A/N: Um... heh heh... so I drank way too much coffee and then this happened. I'm in the middle of a few other stories right now, and at least one will be published eventually... but in the meantime, just to prove I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, here's... this...
If you're expecting something deep, inspiring, and thought-provoking... um... you might as well just turn back now...
A Stupid Question
"Where d'ya t'ink dat knucklehead got to?"
"He's going to be in so much trouble if he doesn't get back here soon…"
"I finally zeroed in on his phone's location, Leo. It's in his bedroom. He must have forgotten to take it."
"I am going to kill him when he gets back in…"
"Ah, lighten up, Fearless. For cryin' out loud, it ain't like Mikey's nevah done dis before…"
Three ninja turtles were in the living room. One was pacing, the other two were sitting. Leo walked in angry little circles, because he was angry, while Raph and Donny watched his movements warily, because they were wary. Occasionally they would look at each other, sharing the same expression: Mikey was dead meat.
Their youngest brother had not been having the best day. He'd woken up late, goofed off during training and earned a lecture, accidentally caught Master Splinter on fire and earned about a thousand flips, broken several of Donny's instruments in an attempt to escape from Raph, and burned dinner when his attention was caught by Klunk, who had become inadvertently lodged in the exhaust pipe of Raph's motorcycle.
Leo had told him with great exasperation that Klunk and Mikey were made for each other. If there was a motorcycle big enough, Mikey would certainly get stuck in it.
Grinning sheepishly, Mikey had offered to go pick up some pizza, and ran for the door as fast as he could.
That had been nearly two hours ago, and the rest of them were getting worried, even if they wouldn't admit it to anyone but themselves. Leo had wanted to go out after him, but there were literally millions of places Mikey could be. It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack the size of New York City. Leo growled and started another lap around the living room.
"If he's in the sewer goofing off instead of-"
The oldest turtle's tirade was cut short by the door to the Lair slamming open. All three of them jumped and turned to face the doorway, and all of their jaws dropped open at the same time.
Mikey was standing in the doorway, panting. He was wearing a fish bowl on his head, an opened parachute on his back, and swim fins on his feet. In his belt, a blonde chunk of hair was hanging limply like a dead, albino rodent. One hand seemed to be attached to a steering wheel; the other was carrying an enormous blow up Bugs Bunny doll.
Leo stared hard at Mikey, who stared hard at the ground. Raph stared blankly at the Bugs Bunny doll, who stared blankly back at him. Donny stared incredulously at the fishbowl, which didn't stare at anything. Fishbowls have better manners.
"Ok," Raph said, breaking the silence. "THIS one, I have to hear."
Donny nodded. "This ought to be good," he muttered. When it came to absurdity, Mikey was epic.
Leo sighed and shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache coming on. "Mikey… this may be a stupid question, but… what exactly have you been doing?"
oOo oOo oOo
Nearly two hours earlier
Mikey hurried away from the Lair, stuffing his nunchucks back into his belt as he went. Shell if it wasn't going to be one of those days! If just one thing would go right today, he'd be happy. Pizza! Mikey perked up considerably. Pizza was always something that went right. There was no such thing as a wrong pizza.
Climbing the ladder embedded in the sewer wall, Mikey pushed the manhole cover aside and climbed out onto street level, pressing quickly back into the shadows of the nearby alley.
"And now to get roof-side!" Mikey chuckled, leaping up in the air. Nimbly, he kicked off of the brick wall to his left, which propelled him into the wall on his right. Kicking off again, Mikey wall-jumped his way half way up the building, then launched himself forward to grab onto a fire escape. He was a ninja, so he could do things like that.
"Fire escapes: a ninja turtle's best friend!" This wasn't technically true, of course. Everyone knows that a ninja turtle's best friend was his mask, because that way no one could ever identify him to the authorities. With a mask on, he could be anyone (provided anyone was green and had a shell). But he was close enough: fire escapes were a ninja turtle's second best friend.
Heaving himself over the rail, Mikey was about to continue up when a loud scream from the street down below made him pause in his tracks. Crouching down on the metal fire escape, Mikey peered down into the darkness, but couldn't make out any sort of movement or people from where it may have come from.
