And Life is Like a Song
“Life is like a box of chocolates...” the robot said in a terribly fake southern drawl. “Ya stick yer finger in the bottom of them ta see what kind ya got, and if ya don't like 'em, throw 'em back!”
“BENDER”, the cyclops snapped, “that was crude and disgusting!”
“Are ya SURE you got the analogy?”, he chuckled.
“Fry, please.” She motioned toward the driver's seat, and her co-worker, best friend, and lover slipped in. It was about to get ugly, and they were about to land. He prepped the ship for a landing, as Leela 'landed' a few fists into the robot's head and torso. Her boot dented his 'shiny metal' for good measure, as he ran off the bridge for cover. Coming up behind him (half to watch that he landed safely, and half just to slip her arms around his shoulders), she watched as all the years of him watching her, and the few lessons, paid off. They landed in the hangar without incident.
“So, Fry, you've been uncharacteristically quiet for that conversation. What do YOU think life is like? I'm kinda curious as how you would describe it.”
“Well,” he thought for a few seconds, and then for a few more, hoping that when he opened his mouth, his brain would be fully engaged, “I think life is... Life is like a song!”
“A... a song? How can you... a... a song?”
“Uh, sure, yeah.” He said, not very convincingly. “Both, uh, have their ups and downs, and uh, songs can make you feel ways, like, things, and... no, wait. I...”
“Never mind”, she playfully patted him on the head and gave him a quick peck. “Come on, that was the last delivery on the schedule for today. Let's get the hell out of here, before your crackpot nephew gives us more 'good news', and we die before we can enjoy our time together tonight.”
“Yeah,” He yawned and stretched. Twisting, his back popped a few times. “What do we have planned tonight? Bender is looting the south end, and Amy and Kif had something planned. It's just you and me, if we do anything. Might as well stay in...”
“We don't have to stay in. I was thinking maybe go out for a few drinks, and dance at the Hip Joint... thought you might like it... they are having a 'stupid ages' party there. All music, clothes, food, and drinks from your time. I even went and found the old antique dress in the back of my closet that an old defrostee gave me when I worked at Applied Cryogenics.
“Uh, yeah, sure! That actually does sound like fun!” Scratching his head, he pondered, “Uh, geez, Leela, what can I wear there?”
Leela simply looked him up, down, and then up again. She rubbed her forehead and sighed. And she loved him WHY? She chuckled to herself.
“Tell ya what, Fry, YOU go ahead and wear what you have on. We'll stop by my apartment so I can get changed. Okay?”
“Uh, sure thing, Leela, if you think I won't look like a dork.”
The walk to the tube from planet Express, and ride to the stop a half a block to Leela's apartment, took less than five minutes. Another four minutes, and they were inside Leela's apartment, and she was locking the door. Kicking off his sneakers, he flopped himself down onto her sofa, and picked up the remote, and started flipping through channels, while he waited for her to change.
Flipping through the first time, he started cycling through the channels again. He glanced over at the clock on the wall, rolled his eyes, and went another round with the television remote. By the fourth time, he was wondering if women really DO take their time on purpose, simply to annoy the man. The fifth time through the channels, he turned off the TV, threw the remote at the far end of the couch, and went to get up and bang on her bedroom door, and demand to know what was taking so long. As he got up and spun around, the bedroom door opened, and Leela greeted him. The black dress she was wearing look like it was painted on her, and very little paint was used. While the dress was full length, Fry noticed that it was slit on both sides from the hem all the way past her hips. He stared. He tried not to think about how obvious it was that it was impossible for Leela to wear panties under it. He heard her giggle, and realized she saw him staring, he went to raise his eyes to her face, and failed when he hit chest height on her... one good hiccup, and they would be free...
“Uh, Fry?” She playfully grabbed his chin and raised his gaze to hers. “So, Do you like it?'
Fry's jaw flopped open and closed a couple of times, and he finally managed to squeak out a positive reply.
