Orange Juice

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Crush" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 30 November 2008.

**

"Merely crushing something is just so… dull." The Joker crumpled yet another sketch into a ball and tossed it over his shoulder. "It's about one step up from Croc's hit-it-with-a-rock approach. I need something with style! Flair! Panache!"

One of his less useless hired goons had discovered a scrapyard with deplorably lax nighttime security, and the Joker had spent the past three days trying to plan something spectacular to do with its car crusher. This turned out to be harder than he had initially thought. All crushers seemed to do was crush things.

Harley, demonstrating her usual lack of subtlety, had offered the suggestion of crushing the Batmobile into a cube. He threw the closest thing to hand (a sandwich she had just brought him) at her head and was left in peace while she washed peanut butter and ketchup off her costume. Sure cubing the Batmobile would probably rile ol' Batsy, but it was hardly imaginative.

To be fair he had considered crushing the Batmobile with someone inside it – the latest Boy Blunder, or Gordon perhaps. He'd even gone as far as to sketch out the probable results – little crushed metal cubes with mangled limbs protruding here and there, a small puddle of blood. But it just didn't catch his imagination.

He'd moved on to sketching Babs and her wheelchair in a more compact form than usual when Harley reappeared in a clean costume, this time with a glass of orange juice she put down in front of him just where he wanted to draw next. He scowled at it as the condensation seeped into the paper.

"Hey boss, you still plottin' about what to crush with that crushing thingamajig?" she asked eagerly, bouncing on the balls of her feet in his peripheral vision. "Only I got another idea."

The Joker didn't look up, continuing to scowl at the juice in front of him and wondering if she had another clean costume in the closet. "Two ideas in one day? You'll do yourself some damage."

Harley continued undeterred. "What about fruit?"

"Fruit?" Now he did look up, to see her smiling more goofily than usual and holding another glass of orange juice.

"Yeah – you know, oranges and grapefruit? You could squeeze loads of 'em with it! Then we wouldn't need to keep buyin' juice from the store."

The Joker stared at her in silence for a long moment, then broke into a grin and leapt up to twirl her around as she squeaked in surprise.

"That's brilliant pooh – your only half-decent idea ever I should say!" She giggled happily. "You go and hijack daddy several trucks of citrus fruit – I'll wait here until you get back."

He watched his henchwench skip merrily out of the warehouse, rolled his eyes then called the current trio of hired goons over.

"Time to move hideouts again fellas – Harl needs a couple of months back on her meds. You pack up, I've got an anonymous tip to make about some imminent fruit thefts..."