Mikey jumped three and a half feet in the air, banging his head on the ladder. Swiveling wildly in all directions, the turtle finally spotted the one who had just yelled in his ear. Attached to the fire escape was a building, because fire escapes are rarely free standing. This one was connected to an apartment complex, and he was sitting in front of a window in which a little boy was halfway out of, staring at him with wide eyes.
Neither the boy nor the turtle moved, but ogled each other in disbelief. From somewhere in the apartment, someone called back to him.
"There's a huge turtle man outside!" the little boy exclaimed, pointing at him. Mikey ducked back into the shadows, but he needn't have worried. Mothers who don't pay attention to their children playing on fire escapes don't pay attention to huge turtle men either.
Seeing that he couldn't impress his mother with this news, the little boy went back inside, shooting one last look behind him. Mikey shook his head, then winced as he felt the huge lump that the iron ladder had given him. He went back to examining the alley below him. He knew he'd heard a scream. Someone was in trouble somewhere. Someone was always in trouble, because he lived in New York City.
Mikey was so focused, he didn't realize the window behind him had opened again. He continued to not notice, right up until the second when a huge object slammed down over his head with a pop.
"Yowch!" Mikey shouted, jumping again. His voice came back to him, distorted and echoing. He blinked. The world had just gone foggy and smudgy, and for some reason, everything smelled like fish.
"I got a turtle!" he heard from behind him, and then the little boy giggled. Mikey spun furiously. "Mommy said I could keep you if I put you in a fishbowl!" he (the boy, not Mikey) said happily, clapping his hands.
Mikey gasped, and heard the gasp echo back at him. Crossing his eyes and focusing hard on the horizon, the turtle realized why everything smelled like fish. The boy had been smart enough to realize that the turtle would probably not fit in a fish bowl the conventional way, and so he'd put it on his head.
Which would have been cute, Mikey decided, if he could get it back off again. Tugging and grunting fruitlessly, the turtle did his best to remove the bowl, which was making him horribly dizzy with the fish-eye distortions it was creating. He hoped he didn't throw up.
"What the shell?" Mikey yelled, still trying to pry the bowl off of his head. He knew very little about physics, but it didn't seem as though it should have been able to fit on if it wasn't able to come off. "Why the shell didja do that, little dude?"
The little boy's eyes – made larger by the fish eye effect – swelled with tears. His lower lip quivered. "You… you're a turtle," he said tearfully. "I wanna keep you." The boy turned back around. "Mommy!" he yelled. "Come see the turtle I caught!"
Hearing footsteps, Mikey sprang into action. Grabbing onto the iron railing, the ninja swung himself out into the night, using a handy clothesline to slide back down into the alley, where he returned to his search for the screamer. Donny would just have to take off the fishbowl for him later.
oOo oOo oOo
"You were seen?" Leo demanded.
"What happened to the fish that was there before your head was?" Donny asked worriedly.
"Can we just leave it on 'im?" Raph grinned in happiness. Mikey glared at him, reaching for his nunchucks threateningly before forgetting they weren't there. He glanced down at his belt sadly, and Raph followed his gaze, spotting the blonde hair.
"So… since when didja start collectin' scalps?" he wondered. Mikey shrugged and pulled out the hair. They could see now that it was actually a plaited ponytail, and it looked familiar…
"Hun took my nunchucks," Mikey explained matter-of-factly.
"So, naturally, ya gave 'im a haircut."
"I needed something to replace my nunchucks, didn't I?"
oOo oOo oOo
Nearly an hour and a half earlier
Mikey's outlook on the world didn't change much with the addition of the fish bowl, other than the distorted view. Once he adjusted to the fact that everything straight ahead was fatter than things above and below him, it was easy enough to navigate. He just had to pretend it was his spacesuit and he was a spaceman.
"I never even wanted to be an astronaut, growing up," Mikey complained to an alley cat that was slinking its way through the wooden crates and bits of rubbish. Because Mikey's childhood dreams didn't really affect the cat and its hunt for dinner, it ignored him and continued on its way.
