It’s been almost a decade since JCA ended, and while all my old JCA fanfics are no longer available on this site, I figure I’d redress that with a brand new one based off some of my older ideas, but spun into a completely fresh story. Hope you all enjoy the ride.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES:
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Note: Yet another short story set in the world of my TMNT novella series. Read them if you want to catch up on some developments in this
Disclaimer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are trademarked by Nickelodeon. No profit shall be made from this
Bernard Flanagan checked to see if there were any flies hovering about.
The window to the left of him was open.
One would think something bigger flying in would annoy him, like a Pigeon.
But no, he was most paranoid about flies.
It was probably the fault of all the practice runs with the new molecular teleporter his folks were working on, the one powered by priceless razor-tipped diamonds, he didn’t want any bothersome buzzers getting in the way of the machine when it was powered up.
He’d seen one too many movies where the worst case scenario unfolded.
And he knew what kind of world he was living in.
A world that would entertain so many children on weekend morning if they so happened to tune in.
A world where crazy town bananas could run down the street curbs
Where giant androids could dismiss a skyscraper with a simple flick of the wrist
Where buildings could be levitated to great heights, come crashing back down, and conveniently slot back into their original place without crashing down in heaps of rubble and pillowed wisps of concrete.
So much of this world made sense, so much of it could frighten anyone who lived on the outside looking in experiencing life here for the first time.
He liked to think they could be entertained.
So that thought pacified him.
He would much rather simulate personal insecurity than be faced with a daily real reminder of actual insecurity. Pretending there was a saner world kept him, in turn, sane.
There was a knock at the door. Flanagan composed himself as one of his assistants opened that door, allowing a tall slender woman with a fine build, purple heels, mink skirt, and an emerald green sleeveless shirt to enter the premises.
“Ms. O’Neil, good to see you” said Flanagan from his chair as Channel Six reporter April O’Neil pulled up a chair of her own and placed a microphone and tape equipment out of the purse she was holding.
“Sorry it took me so long, I was covering the fight outside” April said.
“The f-fight?” asked Flanagan.
“Look out the window and peer down” said April
Flanagan rushed over to the open windows. Flies be darned, there was actual commotion going on, greater fears were being realized. Something important was going on. He suddenly had no time for small insecurities
He looked out at the sight on the street below.
Four colorful mutant amphibians clocking in a dazzling defense of the perimeter surrounding his building, pitted against fifteen or seventeen robotic Foot Soldiers.
One, in a blue bandana, spun feverishly around, cutting into the soldier’s heads with his twin Katana blades in a precise propeller motion.
Another, in red, swiped his sais left and right, severing the hands and fingers of some of the soldiers. At one point, he leapfrogged over one that was advancing on him, used two soldiers behind him as platforms for his feet, stood atop their heads, and dived into the last one following in line, plunging the sai deep into its chest, and then, with the sai still in place, used the Soldier as a battering ram against the ones he had leaped over and walked across.
Another, in purple, twirled his ridged bo staff around, two soldiers came forward and grabbed both ends of his stick, the Turtle jumped in the air, stood atop the staff, and with a swift kick to the chin of one of the two, sent it backwards, he walked over to the vacant side, lept off of the Bo, grabbed the end of it, snapped off the half, and plunged it into the chest of the one he had knocked aside, and then exchanged with the other solider in a battle of the bos.
