Diaries of a Mutated Green Woman
A/N: Just to clarify, I'm using a mix of different TMNT universes—so this isn't really Rob Paulsen's Raphael (much love to R.P. but I think the edgier Raph is more appropriate for what I'll be going for). So I'll be borrowing some elements from the 2k3 show and other universes.
It's been literally years since I updated this (or just about). The mood struck me to do so because I'm revisiting my TMNT love (read:obsession). I know I mentioned I'd be stepping out of the diary format, but after re-reading and re-evaluating the direction of the story, I've reconsidered. So I do hope you enjoy the diary format. I hope that I convey enough of Mona's thoughts that you can visualize what the other characters are doing. As always, comments and reviews are appreciated! I'll try not to drop off the planet for another 2 years, but as always, no promises!
How are you this morning? I'm positively peachy! Do you know why? I HAVE A HAIRBRUSH AND SHAMPOO! Oh my, I never thought I'd write so many exclamation points over something so mundane. But in all seriousness, I am so very relieved and grateful. Our little covert excursion last night was more than a success,
and I saw a similar relief in Leonardo's expression when we trounced back in around 3:30 am. Needless to say, as I'm writing this at 8:37am, I'm a little on the sleepy side.
Oh, where to start? As I am now surrounded by many of my old personal effects, I have the overwhelming urge to skip writing this entry and just dive into my things. However our adventure is still burning in my mind so I'd better jot it down while it's fresh.
As I wrote previously, Leonardo stayed behind here at the lair to divert Splinter should he wake in the middle of the night on some off chance. Raphael didn't think it would be an issue, but Leonardo insisted that Splinter would "just know" that we were gone if he stirred. Luckily when we tiptoed back in with bags full of my things, nothing seemed to be amiss.
The journey to my old neighborhood was wrought with mixed feelings as anyone can imagine. I almost felt like I had forgotten the way, but Donatello assured me that they were pretty good with street addresses. I didn't know what to make of that- maybe they had done a stint as delivery turtles? Doubtful if not ridiculous, but at the time I chalked it up to him trying to comfort my nerves.
Well, we were all dressed up in musty, over-sized trench coats and I felt utterly absurd. The boys were donning well-used fedoras, and they managed to find me a newsboy cap that I could draw over my eyes and my big, fat, sea-slug muzzle. For the most part, we looked like rejected stunt doubles of James Cagney. Obviously these boys need some fashion guidance. The coat I was wearing had to be a men's size infinity, because no part of me conceivably fit into it. I was able to hook my tail into one of the baggy sleeves just so it wouldn't bob along behind me and render the whole disguise thing useless.
Needless to say this was uncomfortable. And yet even in those silly get-ups, the boys just moved a little too quickly for me. I'm getting used to controlling this crazy body I'm living in, but I still can't quite gallop at the breakneck speeds these ninja fellows prefer to travel- especially while flailing about in a 1940s movie studio wardrobe. Honestly, I really thought turtles were supposed to be slow!
Leonardo had insisted on the "disguises". Raphael explained that they only use the coats when they will perceivably be made to mingle with humans, or if they must go out in the daytime. Otherwise they don't bother and stick to the roofs. Leonardo didn't want us roof-hopping, and thankfully so because despite Raph's and my lovely King Kong excursion, I knew as well as anyone I'd be a liability way up there.
It seems like as soon as they set foot on "outside world" soil, it's an instant marathon anyway, disguises or not. We were weaving in and out of dumpsters and alleys and climbing over things they could just as easily walked around. I guess that's what it takes for "people" like us to survive in a world that doesn't belong to us. No amount of tattered old clothing will change that.
Well, enough of that negativity. I just took a cab ride on Raph's back again. He didn't seem to mind but Michelangelo kept shooting him these amused grins as we went along. Just once we had to stop moving and hide at Donatello's direction. We were cramped together in one of those extra-narrow spaces between buildings while a group of super-late-night revelers were stumbling down a back alley, drunk off their rears. I figured they were so toasted they wouldn't know a mutant turtle in a trench coat from the next guy, but better safe than sorry. Donatello seemed to sense that they might get rowdy if they met other people in the alley. I've seen the types at that hour, and although I know the boys could handle anything some drunk humans could throw at them, I suddenly felt like a precious commodity. I don't know if he meant to but Raphael was holding me pretty close while we stood there, waiting for them to pass by. It's funny, for a reptile he sure generates some nice body heat. I felt like he was protecting me. It felt better than carrying a can of pepper spray.
So off we went once the eminent danger of club-hopping drunks had passed. Donatello asked me to repeat my cross streets which I did, but I told him we were still a ways off. He seemed to be doing some quick thinking as in the next moment he veered away and Michelangelo and Raphael followed without a hitch, not unlike a flock of birds changing direction seamlessly. Before I knew it, Donatello was prying a manhole cover off of the street (Really, I thought they sealed those things shut? I guess workers need to get down there somehow...) and back into the sewers we jumped.
