“Fry, who do you, think it is?” Leela said as they got out of their car after following Booth to Planet Express. The door was being guarded by two uniformed cops and the entire block was closed off.
“I don’t know, he could have said more than ‘There’s a body.’” He paused and took her hand. “Who was here when you left yesterday?”
“Hermes and the Professor had a meeting at city hall to renew our license when I left. I know Bender and Amy were supposed to come in this morning, and I think Amy was brining Kif with her. You don’t think it’s one of them?”
Fry looked as the police officer lifted the yellow tape so they could duck under it. “I guess we’re gonna find out.”
They followed Zack towards the bathroom and Fry saw Bender, Kif and Amy in the lounge.
“Oh thank God,” Leela said. “I was so worried. Who found it?”
“Kif did,” Amy said as Kif shook uncontrollably in her arms.
“We heard him scream all the way in here.” Bender said.
“I did not scream.” Kif said, “I yelped.”
“He screamed like slutty girl number two in a horror film.”
Fry noticed Zack motioned for them and he took Leela’s arm. “Come on.”
Zack opened the door and let them in before opening the stall as his partner Detective Beckett joined them. She was tall and slender with dark brown hair. He, like Zack had her gun holstered next to her badge. Leela took a step back and clutched Fry’s arm. They saw the body: a medium build man about fifty. He had a large hole in his chest from a laser gun and blood soaked the wall behind him. His jacket was torn and a button was missing on it.
“Do you recognize him?” Zack asked.
“No,” Leela said turning away.
“If your coworkers could hear that squishy alien scream from the other room, how did you not hear a gun shot?” Beckett asked.
“Maybe I had already left. I was in my office until six.” Leela said.
“The medical examiner concluded that he was killed at five PM. So you obviously weren’t where you said you were, so where were you?”
“I left at six then Fry and I went to Cavern on the Green at seven thirty.”
“Come on babe, let’s go.” Fry said leading her out. “Thanks,” he said to Beckett, “Thanks a lot.”
“Was that insensitive?” Beckett asked after they were gone.
“Maybe,” Booth said. “You could have waited until he was gone to accuse her of cheating.”
Back in the lounge the Professor and Heremes joined Fry, Leela, Bender, Amy and Kif.
“Everybody listen. You are all suspects in this crime, and my best advice is to not answer questions you are not asked. Now da police want us to head down to the station for interviews.”
Bender sat next to Hermes in the integration room with Booth and Beckett on the other side of the table.
“Consider me your top suspect.” He said tapping his metallic fingers on the table.
“Oh for God sakes.” Hermes said covering his eyes.
“I’m a robot on the edge; my job is to deliver packages across the universe. It can be very stressful.”
“Your boss said you have done barely any work in the past five years.” Booth said.
“Small details.” He said waving him off.
Beckett slid a picture of the crime scene across the table. “Have you ever seen this man before?”
“No, never. Check my hard drive.”
“He looks like a lot of guys.” Amy said looking at the picture. She paused and squinted. “Is that his real hair?”
Kif sat jittering in his seat looking at the bloody body in the picture. “Oh my, oh Jeeze, oh odds and boggles.”
“Have you seen him before?”
Kif shook his head and Hermes spoke up. “Let it be known he is indicating with his head he has not seen the victim before. Like all my clients. Next question.”
“Have you noticed anything strange going on lately?” Beckett asked Fry as he sat across from her.
“Well, Leela and Hermes have been pretty much running the company since the Professor has gone a little, you know, cookoo. And there’s this guy, uh, Jack McEvoy, who wants to buy the business. But Leela and Hermes don’t want to sell.”
“I heard McEvoy screaming from the ship.” Bender said. “He was mad. And woke me up from my afternoon nap, the bastard.”
Beckett looked at Hermes, “Should I put all of them down as stupid or uncooperative?”
“Put them down as well representative.”
