The Night Before

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Hair of the dog" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 6 April 2010.

Consciousness embraced the Joker like an armoured knee to the groin.

After concentrating hard and willing his facial muscles into submission, he managed to open one bruised-feeling eyelid to be greeted by the water-stained ceiling of the Ha-Hacidenda spinning like an out-of-control whirlitzer.

Joker pondered this for several minutes, but couldn't recall the entire hideout relocating to the old fairground.

"Good mornin' sunshine!" a red-and-black blur swept across his field of vision, emitting a discordant babble of noise that his brain stubbornly refused to translate into actual words.

Short term memory loss, physical incapacitation, his abnormally quick mind being dulled to the sharpness of a potato masher...

With a great and painful effort Joker managed to reach the only logical conclusion: sometime in the night Batman must have snuck into his room, scooped out his brilliant brains and replaced them with rusty steel wool. Every time he shifted his head he could feel it scraping the insides of his skull and eye sockets.

He had to give Batsy credit for midnight brain surgery, but this just wasn't playing fair.

The red-and-black blur loomed closer, clucking with concern. He swatted in its general direction but missed by several feet. The burst of adrenalin required did at least seem to bring the world more into focus, and Joker put all his efforts into glaring at the now-visible fussing Harley.

"Aww, poor Mistah J," she said, radiating sympathy down at his prostrate form, "I did tell you to take it easy until those new anti-psychotics were outta your system."

Joker concentrated his mind and decided that if she would just lean a few inches closer, with his last reserves of strength he could grab her and crush her larynx. Then he could return to happy, silent unconsciousness.

"…I know you were lookin' forward to celebratin' your new world record for 'most successful escapes from a high security criminal facility', and Ozzie did promise to put on a free bar, but zuclopenthixol really doesn't mix too good with vintage champagne."

The Iceberg Lounge – it all started to come back. Accepting the fearful applause of the toadying minor-leaguers. Offering to give Harvey and Pammy some tips on the best way to tunnel out of Arkham using a plastic spork. And a single-minded determination that he was going to make Cobblepot regret his reckless offer of a free bar.

Joker's unique physique usually left him with little more than a pleasant buzz after consuming enough alcohol to down an entire frat house, but Arkham's latest pot-luck attempt to medicate him seemed to have negated that. Where was the fun in clearing out half the Iceberg's legendarily expensive wine cellar if he had to suffer for it the next morning?

There was only one thing for it.

"Harley," he instructed semi-coherently, "fetch me breakfast and the closest alcohol to hand. I'm going to keep drinking until the drugs wear off or my brain recuperates sufficiently to produce a better plan."

"Okey-dokey Puddin' – tequila'n'Froot Loops comin' right up!"

Author's Note: Mmm, tequila soaked Froot Loops - breakfast of champions!