Playing patience

Don't own a thing, it's all DC's

Bad characterisation & ends too quickly- constructive criticism welcomed.

Based on the first scene in "The Killing Joke".

Playing Patience

By Threnody

Playing patience. He was playing patience again. Not that it was actually him- the last time- but the doppelganger had obviously been issued instructions.

I almost started the conversation I had tried to before, I've been thinking… about you… and me… I said we'd kill each other. The impostor hadn't replied.

It was the disturbingly named "visitors' cell". A table in the centre of the small room dimly lit by an old light hanging from the ceiling. Joker was sitting opposite me, playing patience. I could only see the silhouette of his head. All I could see clearly were the hands laying out the cards, like before.

Joker laid another card on the table in front of me. It was a joker, a red one. In full jester's uniform, surrounded by a garland of flowers, dancing on a globe. Laughing.

I was surprised that the asylum allowed him the cards, but then, I was surprised at a lot of their tactics.

"So Bats," he began, as always, a hint of laughter on the edge of his voice, "You cheat at cards?"

I didn't answer. I wondered if there was an answer. He laid another card next to the first, identical except it was black.

"I know why you're here, murci¾ lago," He shuffled the pack, "You're here to inform me of the error of my ways. To persuade me why you've been right and I've been wrong, all the time. The whole time; imagine it!" He chuckled, but stopped abruptly. "And here I thought that it was a free country. Freedom of speech- do you believe in it? If so, can I borrow your phone?" He paused, as if about to laugh, but stopped.

I found this disconcerting, I always expect my greatest enemies to act in predictable ways. I mentally shook myself reminding my already-calculating brain that Joker's only repetitive trait was to be unpredictable.

"Of course, you could be here to succeed where so many psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and psychopaths have failed before. To find what makes me tick, to know why I did what I did." Another soft chuckle, and another joker card laid on the table. Red, this time.

He paused in his shuffling of the pack. He cocked his head on one side, as if considering something. Leaning over to me, his permanent grin made visible in the dim light, he whispered, "I'll let you in on a little secret, morcego… AA batteries to make me tick, though I'm sure you could do even better in the right situation…" he froze there, his eyebrows raised in a conspiring manner.

I expected the come-on, but they were usually better worded, accompanied by some admittedly witty joke, not that I'd ever tell anybody that. Joker leant back, and, almost to my relief, began to laugh, loudly.

Outside, I heard the security guards shift. The laughter put them on edge, obviously. I wondered how many bad experiences they'd had for Joker's amusement. Another black joker on the table. They were all in a neat line: red, black, red, black.

I decided I should say something, if only to stop the laughter that had ceased to be comforting.

"How do you think your progress has been in your time at the asylum?" I wasn't sure why I'd said it, perhaps as an incentive for him to say something. I gave myself a mental kick as I realised I was coming up with reasons after the action. Something I never do.

"Oh I'm fair to middlin', don't you worry, Bats," I had to look up the phrase afterwards, "As well as can be expected in a place that invariably makes you crazier than you actually are, something I'm an expert on, as you know." He giggled.

"But enough about me!" he laid down a red joker, continuing the pattern. It occurred to me that there shouldn't be that many in a pack, "How is my little chave-souris? Still upset about what I did to seinem Rotkehlchen?"

He waited for an answer.

"I'll never forgive you for that." Stupid, left myself wide open.

He burst out laughing, so hard he fell off his chair. He was rolling around on the floor in his restraints, banging head against the wall, laughing like a madman. An accurate description, perhaps.

The guards wasted no time in running in with the tranquillisers.

"Perhaps you had better leave", mumbled the doctor nervously. He was obviously just as frightened of me as the he was of the Joker.

They dragged Joker away, but before the tranqs set in, he managed to throw the pack of cards at me.

They were all jokers.