Leela sat in Detective Beckett’s office as she looked over a file. “Miss Leela, we can talk about this now and clear it up, as long as you’re truthful. Where were you last night? Who were you with?”
“I told you, I was with Fry.”
“Really? Because the victim was killed by a gun shot. Guns are loud, but you didn’t hear it. You obviously were not in the building.”
Across the hall Fry and Zack stood in the break room as Zack poured Fry a Styrofoam cup of coffee.
“So, how bad does McEvoy want Planet Express?” he asked.
“Well, he’s the kind of guy that won’t take no for an answer.” Fry said taking a sip. “Why?”
“He comes up shady. But he’s got an alibi. Twin hooker alibis.”
Fry rolled his eyes. “That’s nice.”
“Listen, I’m gonna tell you something that Becks doesn’t even know. CSU found fibers in the wound.”
“Someone muffled the shot. That’s why Leela didn’t hear it.”
“Yeah. Now, if we find this thing we could go straight to the killer.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because, I’m just saying: it might be best if it never turns up.”
Fry gave him a look before walking out and meeting Leela at the door. The two of them got in the car and Fry drove off.
“You okay?” she asked rubbing his neck.
“Yeah, as good as I can be.”
“Detective Beckett said I didn’t hear the shot because I’m cheating on you.”
“Well, Zack thinks I’m the killer.”
“So, you’re a murderer and I’m unfaithful.” She paused and smirked. “We are a very exciting couple.”
Fry laughed, “We’re like Bonnie and Clyde.”
Back at Planet Express Bender and Kif sat on the ship since the police had turned the lounge into their own little war room.
“When are those bozo cops gonna get the hell out of here?” Bender asked. “I’m missing All My Circuits.”
Kif shook his head, “I don’t know. I’m more interested when they’re gonna clean the blood off the walls. It makes me queasy.” He pulled off his gloves. “My palms are sweating profusely. How did this happen?”
“Someone bashed his head in the wall and then shot him.”
“What? How did you know that?”
“I eavesdropped on the cops.”
“Bender,” Kif said “why is there a gun in between the couch?”
Kif held up the gun. “Look,”
“Whoa, whoa! Put that down! It’s probably the murder weapon.”
“Why would the killer hide it here?”
“He probably figured that whoever found it would get rid of it.”
“Well what should we do?”
“I say that I shoot you with it, and then tell them that you attacked me after confessing to the murder so I had to kill you in self-defense.”
Kif stared at Bender and he shrugged. “What? I think it’s a good plan.”
Kif sighed and looked out the window. “Fry and Leela are back; let’s ask them what they think.”
Fry stood in front of the couch looking at the gun wedged between the cushions on the couch, Leela and Hermes on either side. “Oh crap. Did someone touch it?”
“Great.” Fry said. “Hey, since it’s on the ship, can we just claim it as property of Planet Express and then, I don’t know, throw it in a volcano?”
“No, no we have to report it.” Hermes said. “Better they find it now rather than later.”
Fry and Bender stood by while the police searched the ship looking for any more clues. Detective Beckett hadn’t said for sure if the gun was the murder weapon, but she seemed pretty sure.
“Man,” Bender said, “I still can’t believe that someone was murdered in the other room. I mean, yeah there have been a lot of attempted murders, but no one’s even been killed.”
“I know. I mean, I’m a pulp crime writer, death is my beat. But seeing it up close like this…” he trailed off. “Never mind.”
“You think that gun is the thing that killed him?”
“No. My idea: it’s the victim’s gun. The killer took it and hid it here hoping someone would get rid of it.”
They continued watching as the CSU teams scanned for prints. One of the cops seemed to be observing them very closely, so Fry decided to quickly change the subject.
“Hey Bender I need help for my book. What source of alcohol is the best for death by substance abuse?”
“Jeeze Fry, there’s so many.”
“Irish whisky?” he asked before putting on an Irish accent. “Which spirit best represents a murder most foul?”
“Lose the accent Bono.”
