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The Joker vs. The Jokester

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"Ne ha ha ha ha!"

That ear piercing bone chilling laughter. I've heard it before. What? What's going on here? 

Jackie Napier AKA Jokester Gotham City celebrity and part-time crime fighter was literally beside himself about the events that happened of late. There in the darkened room was a man with his face. The figure was laughing and laughing the most maniacal and horrible sounding evil laughter the clown themed comedian had ever heard. The laughter was almost loud enough to drown out another sound. 

"No...please! Stop!" 

The pain-filled cries of his adopted son Jason Todd. He adopted the kid because he heard the owl was looking for a new talon, and he didn't want to give Wayne the satisfaction of messing up another troubled kid and turning him into a killer. Todd was a fragile young boy, suspicious of the whole world. Jackie wanted to give Jason an experience that was all smiles and help him forget his old life on the streets, but now it was looking more like they were trapped in a horror movie.

Jackie moved stealthily slowly and cautiously like a cat along the corridor of the warehouse. He peered around the corner to get a better look at what was actually going on. There, in the dimly lit room was the boy, beaten and bloody. In the assailant's hand was a blood soaked crowbar. The sight turned his stomach and filled him with rage. 

How? How can anyone be such a monster?   

Jackie took out his spring loaded hammer gun and aimed it at the intruder. A large spring-loaded mallet shaped like a boxing glove was deployed. It hit the assailant dead-on, but it wasn't enough to knock him out. 

"Ah, Jackie, you're early!" the mysterious figure shouted. 

"Let my son go!" Jackie yelled, eyes glaring through his permanent Glasglow grin.

"Ha ha ha ha!" 

The figure stood up and grabbed Jackie by the lapels. 

"I think I would rather have you join him!" the figure spat. 

As his face came into the light, Jackie let out a slight gasp. There was a man with his face, his clothes, even his hair style! 

Jackie recovered from the temporary shock and hit him where it hurt with a spring-loaded cod piece. 

"Ow! you miserable little clown bake!" 

"That wasn't funny. Don't be offended, or well, I don't care, do get offended, but, besides being a generally awful person, you make a terrible comedian," Jackie said.  

"Oh, but I have a joke that'll kill," the figure spat. 

Jackie saw him press something on his lapel and a faint hissing sound could be heard. Then, there was a strong spicy chemical smell. It burned his nose and eyes. At first, Jackie thought it was just pepper spray, but then, he felt uncomfortable spasms forming in his chest. He started laughing a horrible joyless maniacal laughter. His voice rose in chorus with the madman who was beating his son. He wanted to stop; he knew that the situation was grave and he needed to be able to stay calm to keep others calm, but there was no way to stop. 

"Laugh clown, laugh...and remember that no one should ever make fun of me." 

"That's...ha..ha..ha...what this is all about? Wow, it's easy to get under your skin," Jackie said. 

"Want to know something, clown-themed kiddo? You superheroes are all alike. Humiliate the villain in hopes that he or she will somehow magically change their ways. Well...it doesn't work like that, and I was thinking. How would you like to get treated the way I do on a daily basis just because of the way you look? Would it be enough to drive you mad if you were, say, framed for some 'horrible crime,' like killing your own son?" 

Jackie gave a look of shock through the laughter. 

"Ha ha ha ha ha!"

I can't believe he would actually consider something so maniacal and mad, just because I told a joke about him. I had no idea my double was such a truly evil person. Even though it's like looking into a fun house mirror, I'm no longer impressed. 

As Jackie succumbed to the effect of the Joker venom, Joker went back to beating the kid. 

________________________________

Jackie woke up and could still hear Jason screaming and crying. Jackie carefully made his way to the bruised and bloody child.

When Jason saw Jackie, he spat blood in his face and cursed at him.  

"I can't believe I ever trusted you! Take me back to the foster home, you evil clown!" Jackie heard the child protest.

"It wasn't me; you have to believe that it wasn't me!" Jackie pleaded. 

Jackie tried to get near Jason to free him, but he couldn't get near him. The kid was in shock, and he was clawing and biting and spitting at the clown as he tried to help him. 