Taking a brief break from the mock ‘swordplay’ on hand, this Turtle took a small capsule from his belt buckle, and applied a grey liquid to the splintered remains of the piece he was holding, when the bos clashed again, the piece slotted back into place, the Turtle hoisted the staff out of the soldier’s hands, and with a swift spin, decapitated the soldier with it
There was one other, more laid back, who simply perched the back of his shell on the ground, took out a grappling hook, shot the line around of the Foot Soldier’s legs,
“You have nothing to worry about Professor, the Turtles are professionals at holding evil at bay”
“Yes, you would know all about that wouldn’t you? I’ve seen you on some of your little play dates with them” noted Flanagan. “Your courage in the face of public criticism regarding those outings is admirable”
“Oh I’m quite the topic, which makes any story I cover a guaranteed spike in the ratings leads, so give a Turtle lover like me something to really attach myself to. Tell me what you can about the Spirited Mentality project”
“In detail?” asked Flanagan
“I work in news. Describe it like there’s the slightest chance the sky will start falling, we want the anti-Illuminati types staying vigilant on tumblr”
Flanagan took off his glasses, breathed a little bit on them, polished them up with a napkin taken from his right pocket, put them on again, cleared his throat, and began
“There exists in our head very vivid pictures. Not just pictures. Purpose. A very clear vision for what could be. Places, people, not of memory, but of invention. We write about them, we can illustrate them, we can put the spoken word into their lips and we can animate their very movements…but the one thing we have never done, while we have a sense of true symbiosis with them in our mind’s eye, is never match them with our real eyes”
“Not getting the shakes here, put some fear into it” said April.
“My project will make all what you see in the mind’s eye come out and scare the clappers off of you” finished Flanagan
“Juicy” said April, “So your imaginary friend would be free for dates?”
“Must you think about that trashy sort of press?” asked Flanagan
“We have an obligation to our sweethearts watching Professor ” said April.
“Ah, the young, exactly who I want to target with this…I want them to experience a face-to-face with their own personal muse, stare them right in the eye, and ask them ‘why haven’t YOU inspired me to get out and vote? And now that you have a physical presence…will you vote at all?'”
Everything these days was about election rates.
She slept-walked her way through the rest of the interview. She shouldn’t feel too bad, given that often had high ratings, but it simply wasn’t the audience she wanted for this segment.
Upon completing the interview, April walked out of the building to cover the fall out of the Turtles’ battle with the Foot Ninjas.
“How’d the interview go babe?” Michelangelo asked, kissing April on the cheek.
“Didn’t really have a beat to it, but it’ll work out well for a piece for our resident zero tolerance spinsters. That always has a big ratings figure. I should have been covering your tussle down here”
“Yeah, when you think about it, if we hadn’t intercepted the Foot when we did, your story would have proven more exciting” said Raphael, “Suddenly I feel there’s a down beat to this”
“A down beat to a beat down, how appropriate”
“But since they didn’t appropriate the device, you could say it’s an up beat beat up” joked Donatello.
“Cornballs” April said, smiling
“Now all we have to do is skip this beat before the cleaners come to sweep this mess off the streets” said Raphael
“Turtles, let’s make tracks” said Leonardo.
As the Turtles made their way to a nearby man hole, April grabbed Michelangelo by the arm,
“Not you mister, you’re buying me lunch, then you and I are going to work on combing out my hair”
“Are we going to have tea with Mrs. Nesbitt afterwards?” Michelangelo said, annoyed slightly at being invited to what he perceived as strictly gal activity, before giving in and following that up with something with sincerity attached to it
“…Because, like, the only baby doll required is you”
April’s eyes lit up and she smirked, placing a hand over her shoulder and stroke the edge of Michelangelo’s chin. She placed her hand firmly on his chest.
“See this?” she said, pointing at where her hand was placed and putting another hand on her own chest, “This beat you give me right here? That’s the one any story finds hard to top”
The Rocky vs Tommy scene from the recent Power/Rangers short film by Joseph Khan with a Ron Wasserman track added to it.
(sorry for the typo in “trademarked”, will be correcting for the uploaded version soon)
THE IMPERFECT GRIND
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
The dreamer can daydream for so long before the sands finish slipping through the hour glass, and the dream is over.
The dream had seemingly passed, but he knew the opportunities had not yet ceased to settle
As he stormed into Vince McMahon’s office, the dreamer focused on adjusting his vision, fixated on the road signs that led to the grand event known as Wrestlemania, and the prize at the end of the rope.
He had champions in his corner, a slew of Youtube vloggers who had made their case for what was due him. He would plead his case to the Authority. He felt certain that this time were more clear on who they wanted to headline the grand stage against the beast incarnate Brock Lesnar
All they needed to hear were the voices of the disenchanted. Of the people.