Fry pulled Bender aside, “So who do you think the dead guy is? I mean, I think he’s a professional killer.”
“Well yeah, his suit, his hair, whether it’s real or not, and his ring. And the fact that I saw him, here, last night.”
Fry stared at his friend in disbelief. He looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening and lowered his voice. “You saw him here?”
“I left at three, but I came back to steal some money from the safe around five, but Hermes had locked the door. I used my bump key, walk in and see him duck back into the corner. I didn’t see anyone here, so either he hid in here before I left, or Leela let him in after.”
“No, no she didn’t let him in.”
“Well whoever killed him had a key or was already in here.”
Fry felt someone place a hand on his shoulder and whipped around; fearing one of the officers had heard them. Instead he saw Leela and he smiled.
“Hey, what’s up?”
Bender started whistling the Darth Vader theme as they walked away.
Leela and Fry entered the conference room and Fry saw the middle aged man with the slick black hair sitting at the table. He wore a black suit and when he extended his hand Fry saw the Rolex on his wrist.
“Hey Jack,” Fry said trying to be friendly. “What’s going on?”
“He’s made another offer,” Leela said.
“Really? How much more do we get for murder?”
“It’s less, this time.” She said looping her arm through Fry’s.
“Things like this occur when you’re not reasonable.” McEvoy said smirking.
“Trying to scare us into sell? Pretty ballsy move there Jack. I mean, it sounds like you’re implying that you’re behind this.”
“No, I’m just taking advantage.”
Fry rolled his eyes. “Sure, well, Planet Express is not for sale. I’m thinking it’s going to be a family business. So, you can buy some stock from our accountant but that’s as close as to owning this place as you’ll get. So either do that, or get the hell out.”
Fry watched as he and Leela exchanged glances and he walked out, his new shoes squeaking on the floor.
Leela smiled at Fry before kissing his cheek.
“What was that for?” he asked.
“Nothing, I just thought that was pretty hot.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked wrapping his arms around her waist leaning into kiss her. The sound of Amy’s voice and her pulling Leela away from his ruined the moment.
“Awkward, very awkward, awkward.” She said leading Leela into the office Leela had received two years ago.
“Amy, what is awkward?”
She reached in her pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of paper. “Look,”
“It’s a floor plan of Planet Express.” She said.
“Yeah, I drew it. For the murder victim last night.”
“He came in around four thirty, told me that he was trying to start a business and asked me if we had a sketch of the floor plan to base it on. But then then Bender came up to me and tried to steal money out of my wallet and-”
“Why are you showing this to me?”
“Because if I show it to Fry he’s head with explode.”
“Look at the X on this office. You know, X marks the spot.”
“The safe?” she asked looking at the picture of the Professor behind her which concealed the safe. “You think he was trying to rob us?”
“Maybe or maybe something else.”
“But the only thing left is…” she paused and looked up at Amy. “Me.”
“Kaboom!” Amy said imitating Fry’s head exploding.
Leela grabbed the paper and ran out past Fry into Hermes office. She placed the map in front of him. “Amy drew this for the murder victim last night.”
He looked at the map and sighed before rubbing his eyes. “Why didn’t you show this to the police?”
“Because they’ll take it, and they won’t tell me what it means.”
“What do you think it means?”
“X marks the spot, and….” She paused and sat down. “Everyone knows that the best way to hurt Fry,”
He finished her thought. “Is to hurt you.” Hermes paused and leaned forward. “This McEvoy guy, he’s capable of sending a bad message.”
“’Bad message’?” she asked taking the paper and folding it into her pocket.
“Leg breaking, finger snapping, kneecapping, head cracking. Stuff like that. What if he sent this guy?”
“To break my legs?” she asked.
“Or something worse.”
“Well then who killed him?”
“That’s the real question isn’t it?”
“Fry, I need you right now.” Leela said taking his hand and leading him into her office.
“Ooh,” he said closing the door. “You know I’ve always had this fantasy-“
“No!” she said cutting him off, “Not like that.”
