Hey, it’s Raph! As the biggest, oldest, best-looking Turtle brother, I’m the leader. That just makes good sense. But even though I’m supposed to be in charge, my brothers manage to talk me into doing a lot of stuff I’m not all that psyched to do. Like the time I had to dress up as a mascot. You know, those costumed characters you see jumping around at sports events and hanging around Times Square in New York. Sometimes they’re big goofy dinosaurs or wacky pirates. Sometimes they’re characters from your favorite movie or television show.
Anyway, here’s what happened . . .
Oh, wait. There’s gonna be times in this story when you’re gonna go, “Hey! How could he possibly know that? He wasn’t there for that part!” Okay, I hear you. But the answer is my brothers told me all the parts I wasn’t there for so I could tell you the whole deal.
Great! Let’s go!
I was hot. I was sweaty. I couldn’t see very well. But for once, I was out in the world, walking the streets of New York City instead of hiding in the sewer tunnels!
Usually we don’t let people see us, because they tend to freak out when they notice four big walking, talking mutant Turtles. But this time, I was in disguise.
Still, I was nervous. What if something went wrong? Like it does pretty much every time we put one of Donnie’s ideas into action . . .
I spoke into the microphone inside my headpiece. “What’s the word? Am I clear?” My three brothers could hear me through a speaker on the dashboard of our Turtle Tank.
from here,” Leo assured me, looking out the tank’s dark-tinted windshield. I could hear him through my earpiece. He continued, “You are a go for Operation Let’s Hope Raph Comes Back Alive.”
“Will you stop calling it that?” I growled. I was nervous enough about the operation without Leo giving it such a downer name.
“This is our first-ever exploratory expedition!” Donnie said, sounding a lot more positive than Leo. “They’ll name sewers after you, Raph! I’d request the Third Street sewer. By far the best.”
At this point, you probably want to know what my disguise was. Well, I guess I have to tell you. It was a hippo suit. That’s right, a hippo. See, Donnie figured I’d fit right in with all the other costumed guys in Times Square. The plan made sense, but I have to admit, I didn’t want to blend in too much. It would be nice if someone wanted to take my picture. I mean, my suit wasn’t that bad.
So I made my way through the crowds of people, heading for this joint called Russ’s Short, Hairy & Surly Clothing Store. I was on a mission.
“Go get Splinter’s birthday gift!” Mikey said, cheering me on. “Our eyes depend on it!”
I remembered the moment that started this whole operation. The four of us were in our underground lair, watching TV. Our dad, Splinter, had come in wearing this ratty old robe. (Yeah, I know he’s a rat, but that doesn’t mean his clothes have to be ratty.)
“Oh, man!” I cried when I saw him in that robe.
“Cover up!” Leo begged.
“My eyes!” Mikey wailed.
“That mole is growing a mole,” Donnie observed, disgusted. The robe revealed all kinds of stuff we had no interest in seeing.
Splinter ignored our comments. “Who’s up for jumping jacks?”
He started doing jumping jacks, showing us EVEN MORE stuff we didn’t want to see! We freaked and shrieked!
“We gotta get him a new robe,” Leo said. And that’s how I found myself shopping for a robe in Times Square, wearing a hippo costume.
Copyright © 2018 by David Lewman; illustrated by Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.