Continuing on their conversation, they talked about bikes, boats, and many other things life can be like. Their trip to the Hip Joint was filled with the conversation, but uneventful. However, once they walked inside, it was anything but uneventful. Leela immediately voiced her concern, but was quelled by Fry's indignant 'Look around, Leela! These are MY people!'. Never mind the place was packed with Omicronians, Parameciums, Blobs, Maggotians, and what appeared to be a family reunion for Morbo... however, all were wearing stupid era clothing. Foolishly putting her concerns aside, she followed Fry into the melee of dancers, body shaking bass, and dank, fetid air.
“Oh, LORD, Fry!” She held her nose, and shown no attempt to hide her disgust. “What the hell happened in here!? It smells like Nibbler after eating Bender's cooking!”
“Heh heh heh... yeah. You'll get used to it.”
“Get USED to it? And I thought this was supposed to be fun...”
“It IS fun, Leela! It was never a good 20th century party without stale drinks spilled, sweaty body odor, farts...” he paused and raised a finger and cocked an eyebrow, “and vomit! Can't forget the puke!”
“Can, we please, please, find somewhere a bit more... clean looking, and smelling?” she said as she shot him her most depressing 'I'm your girlfriend and I'm VERY upset' look. He wisely obliged and led her through the floor full of dancers, to a far corner booth... and right into the first problem of the night. Just as he let Leela slip into the booth, and he followed her, an all too familiar voice was heard from the next booth over...
“Well, if it isn't the lovely, luscious, Leela!”
“Uh, Leela, I don't have enough on me to cover bail tonight... maybe we can just slip out...”
The bald, toupee wearing blob of a man squeezed out of his booth, and walked over and leaned on their table, sliding it against them, and blocked their escape. He was already three sheets to the wind, and was wearing an ill fitting 20th century 'uniform'- albeit part Navy, part Army, part Air Force, and part Cub Scout.
“Leeeela! How about a dance with the Zapper?”
“I'd rather lick Zoidberg's ass,” she smiled sweetly. “Besides, can't you get it through that thick skull of yours that Fry is my man now?”
“So, this hair pile...” he thinks, and as he does, he wobbles and has to regain his balance. “...so I have a chance?”
“Sure! In hell.” She rolled her eye.
“Lovely place, Hell. Been there and back numerous times. Quite smaller than one would expect, actually... speaking of small...” showing no couth, he grabbed the crotch to his pants and tried to adjust himself; he grunted. “How did those stupid ages men WEAR these things? This is like a small mansion!- no 'ball room'”.
“Amazing YOU would know anything about THAT.”, Leela glared at him. “Now if you'll excuse us, we were having a very deep, meaningful conversation...”
“I... I can be very deep!” Zapp pouted, and hiccuped.
“Yeah, deep in it as of late...” Fry muttered under his breath, and got Leela to chuckle.
“Sorry, Mr. Brannigan, but somehow I don't think you're capable of pondering anything at the moment.” she coolly shot at him. You're so drunk if we asked you what life was like, you'd be saying it's 'like a rainbow yawn to the porcelain goddess'.
“And she's nice and cool to the touch, too...” he smirked.
“Oh Zapp, sweetie-kins!” a not so feminine voice shot from the next booth over, “What's taking so long? I thought we were going to have a romantic evening, together?” A very hairy, coarse looking individual walked up to Zapp and put their arm around his waist. Their chest hair was peeking out behind their false breasts, and they were in dire need of a good shave... all over their body. “Oh, sorry! You'll have to excuse my Zapp! Let me introduce myself- I'm Sam!”
“It's short for Samantha!” Zapp jumped in.
“Sure, whatever.” Sam said, and patted Zapp on the head, who immediately proceeded to adjust his rug. “Sorry for the interruption. I'll take Zapp home to bed now. Oh! Before we go, I couldn't help but listen in... I think life is like a stupid ages camera...”
“A camera?” Leela, Fry, and Zapp all asked.
“Sure!” Sam said. “Focus on what's important, capture some good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, take another shot!”
“Oookay. So how will life be treating me tonight?” Zapp pawed at Sam.
“Let's just say you may be interested in what 'develops'.” Leela guffawed, to which Sam gave a dirty look.
As they turned to go, Leela and Fry looked at each other, and burst out laughing.
Did... did you SEE Zapp's 'date'?” Leela cried, holding her gut.
“Yeah!” Fry hooted. “Like Admiral Ackbar would say: IT'S A TRAP!'”
“I HEARD THAT, BITCH!” they heard Sam snap from somewhere in the crowd.
Recovering from their fit of hysterical laughter, they had noticed at some point during their conversation with Zapp and Sam, a band had taken to the stage, and was now playing period music for the party. Despite the fact that Leela could only name one out of ten songs, Fry insisted they were all classics. Taking her hand, he got up, and led her to the dance floor.
“May I have this dance?” he asked. “I think it's safe to say Zapp won't be here to ruin it.”
“Why, certainly!” she cooed, and rested her head on his shoulder as he took her in close. “you know, Fry, despite the crowd, the stench, and the terrible food, this isn't that bad... when you hold me like this, it's like we're the only two people here...”
A grubby hand tapped Fry on the shoulder. Seeing the filthy hand wasn't enough... body odor more vile than the party's odors wafted around them, and made them gag. They swore they saw flies commit suicide around this guy...
“Excuse, mes, but I's was wonderings if I's could cuts in?”
Leela groaned, and lifted her head off of Fry's shoulder, and looked Sal in the eye, and gave him a death-glare.
“Holy Jesuses! It's you'se, Leela! I'm sorrys! Not seeing yer ones eye, I thoughts you'se were a beautiful broad! Eh, I'll still dances with yas.” Sal turned to Fry “I prosmise I's won'ts ruin hers TOO much for yas...”
Sal wasn't allowed to finish the insult, as he received a roundhouse kick to the head, knocking him unconscious before he hit the dance floor. Satisfied, Leela went back to Fry and snuggled up again... but not after a swift kick to Sal's groin for good measure.
“I'm sorry that had to happen, Leela.”
“Oh, it's all right... it was out of our control...” Leela giggled, and received a questioning look from her man. Kissing him, she then answered his question without him bothering to ask. “Remember the classic movie we saw last week, where the people were singing and dancing on the crucifixes?”
“Remember what THEY said life was like?” she hooted.
They sang the lyrics together, about it being like a piece of 'natural fertilizer', and to always look on the bright side. They managed to finish dancing together to the song, and most of the next one uninterrupted, until another familiar face came into view.
“Uh, hi, Fry! Hi Leela!” the blonde man said with a slight lisp. “How are you?”
“Hi, Randy!” Leela said warmly.
“Hey, Randy! What up?”
“Oh, I- I'm all right I guess...” he said with an obviously fake smile, that cracked, and then broke into a sob-storm of emotion. “Soupy and I had a HUGE fight! I had nowhere to go, and no one to talk to! I went looking for you, and finally Scruffy told me I'd find you two here...”
“Aw, I'm sorry, honey.” Leela patted him on the back. “You need to talk to someone?”
“Yeah,” he sniffed. “You... you don't mind?”
“Nah, not at all! That's what friends are for!” Fry chimed in.
A slight smile crept onto his face behind the tears, as he asked “So you won't mind if...”
“Go ahead.” Leela smiled.
“May I have this dance?” Randy asked shyly.
“Sure! He's all yours!” she said and backed away, as Randy clung to Fry like a starving brain slug would cling to Braino's cranium.
“Le-lelaaaa!” Fry squeaked. “Help me!”
“Oh, you're fine, sweetie! I promise I'll cut back in the next dance!” she smirked, and turned to walk way.