“Oh,” he said disappointed.
“Look,” she said handing him the paper.
“Amy drew it for the victim last night.”
“What? She also saw him?”
“Wait, ‘also’? Who else saw him?”
“Bender did.” He paced the room before hitting the desk with his fist. “Why is everyone lying and holding out on the cops?”
“They love us.” She said. “Especially you.”
“Oh, they love us. We’re lovable, so that makes it okay to lie to the police? Where do they come up with that?”
“They know you’d kill anyone who would hurt me. And the victim was going to do that.”
Fry paused and sat down. “They think I’m the killer.”
“That’s what gets them to lying to the police.”
Fry sighed heavily and rubbed his eyes. “This day just keeps getting better and better.”
There was a knock at the door and Fry hid the paper before Leela opened it. Kif and Amy stood on the other side.
“Fry, Leela,” Kif said, “Amy told me something that you need to know about her conversation with the dead guy.”
“Why didn’t you tell the police you talked to him?” Fry said.
“Just listen,” Kif said. “What they discussed was important.”
“Well its Amy so they discussed sex.” Fry said.
“Hey! That’s…mostly true.”
“Okay, just get to the point Amy.” He said.
“Well, Kif and I were talking about life and death and it made me amorous.”
“Maybe skip ahead.” Kif said embarrassed.
“Oh, well Kif was afraid we’d get caught by the police because I don’t care about noise-“
Fry looked up at Leela. “Okay, is it ‘skip’, ‘ahead’ or ‘point’ that she doesn’t understand?”
“The point is, I told him a place where a couple in love could find some privacy. Come on.”
The four of them carefully rounded the corner and made their way down to the boiler room. “When Heremes does his final sweep of the building he never checks in Scruffy’s closet.”
“So,” Fry said looking inside. “He hid back here when no one was looking and waited. He was here.” He paused and turned back to Amy and Kif. “Okay, I’m gonna ask again: why didn’t you tell the police?”
She sighed. “Because we know what you would do for Leela. So we decided that we should impede with the investigation.”
“There’s something else,” Kif said. “Bender and I found Leela’s green coat she left here.”
“So, we found a hole from the laser gun.”
“Someone used it to muffle the shot.” Leela said. “What did you do with it?”
“We doused it with alcohol and burned it.”
“You burned my coat? Why?”
“Because, Fry had the strength and clear of mind to smash his head into a wall and then shoot him while muffling the shot. He’s a crime novelist, he knows this stuff.”
“Okay, Kif, Amy.” Fry said rubbing his eyes once more. “You guys just go home, okay? Don’t talk to the police. And take Bender with you.”
The two of them left and Fry moved his hands to his temples. “Should I be upset that everyone thinks that I’m a murderer, or just happy that everyone’s trying to help me get away with it?”
“You should realize that everything they do makes you look guiltier.”
“Okay, okay. Listen I’m going to go talk to Zack, see if they found anything else. Maybe we can get this all figured out.” He paused. “You’re-you’re not having doubts are you?”
“No.” she said before kissing him and letting him leave. She crossed her arms and leaned against the wall. Oh boy…
Fry and Zack sat in the café across the street from Planet Express drinking coffee.
“How did you know the fibers in the wound were green wool?” Zack asked rotating the Styrofoam cup in his hands.
“We can’t find Leela’s coat.” Fry lied while keeping a straight face.
“Well if it’s in that building we’ll find it so-“
“I know I know, get rid of it, and burn it, whatever. But I didn’t kill him!”
Zack kept his eyes low and kept drinking his coffee.
“Hey, Zack, someone put this guy on Leela.”
Zack refused to look up.
“What?” Fry asked.
“You’re not gonna like it.” He finally said.
“What? Someone comes into Planet Express to hurt Leela, damn right I’m not going to like it-“
“Leela was cheating on you with McEvoy.” Zack said before Fry could finish.
