough!” exclaimed Zoidberg. “Ban his videos!”
you fools,” said Fry, slamming the pamphlet onto Hermes’
desk. “Richard Nixon is the root of all evil. I can prove it.
I have proved it. And he’s after you. He’s
after all of us—our wives, our children, everyone!
You’re next! You’re next!”
Hermes, and Zoidberg only stared blankly and sadly at him. With a
sigh of exasperation, Fry turned and trudged away. “The poor
man’s crazier than a yellow snake that’s been in the
Jamaican sun too long,” remarked Hermes.
with the snake analogies,” grumbled Zoidberg. Bender, in the
meantime, idly snatched up the pamphlet and deposited it into his
a doorway poked the withered heard of Professor Farnsworth. “Is
he gone?” asked the old scientist. “Good.”
away in the custodial closet, two pairs of ears heard the professor’s
summons: “Leela! Evil Fry! You can come out of the closet
elbowed the mop handle aside, and pressed her lips fondly against
Evil Fry’s mouth. “We could stay a little longer,”
she suggested. “The smell of bleach and ammonia isn’t
everything I’ve hoped for, Mirror Leela,” said Evil Fry
wistfully. “I wish I could remain in your universe, and send
your Fry back in my place. He’d get along swimmingly
with the other Leela.”
I can imagine,” said the purple-haired girl. “They repel
everybody else, so they’d naturally attract each other.”
enjoyed one more tender kiss, and then Evil Fry pushed the door open
and allowed the buzzing artificial light to stream in. He and Leela,
hand in hand, followed the professor to the office where the others
had assembled. “What did we miss? Leela asked them. “What
did Good Fry have to tell us?”
much,” replied Bender. “Just that Nixon is evil.”
all know that,” said Leela flippantly.
Bender added, “but the difference is, he cares.”
there’s another funny thing about your universe,”
commented Evil Fry. “Where I come from, we don’t
preserve the heads of presidents in jars. We allow them to die with
their dignity intact, surrounded by their loved ones and a few select
said Leela affectionately, “but does your universe have this?”
stood on the tips of her boots and gave Evil Fry a wet kiss on the
the same instant that Good Fry unexpectedly returned to the office.
“Uh, I forgot my…erk…”
redhead’s eyes bulged. His teeth ground together. Anger and
rage threatened to burst his heart. My evil duplicate…and
the woman I love…
Leela yanked her lips away from her new lover’s cheek. “Sweet
zombie Jesus!” cried Farnsworth. “Good Fry and Evil Fry
are in the same room!”
annihilate each other!” said Hermes in terror.
try,” said Bender, as the furious Fry pushed up one of
distracted from her pilot training book by the commotion in the
meeting room, walked in to behold a scenario of fear and tension.
“Oh, my Splod!” she exclaimed at the sight of the two
Frys facing each other as Leela, Farnsworth, Hermes, Zoidberg,
Scruffy, and Bender stood still and watched.
I can see that we both love the same woman,” said Evil Fry,
looking back and forth between his duplicate and the worried Leela.
“I don’t know what you have in mind, but in my opinion,
we should settle this dispute like the men that we are.”
agree!” snapped Good Fry. He advanced boldly, raising his
fists into the air.
him alone!” Farnsworth pleaded with the hot-blooded redhead.
“If you touch him, the resulting matter-antimatter reaction may
release enough energy to destroy Earth, or possibly the entire
Fry was opening his mouth to speak when the first punch came. Backed
up by Fry’s jealous rage, the right hook connected squarely
with his nose, which lost all feeling almost instantly. He reeled,
staggered, and gushed blood, but to the surprise of the onlookers,
there was no burst of destructive energy. Earth, as far as they
could tell, was still in one piece.
head spinning, Evil Fry struggled to remain on his feet and look his
counterpart straight in the eye. “Is that what you call
settling it like men?” he said indignantly.
said Fry, readying his left fist for another thrust. “What do
you call it?”
Evil Fry had a chance to say, “Where I come from, ‘settle
it like men’ means ‘talk it over’,” he took a
powerful blow that seemed to sever his jaw from the rest of his head.
