AN#1: Case File Interviews of the "Super Criminal Patients". Character study for all. Some are fun. Some are funny. Most, however, are just disturbing.
Stick around to see who pops up.Maybe there's a secret plot in here some where as well. All interviews are short, less than four pages. Thank you, of course to the ever lovely Charm and Strange for being the best editor ever.
October the first, 11:44am
The Acceptance and Interview Of Harleen Quinzel Into Arkham Asylum Psychiatry
Mental status:Normal. Slightly nervous.
Warden Quincy Sharp stares hard at the tan, beaten file in his hand. He then scans his gray weary eyes over the young, slender blonde that is sitting at his desk across from him. In his left desk drawer, locked by a thick, black, rusty key, is another folder. Inside that folder is a list of 42 names marked out in dark, ruby colored ink. About to be 43. He sinks back low in his large, battered, leather armchair and thinks about what he plans to have for lunch. It's hardly been three minutes since their interview began, and Sharp notices her tremble ever so slightly despite his aloof lack of interest.
She won't last long.
Harleen Quinzel stares defiantly up at the old Warden's—rather unfriendly— face. Her fists clench hard as they rest on her fleshly ironed skirt. So far in her frantic search to actually find a career in the field she graduated in, she'd been rejected from just about every mental health center in all of Gotham City and three times in Jump city, which she internally cringes at when the cold look in Warden Sharp finally focuses back on her.
"Well." His voice is deep, and Harleen snaps her shiny, new heels together like a solider at attention. She knows it's coming. She's going to be rejected again.She tries to stop a small, sorry sound from escaping her lips. She reaches down for her bag. Her fingers lace around the handle.
"Everything seems to be in order, Miss Quinzel,"
Merely a pathetic inch off the dusty wooden floor and Harleen's bag seems to make a meteoric sound in the silence of the large, ancient office. Harleen freezes, forcing her mouth not to drop open, her eyes going very round. Quincy Sharp resists the urge to roll his.
"S-sir," She begins quietly, "I've no experience, beyond school, I—" She might as well confess now. She wanted to be a doctor her whole life long, but, after failing every possibly math course at Gotham University, she sporadically switched to psychology. Like thousands of other, more highly qualified college graduates. Hell, it was a joke around her campus that about 90 percent of students that choose Physiology for their major are slacking their way through school. She wondered briefly how much worse her degree must look knowing that she changed majors halfway through. She might as well wrote "I gave up" on every College Attendance interview question.
"Miss Quinzel, if I may ask, where did you learn of our need for your kind of profession here at Arkham Asylum?" Sharp talks over her quite nonchalantly.
"From a flier, hanging…in City Hall," Harleen bites her lip to stop herself from nearly blurting out that she actually found the flier covered in dirt, trampled on, and covered in a light, pink graffiti that slashed through the word Help and had "FAILURES" scribbled in next to Wanted. Harleen knocked off the warning however. She needed a job, and she'd take one anywhere she could. Besides, she had to admit to herself (although it was shocking to her at the time that she graduated) that she honestly really, really, loved physiology. And what better place to get to know intriguing minds than in Gotham's notorious Arkham Asylum? The city had been so down in the dumps lately…what with Harvey Dent being pulled into custody, and now, sitting at her possible work place, in some woebegone cell…in some small, dark, murky corner of the colossal island.
She likes to try and help. Bring some changes into the city, some good. Some light. And that starts by bring hope into the minds of the city's biggest problems. The crime lords.
Secretly, however, selfishly…she wants to try and be someone. More desperately than she'll ever let on to anyone.
"I see. Good. Good then," Sharp reaches down in a drawer hidden from Harleen's view, and pulls out a large, bulky ink pen. He slides it and a waver paper across from him and towards Harleen. Sharp notes at how easily she signs it—not even bothering to read the fine print of "We regret to in form you that death, along with risk of illness and/or life-crippling injuries are highly frequent here at Arkham..."
Squinting at it from his upside-down point of view, he scowls. He needs to find a better typist for handing the darker aspects of his prestigious mental institute, really. Just horrid. This, the paperwork, needs to be immaculate. No wonder other interviewees practically throw themselves at the exit door.
Sharp glances at his watch, which now reads 11:50 am. "You start today, at noon precisely—"
"I'm—I'm hired?" The blonde bubbles the question out meekly. Sharp stares hard at her from inside his black wired glasses. He can practically see his black pen tapping on her name. Mere minutes from now. She'll get two feet down the hall, and scream bloody murder at what she sees—and rush out.
"You sound so surprised my dear, but of course you are." The red ink slowly crossing out her name, he's done it so many times, it's practically carved into his brain now. They all leave.
It's just a matter of time.
A small squeak seems to escape from the young woman's mouth as well as a large smile. Sharp fights the urge to step back from her; her smile is so large, so genuine. He scolds himself internally. It's been so long since he's seen a smile here. He's practically afraid of them.
Her thin hand flies across the desk, snatching up his own, shaking it with more strength than the Warden thought possible in such a petite girl. "Oh thank you! Thank you so much!"
Harleen snatches up her bag, trying not to skip immaturely to the door in happiness.
"Oh, yes," She stops in her tracks by Sharp's voice. Her muscles freeze, but she forces herself to look at him.
"Miss Quinzel, you must understand something before you leave this office. You must understand that if you quit this job within the hour, you will not be paid. Not a single cent. Secondly, if you quit this job within a day, you will not be paid. Thirdly, if you quit this job within a week, you will not be paid. Do you understand? So do not bring any court business into affairs here, because you will not win."
Harleen nods bravely, giddy from finally be hired. Why would she ever want to quit?
"Miss Quinzel, if I may speak frankly... The only way I am allowed to pay you now, due to…financial ambiguities, is that when you interview the "Super-Criminals" here at Arkham each week, you must report a truthful fact back to me, told to you, by at least one of them."
Truthful fact? "Sir," Harleen wants to giggle, wants to smile at him, but luckily the gloomy atmosphere keeps a tight neutral look on her face. "You make it seem as if the patients never talk."
"Oh, they talk, my dear." Oh God how they talk. He groans internally. "But, you must be the one to find out more about them so we may build a profile. Anything, the smallest detail, but, you must make sure that it is truthful. This information is transmitted to the police, and, if the court of Gotham finds it respectable, you will be paid. As you make progress with each patient, you will be given more freedom. We will require you do tests, puzzles, written interviews, audio-recorded interviews, and whatever else that you see creatively fits each…situation."
Warden Quincy Sharp slowly walks to the door, and holds it open courteously for Harleen. She steps through, and narrowly escapes being hit with the front of the door as it closes behind her. The Warden locks the door again without so much as wishing her good luck.
Harleen manages to find her way to the front desk, and it is there that she is handed a huge clip board, folder full of blank paper, audio-recorder, and a name tag.
A name tag. Her eyes go large, and shimmery under the bright neon lights. The brunette working the front desk simply shifts in her plastic chair, unmoved. Harleen snaps it quickly to her white, sterile, Arkham coordinated blouse.
She looks down and merrily flips through the files of her patients for Monday, noon, and finds her first interviewee marked on the list. A blurry, coloured snapshot tacked on reveals little about the man, and in place of a name there is only a single letter typed under the photo: J.
J. Patient J.
She thumbs through Monday further. After that eight minute introductory session it's Patient R. Then C. And finally, P.
J, R, C, P. She thinks herself. Gosh, don't they have names? How cruel…
Harleen takes a deep breath as she moves towards the Extreme Isolation ward. Look out Arkham, she thinks, as she waves cheerfully to other passing guards and psychiatrists.
Here comes Harleen Quinzel.