1998-05 – Letters from Raphael


Hey, the warm weather is just around the corner… we even had a few real, real nice days already… I know El Nino has been doin’ some heavy duty evil damage to the rest o’ the US of A… but it’s been givin’ most of us East Coasters a real sweet deal for some reason. Kind of a typical scenario… some folks get hammered and hammered while others get the soft touch… I wish it was goin’ smooth for all of us. Kinda hard to enjoy the nice weather when I know it’s due to a warm front that annihilated the South a few days ago. I hope the wicked weather has been leavin’ ya be, and if not, I sure hope you’ve been coping well and haven’t lost too much. Unbelievable how many people have lost everything to the storms this year.

Not too much goin’ down new. Me and Casey made up. He made a deal with me that he’d meet up with Clan Sai (the former members of the Foot that I’ve been hangin’ with) if I’d watch his kid one night when he got called into work. Mikey was off with Mondo Gecko, so he couldn’t do it. April has been doin’ some freelance reporting again, so she was busy too. She got the first draft of her novel finished, but she ain’t found a publisher interested yet. I guess it’s pretty hard to sell books… I don’t pay too much attention to that stuff, so I dunno. Anyways, Space Case was inna bind, and I wasn’t so nice that I didn’t take advantage of it. Besides, I knew if he met the Clan, he’d change his mind. Most of the guys are just kids… some younger than me! They were just lookin’ for some place to “belong” so they joined the Foot, just like most o’ the kids in gangs in this country. It’s a sad truth and it’s a pretty difficult process to prevent nowadays… I’d say impossible, but I don’t wanna be too cynical.

I’ve really missed Casey, lemme tell ya. He’s one o’ the only guys who can understand where I’m at. He was wicked upset when I first started running with the Clan, thought I was sellin’ out. I wanted him to talk to Splinter about it…but the ol’ Sensei isn’t very open-minded about this either. Splinter can be as stubborn as anyone else about some stuff… and he won’t give any quarter to any member (or former member) of the Foot. Since they offed his Master, I guess I can’t blame him… but it doesn’t really flow with alotta what he preaches, y’ know? Forgive and forget… man… if I can do it, ya’d think the ol’ rat could! I dunno… some scars are too deep I guess.

Anyways, Casey ended up coming down to where I train with Clan Sai one night after work. He wasn’t real nice to the guys, but I warned ’em that he’d be playin’ hard ball with ’em. Casey’s been bouncin’ at some real rough clubs, and he’s been getting both bigger and meaner… and he’s way better at fighting now… I thought he was gettin’ too old for this, but was I ever wrong! He’s been hangin’ with the other bouncers and they’ve been teachin’ him some weird stuff… different kinds of judo and akido and some stuff they got from street brawls. Casey learned some pressure point holds that simply drop ya to your knees in pain… and all he’ll be doin’ is holdin’ your thumb. Watch out if he tries to shake your hand and he’s mad at ya!

So after meetin’ the crew and goin’ a few rounds with ’em, we were all buddy-buddy. The guys really gave Case respect, and he seemed to dig that… I know I get into the role of teacher… it really fills a void in me that I didn’t know was there, ya know? It’s hard to explain… but all my life I’ve been fightin’ people, it’s really nice to be helpin’ some. Really nice.

Well, enough sappy stuff! The short of it is this: me and Case are now the “official” Sensei’s of the Clan Sai. 2 or 3 nights a week we train. Casey wants to groom the guys to fight crime, and I’m all for that. “Atone for past sins” is what Case painted above the door as ya walk into our warehouse. Casey also has the guys doin’ odd jobs to make cash to fix the place up… one of ’em delivers pizza, so I’m sure he’ll be makin’ friends with Mikey in time. They’re also doin’ alotta community service stuff, cleanin’ up the neighborhoods and everything. This will teach ’em discipline and how to care for your community instead of tryin’ to take advantage of it. The guys have been great about this for the most part. There are 10 guys in it now. When Casey got involved, one left because he didn’t want to become a good guy… ya can’t save ’em all, so good riddance to bad medicine. He’d better leave town, or he’ll have a ton of bricks come down on him the first time we find him doin’ somethin’ he shouldn’t be doin’. I’ve learned how to control myself a bit and bend a little, but one strike on you’re out in my book.

So that’s the interestin’ stuff. Typically we’ve had a battle here and there with various bad guys… but this is what we do. No biggie.


Master Splinter

Leave a Reply