The clown comedian tried to fight through the child's angry outbursts to try to free him, but it was no use.  

The child sputtered and coughed and Jackie could tell he was losing a lot of blood. 

If I don't do something, he may not make it. The kid needs medical attention, now. This whole blame game can wait. I can prove my innocence later; the kid is more important. 

Jackie turned back to the protesting kid, utterly defeated. 

"I'm...sorry for beating you up earlier..." Jackie apologized. 

I didn't do it at all; it was my evil doppleganger from a parallel Earth, but that's besides the point now.

"&^%$! You think you can just apologize and everything will be okay? you're crazy!" 

"Maybe so, but apologizing is all I can do at this point, kiddo." 

Jackie reached down to undo the restraints. Taking the blame appeared to work. This time, the child allowed him to free him. 

"Take me back to the orphanage, you evil clown! I don't ever want to see you again!" Jason said. 

Just then, Jackie heard a faint clicking in the wall, he looked around for the source of the noise and found it coming from one of the air ducts. 

It's a bomb! 

That was the last thought he remembered having. The bomb went off with Jason still trying to frantically to escape the room. He had planned to help him escape, but he was too late. 

Jackie woke up in a pile of charred rubble. 

Am I dead? No. Good. Not being dead is always a good thing, I think. 

The clown themed comedian checked himself; memories of the previous night came flooding back to him like a bad dream. 

Where's my son?  

The comedian ran to the pile of rubble and started frantically searching through it. There amidst the rubble, he found the body of five-year-old Jason Todd.

"No. This can't be happening," Jackie said as tears formed in his eyes.

"Jason..." Jackie whispered.

The boy was stiff and as still as stone. There were huge bruises on his neck and chest. Apparently some debris hit him during the explosion and crushed some vital organs.

Jackie cradled the boy and started crying, white makeup falling on the boy's body and running down his cheeks.

The clown decided to order a burial in a plot of land he had in the snow covered mountain areas. 

__________________________________________

Losing his son was bad enough, but what was worse was the field day the media had with it. Apparently, the whole scene was caught on security cameras.

"I don't know why Jokester would just lose it like that. Our cameras caught him beating up a young boy."

Jackie flipped through the channels in horror at the media reports.  

"Today's top story, Gotham's favorite clown comedian has turned into a serial killer..." 

"Yeah, given Jackie's recent behavior, we feel that he is no longer a good candidate to work with the GCPD. We're taking down the clown signal and putting up an owl signal."

"You're what?" 

"Owlman's rough, but he's never been known to kill anyone." 

"Yeah right..." Jackie said. 

Just then the phone rang. 

"Hello?" 

"Hello, Jackie Napier?" 

"This is he." 

"This is June from Gotham Entertainment. We regret to inform you that we've cancelled your gig with us; we just couldn't have you on after that scandal last night."

Jackie heard a knock on the door.

"Yes?"

"GCPD."

"Commissioner, do you have work for me?"

"No, actually, we have some questions. We have tapes. Why did you kill your own son?"

"It isn't like what the media's trying to say!"

"Yeah, well, we hope you've got a good lawyer, clown! We've got tapes of what you did and said to a five-year-old boy! That's sick. My daughter used to think you were a hero!"

The news reports continued to flood in. 

Jackie was getting tired of hearing the phone ring. 

"Hello?" 

"I'm just going to be straight with you, clown, we're not booking you anymore. We know you're into theatrics and all but we at least thought you were stable enough not to start committing crimes. You're a bad influence on the people of Gotham." 

Jackie turned on the television and was horrified. 

There were more reports of heinous crimes done by a man with his face. His reputation was going down the toilet by the minute, and for once there was nothing he could do about it. Even if he caught the bad guy this time the people just weren't going to believe it. It looked like he was going to have to leave comedy for a while if he wanted to continue crime fighting. 

____________________________

The clown had bigger issues to attend to, though. He couldn't get Jason off of his mind. 

I already lost one child by being selfish. I'm not going to make the same mistake with Jason. I'm just not going to do it. Call me crazy, but I think he deserves more than that untimely death, and I think I may know someone who can fix it.