Those in attendance in Philadelphia had made their voices heard too. They had rejected the sultan of ‘suffering succotash’, the man who could make even a crowd deeply entrenched in appreciation of wrestling lore boo a run-in and endorsement by the People’s Champion. The crowd had rejected Roman Reigns, and would hopefully continue to reject him
He opened the doors of Vince’s office. He was met with cold, dead stares. There was a creative meeting in place. Some demanded to know what the dreamer was doing here unannounced.
Some burst into fits of laughter, knowing exactly why the dreamer was doing here.
“This is no laughing matter” said the dreamer. “No matter what you and some opposed to me on the internet may believe, to most of those who pay good money and indulge in great appreciation for this art form, I am professional wrestling, I was cheated out of the rumble, the people all know it, they want me dead centre in the main event of Wrestlemania, I just know it”
“Curtis, do you remember the “genesis” speech you cut on NXT years ago? That alone makes Roman look like Edgar Allan Poe in terms of precision promos”
“But…I…was an intercontinental champion, I have beaten the likes of Wade Barret and The Miz”
“Barret loses every week and Miz is a loser every year”
“I teamed with Ryback”
“And he’s barely recovered from THAT” pointed out a writer.
“I was a Heyman guy”
“Paul E is the kiss of death for anyone who isn’t Lesnar, just ask Cesaro”
“These are all credentials you can’t diminish with a few minor ‘buts’ in the details” replied Curtis
“We can dismiss them when we see how many butts in the seats those accolades generated, ZERO” snapped back Michael Hayes
“My point I was unjustly denied my Rumble entrance by Eric Rowan, I have a legal right to the championship, this has happened before and been approved”
“Oh yeah?” said a writer, “Who else?”
Curtis twiddled his fingers apprehensively, “Maven” he said.
The uproar of laughter was enough to send the dreamer well on his way out of the door
Curtis Axel, the dreamer, thought back on his career, and how much he had gone up against the day to day politicking of the professional wrestling world
How much of it could he still take?
He took a photograph out from his jeans and looked on it fondly.
He looked to his blood. He looked to his family, and to his father.
His perfect father.
“How did you manage it Dad?” Curtis asked the kind hearted soul in the photo.
Curtis Axel, a Henning, lifted up his head and walked back down the corridors, and thought ahead to another day. Be it another edition of Main Event, be it another outing on Superstars, he would work against the Imperfect Grind, he would be the canary in the coal mine, and he would make as few butts in the seats as possible marvel at the diamond detail he would craft in the ring.
He would earn his respect. If not from the writers, if not from Vince, if not from fans, then for himself and his own family
And that would be enough
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Note: Well, as any fan of Mayday knows, ASM#8 sees her return to the printed page as part of the Spider-Verse comics event. Alas, it seems Dan Slott has chosen to put her and her family through the emotional wringer. I know some of you are probably upset by this, but hey, look on the bright side, this could easily be retconned down the road as one of many similar alternate realitys.
Relax. It’s comics. The continuous positive and negative of this business is this:
Everything is temporary.
DC’s Helena Wayne was killed off in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and she’s currently active as Huntress again. Hell, all of Earth-2 was destroyed once in the same event, and has since been restored/rebooted
So here’s a little story to keep some fresh hope alive until the day Marvel gives Mayday stability again. There’s no true despair without it!
Disclaimer: Mayday and the MC2 Universe are owned and trademarked by Marvel Comics.
My name is May Parker, I am the daughter of Spider-Man, and I’m not allowed to take strange things home with me.
That’s the rule.
It’s occasionally bent when push comes to shove, but anything that could pose a true danger to the family need not be invited so readily into the Parker household.
This is a tad different. It poses no danger. At least not to anyone staring inside the window, looking within the worlds on offer like they were a snow globe
No, this is something that affects only the mind.
In my hand I hold the Quantum Bolt. Recovered from the Neither Prisms by a contingent of Spider-Men led by a version of my father that had been seasoned in multi-dimensional experience. That and a few other hang-ups.
He told me my mom was made out of H20 in his universe. Very weird.
He also told me to take this to my dad, he said he’d understand. He had helped recover the bolt once before from the Frightful Four.
It is said it can create and sustain a whole multi-verse. Not just one world or two, but a vast infinite realm of possibility.
