"This is a bad idea, I'm telling you."

Three enormous men wearing fine black suits strolled down the halls of the intensive treatment facility of Arkham Asylum, the man in the lead consulting a patient roster to find the room they were looking for. All three men were bald and wearing mirrored sunglasses; as a matter of fact, they were nearly indestinguishable aside from their demeanors. The first man simply looked disinterested as he led his comrades deep into the bowels of the facility. The same couldn't be said at all for the second man- he was peering over his shoulder every few seconds, jumping whenever one of the lunatics in the cells made a sudden movement. The third man was following at a distance, evidently taking his time to appreciate the spectacle that the inmates provided.

"Oh, shut up." The first man said to his nervous companion. "It'll be a piece of cake. We get him out, take him the boss, job done. Easy payday. Routine stuff."

The second man shook his head furiously. "Not this guy. He's a complete nut."

"We're in an asylum, dumbass. They're all nuts." The third man cut in from the back. "And they're all behind bars and in straight Jackets."

"I dunno..." The second man continued. "Haven't you heard the stories? I heard about what he did to the last guy who sprung him. Killed him. For no reason."

The first man groaned in exasperation. "Look. The Boss isn't worried, so you shouldn't be either."

"Yeah, but what if the Boss is-"

"Shut. The Hell. Up." The first man growled, whirling around to face his reluctant companion. "You can come with us, get the mark, go back to the Boss, and get a nice, fat payoff. Or you can chicken out now and wake up in the middle of the Gobi Desert tomorrow. I don't care what the fuck you do. Just Shut. Up." He whirled around again and once again began to lead his partners toward their destination. The second man knew enough to keep his mouth shut, but he still couldn't prepare himself for what was waiting for them.

Finally the trio turned around a corner and found themselves facing an enormous iron door with a tiny barred window. The first man was just about to knock on the door, when a face appeared out of nowhere in the window, causing the second man to jump in surprise. "Calm the Hell down, will you?" The third man hissed, smacking his partner over the head.

The second man gulped and forced himself to look ahead at the face; it was as pale as snow, except for the lips, which were an awful bloody red as though he'd chewed them to pieces. His hair was a dark green, and his eyes, which were fixed firmly on the second man, were a terrible yellow, like those of a hungry wolf.

"House-guests!" The Joker shouted. "You wouldn't believe how long it's been since I've had a visitor! Well... The Bat stops by every now and then to make sure that I'm still locked up tight in here, but he's an absolutely dreadful conversation partner. I feel so terrible talking about myself all the time... But where are my manners?" The clown eyed his guests as a hawk might survey its prey. "Please, come in."

The first man withdrew a slip of paper, and began to enter the immensely long password required to open the cell door. He took the first few steps in, completely unaware of the horrible mistake that he was making.

The Joker's arms were firmly wrapped in placed by a straitjacket, and the room was completely bare with the exception of padded foam on the walls and ceiling. "I'm afraid the d├ęcor isn't much," the Joker said apologetically, "but I've found that it's rather me. Now... Down to brass tacks. What can I do for you fine gentlemen? I happen to know that it's just about impossible to get this far down here without either wearing a cape or a gun. So I take it you're hear for business?"

"Our boss would like to... Ahem... Meet with you." The first man said. "And possibly strike some sort of 'business deal.' He'd like to talk to you in person to work out an arrangement that could accommodate you."

"Aha!" The Joker exclaimed. "A slumber party! Just give me a moment to get my things! Oh... Right. I don't have any things. Well, carry on then!" The first and third men approached him.. The two men grabbed an arm each and began to frogmarch the clown from his cell. On his way out, the Joker stopped to get a closer look at the second man.

"You look pretty scared." He remarked casually. "Don't be, I don't bite! Well... Sometimes I do. But don't worry, you'll be too dead to notice at that point anyway. Carry on!" The first and third men snickered at the mortified look on their partners face as the left the room. Thanks to the legwork that the boss had done in advance, they were easily able to avoid the security detail and back out to the front gate, where a long black limousine awaited.

"Now we're talking, baby!" The Joker said as his escorts jammed him in between them, and the second man took a seat facing him. "I do love traveling in style. So... Where are we headed, boys?"

"You'll find out when we get there."

"Ah, a surprise!" The Joker giggled. "You sure know how to pull my strings... Speaking of which..." He gestured at the back of his jacket with his chin. "Would you mind getting this blasted thing off me?"

The third was about to remove the straitjacket, when the first stopped him.

"Actually, that can stay."

"Don't trust me?" The Joker chuckled. "I wouldn't either, given the choice... Not that it'll do you much good anyway..." He finished under his breath.

"Whattid you just- WHAT THE FU- ARH!"

Before he'd had time to react, the Joker's straightjacket had fallen to the floor, revealing a small paring knife in one of his hands. In one swift motion, he'd slit the throats of the men on either side of him, stolen the first man's pistol and was pointing at the second man with his knife, and the driver with the gun."

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to find mule willing to get a knife into a maximum security asylum?" The Joker asked. "I'll tell you, it's damn hard, and it involves bleeding in places that you don't even want to imagine. Not enjoying that thought? Pity, 'cause it'll probably be your last. If I were you, I might take a moment to try and think about my family before- oops, too late." And with that, the second man had gone the way of his associates.

"Ah, how I detest violence..." He muttered to the driver before slapping himself on the forehead and cackling. "Couldn't pull that one off with a straight face... Gets me every time." He wiped a tear from his eye. Just count yourself lucky that I'm still curious about who wants to meet me, and I need you to get me there. So keep going, and you might just live until tomorrow," He sneered. "Although, I wouldn't bet on it. And definitely not past tomorrow."

The driver stared straight ahead at the road, not daring to speak for fear of setting his passenger off. He stuck to his instructed course; no one had mentioned any contingencies for homicidal maniacs getting loose in the limo. Fortunately, the destination wasn't far. The driver parked, and meekly sank back into his seat. The Joker casually settled himself, knife in hand and ready to pounce. He saw the shadow of a tall man reaching down to open the door, but he couldn't see the face from his current angle. He waited for the door to begin to open and sprung into action. He threw the door open from the inside, knocking the tall man to the ground. Without hesitation, the Joker leapt out of the car and plunged his knife deep into the man's chest.

He turned to leave, before something about the man caught his attention. "Hmm... Oh, my... This is certainly an interesting development..." The Joker grinned as he surveyed his victim.

Author's Note: Huh. I wonder what all that was about?

This was supposed to be up earlier today, but I had stuff. First, I moved some books to the new library. Then I had a haircut. Then I had to restore the honor of the Thieve's Guild and play a drinking game to get an enchanted staff. So yeah, it's been one of those days. Hopefully I can get a bit more work done tomorrow.

Anyway, next time we'll be checking up on Bruce and Diana, whom I kind of left hanging at the end of the last story. Of course, I have several scenarios about what they could be doing, so it might take a bit of time to figure out. Two days, maybe? Who knows. I guess it depends on the reaction to this. By the way, is anybody else having trouble with the site? My messaging, email, and traffic counter are all way off today. Ah, well. Nothing for it, I guess.