Fry rolled his eyes. “No, you’re wrong.”
He pulled out a sheet with phone records from his jacket pocket. “They’ve had almost fifty calls in the past few weeks and have met with him over half a dozen times.”
“He’s trying to buy Planet Express, that’s why he won’t stop calling her.”
“You sure?” he asked. “Look at all this Fry. I mean, how many times a day do you talk to her?”
“This is what happens,” he said, “They get into a thing, it goes south, and Leela figures that it’s not true love and that he wants her for Planet Express.”
Fry stood up furiously, knocking his chair over and Zack did the same thing. Putting his hand up Zack continued raising his voice. “And then he threatens her, he sends this guy on the job, but you don’t see it because you don’t use your head Fry. You shadowed me for two months. I know you. You think that everything you feel is true-“
Fry saw red and reeled back before making contact with Zack’s face. Fry watched as he went down and blood poured from his mouth.
“You don’t know me Zack. You think you do, but you don’t.”
“I know you need to grow up.”
Fry almost went after him again but saw Detective Beckett across the street and just walked away.
He walked down the street not caring where his feet led him. How could Zack accuse Leela of cheating on him? He and Leela were in love, they were getting married. It almost seemed like Zack wanted the two of them to bust up so he could get a shot at her.
Then his mind wandered away from his anger and towards confusion. The dead guy in the bathroom was sent by someone to hurt Leela. Though he didn’t really ‘work’ at Planet Express, he was the heir to it. It would make sense for McEvoy to hurt Leela to send Fry a message. But if it was McEvoy who sent the guy, who killed him? Bender? He thought. He knew that Bender was capable of the deed, but Fry didn’t see him doing it so sloppily. Why would the person who shot the hit man use Leela’s coat to muffle the sound? It didn’t make sense. Then again, did any murder?
Fry turned the corner and ran into Amy and Kif coming outside of a takeout place with their dinner.
“Oh hey Fry.” She said.
“Hey Amy, you know that map you drew for the dead guy?”
“Yeah, and I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t know what he wanted it for-“
“No, I’m just wondering; why wasn’t it finished?”
“Because Bender came up and tried to steal my wallet. And then your friend Zack came in because he saw us arguing through the glass in the door-“
“Wait, Zack saw you with the victim and the map?”
Something clicked in Fry’s brain.
“Thanks Amy,” he said before running down the street towards Planet Express.
Leela sat on the couch in the lounge as Fry burst in the door. “Hey,” he said breathlessly.
“So did Zack try to convince you I was cheating?”
“Yep. With McEvoy. But hey, it’s what the cops do. But I’d know. I’d feel that bad energy between us. The same way that you would know that I couldn’t murder someone.”
“I believe you would kill someone for me, but I’d feel it too. And I know you didn’t kill this guy.” She paused and leaned into him. “I don’t know how any homicide is ever solved when everyone lies.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m glad I only have to write about solving murders. Besides I always know how they end.”
He paused and sat up.
“You okay?” she asked.
“I know who did it.” He said his voice barely above a whisper.
“Me too.” She responded.
“How did you know it wasn’t me?” he said once they were on the ship were no one could hear them.
“You’d kill for me, I know that but, whoever did this went and got my coat to muffle it before shooting him. My coat. You would never do that, neither would Bender. We know that Zack has been investigating McEvoy, he knows that I work here and that the business is left to you. He knows that the best way to hurt you is to hurt me.”
“So he follows the victim, waits for the right moment and kills him.” Fry paused and ran his hands over his face. “My friend killed someone to save you, what do we do?”
“We thank him and shut up.” She said. “The end.”
“Leela, this is murder. I don’t think I can live with this.”
They both turned around when Bender got on the ship. “Guys, you need to come outside.”
The two of them followed him and saw Detective Beckett holding Zack at gun point as he had his hands in the air.
“How did you figure me out?” Zack asked.
