Baggage, your passports ready,
And follow the green line to customs and then to immigration
BA two-one-five to Rome, Prado, Naples...
May I have your attention, please,
Customs will be receiving passengers
For BA two-one-five to Rome, Prado, Naples
Customs will be receiving passengers
For BA two-one-five to Rome, Prado, Naples
Live for today,
"Don't let them get too--"
"--the SLIGHTEST IDEA what I'm going to--"
"--against the wall, NOW! I swear to God, I'll shoot--"
"--filled with beautiful lights! Don't you see, I can--"
"--backup! I repeat, we need--"
"--DIG OUT YOUR EYES AND SHIT IN YOUR--"
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
"God, I love it when a plan falls apart," the Joker mused to himself as he adjusted the fit of his jacket-- a little tight in the shoulders these days, "even when that plan's my own."
Stepping out from the washroom into the halls of general population, the air rang with the sounds of glorious chaos. Primal screams, threats and challenges, the sound of fists smacking against faces. The rattling of teeth as they scattered across bare concrete. Shrieks of pain and horror. The deafening roar of gunfire, some bullets made of rubber, others most definitely not.
Normally, the Joker would relish in this, drink in the mayhem the way other connoisseurs might take in a fine wine or the strains of Mozart. However, today he really did have to get going.
Someone had been picking off members of his old gang, including some of his very favorite henchmen over the years. And that someone needed to be taught a lesson: no one, no one, plays with the Joker's toys. And that was a lesson he wouldn't be able to teach until he got off of the island and back out into the big wide world.
"--around the corner, think that was the Joker! We can't let him--"
"Oop, gotta go!" the Clown Prince said to himself, breaking out into a sprint as the tromp of heavy boots approached. "Can't stand around daydreaming all day!"
"--ohshitthat'shim, hey, HEY! FREEZE!"
Fire from a guard's submachine gun kicked up sprays of concrete and tile shards, bullets whizzing past the thin white madman as he made a beeline for a crush of bodies in front of him, inmates and guards already engaged in a violent melee.
"Hot stuff, comin' through, scuze me, outtatheway!" he shouted into the din, elbowing his way past a few, wriggling like a snake between others, and trampling over those already on the floor. Stars and colors exploded in his vision as a stray fist caught his nose, causing his eyes to water and his head to swim for a moment. When he regained his senses, a big guy with bible verses tattooed across his face was holding a knife to his throat.
"After all my sins," the big man muttered to himself, "God delivers unto me a demon to slay."
"I-- *ngh!*--don't know about all that," said the Joker as he strained to get one hand into the breast of his jacket. "I've always been told it's in bad taste to make jokes about God and religion. But hey, it's always been a blasphemy!"
"....what's that supposed to mean?"
The clown rolled his eyes. "Blasphemy, but it sounds like 'it's been a blast for--' you know what? Never mind, I've got to get going."
With one hand in his jacket, the Joker squeezed the small rubber pump sewn into the inside, connected to the flower in his lapel. A fluorescent green fluid sprayed out, catching the big man in the eyes. A split second later, the hiss of acid burns was followed by blood-curdling screams, and the Joker casually freed himself of the big man's grip, relieving him of his knife.
"I really need to work on my puns," he muttered to himself, carving his way through the rest of the melee as the guard with the submachine gun let out another burst.
Ducking and winding his way through the building, he began making his way down and to the southeastern end of the island, where the helipad was sure to be receiving backup from the GCPD's SWAT teams any second. Sure enough, the heavy rhythmic pulse of helicopter blades from up above confirmed his suspicions, and he grinned.
"He's making for the helicopter. Good, that's just what we had in mind. Unlock the southeastern gate, but keep all the doors in that wing sealed. The GCPD will have to take their time breaching each one, and he'll slip right through in the air vents."
"...wait....you want him to escape? I thought you wanted him dead."
"Are you questioning me?"
"O-o-of course not, my Lady! I j-j-just--"
"Believe me, I absolutely want him dead. More than anyone else in the world. But he can't die yet. First, he has to suffer. And he has to know why..."
"Beg your pardon," the Joker shouted over the roar of the helicopter blades as he climbed into the cabin, "But do you know if this one's headed to Sheboygan?"
The pilot turned in alarm, but before he could draw his pistol or radio for help, the Joker lunged forward, plunging the knife he had acquired earlier into the side of the pilot's neck. Dragging the dying man out of his seat, the clown sat down at the controls.
"Let's see, let's see," he muttered to himself, "rudder, pitch, throttle, seat warmer--hey, do you know how to play some tunes on this thing?"
The pilot let out a bloody gurgle as his body convulsed for a final time.
"Ahhh, I'm sure I'll figure it out," he said with a chuckle before opening up the throttle, "and awayyy we go!"
The helicopter rose high into the air, leaving Arkham Asylum behind, and leaving the GCPD officers stranded in the madhouse.
"AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA, OOOHOHOHOHOOOO!" the Joker laughed to himself triumphantly, now truly free and clear. "Ohhhh, that was too easy!"
"Indeed it was," a voice crackled over the chopper's radio. "Far too easy. I facilitated nearly every step of your escape. Diverted guards from your location, kept the more dangerous inmates busy, even made sure this helicopter would be there to whisk you away to freedom. You're very welcome for that, by the way."
"Oh?" the madman asked with a raised eyebrow. "And who might you be, that you're so willing to help out a poor old clown down on his luck?"
"All in good time," the voice answered, "But for now...you can refer to me as 'Lady Arkham.'"
The Joker stifled a laugh. "That's a bit of a presumptuous name, don't ya think?"
"Oh, trust me, no one's more deserving of the title. I know the asylum inside and out, better than anyone. Even you."
"I wouldn't bet on that, sweetie," the Joker bristled at the newcomer's boast. "I've spent more time in that place than anyone."
"More than almost anyone, Joker," the voice responded. "But I'd rather not tip my hand just yet. You've still got quite a bit of game to play if you want to know who I am, why I helped you escape....and why I've been killing your henchmen."
The Joker's hackles raised. "I don't know or particularly care who you are, honey. But since you seem to be new to the Gotham City super-criminal scene, let me give you a free fact about me. I don't play other people's games. I have something of a thing when it comes to people expecting me to play by the rules. You'd know that about if you spent a fraction of the time in the looney-bin that you claim, 'Lady Arkham.'"
"Oh, I do know that," the voice said, a sinister edge growing in its tone. "I also know that you have a 'cousin' named Melvin, who works at a tuna canning plant in Maine, to whom you send $5,000 every month despite having never contacted him. I know that you only have seven of your original teeth left, due to multiple violent encounters with the Batman and his associates. I know that you talk in your sleep, and often mutter about a woman named Jeannie."
The Joker's smile was gone now, his lip curled into a scowl.
"And I know that, somehow, despite all logic and reason, you're going to find a way to survive this crash."
"Crash?" he asked. ".....what c--"
With a shower of sparks and a groan of twisting metal, a small explosive detonated in the helicopter's tail rudder, sending the aircraft spiraling out of control.
"Heh," the Joker chuckled to himself as he struggled in vain to control the chopper, "I just had to ask, didn't I?"
Warning alarms and klaxons blared as the helicopter careened towards the Gotham city skyline.
His head swam, his stomach lurched into his throat....
....and just before he closed his eyes, he saw the shape of a skyscraper filling his vision.
"This," he muttered, "is really gonna hurt...."