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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bummer, dude! ‘Teenage Mutant Brother Friends’ charged with assault

Bianca Oppedisano
A poster of four penguins called the “Teenage Mutant Brother Friends.” Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

When June O’Kneel, a UMass Boston student worker tasked with sweeping the feces off of the Edward T. Barry Ice Rink at the end of each hockey game, reached out to me claiming to have discovered potential non-human waste, I was immediately taken aback. First of all, I was confused as to why sweeping feces off of the rink was something that needed to happen and why O’Kneel expected to find human waste, but in clarifying what she meant, she said: 

“Hockey players tend to be prone to kick the literal s— out of each other during a game. Well, someone needs to be there to clean up all that s—, and that’s where I come in.”

To be more specific, O’Kneel believes the fecal matter she’s been discovering belongs to some kind of bird. What’s more, these bird droppings aren’t the only thing plaguing the hockey teams. In recent weeks, reports have been flooding in of hockey players showing up to games and practices with bumps, bruises and cuts that they have no memory of receiving. This has led some to believe that the teams could be in grave danger.

Much to the dismay of O’Kneel and many others, the university has chalked these unexplainable injuries up to “locker room shenanigans” and “boys being boys” arguing that, “with all the concussions these kids have gotten over the years, it’s no wonder they have the memories of goldfish.” It should be noted that players on the women’s hockey team have been reporting the same unexplainable injuries and that there have been players from both teams who have reported vague memories of how they were hurt. One such player is Han Jones. 

“I was in the locker room alone late one night after getting some practice in on the ice. I thought I heard muttering through the vents that sounded like the voices of four pre-pubescent boys on the cusp of adolescence, but not quite there yet. Out of nowhere a cloud of smoke encased the entire room. Then, in a blurry frenzy of black and white feathers, out-of-style surfer lingo and heavy odors of greasy pizza, I found myself being attacked from all sides. The last thing I remember was a nunchaku to the head and a roaring, ‘Cowabunga, dude!’ It’s a phrase that’s haunted me ever since.”

Something was clearly afoot here, and I intended to get to the bottom of it. This is what led me to the Clark Athletic Center, a place I had only gone inside of one time in my five years at this university, to hopefully uncover the truth behind these mysterious attacks. 

After wandering through the corridors and into the secret subterranean tunnels that seemingly every building on campus has, I began to hear the sounds of skateboards shredding on half pipes and low-toned bleeps and bloops of retro arcade machines. Following these noises, the smell of old, dirty socks became overbearing. It wasn’t long until I came to the source of this youthful energy, the underground lair of the Teenage Mutant Brother Friends, which according to a sign by the door was officially referred to as the “TMBF Dojo.” In mere seconds, I found myself surrounded. 

Four sets of bandana-clad eyes stared me down as I stood defenseless. John acted as the muscle, standing directly behind me, blocking my escape with his deadly twin sai to my back. Ringo stood to my left swinging his bloodstained nunchaku wildly, a crazed and goofy-looking expression lighting up his face. To my right was the mild-mannered brainiac, George, who for whatever reason wielded only a wooden stick. Finally, meeting me head-on, with a freshly sharpened katana to my throat, was the foursome’s fearless leader, the honorable Paul. Something felt wrong. Those aren’t their names. Where are the shells and green scales? These boys weren’t turtles; they were mutated penguins. 

As I began regretting every life decision I had ever made that led me to this moment, a gruff voice with a Liverpudlian accent sounded out from the back of the dojo. “Boys, that’s enough!” The penguin friends, or whatever the hell they called themselves, sheathed their weapons and bowed their heads as their sensei, a bipedal, bearded polar bear named Brian, walked out of the shadows. “It’s time they learned the truth of our existence here,” spoke Brian while gesturing for me to join him in his back office. 

The bear’s office was a crowded assortment of TMBF merchandise. I’m talking t-shirts, bobbleheads, trading cards, posters, action figures, bedspreads and even breakfast cereal. A vinyl record sleeve depicting the penguins on the wall hinted at a theme song for the brothers, containing the mantra, “Brothers in a friendship. Brother power!” Brian slowly took a seat behind his desk. 

“When I was a human,” spoke Brian longingly, “I was one of the best managers in the entertainment business. When my life took a turn for the worse, I thought those days were behind me. Then I found these four guys and I realized I could have it all again. And more!” 

Brian spun around in his chair, basking in the glory of his shelves upon shelves of TMBF snow globes and PEZ dispensers. “You know, girls like cute. Boys like violence. Everybody likes wholesome. What’s more wholesome than brothers who are friends? You put these things together and ka-ching! I’m gonna have the highest-grossing toy and apparel line of all time! These little freaks are gonna make me rich!” 

When I asked how he came upon the penguins and why they’ve been attacking hockey players, he explained that when the penguins were hatchlings, they were imprisoned in the New England Aquarium. After a freak accident led them down a drainpipe, they ended up around Deer Island where they were mutated. After fishing them out of the harbor, Brian took them in and raised them to believe that an evil organization known as “The Hand” sought to take over the world and told the boys that the agents of this organization were the players on UMass Boston’s hockey teams. Due to the penguin’s shared trauma from humans manhandling them and poking at their aquarium glass, they bought Brian’s story without a question.

“I just wanted a way to gradually reveal them to the public,” said Brian. “You do something too quick and it becomes a fad. I want TMBF to be forever…like ‘Garfield.’” 

Speaking of other trademarked brands, Brian is well aware of his “product’s” similarity to existing properties. 

“Look, I know about those gosh darn ninja turtles, I know about The Beatles and I know about the ‘Penguins of Madagascar.’ But I also know a thing or two about copyright infringement, and let me tell you something, what I’m doing ain’t it. You see, I’ve changed it just enough so that I can slide by. A penguin named John Lennon? I knew a human named John Lennon, but a penguin? Who’s that?” 

Despite Brian’s questionable strategies for avoiding copyright lawsuits, he may not have the same luck when it comes to avoiding the multiple assault charges brought against his beloved “Brother Friends” by numerous angry hockey players. It also appears that the university is okay with the existence of Brian and his weird adopted sons as the campus bookstore has begun selling TMBF merchandise. The fact that the school has chosen to display these products in light of the upcoming trials against the “Brother Friends” has led some to believe that there might be some kind of sketchy deal going on. While the administration declined to comment, Brian offered a cryptic piece of business advice. 

“Sometimes, when you’re making a chili, you gotta add a little garlic. Some people might not like it, but they’re gonna smell it. Then it’s on their mind and they’re thinking, ‘Hey, this guy’s making a chili, maybe I want some.’ That’s how you make it today. You add a little garlic and you stir the pot. Cowabunga, dude!”  

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator