Futurama

Fan Fiction

The Leela Diaries, part 2
By Ramon_51

July 21, 3000

Dear Diary:

I am so confused. This past week I nearly got eaten, went on a vacation, ran into that thundering idiot Zapp Brannigan, found feelings for Fry that I didn’t know I had, and endured a spaceship wreck. Whew! Some week!

Well, good night!

Just kidding…just kidding.

It all started out with a trip to Cannibalon. Why the name didn’t make me be more on my guard, I’ll never know. We landed without any trouble. It seemed so peaceful. The natives were so friendly…right up to the moment they attacked. They had lured us into their village with a “special dinner.” What they didn’t say was that we were the main course.

They aren’t really very big, but those little jerks believe there’s safety in numbers. We were nearly swamped before Fry, Bender and I got back-to-back and fought our way, step-by-step to the ship. I wound up with a few scratches, Fry go a chunk taken out of his ankle, and Bender got his chest door damaged.

Once we go onboard the ship, Fry and Bender still had to give a few of the little buggers the heave-ho as I got the ship to altitude! Watching them splat onto the ground below as we rocketed upward was satisfying. Nothing like a little retroactive birth control, I always say.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I nailed their chief’s hut with a torpedo as a sort of “see you later” present. Fry did some great shooting from the top turret as I made my torpedo run. You should have seen those little jungle lice scatter. Wahoo!

Strangely enough, strafing the village didn’t take away my anger. I mean, even Fry remained angrier than I’ve ever seen him. We seethed all the way home.

When we got there, we were all ready to quit. So when Farnsworth announced, “Oh, great news everyone!” Bender replied with how we all felt, “Shove it! We quit!”

I have to say that the Professor’s reply really shocked us. He was taking us on a company vacation on the Titanic. We were all so excited. It didn’t even bother me when I overheard Hermes gloating about how this vacation would be a huge tax write-off. My thought was, “Who cares? We’re going on vacation!”

What the Professor hadn’t told us was that we were leaving that afternoon. As soon as the Professor let us head for home to pack, we scampered off like mice headed for their holes.

Oooh! I hate packing in a hurry. The Professor is such a…such a…typical man. Does he think we are mind readers? Why do men never talk about things? Is it too hard?

At any rate, I threw a few things into a travel bag, dispatched the bag to the ship, and booked a pet sitter for Nibbler. I would have sent dear sweet Nibbler to the veterinary boarding kennel, but his habit of eating puppies got him banned from every boarding kennel in the city.

We all met back at Planet Express. Fry was the only one with a bag…everyone else knew to dispatch theirs to the ship. So Fry wound up lugging it with him. He even took it into the tube! That poor Stupid Ages kid, he just doesn’t know.

When we got to the South Street Spaceport we all popped out of the tubes without any problem, all of us but Fry that is. He must have let go of his suitcase during the ride, because it lagged a bit behind. He turned around to look for it and…BAM…it found him. I had to look the other way as I laughed. Well, I didn’t want to hurt Fry’s feelings, but the look of surprise on his face was so funny.

I helped Fry check his suitcase in. Then we wandered through security together. Fry and I caught up with the group just as the ship was being christened. My stomach did a flip-flop when I saw that Zapp Brannigan was doing the christening. I felt like throwing up when I thought of how he seduced me by playing on my pity.

I was so upset I blurted out, “Oh God! Not Zapp Brannigan!” As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt like kicking myself.

Doctor Zoidberg asked, “You know Zapp Brannigan?”

I tried to recover by saying, “Let’s just say that we’ve crossed paths.” I would have done anything to stop talking about Zapp, the biggest embarrassment of my life.

In his typical manner Bender said, “Was that before or after you slept with him?”

Oooh! I could have wrung Bender’s neck for that comment.

Zapp and Poopenmeyer went through some sort of ceremony. My mind wasn’t on it. I don’t even recall what Zapp said; although I’m sure it was stupid. No, all I could think of was, “How am I going to avoid seeing or speaking to that jerk Brannigan?”

Alas, it was not to be. When we went up the gangway, sure enough, Zapp Brannigan and a little green man from Amphibios named Kif stood in our way. I tried to sneak past, but that creep Brannigan stepped in front of me.

When he spoke, it made my flesh creep, “So, trapped on a ship with me. What say you and I knock some very sensual boots.”

I was so creeped out that instead of punching him out or saying something cutting, I responded with, “It’s tempting, but I have a fiancé now,”

I HAVE A FIANCE NOW?!?! Oh God, what was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t thinking at all.

So in desperation, I grabbed a very surprised Fry and dragged him forward to introduce him as my fiancé. He fell into his part as fiancé with only a quick jab to the ribs. My knees went weak with relief when I saw that dimwitted and bloated playboy Zapp really believes Fry and I were an item.

After we got past Zapp, we went to the Professor’s stateroom. Hermes and LaBarbara, Zoidberg, and the Professor were all in adjoining first class staterooms, actually. Ours were…well…not so luxurious.

Our bunks – because that is all they were – were on the Fiesta Deck. In case you are wondering, the only way we could have gotten deeper into the ship was to go through the hull and ride on the keel, like space barnacles.

It took Amy and Bender about two seconds to decide to head elsewhere. Well, I didn’t want to run into Zapp, so I had cheerful thoughts of spending the entire cruise in our quarters. Better that than to spend one minute in Zapp’s company!

Then Fry decided to speak up, “I guess that just leaves you and your fake fiancé… all alone…on a romantic cruise.” When he put his arm around my shoulder, I said as calmly as I could, “Take it off or I’ll break it off.”

Fry complied…I mean, he’s really always been a gentleman. Except for the occasional insinuation, he’s always been decent to me. I don’t know why I’m so rude to him sometimes. Is it because I’m afraid that I might really like him if I gave him a chance?

But I digress.

Just as Fry took his arm off my shoulder, the door suddenly opened to reveal that swaggering baboon Brannigan. He stepped into the cabin and announced, “Captain’s inspection!”

Ugh! I was glad to have Fry there. I grabbed his arm and draped it over my shoulder, glad of his protecting embrace.

After Zapp left Fry took his arm from my shoulder. We stood there without speaking for a moment before Fry asked, “Leela, do you want to go up on deck and look at the stars?” He smiled nervously, “I never get tired of looking at them.”

“Sure,” I replied, “why not?”

So we took the elevator up to the main deck. We walked over to the rail without speaking. We stood silently for several minutes, looking at the beauty of the heavens. It’s funny, when you’re piloting a spaceship, you don’t notice such things. They are just waypoints, something to guide your travels.

I guess it was those thoughts that caused me to break the silence, “Well our accommodations aren’t great, but it sure is beautiful out here.”

Fry replied nervously, “Yeah it’s pretty romantic…uh, I mean platonic.” He stammered, “Th-that sure is one platonic view.”

“Fry, just be quiet.” I replied, “I’m beginning to think this whole fake fiancé thing was a terrible, terrible…” before I could finish my sentence, I saw Zapp coming up with that nasty lustful look on his ugly face.

I panicked! All I wanted to do was drive Zapp away. So I grabbed Fry and gave him one of the longest, most soulful kisses I have ever given. Fry went limp…well not completely…as I maneuvered to turn my back to Zapp.

Can you believe it? Zapp stood there and yammered on about “scoring me on the rebound!” Ugh! He even put his filthy paw on my shoulder. Mercifully, he turned and left quickly.

What had I done? I’d exchanged my Zapp problem for a Fry problem. So I thought I’d nip things in the bud. Office romances never work out anyway. So I said, “Uh, Look, before you get any crazy ideas, that was for Zapp.”

Every the optimist, Fry grinned, “Well, do you have anything else for him?”

Looking back, that was a pretty witty response. At the time all I could manage to say was to growl, “Alright, can we try not to complicate this?”

Before I could get my equilibrium and think through how I felt about kissing Fry, guess who came up? It was none other than Amy, with her parents in tow. Apparently, Inez and Leo had been bugging Amy to find a boyfriend. So, she told them she already had one…Fry!

Of course, I didn’t know that when she walked up and announced, “Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet Fry, my boyfriend.” Then she clamped a lip lock on him like a Denebian suckerfish!

I turned and left. Men! As soon as someone younger or prettier comes along, they forget all about you. In a blue funk, I went down into our miserable little room and cried…but not for long. I decided to put on my bathing suit and sit in a deck chair. After all, this was a vacation, darn it.

On my way back to the main deck, I happened to see Bender. He was with a very classy looking fembot. I couldn’t help wondering what was going on. When I got up on deck, I settled myself into a deck chair to watch the stars roll by.

I have to admit, my mind wandered to my earlier kiss with Fry. He is so innocent! But why did he go right from kissing me to kissing Amy? I just don’t understand men at all. I once heard Zapp say, “Why buy a bugallo when you can get the milk free?” Maybe that’s how men really feel. Who knows?

Anyway, I was on deck minding my own business when Fry and Amy came up on deck with the Wongs close behind. Fry gave Amy a kiss…right in front of me. Then he had the nerve to sit down right next to me!

I couldn’t help saying, “It would have been nice if you’d told me you were going out with Amy.”

Fry’s appeared surprised, “I’m not going out with Amy. It’s just to fool her parents.” Then he looked me in the eye, “Hey, you’re not jealous, are you?”

His response caught me off guard. I’m afraid I sounded less than convincing when I said, “What? No. No! Of course not!”

Fry didn’t seem too concerned, “Good, ‘cause I consider my fake relationship with you a lot more meaningful.”

All I did was grunt in reply.

We sat there for quite a while. I sort of lost track of time but it was a good bit later in the day when they started having a limbo contest. Then that jerk Zapp showed up and announced that he was the judge.

Imagine my surprise when he announced that I had won! I was startled and blurted out something like, “But I didn’t even limbo.”

Zapp grinned evilly, “No matter. I know from personal experience how horizontal you can get. As your reward you and that hairpile are invited to dine at the captain’s table this evening.”

Oooh! My first reaction was to tell him to stick his invitation where the sun doesn’t shine. But then I thought, “What a great way it will be to torture Zapp! With Fry at the table all Zapp can do is agonize over my unreachable status. Perfect!”

Why is it that my plans don’t always come off like I planned them?

In order to get ready for dinner, Fry and I went back our quarters. I have to admit, I enjoyed teasing Fry a bit. Usually, I would have made him leave the room when I got dressed. Instead I merely said, “Turn around Fry.” He turned around without any argument, “Do you want me to close my eyes?”

“No,” I replied, “just don’t peek.”

I am so evil sometimes. As I took off my boots, pants and shirt, I made a point of throwing them on a bunk where Fry could see them. I could see him wiping his hands on his trousers. Sweaty palms…gotcha!

I’ll have to admit, Fry was a perfect gentleman. Lord, I wish he was more mature. I mean, I love his boyish charm but his immaturity repels me. Or am I just afraid that if he really gets to know me, he will quit liking me?

At any rate, we got to the Captain’s Table without a problem. After we were seated, Fry had a conversation with Zapp. I was wondering if I should encourage Fry to kiss me at the table when who should show p but…you guessed it…Amy and her parents.

There were a few tense moments as we tried to figure out how to keep from blowing our stories. I thought Fry was going to have a nervous collapse. He kept humming a tune and sweating.

Fortunately, just when all seemed lost, Kif came in and said, “Captain, may I have a word with you?”

Zapp’s reply was a terse, “No.”

Kif fidgeted a bit, “It’s an emergency, sir.”

Obviously irritated, Zapp growled, “Come back when it’s a catastrophe.” Then the ship shuddered violently as we were struck by a series of small comets. “Oh, very well.”

No sooner was Zapp gone than Amy and Fry kissed. I don’t know why, but I felt as though I had been kicked in the stomach. I left the table quietly, not wanting to draw attention away from the “happy couple.” Misery does not love company.

I went onto the main deck, engulfed in a cloud of loneliness. Lord, I felt like I was back at the Orphanarium. Why am I always the one in cootieville central?

Fry came out onto the deck after I don’t know how long. He walked up, “Hey Leela, why’d you run off from dinner?”

My reply wasn’t exactly honest, “I didn’t run off. I had plenty of time to finish eating and stroll away while you were kissing Amy.”

Fry saw through me, “Oh, look, I’m not actually interested in her if that’s what’s bothering you.”

At first I was a bit sharp, “Oh, are you sure?” Then I softened a bit, “I mean, she has two eyes, you have two eyes.”

Fry replied, “I know, we seem like a perfect match, but I just don’t feel that way about her.” My heart leaped…although I don’t know why.

We looked at the couples on the decks below. Everyone had someone except Fry and me. As we gazed into each other’s eye(s), we drew together. Before our lips met, the ship jerked violently, sending our foreheads crashing into each other.

We scrambled to our feet and looked over the railing. The ship was being pulled into a black hole! That nincompoop Brannigan had piloted us into the worst hazard in space. Fry called it, with commendable understatement, a “mood killer.”

As quickly as we could, Fry and I joined the others. The Professor was in a panic, while Bender was oddly detached about the situation. It was only later during the escape pod ride home that I learned why he went back to “take one last look around.”

We ran aft toward the escape pods below decks, because I didn’t want us to get sucked into space if the environmental dome ruptured. We were almost there when an emergency airlock activated. The door ground inexorably shut. Zoidberg dove forward and managed to wedge his claw under the door to keep it from sealing.

I knew we were doomed. But Hermes saved us. He had been the Earth limbo champion as a young man. Now he scooted under the door with amazing ease. He hit the release button and the door shot upwards. Without any ceremony, we continued our headlong flight toward the escape pods.

We reached the escape pods, but Bender was nowhere to be seen. Both Fry and I wanted to wait as long as possible for Bender. As we waited, the Wongs showed up…accompanied by Kif. To my surprise, after only the briefest introduction, Kif picked Amy up, kissed her, and carried her into the pod. She is such a slut! Is there any man she won’t respond to?

Finally, after we had waited for what seemed like an eternity, I decided we had to take off without Bender. It was so terribly hard. I felt like crying as I said, “We can’t wait any longer.” The look of sadness on Fry’s face as he closed the hatch felt like an icicle being stabbed though my chest.

Unknown to us, Bender and his girlfriend the Countess were at that moment rushing to catch us. When Bender leaped up and caught onto the pod. It shuddered at the addition of the two robots.

At the time, I didn’t know what had happened. I just knew we were being sucked back into the black hole. Imagine our surprise when we saw Bender and his girlfriend the Countess hanging from the aft of the escape pod! They were what was causing us to be overweight.

Sadly, the Countess was sucked back into the black hole. Without her weight, we were able to avoid hitting the event horizon of the black hole. So we headed for home.

Bender came into the pod. He was so sad. If I hadn’t been flying the pod, I would have hugged him. He cried and cried. Fry tried to comfort him, but it didn’t work.

Bender stopped sobbing and looked at the Countess’ diamond bracelet, “At least I’ll always have her bracelet.” He handed it to Hermes, “What do you think it’s worth?”

Hermes looked at it with a jeweler’s loupe and announced, “It’s fake, mon.”

The Bender really started to howl. It took three hours for him to stop.

We finally reached home after another eight hours. When we disembarked, Bender trudged into the building, still dejected. He threw the bracelet into the trash. The reporters who were there snapped pictures as everyone went into the building.

Amy and Kif were the last to leave the pod. Amy turned to Kif, gave him a kiss, slipped him her number and said, “Call me.” I wonder if he will call her? Who knows?

At any rate, I’ve written so long my fingers are tired. I need to get some shut-eye. Who knows where we will go tomorrow?

Good night Dear Diary!

August 20, 3000

Dear Diary:

Back home at last! We’ve spent the last couple of weeks on Mars. “Mars?” you say. “Tell me more,” you say. OK, I will tell all.

It all began at the Planet Express. Bender, Fry and I were sitting around the Meeting Table when the Professor came into the room, pushing a large crate on a hover dolly.

He had a look on his face that I can only describe as a mixture of smugness and senility as he announced, “Good news everyone! We’ve a very special delivery.”

I was already speculating on what new corner of the Galaxy we would be off to when the Professor told us we were taking the crate to his office at Mars University. What a letdown! Mars! Can anything good come from there?

He did seem awfully attached to the experiment, though. He actually stroked the crate before he said, “It’s a little experiment that may well win me the Nobel Prize.”

Trying to get a clue as to the crate’s contents I asked, “In what field?”

Typically, the Professor answered with a dismissive gesture and in an irritated voice, “I don’t care, they all pay the same.”

More to the point, Fry asked, “Is it dangerous?”

The Professor assured us it wasn’t, so what did Fry do? He walked up and kicked the box! It was so funny what happened next.

The box started shaking around while growling sounds came from within. Fry scampered behind me like a little boy who teases the neighbor’s dog and hides behind his mommy. Honestly, when is he going to grow up?

Anyway, the Professor brought everything to a screeching halt by whipping out a tranquilizer gun and firing into the crate. Whatever was in the crate gave a strangled cry and settled down in a manner of seconds.

So, off we went to Mars. The trip was pretty uneventful, even though we were hauling Amy and the Professor along with us. For some reason, Amy wanted to sit on the bridge and chat about ‘girl stuff.’ I’ll have to admit that I pushed the interplanetary speed limit to lessen the time she and I spent together.

She’s like an annoying little sister, I’ll bet.

At any rate, we made it to Mars in good time. I settled the old Planet Express Ship down on the Mars University landing field, we disembarked, and all trudged over to the campus. Amy split off before we got to main campus because she wanted to meet with her parents.

The University grounds are really nice. Of course, they have all of the traditional college foliage; ivy, trees, hemp. Wong Library was particularly impressive. Did you know they have the largest collection of literature in the Western Universe?

As we strolled along, the Professor gave Fry a rundown on the history of the University. Fry seemed fascinated. I keep forgetting that Fry is from the Stupid Ages until times like this, when I see that thing that we take for granted take such a hold on his mind.

As we neared the Wong Library, Bender called out excitedly, “Hey look! There’s a chapter of my old robot fraternity, Epsilon Rho Rho.”

I must admit I was surprised to hear that Bender had been to college. It must have crept into my voice when I said, “You went to college?”

Believe it or not, he went to Bending College. Predictably, he majored in Bending with a minor in Robo-American Studies.

The frat house was about what you’d expect. It was a tumbledown, disorderly looking place with lots of kegs and other debris littering both the inside and the outside.

We went into the frat house and I have to admit, it was really funny. Bender was so hyped up telling us that all of the coolest robots were in Epsilon Rho Rho. Instead the entire compliment of the frat seemed to be three of the nerdiest robots I’ve ever seen! OMG! It was so funny.

As a matter of fact it was so funny that I had to go find the ladies room upstairs. It was unkempt, but not actually dirty. Still, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

When I came down the stairs, Gearshift, the Chapter President, was begging Bender to teach them how to be cool. Cool? Bender…cool? How do you translate being a combination of an alcoholic, a kleptomaniac, and porn obsessed into being cool? Manbots! I’ll never understand them!

In any event, the Professor, Fry and I left to continue our stroll across the campus while Bender stayed to educate his fraternity brothers in the art of being cool.

As we walked along, Fry dropped a real bombshell. He went to college during the Stupid Ages! I’m afraid I let my disbelief drip into my voice when I said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, Fry, but you don’t seem like the educated type.”

Can you believe it? He actually had his ‘notice of failure to graduate’ in his pocket! He said with a touch of smugness, “Read it and weep. I’m a certified college dropout.”

I shot back, “Please! Everyone knows 20th Century colleges were basically expensive daycare centers.”

The Professor supported me, “That’s true. By current academic standards, you’re merely a high school dropout.”

Instead of discouraging Fry, we only pushed him into enrolling at Mars University so he could “drop out all over again.”

When I predicted, “You won’t lost two weeks” Fry completely missed the point. He replied, “Aww, thanks for believing in me.” Sometimes he just doesn’t get it.

Fry and the Professor went of to the registrar’s, while I went back to the ship. First I did a little maintenance. Then I worked out in the cargo hold, including a session on the punching bag. After a quick shower, I went and caught Fry just as he was leaving for his dorm.

Ugh! Fry lived in the financial aid dorm. The outside was unkempt and dirty, the halls smelled of mildew, and the rooms were none too clean either. Not so surprisingly, Fry thought it was great…at least he did until his roommate showed up!

You’ll never guess in a million years who – or more accurately – what came through the door. It was the cutest little monkey you ever saw in your life. He was wearing a bowler hat. Oooh! I could have just eaten him up with a spoon.

What was really surprising was that the little guy – his name is Guenter – can talk. He and Fry did not hit it off at first. They had a pointed verbal exchange, with Guenter getting in the better jabs. When Fry asked in some confusion, “My roommate’s a monkey?” Guenter replied in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Brilliant deduction, you’re a credit to your species.”

I wanted to double over with laughter. But the Professor came in the room pushing the crate we had delivered earlier. He explained that Guenter had been in the crate and was his Nobel Prize winning experiment.

I asked, “So what makes Guenter talk?”

The Professor explained that Guenter’s intelligence actually came from his hat! It was made of something the Professor called electronium.

Fry was obviously confused by the Professor’s explanation, which gave Guenter an opening to deliver another verbal dig, “You’re wasting your breath Professor. He’ll never understand a word of it.”

Fry said something I didn’t catch and grabbed for Guenter’s hat. Honestly, they were both acting like a pair of five-year olds. I was glad when the Professor made them shake hands and make up. But I could see that they were still on edge.

The next day while Fry attended class, I took the Planet Express Ship on a flight over Olympus Mons…the tallest mountain in our solar system. It’s a beautiful sight, especially when viewed against the orange sky of Mars. I almost hated to come back.

After I landed, I did my usual maintenance – both on the ship and on my body. It was kind of fun lifting weights in the Martian gravity. I certainly was able to bench press more than I can on Earth.

Anyway, that night I got to go to the Parent’s Reception as the Professor’s guest. It all started off well enough. The Professor was telling me some racy stories about some of his colleagues. Man, there are some sick puppies on the faculty. But what can you do? They have tenure!

Fry and Guenter spent much of the evening eyeing each other. Oooh! I hate testosterone – sometimes.

At one point, Fry and Guenter were at the buffet obviously having an argument of some sort. I pointed them out to the Professor. He excused himself, went over to a box covered by a purple cloth and said, “Oh I’m glad you made it Guenter, because in honor of parents weekend I have a special surprise for you.” Then he whipped the cloth off, revealing a cage with two howling monkeys inside.

Guenter was so humiliated. My heart went out to him…the poor little fellow. I just wanted to pick him up, stroke his fur and say, “There, there.” What the Hell was the Professor thinking?

But worse was to come.

Fry really showed his butt. He’s normally a very sympathetic person, but his actions over the next few moments showed me a side of Philip J. Fry that I do not like at all.

He let Guenter’s parents loose. They are only regular monkeys, so of course, they tore the room apart. And they wound up swinging from the chandelier, flinging feces at everyone. They really pasted Dean Vernon. It was only with difficulty that we finally got them back into the cage. However, Guenter had run off.

Fry said, “Well, I’m off to my room.”

I walked back with Fry and really gave him a talking to. But Fry seemed impervious to anything I said. When we got to his room, I was so frustrated that I felt like using Fry for a punching bag. Instead I unloaded on him verbally, “What you did to Guenter was cruel. At the risk of sounding like an after-school special, I think we learned who the real animal was today.”

All Fry had to say in reply was, “You mean peer pressure?” Oooh! Why do I even bother?

When we opened the door, we could see Guenter crouching in the darkness. Fry recoiled and shouted, “Look out! He’s got a gun!” Then he cowered behind me. What am I, his mother?

I flipped the light on. Guenter only had a banana in his hand. As a matter of fact, the floor was littered with peels. But what was so sad was that Guenter was crying. I felt so badly for him! All I could think was to say, “Hey, what’s going on? I thought you didn’t like bananas.”