I was confused at this point but dared not speak up since they seemed to know what they were doing. Moments later after the musky funk of sewage had once again embedded itself in my senses, up a ladder we went and tada! We were standing on the corner where my apartment building is. Donatello really wasn't kidding about the directions thing.
So my street is of course still busy, even at 1 o'clock in the morning. Cabs and cars were flying by at Mach speed, taking advantage of the less crowded grid during the early hours. Donatello made some hand gestures that I assumed you had to be a card-carrying member of Club Ninja to decipher, since Raphael and Michelangelo instantly maneuvered backwards. I hadn't seen Donatello in a commander's role since I'd met him- it was always Leonardo giving the game plans during their sparring sessions and he seemed to be the general moderator. Leader, even, though he denied it when I asked, half jokingly, if they had special ninja ranks. It looks like Donatello was merely picking up the slack in Leonardo's absence since I was almost sure that either Raph or Mikey would have just bolted across the street, vaulting over buses and cabs should the need arise.
I guess we were trying to look and act "casual" until there was a break in the traffic. Honestly, if I saw three hulking men and a scraggly looking thing (me) all wearing the same ridiculous trench coat get-ups on the sidewalk, I'd cross the street and hope they didn't notice me. But things turned out OK, so I guess I can't rag on the disguises too harshly. Michelangelo must have creepy mind-reading powers because just as I was imagining one of those old British spy movies he asked me, "Hey Mona, do you like spy flicks?" I laughed out loud like a horse, I imagine, because Raphael and Donatello stared at me pointedly from under their silly fedoras. I felt like hailing a cab and riding away from the embarrassment.
But instead I told Mikey that I did indeed enjoy spy movies, particularly the ones with that really handsome guy in the tuxedo. Raphael made some sort of snorting sound which I now identify as disgust. Maybe he doesn't like spy movies or maybe he doesn't like handsome men in suits. Darned if I know. But I digress.
Mikey began to chatter on about his favorite spy films and Raphael declared that the so-called handsome British spy man had NOTHING on him. He was very vehement about it all of a sudden. Donatello decided that he was bored with the conversation or that it was now finally safe to cross the street, and he asked us to keep it down to a "dull roar".
Just to keep the atmosphere light, I assured Donatello that my apartment neighbors were old people with poor hearing, and that it was way past their bed time. Donatello looked skeptical and I think Raphael finally lost his oh-so-plentiful patience, as he announced that the "damn road" was clear and we should get moving.
Crazy little thing happened and I have to wonder a little bit more about Raphael. It looked like he wanted me to take his hand but he wasn't very forceful about it. Like he expected me to just do it. And I would have, but Michelangelo rather eagerly grabbed my hand instead and hauled me across the street. He announced that I was an honorary ninja-spy and seemed voraciously excited about it. I looked back and caught glimpse of Raphael's face and it was contorted in something akin to rage. I'm not sure how I want to read into that.
But again, I digress.
This entry is dragging on! I've covered three pages and we've just crossed the street!
Well I'll write just a few more things then I'll get to sorting out my lovely belongings.
I really did feel like an honorary spy when we got to my apartment. I lost my keys during the unpleasant mutation incident, along with my wallet and all manner of other important personal effects. I suppose I don't need them now, but I keep thinking that the police are holding them as evidence at one of the precincts. I guess I'll never find out. But since I had three ninja at my disposal, I was assured by them personally that I didn't need a key. That notion bothered me a little, but hey, I'm a wild woman now so I throw civil decency to the wind. I at least remembered the key code needed to buzz us into the lobby. The night security guard was at his desk, though, and Donatello suggested that we not all march in together as the Cagney Gang as it would surely stir up suspicion.
So Raphael practically snatched me away and said he'd go inside with me while Donatello and Mikey stayed behind. Mikey declared that he and his brother could wait on the fire escape and I could let them in through the window. I pointed out which window was mine. I got a bad taste in my mouth all of a sudden because it felt like we were conspiring a breaking and entering. But it IS my apartment... or was. The rent's not due till next week. So it's still technically mine. But it won't be for long.
In any case, Raphael and I tried to shuffle past the guard as nonchalantly as possible. My heart was beating a mile a minute because I just knew he would stop us and ask us who we were and who we were going to see. Which he did, and I was glad to see he was doing his job, but I almost wet myself. I concocted a lie quickly as Raphael took some threatening steps towards the guard. I assume he intended to knock the guy out and tie him up as per the Ninja-For-Dummies guidelines, but I couldn't have that.
I altered my voice and sounded pretty much like an idiot, claiming that we were my "cousins" and we were visiting "me" from Chicago. As if Chicago might explain our dopey outfits. Luckily for us the guard was either tired or a security liability and asked us to sign the guest sheet, which I took off his desk and brought over to Raphael to sign in his chicken-scratch handwriting. I had the forethought to let him do it so in the event I ended up a missing persons case, they wouldn't have my handwriting under a false alias. Those spy movies really got to me, I guess. Michelangelo thought it was pretty clever when I explained it to everyone later. I have a feeling, though, that my "unfortunate science accident" is being covered up. It's been weeks since I've been home and the security guard didn't mention that. I haven't even seen a story for it on the news. It's something to ponder, but it didn't matter to me at the time. Maybe I'll ask that newswoman sometime.
Anyway, after we signed in as "Ralph" and "Monette" (Creativity under pressure is clearly not Raph's forte), the guard let us go on to the elevators and we went up to my floor. This was when I got really creeped out, so much so that I stopped in my tracks in the hallway and refused to move for a spell. Raphael tried to instill some confidence back into me and he put his hand on my shoulder. I felt like I would melt into a gooey puddle right then and there. For once I was glad that my skin is so green I'm unable to blush, visibly.
With some coaching he got me to my apartment door. I don't know what it was. Maybe the scary feeling of being back there after it had been vacant for weeks. Or the even scarier feeling that I was, in essence, about to rob myself. Or the scariest feeling that after that night, I was never going to be able to set foot in my old home again.
Whatever it was, Raphael confirmed that the door we were standing in front of was truly mine and he looked around a few times before pulling out one of his sais. I wasn't sure what he was planning to do with it and even that scared me a little. I was just so jumpy. It's embarrassing now.
But as promised, he didn't need a key and jimmied the lock open with the end of his sai. And by jimmied I mean "completely destroyed" but you know. It was my door. I consented. I think.
Walking back into my apartment burdened me with mixed feelings. It smelled a little bad, which I instantly chalked up to be spoiled food in the fridge. So we avoided the kitchen for the most part. After zoning out for a while, I ran to the window and sure enough, Donatello and Mikey were crouching on the fire escape. I unlocked the window and let them inside.
Michelangelo bolted in and ran around like a mad turtle looking at everything with rampant fascination. He even made the regrettable mistake of whisking open the refrigerator door with a resounding "WHOA, NASTY!" I could tell they didn't get to see the inside of apartments very frequently. Donatello seemed far more cautious and crept around like a cat burglar, as I'm sure that's what he felt like. Raphael made himself at home on my sofa and kicked his feet up on the coffee table like he owned the place. I dared not turn on any lights but it was pretty dark in there. Even the lights from the adjacent buildings weren't really enough to make it easy to see. So I turned on just one tiny lamp and hoped no one would think twice if they caught a glimpse of four weirdos through the window.
Donatello asked what he could do to help, and after hearing that, Raphael leaped off the couch and butted in front of his brother, ready to be more-helpful-than-thou. In all honesty I suddenly forgot what we were doing there. The promise of all my fantastic stuff hadn't dawned on me yet. It wasn't until Michelangelo appeared out of my bathroom with my hairbrush in his hand and a big smile on his face that I remembered. I was so happy to see the stupid thing (the hair brush, not Mikey) that I ran up to him and just hugged him. I don't know why I did. It seemed harmless, and I was enraptured that he had remembered that my hair was a disgusting abomination and needed to be saved. But Raphael seemed really put off by it. In so much that he kept shoving Michelangelo out of his way for the rest of the night. I know they usually rough house for fun but this appeared deliberate.
I tried to think of things that the boys and Splinter might be able to use or benefit from, not just myself. They seemed to do without a lot of comforts that your modern human being takes for granted (besides cable television and video games, of course) so I couldn't imagine what they might need off the top of my head. They had the bare essentials and they seemed to do all right with them. My hairbrush certainly isn't going to be of much service to them. I snagged some non-perishable food items- cans of soup, packages of ramen (which as a college student was a staple). Peanut butter, brownie mix. Yeah, just the random stuff I kept in the cupboard but never used. Honestly, anything would be better than pizza at this point. I hope none of the guys ever find and read this.
I even wasted some time trying on my clothes like they were brand new and exquisite. I was standing in front of the mirror like a fashion model, but really I was thinking about how hideous I am and how even my nicest clothes don't hide that fact. Even so, I brought some back with me, just in case I need to be reminded of what I once was. It was terribly embarrassing, because I'm pretty sure the boys were watching me from the door. Again, I know me being stark naked is completely acceptable in a... non-sexual way to them. They're turtles after all, and rather nude themselves. As far as I've experienced, this is not abnormal to them, and I've never caught them "looking" at me in that way. At least I don't think so. They started out as animals, not humans like me, so I guess it's a... cultural difference. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
Regardless, I couldn't help but think watching a female dress and undress was a new thing for them... and that freaked me out a little. Being in my apartment and engulfed by my lost human world brought me back to my old self. I really felt like covering up again, so I wore my old favorite dress underneath the trench coat when we got ready to leave. Silly, I know. Raphael told me it looked "nice" but I think he was humoring me.