The pain and dizziness was such that he knew the fight was over, for
him at least. Moaning and bleeding profusely, he sank to his knees
and pushed against the floor to brace himself.
it, Fry!” Leela pleaded. “You’ve hurt him! You’ve
really hurt him!”
still seething and waving his fists, backed up a step and waited. As
Leela and Hermes gently laid Evil Fry on his back, it dawned on him
that he had won the fight—a fight he had never wanted, and
hadn’t expected to win. Geez, I guess this is Good Fry Day,
Fry, his face and chin soaked in blood, recoiled when he saw Dr.
Zoidberg bending over to examine him. “Keep your clumsy claws
off me!” he struggled to say through his broken jaw. To the
hovering Professor Farnsworth he added, “My dimension’s
Zoidberg is the only doctor I trust. Send me back!”
no!” protested Leela. “We’ve had so little time
sorry,” mumbled Evil Fry. “I’m not wanted in your
dimension, but I’m needed in mine.”
stood up and stared vindictively at the other Fry. “If you
want me so badly,” she told him, “then you can have
me—the other me, in the evil universe. She’ll
marry you in a cold moment. What are you waiting for?”
it, Leela,” said Fry firmly. “If I can have you, then I
don’t want you.”
PE crew members went their separate ways—Zoidberg to obtain a
gurney for Evil Fry, Farnsworth to activate the interdimensional
portal, Hermes to fill out a health insurance claim form, and Scruffy
to fetch a mop for the blood pooling on the floor. Fry, left alone
with Leela and Amy, shrugged and asked, “Whose idea was it to
give my job to my evil twin from a parallel universe?”
was the professor’s,” Amy replied. “Ever wonder
what happens when you send a resumé to a company and no one
responds to it? Well, the professor figured it out.”
said Fry. “I always assumed it just disappeared into another
gave him a knowing smirk.
said Fry, nodding his head.
scaring me, Fry,” said Leela earnestly. “You’re
not acting like yourself.”
mean I’m not acting like the guy you fired,” Fry
shot back. “I’m not that person anymore. I have a
purpose now. I have an enemy.”
Farnsworth’s laboratory, the professor witnessed as Zoidberg
pushed the gurney bearing the prostrate Evil Fry through the
shimmering, glowing portal that led to his home dimension. “I’ve
never been so befuddled,” the old man remarked. “By all
known laws of science, the fight between Good Fry and Evil Fry should
have, at the very least, obliterated all of New New York. I can come
up with only one plausible explanation—one of the Frys is no
longer the same man he was before.”
bickering, protesting voices from within Dr. Zoidberg’s clinic
lured Leela and Amy to the closed door. “What do you suppose
is going on in there?” said Leela.
professor asked Fry to get a physical exam before going to Mars with
me,” the Asian girl replied.
physical exam?” said Leela warily. “You mean…Zoidberg’s
the doctor here,” she heard the lobster say from inside the
clinic, “and when I tell you to take off your underpants, you
take off your underpants.”
never been examined by Zoidberg before,” said Leela. “I
wonder how he’ll take it.”
said Amy. “I remember my first time, and how I almost freaked
out during the rectal exam. His claws are cold.”
Fry’s scream of terror shook the walls of the PE building.
squirming,” Zoidberg scolded him. “I don’t want to
later, Fry sat quivering on a stool in Farnsworth’s laboratory
as the scientist attached electrodes to his temples. “Your
physical examination showed nothing out of the ordinary,”
Farnsworth told him. “That leaves only your psychological
state to consider. Thanks to my new invention, the Farnsworth
Psychoencephalograph, we can probe deeper than we’ve ever…”
Fry,” said the professor. “Poor choice of words.”
required Farnsworth’s best efforts to persuade Fry to sit still
and relax while electromagnetic rays coursed through his cranium.
Leela and Amy watched from their chairs, looks of concern on their
faces. “Do you really think he’s suffering from
something psychological, professor?” asked Amy.
my, yes,” answered Farnsworth. “It would account for his
change in behavior, and the fact that he could touch his mirror
universe self without vaporizing everything in sight.”
think the stress of being unemployed was too much for him, and he
snapped,” said Leela. “It can happen to anyone in his
fiddled with a few dials and turned to face Fry, whose pupils were
trembling from the alternating magnetic fields in his skull. “Now,
Fry, I’d like to ask you some questions. First of all, what’s
see,” said the professor with interest. “And how long
have you had a stuttering problem?”
