By Adrian Tullberg.

The media was camped out in front of the precinct – standard operating procedure when he was caught. Again.

One detective knew a guy that drove a snack van that followed the circus around. In exchange for making some parking tickets disappear, the GCPD got a few minutes notice before the pack arrived.

This allowed the squad car escorting the prisoner to divert to an ancillary office, where he could be booked in relative peace.

One officer was driving. The other was watching the prisoner with an eagle eye.

The prisoner was uncharacteristically silent, simply smiling at his watcher.

The cruiser pulled up a few blocks from the HQ, and the drive pulled out a cell phone, hitting the autodial. The phone he was calling was just like this one; cloned. After this conversation the phones would be disposed of; he'd heard too many mistakes made by perps in order to repeat them.

"Ready when you are."

"Let's do this."

"Oooh. Sounds intriguing."

The two ignored the prisoner as they drove off and turned into the parking bay behind the HQ.

Officers David Moore and Arnie Miller got out of the car, scanning the area. They then opened the door, dragging the six foot five prisoner out of the seat and onto his feet, Moore on his left, Miller on his right.

Officer Glenn Rucka was waiting, casually dangling his pistol from his hand.

"The pistol whipping already?"

Moore gave the area another glance. "Shut up."

"Seriously, I'm getting a Brokeback vibe here."

Rucka wasn't in the mood for preliminaries. "Got the cuffs?"

Miller held up a pair of police issue handcuffs. He got a buddy in the labs to doctor the mechanism so it looked like the catch broke due to metal fatigue. Thousand-to-one accident. And unless they got the budget of CSI, it'd stand up to the imminent investigations.

"The guys inside will wait for a minute after they hear the shots."

The Joker's face twisted into exaggerated comprehension. "The old shot-while-trying-to-escape trick!"

Moore got the idea when he heard the commish had been unsuccessful in getting the extra budget for maintenance, even when some kids had smashed the single camera covering this area.

It didn't take too long to find a few others who shared the same idea. Gordon and the guy in the batsuit might want to preserve the whole 'murder is wrong' concept …

… but there were things out there that just needed killing.

And they had the number one candidate right here.

A simple, direct plan and alibi. An unforeseeable accident causing an unfortunate but justifiable response.

Tragic. Simply tragic.

Moore went through it one more time. "He grabs his gun…" he pointed to Rucka "… you shoot him first, then I fire another few rounds into him. We forgetting anything?"

The Joker was fastidiously dusting off his lapel. "Keep my hands free of blood splatter so you can make the switch to the defective cuffs with a minimum of forensic evidence?"

Moore rolled his eyes "We already..."

He stopped.

The evidence before their eyes was all too slowly resolving into a horrible, inescapable concept.

The Joker's hands held apart and to shoulder level. The bent safety pin in his left hand only counterpointed his bone-white smile.

"Ta da."

"He's loose He's loos.."

"Get him GET HIM…"

Purple gloved hands grabbed Miller with a convulsive speed, and wrenched the surprised man in front of him -

- the world slowed to a tachypsychiac crawl -

- just as Rucka finally drew and fired -

- the Joker drew Miller's gun -

- a perfect hole exploded in Miller's forehead -

- Moore drew his gun -

- the Joker fired, Rucka's throat exploding in a burst of blood and viscerals-

- while shoving Miller's body into Moore …

The dead weight of his partner knocked Moore off his feet, his gun dropping to the ground.

Scrabbling for the weapon, he glanced up. And froze.

The Joker held the barrel of the weapon directly between Moore's eyes.

"Even with other people's material…"

He started giggling, while cocking the hammer.

"... I'm the one who delivers the punchline."

The Joker's finger tightened -

Two uniformed officers heard the shots, and grin at each other, while counting backwards from sixty.

In a minute, they'd run out, and see the horrible tragedy of the prisoner shot down on police property.

Tragic. Simply Tragic.