Prologue: A Man with a Plan
Disclaimer: I do not own Nolan's Batman or Criminal Minds. Rights remain with their respective owners and I make no money off of this fan fiction.
Author's Note: This story was written for 2010's National Novel Writing Month (visit for more info). So don't egg me if my logic doesn't always add up-I was writing under duress. On that note, I'm not a psych major (I've had two college classes on the matter, that's all, so all my real info comes from crime shows); please forgive me if I screw up when using terminology above my pay-grade. Thanks.
John Dryden said, "Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide."
A Man with a Plan
His was the face of madness. Or so said the world. The man known as the Joker, quite often, disagreed.
The coal stain of grease paint across his skin bagged his eyes and lined his lids, forcing the whites around his irises to an intensity that often accompanied mock surprise. A capillary pinkness, the faint redness between those lashes, was the only hint of tiredness in his features. For another human, nearly any other human, it could have been mistaken for the swelled features of a man post-cry. But this jester's mask had never slid with tears. With sweat, with blood, yes. But not tears.
Not that he was incapable of such a thing. Why, once, he'd laughed so hard at a convulsing waitress that he'd nearly drowned in salty crocodiles. Thankfully, he hadn't been in full garb, hadn't been himself
, that day. Good waterproof was so very hard to find.
So. Wasn't that he couldn't-he simply had no remorse for the insane. And, as he had said often enough, to the shadows of his cell, the world was chock-full of crazies, like this pig of a man, on his knees like a sinner at Church.
Now, he, piggy-pig, was certainly a crier.
The Joker licked the right corner of his mouth, following the movement with a compulsive purse of his lips. Making small talk, he tilted his head, his voice high, "You're a plumber, aren't you, Johnny?" A choked sob was his only answer. "Did you ever hear the one about the plumber and the belt salesman? No?
Didn't think so."
"Anything," John pleaded. His swollen face was wet. He looked like an oil-slick, but his skin was as porous as a cement sidewalk at his pecked cheeks. A crowbar's imprint darkened the center of his forehead. He shook with terror, his chin wobbling, but managed to calm himself enough for reasoning. "Anything," he repeated, "money. I have money. There's no reason to hurt us, no reason."
The blackened blink was lazy. The Joker leaned forward, sweeping a green stained curl behind one ear. "Tell me," he said, his voice low. A growl of anger at the back of his throat. Something had offended him. "Do I look like a man of reason to you?"
John the plumber continued to shake, but the terror was quickly replace with a freezing rage. "You bastard," he hissed, "you sick freak."
The Joker shook out his shoulders, a mock sadness across his mutilated mouth. "Johnny, I get the impression," he replied, "that you don't like my jokes."
The room's light was dim and coming from the two lamps at either side of the queen-sized bed. The mattress squeaked with the shift of the Joker's body when he pulled free a lengthy shape from his jacket. Even in that poor, yellow glow, the knife's serrated back looked like a shark's mouth.
"Johnny, I'm thinking that Melissa has a funny bone worth, uh, tickling
." The Joker balanced the blade between three fingers, looking thoughtful. "Guess I should probably cut her open and find out-"
A quick thud cut off the threat, and it came from the opposite side of the room, where the subject, Melissa, lay, hog-tied, beside her wardrobe. Face flushed red from the strain, she was still wearing the lace lined nightgown she'd retired in, and the attire was sparse enough to reveal that her middle-aged body was well toned, her haircut short and styled before bedtime for an evening of romance; and, still, not a single detail was at all attractive to the man currently casting her a glare. What did seem to spike his interest was the anger in her expression. The woman threw her head against the wood again, trying to keep the criminal's attention away from her restrained husband. Though she was sufficiently gagged, a high, demanding noise escaped the cloth.
"See," the Joker blinked, "your old lady agrees." He leaned over, giving her a wink. "Wait your turn, sweetheart."
John's eyes widened. The white cable ties holding back his arms were strained nearly to the breaking. Without the balance of two hands, he couldn't force himself to stand.
"Please, God, just, please don't-" The whimper didn't fade. It was cut off by a gurgle.
Melissa's screams remained trapped behind the tight gag and thoroughly ignored by the villain, sprayed with crimson, sitting on her new bedspread.
Twenty-two hours. Twenty-two hours and he was at it again. Well, maybe that wasn't quite true. After all, if one counted the two guards on the way out of Arkham, the lackey who'd picked the wrong escape vehicle (Mr. Joker had clearly asked for a van, not an SUV- the moron), the gas station attendant who'd…Alright, so, it had been twenty-two hours and he'd slid a blade across a few too many necks. But it was this neck, this dirty bag of bones that mattered.
The Joker smiled. A genuine expression. And tapped the business end of the knife against his lower lip. The blood blended well against his flaking make-up.
"Fun, fun," he noted, less than enthused. Releasing a heavy sigh, he kicked over John's body, and sat the dirty blade down with a muttered, "What's next?"
For the answer, he reached out, picking a heavy textbook up off of the bed. Dramatically, he flipped through its slick pages, finally coming to a dog earred chapter to his liking. He snorted, then released a full laugh, tapping a gloved finger against the page. "Now, this," he breathed, "should be entertaining
Melissa's courage seemed to drain at the word. Her throat moved with one final swallow.
The Joker sat the book down, its title bright white against the dark background: Basic Criminal Profiling
. He ignored the knife and stooped down, fetching the crowbar from the floor.
He cocked his head, as joyful as a dentist with a new drill. "Let's find that funny bone."~#~
The lackey barely managed the question, covering the mouth of his clown mask with one hand to hold back the flood of bile. He averted his eyes from the bedroom, taking a quick step back into the hall. But he knew better than to turn away. The boss wouldn't like it.
"Boss, Grock's got the van around front, says the neighbors are gettin' curious." He finished with a choked clearing of the throat. "Wants to know where we're headed next, Boss."
The iron pulled free from the body with a sick suck. The Joker tossed the tool to the side and lifted a playing card from his jacket pocket. It drifted down to land on the corpse. His tongue stroked his scar.
"Boss?" The hired-hand shook his head, confused. "We just left that pit."
The Joker picked up the textbook, placing it under one arm. "Rhode Island's boring, kids. Let's head home."End Notes: Geography- I'm going the route of one episode of Batman the Animated Series and pretending that Gotham is, say, where New York's Long Island is located. This is only slightly relevant later in the story, and it won't conflict with the Nolan verse (though Nolan's Batman is filmed in Chicago).
Hope you enjoyed! Please leave a review and let me know if this has sparked your interest. I wasn't originally going to post this story here on tth, but if there are few interested readers, I'll definitely continue posting.