The first thing they did was throw him into the back of a squad car. He was a bit put off; he was quite enjoying himself when he was hanging upside down from the building project, only a sturdy piece of wire noosed around his ankle that was keeping him from falling head-first onto the pavement about 20 stories below.

It was a fun ride on the way down...and then The Batman just couldn't let him finish it. The Batman didn't want to endure the coming climax of what could have been, and so he ended the ride just as soon as it had started.

That's what amused him the most: the fact that a man dressed as ridiculous as he was (if not more so) and who also crept around in the shadows just couldn't be as sinister as The Joker.

He was, after all, his moral antithesis.

The Joker chuckled to himself as he felt the squad car begin to pull out into the street. He didn't notice the nervous policeman in the driver's seat as he nervously looked behind him as he listened to the prisoner begin to laugh at nothing.

The police radio in the dashboard spewed forth scrambled orders and The Joker could only make out the words "prisoner," "Batman," and "Arkham."

"Arkham, eh?" The Joker suddenly queried loudly, making the driver and his partner slightly jump in their seats. "I could use the vacation."

The driver's partner glanced nervously at him as the car continued down the street. About an hour later, they reached the very edge of the high-rise buildings and murky alleys and continued along a desolate road that was framed by trees whose leaves were hanging loosely from their branches in the cool night air.

The Joker raised an eyebrow as they passed by a sign reading "Arkham Asylum: All visitors and employees must check in at security booth."

"Is there a valet as well?" he quipped with a low growl, smirking as he caught the quick glance of the driver as he peered into the rear-view mirror.

They approached a yellow booth where a red and white striped mechanical arm blocked their way through the gates. The security guard, a young black man with the name tag "Andrew," stepped out into the night as the policeman rolled down the window. "Is this who we've been expecting, Shephard?" he asked the driver.

"Yeah, Drew," came his answer. "Be careful with this one."

"Roll it down," Andrew commanded.

"Drew --" Shephard began to warn.

"The window. Roll it down."

Shephard swallowed hard as he slowly rolled down The Joker's window, stopping the very top of the glass just below his chin. "Don't worry, Drew. His wrists are cuffed behind him."

"I'm not scared of this freak," Andrew remarked as he looked into The Joker's painted eyes. He began to write and scratch information onto the clipboard in his hand, but stopped when he heard the new inmate's throaty chuckle. "What's so goddamn funny, clown?"

The Joker licked his bottom lip. "I was just, uh...thinking...if we needed to tip you. I mean...Arkham can't be paying you much if you're just sitting in a booth for eight straight hours." Andrew merely sighed in annoyance as The Joker continued, "I'd tip you myself, but I'm afraid I've burned through all my money. Haha!"

The Joker bit his lip and then curled it into a devilish grin. "Your wife must hate that you work the night shift...Andrew Knurek."

The guard's body tensed but he managed to straighten his shoulders. "How do you know my name?"

"Oh, I know...lots of things...especially about Melanie...your lovely wife..." Andrew dropped his clipboard to his side as he glared menacingly at the new patient. "Do you ever wonder, Andrew...if, while you're sitting out your shiny you ever wonder...if your sweet Melanie is ever alone?"

The guard suddenly dropped his clipboard and lunged at The Joker, but the prisoner merely threw himself backward onto the seat, cackling madly as the two cops jumped out of their seats to try to mollify the guard. "You son-of-a-bitch!! You don't know my wife, you sick fuck!"

"Mommy! Mommy! The rhino's getting to close to the car!!" The Joker wise-cracked and continued to guffaw loudly.

Shephard finally had Andrew calm, but then took his Billy club out of his holster. His partner looked at him and the guard and then at The Joker, whose eyes held a bemused light as he braced himself for what was coming next.

"Just one shot, man," Shephard whispered. "No one else is out here. Believe me; everyone at the precinct wants a piece of him after all the cops he took down."

Andrew gladly took the club from Shephard as he opened the door to the backseat. He grabbed The Joker by the lapels of his coat and slammed him into the car while Andrew prepared his swing. The Joker smacked his lips and growled, "You know...maybe I was wrong about your wife, Andy old boy..." He paused as Andrew breathed heavily, but growled after The Joker ended with: "Maybe we should ask your brother just how lonely Melanie is..."

After another hour of seeing nothing but darkness, The Joker awoke to find himself in a small gray room where an orderly was staring at him. The orderly was standing behind a man dressed in a white lab coat who was sitting with his hands folded on a desk, a file and a yellow Steno pad in front of him.

