Due to joking about the wildly talented Rebecca Rose’s handsome husband dressing in a Harley Quinn esque uniform, and her playing the Joker, I have this stuck in my head. (Work in progress)
She strolled into the bank to the sound of organ music, no one sure where the sound came from. A purple dinner jacket flapped like a cloak, matching slacks perfectly tailored, falling to just above a pair of shiny black and white spats. Her face drew the most attention, half in a painted smile, white foundation under lips the color of roses left in the stands on valentines day, the dark blooms passed over by all for brighter, happier shades. The other half of her face was bare of pigment, yet the eye that pierced out from natural colored flesh bore all the testament needed by the left side of her face. One glance into that orb of marble and jade left one disassembled and put back together in a heart beat, the unbearable feeling that with a glance she knew all of you. The clown eye shone in joy and extravaganza. The other glinted with madness.
Hair spilled from under her broad fedora, golden strands stained verdigris, like a statue of brass that had just begin to age in the rain. All eyes drew to her, and the figure behind her slipped in unnoticed, a feat considering the bright white and red uniform he wore, and the cartwheels he turned in place of walking. As he worked his way around the outside of the lobby, bells jangling, she walked to the middle of the room.
“GOOD MORNING TO ALL!” Her voice rang to every corner, and she paused a minute, arms outstretched, basking in the glow of several dozen eyeballs glued to her every movement. “This, is an art installation. I call it, Trickle Up Theory. And you lucky people are audience, artist, and patron, all in one! Isn’t that great folks?”
Security started to move towards her. Some of the crowd stared in apprehension, but quite a few whipped out phones and started filming. A couple of the bored customers, standing in line for the next teller, clapped in delight, taking her words at face value.
” I am, as I am sure most of you know, the renowned performance artist and creative genius known far and wide as The Joker, The Rose Queen of Crime! And we shall start today’s entertainment by filling my hat.” Bowing, she took her hat off and pressed it to the white pinstriped shirt under her jacket. Tossing it to the ground, it landed a few feet away and wavered for a moment, as if untucking itself, and grew nearly a foot larger across. “Wallets, jewelry, watches, no digital watches, real watches. No phones, keep your phones, I’m not heartless!”
Across the room, one of the tellers reached for the hidden button under his desk. As his hand darted out, a blur of motion intersected it, and pain erupted from his hand as it slammed into his knee. “Now now, none of that Freddy!”
The teller looked up at the source of the voice. Thick eyebrows and a goatee that screamed Evil Twin framed a loose smile and eyes that seemed kind and caring, yet still filled him with terror. They peeked out over a nose that pointed like a hunting dog sighting it’s master’s prey, and wriggled like a cat about to pounce on it’s own. A white and red uniform plastered itself to the man, diamonds down the legs matching a marching Sargent’s hat that perched at an obscenely loose angle, as if ready to fall at any moment. The uniform was piped in a bright green that matched the hair of the woman in the lobby. Against his shoulder lay the head of a croquet mallet. The shaft was painted a barber pole of red and blue, leading to a handle that was cradled lovingly in the jester’s hand. The teller blinked, the absurdity and incongruity of the handle sticking out even among what was already absurdity, pushing surreal.
“Is that.. a lightsaber handle?”
The jester smiled, and swung the mallet up to show off the handle. It was indeed a steel lighstaber, the blue and red appearing out of it as if a beam. “I have a purple one as well, but I’m not allowed to use it in public.” He put a hand to his lips and mock whispered, “It says, ‘Bad Motherfucker’ on the side.” He tapped the side of the mallet, where the teller could see words engraved in the painted wood.
Focusing, still confused and trying to make sense of the world, he read them aloud. “Croquet. A game for just one player.” He looked up at the jester in confusion. The jester brought the handle up to his face, his nose and eyes peeking over the top like a living “Kilroy was here”. “It’s a pun, my dear Mr…” He glanced at the desk. “Greene. Really? A banker named Greene. How gauche. As I was saying, it’s a pun. Sadly, while it’s quite clever, no one on THIS side of the invisible wall will get it. ”
Self preservation finally made it’s voice known in the gibbering clatter of the teller’s brain as realization dawned that the kind eyed jester was mad, stark, raving, barking mad. He turned in his office chair, shoving himself back against the thin wall separating him from the next teller over. The motion caused pain to blossom fresh in his hand, and he glanced at it, a bright red mark already starting to purple. “You.. you hit me!”
