"The Joker's car wasn't the one to speed out of here," Jim Gordon heard from behind him as he began finishing up his report.

He didn't need to turn around to know who it was. "It had to be."

"No, the Joker's car was in no condition to leave this place."

"Are you suggesting that the car sitting and smoldering in that driveway over there…" Gordon frowned as he turned to the figure of Gotham's Dark Knight, who was gazing off towards the house and vehicle. "How can you tell? Forensics couldn't even figure out what model it was."

"The Joker," explained Batman, "has a line of custom cars at his disposal…and this car is unmistakably his."

He held up a small chunk of the bumper, which was charred but the signature green that it had been painted was still resilient and a sticker, only peeling slightly remained on it.

Honk if you love chaos

"Who'd be crazy enough to blow up the Joker's car?" Gordon asked, looking over the twisted metal to his left. He received no answer though.

Batman was gone.

--

"Stupid piece of foreign shit!" the Joker fumed as he gave the car a good kick. "Why people buy these is completely beyond me. These tins are worse than any chicken joke I've ever heard!"

Steam was leaking out from under the hood and small ticks and sputtering noises were erupting at random intervals from within the car. It was obvious that there was no possible way to get it running again but he had Murphy raising the hood to look at the engine and Rocco crawling underneath it anyway.

The Joker leaned up against the car and pulled a yo-yo from his pocket. He tied a slipknot at the end of the string and slipped it around his middle finger; casually he began to play. The ball rolled itself up the string and unraveled almost to the end before being tugged up and having the process start all over again.

He sighed.

"Murphy! Rocco!" he asked, boredom oozing through his voice, "are you two done yet? We've got other things to do besides having you two playing grease-monkey all day."

Murphy's head was the first to pop out. He took a quick glance back at the engine, wiped his greasy hand on his forehead and sucked in a quick breath.

The poor guy was scared. Joker knew it. Didn't matter though. It wouldn't save him.

"Well?"

"It's shot, boss," Murphy replied, wiping his forehead again, "there was a crack in the engine and now there's liquid in it. Even if we sit and wait for it to drain out – it'll just fill up again a mile down the road…"

"And what's the word from the bird trapped under the car?" Joker growled.

"This frame's no good either, Joker," Rocco reported. "It's so bad that the fuckin' wheels are barely respondin' from the steerin' one. That's why we were all over the road like that."

"Well guys," he replied with a shrug. "It's been one hell of a laugh with you for this past year and a half but unfortunately, no one's going to pick up three hitchers sooooo…bye!"

"Hold on!" Rocco shouted and jumped to his feet.

Joker turned slowly to him, yo-yo still rolling up and down the string casually. "Yes?" he inquired innocently, a grin starting to replace his smile.

"You just can't leave us here to die!" Rocco proclaimed. "After all this time, you're going to just leave us in the middle of nowhere? You stingy, ungrateful bastard!"

"Murphy," Joker said, not looking at him, eyes staring down Rocco's, "do you feel the same way as your counterpart? I mean, you have been working for me just about the same amount of time."

Murphy's eyes darted between the grinning madman and his old friend. They were locked in a staring contest. He wondered if he stayed quiet enough they would just forget that he was –

"Well?" the Joker snapped. "Do you feel the same way?"

"No – no, I don't, boss," he replied, stumbling over his words.

It was true though. He enjoyed being in Joker's gang. The pay was just about as high as the thrills; he was clothed nicely, fed nicely and respected by all. Being in the gang also came with simple pleasures such as laughing hysterically as either Harley or Joker attempted to strangle the other with whatever was lying around as well as the carnal pleasures… Such as the many nights he found himself alone in a cheap hotel when he had the night off, masturbating to the accidental encounter of Harley in the shower.

Of course, the Joker nearly castrated him for the incident after he had found out – but it was worth it. If he died that day when it happened, he could've died happily.

"No?" the Joker asked; a mixture of pride and sympathy for the pathetic man filled him. "Give me your gun."

"No – boss! Mister Joker!" Murphy pleaded. "Please don't shoot him!"

"Oh, I swear I won't shoot him," Joker said sweetly and then snarled, "now gimme the Goddamn gun!"

With no other choice, Murphy gave an apologetic look over towards Rocco who was white as a ghost as he tossed the Joker the gun. The clown caught it gracefully and then suddenly shot Murphy in the head.

"Good night, Murph," he smiled, "it was wonderful working with you."

"You fucking maniac!" Rocco screamed and ran over to the body. He kneeled beside it and through the tears he choked out again, "you fucking maniac!"

"Oh, no," he replied lowering his voice, "I'm not a maniac. I actually killed him quite humanely. It was fast and relatively painless."

The yo-yo fell once more and came quickly back up into the palm of his hand with a small smack sound. "It was good timing though," he said as he began to giggle uncontrollably. "Just in time for my daily chore of –"

He flung the yo-yo and the sting wrapped tightly around Rocco's neck, slipknot still around his own finger, making a sort of leash.

"Walking the dog."

The eruption of his laughter made Rocco flinch. He was stupid. He realized this now. If he hadn't been that stupid dog the Joker was now showing him he was, him and Murphy could've been alive and if they had any luck that Harley had – they could've been back in the gang within a week.

"Now come on, Waggles," the Joker sneered, "let's go. On all fours."

They walked like that for about a quarter of a mile; Rocco leading on all fours and the Joker following leisurely behind, occasionally giving the rope a small tug.

There was a rumble in the distance behind them. A car was coming. Turning their heads they both could see the tiny outline of it. They knew what it was.

"Sorry, buck-a-roo," the Joker laughed, "that's my ride and they don't accept mutts on the Dark Knight Express."

He ripped his arm back with a swift tug and the yo-yo's string cut through Rocco's neck.

Gargling noises, gasping – nothing.

Unhooking his yo-yo and stashing it within his pocket, Joker pulled up his pant leg and took a pose like one of the whores lookin' for a ride in Gotham would do. The Batmobile came to a hault next to him, and he let his trousers' leg fall back down around his ankle.

The roof opened on the vehicle revealing the Batman. He eyed the scene and his foe carefully and then with a smirk asked, "need a lift?"

TO BE CONTINUED…