Oddly Familiar Somehow
“This is it. My home. Well, really it’s Bender’s apartment, I just live in the closet,” Fry explained, leading Xander into the room. “I guess you can share for a while until you find somewhere else. Bender won’t mind. He’ll just steal your change.”
“Share the closet?” Xander looked around the room, saw a small door, opened it and discovered a tiny space barely big enough for two people even standing. “I don’t think that’s gonna work. I used to live in a basement, and I even shared it with someone for a while, but it was way bigger than this.”
“No, that’s Bender’s room,” Fry said. He waved his hand in a gesture encompassing the large room in which they stood. “This is the closet. Robots do things differently.”
Xander’s eyes widened. “I’ll say. He really lives in there?”
“Apart from when he’s in here with me,” Fry said, “which is a lot of the time, come to think of it, but that’s where he sleeps.”
“He sleeps? Uh, why am I surprised at that when I’ve seen him drinking and smoking cigars? Forget it.” Xander examined his surroundings more closely. He saw a familiar device positioned in the centre of the room and moved closer to look at it. “Hey, you got a TV just like the ones I’m used to. This is really the year three thousand and four? You’re not just kidding me?”
“TV is perfect,” Fry said. “Why change what doesn’t need changing?” He slumped down onto the couch, opened a can of Slurm, and picked up the remote. “Here’s a little tip. Don’t interrupt Bender if he’s watching ‘All My Circuits’. It’s his favorite show and he can get really cranky if he misses any of it. Well, even crankier than usual.”
Xander turned away from the TV and wandered to the window. He looked out over New New York and sighed. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this world. Robots, aliens, spaceships, it’s all like living in a comic book.”
“Tell me about it,” said Fry. “Hey, this world is pretty cool. And the Planet Express crew are a great bunch of guys. Bender’s kinda obnoxious, and violent, and he steals, and he drinks and smokes all the time, but he’s a good friend.”
“I knew a guy called Spike who was like that,” Xander said. “Well, except for the good friend bit. Although, some of the time he was okay. And he did save the world.”
“Yeah, I’ve done that a few times,” Fry said. He leaned back further on the couch. “Leela’s just wonderful,” he went on. “She’s a really good spaceship captain, and she’s a lot of fun, and she’s clever, and real pretty once you get used to her just having the one eye.” Fry looked up, met Xander’s single eye, and his eyes narrowed. “Of course she’s even more violent than Bender, and she can beat up almost anyone, and she’s a mutant.”
“She can beat up anyone?” Xander’s eyebrows twitched upwards. “Is she a Slayer?”
“Slayer?” Fry frowned. “That metal band from back in our time? No, she does kick-boxing. Uh, you did hear the bit about her being a mutant, right?”
“They always did say that I was a demon magnet,” Xander mused. He shook his head. “No more. Strictly humans for the Xan-man from now on.”
Fry breathed in deeply and his lips curled up into a smile. “That’s what I like to hear. Hey, you gonna watch TV?”
“I guess,” Xander said. “Hey, what happened to all those wildebeest that were charging around the place where I woke up?” He joined Fry on the couch.
Fry handed Xander a can of Slurm. “The Professor returned them to the wild,” he said.
“He flew them out to Africa?” Xander looked at the Slurm, shook his head, and popped the ring-pull.
“No, he just opened the doors and shooed them out,” Fry said. “They can run wild in New New York. New Gnu York. Heh, heh. Get it?”
Xander rolled his eye. “Oh, yeah, I get it.” He took a tentative sip at the Slurm.
Fry pressed the TV remote button and the screen sprang to life. “Not much on at the moment,” he said. “We might as well watch the News. Morbo and Linda are broadcasting from New New York this week. They’re interviewing Sylvester Stallone’s head about ‘Rocky 264’.”
“Morbo? Linda? Sylvester Stallone’s head
?” Xander’s eye opened very wide. He took another, longer, drink from the Slurm can.
“A few people from round about our time are still around as heads in jars,” Fry explained. “Like Earth President Richard Nixon. And Beck.”
“Now I know you’re kidding me,” Xander said.
“No, it’s all true,” Fry told him. “Watch the TV. You’ll find out.”
Xander stared at the screen. A massive green alien with a swollen head was growling out a welcome to viewers. Beside him an attractive blonde woman smiled at what was indisputably Sylvester Stallone’s head, or the likeness thereof, preserved in a jar of liquid that stood upon a shelf.
“Tonight, puny humans,” Morbo bellowed, “we look at another product of your inferior movie industry. Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Rocky 264’.”
“Thank you, Morbo,” Linda took over. “I’ll be speaking to Sly himself about the…”
The news anchor broke off in the middle of her sentence, screamed, leaped to her feet and fled out of camera shot. The camera panned round to show a herd of wildebeest stampeding into the studio. The animals suddenly realized that they were heading towards a solid wooden table and a terrifying green creature of obviously carnivorous stock. They tried to come to a stop but they were on a polished floor and their hooves merely skidded. The wildebeest slid, decelerating slowly, towards the cameras and the presenters’ table. Stallone’s head was knocked from its perch and rolled across the floor.
Morbo rose to his feet. “We interrupt this feature,” he announced, “for some braking gnus.”