The mallet swung, showing a bright yellow face on one of the striking surfaces, dark black Xs in place of eyes. “Mr. Ouchy hit you. Do anything stupid like go for that alarm again, and he’ll hit you again. And if you really piss me off…” The mallet twisted a hundred and eighty degrees. The opposite striking surface held a raised brown poo emoji. “And Mr. Poop will half to talk to you. Trust me, you don’t want to talk to Mr. Poop. It’s a sure fire way to have a shitty day. ”
The jester stood suddenly. “Ta ta! Be Good!” He started to walk back into the office behind the bank counter, then whirled and pointed at the teller, who froze in fear, hands up to show he wasn’t touching anything. The jester crouched there, pointing for a long moment, then his hand darted forward and tapped the teller on the nose. “BOOP!”
At that moment, both men looked up at the loud ringing pop of a gun going off.
The guards were advancing on the Joker, both with sidearms drawn. The closest guard was armed with a snub nosed revolver, trained steadily at the Joker’s chest. “My good man! I normally don’t traffic in guns, but if that’s all you have, I scorn no man’s contribution to the arts! Please, toss it in! ” With that, she motioned towards the hat.
“Sorry Miss, I would, but it belongs to the company. Can’t donate what isn’t mine, ya know? Now put your hands up!”
The Joker grinned and flourished in his direction. “Well, company loyalty AND a good come back joke. I appreciate it, really I do.” She took a quick step towards him and put one elbow on the gun as if leaning on it. Head propped against fist, she grinned at him from inches away as he pulled the trigger over and over again. Click. Click. Click.
“A good sense of humor aside though, I can’t let you keep the bullets. ” She fanned her free hand in the air, several shining copper jacked rounds nestled between fingers. With several deft flicks of the wrist, they sailed in a long arc, one at a time, into the hat, quickly joined by a flood of jewelry and wallets being tossed in by a now truly frighted crowd.
She looked back at the guard, smiling, and slipped the hand into her jacket. He stood stock still, sweat beading on his brow, trying and failing to keep his eyes from flicking back and forth from her to his fellow guard walking up behind her. Still staring the guard in the eyes, she whipped her hand out of her jacket and pointed it behind her, directly at the face of the second security guard. She curled up one side of her face, the unpainted one, the guard noticed, and spoke in her worst faux gangster impression. “Dontcha even THINK about it, copper.”
She turned her head slowly, making a CREEEEAAAAAAK noise under her breath. All eyes were focused on her hand, an on the giant silver ring that adorned it. The guard looked at it, eyes narrowed past the barrel of his gun.
The ring appeared to be of a single piece. Bright silver, the band went around her pointer and middle finger, a thick piece of silver with numbers carved into it. The primary focus was a human hand, maybe two inches from finger tip to wrist, in the classic finger gun position. The pointing forefinger was hollow, a gun barrel the size of a bb. The disembodied mini hand was held up by two small bears, with a third, smaller bear, standing on the curve of the top of the hand. It appeared to be trying to push the thumb backwards, like cocking a gun.
“I call it “Bearing”. It’s a statement on way we’ve trivialized gun ownership to the point where everyone has one, like hands. There are some deeper levels of meaning, but who has the time to go over it? Also, its a pun. You know, to bear arms.”
“Cute, now put your hands up. ”
Without moving her hands, the Joker slowly grinned back at the guard, a wider, wilder smile than any she’d yet worn. The guard stared at her lips, a dark pit opened into the recesses of her soul. He couldn’t help but feel like she was pouring every ounce of disdain and hate she had through those lips, and his vision swam dark, his fingers and cheeks growing cold.
“Do you know why the baby bear is cocking the gun?”
“Because.. uh… children and guns that aren’t secure?”
“OO! Good. That, and , because, well. Papa bear, he’s too hard. Mamma bear, she’s too soft. And as we all know, the baby bear? He’s JUST RIGHT. ”
A stream of liquid shot out, clear and quick, splashing in the guard’s face.
He spluttered, blinking his eyes to