Having forgotten about the pizza and the scream he'd heard from the alley, Mikey was quite surprised when he nearly tripped over the body of an unconscious girl in his haste to get back to the Lair so he could get his astronaut helmet – that is, his fishbowl – off of his head.
"Whoa, dudette!" Mikey exclaimed, stopping just in time to keep from trodding on her head. Even unconscious, the girl would probably not have appreciated being trodden on. "What happened to you?"
There was no reply, of course. She was unconscious. Mikey went on high alert, and he crouched down low as he moved forward. He could hear some sort of activity going on from the direction of the bay, so that was where he headed.
"Move it, you useless lumps!"
Mikey hoped his fishbowl – that is, his ears – were deceiving him. That sounded way too much like Hun for his liking. Sneaking forward a little closer, the turtle gasped as he peeked around the last building and saw the cause of the ruckus.
It was Hun, and at least twenty or so of his flunkies. They were going about some business that made no sense to Mikey, seeing as he wasn't a punk gangster with nefarious plans. It looked like some were blowing up life-sized Bugs Bunny dolls while others were injecting the poor defenseless dolls with something. Still others were loading the air-filled dolls into crates that were stacked by the warehouse. The crates were then wheeled down to a stationary helicopter.
Well, that explained the girl. Probably she'd stumbled in on all of this and they'd knocked her out.
"So Elmer Fudd won after all," Mikey whispered to himself with a sad sigh as he watched the Bugs Bunny's get shot up with whatever was in the needles. He'd always rooted for Bugs. They were kindred spirits. They liked to make things blow up.
"Hey, Boss! It's one of the turtles!" a voice from right behind Mikey yelled, causing the aforementioned turtle to jump three and a half feet off the ground and hit his fishbowl on a low hanging wooden beam. He groaned, but spun around with his nunchucks already out, dealing a knock-out hit to the man who'd yelled.
It was too late to avoid attention now, though. Fortunately, Mikey enjoyed attention. Unfortunately, even an attention-hungry turtle can't fight off at least twenty or so flunkies and a mountain that doesn't like you.
"Grab that freak!" Hun roared, lumbering up as mountains tend to do, crushing everything in his path. Mikey fought pretty well considering his circumstances, but of course he ended up loosing. Hun caught one of his nunchucks in mid-whack, tossing the turtle up in the air when Mikey refused to let go. As soon as he'd landed (it took a while, because it was a pretty tall mountain doing the tossing), the flunkies converged in on him and managed to pin him down.
Hun approached, smiling down at the turtle who was now his prisoner. He stopped short as he noticed the fishbowl lodged firmly over Mikey's head.
"This one, I gotta hear," Hun muttered, shaking his head. Was it just him or were the freaks getting freakier every day? He motioned for his flunkies to let the fishbowl-clad freak up. "Let's see what you've got, freak!" Hun pulled out a switchblade knife and waited for Mikey to get into a fighting stance, then he charged.
It was a silly thing to do. A ninja with a fishbowl on his head is still a ninja, no matter how ridiculous he looks. Mikey smiled and stepped to the side as Hun lumbered by, grabbing the knife as he went and snagging onto Hun's long ponytail. Before Hun could figure out what had happened, Mikey had cut off the braid and was swinging it like nunchucks.
This was a valiant effort, but ultimately doomed to failure. Mountains like Hun are hard to bring down, even with actual weapons, and whacking him with a clump of hair (though a creative idea) doesn't do a whole lot of damage. All it really did was enrage Hun, though Mikey personally thought he'd done the mountain a favor. The last thing he saw before going unconscious was Hun's huge fist coming straight for his jaw – then there was a flash of pain, and then nothing.
oOo oOo oOo
"Hun did what?" Raph snarled, furious. No one knocked out his little brother but him!
"Mikey, that's bad," Donny informed him, just on the off-chance that Mikey could possibly not realize that being unconscious and in the hands of an enemy was something other than a really great thing. "You might have a concussion." He was quick to pull out his penlight, but when he tried to shine it in Mikey's eyes, the beam only reflected off the fishbowl.
Donny put the penlight away, embarrassed that he hadn't thought of that.
"How did you get away?" Leo demanded. "What happened?"
