A/N: Had this idea while listening to my friend talk about the weird customers she gets at her work XD This is going to be a Michelangelo romance and a murder mystery, so hold onto your butts!
TMNT Movie Spoilers: For those who haven't seen the movie yet "Cowabunga Carl" is the alias Mikey takes entertaining kids at Birthday parties (he wears a giant grinning turtlehead as part of his costume). Leonardo is away training abroad and The Nightwatcher is Raphael's vigilante alias. Donatello runs a tech support help line, poor douchebag XD
Notes from a Pizza Parlour
It was Christmas morning when the body of Señor Senior Silvestro was found in the snow in front of the Cheesy Pot Pizza Parlour. Unlike most dead bodies, Mr Silvestro, the owner and proprietor of the traditional Italian café, was discovered with his eyes wide open. It was therefore at once apparent to Miss Lettie, the new kitchen manager (who had come in early that morning in order to open up the café for the Christmas lunchers) that the man was not sleeping. He was most assuredly dead. The serrated knife in his side confirmed this.
Needless to say, it was the beginning of an unusual work experience at the Cheesy Pot Pizza Parlour for Lina Lettie, who rather preferred studying bodies thousands of years old in the safe confines of her Archaeology class.
Leonardo Hamato's training period in the wild jungles of South America had ended three months ago and his letters were becoming few and far between, but this meant little to Lina, for she hadn't the foggiest clue as to who Leonardo Hamato was. Neither was she acquainted with Donatello, Raphael or Michelangelo, though the papers had favoured all four in years gone by: the Vigilante Ninja Turtles – the mutant heroes of New York City.
The smell of stale coffee, burnt cheese and coal always lingered in the Cheesy Pot Pizza Parlour. Señor Senior Silvestro had insisted upon using a traditional masonry brick oven in his time-honouring café, which he had claimed opened when his family had first immigrated to New York in 1902. The customers loved the traditional feel of the café and the coal fire, but the smell clung to her hair and clothes and lingered for days.
Today marked the end of her first month as head waitress and kitchen manager. She had to admit, the brutal death of Mr Silvestro three weeks previously had done little to besmirch the quaint, attractive character of the corner café and it certainly hadn't stopped the regulars. First came the Bird Man.
Every day the rusty bells above the door would jingle around 10:00am and a little old man with enormous feathery eyebrows, would shuffle into the café and sit down at the table closest to the fire, then order two bacon rolls without butter, a black coffee and a plain scone. The other waitresses would back into a corner of the bar, sniggering and wheezing with stifled laughter so that Lina was always left to deliver the old man's order. Once she had tried to clear away the strands of bacon fat he always left on the table, but the old man had only grabbed her wrist in a surprisingly fierce grip and whispered:
"NO! They're for the birds…"
The Bird Man had left an hour ago, long before the busy lunchers arrived.
2:00pm: in walked the Harassed Scholar. Every day he wore the same moth-eaten brown suit and eye-magnifying spectacles. He would hastily order a sultana scone and a mug of green tea and honey, then dash to his window seat and whip out a paper. He was a pleasant enough man and chatty when she served him. He had moved from London for a job in the city's Natural History museum (quite fitting, she thought, as the Scholar looked like a dusty old relic himself) and this was a comfort to Lina, having spent her childhood in Edinburgh and now felt a sort of kinship with him, odd and flustered as he was.
Today he was shaking his head and tutting at the headlines on his paper.
"Here now, what the blazes do you think about this dreadful Nightwatcher creature?"
From his tone, Lina was already sure of his poor opinion. Wanting to ruffle his feathers a bit, she replied, "I think he's hunky."
The line of the Scholar's mouth sloped and he stared at her as if unable to deter whether she was being truthful, sarcastic or making some poor attempt at humour.
"More tea?" she asked sweetly.
"No, no, I must dash," he returned, all English politeness. "I'm late for a very important date. Max Winters does not like to be kept wait–"
Then, just like clockwork, Legs walked in. The Harassed Scholar melted into his seat, mouth hanging open and lost in mid-sentence. Legs, titled so due to the mile-long sticks which extended from her microscopic mini-skirt to her red Prada shoes, was a walking raven-haired untouchable Goddess who paid less attention to the Harassed Scholar than a giraffe would an ant. Not that this stopped the Scholar's quest for the unattainable. Each day he would leave a note on her table while she was ordering her thin slice olive and goat's cheese pizza. The notes always read the same way: "From your Ardent Lover", "Your Humble Admirer", "Your Devoted Prince".
Lina and the other waitresses in the café would watch and wait eagerly for a reaction from the smouldering beauty, but it never came. Legs would only skim the worshipping love notes with a seemingly lazy eye, then shift it aside to make way for her meal. Whether she knew where they came from, Lina wasn't sure, but in any case the Harassed Scholar had a rival in his affections.
5:30pm: Cowabunga Carl, the local loudmouthed celebrity in the neighbourhood, strode through the door. This was the regular Lina looked forward to the most.
Cowabunga Carl hired himself out as a children's birthday party entertainer – a brave enterprise, Lina mused as she watched him ease himself painfully into a chair by the window. He seemed too young to own his own business, but he was always full of spirits and ready to entertain the customers of the Cheesy Pot with his party routine or a joke, and often stayed late into the night. He had even earned a glance or two from Legs who was normally too engrossed in a magazine to pay any man attention. Of course, it was hard not to stare at Cowabunga Carl, for there was one very curious thing about him: he never removed the large green turtle head that was part of his showman's costume, not even while he feasted on 14" pizzas with obscure toppings of peanut butter and jelly or chocolate and anchovies.
"It's an acquired taste," he explained when Lina inquired into his unusual choice of toppings this evening.
"Your breath will stink after this," she stated, one arm resting on her hip while the other held the large Mountain Fantastico pizza with extra chutney at an adequate distance from her nose. "You'd better not sit too close to an open flame or you'll go up faster than you can say Bob's yer Uncle. Won't impress Legs much if all that's left of you is a nicely crisped shell."
"Do you think I should offer her a slice?" he asked eagerly.
Lina glanced over to the woman in question who had returned after her work shift for her dinner. She was sipping delicately at a bowl of lentil soup, her long perfectly manicured and red painted nails glinting in the candlelight.
"She doesn't strike me as the type who would appreciate the offer," Lina answered truthfully, turning back to him. He had his head in one hand and was gazing at the raven beauty across the room before he remembered his present company and gave a guilty laugh.
"Hah, well like I said, babe – it's an acquired taste."
"You could just take that thing off and go talk to her," Lina prompted a little too eagerly.
"You're kidding right? You don't just walk up to a Goddess like that. You…ah dunno, climb up a castle wall and sweep her off her feet Prince Charming style or serenade her with like a rendition of Stairway to Heaven."
Lina self-consciously tucked a strand of dark red hair behind her obligatory orange and white checked headscarf, and looked gloomily down at her tomato stained apron. Across the room, Legs was carefully applying a dark red lipstick. A stubborn strand of hair swept back onto Lina's flour dusted forehead and she chuckled inwardly at the severe injustice being done to her. People didn't fall madly in love with girls like her who worked in pizza parlours and had a name like Lina Lettie. They fell in love with people who had names like Isabella or Marianna, who could walk in red Prada shoes like the Goddess Legs. As far as Cowabunga Carl could have cared, Lina may as well have been a greasy, tripple-chinned, fifty-year old man with a rippling beer gut and a handle-bar moustache.
She began to clear the debris of his first starter (there were people with healthy appetites, people who were greedy as sin, and people like Cowabunga Carl) while watching him out the corner of her eye. He was munching on his thirtieth piece of garlic bread through the turtle mask's mouth slot, his eyes seemingly fixed on Legs behind the ridiculous grinning mask.
Lina had devised many fantastical plots centring around the mystery of Cowabunga Carl's identity, most of which resulted in shoddy Phantom of the Opera rip-offs. She had at last settled that the poor boy suffered from some dreadful disease like Elephantiasis. Either that or he was ginger, which would not have stunted her affections as Lina rather liked redheads.
"Maybe an innocent flirtation with the inspiration and Goddess that is Dudette Legs wouldn't go astray…" Cowabunga Carl was saying, half to himself.
"With that thing on your head?" she asked, amused, and quirked an eyebrow. "I'd pay good money to see that."
Cowabunga Carl clicked his fingers, two of three thick green digits, and chuckled heartily in his genial surfer-boy tone. "Babes love a bit of mystery."
And Lina couldn't argue with him. A guilty blush crept across her face. She quickly cleared her throat and picked her pen from behind her ear.
"Can I get you anything else?"
"Nah, that'll be all for now. Better let this lot settle a bit," he replied and motioned with a jerk of his thumb to the table piled high with the remains of pizza and garlic bread. "But you can expect another order in five minutes."
Cowabunga Carl was the last customer to leave the café that night. He was sticking around longer these past few nights Lina had noted, though she sincerely doubted his lingering had anything to do with her. She crept into her cramped one-bedroom flat towards 11:00pm, listening carefully for the telltale noise of an intruder. Crime had been on the up rise recently and ever since the murder of Señor Senior Silvestro, Lina had become more cautious.
She switched her television set on just in time to see a report detailing the mystery of another secret identity: the Nightwatcher. Whatever the Scholar thought, Lina was personally very grateful for vigilantes like this one. As the report continued, she tried to match a face and frame to New York's very own Batman: Legs; the Harassed Scholar; the old Bird Man - until she settled on the grinning face of Cowabunga Carl.
'Children's Entertainer by day, City Saviour by night,' Lina mused to herself. 'Would certainly explain the amount of food that guy snarfs down.'
She sat up in bed and reached for a book on her nightstand to clear her head before her imagination ran away with her. It was one thing observing the patrons of the Cheesy Pot Pizza Parlour. It was quite another falling in love with one.
A/N: Hope you liked the first chapter. This is my first TMNT fic, so I'd really appreciate any feedback you might have, cheers! xx