Originally Posted by Byrd Man
At the end of the punchline, the right lens in my cowl flashed a notification on my screen. The right back leg of the Joker's chair was rickety. I placed my right forefinger against my thumb and leaned forward.
"Is that it? Nothing about how you're better than me? I'm disappointed. The past two times we've chatted, you haven't hesitated to remind me how awful I am and how I refuse to see the truth of the ugly world out there."
The Joker burst out into hysterical laughter.
"HA! A-HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!! You still don't get it, do you?! Oh, man, that's.....that's just....HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAA!!!!!"
The clown's laughter resounded through the house, until his throat was hoarse and he could barely breathe.
"Ahaa....heee....hooo.....ow, my sides........you're so close. You hear what I'm saying, but you refuse to let it sink in. This isn't about me, or us, or the big ugly awful world.......it's just about you. And how all of this is happening, specifically, and only, because you want it to happen."
With each word, the Joker's stare grew more wide-eyed, an almost hungry glare in his eyes.
"And this isn't about how you let me escape from Arkham Island--not entirely, anyway. That's still your fault, but it's not the big picture. No, it's about you creating all of this misery and sorrow around you, not because you want to save a city, but because you want to feel powerful."
His sickly yellow eyes burned as he stared holes through the vigilante.
"The Batman, the Caped Crusader, Gotham City's Dark Knight,"
he rattled off the nicknames the news had given him. "It makes you feel good, doesn't it? Like you're actually doing something with yourself? You're all that stands between the good people of Gotham City-- and Blüdhaven too, I guess- and total destruction at the hands of killers and madmen. That's why you beat the snot out of scrawny little Doctor Crane, or trigger-happy Frank Castle.....or some miserable little nobody that some two-bit mobsters stuffed in a Red Hood to help them knock over the Ace Chemical Plant...."
For an instant, the Joker's stare broke off from the Batman, looking away at something that wasn't there. It was a distant, longing stare, thinking back at something that was long gone. For just a second, the Joker wasn't smiling.....
......then he came back to his senses.
"You could have saved Gotham City if you really wanted to,"
he said, a vicious hiss in his voice. "You're clearly loaded-- all of those gadgets and gizmos of yours can't be cheap; you'd have to be a Tony Stark or a Bruce Wayne to put your act together. You could have thrown all those millions of dollars into charities, or into jump-starting businesses to get people their jobs back. Maybe send some cash to Arkham Asylum so they can hire some shrinks that are actually worth a damn, heh. Considering the money and the brains you pretty obviously have, you could have turned the city around without throwing a single punch.......but where would be the fun in that?"
The killer leaned forward in his seat, digging one hand into the recliner, the other with a white-knuckled deathgrip on the detonator.
"No, you needed to feel powerful,"
he sneered. "You needed to take control of the situation and turn it into a suicidal war between yourself and the world. You needed the rush of danger, the thrill of violence, the power of life and death in your hands. You needed to make yourself more than a good person; you had to make yourself a savior, a god-damned Guardian Angel. I'm just the Devil on the city's other shoulder."
The Joker leaned further forward, all but leaping out of his chair as he stared Batman down.
"Deny it all you want. Beat the stuffing out of me and throw me in another cage. Sooner or later, you'll come around. You'll realize that all of this has happened.....all those people have suffered and died......all because you wanted to be something you're not: a hero."
With that, the Joker took a deep breath, and leaned back into the recliner. He glanced at the detonator in his hand, and tossed it aside.
"Okay then. Now you can beat me up."