Her latest case had been dropped on her desk an hour before the interview and Doctor Harleen Quinzel was preparing herself to enter the interrogation room. Her thoughts lingered on the mysterious appearance of a vase of wilting purple and white chrysanthemums left in her office before the consultation.

In a basement below Arkham, in a dark hole in the ground, where the evil of the city languished in the light, a mad man sat and smiled. A forced smile carved from pure hatred and pressed upon his face like a scar stretching the skin of the world. The dark, hollow eyes darted around the entire room until finally resting on their prey. Quinzel sat opposite her theatrical patient. The Joker, in his sharp purple suit, leant on the table. He rested his head on his hands and stared.

'You're the first person who has dared to speak to me in this mad house. You're really very kind.'

'It's out of duty, Joker.'

'Well, I do love a lady tied to her duty…orrrr anything now that you mention it.' The Joker declared. His voice crawled over the room and his smile placed the punctuation on Quinzel's ears. He licked his lips, coating the jagged, red cuts in more vile hatred. The buzzing of the lights that hung from the ceiling acted as a soundtrack to the tension of the cell. Time to get to business.

'Why do you do the things you do?'

'Why do you think, Doc?' A thin, gloved hand beckoned the expert's opinion.

'Fame? Notoriety? A desire to stand out from the crowd? A wicked sense of humour.'

'How did you figure me out, Doc?' A sinister sarcasm laced every syllable. 'I've had quacks poking around inside here for years,' he lifted his gloved hand and pointed to his forehead, scratching the white skin and producing a drop of red. 'And not one of 'ems been as astute and, if you don't mind my saying, delicious as you.'

'Stop playing with me, Joker.' Harleen snapped.

'Oh, this isn't play, Harley…' His smile grew, showing his sharp, yellow teeth shimmering menacingly under the bright lights. 'Did you enjoy your flowers?'

'Who put them there for you?'

'Why I did! You don't think I'd pass up the opportunity to see my favourite psychiatrist, do you?' His chair creaked as he leant back and put his feet on the table.

'How did you get out of your cell?'

'If you were going to tell the guards, you'd have done so by now.'

'How do you know I haven't already?'

'Because this isn't play, Harley. This is sport …' The Joker spat, throwing himself forward so that his face and Quinzel's were almost touching.

'Joker, you have a list of convictions and conditions long enough to reach the top of the world. Why should I listen to you?'

'Top of the world, eh? Not a bad place to start, Harley. Why don't you join me there?' His eyes flared.

'Because life's not about the games we play...'

'You think this is all a big joke to me?' The Joker released his cold, rancid snigger. 'You think I do this to sate an appetite. A longing … I don't. I do this to prove that the world you obey is corrupt. I do this to drag the sane to insanity... And people like me…look at people like you when you put on your b-rrrrave smiles...' The Joker touched the tips of his carved smile, pushing them in so that blood oozed from the wound, unleashing his maniacal laugh again. 'And ask…Why so serious?'