Most of the time the bolt was used to channel positive messages, and as a result it created worlds with positive outcomes. But then it became corrupted by the High Evolutionary of the Counter-Earth once visited by the Spider-Man that had seemingly seen the unlimited scope of every possible reality. The bolt was injected with a type-A disruptive pathogen forged from the blood of a cloned chaos demon. The Quantum Bolt began corrupting and disrupting the otherwise perfectly stable realitys, infecting the thoughts and feelings of the people inhabiting it’s network of parallel worlds, causing them to act out-of-character.
I recall the strange dreams I had not too long ago, nightmares of a brand new day that invited big time change, only to lead to less than superior heartbreak.
My mom told me we Parkers would never break like that in real life.
The nightmares continued even after that. I dreamt a whole plethora of hunters called “Inheritors” came looking for my family seeking to feast on something called Totem energy, they broke into our house and burned it to the ground. Nobody was safe. Not Mom, not Dad. Not even Wes.
Wes. I have to keep him safe from the strange, strange things I bring home to us.
So many responsibilities.
I took a peek inside the bolt, a small triangular orb held aloft within a glass hexagon prism, tiny nebulas dancing around each other, nested together like bees in a hive.
It was like looking through a kaleidoscope. The bolt sensed it was being observed, and it opened it’s realms to the splinter of my eye. I saw the corruption first hand, the inversions, the axis, the avenged and the x in the equation, disassembling, reassembling, I saw the Other, I saw the totem, I saw the Silk, I saw the turn of the cat, I saw…
My mom would turn and mock the strange let alone face it. The High-Evolutionary had sacrificed consistency of character for inane stunts that flew in the face of how the heroes of my world, the heroes of many reality’s, acted. This was an anti-verse, a nexus of improbable decision making and poor choices.
What manner of evolution do you call this?
Of course, I realized this was the counter-Earth Evolutionary, so it would make sense out of how counter-productive this all was.
And worse, I glimpsed worlds where my nightmares had come true.
The bolt’s nature remains a mystery, it contains within a fragment of space and time, what if every creeping thought, every fear, every weakness, had been channelled into the bolt like a conduit? What if the bolt in turn channelled it out?
Chicken and the egg syndrome. What passed through first?
The strings that bind this web of life together are delicate, and it surprises me that we Parkers can be made to look as fragile as butter in these worlds of negative consequences
I need to bring the strange homeward. I need to tell my dad, and we need to fulfil a promise.
No matter who ore what comes looking for the Quantum Bolt, we Parkers will not scatter, we will not flee.
We will fight.
We will endure.
And we will survive.
That is the only possibility I will tolerate.
As for why the bolt is within my hands, what my dad needs to know, these questions are best left to the future.
And there’s a good possibility my dad will ground me for bending the rule in that forthcoming future.
THE END…FOR NOW
“THE SIMPLICITY OF SECOND NATURE”
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Disclaimer: The Simpsons and all trademarked characters are licensed by Matt Groening and FOX respectively
NOTE: A little late on this one, but here is my tribute fic to Marcia Wallace, the voice of the irreplaceable and loved Edna Krandell…I mean, Krabappel (“oh, I’ve been making an idiot out of myself”-Homer)
It was another glorious Saturday afternoon in the bright and blistering embrace of summer. School was out and the playfulness of the youth was in. Bart Simpson was outside looking for a means to simmer down. He found it by finding the nearby watering hose. He turned on the faucet, letting the water wash over his face.
As he began humming a loud little tune to himself, he was soon joined in by someone humming as well. Bart walked over to the source of the humming to find Ned Flanders’s new bride, and his school teacher, Edna Krabappel, lying down on the soft green grass dressed in dark blue shorts and a light green t-shirt with Duffman plastered on the front holding holy scripture in one hand and a keg of beer in another, with the words “What Would Jesus Brew?” engraved in a speech bubble.
Edna and Bart hummed in tune a bit longer, making eye contact with one another. After finishing up, Edna smiled.
