It had been a long and eventful day at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. For one thing a complete Nuclear Melt-Down was only narrowly avoided, once again. And once again, the blame rested squarely on the soft, pudgy shoulders of one man in particular - Homer J. Simpson. Apparently Homer J. Simpson would risk sending himself, his family, and the entire town straight to hell in a fiery blaze if it meant crawling across the control panel and setting god knows what off to rescue a run-away pizza bagel.

His employee evaluation came later. And the results were well...they were the worst in the history of the SNPP. The same evaluation was administered to a sponge, two tic-tacs and a three legged cat their scores far out-shined Homer Simpsons'.

Needless to say, Lenny and Carl took him to Moe's immediately after work. Pounding him with Duff after Duff in an attempt to drown his sorrows or maybe just block out the memory with good ol' fashion alcohol poisoning - using his pink slip as a coaster in defiance.

"Aw, cheer up Homer...I'm pretty sure that three legged cat cheated! Played the sympathy angle like a fiddle...anyway, who needs 'em!"

"Sniff...that's easy for you to say...you don't have to tell Marge you lost lost YOUR jobs..."

"Uh, even if we did Homer I doubt we'd need to tell your wife about it..."

"Hey, cheer up...there's always the Barney Guarding job with your name on it!"

"It'll be a pleas-UUURP-uure working with you, Homer!"

"Don't even worry about it, Homer - you've been through worse! It ain't even like this is the first time you've been fired! I'm sure by next week everything will be back to norm-!"

The soft jingle of the bell on the door was so alien to the nearly empty bar on it's last leg, that everyone turned to look at the shadowy figure swaying slightly in the doorway.

"Alright, alright, alright quit yer belly-achin' Homer! I got other customers than you guys, ya know - Moe's Tavern! Pick yer poison!" Moe leaned over the bar, grinning a wide smile that looked as though it physically hurt him as the figure stepped out of the shadows.

"Scotch on the Rocks, please..."

"Waylon! Heh...it's been a while since we ummm...and the...yeaaaaah you got it, buddy...JUST buddy! Just so we're clear..."

"...thanks Moe..." muttered Waylon Smithers, not forgetting his brief shared business and his even briefer shared kiss with the bartender, while he pulled up a stool next to-

"Leonard, Carlson...Simpson..." He greeted stiffly. Lenny and Carl waved awkwardly while Homer mumbled something unintelligible while peeling the label of his beer.

"Here ya go - a man doesn't forget how his old partner likes his scotch...b-by that I mean old BUSINESS partner, fellahs! Strictly business!" Smithers groaned and immediately knocked it back.

It hadn't been a great day for Waylon Smithers either.

Beyond truly believing this could be his last day on Earth, the way he had spent his "final hours" was all too telling. Even when ducking for cover with his boss under his expansive, mahogany desk, shielding his fragile, adorable little body from any nuclear fall out with his own…he still couldn't muster up the courage to tell him he loved him. Not without bailing out before Mr Burns had time to react. It had been such a perfect opportunity too, well…second to that time at the boat-house. Mr Burns had even suggested, while shivering in his arms, that if they managed to survive, they could start over and skip the remains of town to Bora Bora!

He was a spineless jellyfish of a man...a coward and a fraud! If he couldn't tell him how he felt even in the face of death with nothing to lose, it was never going to happen. He was just going to have to live a lie for the rest his life...or at least the rest of Mr Burns' life...whatever came first. A part of him almost wished Homer's insistence that the "five second rule" was actually a "20 minute rule" hadn't saved them all...

At least giving Homer Simpson's performance evaluation cheered him up a little...plus this was far from the first bar he stumbled into-

"Well...if it isn't MR COLLEGE! Come to rub it in our faces..."

"Uh...ya know, Homer, we both have masters degrees in-"

"Shut up, Lenny..."

"I'm Carl!"

"Umm, I'm sorry do you have a problem with me being here, Simpson?"

"Oh NOOOOO of COURSE I don't have a problem with Mr Burns lap dog sitting down right next to me after you got me FIRED today! By the way, I was being sarcastic...jerk..."

"I'm sorry but...I got you fired? You nearly destroyed the entire town and killed us all for what? A pizza bagel? All I did was administer your evaluation - I was just doing my job! If you ever did yours, maybe you'd understand! And maybe you'd still have one..."

"Oh yeah?! Well maybe YOU'D understand what it's like to have four mouths to feed at home if you weren't such a QUEER!"