“Where... where the hell are you going!?” he panicked, as the gay man clung tighter to him and cut off his air supply.
“Oh, I'm just gonna go over to the bar and get the three of us some drinks!” she yelled as she walked into the sea of humanity crowding the bar. “I'll be right back!”
“Uh... uh... so... Randy?”
“Uh, you and yer man had a fight? Um, ya know, sometimes Leela and I fight too... and, uh...”
“Mmm, Fry, you smell good...”
“Hurry, Leela! Please!” Fry squeaked. He couldn't help but think of what Bender had said about the box of chocolates, and getting 'stuck' in the bottom... his prostate exam was bad enough... she'd better hurry...
Returning with three drinks, Leela found the two men in the booth now chatting... at a safe distance, with the table between them. She couldn't help but smirk at how her man still was squirming uncontrollably. Oh well, she'd make it up to him.
“Drinks are here!” she chirped, and handed Fry his beer, and Randy his mixed drink. As she sipped on her Jupiter cocktail, she slipped into the booth next to Fry, and gave his upper thigh an affectionate squeeze. “So, what are the men talking about? Can a lady jump into this conversation, or is it stag only?”
“Oh feel free! Besides you're not the FIRST one here, woman!” Randy joked, and waved his hand at her. The three of them laughed. “Nah, Fry's a real good friend, and he's helped me understand, that everyone fights... you just have to keep working at it. Oh well, life sucks. We just have to get used to it.”
“If life SUCKED, wouldn't it be more fun...” she stopped and let the two males figure out her little joke.
“WOULD IT EVER!” Randy lit up like an Xmas tree. Fry squirmed, and Leela laughed to herself at the two men's two very different reactions.
“Well, it's said that Einstein told his son 'life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving'.” Randy said, and then sipped on his pink martini. “Guess I can keep pedaling. Not gonna give up on Soupy yet!” He downed the drink and thanked Leela for the booze, and Fry for his time.
“He's my friend, Leela,” Fry commented as he watched Randy walk away, “but you OWE me BIG TIME!”
“Oh, I have plans, Fry... I have plans...” She got out of the booth and took Fry to the dance floor. Pulling him in close, she teasingly licked and nibbled on his earlobe, and grabbed a handful of his bottom. Fry was more than happy to return the favor.
“Uh, why are you... I mean...”
“Oh!, I uh, thought it was okay, I mean, you grabbed my butt, and I just thought...”
“Uh, Fry...” Leela stammered, “Outside of the dress, Fry! OUTSIDE...”
Suddenly he realized when he moved his hand from her hip to her tuchus, it had slipped through the high split of the dress, and was UNDER the material. Nothing but bare skin.
“Fry... there are people... watching, here!” She gently grabbed his arm and removed the offending appendage. “Later, tiger, later! Seems your hand has a mind of it's own! Besides, we don't wanna give anyone a show, do we?”
“Uh... well... I think it's a little too late for that.” He hesitated to tell her the rest. “Uhm, remember when you kicked Sal with that roundhouse kick? Uh... well...”
Suddenly a very lovely shade of crimson flushed her face and neck, and she realized Fry's errant hand was the least of their concerns. Trying to regain her composure, she gulped hard, and started to see quite a few men and a few women showing interest in her. 'Oh, Lord!' she thought. 'This can NOT be good'...
“Just... how much did...”
“How much did they see?”
Leela just nodded silently, trying to focus on his face and trying to ignore the group of admirers around her.
“You won't hurt me?”
“I will not hurt you” She assured him.
“And you won't get too angry?” he asked.
“I promise I will not get angry. Please tell me.”
“What they saw?”
“YES... I... yes. Please tell me.”
“Uh...” he rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Enough?”
“What exactly does enough mean, Fry?”
“Well, one of them commented on your... uuuh..”
“I think I need another drink.” she interrupted him. “ a STRONG one.”