“Mrs. Krabappel, and how are you this ever sizzling Saturday?” Bart said as he greeted her
“Waiting for Ned, and whenever or not his lord and master decides to call time on this wonderful forecast” she said, “He promised he’d try to stock up on some candles for one of our friends Hanukah celebrations. That’s what I love in a man, someone who’s always willing to hand you a light”
“Speaking of that, are you still smoking?” Bart asked
“If you’re referring to my body language you can zip it Woody” Edna replied
Bart was taken aback.
“What did you say?” Bart asked, leaning over the fence
“Oh come on ‘Woodrow’, it’s been a while now, you can drop all feigning of ignorance on the matter…” Edna said.
It had been such a warm and rosy day, but all of a sudden a slight breeze picked up and the sudden jolt of an unnerving chill ran up Bart’s back. He felt awkward and uncertain. This was a conversation he had never dreamt of imagining. He and his family had taken great care in attempting to avoid it.
It had been so long since the time he believed he had tricked Edna into thinking he was ‘Woodrow’, a charming romantic dreamer full of wit and zest, whose features bore more than a passing resemblance to NHL star Gordie Howe.
“But…how did you…” Bart said.
“HA! Bart I always knew it was you, your handwriting was unmistakable, except for that last letter I got, and you think I’m completely ignorant as to who Gordie Howe is? What do you think this is? A cheap comedy?”
Bart tried to cut back with some kind of wise-crack response, but feeling too ashamed to.
“Hey, don’t think you’re the only one feeling the strain of stress over this, I was the one who sent you that photograph of me in my, to quote Neddy, ‘Sunday Best'”
“Yeah…if you knew it was me the whole time, why did you do that? Is’nt that…you know…a little…inappropriate?” Bart said, slightly aggravated
“Bart, you have the mentality of a good and proper sigil occultist, but on many an occasion you display a wisdom above your station, it’s second nature to you, and I was at my wit’s end as a hopeless romantic, so I figured if you were trying to troll me in that state of mind, I’d take the bait and see how far you would push if you got the envelope shoved a little too far down the letter box. I was expecting you to back off, but you didn’t. Finally, I figured that if you were basking in the simplicity of your second nature whilst being motivated mainly by your mischievous first, and since it was making me feel so much better about myself, I’d bask in my first nature and teach you a bit of a bittersweet lesson when the prank had reached it’s climax.
I took it on chin and attempted to meet up with you at the restaurant, but of course you didn’t show up. Which was worse for me, as I was prepared to laugh off your gag and just enjoy a nice dinner whilst detailing just how much homework you would be forced to sit through throughout the next school holiday session as penance for your prank. Part of me relished anticipating the payback portion of the game…but you were smart enough to avoid that confrontation entirely. You robbed me of a kindly sort of revenge. As that sank in, I just broke down. It wasn’t that you had fooled me at all, but that I had actually let myself be touched by your letters and that you seemed to care enough to put real thought, compassion, and energy into them…and then indulge your bad side even in spite of all of that. I even tried to tell you when I saw you in class sometime later when I said you were the closest thing to a man I’d had in life at that point, but I think it went clean over your head”
“It didn’t go over my head, but Mom always said the truth would humiliate you” Bart said, “I couldn’t tell you even if I really wanted to”
“Bart, ‘humiliation’ is when you’re forced to crawl back to your ex-husband to have your car pumped with gas rather than be pumped full of his other goods”
“Careful now ma’am, you’re with the Lord’s herd now” Bart joked
“Yeah, well if he ever learned about this I’d be the black sheep of the family”
“Well he won’t…will he?” Bart said
Edna took out a packet of smokes, took out a cigarette and lit it up, “Of course not, I have my first and second natures to adhere to…to teach and to nurture, not to taint and cheapen the experiences I have with Ned and the boys. Another reason for me to stay attached to them, they follow a good principal in life, and any principal not named Skinner is all the better for me”
“So when you were dating Seymour and told me to keep quiet about it…that was when you exacted your revenge wasn’t it?”
“Oh totally” Edna replied, “Besides, I did it just to show you my sensitive side, as a reward for putting yours on such display in the letters, and in a way that wouldn’t harm you emotionally”
Bart, not knowing what else to add, began whistling again, Edna joined in
“Hey, you carry a good tune” Bart said.
