My name is Leonardo.
I want to update all our fans on our current situation.
Too many comics and shows concentrate on our teenage years, but they came and went a long time ago.
I am twenty-six years of age and live in New York with my three brothers. We have an apartment - next door to our old friends, April and Casey.
April and Casey Jones married two years ago after an often turbulent, but loving, on and off relationship. We all knew it was on the cards, and even though Raph was jealous, we all celebrated with them.
Raph always had a 'thing' for April. He'd been interested in her since he was fifteen, and had always held a torch. April and Casey marrying must have hurt him like hell, but he didn't say much and drank a lot at the reception.
Raph does drink a lot. He likes tequilla or dark rum, not mixed but straight over ice. Raph was always the darkest one out of us, rebellious and unsure about himself. He still prowls the city at night, although now he finishes his shift at the local bar - drinking till he feels numb and then staggers home. His ninja skills are suffering as a result of his excessive drinking, but there is little I can do to help him. He's not just angry. He's lonely. The one girl he liked married someone else. As I said, its gotta hurt.
During the day, Raph is fit for nothing. He sleeps till the early evening and then heads out for another evening of prowling and drinking. Sometimes he causes bar fights. I know it's harder for Raph being different than it is for the rest of us. He's always felt the separation more intensely.
Anyway, enough of Raph for now. Worrying over Raph is what I do most of the time now.
Did you ever see Short Circuit 2? The part where the robot gets his own citizenship? That happened to us when we turned twenty-two. All four of us stood with our hand raised saying our oaths, and celebrated with our faces in the press and on the news. New York's Heroes.
We'd wiped out The Foot, and Shredder. We'd sustained great losses, and our sensei had been killed in battle. When we won, it was a shallow victory without Master Splinter. In our early twenties we were recognised as full citizens and given a New York apartment right next to April and Casey.
That was when we all started questioning our lives and where we were heading. We had no real qualifications, except for our Ninja skills. Raph tumbled into vigilante life and drink. He never earned a cent, and the rest of us had to earn a living somehow. We had the apartment to maintain and upkeep, and we wanted to go out and socialise with other New Yorkers. We didn't have to hide anymore, we were like everyone else.
Except that we were giant green turtles. Drunken people always liked to make fun of us because we're different, and it was the cruel jibes that tipped Raph over the edge.
Remember that in many ways we still felt like teenagers. Master Splinter's death had hit each one of us, it was brutal and sudden and we were unprepared for it. We had never lived topside, never been in the company of normal people, and suddenly we were the centre of attention. We opened restaurant's and gave speeches. We were in the limelight.
Of course the merchandise followed almost immediately. Everyone wanted to cash in on our new celebrity status. Little figures sold in markets and shops. Comics detailing our adventures sold mainstream and worldwide. The stories were often very liberal and exaggerated somewhat, but they captured our teen spirit during those tumultuous years.
The comics stopped shy of us turning twenty. I always wondered why. Maybe we had lost direction in our twenties, and failed to excite budding writers and artists.
Without Master Splinter, everything seemed hollow and unreal. We were living day to day in a void.
When the hubbub of our celebrity died away, we then started looking for work.
Mikey was the first to get a job, and we were all ribbing him that he'd definitely be the last. He surprised us all, especially Raph. He works for the NYPD, his skills coming in very handy.
Donny was always very technically minded and joined an IT course. He left after a year and set up his own website, a shopping based site that he branded around our Ninja Turtle image. Its doing very well, his website. He's had to expand, and take on staff to keep up with the demand for his services.
I didn't even think of getting a career. My ninja skills were always at the forefront of every decision I made. I opened a dojo and trained youngsters in self-defence. I trained hard every day, and I am the only ninja turtle left in a true sense. I maintained my ninja skills throughout the demoralization, the others lost their Master status almost overnight. Ninjutsu wasn't the main focus anymore. The focus was living a normal life, or as normal a life as we could live. Our lives and jobs suddenly took preference.
Our twenties was our wake up call. It took us into real life, and we soon found most of our ninja skills redundant.
We didn't even think of the possibility that we might need them again in the future. We were too immersed in bills and careers and life.
Something else happened to us which drove us from the intense path of concentration needed for ninjutsu. We discovered sex. We had always been very closeted and had moved into our early twenties in complete innocence. We had minor relationships, but they were brief and innocent. Each minor fling resulted in a kiss and nothing more. We were still males, and under our armour lay male genitalia, but we were lost in our roles as ninja warriors - sex didn't even enter our minds.
When our celebrity status happened, everyone wanted to know us. Some wanted more than others. The idea of sex with one of us was a real turn on for a lot of women. Mikey was the first to experiment, and he tried both ways, with men and women. I don't think he has a preference for either sex, he just likes having fun and exploring.
Donny likes men. He likes the feel and texture of a man better than a woman. He has had several short flings, but nothing serious. He's not bothered about a relationship as he has too much to think about with building his online empire.
Raph and me, we like women. I like the soft sensuous skin of a woman, and the curvy figure of a female body. I've only ever had one girlfriend, and that lasted about a year. Raph hasn't been with anyone. He never lost that torch he carries for April. I can't talk to him about it. He never talks, just goes out nightly to "do his thing."
That's where we are right now. This is where our new story begins. We are dominated by our new lives, but as a wise man once said "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."