After rewatching the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first episode, I wondered about the little boy who had bought and lost the turtles to the sewer, so I wrote his story.
So I saved up my allowance for three months. I had to give up many ice cream truck visits, but soon I had enough money to buy a couple of turtles. I went to the pet store and made a bee-line to the turtle aisle. They had many types, but then I saw a small bowl that had four of the tiniest turtles I've ever seen floating inside. The pet store clerk told me that they were all newly born siblings.
I didn't want to separate the brothers, but I only had enough money for two of them. This made me feel bad and the clerk noticed. He made a deal with me to take all four turtles if I paid him back later. Elated, I took the deal and I took the turtles.
I was so excited walking home, I didn't even pay attention to my surroundings. New York streets are full of cracks and holes to trip on, but I was focused on my new pets. I was staring at the tiny turtles swimming in the bowl and thinking of what to name them. I thought of calling them Curly, Larry, Moe and Joe after the Stooges, but then thought no, that's stupid.
That's when I tripped. Before I knew what was happening, the bowl flew out of my hands and shattered on a drainage grate. At first the little guys were still on the grate, but all four turtles fell into the sewer before I could reach them. I tried to look inside the grate, but only saw pitch black. As soon as I had bought them, I had lost my turtles.
I cried the rest of the way home. My parents asked me what happened and I told them. Feeling bad, my father promised that he would pay back the pet store clerk and buy me a new turtle. A few days later, I got a new turtle - not a baby one, but a turtle none-the-less. I decided to name him Pisanello, after an old renaissance painter, after seeing one of his sketches of a turtle.
I took care of that little guy until I was an adult. As a teenager, I took a job at the very zoo where I saw my first tortoise and really learned the job. I loved working there. I then went to college and studied zoology and marine biology.
One night I was walking home from school when I thought I saw something in an alley way. I went in and a man with a knife came to me and demanded my wallet. Frightened for my safety, I reached into my pocket to grab my wallet when the street lamps gave a spark and went out. I could hear commotion, but I could only see shadows and silhouettes. For some reason, the silhouettes looked like people wearing turtle shells.
My mind was playing tricks on me. Instead of reaching for my wallet, I reached for the tiny flashlight on my keychain. I turned it on to see my would-be mugger tied up and the turtle-like silhouettes gone. Seeing my opportunity to escape, I ran out of the alley and called the police when I got home. Strangest thing. I took a short break from school to get turtles out of my mind for a while.
I now run a turtle conservancy, saving hundreds of threatened turtles and tortoises by creating safe habitats for them. I'm proud of what I do, though I can't help but to sometimes look back and wonder what became of those four baby turtles. Are they still together? Are they still wondering the sewer? Would they remember me?
I guess I'll never know."