His response showed his conflict, “Of course I do. I try to fit in but seeing my parents act like that made me realize I’m just a primitive beast.” Then he began to sob.

Much to my surprise, Fry tried to comfort Guenter. I swear, I’ll never figure men out. We both talked to Guenter for a while, trying to cheer him up. Fry even suggested that Guenter return to the jungle.

Although he was obviously tempted, he rejected the idea out of loyalty to the Professor. It took a while, but we finally got Guenter calmed down…or so I thought.

I passed a quiet night onboard the Ship. Odd. With Bender and Fry in their rooms on campus the Ship was so quiet that I had trouble sleeping. I finally had to take a somnitab to go to sleep.

The next day, I went shopping in Syria Planitia. When I got back, I decided to take a few things I’d bought for Fry and Guenter’s room to them. At their room I found the Professor sitting on the lower bunk, crying his eyes out. In between sobs, he told me that Guenter had run away.

I was thunderstruck. I didn’t know what to make of it, “So he just ran away in the middle of the exam?”

The Professor replied, “I’m afraid so. All he handed in was a paper smeared with feces. He tied with Fry.”

Then Fry put his foot in it and told the Professor he’d told Guenter to go back to the jungle.

The Professor exploded, “You what? After I spent months slaving over a hot monkey brain?”

Fry denied any blame for the situation…typically. The Professor tried to drag me into it! I wanted to stay out of it…like I always do…but they were both so clueless that I suggested, “We’ll go to the jungle and let Guenter decide once and for all.”

So off we went.

After getting some supplies and a Machete from the ship, I rejoined the Professor and Fry at the edge of the jungle. We…that is to say I…hacked our way into the jungle. We entered where Guenter had first gone in. As best I could, I stayed on Guenter’s trail.

After we’d gone about 400 yards, I saw movement in the trees that I thought could be Guenter. In response, the Professor threw a tranquilizer gas grenade, which brought three toucans, two parrots, a frog, a lizard, a snake and a tiger falling out of the tree. Unfortunately, there was no Guenter.

We found Guenter eventually. He was by the side of a river, looking at his reflection. The Professor offered him the hat and Fry offered him a banana. While they were trying to coax him into taking one or the other, that idiot Bender came roaring by in some kind of speedboat.

Well, the wake from the speedboat undercut the bank, dumping Fry, the Professor and me into the river. The current was incredibly swift. It only took a second to see why. We were near a huge, roaring waterfall!

I mean, I could have swum to the bank but that would have meant abandoning Fry and the Professor. Instead, I dragged them to a log that was floating by. We hung on for dear life. Fortunately for us, the log snagged on some rocks.

Still, I had to hold onto Fry to keep him from being swept away over the falls.

I could have cried with relief when we saw that Guenter was still on the riverbank. We shouted encouragement to him, trying to get him to put the hat on. After some trial and error, Guenter got it right.

I could feel my strength waning, so I shouted, “Help us Guenter!”

With his intelligence restored, Guenter did just that. After a few calculations, he came up with a vine and log rescue device that flipped the Professor, Fry and I onto a sturdy branch overhanging the falls. However, it left Guenter hanging by a vine over the roaring waterfall…a vine that was rapidly breaking.

Unfortunately, Guenter hesitated climbing the vine to safety. It snapped and he fell hundreds of feet to the base of the falls. As his body disappeared into the mist, I felt my heart go with him…the poor, sweet little monkey.

None of us spoke until the Professor said, “Oh that poor, sweet monkey. Well, let’s go gather him up. There’s no sense letting him go to waste.” Then he licked his lips. Oooh! I felt like giving that amoral old crackpot a little shove. Thank goodness I have such great self-control.

We descended to the base of the falls by a well-worn footpath. Imagine our surprise and delight when we found that Guenter was still alive! His hat was crushed a bit, but apparently it had broken his fall.

When the Professor examined the hat he said, “It seems to be working at only half capacity, but I can fix that.”

Now here’s the funny part.

Guenter refused to have the hat fixed. It seemed he was happier without his super intelligence. To his credit, the Professor let Guenter stay that way, although he was pretty upset when Guenter announced he was transferring to Business School.

But, all’s well that ends well. When we got back to Campus, we found out that Epsilon Rho Rho had won some sort of regatta and was head of the Greek Council. Not only that, the School held a parade in their honor.

Well! That parade quickly turned into a Martian Mardi Gras. Whoo! We had a blast. I even met the Dean…his last name was Vernon. I can’t remember his first name.

We had a sort of date that evening. Both of us were pretty toasted, and I don’t remember what we did all that well. I do remember that when he escorted me to the Ship in the wee hours of the morning saying goodnight was like grappling with an octopus. Why is it that men always seem to be “in the mood?”

No, Dear Diary, I slept alone. Dean Vernon seemed to take it okay, but maybe he’s used to rejection. Most men are.

Anyway, we spent another two reasonably uneventful weeks on Mars. Fry dropped out, the Professor didn’t win the Nobel Prize, and Bender took it on the lam after stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down from Epsilon Rho Rho. Some things never change.

Well, Dear Diary, I’m getting very sleepy. It’s time to turn in. Good night!

3 September 3000

Dear Diary,

The events of the past few days have been epic. I went to the beach, survived an epic space battle with the Omicronians, and helped to save the Earth. Not bad for a Labor Day weekend, huh?

It all started on Labor Day. I convinced the Professor we needed to do something as a group, so he consented to my renting a car to go to Monument Beach. Sometimes he is the world’s worst skinflint, and then on other days, he can be generous…especially if it involves a tax deduction.

Anyway, Amy, Zoidberg, the Professor and I came into the Planet Express Employee’s Lounge raring to head out for some summer fun. Bender, Hermes, and Fry were sitting on the couch watching TV. When I asked, “Who’s up for one last summer beach trip?” can you believe that the only person who didn’t want to go was Fry?

What amazed me was that he would rather watch TV than get out in the real world. When I told him he was wasting his life sitting in front of the TV, he whined, “But this is HDTV. It’s got better resolution than the real world.”

Sometimes Fry can be so exasperating. I tried a different tactic to get him moving by pointing out that, “Everyone’s too polite to say it, but you’re covered with bed sores.”

What did he say? Get this, “Not covered!”

I wanted to belt him, but my self-control asserted itself. Instead I only growled, “Just get in the car.”

He came without any further argument. Honestly, sometimes he behaves just like the sixth grade boys I used to have to take care of at the Orphanarium. One moment he can be so sweet and endearing and the next…Oooh!

At any rate, we got to Monument Beach without too much trouble. As we sped along our way, Fry asked a question that reminded me he’s from the Stupid Ages. He wanted to know why we were heading inland to go to the beach! As if you could survive for more than a few minutes in either the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans. Between the flesh-eating whales and the colossal mouth bass, you’d last about as long as a French fry at McZargnald’s!

I’ll say this; it didn’t seem to faze him when he got the answer.

When we pulled up, I had my usual good luck at parking. We got a spot close to the entrance to the beach. We hardly had to walk at all. When you’re hot…you’re hot!

Like most tourists, Fry gawked at the monuments. He was surprised so many were in New York. So I told him, “They are now. In the 2600’s, New Yorkers elected a super-villain governor, and he stole most of the world’s monuments.”

We set up on the beach. As usual, I put on my SPF-50 tanning butter. I mean, I want to get a tan but I don’t want skin cancer. And I definitely don’t want to get all wrinkled from over exposure to the sun, either. Who wants to look like an elephant skin rug?

I tanned for a while until I got bored. So, I talked the Professor, Zoidberg, and Amy into a game of beach volleyball. Predictably, Fry and Bender didn’t want to play. Hermes was off somewhere…probably looking for dropped coins.

The Professor and Zoidberg teamed up to play Amy and me. We slaughtered them! It was so funny! Zoidberg kept puncturing the balls with his claw. I mean, he must have piled up twenty before he became disgusted and quit.