The Joker sniffed and raised himself up and he noticed, when he was lifting a hand to stroke the throbbing wound on his cheek, that his hands were once again cuffed, but he could freely move his arms. He blinked rapidly as his eyes slightly watered. "What a way to welcome a guy..." he grumbled.

"I can assure you that the employee responsible has been suspended without pay," the doctor told the patient as he steadied a hand on the far wall as he stood to his feet.

"Why do that?" The Joker asked. "Like I care what he did to me...I've had worse, you know." He motioned to his scars. "He was only doing what his human nature...compelled him to do."

The doctor suddenly began jotting down notes as The Joker paced to and from the two corners of the room in front of the desk, the orderly stepping closer in order to shield the man in white behind him from any sudden outbursts.

The Joker shot a sarcastic smile to the orderly and then looked down to find that his purple attire had been stripped from his unconscious body and that he had been issued a set of white pajama pants with matching shirt. "Where are my clothes?" he suddenly snapped.

"We boxed them away," the doctor casually replied as he continued to write on the Steno pad. "Don't worry. When you are able to make a full recovery and leave this place, they will be handed back over to you."

The Joker smirked. "You actually think you could cure me?"

"That is our goal, yes."

"There's nothing wrong with me...nothing that a little homicide can't fix."

The doctor sighed and began to flip through the small green file folder on the desk. "You have no other name that you have ever gone previous Social Security Number. Tell me. Where exactly did you come from?"

The patient raised an eyebrow as he leaned against his wall. "You'll have to ask my parents; they never told me."

The orderly tried to suppress a soft chuckle, but The Joker caught it and smirked. "Where did you come from, Doc? Or may I ask: who the hell are you? My shrink?"

"I'm Dr. Jeramiah Arkham," the man in white replied, boldly. "And no, I am not your doctor. You will be assigned one."

"Gonna draw straws, eh? Place bets? I knew a guy who made crucial decisions by flipping a coin."

"Harvey Dent, you mean?" Dr. Arkham asked.

"That's the one."

"I'm afraid I have some bad news, Mr. Joker. Harvey Dent was thrown from a building by The Batman just hours ago."

The Joker sighed. "Lucky bastard..." he mumbled.

"What was that?"

"Nothing," the patient said as he licked his lips. "So...what happens now? Are you gonna try to pick through my brain to see what you can write onto your little yellow pad, there?"

Dr. Arkham smiled. "That won't be up to me, Joker. That will be your doctor's decision." He closed the file and rose out of his chair. "Bobby, take him to the showers so he can freshen up." He looked at The Joker. "When you've finished, your dinner will be waiting for you in your cell. Your first session won't begin for another two days."

"I'm getting in the shower with him?" The Joker asked, motioning toward the orderly. He looked at him and said, "I'm flattered, pal, but you're really not my type."

"Shut your mouth, wise-ass," the orderly barked. "We're gonna wash that crap off your face and that shit-eating grin of yours."

The Joker's glare turned dark as another orderly came into the room to help escort him to the shower room. The doctor's voice echoed behind him, "Try your best to meet us in the middle, Joker. It'll pay off for you if you do."

The new patient allowed the two men to show him toward the showers and his cuffs were soon removed as one of the orderlies grabbed his shoulders. Bobby helped him out of his white shirt and the cuffs were quickly locked onto his wrists again. The Joker smirked as he was stripped of his white pants and quipped, "Don't be shocked by what you see, gentlemen, but I'm afraid I just don't swing that way."

His remark earned him his back being thrown against the tile wall. Bobby turned on the shower taps and pointed to the two dispensers. "Left one, soap. Right one, shampoo. Use lots of it; Dr. Arkham wants that shit off your face."

"What if I don't feel like it?" The Joker challenged him.

Bobby glared at him. "If you don't feel like it will later."

The Joker sneered and thought for a moment and decided that he was too tired to take another slam or hit in the head. Instead he nodded and winked at Bobby. "I like you, kid. You're not afraid to say what you want." Bobby looked away and then shook his head as he walked out of the room and locked the door behind him.

He had to admit that the hot water felt good on his skin. He couldn't remember the last time he had showered, actually, because he really didn't have a suitable hideout. When it came to finding hiding places, a shower and a bed weren't exactly the first qualities he ever looked for, and he was lucky if he was ever able to manage to sneak into a newly emptied hotel room where he could bathe and maybe get a few hours of sleep.

He pumped a large amount of shampoo into his wet hair and scrubbed his scalp as he sighed in relief. He hadn't smelled a clean scent like that in a while even if the scent reminded him of a hospital.

