By Dick Grayson
That night was cold, even for Gotham’s patterns. It was dark too… Thankfully, darkness and cold were not my enemies. Of course, I was already angry, but when I saw the place the clown had chosen to his next plan...
He kills the Batman, gets himself arrested, escapes a week later and attacks Wayne Tech’s building, whose owner had mysteriously disappeared. He might have destroyed the crime fighting hero, but I wouldn’t let him murder Bruce’s legacy.
The first thing I saw when I opened the tall company’s door was a laughing-to-death receptionist. He stared at my with a pair of insane eyes, begging for help with the last shred of his soul. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to save people. I could still smell the remains of Joker’s gas in the air.
“Where is him?!” I asked, trying to look as though as possible.
I walked down to the elevator and left him there, restraining myself from taking him to a hospital or trying to help somehow.
Usually, the Joker would try to catch me in his sick games, cutting the elevator’s cables, for example. This time, though, there were no surprises. I simply arrived on the twentieth floor and met him alone. No thugs, no crazy girlfriend, and apparently no weapons.
“Hello there,” he said, smiling.
“What are you up for, Joker?”
“Straight to the point?” He asked. “Even he was more subtle.”
“I’m not him. And you definitely don’t deserve subtleties,” I responded.
“Okay, okay. I remember you being funnier… My plot is pretty simple, if that’s what you want to hear: I have this bomb that can cause a very big explosion… For some reason, it’s located inside Batsy’s greatest legacy HAHAHAH!
A small piece of information in his plot made me really nervous.
“How could you possibly know that?”
“I’m crazy, not dumb! When Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham after his self-exile, the Batman is seen for the first time. When the Batman falls, Wayne disappears again? I doubt I’m the only one who noticed that’s, at least, strange… And anything is hardly strange for me!”
“You’re sick. Even Arkham wasn’t made for someone like you…” I commented.
“Can’t argue there…” He admitted. “But if it was, we wouldn’t have that much fun! Now, don’t you wanna know my plot?”
I stood silent. He would tell me anyway.
“You’re quite the mood breaker, kid. The thing is this will be my final great act. Just before you came in, I ate the trigger for a bomb that is charged by heat…. Human heat too. Despite the metal taste, it was quite good.”
“I will find the bomb and deactivate it. And then I’ll come for you.”
“It’s a time bomb! Stop bluffing, you’ll never do it, unless…”
“Unless what?” I jumped on him and brought him to the ground.
“Unless the heat is… off… HA…HA...” He tried to laugh, but I wouldn’t let him.
It took me a few seconds to finally understand. He wanted me to kill him. Maybe that was his only goal from the beginning: to corrupt his nemesis, turn someone good into him, an agent of chaos. If I decided not to do it, he would win anyway.
“He was your only joy of living…” I said, perplex.
“Wait, wait! There’s more! There are tens of gas bombs activated by vibration in the sewers right now. I bet this explosion will make the city vibrate enough to make boom! ”
A deep fear ran through my bones. It was no joke.
“Why? Why do you insist on this suicidal genocide plans?” I yelled.
He didn’t answer. His disturbing face staring at me with true pleasure.
“I’ll end your life now, you maniac. That’s what I came here for, after all…”
By some reason, his smile became larger.
“Good bye, Joker. After everything you’ve done, everybody will forget you in a few generations. He will be remembered forever, as a symbol of hope… While you die knowing that even your name remained unknown, even for you.”
I took from my belt a batrang that I kept as a souvenir after giving up the role of Robin. Slowly moved it closer to his neck.
This is it, I thought, now everyone he killed will be revenged, and Gotham, saved from its worst evil! That’s what he should have done…
“Except that he didn’t,” I said out loud.
“What?” He asked, pulled back to reality.
“Now I understand it. Bruce’s desire of killing you wasn’t any inferior to mine, but the man he was never allowed him do what he knew that was wrong.”
“Oh, not that old speech again!” He shouted. “You better know something, kid: in his last moments, he was about to kill me!”
“You never had the chance of seeing his decision,” I replied. “When I was on my way, I was sure that, when the police arrived, they’d find nothing but a pale dead body in this room. But you would love that, wouldn’t you?”
“Why are you all so soft? Why can’t you see the world from my point of view at least once? I left Arkham because Dent told he was almost killed by Nightwing… That you were looking for vengeance!”
“You want me to do what you have always wanted him to do...” I realized. “But that would be too good for you.”
“Screw it! If you can’t do it, it will happen anyway, but this time, everybody goes with me! HAHAHAHAHAH!”
“I won’t let it.”
Right after saying that, I punched him so hard in the stomach he couldn’t prevent himself from throwing up. I got the trigger among some disgusting liquid and threw it on the floor. Fortunately, we both could see it slowly going off… When there were only third seconds left.
“Third seconds… Funny thing,” I said.
He didn’t seem to understand.
“If I had killed you, your body heat wouldn’t instantaneously disappear. The bomb would still explode.”
I will never know whether he was about to say something or not. Four officers entered the room so fast that I needed sometime to understand what was going on. It was the first time the Joker was captured without any last funny phrase or laughing.
Somehow, the anger that had been consuming me from almost a week was suddenly gone.