I went for a dip, then climbed back onto the old beach chair to tan a bit more. Bender cooked up some burgers for everyone. Unfortunately for him, the cooking fire turned his backside cherry red! He looked so comical, running into the water while waving his arms and shouting, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”

Fry was oblivious to it all because he was building a sand castle. Believe it or not, it was really good. I went over to have a closer look when a muscular, handsome blonde-haired guy came up and kicked the sand castle into Fry’s face. I was so shocked as Fry sat there spitting sand out that I was temporarily speechless.

The bully had the nerve to say, “Say, doll-face, how’d you like to make some time with a real man?”

I told him I wasn’t interested. And I wasn’t until Fry said, “It’s OK Leela. Go ahead. I got a lot of work to do.”

I thought, “A lot of work to do?

Then the bully spoke up, “Uh, sir, you don’t understand. I’m a professional beach bully. I pretend to steal your girl, you punch me, I go down, she swoons, you slip me 50 bucks.”

Fry’s answer really surprised and, I’m ashamed to say, angered me a bit. He reminds me of that old cheapskate, the Professor. Do you know what Fry said? He said, “50 Bucks? Not even if she was my girlfriend. You take her.”

Well, I never felt so insulted. So to show Fry, I told the bully that we could go for a walk on the beach. His reply really floored me, “No thanks ma’am. I’m actually gay.”

As that bully ran away, I felt so humiliated. Two rejections in under a minute! I thought we girls were supposed to do the rejecting.

I sighed and climbed back onto the beach chair, where I watched Fry patiently rebuilding his sand castle. You know, it puzzles me that Fry is so inconsistent. He will persist on trivial things and give up on important ones. It must be a man thing.

He did build a beautiful sand castle, though. As a matter of fact, it was probably the nicest sand castle I’ve ever seen. Fry called it, “the kind of castle King Arthur would have lived in, if he were a fiddler crab.”

I suggested we get a picture before the tide came in. Everyone gathered around to get into the picture. Just as the camera snapped, it happened.

A huge shadow crept over us. When we looked up, we saw an Omicronian saucer hovering over the beach. Then it glided over the White House and blew it to pieces. Pandemonium broke out as a fleet of saucers came out of nowhere and began blasting every monument on the beach.

We fled to the car, piled in, and roared back to Planet Express with those damned saucers always in sight. I did a 180 degree skid outside the building to get to the curb quickly. We all piled out and dashed into the building like mice being chased into their holes by a cat. Before the door had closed behind us, a saucer blew up the rental car. I’m so glad I got that extra insurance!

We all gathered in front of TV in the Lounge, wondering what was going on. It didn’t take long for us to find out.

First Earth President McNeal came on and began a speech that was clearly the prelude to surrender. However, McNeal’s broadcast was overridden by an alien calling himself, “Lrrr of the planet Omicron Persei 8.” Lrrr growled out a short message, “Give us McNeal or we will lay waste to your cities with out anti-monument laser. We demand McNeal!”

That certainly put a temporary stop to any thoughts of surrender!

McNeal came back on the screen…full of fight…and bad ideas. He swore we would fight to the death. He also picked the ideal leader to ensure out deaths, that bloated toad, Zapp Brannigan.

Bender just can’t leave anything alone. When Zapp’s moronic grin filled the screen, Bender shouted, “Hey, look, Leela, it’s that idiotic windbag you slept with.”

I felt like crawling under the couch in shame. Instead, I tried to change the subject, “The Earth is under attack. Can’t we just forget about that?”

Bender observed, somewhat dryly, “Evidently not.”

I could have throttled him, but what was the point? At that moment, Zapp announced that every available ship should report for duty. So, I kept control of my temper as I stood up, “Well, you heard the windbag.” I’m afraid that my pessimism crept into my voice, “We’ve been drafted. Everyone into the ship.”

You know, I almost got my chance to pound Bender? At first he refused to go with us and do his patriotic duty. That is, he refused until Zapp activated the patriotism circuits in every robot on Earth. It was sweet to see Bender forced to do something right for a change. What genius ever decided to give robots free will, anyway?

It took us a little over an hour of preparation to get the old ship ready for war. We loaded the torpedo tubes, crammed some spares into the hold, and made sure the laser was in tip-top shape. Then we took off, following the Nimbus’ homing beacon to our rendezvous with destiny.

We got to the Nimbus without any problem. Of course, when we arrived we had to endure listening to that idiot Brannigan giving us a pep talk. I tried – in vain – to stay out of sight. But Zapp finally notice me and said, “Oh, ho, ho! The luscious Captain Leela.” Then the creep actually rubbed his hands together, “This is turning into one very sexy struggle for the future of the human race!”

With as much sarcasm as I could muster, I replied, “Thanks, but I’m not technically human.”

With that little encounter over, we all split up to draw our uniforms and get our room assignments onboard the Nimbus. We didn’t even have time to settle into our rooms before we wound up in the Nimbus’ Briefing Room, listening to Zapp drone on about our battle plan. Some battle plan! It all boiled down to the final sentence, “On my command, all ships will line up and file directly into the alien death cannons, clogging them with wreckage.”

What kind of idiot plan is that? It must be a man thing.

Before we left for battle, Zapp made a truly pathetic pass at me. He is such a loser! How did I ever let my pity overwhelm my good sense?

Without further ado, we all set off to battle the Omicronians. Our little fleet rounded the moon and there it was…what we thought was the Mother Ship. It seemed so huge.

As we deployed into attack formation, Fry was jabbering excitedly, “I’m gonna be a science-fiction hero, just like Uhura, or Captain Janeway, or Xena!” It startled me to realize that Fry was oblivious to our danger. I blurted out, “Fry, this isn’t TV, it’s real life. Can’t you tell the difference?”

His reply was as lighthearted as it was lightheaded, “Sure, I just like TV better.” Then, as the Lord is my witness, he started making gunfire noises!

I couldn’t take much more time to reflect on things, because we began to take fire from the Omicronian ship. We got in close and Fry knocked out a few of the surface-mounted turret guns. But they managed to hit us, too. We lost auxiliary power and Bender spilled his martini.

None the less, we made a firing pass at the saucer. The loss of Bender’s cocktail seemed to have driven Fry into a fury. He fired the turret laser repeatedly, ripping into the saucer. He must have hit a vital system with one of the shots, because the saucer exploded into a fiery wreck.

It looked like we had won. But our celebration was premature. The real Mother Ship, ten times the size of the one we had destroyed appeared to wreck our day. It began to effortlessly and systematically wipe out the remainder of our fleet.

I decided that enough was enough. Without any hesitation I reversed the ship’s course and headed back to Earth.

Somehow, that idiot Brannigan survived, too.

When we got back to Planet Express, we were just in time to catch a broadcast in which McNeal was stuffed in a sack and presented to the Omicronian leader, Lrrr. And who did the presenting? You guessed it…Zapp Brannigan.

It really shocked everyone when McNeal wiggled out of his sack. Lrrr looked at McNeal and growled, “You are not McNeal.”

I can’t really remember what was said next, but I remember seeing Lrrr whip out his laser pistol and turn McNeal into a pile of smoking ashes.

Lrrr growled impatiently, “Give us McNeal!”

What happened next absolutely floored me…and the rest of the viewers. Lrrr held up a picture and shouted, “Silence! We will accept no more decoys.” Then he held up a headshot of a woman, “This is the McNeal.”

We were all bewildered. Who on Earth was she?

Fry was staring at her with unusual concentration. He said excitedly, “Wait, I know her.”

I don’t believe I’ve ever been so surprised. That didn’t stop me from saying, “You do not, you big fat liar. You don’t know anyone. All you do is watch TV.”

His reply floored me, “That’s where I know her from. She’s Jenny McNeal. She was a character on a TV show back in the 20th Century, Single Female Lawyer.”

Bender made a dismissive comment. Then Lrrr said, “We will raise your planet’s temperature by one million degrees a day, for five days, unless we see McNeal at 9pm tomorrow – 8 Central!”

I couldn’t believe it, “They’re going to destroy the entire Earth if they don’t see some stupid TV show about some bimbo lawyer?” I mean, talk about your messed up priorities.

