Not a Laughing Matter

Sarah Demens

3/22/20245 min read

My post content

Time has a funny effect on the things it touches. For people, it shrivels them, cripples them. Makes them more fragile. For environments, it can decay, rust, become a wasteland. For places like Ace Chemicals, it only spreads a deadly toxin of fear, panic and complete madness. A perfect reflection of the monster it created.

The Clown Prince of Crime sat on his new throne, legs hanging over one arm of the chair, the rest of him hanging over the other, a gun casually dangling loosely from his left hand, close to touching the floor. He stared up at the ceiling, his haunting grin plastered eternally on his bleached white face, his wide, blotchy scarred lips a blood red, his styled hair a sickly green... almost as sick as him.
Just a week prior, he had taken over the place that birthed his twisted identity. It had been abandoned long ago and condemned to be demolished... it strangely never happened, however... when an anonymous buyer swooped in at the last second and managed to save it.
Joker had been getting nostalgic lately. His head was running wild with all the memories of his tumultuous lifetime; the good, the bad and the very ugly. Out of all the villains and lowly crooks in Gotham... Joker took the cake of being the absolute worst. There was truly zero redemptive qualities inside him... zero guilt, zero regrets... and that wasn't the worst part... the worst part was that he actually enjoyed what he did.
As he sat there, a series of deep chuckles came from his throat, his mind zoned in on his own little world, deeper and deeper into madness. Opera music played with poor quality in the back-ground through the rusty speakers, the source of the otherwise beautiful composition coming from an old and half-broken record player, which kept scratching off track and skipping parts of the melody itself. The clown had sabotaged it to play over and over, a tune that the goons around him were rather sick of hearing by now.
The clown soon closed his eyes, breathing in a relaxed state of comatose as he let his body and his mind enter its own dose of paralysis. His chuckling ceased for a few moments, making the men around him turn their heads, as they were so used to their boss always laughing or making sounds at least a little similar. They glanced at each other worriedly, knowing full well his behavior was off the charts... he was unpredictable. One day upon entering this condition, he snapped and randomly shot dead one of his own men standing guard, soon breaking into a psychotic episode of laughter, proceeding to dance and twirl around the room like he just won the lottery.
As loyal as they were to his cause... the goons were afraid of him. Afraid of the things he could do. And one thing they were afraid even more of, more than the clown himself... was his prized possession. His stroke of artistry. His crowning achievement. Harley Quinn. The relatively younger woman thundered her way through the door she threw open, carelessly knocking one of the goons to the side in the process, and skipped her way to the clown's seat. She hummed happily, without a care in the world, before sliding down on her knees next to his head and hovering her face over his. She smiled with lips traced with black lipstick. Staring with her painted white face, eyes caked in black powder, her hair in two messy ponytails that were a colored blonde, roots hinting of its natural brown. Dressed in her trademark red and black colorization, wearing a red cut-off sleeveless shirt, a black diamond spray-painted on the front, a heart in the back, with sparkling black shorts and knee high combat boots.
Her bubbly personality was annoying to everyone around her, but her caring and affectionate side had a surprisingly natural calming effect on her villainous soulmate.
"Mista J!" She greeted with her excited, high-pitched brooklyn-esque accent. The Joker immediately broke out of his trance and his bright green eyes popped open, staring straight up as his expression turned to one of irritation.
Harley cleared her throat, sarcastically. "Sorry to interrupt, puddin', but those idiots you sent out are back and you are NOT gonna be happpyyyyyy." A wicked grin now took over her beautiful porcelain face, standing back up and staring murderously towards the doorway. She knew what was coming... and it excited her.

Joker glared darkly as a small group of men entered in cautiously, their eyes glued to the clown at all times... particularly widening and zoning in on the clown's hand, which they noticed was conveniently wielding a gun. They positioned themselves in front of him, gulping loudly, their gaze now nervously falling to the floor. As if they were children and now had to face their livid father. A livid homicidal father.
The lead cleared his throat. "Ahem...... boss... w... we're back... sir."

The Joker had looked away, raising his armed hand to the ceiling, fiddling with the trigger with the tip of his finger. "Oh, ARE you now?? I hadn't noticed."
His high-pitched, flamboyant voice mocking them in such a way shook them to their core. "We're sorry, boss." The leader said, shifting uncomfortably, especially noticing Harley Quinn standing by the clown's chair, smirking with satisfaction as she crossed her arms and watched with pleasure. She only did this when she knew something was going to happen.

"I see you've come back without that head I was promised." Joker uttered, referencing the very words the leader spoke before departing, promising to come back with the head of their target. Naturally, it was a joke to the goons, but obviously not to their master. Who, despite his extravagant and completely ridiculous level of crazy and laughs, took things quite seriously.
"There was um... a complication, sir..."
"Complication?" Joker tilted his head, still not looking at them directly. "I asked you to take out ONE man, at night, in the dark, in an empty street alley, with no witnesses or bystanders to save him, out of the sweet and cozy comfort of his home, and watch the fear in his eyes as you SQUEEZED THE LIFE OUT'VE HIM."
The men flinched.
"But no... you return to me, tails between your legs, letting that pointless little turncoat go, running home happily to his sweet little innocent girl, and now a second attempt on his life will be all the more harder, as he now knows I've put a HIT on his pathetic and meager little life. And here you are, acting as if I'm going to let such a failure slide." He laughed demonically.

The leader jolted. Especially when the Joker cocked his gun. "It wasn't us, boss, honest! We almost had him done for, see... and then... and then the Bat showed up!"
Joker froze. His face dropped to one that the goons always knew occurred when they mentioned the presence of the one thing that made the Joker hesitate: The Batman.
"Batsy?" He suddenly swirled his legs around and seated upright in his chair, jittering excitedly. "BATMAN was there?! STOPPING you?!"
They tensed. He threw his arms up suddenly, breaking out in an ecstatic display of glee.

"WELL, WHY DIDN'T CHYA SAY SO?!" He hurried up and began pacing. "Bats is protecting MY ex-henchman?? My, how the numbers of innocent lives taken have dropped, that he now has to come and protect the former pawns of his adversaries!" He laughed. "WOO!!! Good work, boys! You've made my day!! Now I've got something to do this weekend!!"
He swung over to Harley, grinning wide as Harley scrunched her shoulders up, giddy herself to see him so excited. "Is it time for our romantic get-away, puddin'?!"
"YOU BETCHA, BABY! Put on your best dress, Harley!" He grabbed her, wrapping an arm around her waist, holding her hand with his other arm high into the air as he danced with her in uncoordinated circles. His goons breathed sighs of relief, knowing now they had been spared. . . for now.
"We're going to make the headlines, my dear. We've got a beautiful date with a freakish bat we simply can not miss!"
"Oh, Mista J." Harley said with affection, her dark heart melting at his positive embrace as she laid her head on his chest. "Life with you is heaven on earth."