In any case, an hour or two zoomed by and I had packed four duffel bags worth of my stuff. Donatello discovered my home chemistry set and couldn't keep his eyes off of it. I think he was salivating. I had to laugh, and I asked him if he liked it, similarly to how he had asked me if I liked his lab. He seemed embarrassed and told me that it was a very "handsome" set. I practically giggled at his wording. I couldn't help it. It was a cute way to describe something so nerdy.
It is a lot newer than the one he has here. It was issued to me brand new from my hopelessly expensive college. I'm sure once they realize I'm never coming back, they'll want their shiny equipment returned. But you know what? Donatello deserved a gift for treating me so nicely regarding his lab and his personal space. So my chemistry set is his now.
So we managed to carry all this stuff out of the window and down the fire escape. I had to stop at the bottom and stare up at the place for a while. It was hard to let it go, especially after ransacking it like a common thief. I felt dirty and evil. Lying to the security guard and damaging the property I no longer planned on inhabiting or paying rent on. Leaving without at least cleaning it up for the next tenant so it doesn't so much resemble a crime scene. It was all wrong. I don't know if I'll really be able to get over it any time soon.
The bags were heavy, which was my fault. Michelangelo complained about the weight. I'm sure, by his constant "a-hyuk" tone, that he was joking, but Raphael told him to quit being a "weak little crybaby". Of course, I started to whine about my bag like a spoiled little girl about three blocks into our return trip. Despite his impatient demeanor with
Mikey, Raphael immediately snatched my bag and hauled two of them effortlessly like Atlas himself. He was either showing off or wanted me to shut up, I imagine. I don't blame him either way, and I was really grateful for the help.
I really wanted to take the bus. We didn't look too much stranger than anyone else I've ever seen on the bus, but Donatello didn't really think it was a good idea. I trusted his judgment, but my feet still hurt.
So wow, it's almost 9:30 and I've spent an hour writing this entry. Maybe when aliens excavate this diary in 2000 years they'll appreciate how bizarre my life has become. In any case, I'm off to take a freezing cold shower and wash my revolting hair!
Day 16 - Evening Entry
I'm actually quite proud of myself. I really, really didn't want to take any time out of the night to sit and write more, after this morning's monster of an entry. But I'm still excited about last night's adventure and all the loot I scored.
Also, there's something important that happened tonight at dinner. I was so stoked that I offered to cook. Me! Cook! HA! I like boiling chemicals on a Bunsen burner just fine, but oddly enough I'm not much of a cook. Microwave cuisine is more my thing. Not to psychoanalyze myself, but I think I'm so interested in the chemistry of cooking that the process takes too long and my stomach starts growling before I've even got the water boiling.
But I'm so tired of pizza (again, I blaspheme) that I just had to cook up something different now that I have the option. So I introduced my pizza-obsessed friends to ramen. Splinter seemed surprised at my offer to cook, and was in something of a nostalgic stupor for most of the evening. He kept talking about soba and udon and all manner of noodles while we ate. His boys didn't seem all that interested though Leonardo politely nodded at all the right times. I think they were preoccupied pretending to enjoy what I had served them. Ramen isn't the most glamorous of meals but I was used to eating it in excess during college. So I suppose by comparison, my ramen is their pizza. Go figure.
But that wasn't the most, dare I say, exciting part. While Splinter was chatting away I took a breather from slurping up the noodles like a piggy and rested my hand on my knee under the table. Not two seconds later I feel something quite like a hand slide over my fingers. I must have sat up straight like a board and my tail did this awful twitching thing, but no one seemed to notice. They were all transfixed on their father's joyful, furry face. I felt like a complete fool but I could not remember which of the boys I was sitting next to. I shifted my eyes to the left and I saw Mikey dutifully chewing though I'm sure he was fantasizing about pepperoni and sausage. So I looked to the right, where I should have looked to begin with as it was my right hand that was being touched. Raphael was glaring at me. Perhaps glowering. I don't' know the right word to use, but it was an intense look. I felt completely... I can't think of the word to write for that either.
Something inside me wanted to shout, "WHAT ARE YOU HOLDING MY HAND FOR?" But the other something in me already surmised the answer so I kept my trap shut. I turned back to Splinter's account of how delicious sukiyaki is and I was sure my lips were trembling all the while. Raphael was totally squeezing my fingers! Squeezing them! Well, not hard like he was trying to crush my puny little bones in his great powerful grasp, but squeezing like... a gentle kind of squeeze.
And, I guess I gently squeezed back.