Walking to the bar was fairly easy (as the band started playing a popular dance song), and it was left relatively empty; as opposed to it's normal three to four person deep buffer around it. Waving her hand to get the barkeep's attention, he acknowledged her with a nod and smile. Drying off the glass in his hand, he set it down, and walked over to the end of the bar where Leela was. He had seen the look, and got out a large pitcher... and a straw.
“What'll it be, Kung Fu Queen?”
“Oh, Lord, you SAW that?” She rested her elbows on the bar, and put her face in her hands. “Oh spluck my life! Just... just gimme something... something BIG AND UGLY.”
“Ya got it, doll.” The bartender chuckled, as he poured a few shots of everything at the bar into the pitcher (and a few from out of the public's sight, under the bar), dropped something in it that made it fizz and shoot sparks for a few seconds, topped it with whipped topping and a cherry, and put the straw in it. He then slid it in front of her. “Enjoy.”
“Thanks.” She threw a $50 at him, and didn't care if there was change coming back. She took a sip, wheezed, coughed, and shook her head. “Whoa, that's good.”
“Here's another straw,” he said. “one for your man as well. You may wanna share that, or you may accidentally give another 'show' if ya drink too much...”
“Ugh! Don't remind me!”
“Hey, you'll get over it. Just right now it seems terrible...”
“YOU”, Leela said tersely, “didn't flash your nether regions to everyone in the place!”
“Well, ya win some, ya loose some...”
“Are you going to get all philosophical on me, telling me life is like a game, or some crap? No offense, but my boyfriend and I have been having that conversation on and off all night, and it's gotten quite old.”
“A game?” the keeper asked. “Huh, good one. I was gonna say it's like a roller coaster, with it's ups and downs...”
Leela rolled her eye and walked away, not caring to hear some wanna be shrink's philosophy on life. Sipping her drink, she walked back to the booth and slipped in next to Fry. Without saying a word, she gestured to the second straw, and Fry took a sip. He coughed, sputtered, and his eyes watered. She chuckled. He tried again, and got the same reaction, and she laughed out loud.
“Good, huh, Fry?” She smirked when he could only wheeze a reply. She picked off the candied fruit and offered it to him. “Frrrry... want my cherry?”
“But... but I thought... I mean...” he blushed.
“Oh!” her eye widened, and she laughed. “OH, FRY!... You! YOU! She playfully poked him, as he squirmed to avoid her playful jabs. He tried in vain to mount an offense of his own, but he discovered it was really hard to do when she grabbed him and drew him in for a soulful kiss.
“Wow. That was not what I expected for a crude comment!”
“Well, that was for making me laugh. I really needed a good laugh, after what happened tonight...”
“Yeah, I still wanna forget about Randy! Can I take a long hot shower when we get home...” Fry saw her face screw up into insane laughter. “Aw, come on! He didn't grab where YOUR bathing suit covers!”
“I... I...” Leela gasped for breath, only to double over laughing like a pack of hyenas. “I meant... me!”
“You? What bad happened to... oooooooooh. Riiiiiight. The whole... uh...” he pointed at her dress, and she nodded.
“And then Freud over there behind the booze counter tried to tell me life is like a roller coaster...”
“Huh,” Fry thought. “yeah, I suppose it can be- I do puke quite a bit on them...”
“Fry?” Leela sighed. “Forget it sweetie. You want to dance?”
“Uh, Ooookaay... if you really wanna run the risk...”
“Fry, shut up and dance with me!” she giggled. “What's the worst that can happen, after what's already happened tonight?”
Fry did some quick thinking (which thanks to the drink, didn't hurt as much as it could have), and looked around. Seeing no immediate threats, he figured it was safe, and took her in his arms. Dancing a couple of slow dances, and even getting in a few requests from the band ('Der Vogeltanz' was vehemently rejected, much to Fry's dismay), they both soon forgot the night's earlier events, and were actually enjoying themselves. Even when Fawn tried to cut in and make Morbo jealous, they managed to get a chuckle, as Morbo was completely 'fit shaced' and didn't give a rats behind... it did cost them the rest of their drink, though. And no one, not even Fawn, knew the libation would have that effect on Morbo... the 'scuffle' was quickly diffused after the Omicronians and Morbo's family decided to settle it out of the club, and in interstellar space.