the time Fry’s session with Farnsworth ended, Bender had walked
in and assumed a standing position between Leela and Amy. “Very
interesting,” remarked the old man, who was carefully stripping
the electrodes from Fry’s head. “According to the
readout of the Psychoencephalograph, which has never been wrong, your
cerebral profile is equivalent to that of a person twice your age.”
and Amy gasped in disbelief. Fry only groaned weakly and tried to
steady his hands on his knees.
it’s nothing to worry about,” the professor reassured
them. “It’s just very, very impossible. It’s like
planting a tree, and cutting it down ten years later to find forty
much longer does he have?” Leela asked him.
to say,” replied Farnsworth. “If his mental composition
continues to age twice as quickly as he does, by the time he reaches
one hundred, he’ll have the mind of a zombie.”
more,” said the professor, gazing at a computer display through
his thick glasses. “The analysis indicates that Fry is easily
I’m not!” exclaimed the redhead, his gown flapping as he
jumped to his feet.
suspicious, even paranoid…”
put you up to this?” Fry demanded.
to bouts of depression…”
Cubs will never win the World Series,” said Fry glumly.
my sweatsuit!” roared Fry, pointing an accusing finger
obsessed with trivial details.”
Leela,” said Fry. “Did you know you have the same name
as a symphony by the 20th-century French composer Olivier
cyclops shook her head. “That doesn’t sound like him at
all,” she remarked. “The Fry I know is easygoing,
cheerful, generous, and is so unconcerned with details”—she
took a glance at his bare feet—“that he can’t even
be bothered to trim his toenails to the same length. And he sure as
hell knows nothing about medieval music.”
you calling the Psychoencephalograph a liar?” said Farnsworth,
glaring at her.
answered Leela. “I’m calling you a liar.”
said the professor. “Thanks for clearing that up.”
don’t understand,” said Amy with a shrug. “I know
people can change, but with Fry, it was like…poof!”
I’ve changed, it’s for the better,” said Fry
a supervillain zapped him with an orbital mind-control beam,”
maybe he took an empathy pill,” said Amy. “You know, the
pill that makes a guy feel like he’s having a period.”
said Fry, grimacing. “I’ll take the mind-control beam,
of those things would explain such a fundamental change in his
cranial physiology,” stated Farnsworth. “It’s like
someone extracted his soul and put in a new one—and I’m
speaking literally, not figuratively.”
professor,” Amy chimed in, “there’s no such thing
as a literal soul.”
that’s what you believe,” said Farnsworth sinisterly,
“then you have nothing to fear from applying to graduate
slept uneasily on the night before he was to travel to Mars with Amy.
I mustn’t let anything stand in my way, he thought,
rolling over onto his back. The people of the world will thank
me, he thought, rolling over onto his belly. Leela will thank
me. They’ll all understand when it’s over. My life has
been an insignificant failure. I couldn’t even stay rooted in
one time period. At least my death will mean something…
was still musing on his terrible duty when the alarm clock sounded
off. This would be a great morning to sleep in, he thought,
but the longer I wait, the more chance I’ll talk myself out
of it. My destiny awaits.
Bender saw him, he had put on a clean, well-pressed white shirt and a
navy-blue suit jacket, and was in the process of fastening his
checkered tie in front of the mirror. “Geez, buddy,”
said the robot. “They told me something wasn’t right
with your brain, but I didn’t believe it, until now.”
Bender, something has happened to my brain,” said Fry
with a confident air. “Something wonderful.”
don’t know what you’re all duded up for,” said his
cybernetic roommate. “You’re going to a job interview
for a ranch hand position. Amy did tell you that, right?”
not like I’m gonna work in this suit,” said Fry,
going through his hair with a comb once again. “It’s
think you should at least ditch the boutonniere,” said Bender.
a quick meal of Shrinkies and orange juice, Fry made his way to the
apartment exit, clutching the handle of a jet-black briefcase. “Hey,
Fry,” Bender queried him, “whatcha got in the satchel?
