Summary: Joker remembers back to a very invigorating event that occurred in 1992 when he was 18 years old.
Disclaimer: Batman is copyright (c) DC Comics. I don't own the characters. I am making no profits.
Author's Note: This randomly popped into my head after I saw a picture of the car in the story and I just had to write it. I would like to make a series of little blurbs about his childhood.
I was eighteen years old in 1992 and the first thing I did when I got out was take the cash buried under the tree in the front yard to the bank. I opened up a checking account and made my first deposit, all the while itching to blow it away.
My first purchase was a 1974 Dodge Challenger with black leather interior, bucket seats, and a sad mouth grill. I had the boys at the shop paint it lime green for an extra fifteen hundred smackers, and I knew they were ripping me off, but I didn’t care. Hell -- I even had a brand new CD player installed. Gotta keep that car looking fresh.
It was so spotless; it burned my eyes just looking at it in all its shining glory. It was mine. Mine. All mine. Beautiful, green, mine. I put a little purple air freshener on the rearview mirror, and drove it .35 miles to the nearest corner store.
My next purchase came to a total of $15.69 and got me some pretty strange looks: a purple paisley handkerchief, a package of marshmallows, a bottle of Jack’s finest, a lighter with a picture of the Tasmanian Devil stuck to it, a deck of fifty-two playing cards, and a stick of red lipstick. (The one in my pocket was almost worn out.)
I got back into the car and drove it one mile up the road to
People are like cockroaches; I’d love to stick a few to a corkboard with some pins – actually, I’d probably better enjoy sticking them with knives, but what the heck? Does it really matter what I’m sticking them with in the long run? I just want to see them squirm. I want to see if they’ll beg me – if they’ll threaten me – if they’ll cry – I love it when they cry…It makes me feel like laughing. I always laugh when I’m nervous. I laugh when I’m scared too. Why can’t they laugh? They never laugh. It would be so much easier if they would just laugh. They usually don’t get the joke either. Whatever.
So, I drove the car up
It’s weird, but that smell – that alcohol smell kind of permeates our front yard. He likes to have a beer on the porch when he reads the paper in the morning. He always starts early in the morning. After he’s done, the cans pile up next to the stoop, and back inside he stumbles. When I was a kid, I would take a few of the cans to the junk yard and get some spending money. I had to be careful though – those cans were like a badge of masculinity for him. If he noticed too many missing…well, let’s just say I had to be careful.
I got out of the car with my plastic shopping bag and locked the door behind me with a giggle. I folded the handkerchief into the breast pocket of my shirt. The lighter went into the left pants pocket with the package of cards. I replaced my worn out lipstick with the shiny new stick in my right pants pocket, and crossed the street to put down my marshmallows and whiskey on the curb – approximately five doors down.
“Dad!” I cupped my hands around my mouth and aimed at 636.
Just more shouting.
The sound of broken china – I guess my mother decided that bowl wasn’t as important as her life after all. For the first time in my life, I prayed that she didn’t hit him in the head – I needed him to come outside.
If you want something done…
I stalked back across the street, threw open the door, and pushed inside. He had her up against the wall and was laughing, almost hysterically. I noticed some ceramic chips on his shirt and thought briefly of that bowl my mother really liked. Shame she had to break it on him. I watched and let him punch her a few times before I cupped my hands again: “DAD.”
He whirled around and fixed his hard gaze on me, brightening up as soon as recognition hit. He let go of her and she slid down the wall to the floor, looking haggard and bewildered. He pointed a finger at me and waggled it disapprovingly.
“You’re a bad boy, Jackie. Bad, bad, boy, running away like that.” He began moving in my direction. “We were just talking about you, ya know.” He continued to waggle his finger. “I told your ma – I says to her, I says, ‘who’s gonna take your beatings now?’” He busted out laughing and stumbled a little.
“That’s not funny,” I muttered.
“Then why are you smiling?” He laughed harder. “Why are you smiling, Jackie?” He laughed and moved closer. “You got – you got a smile on your face.”
I realized how close he was and my stomach sank. I watched his face grow dark as the laughter died away. He rubbed the pad of his thumb over the scars near my mouth – scars he had made himself – and his face twisted.
“I’ll give you something to laugh about.” He grabbed me by the throat and forced me onto my knees.
“P-present!” I choked out.
He laughed at that and yanked my head back so he could look me in the face.
“And accounted for!” He snarled. He sniffed suddenly – “You smell like sulfur, you little dirtball.”
“Outside—” I wheezed, as the familiar little black dots danced before my eyes.
“What’s outside? You got some cops for me, Jackie?” He laughed softly. “Think you’re gonna send me away?” He crushed my windpipe. The dots were bigger. Friendlier. They were bouncing and swirling and getting bigger and bigger. “I’m not leavin’, Jackie. This is my house.” He pulled me up bodily, holding me by the throat.
He dragged me outside and down the steps. He stopped when he saw the car. He let go of me. I gasped and massaged my throat with my hands.
“Well, well, well.” He said softly and walked over to the car with a gleam in his eye. “You stole money from me, Jackie boy?” He laughed suddenly. “I don’t even have any money. How’d you swing that?” He ran his hands over the green – stroked it fondly with his palms – it looked sexual and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Everything he did was sexual. I felt sick. I tossed him the keys.
He got into the car as I crossed the street and sat down with my Jack and marshmallows. It took him thirty seconds to figure out which key on the ring started the car, but when it started, it started.
That sound – that thrilling, beautiful, arousing sound – my eyes followed the car up into the air as it exploded – as my father exploded – as he became hundreds of millions of tiny little pieces of flesh and blood and bone and oh god…what a beautiful moment.
I know – I jumped the gun. I guess I should rewind a second. See, I left the gas cap off. It had been dribbling out of the tank and leaking onto the street since I drove it out of the shop.
Daddy started the car, I tossed out my lighter, and BOOM! We had ourselves a little Fourth of July fireworks show in the middle of October. Not to mention the bomb I rigged in the trunk. I’d been dying to test it.
I walked over and pulled a strip of metal from the wreckage, wiped my hands off on the handkerchief, speared a marshmallow, and had a nice melty snack with my whiskey. (Which I eventually poured out over the gorgeous fire in memory of my father.)
I had time to eat three marshmallows before the sirens started up in the distance. That gave me roughly thirty seconds to pull on the black wig, twenty to smear on some lipstick, ten for the apron, and lucky for me, nobody even noticed that I was already wearing the shoes. I made my way down the street as the cops pulled up, disappearing behind the gathering crowd.
Who would bother to stop me? They were looking for a teenage boy with a fucked up face and blonde hair – not some chain-smoking, black-haired waitress…