The Omicronians had flown one thousand light years, had laid waste to the Earth, and were threatening to destroy all of us over a stupid television show!

Amy looked up the show on the Internet, but it turned out that all copies had been destroyed in 2443. All seemed lost.

Then Fry came up with an idea that sounded hopelessly dumb to me, “Y”know, I saw the first 30 seconds of that episode. If we could make up an ending, maybe we could act it out ourselves.”

Everyone else seemed to think it was a great idea, so we went to getting everything ready for the show. We built the set in the Hangar. Fry busied himself with writing the script. Once the set was complete, Fry said, “OK, Leela, you’ll be starring as Jenny…”

I cut him off with, “Uh-uh, forget it. A, I’m camera shy and B, I get tongue tied in front of an audience with death rays.”

Then Amy weighed in with a really low blow, “Plus, you really don’t have the thighs for a miniskirt.”

Oooh! She is so catty! I’ll bet she just wanted the starring role for herself. But I showed her. I snatched the script from Fry and said, “Gimme the script.”

Well, to make a long story short, I got into costume. It was a green suit with a very short mini-skirt. The high heels certainly exaggerated the effect of the mini-skirt as well.

We all took our places. Then the show began.

I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow description of my acting debut. To tell the truth, I was a bit embarrassed by my dialogue. That Jenny McNeal must be a real slut. Honestly, in the script, Fry had her involved with every man on the set…even Zoidberg. Ugh! What a thought.

Things were going along OK until we ran out of script. I whispered, “Fry, there’s nothing else here. You only wrote two pages of dialogue.”

He gave what has to rank as one of the lamest replies on record, “Well, it took an hour to write. I thought it would take an hour to read.”

After a deep sigh I asked, “What are we supposed to do now?”

“I don’t know,” Fry replied, “I don’t know. Just say anything. As long as it’s compelling, mesmerizing, a tour de force.”

I gave it my best shot. I thought that maybe Jenny should get married to the Judge and quit the law. After all, it was the finale…right?

But only a few lines, Fry cut me off. He was really upset. He insisted that audiences just wanted the same old thing as opposed to something new and different.

I was arguing with Fry about it when Lrrr came on the air and said, “Attention McNeal. Your unexpected marriage plan scares us. You stole our hearts as a single female lawyer, and so you shall remain – or else!”

It didn’t take much to imagine what the ‘or else’ meant.

Inwardly I sighed. Fry was right. Most people don’t want anything original from TV. So, I decided to trust to his instincts. After all, he is an authority on TV.

Fry decided to have us read off of cue cards to wrap up the show. The ending was pretty dull, but it pleased the Omicronians…and saved the planet.

So the Omicronian fleet left Earth to recover from the terrible wounds they had inflicted over a stupid TV show. What amazes me is that Fry’s Stupid Ages knowledge saved the whole world from destruction. Come to think of it, this is the second time Fry has saved a lot of us with his “ancient wisdom.”

Such a thought makes my head hurt.

Well, Dear Diary, now you know how the past few days have been. I’ll write more soon. Farewell!

20 September 3000

Dear Diary:

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my entries, but you know how much I dislike chatter for chatter’s sake. Besides, the past few weeks have been a blur of excitement and terror. As always, Fry dragged me irresistibly into his latest misadventure like some kind of black hole gobbling up an unfortunate spaceship.

It all started with Slurm. That’s right…Slurm.

I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but Fry has always liked the stuff. However, once they announced the big contest to find the “Golden Bottle Cap” and win a free lifetime supply of Slurm, Fry went overboard. He started drinking can after can of Slurm. I mean, I know Slurm is addictive, but I’ve never seen anyone drink as much Slurm as Fry guzzled in those few weeks.

Do you know that I even had to take Fry to the orthodontist’s to have a dozen teeth reset? He was drinking so much Slurm it was making his teeth fall out! I had the orthodontist throw a coating on Fry’s teeth that would keep Slurm from making them fall out anymore. Maybe I should have just let all of his teeth fall out, but somehow that just doesn’t seem right. Besides, it would have spoiled his boyish smile.

Anyway, about two weeks ago we were sitting at the conference table when Bender dragged himself into the room. He looked awful! I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “I’m sick.”

He looked and sounded so bad that I pitied him, “You poor baby. Let me check if you have a fever.” I used the back of my hand to check. He had a fever all right! He was so hot that the back of my hand got singed.

The Professor went over and used his lab coat like a glove to open the door to Bender’s chest cavity. He looked inside and said, “According to Bender’s temperature gauge, which I suggest you use next time, Leela, he’s running a fever of…900 degrees.”

Isn’t that just like a man? Instead of telling you about an error nicely, they just body slam you. It took some self control for me not to boot that senile old goat in his wrinkly old fanny.

We took Bender to see Dr Zoidberg, whose ever keen medical brain determined that Bender had fin fungus! What a quack! I don’t know why the Professor keeps him around. Wait…yes I do. He’s cheap…just like the Professor.

When Zoidberg walked away, Amy and the Professor started arguing about the effectiveness of homeopathic cures. I was ready to knock both their heads together when Bender coughed. I distinctly heard a rattling sound coming from Bender so I asked, “Hey, what’s rattling around in there?”

The Professor replied, “It may well be the cause of Bender’s illness. But more importantly, it’s a flimsy pretext to try out my latest invention. To the laboratory!”

His latest invention turned out to be a flashlight looking device he called an “F-Ray.” He explained that it uses a neutrino beam to look through anything…even metal. With it, the Professor found the cause of Bender’s illness. Do you know what it was? It was Amy’s watch that had gone missing several days ago. It was jammed in Bender’s workings.

It only took a minute and “Presto!” Bender was back to his old annoying self. The Professor handed Bender and Fry the F-Ray with the admonition of, “for the love of God don’t let it fall into the wrong hands.” As Bender and Fry exited the room giggling like naughty schoolboys, I got the job of taking the Professor’s radiation suit to the decontaminators.

As usual, I was the model employee and did as I was asked. But I couldn’t help wondering what mischief Bender and Fry were getting into…and being filled with misgivings. I mean, Fry is basically okay but that Bender is always leading Fry into trouble with his hare brained schemes. Anyway, it took me about an hour to get the suit decontaminated – they do it while you wait. Then I lugged it back to the Planet Express.

When I stowed the suit away, I went onboard the ship and worked out in the cargo bay for about an hour. Amy may think she’s so cute, but if she doesn’t take better care of her body, she’s going to be as fat as her mother when she gets older. You can take all of the St. John’s Wort or Echinacea you want. It still won’t take the place of good, hard exercise.

But I digress.

When I ran into the Professor a little later while making some coffee, he conned me into a game of 3-D Scrabble. We had just gotten started, but I was winning. I had the words “One,” “Matt,” “Donut” “Emu” and “Only.” The Professor had, “Eye,” “Area,” and “One.” Then Bender and Fry suddenly came into the room.

Bender slammed the F-Ray violently onto the table, sending all of our Scrabble pieces flying. In a voice full of disgust he said, “Ah, this thing stinks.”

I felt like belting him! For the first time in months, I’m winning at 3-D Scrabble and Bender wrecks it. He just has no consideration for anyone else’s emotions.

Before I could say or do anything, Fry said in a disgusted voice while gesturing at a cart literally heaped with Slurm merchandise, “We checked 90,000 cans of Slurm and all we won was this junk.” He paused, “I never wanna see another can of Slurm again.” Then he followed that bit of good sense with some nonsense, “Man, am I thirsty!”

Can you believe it? He went straight to the fridge, pulled out a Slurm, and began to shotgun it down. He started to choke and cough, which caused me concern. I asked, “Fry are you alright?”

Bender snatched up the F-Ray and pointed it at Fry’s neck. You could clearly see the outline of a bottle-cap with “You Win!” written on it, lodged in Fry’s throat.

As Fry slid unconscious to the floor, wheezing “Hooray!” that idiot Bender cheered as well. Men and man-bots! I don’t know which are dumber.

Of course, I had to be the one to get the bottle-cap out of Fry’s throat with the old Heimlich maneuver. Three good jerks and it was out. Naturally, I took Fry down to the Slurm distributorship in Queens to claim his prize. I wasn’t about to let Bender do it! He certainly would have tried to cheat Fry out of the prize.