Anything worth stealing?”
for the professor,” said Fry, tapping the front of the case
with his knuckles. “If I tell you what’s inside, I’ll
have to deactivate you.”
it a targeting unit for a surface-to-air anti-Santa missile
launcher?” asked Bender.
makes you think that?” said Fry impatiently.
the professor axed for one last X-mas,” said the robot, “and
he didn’t get one.”
it’s not an X-mas gift,” Fry assured him. “X-mas
lost its meaning for me after that song came out—you know the
one—I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus.”
a smile and a nod, Fry was on his way. Bender, as was his primary
function on Saturdays, rested his shiny metal ass on the couch in
preparation for some TV viewing. On the screen, a stern-looking
mother figure was scolding her adult son. “When are you gonna
move out of here and get a job?” she barked.
the son droned emotionlessly.
you or someone you know is being subjected to alien mind control,”
said an earnest-looking woman with a drawing of a green ribbon on her
blouse, “you owe it to yourself to call the number on the
screen. The Robert A. Heinlein Alien Mind Control Institute is a
that’s Fry all over, thought Bender. If I cared at all,
I’d try to get him some help…problem is, I don’t.
lime-green hull freshly washed and waxed, the Planet Express
spaceship stood at attention in the docking bay. Leela, in a solemn
ceremony attended by Hermes, Zoidberg, and Professor Farnsworth, was
passing the ignition key to Amy, who had foregone her pink sweatsuit
in favor of a glossy pilot’s uniform.
first solo flight,” said the Asian girl, letting the heavy
metallic object dangle from her fingers. “I’m so
excited, I could just die.”
don’t die, Amy,” said the professor, his hands clasped in
worry. “I’ll never find another intern with your unique
forget the things I taught you,” Leela admonished her friend.
said Amy proudly. “The best thing for a hangover is a mixture
of Dramamine, prickly pear juice, and…”
the things I taught you,” said Leela, folding her
you take off,” said Hermes, handing Amy a clipboard with a few
papers, “I have some legal waivers for you to sign.”
said Amy, taking pen in hand. “What are they for?”
eliminate our liability in case you have an accident,” replied
who is liable if I crash?” inquired Amy.
should have asked that question before signing the waivers,
mon,” said Hermes.
this, too,” said Zoidberg. Gesturing with his claw at the
sheet he gripped in his other claw, he went on, “This consent
form allows us to preserve your head in a jar if your body is
way!” exclaimed Amy, recoiling from the lobster’s eager
stare. “I don’t want what happened to Paris Hilton to
happen to me.”
did happen to Paris Hilton?” inquired a smartly-dressed
redhead who had just stepped into the bay.
hello, Fry,” Farnsworth greeted him. “Since you asked,
I’ll tell you. Paris Hilton was killed in a high-speed race
with the paparazzi—she was chasing them.
Scientists managed to preserve her head, but then she asked them to
fill her jar with champagne, only to realize—too late—that
she couldn’t breathe the stuff.”
Amy,” said Fry to the Chinese girl. “I’m sure
looking forward to this flight.” Lifting up the case he held,
he asked, “Mind if I bring along some of my personal effects?”
prob,” replied Amy. “What do you have in there,
yeah,” replied the young man. “Old Space.”
a toothbrush?” Amy pressed him.
lots of toothpaste.”
are you, really?” said Leela suspiciously.
to Anderson Cooper 2*pi,” said the bleach-blond
newscaster. “I’m your host, Anderson Cooper’s
head. With less than two hours remaining before President Nixon’s
State of the World address…”
fallen asleep during an especially dry news program, Bender was
roughly awakened by a sharp cramp somewhere within his circuitry. I
must’ve disagreed with something I ate, he thought,
groggily reaching to open the door to his chest cavity. With both
hands he fished through the various items he had collected or stolen,
and finally happened upon the culprit. Yanking the object out, he
observed that it was Fry’s anti-Nixon pamphlet that had caused
him so much intestinal distress.
can’t believe Fry’s reading this garbage, he thought,
lazily leafing through the pages. Well, at least he’s
reading something. I’ve been told that’s good for you.
section headings intrigued, disgusted, and amused him—Nixon
OKs blood-for-oil trade deal, Nixon issues executive pardon
for himself, Nixon orders increase in production of stem
cells. He reached the final page, having seen nothing that might
make him care—and then his bulb-shaped eyes caught the name,
hidden away among the fine print, of the tract’s author.
my nonexistent God,” he muttered aloud. “I know
closed his eyes and allowed the vibrations from the ship’s
engines to pass from the chair into his body. Just relax, he
told himself. It will soon be done.
can do this,” he heard Amy utter nervously. “Steady,
one eye and looking toward the pilot’s seat, he noticed that
Amy was gripping the ship’s control column with one hand, and
applying mascara to her eyelashes with the other. “Are you
sure that’s a good idea?” he said, finding it odd that
such an idle question would be among his last words.