“It’s a skill I’ve practised time after time with the kind of timing and love that echoes through the ages” Edna replied
“Just a note…my dad came up with that one in the last letter” Bart said, “You can also thank him for the ‘butt that won’t quit’ line”
“Figures, there’s always a chunk of Homer Simpson in all our thoughts…I’d rather do with just a bit” Edna replied
“I guess you’ll be wanting your photo back now” Bart said
“I reckon I ought to, it sort of blights the meaningful conversation we’ve just had…besides, I think I can use it to play a rather heavenly round of teasing ol’ Neddy” Edna joked.
Bart turned to go to the house and rummage through his room for the photograph, but as he did, a thought came over him, and he walked back over to Edna.
“Mrs. Krabappel, all this jibber-jabber about simplicity and second nature…I wouldn’t be so comfortable in mine if I didn’t feel so secure in your class, I can be anything, a clown, an anarchist, a listener, an author, I’m a human yo-yo where you’re concerned, I go in all kinds of directions, but I always absorb everything that goes on, and everything you say, good, bad, ever so slightly abusive, grows on me. The best teachers always come across as the parents we never had, and with your level of tolerance, you’re a prize candidate in any aspiring mother’s handbook. Rodd and Todd have much to look forward to”
“I don’t know if I should be dreading the next term…or relishing it with you around” Edna replied
“Hey, life is meant to be relished, after all you never know when you’re going to hear exit music” Bart said. Leaving those words to linger, Bart recommenced humming and wandered back inside his house
Edna didn’t join in as he left this time, she took the time to study her cigarette, she looked at the packet also. Her face hardened, a small tear ran down her cheek, and with the slight press of her finger, she crushed the cigarette. She then grabbed the packet and also crushed it with the full weight of her hand before getting up and disposing of it in the trash can at the front of the house.
Only then did she permit herself to hum with all the skill and love that would echo throughout her ages spent on this planet.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
TO DISCIPLINE A SHADOW
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Disclaimer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are trademarked by Nickelodeon. All rights reserved
Note: This fic takes place in the same continuity as my TMNT novella series. You might want to take a read of them before advancing
Additional note: Pepperami is not a typo. It’s a food snack.
The scent was unmistakable. Saturn velvet. A strong kind of perfume with an enticing aroma. Only worn by the brave on a special occasion, usually a date, and there were plenty of handsome evenings that could weave themselves around the aroma picked up by one Chad Dawkins.
He clenched the crowbar in his hand tight as he checked the alley nearest to the warehouse he was safeguarding. Inside a deal was going down, a trade of over $17,000 worth of silver skeleton keys, a jewel embedded in the center of each one. A prize catch, and a dangerous asset to either party if they were caught handling them in these circumstances.
Chad’s job was to sniff out, literally, anyone who was capable of exposing them.
And he had pulled through. What he was sniffing out was indeed intrusive. It was a threat.
Better yet, it was a woman.
“You can’t hide anywhere” he said aloud, hitting his own hand with the crowbar ever so gently. Upon stumbling on a nearby trash can, half of it’s contents oozing out from under the lid, he kicked it to one side with his heavily laced right boot and then jumped down on it, attempting to partially crush it, he then wildly began beating the can with the crowbar, letting out frustrated wolf-like howls, he was seeking to intimidate, the response he got was far from feeling anything of the sort.
“Impressive” a voice rang out from the silk shroud of cool night air.
“Show yourself broad, ain’t no outdoing this sniffer dog, and my bite is a lot worse than my bark”
“I’ve read up on you, bit of an animal, but in the Pepperami sense”
“Pardon me, just reminiscing on my boyfriend’s taste for well over-processed salty snacks, I need to do some errands tomorrow and get him more of that. Such a drag”
“Don’t give me food for thought when I can easily have you for seconds, once I get a minute” threatened Chad
“You’re going to have to cover a lot of dark to bring me to light” replied the voice
“Say, I know that voice…you’re that reporter from Channel Six aren’t you? April O’Neil”
“Covering the latest breaking developments, always on time with things as they happen” replied the voice.