Beckett shook her head. “GPS. It places you in this building at the time of the murder. McEvoy was your case, you knew about him hiring a hit man.”
“I’m not going to prison.” He said blatantly. “No way. I’ve worked too hard to get here.”
“You should have thought of that before you committed a murder.”
Fry looked at his friend. “How did you know he was coming to hurt Leela?”
“I’ve had a mole planted in McEvoy’s business along with 24 hours surveillance. He’s shady Fry; you know that, we’ve been investigating him for a number of things. Then when I heard about his plan to hurt your girlfriend I just…I did what I thought was right.”
“You didn’t have to kill him.” Beckett said. “Now take out your gun.”
“Zack,” Fry pleaded when he didn’t move. “Just take out your gun.
“Oh that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” he said slowly lowering his hands.
“By the barrel.” Beckett warned, “Slowly.”
“That’s not how it’s going to go.” Zack shook his head. “You ready? I’m a quick bastard.”
Leela watched as Beckett charged her gun and quickly stepped out between them.
“Leela!” Fry said.
“It’s okay,” she said putting her hands up so Beckett wouldn’t fire. She approached Zack and looked him in the eyes. “Thank you. You helped us, let us help you Zack.”
He looked at Leela for a moment and reached for his gun. Grabbing it by the barrel he handed it to her and she in turn handed it to Detective Beckett.
“Put the handcuffs on Zack,” she said holstering Zack’s gun on her hip.
Fry watched as Beckett led Zack to her car and put him in the back seat. He sighed and turned away.
“’ Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.’” He heard Leela say. “F. Scott Fitzgerald said that.”
“Yeah,” Fry said, “Then it must have been Ernest Hemmingway who said ‘Man I could sure use a drink right about now.’”
“Come on,” she said taking his hand. “Let’s go home.”
Fry sat at his desk typing away. He felt the words flow easier than ever and smiled with every blank page that appeared in front of him. A new challenge arising every time. Though he was about half way down with the book he already knew the ending, and he typed it into a separate file to save for later. Pulling it up he reread it, printed it and took the papers out to Leela.
“Hey Leels?” he asked before noticing she was on the phone. He mouthed “sorry” and sat on the couch.
“Thank you,” she said to the person on the other line before hanging up. “That was Hermes. He talked to the police, they said that if they can’t trace the gun to Zack, or find my coat, he’s going to go free.”
“Hmm,” he said thinking about it. “I guess I can live with that.”
“What do you have there?” she asked sitting down.
“Oh, I wrote the ending for my book. Wanna read it?”
“I don’t want to spoil the rest of it.”
“Don’t worry, there are no spoilers. Just read it.”
She smiled and took the papers. “’When you love someone, you open yourself up to suffering. That’s the sad truth. Maybe they’ll break your heart, or maybe you’ll break theirs and no matter what you’ll never be the same person. Maybe you’ll have to let go, or maybe you can try again. Those are the risks we take. That’s the burden we carry and the burden we feel on our backs. But while those burdens have weight, they lift us. They are the burdens that allow us to fly.’”
Leela paused and smiled. “Wow Fry. That was…amazing.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that.”
“No, that was the best thing you’ve ever written. I mean it.” She put the papers down and scooted closer before finally sitting on his lap. “Fry, I have a confession.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“Well, you know that drink we share every night?”
“I can’t do that anymore.”
He rolled his eyes. “Leela, just because you have one glass of wine or whatever every night with your fiancée, doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic.”
“That’s not why,” she smiled.
“Then what is it?”
“Remember how you said that you wanted Planet Express to be a family business?”
Fry stared at Leela as she looked into his eyes. He kept staring and finally a smile came across his face. He understood completely.
“No!” he said. “Yeah?! You, are pregnant?”
Leela smiled and felt Fry wrap his arms around her.
“There’s a little baby boy, huh?” he asked rubbing her stomach.
“Or girl,” she pointed out before kissing him.
“Thank you,” he said after they broke the kiss.
“For giving me a second chance.”