yeah,” replied the girl without moving her head. “It’s
a huge time-saver.” She gently pulled the stick closer, and
the ship’s prow rose, allowing the New New York skyline and the
hilly horizon to disappear from the viewscreen. They hovered for a
moment while she dropped the cosmetic brush into a conveniently
located compartment, and then the rockets burst to life, launching
them into the sky.
feeling of wicked satisfaction filled Fry as he watched Earth’s
surface fade below him. Twenty-five minutes until the State of
the World address begins, he thought, glancing at the built-in
clock on the console. Nothing can stop me now—nothing but
my own fear.
switched on the automatic pilot and started to apply rouge to her
cheeks. “This is the most supremely satisfying moment of my
life,” she gushed. “I wish I had the words to tell you
how I feel. It’s like…well, you know, it’s
like…freedom, and power, and beauty, and the birds, and junk.
first thought was that he had excused himself to go to the lavatory.
She lowered the applicator, turned her head, and gasped in terror.
stood behind her, his face a mask of ruthless determination, his
fingers wrapped around the trigger of a laser pistol, the barrel of
the pistol aimed directly between her eyes. Next to his feet lay the
opened, discarded black briefcase.
she wailed. “What do you think you’re doing?”
nobody else has the guts to do,” the fiery-eyed redhead
answered. “Lay in a course for Washington, D.C.”
my, yes,” said Professor Farnsworth, gloating over his
handiwork. “It’s perfect. It’s the most perfect
thing I’ve ever created.”
Dad?” said Cubert, gazing down at the brand-new addition to his
anatomy. “I wanted an outie, not an innie.”
said the professor dismissively. “Someday you’ll thank
Cubert sat and contemplated his navel, an unexpected visitor burst
into the lab in the form of Bender. “Yo, propeller-head,”
said the robot in haste. “I found something that might
interest you. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s not.”
In his hand he waved the garishly-worded pamphlet that Fry had
obtained in an alley.
see that,” said Farnsworth, taking the literature into his
wrinkled fingers. “Nixon, eh?” After a quick scan of
the pages he added, “Good Lord, at this rate he’ll start
the Apocalypse before I do!”
at the ending,” Bender urged him. “Look at the name of
the guy who wrote it.”
professor adjusted his crystal goggles. “Orlando Garrett?
Where have I heard that name before? Oh, that’s right.
Garrett happens to be the name of the chump who snuffed himself in
the booth just before Fry went in,” Bender related. “I
checked out his web site. Turns out he was a total whack job who
could think of nothing but how much happier we’d all be if
Nixon was impeached, imprisoned, assassinated, or all of the above.”
mused the scientist. “Could it be that he infected Fry with
his paranoid fantasies somehow?”
never had a chance to talk to Fry,” Bender told him.
“He was history in the making by the time Fry came back from
his battle with the vending machine.”
tickled his chin thoughtfully. “That’s very curious,”
he remarked, “but when you consider how many enemies Nixon has
made since taking office…”
exclaimed Cubert, leaping up from his chair. “I think I know
what happened to Uncle Fry!”
the professor blurted out.
a crazy idea,” said the young clone, “but if it’s
true, then Amy may be in danger.”
“Put the gun away!”
Amy pleaded with the rigid, scowling Fry. “You’re not
as I say and you won’t be hurt,” said Fry, tightening his
grasp on the cold hilt of the laser gun. “Wait a minute…I’m
gonna crash the ship into the White House and kill President Nixon,
so you will be hurt…no, I take that back. Just do as I
no!” cried Amy, her face white with terror and red with
rouge. “You can’t do that on my first solo flight!”
you’ve been a good friend,” said Fry with only a hint of
emotion, “but if you make any attempt to change our course,
I’ll put a hole through your pretty little head.”
said Amy wistfully. “Uh, I mean, please don’t kill me!
I’ll do anything!”
I’m trying to say,” Cubert explained to Bender and the
professor, “is that when Orlando Garrett killed himself in the
suicide booth, he left behind a psychic residue that latched on to
Uncle Fry when he went inside.”
residue?” said Farnsworth incredulously. “Preposterous!