“Where are you hiding? I’m gonna make you the story”
“Answer a question first…unless you prefer not to catch me at my best” said April from the shroud of evening.
Chad turned to his right, believing he had heard a small footstep, he darted over the left side corner and stumbled on a wild kitten
“Careful around cats..you never know when they’ll pounce. That sure takes me back to when I had claws that were hard to cut off” replied April
Chad was slowly showing signs of irksome impatience.
“This hide’n’seek’n’destroy mission is gonna go my way broad” he said, “Don’t try to delay the inevitable”
“I’m trying to conduct an interview with someone at the heart of the matter, the least you can do is afford a girl like me something to leave behind before I sleep with fishes”
“Word on the street is you sleep with Turtles” said Chad
“Ah, well informed, I’ve picked a right fruit, now let’s make sure you’re no lemon…answer my question”
“I will if you come out of hiding”
“Answer my question and I’ll take a bold leap forward”
“Ask away” Chad said.
“You’re a shadow aren’t you?”
“A shadow. A guardsman for the mooks making the mint back in that building. You’re not paid to sit around, your job’s to sniff out any intrusions, to make sure that prickle on the back of their necks isn’t the breath of a cop or a rival gang member standing close enough to seize an opportunity to snarl or to snare. Answer me truthfully, do you consider yourself a shadow?”
“Yeah, I guess I am” said Chad, slightly taken aback by the calmness of the questioning, and the stimulating ease he was finding in this conversation. His hold on the steel crowbar loosened a bit, he put one hand to his jaw and scratched underneath it slightly to do away with an unsteady itch
“Now, here’s the next question, two of two, after this, I’m in the clear. Ready?” she said
“I guess” said Chad, now very confused, and not liking such a state of mind.
“What are they to you?” she said
“They…I…do I have to answer this?” he said
“If you don’t, I don’t appear, I go straight to the cops, I give them the location and details of the deal going down, we’ve got trackers in that building monitoring everything, I’ve got friends in very low areas, and they don’t mind getting high either…in a blimp, not on the funky mushrooms on their pizza toppings”
“Ok, ok…they’re…dependable, I guess. I got a family back home, had a kid just a week ago, money’s not so tight, so figured I’d…”
The impact was sharp, heavy and sudden, Chad felt his knees buckle. Somehow, incredibly, he could only stagger from what had hit him over the head. He immediately checked, rubbing his hands over his scalp, in it he found pieces of glass.
Another blast came from behind, he heard something compress, he tried turning around, only to have his forehead come head-to-head with the nozzle of a camera. It hit him hard, blasting and breaking his nose.
“Shouldn’t have went into detail like that” April said, revealed in full, emerging from the shadows in an attempt to bring discipline to one. “A family huh? Wonder how they’re feeling right now, wondering what their dependable shadow is up to?”
Chad groaned in pain, feeling the full weight of the impact from the camera to his skull, he got up and ran towards April, who let his gut feel the fury of a sharp thrusting kick from her right leg. As Chad clutched his stomach, April elbowed him on the back and brought her kneecap into his chin, before clenching a tight fist and, like a lightning bolt, it brought a sudden and sharp jolt of pain to Chad’s noggin as it struck him.
“April, don’t become the story” snapped a snarky voice from behind her. It was Vernon.
“Relax, we’ll just pin on the guys when they get down here”
“Graphic violence isn’t key to their demographics” said Vernon.
“And that’s why they lost their popularity to import sensations from Japan, slight scandal will do them wonders and do good ratings for us. Think big Vernon, this isn’t the 90s anymore”
“I didn’t think we ever left the 80s” snapped Vernon, “Those decades sort of bleed one into the other”
“I was going to let you off easy pal, but you had to bring family into it…that just raises my ire and it ignites a fire” April said to the groggy and near unconscious Chad.
“Just so you know April, that damage to the camera is coming out of your check” said Vernon as he picked up the remnants of the equipment.
“Small price to pay for enforcing perspective” April replied, before she removed her Turtle-com from her belt buckle and patched in to Donatello, high up on the Turtle blimp.
