A/N: There is an entire, rare section of people out there who have an interesting and rare condition known as synesthesia, the cross-wiring of the senses to create a strange and interesting way of experiencing the world. One of the most common ways this condition manifests is through seeing colors when a person hears a sound, but other synesthetes may experience taste as touch, smell as sound, pain as color, color as touch, or touch as taste – along with many other combinations. Most synesthetes discover their condition young, and are often perplexed when others don't share their same view of the world, and most consider their particular brand of this strange cross-wiring as inspirational and unique. Today, doctors and psychologists alike still struggle to understand this odd phenomenon, and so far, no plausible explanation for synesthesia exists. I myself have the extremely rare pain-sight synesthesia; that is, if I get hurt badly or really, really ill, I see shapes and colors. The worse the pain is, the more vivid the colors and shapes – and the colors usually correspond to certain things – purple and red for a broken bone, for example, and orange for a sprain. I seem to be the only person in my family who has it, and I am still unsure as to why I have only this particular type when it is often common for a synesthete to have more than one type at a time. I know it sounds weird to those who have seen flashing lights when they've hurt themselves very badly before, but when you see colored, flashing shapes… well, that's a little different. :)
Being the curious little squee I am, I decided to write a story using the literary device of synesthesia to give a rather… different look on a character. What if, I thought, a character everyone knows and loves to hate – the Joker - were a synesthete? How would this affect their view of the world? How would it feel to them? How would they deal with it? I wrote this story mainly to play with that particular literary device, and because the Joker is already a colorful character who seems to already see the world in wild, chaotic shades of green and purple, I chose him as my hypothetical synesthete. The result, I think, is an interesting and more colorful take on the Joker, one that gives an interesting answer to the question, "what goes on in the mind of a madman?" I hope you enjoy it. :)
Also, a note to my synesthete friends out there: I in no way intended this story to connect synesthesia with madness, evil, or terrorism. I merely thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with synesthesia as a literary device. Just thought I'd mention that before anyone decides to crawl all over me for anything in this fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this fic. I mean, just so you know…
Have ya ever seen what ya say?
I mean, really seen it. Truly taken a look at how the words form in the air. They got colors. Shapes. Definite appearances and forms. Words sound like rainbows, like little fireworks.
Wait… ya can't see that?
Well then, I almost fell sorry fer ya. I say 'almost' 'cause yer too trapped ta see 'em. Too closed minded.
Hmm, what was that…? Y'think it's an hallucination, some delusion from the mind of a lunatic?
Lies. Words do have color. They do. I'm not the crazy one – you are. I see sounds. All words, all sounds have different shades and tints. Kinda like how everyone's blood looks a little different when ya spill it.
'Anarchy', for example… 'anarchy' is purple. Oh, there's other colors too, but overall, s'purple. A's are violently orchid, N's lavender, Y's deep blue. S'a word tinged with jade and green, like the word 'chaos'. 'Chaos' itself's green overall. The C's jade; H, neon lime; O's blindingly white. S is yellowish and ugly, kinda goldenrod with mossy flecks to it. It shares letters with 'anarchy', 'cause see, ya can't have anarchy without chaos – and vise versa. 'Clown' is an odd one, though. Nothing matches in it – the C and N clash with the orange W. L doesn't match with anything, sickly corpse blue-grey that it is. It's an absurdly ugly word, 'clown'. But then again, so's 'smile' and 'laugh'.
Names have colors, too. Hell yeah they do. Mine, for instance… 'Joker' is wild. Literally. S'a wild blend'a shades: white O, indigo K, red J, emerald E, and finished off with a coal-black R. It sounds like laughter, and it's got the same shape – hard, spiky, razor-edged shards that sting as they cut through ya. Laughter's a different sound though, made up of green H's and purple A's, falling like glass, just like scattered bits'a glass… and just as sharp.
'Batman' is just hideous. Bland, but sparked with interest. B's navy blue, T's yellow. M's as stony, slate grey, and bland as they come. His name looks like swishes, kinda like that swooshy logo ya see in sports commercials. God (hahah what god?), I really hate those damn swishes.
Once those swishes interrupted me. Rudely.
I was standing in the street that night with roaring orange streaks of fire and pink blaring siren spirals flying through my vision. All the little minor and major joints in my body ached from the crash I'd just been in, and it felt amazing, like a cicada about ta split its dry, dead husk; about ta split my sides from laughter. I was a phoenix then, ready ta rise from the pale grey ashes'a pain into flaming green and purple sound; that night I felt whole.
And then he showed up. The swooshes flooded my vision as he growled like some feral animal; just like the dumb beast he knew he was. The world stood still for me, punctuated here and there by little electric blue X's of gunfire, launched from the machine gun in my hands.
He charged me.
Waves of crimson flew behind his motorcycle like panicked banners, slender red wolves nipping at his heels. They growled with his bike; grew bigger and bolder as he drew ever closer.
"C'mon…" the word was a vague whisper, a ruffle of pink across my scarred lips. "C'mon, I want ya ta do it… Hit me…"
The red banners growled through my vision; my voice rose to a talk, a cry, a yell; the pink ruffled intensified in hue…
And he missed.
He missed, and all the color drained from the world with the shut-down of his chopper and the last echo of my voice. Dead, grey silence filled a void as empty as any chasm. He'd pulled his damn punches again, and I lost my sense of life.
To that damn bat.
The man who wouldn't kill… killed me.
What does a guy haveta do ta have a little fun in this city, hmm?
Ah well. There's always the next time, the next draw, the next hand. Go all in, lose, play again – play yer hand better. Laugh when they – or you – fail, and delight in the chaos-green, anarchy-purple syllables; delight in their crimson screams of terror…
And fade back into the grey obscurity, only to lunge out at them again, in living color, bringing the carnival with you; the carnival you live in but they can't see.
And for that, they call you mad, mad for wearing purple coats, green vests, purple pants; for wearing red, white, and black greasepaint because that's what the word 'Joker' is.
They call you mad, and all because they can't see the true colors of the world.
All they see is grey.