You’ve been reading too much Harry Potter.”
who’s talking, Mr. I-can-fly-faster-than-the-speed-of-light,”
Cubert chided him.
that’s gotta burn,” said Bender.
professor threw up his hands in indignation. “I’ve never
heard of such an occurrence,” he insisted. “I’ve
never seen it postulated in any serious scientific journal, and I’ve
read more than twelve thousand serious scientific journals. How many
serious scientific journals have you read, punk?”
replied Cubert, “if you count Psychology Today.”
megacity of Baltimore flew by underneath the Planet Express delivery
ship, and the waters of the Potomac River appeared as a shining
fringe in the distance. Amy sat motionlessly, struggling not to cry,
badly needing to use the ladies’ room. Fry paced back and
forth through the cabin, ranting to himself, keeping his weapon
trained on the pilot’s seat. “That bodiless bastard
won’t know what hit him,” Amy could hear him mutter.
voice from the radio speakers suddenly broke the tension. “Amy!
Amy, come in!” it crackled.
the professor!” said the Asian girl with relief. “I’m
saved!” She lurched forward to hit the receive button, only to
be startled by an inhumanly high-pitched shriek and an avalanche of
who had just blasted one of the speakers to bits, blew the smoke from
the end of his pistol. “Whoops,” he said calmly but
menacingly. “My finger slipped.”
sank back into the captain’s chair and groaned despondently.
I’ve got to think of something, she told herself. But
I’m Amy, not Leela. Geesh, I’m gonna die…
Farnsworth released the button on the microphone he was holding.
“She’s not responding,” he said somberly. “I
hope nothing’s happened to her.”
know,” mused Bender, “I’ll bet fewer people will
kill themselves once they realize they can pick up someone’s
psychic residue just by walking into a suicide booth.”
spooky,” Cubert remarked. “And the potential for
lawsuits is even spookier.”
professor attempted to contact the Planet Express ship again, but Amy
was in no position to respond. “Don’t answer that,”
said Fry, waving the barrel of his laser pistol in her direction.
a .44 Zapgun, the most powerful blaster in the world, thought Amy
as her painted fingernails dug into the armrests of the captain’s
chair. It could blow my head right off. I’ve got to ask
myself a question—do I feel lucky?
to Amy,” the professor’s voice sounded. “Amy, come
in. I have reason to believe that Fry may be dangerous.”
doesn’t know how dangerous,” said Fry cockily.
“The old crackpot.”
spacecraft rumbled and shook as it passed through a stormcloud high
above the District of Columbia. Amy swiveled in her seat and gazed
at the armed redhead, who glowered back. He doesn’t know
that I really set a course for Arlington National Cemetery, she
thought. We’ll be killed, but we won’t take anyone
with us who isn’t already dead. She swung around slowly,
and focused her eyes on the copilot seat ejection button. That
little red button could be the answer. I’d have to time it
just right…and I’d have to distract him somehow…
turned her attention back to Fry. “Uh, is it all right if I
stand up?” she requested. “I’m getting a cramp in
right,” said Fry with a suspicious glare. “But keep your
hands where I can see them.”
only I were Leela, thought Amy as she unlatched her shoulder
harness. Then you’d have to worry about my feet instead of
my hands. Once she had risen, she struck a seductive pose and
tried to come up with something distracting to say.
tricks,” Fry cautioned her from three yards away. “No
sudden moves. My finger’s on the trigger.”
from the 20th century, Amy told herself. There’s
a lot he doesn’t know about our time. I’ve got to use
that to my advantage somehow. Hey…I’ve got it!
smiled facetiously. “If you’re dead set on throwing your
life away for nothing,” she taunted the grim-looking Fry, “then
go right ahead. I won’t stand in your way.”
do you mean?” said Fry, taking a step closer to her. “I’m
gonna assassinate Nixon.”
you’re not,” said Amy as she minced stealthily, placing
the copilot’s chair between herself and Fry. “Get with
the times, Philip. In your century, anyone could hijack a plane and
drop it on the President. But in the 31st century, that
angered, Fry strode forward and pressed the point of the laser pistol
against Amy’s nose. “Why won’t it?” he
blocky-haired girl shuffled back a few inches, forcing Fry to lean
slightly over the back of the chair. The sight of the glassy,
glowing beam projector at the end of Fry’s gun sent a chill
through her, but she spoke as bravely as she could. “President
Nixon will deliver his State of the World address from the Oval
Office,” she told him, “and the Oval Office is protected
by a force field.”
