Gotham Greetings

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Holiday" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 22 December 2009.

As the city approached the holiday season, Gotham's rogues were giving much thought to the serious business of greetings cards.

It had become a holiday tradition to forge alliances with the gifting of a choice piece of information beneath a clich├ęd seasons greetings message, while others simply stuffed the card with as many large denomination banknotes as possible. Given the temperament of those participating, a few of the exchanged cards would also turn out to contain scrawled threats or the odd severed body part.

Joker liked to take the proceedings up a notch and send extra special surprises. One year he managed to get more rogues admitted to Arkham over Christmas than Batman and Gotham PD combined, after sending everyone a toxic yet innocuous looking candy cane that caused violent vomiting, diarrhoea and an unfortunately located rash.

After that Joker was forced to take ever more elaborate precautions to disguise who his cards were from, and for a while he'd been lacking in enthusiasm for the tradition. This was until Harley suggested that they send Bruce Wayne a card to thank him for hosting a charity shindig they'd gatecrashed on Thanksgiving. That opened up a whole city full of unsuspecting card-recipients all less paranoid about opening mail around the holidays.

He intended to mass-mail more poisoned candy, but some of the special people in his life clearly deserved a personal approach.

One card was addressed to James and Sarah Gordon, and included two tickets to the show the couple saw on their first anniversary. Joker wondered if Gordon would remember mentioning the show at her memorial service, and whether he'd bring himself to return the tickets back to the theatre or if they'd end up as grief-soaked confetti in a trashcan.

Joker was sure that Barbara Gordon would appreciate the thought behind her card, which read "Q: What do you call a prostitute in a wheelchair? A: Park and ride!" Christmas cards featuring wheelchair-bound prostitutes turned out to be in short supply so he'd drawn one himself. He was quite pleased with the end result and intended to submit the design to Hallmark.

In a spare moment he dashed off a quick note for his psychiatrist wishing her a pleasant Christmas with the family, sending it to the home address she wasn't aware he knew. Joker was careful that Harley didn't see that one, remembering her reaction the last time he'd mentioned another female psychiatrist. Her pouting jealousy might have been hilarious to watch but they'd ended up with three dead henchmen. Hiring new ones this close to the holidays would be a drag.

The most important card was saved till last since it didn't have to be posted; just left on a prominent rooftop. There was no poisoned candy, extra-strength itching power or veiled threat in this one. Just a simple but heartfelt message: "Merry Christmas to you, my dear Dark Knight".

Harley insisted on signing it too, with a red-black lipsticked kiss. Joker didn't want to know why.

Author's Note: Thought I'd best post this one up while it was only kinda seasonally late! ;D

Umm - Merry New Year, I guess!