As it was, I just had to endure Bender going along with us, jabbering excitedly about how he was going to party with Slurms Mackenzie…and they say women like to talk!

At any rate, Fry invited everyone – the Professor, Hermes, Amy, Zoidberg, Bender, and me – along – for the trip to Planet Wormulon to see the Slurm Factory. I have to admit, I was curious.

Wormulon is a Class M Planet on the edge of the Andromeda Galaxy. It has a really pretty ring though…at least it was probably really pretty before the Wormulonians (?) altered it to show the word “Slurm” written on it in thousand mile high letters. Oh well, it’s their planet.

The landing was pretty smooth. I set the old ship down right outside the gates of the Slurm Factory. I’ve seen the kind of architecture for the buildings before. Victorian, I think they call it.

Four worms seemed to be standing guard at two big, wrought iron gates in front of the factory. When we walked up, two of the worms played a fanfare, the gates opened, and they rolled out a red carpet for us!

When the carpet unrolled to our feet, a worm dressed in a tacky looking purple suit with a mismatched top hat sprang out of the last roll, “Welcome to the Planet Wormulon. I’m Glurmo, your golly-rific (?) guide to the spled-tacular (?) Slurm Factory!”

Fry got right to the point, “Uh-huh. Can we have our free Slurm now?”

Glurmo dashed Fry’s hopes of immediate satisfaction with his reply, “You’ll have all the Slurm you can drink later on when you’re partying with my good friend, Slurms MacKenzie.”

Right on cue, Slurms popped into view from behind Glurmo. You know, he seems taller on television. He seemed pleasant enough, though I remember thinking his enthusiasm seemed a bit forced. As it turned out, I was right…but more of that later.

Glurmo led us to the Factory entrance, where he proudly announced, “Welcome my friends, to the wondrous world of whimsy that we like to call "Slurms Centralized Industrial Fabrication Unit." The doors to the Factory opened onto a cavernous room whose beauty took my breath away.

The room had a river of Slurm running right down the middle. There were lovely trees and fragrant flowers everywhere. Bobbing up and down on the Slurm River was a small paddle wheeler boat. Glurmo led the way down to the bank and we followed. We were almost aboard the boat when we saw some disgusting looking little orange-skinned men with green hair. Dressed in grey striped shorts and brown shirts, they were carrying barrels of Slurm.

The Professor spoke the question that was on everyone’s mind…except maybe Amy…“Who are those horrible orange creatures over there?”

Glurmo replied, “Why, those are the Grunka Lunkas. They work here in the Slurm factory.”

The Professor shot back, “Tell them I hate them.”

Well, I thought that was a bit extreme. I mean, they were disgusting looking…and you could smell them clear across the room. Ugh! They smelled like rotting cheese…or Fry’s locker.

Anyway, we went down to the boat, got in and sailed down the green river. Glurmo rattled on about the Slurm making process. He kept teasing us with hints about the secret ingredient. I have to admit, I was a bit curious. What was funny was listening to Fry and Bender hector him about it. I think that Glurmo was about to lose his cool when the Grunka Lunkas distracted everyone by singing.

I won’t bore you by repeating the song. It was a warning not to keep trying to find the secret ingredient. Glurmo put a stop to the performance by waving his cane as he shouted, “Hey, I don't pay you to sing! You just used up today's bathroom break!”

Thank goodness the Grunka Lunkas shut up and scampered off.

We went through a tunnel where we saw an ancient looking Slurm Master sampling some Slurm from a cask. That seemed to remind Fry that he hadn’t guzzled a Slurm for a while. He asked Glurmo, “Uh, could I have some Slurm, please?”

Glurmo replied, “No food or drink allowed on the tour. You'll have to wait until you're partying with Slurms MacKenzie.”

Fry was unwilling to accept the answer, “When will that be?”

Glurmo answered, obviously irritated, “Soon enough.”

Fry just had to have the last word…or maybe the last whine would be more accurate, “That's not soon enough.”

Frankly, I was tired of listening to them bicker. So I pointed at a door with a “Keep Out” sign on it that had two worms guarding it and asked, “Hey, what's behind that door?”

Glurmo shrugged, “Nothing.”

What did he take me for, a blonde? So I decided to pull his chain a bit, “Is it the secret ingredient?”

Before he could answer, the Grunka Lunkas started singing and dancing again. They got Bender really angry. He shouted, “Shut the Hell up!” Thankfully, they did.

We sailed down the river a bit. I was just taking in the scenery when I noticed that Fry was gone. I don’t know why, but I went looking for him. It reminds me of when I had to watch the younger kids at the Orphanarium. There were just some kids you knew were going to get in trouble if they were out of your sight for more than five seconds. Well…that’s Fry.

When I got to the stern of the boat, I could scarcely believe my eyes. I mean, I’ve seen Fry do some boneheaded stuff, but this really took the cake! He was actually hanging from the stern rail by his toes in an attempt to reach the Slurm in the river!

My mind went positively blank for a second. When I got my powers of speech back I demanded, “What are you doing?”

Why I bothered to ask, I have no clue! Fry replied, “I'm dying of thirst. Grab my feet and dunk my head in so I can drink.”

I swear, he actually said that!

I told him, “No, that’s moronic.”

What happened next was absolutely predictable. Fry fell in. Just before he fell into the river he laughingly said, “Fine. I'll let go and swim around in the Slurm and drink as much as I want.” He sank beneath the surface, came up briefly and shouted, “Help! I can’t swim!”

The idiot! There was nothing for it but to dive in and rescue him. Oooh! He just burns me up some times. I pulled him to the surface by his hair, none too gently I may add. When we broke the surface, I was really surprised to see a whistling Bender bob to the surface. “Bender,” I asked, “why did you jump in?”

His answer showed that he and Fry are on a par for lack of common sense, “Everybody was doing it. I just wanted to be popular.”

Before we could swim to the side, a strong current sucked us into a whirlpool. We went down, down, down. We were sucked through a large pipe, then spewed out onto a grate through which the Slurm from the river cascaded.

Fry wrung some Slurm from his hair into his mouth and spat it straight out, “This isn’t Slurm at all!”

As Fry was having his revelation, I noticed that there were two doors at the far side of the cave. One was marked “Real Factory” and the other was marked “Fake Factory.”

First we checked out the fake factory. Just a quick inspection let us know it was where we had been taking our tour. Before we checked out the real factory, Fry blurted out in horror, “My God. What if the secret ingredient ... is people?”

Can you imagine that he didn’t know? So, I told him, “No. There's already a soda like that: Soylent Cola.”

He went from horror to curiosity, “Oh. How is it?”

So I told him, “It varies from person to person.”

We entered the real factory, creeping down dark tunnels and evading guards. We had just evaded two guards who were gliding along the ceiling when we came upon a conveyor belt with cans of Slurm on it. Fry went over, snatched up a can, and guzzled half of it down. He said passionately, “Oh, yeah! I'm never going 12 minutes without a Slurm again.” Then he added, “Well, whatever it is, it's even better fresh.” Taking a swig he observed, “Mmm, still warm.”

While Fry was falling in love with Slurm all over again, I noticed a door marked “Slurm Production Chamber” and led Fry and Bender through it. What we saw on the other side was disgusting beyond belief! Empty cans of Slurm were headed down the conveyor belt. Each paused briefly to be filled by a burst of disgusting green fluid from a gigantic Worm Queen’s behind!

Lord, I felt like hurling.

Even though Fry said, “Ew!” at the sight, he still continued to glup the Slurm down. I exclaimed, “Fry!”

That seemed to briefly bring Fry to his senses…for a brief second. Then he started drinking again! So I almost shouted, “Fry!”

That did it for a moment. Fry seemed dazed, “That’s the secret ingredient of Slurm?”

I replied, “That's the only ingredient of Slurm.”