what?” Fry sputtered. “A force field?”
force field,” Amy assured him. “It’s been in place
ever since the Omicronian invasion. It’s so strong, even a
nuclear bomb can’t penetrate it.”
could see Fry’s gun hand quiver with consternation. “You’re
lying,” he snarled.
you go through with this,” she went on, unperturbed, “you
won’t kill Nixon, but you will kill a buttload of
registered on Fry’s face, indicating to Amy that it was time to
act. In one quick, limber movement, she leaned backwards and reached
for the console, punching the red eject button. Before Fry had a
chance to regain his focus, a panel flew open in the hull above him,
and the copilot chair exploded upwards like a rocket. The rim of the
chair struck his chin with such force that he performed a double back
flip before landing belly-up and unconscious on the cabin floor.
awoke to a world of spinning blurs and tremendous pain. He could
make out four, or maybe five, amorphous objects towering above him.
“Wh-where am I?” he attempted to say, but as his mouth
would not open, he could only manage “Wh-whmmmph mmmph?”
coming to,” uttered three simultaneous voices that sounded like
knew that he was lying down on a mattress, but didn’t recognize
the feel of the mattress. He remembered only bits and pieces of the
previous few days. The lights in the ceiling of the strange room
pierced his brain like daggers. It hurt even to think.
news, everyone!” It was Professor Farnsworth’s voice.
“The Psychoencephalograph reports that Fry’s brain has
reverted to its normal configuration. He’s no longer a
detail-obsessed paranoid conspiracy nut.”
is good news, professor,” Fry heard Amy say.
said Farnsworth. “As I endeavored to prove in my doctoral
dissertation, any type of mental disorder can be completely cured by
a strong enough blow to the head.”
his mouth, Fry sensed the coldness of metal and a slight taste of
blood. His head, throbbing with agony, felt as if it was being held
together by duct tape and baling wire. “Sweet frog of Prague!”
exclaimed the voice of Hermes. “His head’s bein’
held together with duct tape and baling wire!”
did you expect?” said Zoidberg from nearby. “My hands
are claws, for crying out loud.”
warm, smooth hand caressed Fry’s cheek. “I was so
worried about you,” uttered Amy’s voice. “I’m
sorry I had to knock you out, but I couldn’t let you kill the
the President? he thought with alarm. “Kmmm thmm
Prmmmdmmt?” he mumbled.
though he does have it comin’,” said a
bluish-silver blur with a spike rising out of its head. “I’m
just glad you’re not the one who did the deed, ‘cause
I wouldn’t want to get involved.”
tried to kill the President, thought Fry. God, I’m a
Bender, and Zoidberg remained at Fry’s side in the clinic,
while Farnsworth, Leela, and Hermes made their way to the exit of the
PE building. “There’s still the problem of finding a new
delivery boy to fill Fry’s position,” said Leela.
that’s not a problem at all,” said Farnsworth, directing
his words to Hermes. “Since his name is still on the personnel
records, we can simply pretend he was never fired. That way, you
won’t need to fill out any extra forms.”
I like filling out forms,” Hermes protested.
they reached the sidewalk, Farnsworth spotted a suicide booth a block
away and marched determinedly towards it. “Where are you
going, professor?” Leela asked him.
going to see if Cubert’s psychic residue theory holds water or
not,” said the old man as the other pedestrians walked past
him, or rather, dodged him.
mon,” said Hermes, following after. “Just don’t
the New New Yorkers who waited impatiently in line for their turn to
die, Farnsworth said, “Pardon me, I’m a safety
inspector.” Grumbling, they stood to one side as the wizened
scientist stepped into the booth and closed the door.
Cubert’s right,” Leela said to Hermes, “then the
professor may walk out of there a totally different person.”
believe it when I see it,” said the Jamaican.
few seconds passed, and Farnsworth emerged from the booth, his head
bowed with apparent grief. Leela quicky approached the glum-looking
senior citizen. “Professor, what’s wrong?” she
shook his head weakly. “I look old,” he lamented. “I
don’t know how anybody can stand to look so old.”
there,” said Leela, stroking his shoulders. “You look
old because you are old. It’s part of life.”
shot her a grateful look. “Leela, I need some advice,”
he said. “Which foundation do you think would work best for my