“Boys, swoop in, they’re all yours”
High overhead, the Turtle blimp flew down, ropes descended from atop it, and the four familiar forms of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slid down onto the roof of the warehouse. Donatello popped open a hole in the thatched sky loft of the structure with his Bo, and with a familiar cry of “Cowabunga”, the Turtles dealt their own swift brand of vintage vice to the dealers of the silver skeletons.
“April…” began Vernon, only to find she was gone, with only an open manhole left to provide a clue to her whereabouts
April made her way through the sewer network, using her Turtle-com to follow a homing beacon that her boyfriend had placed in one of his spare coms in the desk drawer of their bedroom.
Once she found her way to the Turtles’ lair, she creaked open the door and gently walked through the murky interior. She spotted Splinter deep in meditation, a half-finished game of Mouse Trap laying beside him.
April made her way over to the Turtles’ bedroom, stretched her arms, and sat down on the bed belonging to her and her boyfriend, she slipped off her boots and delicately peeled off her yellow jumpsuit and changed into a silk nightdress that Michelangelo had left nicely folded for her on the spread. She clambered into the bed and checked the right side to check if the book she had been reading the last night she had spent here was still in the same position she had left it. It was.
She spent the next couple of hours immersed in the pages of her book, and slowly but surely the warmth of the soothing romantic prowse contained within was settling her down, and she ultimately drifted into slumber, that is, until she heard several footsteps, followed by all too familiar overzealous, cool, cocky, and a little inch of crazy, yells and self-congratulatory chit-chat from the four Turtles.
As soon as they entered the sleeping quarters of their lair and saw what appeared to be April’s still and snoring frame, they immediately backed off, leaving only one amongst their ranks as the only other occupant in the room.
Smiling, Michelangelo tucked into bed beside her.
“You’re not getting any better at this April, I can totally tell we woke you again” he whispered
April opened one eye and grinned mischievously, “Playing sleeping beauty always gets me alone time with the prince”
“You missed out the word ‘handsome’ in that title” joked Michelangelo
April turned around and faced him with her strong and caring eyes
“So, like, what’s got your brain frying this time?” he asked, observing the novel, “It really can’t be this mush”
April swung her arm over his shoulder and rested her head gently on his chest
“Family” she replied
“We’re having the same chat we had last night at your place aren’t we?”
“It’s not a job interview…I’m a reporter, different sort of beast, just think of it as a press conference and relax, imagine a crowd, an audience, imagine all the people…”
“Raph was right, bring romance into the fab four and watch the Yoko factor play out” groaned Michelangelo
April sighed, and kissed Michelangelo on the nose before snuggling back into his arms.
“Look, I had a rough night, I played mind games with a mook and it really preyed a bit on my own head…people will take ridiculous risks for the people they care about, I was curious about the nature of the those that have thankless jobs on both sides of the coin, be they good or evil, the ones that stick by our side even if we sometimes take them for granted, I asked what were those we protect to them…and I got two things out of it…dependability, and…and family. I guess I expected the last thing, but that’s it is’nt it? The shadows, they’re our constant companion, they’re an imprint of life in the city as much as real shadows are moving on walls…it got me to thinking, if we start a family, what would I be to my shadow, my companion, you, would I be just as dependable to you? Would I be able to provide something you need?”
Michelangelo smiled “Babe, you provide plenty…and I’m not just talking about the Pepperami or the cheese’n’chilli Pizza on a cold Thursday night, you bring me not just love and laughter…you bring this loyal shadow discipline”
April trailed her fingers across Michelangelo’s rough stomach, whilst Michelangelo placed a hand on her head,stroking it through her hair like a tender brush
“Shadow…nice name for our kid don’t you think?” April asked
“Oh so we are having the exact conversation…i thought for sure you were trailing off, but never one to subvert expectation are you?” asked Michelangelo, folding his arms. April laughed
“All you fear is the paperwork, not the responsibility” April said, and turned off the nightlight beside the bed
“Don’t worry” she whispered, “If Shadow ever asks what we mean to you, I’ll be sure to say one thing…”
“Discipline?” asked Michelangelo
“Drive” she whispered back.
“I hope that doesn’t mean you’ll be taking Shadow on road lessons…I’ve seen you trying to ride the Van…