Disclaimer - This story spawned from TMNTFreaks, a discussion board about our marvelous heroes in a half-shell. Unfortunately, I am unable to participate, since no matter how I log in, the site does not recognize me. In any event, some of the members were discussing why Leonardo is seldom depicted doing anything other than ninjitsu. He hardly if ever cooks or drives or operates anything that requires domestic or technological skill. As often happens with me, this thought grew into a plot bunny and a question came to mind.

"What DOES Leonardo do when no one's around? "

Could have been a great title, I guess, but I like the play on words with Chicanery Row. Cannery Row, get it? Cannery/Chicanery? However, nothing of my story will reflect John Steinbeck's classic work.

Anyway, enough of that, but let it be known that I have the hardest time writing humor, so I don't know how this will read. I've made so many revisions to what I originally wrote, shortening things, and changing stuff, that I've become jaded with the overall effect. In short, I've become immuned to the story. My son read the last few lines and admitted that it needed 'something'. He suggested maybe 'CRASH', 'BOOM', 'BANG' to describe things, but, I dunno; that would make it read like a comic strip and that's not what I'm writing.

In any event, I wish to thank those on Stealthy Stories who graciously offered many ideas for me! As I use them, I will give credit where credit is due (unless I forget, but I'll try not to forget, okay?). Right now, though, we need an intro. :0)

It is obvious that I am not the owner of the TMNT's or any of their copyrighted constituents. I am only borrowing, so build a bridge and get over it, okay? LOL.


'Chicanery' Row'

by reinbeauchaser


Chapter One - The Question

"Hey, Mikey, ya eveh notice how boring Leo is?"

Mike laughed, "If that's supposed to be earth shattering news, bro, it's not even a minus on the Richter scale!"

Raph rolled his eyes and chuckled lightly, as Mike stood up from his seat and walked over to the pantry. He took a quick look inside and soon found a bag of cookies. Grinning wide, he snagged it, and then spun on his heels, returning to his seat at the kitchen table.

"Leo's always boring, Raph, so what's new," Mike sniggered as he sat back down in his chair.

As his brother ripped open the bag, Raphael remarked, "Nothing, it's just…th'guy doesn't do anythin'."

"Oh I wouldn't say he doesn't do anything, Raph," Don remarked, as he walked into the room. He went over to the refrigerator and opened it. After he grabbed a soda, Don popped the tap, "I mean he's always thinking about strategy and stuff, ya know, just in case we run into the Foot." Sipping his drink, Don went and sat down in one of the vacant chairs, joining his brothers at the table.

"Yeah, yeah," Raph swatted Don's comment aside, "tell me somethin' I don't know, but - I mean - otheh than katas and battle strategies, Leo's borin'."

After a moment, Mike offered, "He meditates," before shoving a handful of cookies into his mouth. While he munched, he leaned back in his chair and looked from one brother to the other, waiting for their response.

While Mike chewed, Raph "Hmmm'ed" to himself, mentally considering his brother's input. Finally, he reluctantly agreed, "Okay, okay, add 'thinking lofty thoughts' to th'quation, but otheh than that? Zip, zilch, nada…the guy's as excitin' as rock!"

Mike and Don both smiled and nodded silently. Soon, all three brothers quietly contemplated the topic at hand. It was an interesting observation. What did Leo do all day, other than the obvious? While they pondered this mystery, the ticking of the kitchen wall clock chimed softly above them.

"Ever notice that Leo never cooks?" Mike suddenly remarked and too loudly, it seemed, as it caused Raph to shoot a worried glance towards the kitchen doorway. Mike grinned at him, "On edge, bro?' and scarfed a few more cookies.

"No, just…" Raph studied the doorway before addressing his little brother. With his voice unnaturally quiet, "don't want Leo walkin' in on our little conversation, s'all." He then smirked, "You know how he gets…he'll think we're up t'somethin'."

"Thought that was Mikey's job," Don grinned, taking another swallow from his can.

"Hardy har har," Mike sing-songed, sticking out a crumb-coated tongue, before reiterating, "ANYway, I've noticed that Leo hardly ever cooks."

"Yeah, Mikey, I think yer right," Raph smiled in agreement, "I don't believe I've eveh seen him makin' anythin' othah than tea. Anythin' more complicated, he just asks you t'do it."

"Not that I mind, but…well…maybe…he's culinary-challenged?"

"Culin-whata, Mike?"

"Mike means Leo can't cook, Raphael." Don added dryly, as he took another gulp from his can.


