I Accidentally Killed One of the Ninja Turtles And I Am So Sorry

r.j. kushner
6 min readOct 21, 2023


Mea culpa! RIP.

Ugh. I feel awful. I accidentally killed one of the Ninja Turtles and I am so sorry. Damnit. This is just the worst. FML!

It happened when I was driving down Broadway listening to Summer of ’69 and eating croutons straight out of the bag, as is my wont. It was past midnight, and the stars shone through the pollution like the smudges on dirty glasses or something… Sorry, I dunno, I thought I’d try to be poetic but maybe this isn’t the time (time is like a jewel…frick, there I go again).

Anyway, I was taking a sip of Red Bull for my health when a manhole in the center of the street lifted, and a buff green body slid up before me like a premonition. I clocked its surprise just before my Kia Sorento clocked the rest of it. I felt a bump and heard a crack and I smashed the brake.

A cold silence followed, and the only sounds were the tinkle of the car engine and the tinkle of my tinkle (urine). I’ll be honest, I contemplated driving off. I’m human. I have impulses. How dare you judge me when I’m trying to open up to you. I turned off the ignition and looked in the rearview mirror and saw the green body laying in the street. I got out and took a closer look. Oof. Yep. That was a Ninja Turtle alright. Its shell was cracked. Frick. I got out of the car and crept over for a closer look.

“Rest in power,” I said thoughtfully, and I took off my little propeller hat out of respect.

I couldn’t tell which Ninja Turtle it was — its mask must have flown off from the impact of me hitting it with my car. Then something even more horrible happened: the dang thing groaned. Goddamnit! Still alive. I’d have to bring it to the hospital now or something. I tried to lift it but it was too friggen heavy. Le Sigh (meme). I was contemplating taking it in pieces when a lightbulb went on. “That’s strange,” I said. “Where did that lightbulb come from??” Then I had an idea: I’ll bring my car closer so I don’t have to carry the big fucker so far.

I hopped in my Kia Sorento and ate a few more croutons for courage. Then I put the car in reverse and backed up. I drank some more Red Bull (from a nice glass, btw, I’m not a slob) and then I felt it: Another bump! What is it with this friggen city and its bumps? Oh, wait, I thought. This wasn’t just any bump. I’d backed up too far and ran over the Ninja Turtle again!

I jumped out of the car and sure enough, there he was, stuck under my Kia Sorento. He didn’t groan this time. TBH, I was starting to feel really bad about the whole thing. I’d played a little part in this tragedy, one of a million little tragedies that happen every day in this concrete jungle (That’s it, I’m sending this to the New Yorker poetry editor.).

Anyway, after poking it a little bit more with my wand (I do magic sometimes and keep a wand in my glovebox in case I need to poke something weird or impress a cop to get out of a ticket or both), I got back in my Kia Sorento. Christ, I felt awful. I really, really did. I put my forehead on my steering wheel and tried to cry but nothing came, I think because I’d spent all my tears watching Small Soldiers earlier that day (that movie scared the shit out of me).

Then it occurred to me: I should take this thing back where it came from. It should be mourned in the proper way by its own freaky kind. I hopped back out of my Kia Sorento (Jesus, a lot of hopping — was starting to feel like an amphibian myself! Is a turtle an amphibian?) and started dragging the buff turtle out from under my Kia Sorento and back into the sewer. Yuck. It’s bad enough to have to touch an amphibian, but try doing it while backing into a dirty sewer. What even is my life??

Anyway, I finally got the thing down into the sewer (dropped it twice) and looked around. There wasn’t as much shit as I expected. I was thinking there would be more shit. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the lack of shit. Where the fuck was all the shit??

Then I heard a noise. The sound of laughter. It was horrible! Were they laughing at me? I grew enraged. But I peeked around the corner and they were just watching TV. Phew. What a relief! When I say “they,” of course, I mean the rest of the Ninja Turtles (although I hate to make assumptions). I dragged my Ninja Turtle in a little more and cleared my parched throat (would have sucked a rat’s cock for another Red Bull right about then).

“Evening,” I said.

The three big things turned their bowling-ball heads and looked at me. Then they looked at the body of their friend that I’d dragged in. Then, before I knew it, they attacked! I was friggen being jumped by Ninja Turtles! Honestly would have sucked a rat’s cock for a camera right then. Anyway, they kind of hit me with everything they had and, Christ, I hate to say this, but it was kind of pathetic. I fought back and overcame them very easily. Eesh. I just kind of put out my hands and started breaking their arms and legs. I hardly even had to try. It made me sad. I tried to tell them to stop so I could explain myself but they just kept coming. Jesus, I felt bad. One of them tried to go for my legs and I kicked it and kind of smashed its face in. It fell over and released its bowels. God, what a smell! “THERE’s the shit,” I thought, finally, while I picked up another one that was trying to knife me and broke its neck like a pretzel stick. Ugh. This was NOT what I wanted.

There was one left and it let out a big yell and charged me with nunchucks. WWJD? I picked up a brick and broke its skull. I kind of thought it would just get knocked out or something but nope, it went right through its skull. God, what a scene! What a disaster! I felt like pure shit.

I would have sucked a rat’s — but before I could finish that thought I looked up and a giant rat had entered the room! Be careful what you wish for, I guess. Wait a minute, I thought suddenly, that’s their teacher! Master What’s-Its-Name. Surely this big rat would be a creature of reason.

I rushed toward the over-sized rodent to explain the situation but to my horror it pulled out a gun! “Don’t shoot!” I yelled. “I can explain!” It looked around for a minute in a kind of panic and then it put the gun in its mouth. “Noooo!” I said. I jumped and tackled the big rat to the ground and smacked the gun away. Phew. You can bet your ass the song “How To Save A Life” was playing in my head! But then when I got up off the rat I realized I’d squished it with my body when I tackled it and its guts were kind of hanging out everywhere. Geez Louise, can I do anything right? You can bet your ass the song “All Apologies” was playing in my head!

This was starting to feel less like a sewer and more like a tomb (the more poetry you write, the better you get, I’m realizing). I stood listening to the drips and clinks of the sewer world, feeling like the biggest piece of garbage there. Ugh! Mea Culpa! Then I heard it: another groan. My original Ninja Turtle was still alive! I rushed over to give it a poke (wished I had my wand) but it managed to wake up and scurry away from me into a pipe. Damn! I thought turtles were supposed to be slow. Didn’t even get to offer it a crouton of peace.

Anyway, I climbed back up out of the sewer and into a New York City rainstorm. It felt like some sort of baptism, perhaps the universe’s way of forgiving me. Then I saw my car had a ticket for illegal parking. Then lightning struck my car and it burst into flames. I couldn’t help but shake my head and laugh! That’s the thing about this city. You never know what’s gonna happen, but you know it’s always gonna keep moving. Holy crap, what a line. Just call me Bob friggen Shakespeare!



r.j. kushner

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