In my office at work is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy of Michelangelo still in the box. It was a gift from my parents on my 18th birthday. It was intended as a fun gag gift, but it has been one of my most favored presents ever. I’ve never taken him out of the box, and I’ve always had somewhere for him everywhere I’ve lived. It seemed only fitting when I joined the team at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen that he should find a place in my office.
On April 1st, I expected to come into work and find plastic wrap on my door, the mouse optical covered, or some other prank played. With the exception of the mouse optical, there wasn’t anything done. I should have known something more diabolical was in the works.
After a meeting with my directors, I stepped out of my office to do a walk around of the building. Shortly after coming back to my desk, I was greeted with an e mail from Aaron Villanious titled “Shredder Strikes” and the following picture:
Not knowing who was responsible for this senseless act of violence, I scoured the office looking for Mikey. A few of the staff were acting a little sketchy; they knew something, but they weren’t sharing. To send me in another direction, however, I received another e mail:
Mikey was left in a barrel of donations to go out in the thrift store.
Not long after, I received the next e mail with the subject “Lunch was good.”
In fear for his safety, I began going office to office trying to find the culprit who would traumatize an innocent turtle. That’s when I received the next e mail. Mikey was put in a storage shelf where we let people store their belongings during the day, but they have to be cleared out by 4:30 or they go into the abyss:
Of course, by the time I arrived to save Mikey, he was already gone, and no one in the area had seen anything. By this point I was certain a larger conspiracy was taking place beyond just one person. A team of kidnappers were taking Mikey on an adventure that I’m sure will cause him nightmares for years to come.
In an attempt to send me into cardiac arrest, the kidnappers wanted me to think Mikey had been sold like some toy for children to play with when I received the next email with the subject line “sold for $10 dollars.”
Enough was enough at this point. I couldn’t let Mikey keep getting passed around like a green ninja doll. I stormed into the Thrift Store with the picture pulled up on my phone and went straight to the manager demanding to know where Mikey was. Alas, I received no answers though. Whoever had him was sneaking around to take pictures where others wouldn’t see them, and I was left distraught, returning to my office, panicked about Mikey’s safety.
While my emotions were torn, the kidnappers showed the depth of their depravity when I got the next message, which was labeled: “I love my new purchase”
Before I could retrieve him from the office where he was held, I learned he was already moved to another location. I was beginning to lose all hope when the next message attempted to show that the conspirators may have had some compassion on poor Mikey. They tucked Mikey in for a little nap:
Not knowing what fate Mikey would soon find, I was at my wit’s end when an inviting e mail appeared on my screen: “Ok I give up come & get me”
Figuring it was a trap, I responded to the e mail that since they kidnapped him, they should return him. I was going to hold my ground. Then, in a dastardly turn, there was Mikey, sitting in the one chair I must approach with caution: the CEO’s chair:
Could I dare walk past the conference room to find Mikey sitting in the boss’ chair? I knew it was a diversion to get me out of my office so they could slip him back in keeping me dark to the identities of the culprits; so I waited.
In a desperate attempt to frame an innocent bystander, another co-worker (whom I believe to be part of the conspiracy) e mailed me a picture of Mikey, one door away, held hostage by the auditors:
I knew the only way I would get Mikey back safe was to give into the demands of the criminals and leave my office. Wanting to help the police track down the ring of evil turtle kidnappers later, though, I set a trap. I propped my cell phone to see if anyone came in my office while I was gone to return Mikey.
I won’t show the faces of the criminals I caught on camera (for fear of retaliation against Mikey), but I do want to say, “Thank You” to the team at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for making April Fool’s Day 2016 such a fun time. I’ll enjoy sharing this story for a long time.