A hushed silence fell over Moe's Tavern. The rats in the walls stopped their scurrying. Even Tom Jones stopped crooning on the jukebox. And the man in question had his fingers clutched around his glass so tightly that Moe was afraid it would shatter and he'd have to charge him for the glass.

"Wh-wha...What did you just call me, Simpson!?"

"You heard me 'MIIIIITTTHter THmIIIIITTHERTHS!'" Homer wobbled on top of his bar stool while flicking his wrist and his exaggerated lisp sprayed his fellow bar patrons with a disgusting, but refreshing, light mist. Lenny and Carl held the bar stool steady while desperately trying to get him to shut up.

"Uh, Homer? Let's get ya home buddy..."

"Yeah, Homer! You gotta wife and kids to think about..."

Homer, in true Homer Simpson fashion, ignored his friends pleas and continued to make a jackass of himself.

"Why should I? He's not my boss anymore! I got FIRED remember? 'OOoh look at meeeee! I'm Mister Smithers! The big, gay fruit, tra-la-la-la-la! I act like a big shot around the Power Plant and step all over the little guys! But the truth is I'm just a little sissy boy! And the whole freakin' town knows it!"

All eyes fell on Waylon Smithers - however, they were not judging eyes. Just eyes trying to decide if it was healthy for a man to be that shade of red.

"OOoh, look it's Mister Burns!"

Smithers panicked and quickly turned his attention to the door - before realizing that, no the love of his life was not standing in the doorway of a blue-collar bar bearing witness to his public humiliation. It was just Homer Simpson's cruel impression of him hitting right on the nose. Smithers visibly cringed at how much worse he made things for himself.

Then he heard the snickers of his subordinates. And he felt his blood, diluted with cheap scotch, start to boil.

"Leave Mr Burns out of this, Simpson..." He warned, while pushing his sleeves past his elbows. While hot, angry tears pricked the corners of his eyes behind his thick glasses.

"Uh, I think you better do what he says, Homer...you made yer point..." Moe pleaded, tugging on Homer's arm. Being a bar-keeper meant that Moe could smell an ass-whooping from a mile away and, boy, he WISHED this one was at least a mile away...!

"Wha-?" Homer momentarily lost his balance and sat down while swatting Moe's arm away. "Wait, wait, wait I I got a good one! I gotta good one guys..." He stood up on his own, barely, while popping one hip out very effeminately. "What's that Mr. Burns? 'Bend over and pucker up? Kiss your wrinkly old butt?' Why I'd be DELIGHTED too! Can I use tongue?' HAHAHAHA-!"

CRACK!

...okay, So Homer had it coming. But nobody expected Waylon Smithers to hit him with a freakin' bar stool! Homer, despite his thick skull sustaining blows to the head before, went down and went down HARD!

"Hey! Hey, hey, hey c'mon! That's MY furniture yer whackin' 'im with!"

The bar stool toppled to the ground with a loud 'clank' as Smithers lunged for Homer and wrapped his hands around his throat. Choking him and slamming his head into the dirty floor while Moe, Lenny and Carl scrambled to break up the fight.

"YOU INCOMPETENT, LAZY, CLUMSY, DIM-WITTED SON OF A BITCH I'LL KILL YOU I'lLL FUCKING KILL YOU!"

"Alright, alright break it up you two! Break it up! And watch the language, this is a FAMILY Dank-Pit c'mon!"

Smithers ignored him and managed to shove off the three pairs of hands trying to yank him off of his target.

"You've been a big, fat thorn in my side for TOO LONG! How does it FEEL, Simpson?! Doesn't feel so good when I'M the one beating the tar out of YOU, does it?! Every! Body! Was! Kung! Fu! FIGHTING!" Smithers punctuated each of the lyrics to the Carl Douglas classic with another blow to the stomach. Leaving everyone else in the bar scratching their heads. Well...everyone except Barney, who had been more of a bar decoration than an actual person up until this point, sang along in his perpetually drunken stupor.

"Dooo-doot doo-doot doo doo DOOOT! 'Dose cahts were fah-UURP-aahst as liiiightniiiiiing..!"

Smithers stopped, his fists slowly sinking into Homer's stomach as if it was pizza dough. and turned his attention and rage towards the town drunkard…

"You...! You-GAAAH! DAMMIT!"

...leaving Homer enough time to get a good punch in. Right in the face! Knocking his glasses clean off.