"Oh, wait," he mumbled to himself. "I am in a hospital."

He chuckled to himself as he rinsed and noticed that some of the green dye was flowing into the drain along with the soapy water at his feet. He also saw that his white paint was dripping off his skin and he sighed again. "Might as well get this over with..." he growled just before he thrust his face into the hot water.

The Joker let out a groan as he felt the stinging pressure of the water on his face and he could feel his black eye paint streaming in long droplets down his cheeks. The red lipstick was becoming oily on his mouth and cheeks, and he rubbed his hands on them to help ease the process. He brought his face out of the water and wiped his eyes, smearing what was left of the black paint, and helped himself to a generous handful of soap from the wall pump.

After he lathered his body, he applied more soap to the rest of the paint on his face. He looked at his hands and saw that they were stained with the three colors that made up his mask.

He knew that he would have to go without his paint while he was here in the asylum. He could only wonder what else he would have to put up with while his mind was being poked and prodded by the many doctors that would no doubt be questioning him.

The Joker was brought out of his thoughts when the water was suddenly shut off, and he turned to see Bobby's friend holding a big white towel. He threw it to him and barked, "Dry off quickly. It's past 'lights out.'"

"Oooh," The Joker pretended to be worried. "Wouldn't wanna wake Mom and Dad now, would we?"

"Shut up and get dressed, clown," the orderly commanded as he hung a bright orange jumpsuit onto a metal hook on the other side of a towel rack along with a pair of crisp white boxer shorts.

Minutes later, The Joker was escorted out of the shower room and Bobby's lips slightly parted when he came face to face, not with a raving clown, but with a simple, scarred man. The scars along his cheeks were pronounced on his now clean face, and the left scar was deeper than the right. There was also a small scar that traveled from the middle of his bottom lip and stopped just above his chin.

The Joker noticed Bobby staring at him and he frowned, "What's the matter? I got something on my face?"

Bobby shook himself from his disbelief and nodded to his friend, and The Joker allowed them to lead him into his new home.

He was taken to a giant window that served as a partition between the hallway and the small room within, and Bobby swiped his card key as his friend pushed The Joker past the sliding door.

"Don't even think about hurling that chair toward this glass, clown," Bobby told him as the other orderly unlocked The Joker's wrists from the handcuffs. "All it's gonna do is bounce right back in your face."

The Joker couldn't help but chuckle. "I told you that I liked you, Bobby," he replied as the other orderly walked out of the cell. "But what's his problem?" He gestured toward Bobby's friend.

Bobby smirked. "Don't mind Sly," he said quietly. "Sleep tight."

The Joker turned as the door was closed behind him and he looked at the small tray of food that was promised to him. He sneered as he lifted the stale ham and cheese sandwich and sniffed it hesitantly. He dropped it back onto his tray and instead grabbed the red apple. He greedily bit into it and let the sweet juices fall down his chin.

His taste buds hungrily treasured this sudden treat and he took the opportunity to look at his new hiding place. He found that his toilet was behind a metal partition, allowing him his only bit of privacy and a small sink was nestled into the concrete wall beside it. There, he found a toothbrush and a tiny tube of toothpaste.

He cocked his head and sniffed. He really couldn't remember the last time he brushed his teeth. He finished his apple and threw the core onto the tray on the other side of the room. He gingerly picked up the toothbrush and put a large amount of toothpaste onto its bristles, the minty scent filling his nostrils. He looked into the dirty mirror in front of him and sneered as he began to brush his teeth.

"Hmm...not bad..." he remarked to himself as he felt the toothpaste foam in his mouth. As soon as he hit one of his back molars, however, he groaned in pain. He quickly spit out the foam and noticed his bleeding gums and he prodded the molar that was now throbbing in the back of his mouth. "You little fucker..." he whispered to his reflection.

After he rinsed his mouth again, he walked over to the glass and tried his best to peer down the hallway. He could see other cells just like his and he also spotted a clear plastic tray that was hanging beside the sliding door. His green file was resting inside it, the label marking him with the name "Doe, John." The Joker snickered and shook his head, but then noticed the name underneath his, in black marker, "Dr. Quinzel."

He raised an eyebrow as he snorted and walked over to his cot. He rested his head on the flat pillow and tried his best to make due with the stiff mattress that was pressing into his back.

The Joker placed his hands behind his head and shut his eyes as he dozed into a light sleep, musing over the black marker's inscription of his doctor's moniker.

Dr. Quinzel.

"The name alone has issues..."