The Grape.jpg

Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

The Grape is a backup story published in Tales of the TMNT volume 2 issue 4: The Worms of Madness, Part 2. It is the first Professor Obligado story, before The Raisin'.

Pages: 6




There is an unnamed Utrom.

He has swum in oceans of methane, red and swollen with billions of eggs from creatures that spawn but once every thirteen thousand Earth-years...
...Crawled cut and bloodied and close to death through forests of silicone shards, beneath mirrored rainbows of mercury drizzle...
...Slept in trenches made sweet and sticky from the dripping wounds of sentient clouds during a clandestine war on a still unnamed planet...

The Utrom sees a vision of a single grape lying on city sidewalk.

... All in the pursuit of science...

The Utrom thinks of a single word—"police."

... And knowledge...
... To experience that which few others have.

In a rundown New York City apartment, this Utrom and several others of his kind are wearing the same kind of headset, and all appear sickly and spaced out, and some are passed out and motionless. The one Utrom takes off the headset and walks into the apartment's bathroom, moments before the apartment's front door is busted in by a team of human police officers.

Officer: Why the hell aren't they responding?
Male Detective: They could care less about us. Menta-Wave addicts... Psi-boosters. Locked up inside their heads...hooked on the consciousness-expanding powers of these alien helmets. They forget about their bodies... Some of 'em wind up dying of malnutrition like some of these fools here. That's why unauthorized Menta-Wave use is outlawed... Hell, Utroms have lost some of their best and brightest minds to illegal Menta-Wave usage by so-called pioneers working outside the scientific establishment.
Female Detective: The road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn't that what they say?
Utrom B: I... I have diplomatic immunity.
Utrom C: Please don't tell... my parents.
Utrom D: This is my... first time. Really.
Male Detective: Right. The pull of the helmets is too much even for the strongest minds.

The male detective looks into the apartment's bathroom. The Utrom who walked in is gone, but the window is left hanging open.

Male Detective: It's the ultimate trip to some of these brainiacs. They get hooked on the lucid dreaming. Or on riding the jumbled thrill of clairvoyant images... Surfing the multitude of possibilities their enhanced precognitive abilities give them. Which begs the statement: You'd think that with enhanced precog abilities... One of these jokers would've seen this raid coming.

The one Utrom has been climbing out the window, but loses his grip and vertical drop more than just several floors up from street level.

He once lay for for weeks in near-irretrievable semi-comatose state in order to record his coma-dreams...
He has immersed himself in whirlpools of psychedelic rivers... Dropped acid with the séanced ghost of Timothy Leary...
...Stretched his consciousness out along a black hole's time-tearing event horizon and returned to retrieve the convulsive memories of his own birth...

The Utrom bounces off an awning above a sidewalk fruit stand, knocking over some fruit.

He has done things few sentient beings have ever had the courage to do, all in the pursuit of knowledge and experience...

The Utrom violently ricochets off a taxicab in the street.

...but until now he has never witnessed...

The Utrom rolls onto the sidewalk, finally coming to a stop.

...his own death.

In front of the Utrom's face, he sees a single grape on the sidewalk. The life leaves his body, with human pedestrians as witnesses to his death.


  • This is the first of Professor Obligado's stories, though he is not yet named in this story. The next story is The Raisin'.
  • This story takes place after the events of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 4 #5 and the establishment of public relations between the Utroms and Earth.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.