In response, Mikey held up his wrist. "Well," he explained. "First I tried this."
Leo frowned. "You tried to escape with handcuffs and a steering wheel?" Mikey shook his head.
"The steering wheel was attached to a tractor," he explained.
"You escaped… on a… tractor?"
oOo oOo oOo
Nearly an hour earlier
Mikey groaned, holding his head (or rather, his fishbowl) as he woke up. Shell, did that hurt. He tried to move his other hand but couldn't. Well, it wouldn't be the first time he'd woken up chained somewhere. Then he heard the bustle of activity around him and opened his eyes.
To Mikey's surprise, he wasn't in a cold, dark dungeon somewhere, nor was he in some run-down abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. Rather, he was in a perfectly clean (though somewhat dusty) warehouse by the bay of New York, right where he'd been knocked out to begin with. Obviously, Hun was more concerned with finishing the job than finishing the turtle, and had chained him up so that he couldn't get away.
It was a sound plan, Mikey had to admit. Though, it did have one obvious flaw: Hun had chained him to a tractor. Granted, he had no keys and certainly couldn't push it away, but Mikey had never been above a little bit of hot-wiring. There was no one guarding him (probably they couldn't take him seriously in the fish bowl helmet), so Mikey simply pulled the panel off the John Deere, fiddled with some wires the way people did in the movies, and then jumped on board as it chugged to life. He was a ninja, so he could do things like that.
"Boss! Boss the turtle's getting away!"
Well, crap. Apparently it wasn't possible to stealthily sneak away on a tractor.
Pushing the huge metal vehicle to the highest gear possible, Mikey slammed down on the pedal, puttering as fast as it could carry him. Runs like a deer? My SHELL it runs like a deer, Mikey thought to himself with annoyance as Hun walked up behind the tractor, keeping steady pace with it.
"Freak, where exactly are you going?" Hun finally asked as Mikey continued to push the tractor to the extent of its two-mile-per-hour capacity. Mikey glanced sideways at him. He looked much more like a man without his pigtail. Pigtails were for girls.
"Um… hey, dude!" he said with a grin. He noticed that Hun had retrieved his hair and stuffed it in his pocket. Mikey had never figured the mountain for the sentimental type. He'd never pick-pocketed a pigtail before, but he did now. He was a ninja, so he could do things like that, too.
Hun just shook his head and went back to work. They were pretty much done, and the turtle wasn't going to go far.
As soon as he'd left, Mikey set about trying to get the chain off. Without keys or lockpicks, he had to settle instead for unscrewing the steering wheel and taking it with him. Donny could take it off when he rescued Mikey's head.
Mikey turned around and walked head-long – that is, fishbowl-long – into the mountain. Hun grabbed his shoulder and grinned down at him, shoving him towards the helicopter.
"Nice timing, freak," he chuckled as he got some flunkies to help him load the now struggling turtle onto the chopper. "We're all loaded up. You're gonna come take a little ride with us."
As they lifted off, the John Deere tractor (which had never been shut off) continued on its two-mile-per-hour course until it drove into one of the crates, which had been left behind, and exploded.
oOo oOo oOo
"You blew up Hun's stuff with a tractor?" Leo frowned. Frankly, that was just impressive.
Mikey nodded. "Yup," he said. "Here, Donny, I brought you this." He held out the life-size, blow-up, Bugs Bunny doll to his older brother, who took it hesitantly.
"Um… thanks, bro… Wow, I… I don't know what to say…"
"For you to study and stuff," Mikey informed him impatiently. "Hun said something about a new way of formulating explosives or something into liquid and it's been injected into the dolls. They're gonna smuggle it out like that and no one would ever know."
"Oh!" Donny looked at the doll with much more happiness. Things that blew up. Now that was more like it.
"So you jumped out with the parachute," Leo guessed. "Then you ran home?"
"No, I sailed home on Bugs Bunny."
"Ha ha, Mikey. You don't have to get sarcastic."
"I'm not. I sailed home on Bugs Bunny."
oOo oOo oOo
Nearly half an hour earlier
"So, where are we going?" Mikey asked innocently as the helicopter went far out to sea. He wasn't any expert, but he was pretty sure they couldn't make it all the way to England in a little helicopter.
