“Raph, do you think you could be a little less of a jerk?”
“Not really Leo, that’s kinda my thing.”
“Yeah, you know. ‘Raphael is cool but crude’”
“Shut up, Mike.”
They all stared at the little girl cowering behind the dumpster.
“Look,” said Leo. “We’re not going to hurt you.”
“Yeah,” said Don. “We just want to make sure you’re all right.”
As the giant turtles approached her, she screamed. When they tried to shush and calm her, she shrieked. As they scaled the fire escapes to the roofs, she caterwauled.
“Well,” said Raph. “At least we don’t have to worry about calling the police.”
“It’s just a good thing we got there before those goons could get away with her purse.”
“But why?” said Raph. “What does it matter? We saved that girl from the worst night of her life. There’s no telling what those guys would have done to her. And what thanks do we get?”
“That’s not why we do it Raph,” said Leo. Mikey and Don had moved to the opposite corner of the roof and were goofing off as usual. Only Raph and Leo stood watch over the screaming girl fourteen flights below. From the rooftop they watched to make sure the men answering her cries were safer than the men who had caused them.
Or the things that saved her.
“You have to admit. We’re not exactly your run of the mill heros, Raph. People aren’t ever going to treat us as they do the police or firemen, but we do what we do.”
“But why do we do what we do? What’s the point of it? At the end of the day do we really make a difference?”
“Sure,” Leo said. “We made a difference to that girl down there tonight. And we made a difference for those bozos who were going to harm her. That’s all the difference we can hope to make.”
“But why? Why? But why do we have to do it? I don’t want to be a hero. I just wish I could be normal. I wish I could walk down the street and not have to worry that someone will see my green skin or my beak. I wish I could wear the uniform those cops are wearing and get my name in the paper. Or better yet just be one of those average joes who came when they heard the scream. Just to fit in. To be accepted.”
Leo was surprised to see tears welling in Raphs eyes.
“We do it because we aren’t normal, Raph. We do it because of our green skin and because we can’t wear uniforms or get our names in the paper.”
Tears were also rising in Leo’s eyes as he thought of their thankless jobs. He thought of everyone they saved who had run away in terror as soon as they were free of their captors. Of every person who vomited or peed themselves when they caught a glimpse of their shells. It made Leo sick too. It made him just as sad as it made Raph. It made him just as angry.
“We do it because it’s the right thing to do Raph,” he said. The police were swarming the alley below them. The girl was being shuttled into the front of a police car and given coffee. Her three assailants were being cuffed and dragged.
Raph and Leo wiped their eyes. The night was still young. Three bad guys down; countless more to go.
“Yeah, but it’s a big city,” Don said. “There’s bound to be trouble brewing somewhere.”
Raph’s head was still pulled halfway into his shell. A surefire way to tell that he was depressed. And who could blame him? He lived in a sewer with only his three brothers and a giant rat for company. He took licks and dished them out in the most thankless job in New York City.
“Why can’t someone else do the right thing, Leo?”
“Because then what would we do? This is all we have. If we didn’t do the right thing we’d be doing nothing.”
Mikey and Don were already four rooftops away, heading for the nights next adventure.
“Come on,” Leo said. “You never know. Maybe our next rescue will be a pizza parlor.”
Even Raph couldn’t help but smile at that as they followed their brothers into the night.
All artwork came from http://mag.splashnology.com/article/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-artworks/12940/