“Whoa, Leela.” Fry gazed around the club. “The place really emptied out after Morbo mooned Ndnd!”
“Ugh!” Leela shuddered. “Don't remind me! That was the ugliest, hairiest, stinkiest, pock marked ass I'd ever seen!”
“Yeah,” Fry grinned. “And Morbo's was nasty too!”
“Just WHAT made her think doing it back would be a good idea?” Leela wiped a tear from her eye, as they shared a laugh. “I suppose we'll be seeing this on the news later!”
“Oh well... that's life in the 31st century... it has it's ups and downs, I suppose.”
“Like your song analogy, Fry?” Leela asked, in a slightly mocking tone.
“LAST CALL! Last call for alcohol!” The barkeep bellowed into the public address system. The band responded by playing all quiet, slow numbers, and patrons rushed the bar to down 'one more for the road'.
“You know, despite everything that happened tonight, I did have a fun time.” Leela thought aloud. “Too bad we couldn't get more than two to three songs together to dance to, without anyone cutting in, or interruptions...”
“I have an idea!” Fry's face lit up. “Wait right here!”
“Oh, Lord. What now? No offense, Fry, but whenever you get that look on your face, it either turns out to be disastrously dangerous, or you have gas!” she looked around. “Besides, it looks like it's closing time. They are escorting people out, and the janitors are starting to clean up.”
“Gas? No... I... Uh, that was earlier...” he trailed off, as she rolled her eye. “No, seriously! Trust me! Wait right here- I'll be right back.”
Leela watched him as he ran across the now empty dance floor to the stage where the band was packing it in for the night. She couldn't quite figure out what he was doing, but she saw him point back at her, and he had a pleading look on his face. A few of the band members talked amongst themselves, smiled, and Fry took out his wallet...
“What went on over there?” she asked, as he came running back, and took her in his arms.
“You'll see!” he said, beaming. “May I have this dance?”
“But...” she looked at him questioningly. “It's closing time and...”
The band started playing a set of 20th and 21st century love songs, and Fry grinned and led her around the dance floor.
“You said it was too bad we kept getting interrupted. Now's our chance to make up for it!” He was obviously proud of what he had done, despite spending his money for the next two weeks. They danced song after song, and it finally dawned on her, what he had done.
“So, we finally won't get interrupted, will we?” she cooed in his ear, as she pulled him closer to her.
“We can't get interrupted! We're the only two left here,” he chuckled, as he nuzzled into her neck and kissed and nibbled her playfully. “At Last!”
“Yes, Fry, yes.... at LONG last, no one to bother us. We have the floor all to ourselves...”, she said as she ran her fingers through his fiery hair.
“No... the song they're playing... that's the name... My Mom and Dad used to dance to this song. Only one of a few times I ever saw them show affection in front of Yancy and me. Never really understood the lyrics until my OWN special someone came along.”
“Oh, really? She joked, and gave him a mocking look. “So, who is she?”
“Oh, only the woman I wanna marry and spend the rest of my life with,” He kissed her and looked her in the eye. “Is that Okay?”
A tear trickled down her nose and dripped onto his shoulder as she clung tightly to him.
“Oh, Phillip, yes! Yes it is. You know, you were right, life IS like a song...”
The head custodian, who had been looking on quietly while leaning on his broom, sighed softly to himself. It was going to be another long night, with customers that didn't understand the meaning of the phrase 'Closing Time'. 'Oh well', he figured. He might as well get comfortable and wait it out. He walked toward the control panel, dimmed the lights, and sat in a booth, watching the two lovers, and remembering when he and his special someone held each other close, and forgot all about the outside world...