Once again, Fry said, “Ew!” and once again he started to gulp from the can. That did it! I lost patience and knocked the can from his hand. Unfortunately the sound of the can striking the floor alerted the Worm Queen, who saw us, let out a roar, and proceeded to try and clobber us with her tail. After dodging her blows, we took off as fast as our legs could carry us.

We ran through a twisting maze of tunnels, closely pursued by laser-firing guards. After what seemed like an eternity, we came to a ravine and nearly fell in. Bender shouted, “I’ll save us!” He extended his arms and legs to form a quick foot bridge for us.

Of course, Bender couldn’t just let it go at accepting our thanks for saving us. No! He hit Fry and me up for a tip! Which, I am ashamed to say, we both paid.

It seemed worth it, though. I saw a door, which I thought led to the outside. Unfortunately, it led us right back into the Slurm Production Chamber. We were boned!

Bender tried to turn things to his advantage by acting as though he was bringing us in, “Uh, Your Majesty, I brought the prisoners.”

Glurmo stepped out from behind the Queen, “Well, my curious friends, you learned the secret of Slurm. That concludes the portion of the tour where you stay alive.”

That just burned me up! So I said, “You wish, you slimy worm! Hi-yah!” I literally knocked his block off! Unfortunately, that simply created two annoying smaller versions of him. Before I could do anything else, a couple of guards grabbed me. What surprised me was that where they touched my bare flesh tingled and I suddenly felt very weak. They must have secreted some sort of chemical that partially paralyzed me.

I couldn’t move, but I could still talk. I snarled at the Queen, “How can you trick people into drinking something that comes out of your behind? It's disgusting!”

She replied, “Is it? Honey comes from a bee's behind. Milk comes from a cow's behind. And have you ever used toothpaste?”

Blech!

Anyway, they dragged us all down a series of tunnels to the torture cave. Neither Fry nor I could fight back. Bender didn’t even try. Of course, to be fair, there were at least a half-dozen guards with their laser pistols trained on us.

They tied Bender down to a conveyor belt that moved towards a soda-can making machine. The Queen sneered at Bender, “You, my metal friend, will have the honor of becoming 174 Slurm cans.”

Bender muttered, “Ah, this trip is turning into a big letdown.”

The put me into a harness and suspended me over a huge vat of bubbling, stinking purple goo. The Queen turned her attention to me, “As for you, you will be submerged in Royal Slurm which, in a matter of minutes, will transform you into a Slurm Queen like myself.”

I thought, “A Slurm Queen? What else could be worse?

As it turned out, one little Glurmo got me an answer when he exclaimed, “But, Your Highness, she's a commoner. Her Slurm will taste foul.”

The Queen replied, “Yes! Which is why we'll market it as New Slurm. Then, when everyone hates it, we'll bring back Slurm Classic, and make billions!” Then she laughed diabolically!

Now I knew what was worse!

Then Glurmo lowered me into the vat. Lord, it was some really icky stuff. It felt like being submerged in a boiling vat of mucus. I could feel my strength returning, but I was afraid it wouldn’t return before I became a Slurm Queen.

It really startled me when the Queen announced to Fry, “You are free to go.”

Fry exclaimed, “Yes!”

I thought, “If he’s free, maybe he’ll figure out how to get us out of here.

Then the Queen added maliciously, “If you can resist this concentrated super Slurm!” Both of the Glurmos grabbed Fry and sat him down in a chair in front of a tub. The Slurm Queen filled the tub with a dark green slime. “It's so delicious, you'll eat until you explode! Oh, which reminds me, put a tarp over that sofa, will you? Bon appétit!”

One of the Glurmos forced a spoonful of the Slurm into Fry's mouth. Fry struggled briefly, then he smiled, “Mmm!”

The Queen turned to us just before leaving the torture cave, “Farewell! Oh, and congratulations again on winning the contest.” The sound of her insane laughter rang through the cave even after her bloated hulk had slithered off.

Once the Queen and other worms were gone I shouted, “Fry, untie us, quick!”

Fry replied, “Here I come.” Unfortunately, he saw the tub of Slurm. He paused, “Let me just-- One more taste.”

One taste! He took three! I almost screamed, “You pig. Stop stuffing your craw and save us.”

That seemed to work for a second. Fry walks towards me. Then he changed his mind and stuck his head into the tub. I thought, “Oh wonderful! I’m turning into a worm, Bender’s inching toward being a pile of cans, and Fry can’t stop swilling that disgusting Slurm!

Bender asked, “I can't see what's happening. Are we boned?”

Almost in despair I replied,Yeah, we're boned.”

Fry lifted his head out of the tub and looked around. He looked at Bender, then at me. As he looked back at the Slurm, a tear trickled down his face and splashed into the Slurm, “I can't stop eating this delicious ooze.” The he sounded determined, “But I'm not gonna let you die.”

What happened next still amazes me. He moved towards the control unit, dragging the tub with him! All the while he was shoveling handfuls of Slurm into his mouth.

I began to feel a weird tingling sensation. Almost in a panic, I shouted, “Hurry!”

“What's happening?” Bender hollered.

Fry made it over to the side of the cave with the winch controls. He used his foot to flick the lever up. It lifted me free from the vat. I had not time to rejoice in being free. I ran over to the can machine and stopped it. Unfortunately, Bender got a can-sized hole punched in his lower torso.

While Fry was busy looking at Bender’s new ventilation system, I tipped the tub of Super-Slurm into a grate. Fry acted like a complete nutcase. He literally screamed, “Nooo!” Then he actually stuck his head between the grate and tried to lick up the Slurm. He was babbling insanely, “I could fit if I didn't have these damn arms!” Then he started knowing on his arms…honestly. Well, I’d had enough. I yanked him to his feet and shoved him toward the exit.

We ran some way down the tunnel. Then we encountered Slurms MacKenzie. It seems that all he wanted to do was leave Wormulon and stop partying! He begged us to take him with us. Just as we agreed, the Queen burst through a tunnel wall with a crash and a roar.

Slurms shouted, “This way!” and led us into another tunnel. As we entered I noticed a sign that read "Danger Cave-In Area". The Queen followed us after briefly getting stuck. I shouted, “She's gaining on us.”

Slurms stopped running. He volunteered to hold her off. After the briefest of discussions, we headed down the tunnels at full speed while Slurms remained behind. I don’t know what he did, but the Queen never caught up with us. We found our way to the surface and boarded the Planet Express Ship.

Fortunately, the rest of our party had returned to the ship when Glurmo had come beneath the surface to kill us.

In the best traditions of the Planet Express, I got us the hell out of there in a hurry.

Once we had cleared the system, we told everyone the story. The Professor was enraged! He called the Bureau of Soft Drinks, Tobacco and Firearms. They put him through to the Commissioner!

When the Commissioner appeared on screen the Professor unceremoniously began, “Commissioner, my crew has made a horrific discovery: It seems that Slurm is produced in a colossal worm hiney!”

The Commissioner seemed intrigued, “Hmm, "hiney", you say? Why, with your testimony we'll finally be able to outlaw this insidious Slurm.”

At the thought of Slurm being outlawed, Fry swung into action. He ran between the Professor and the screen, “Uh, don't pay any attention to him, sir...Grandpa's making up crazy stories again.”

Angered at Fry’s actions, the Professor said, “I'm not your grandpa, you're my uncle…from the year 2000!”

Fry made the “cuckoo” gesture.

The Commissioner transitioned from intrigued to patronizing, “OK, grandpa, we'll take care of the "bad worms", don't you worry.”

Fry grinned. As he opened another can of Slurm he said, “Ah, I just wish Slurms MacKenzie were here to enjoy this with me.” Bender added, “Yeah, that Slurms sure loved to party. Whattya say we all party one last time for him?”

Caught up in the mood of the moment, I raised a can. In honor of the Worm who saved us I said, “For Slurms!”

Everyone else raised their cans. They all joined in the toast. At the first taste of Slurm, the thought of where it came from crossed my mind. I pretended to drink, then went below and rinsed my mouth.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. The only problem is, I still can’t seem to get the taste of Slurm out of my mouth! Excuse me Dear Diary, but I’m going to go brush my teeth and rinse my mouth out again. Good night!

Buddies