Hun smirked at him. "You'd like to know, wouldn't you, freak? All those dolls are filled with liquid explosives of our own design. We're going to ship them out of the country from our island base, and no one will find out until it's too late!"
Mikey thought that was pretty much a dumb plan; way down on the evil plot scale. Not that his opinion mattered, so he kept it to himself. It occurred to him suddenly that he never had gotten his pizza. Shell, was he hungry. Eating with a fish bowl on his head was going to be difficult.
Meanwhile, the ninja was plotting out his daring escape. Even if blow up dolls filled with explosives was a dumb plan, he should probably try to foil it. Mikey liked foiling things. He wasn't really tied up, though his hand was still chained to a steering wheel. Instead, they had simply jammed the steering wheel into a cargo net so that he couldn't easily break free.
Mikey still had the pigtail stuffed in his belt, though. The flunky to his left had a knife he could use to cut the net away, if he could get it somehow. No one was paying much attention to the ninja (again, he figured the fishbowl made him look like somewhat less of a threat) so he simply wrapped the pigtail around the man's throat and squeezed.
A man can go without air for three minutes, but Mikey didn't even need half that long. While the flunky was sputtering and grabbing at his throat, the turtle simply gave him a good high kick to the head, which knocked him (the flunky, not Mikey) out immediately. Mikey smiled in satisfaction and reached down, pulling the knife out of the man's belt and cutting himself free of the net.
Fortunately, Hun was too absorbed in bragging to the Shredder on the radio about how not only was he on schedule, he had one of the freaks as his prisoner. While he was doing this, his prisoner was putting on a parachute, taking one of the dolls as a sample for Donny to inspect, and jumping out of the helicopter.
The rest was easy, except for the part where he landed and the parachute was so hopelessly tangled up that he couldn't remove it, because he didn't have the knife anymore. He'd considerately replaced it in the man's belt. Oh well, Mikey thought. Donny could cut him free when he removed the chain and fishbowl.
By now, Mikey was tired, waterlogged, and he still hadn't gotten his pizza. There was no way he would have been able to swim all the way to shore, but fortunately the blow-up doll was full of air. Since air floated, so did the doll. Mikey climbed onto Bugs Bunny's face, used the parachute as a sail, and sailed home.
oOo oOo oOo
"So you choked a man with Hun's hair, parachuted into the middle of the ocean, and sailed home on a doll filled with explosives?" Donny asked, just to make sure he had the story right.
"I don't know what's more disturbin'," Raph admitted, scratching his head. "Da fact dat all dis happened, or da fact dat none of it's even surprisin' me…"
"You've explained everything but the swim fins," Leo pointed out, gesturing at Mikey's feet. "What… what's the story there?"
Mikey glanced down, then back up. He gave Leo a look that clearly suggested he thought the answer was the most obvious thing in the world.
"I found them washed up on the bay," he explained with a shrug. "To cover my tracks. I thought you'd be proud that I thought ahead, dude… figured it'd be easy to follow a guy with two toes on each feet."
"As opposed to a five foot tall turtle wearing a fishbowl and fins?" Donny pointed out kindly. Mikey blinked. Huh. He hadn't thought of that. He really just wanted to get his head out of the blasted fish bowl.
All of them stopped talking and turned as Master Splinter walked in, took one look at Mikey, and stopped dead in his tracks.
"My son," Splinter finally said carefully after taking a minute to examine the situation before him. "Are you aware that you are wearing a fishbowl?"
Mikey sighed, wanting nothing more than to sit down and cry. He nodded wearily, attempting to explain one more time.
"A boy wanted to make my head a pet and Hun took my nunchucks before I cut his hair off which made him get all mad and handcuff me to a tractor which I couldn't outrun him on but which I used to blow things up, and then he tried to fly away with me and all his new liquid explosives so I had to escape by jumping out of a helicopter and sailing Bugs Bunny home, but the fins should cover up my tracks."
Master Splinter blinked, then shrugged and turned back around. As he shuffled out, they heard him muttering under his breath: "As the wise man says… "Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer"…"