"And speaking of which, Leo's never shown interest in learning how to operate the Battleshell or the computer, either."

"What does THAT have t'do with scramblin' eggs, Brainiac?"

"Nothing, Raph," Don shrugged, "But the fact remains, anything requiring skill and know-how with domestic duty or with technology, Leo finds something else to do."

Raphael's eyes brightened, "Hey, ya might be on t'somethin', bro, I see the…ah…ah…correlation!"

Mike chuckled, "Is correlation your big word for the day, Raphie?"

"Zip it, Mike, I've used a dictionary b'fore," and then Raphael snapped his fingers as a sudden thought occurred, "Hey, maybe Leo LIKES us to believe that he's boring, just so we don't expect too much from'em, otheh than leading." He sat up straight in his chair, now, excited with his next thought, "That way…" his eyeridges pinched together as he desperately tried to think of a reason, "Umm…that way..." Raph's excitement quickly faded, though, as nothing came to mind. With his brow furrowing deeper, he planted his elbows on top the table in frustration, chin in hand, brooding.

However, as Raph let out a long breathy sigh, Don seemed to have an epiphany.

"That way…" he declared excitedly, "Leeeo…always looks like the brother totally committed to ninjitsu." He smiled wide, certain he had figured it out. Donatello took another swig of his cola and leaned back in his chair, quite satisfied. He saw a slow smile begin to grow on Raphael's snout, a pleased expression blooming on his brother's face.

"Yeeeaah! And that way…" Raph declared, but he had spoken rather loudly, as Mike had done a moment earlier, so he quickly gave a wide-eyed glance at the door again. Mike and Don did the same, equally concerned. In unison, all three now stared at the opening, each holding their breath, waiting apprehensively. After a moment and when assured that Leo would not be walking in on them, Raph let out a relieved sigh.

With his excitement returning once more and keeping his voice low this time, Raphael continued with his train of thought, "THAT way, Leo procures Master Splinter's favah and makes th'rest of us look bad!" He grinned, now, "Don, yer genius, pure genius," and then happily slapped his brother on the back and stood up. While Raph swaggered over to the refrigerator, Don bowed his head, grinning, accepting the praise.

As his brother in red grabbed a soda from the appliance's interior, Mike gave him a sideways glance and smirked, "Procures? Wow, Raphie, you certainly have been reading the dictionary, haven't you!"

"Ah, shaddup, Mike." Raphael growled, going back to his chair and sat down again.

Mikey grinned, his hands up in defense, "Hey, bro, great you're broadening your vocabulary. I'm good with it!"

"I'll broaden your mouth if ya don't quit punkin' me," Raph harrumphed, tipping his chair back, and taking a drink from his can. As he balanced on the chair's rear legs, Raphael rocked back and forth, his smile returning. He looked over at Donnie, "So how're we gonna pull that rug out from unda Leo?"

"Rug?" Mike laughed, sputtering bits of cookie crumbs from his mouth, "I thought we were talking about Leo's domestic skills, not his room decor?"

"Mike," Don chuckled, "Raph means how are we going to prove Leo's only dissimulating ineptitude while he adulates Sensei with his perfect student act?"

Raph and Mike both stared at Don as if he had grown a second head.

After a moment of thinking, Raph asked, "What does imitating Leo's attitude have to do with math?"

Now it was Don's turn to roll his eyes, "InEPtitude, meaning unskill…oh, forget it. Let's just think of how we can corroborate - prove - Leo's more than what he seems, okay?"

Both Raph and Mike grinned in unison, "Okay!"

The three sat quietly around the table, one munching, two guzzling; the trio an intense study of contemplation. In fact, a nice kind of peace enveloped the three, the murmuring of the wall clock the only interruption. It didn't take long before each brother fell deep in thought considering this conundrum named Leonardo, their minds focusing only on the enigma at hand.

After a few moments, Don's face brightened. He took a quick sip from his can, to whet his next words, but before he could swallow, the brother in question unexpectedly walked into the kitchen.

"So, how's it hanging, guys."

Leonardo's abrupt entrance startled his three brothers so surprisingly, that it caused Raphael to lose his balance. He tried to reach for support, hands frantically grabbing air as he attempted to latch on to the table's edge, but - it was far too late. His chair completed its backward slant.

With a resounding crash and as his three brothers looked on in stunned surprise, Raphael fell hard along the concrete floor, wide-eyed and swearing a blue streak.