"Wha-...are you even...TALKING about?!" Homer heaved from his spot on the floor, coming to after getting his ass whooped. "...Are you crazy AND queer or somethin'?!"

Smithers scooted back, creating some much needed distance between the two men, feeling around for his glasses. When he finally found them he hooked them over his ears so he could stare blankly into the bruised and monstrously ugly face of Homer J Simpson with his one good eye.

"You...you don't even remember, do you? Why am I not surprised?! All this time I thought you were just trying to let bygones be bygones...but that would be too DECENT of you wouldn't it, Simpson? No, the truth is you're a just a Grade-A Moron-!" "...sheesh, Waylon, yer really off yer nut! C'mon, up we go..."

Moe yanked his former business partner up by his underarms. Smithers allowed himself to be plopped on a nearby barstool, moving only to slide his glasses back up his nose. Too physically and emotionally exhausted to do much else but glare through the stinging pain in his swollen eye at the fat sack of shit Lenny and Carl were helping on his big, fat feet.

"...you...you made my life hell...and it didn't make any difference in yours..." Smithers continued to stare him down while witnessing what could laughably be referred to as "Homer's Brain" attempted to piece together this puzzle. His face twisted and contorted the way it only did when he was either gassy, or he was trying to solve a simple puzzle.

Thankfully for everyone in the bar, he wasn't gassy. But he was also not very good at solving simple puzzles.

"Alright, alright, alright ENOUGH! I'm cuttin' you both off for the night, ya hear me?! Homer, I'm callin' yer old lady to pick your ass up! Waylon, I'm callin' you a cab. You can pick up yer car in the mornin'."

"Yes, Moe..." Both men muttered while checking their shoes for scuff-marks...like they were school children being scolded by Mama Moe.

"Waylon, I'm gonna level with ya - you better hope yer ride gets here before Midge does and sees what ya did to Homer's face! And another thing! If you big shots cost me any damages I'm addin' the repairs to your bar tabs, ya hear me?!"

Thankfully for Smithers, his cab did pull up in front of the tavern at 3 in the morning before Marge could even make a "mrrrhm" about it. And after sharing an awkward silence with the bar patrons for while waiting for his cab to arrive, alternating between nursing his bruised and swollen eye and coughing into his fist just to cut through the tension, Smithers couldn't get out of Moe's Tavern fast enough! Well, maybe he could have if it hadn't been for the drinking and the round of fisticuffs…

As the cab pulled away from the curb, Moe and his loyal customers immediately started gossiping like The Real Housewives of Wherever the Hell.

"Sheesh, who'd a figured that a guy like Mr Smithers could pack a punch like that?"

"It's always the quiet ones..."

"Guess you learned that the hard way, eh Homer? Homer? Jeeze Louise, Waylon really did a number on ya, huh?"

Homer hadn't said a word in about 20 minutes. He was just staring off into the middle distance, playing absent-mindedly with his lower lip. Moe always knew Homer could take a beating like a champ, but he was starting to worry that maybe even Homer's thick skull could only take so many hits. But Homer wasn't suffering from brain damage - he was just trying to think. It wasn't going very well. Until…

"Everybo-UUuurp-ody was Kung-Fu Fiiiightiiiiiiiing…!"

"Barney, knock it off will ya!? Yer given me a headache already…stupid freakin' song is gonna be stuck in my head all week…!"

"…wait a minute…D'OH!"

"Nice of you to join us, Homer…"

Homer ignored Moe and buried his face into his thick arms - clawing at his own poor, sore little bald head.

"D'ooooh...! No wonder Mr Smithers hates me...I'd hate me too if I were him and he were me…"

"I don't think that makes much sense, Homer…"

"Yeah, how do ya figure?"

Homer continued to ignore everyone - save for Barney. He lunged for Barney and shook his shoulders.

"Barney! Remember when we first heard that song on the radio in Jr High? And you learned to play it on your recorder?"

"Homer, to be honest, I don't remember much of anything that far back no more. My sponsor says-"

"And we thought it would be really funny if we-"

"Homer, quit shakin' him! Yer gonna make him puke and who do you think's gonna have to clean it up? And get to the point would ya?!"

Homer let his friend go before burying his face in his arms again, feeling guilt in the pit of his stomach…or maybe he was gonna puke…wait…wait…! Nope definitely guilt. He sighed. "…Me and Barney used to beat the living crap outta my boss up everyday for 7 years."

To Be Continued…