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Hannibal Vs. The Joker: Fantasy Fight, Episode three

“Mad Love” image courtesy of Fanpop

BANG!

A second psychiatrist slumped to the ground, her poker hand falling from her fingers and revealing the three of a kind she hadn’t even had a chance to lay on the table before the Joker pulled the trigger. The clown’s hand lay in a haphazard mess before him, a 2 of clubs, a 6 of diamonds, a 10 of diamonds, a 3 of spades, and a Queen of Hearts.

“Should’ve folded sweetheart. I would have. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAAAAA!!!!”

Lecter set his jaw as the laughter continued to grate on his senses. As he watched the Joker heave and guffaw with amusement he tried hard to determine if there was a single organ in the Joker’s body that would even have an acceptable taste, much less a pleasant odor when cooked. The man had been exposed to so many chemicals that Lecter doubted the Joker would even be safe to consume.

The jester girl squeaked as she peered through the barricaded window. “Mistah J!” she called.

“Not now, Harley!” he barked. “I’m busy!” The Joker grinned at Lecter as he passed five new cards to him. “Looks like there’s something on your mind, doc. Any chance of being diagnosed?”

In his peripheral, Lecter caught the nervous glances of the two other doctors. He didn’t have to survey them for long to gather that they were planning to diagnose the Joker with the first feasible psychosis that was available to them. Not that he blamed them, but he knew they wouldn’t survive the night. The Joker had been diagnosed with every kind of known abnormal mental state, and it wasn’t likely that he was going to accept a simple answer, not after Arkham Asylum and the courts had declared him sane.

Lecter put on a polite smile. It was unconcerned, and the intrigue twinkled in his bright blue eyes. “Oh, no, not yet,” he replied, his tone even and slow, and most importantly of all, patient. “It would be quite rude of me not to give it my best possible effort.” He gave a subtle glance and an added leer to the other two doctors. The one immediately to his left furrowed his white eyebrows and shifted uncomfortably in his seat, no doubt unnerved by Lecter’s calm demeanor and the way his lips pulled his face into a calculating and even menacing expression.

The Joker leaned his face onto his palm, looking speculative. His bloodshot eyes found Lecter’s would-be colleagues for a moment before he settled back on Lecter, still as tranquil as he had been since the situation began. “Hey…” he started, “you ever been to my neck of the woods befo-,”

“MISTAH J! MISTAH J!”

With a snarl, the Joker turned, throwing a whiskey glass at the back of Harley’s head.

“Eeep!” Harley instinctively dove for the ground and as the glass shattered against the wall, Lecter spotted what had Harley Quinn so riled up. Through the spaces of the window barricade he saw the unmistakable red and blue lights of police cars flashing against the pane.

The Joker paused, his expression stunned for only half a second before it broke out into a manic grin. “Finally! It’s about time they came out to witness our crazy!”

A telephone began to ring somewhere in the back of the restaurant. Turning to Lecter and the others, the Joker made a bow and a theatrical flourish before announcing, “I’ll be right back. Duty calls! You know, hostage negotiations and all…” Lecter could hear the clown’s cackles echo throughout the building as the Joker retreated towards the ringing phone.

The psychiatrist to his left shared a sigh with the other remaining woman. “Thank goodness,” she said.

The other man held his finger to his lips in warning. “Shhh…” and he whispered, “we can’t continue to attract their attention. It’s a known fact, he also suffers from attention deficit disorder. As long as he is distracted by other things, we can bide for time.”

“May I inquire as to what you’ll be biding your time for?” Lecter suddenly asked, not bothering to whisper. As Harley stood up, she turned her head over in interest.

“For the police to negotiate a release of course!” said the woman doctor in an exasperated tone.

Hannibal Lecter let out a faint chuckle as he fiddled with his empty wine glass. “And what makes you think he would follow through with any sort of promise? That would imply that he lives by a set of rules or societal norms.”

The remaining pair of doctors exchanged stunned glances. Clearing his throat, the older male doctor replied, “Well, past observations with his encounters with Gotham City’s vigilante indicate certain patterns of behavior that he abides by-,”

Shaking his head slowly, Lecter released an abrupt, “Incorrect,” causing the two to make startled gestures at his seemingly irritated change in tone. “You are assuming that his relationship with the Batman reflects on his relationship with society. Tell me, what does a faceless officer of the law share with a grown man dressed in a costume who beats criminals half to death as a hobby?”

The woman narrowed her eyes in thought. “They both administer a type of justice.”

“Incorrect.”

The woman straightened in her seat, her posture rigid and agitated. “The Batman is an obsessive compulsive personality. What he justifies as justice is just behavior that is compensating for some lack of order in his psyche.”

The older doctor nodded in agreement. “Yes, and the Joker is the same. That can account for why they have frequent confrontations.”

Lecter opened his mouth to speak, but not before Harley stomped her way over, exclaiming, “You hacks don’t know a thing about Mistah J!” The doctors gasped and turned towards her while cringing, as if having forgotten she was even present.

Harley Quinn raised her chin proudly. “No one knows my puddin’ better than me! Ya know how many doctors have evaluated him? Hundreds! But it’s only me that was able to understand him, the only one who saw that ain’t nothin’ wrong with Mistah J, it’s this mean, unfair society that’s the problem! Puddin’ just wants to make everyone smile again…” her tone softened and her gaze drifted as her eyes became glazed over with adoration.

The pair gave her a disheartened look. “You were a medical professional once yourself, Quinzel,” implored the woman. “It’s not too late to make things right, you know. Why don’t you-,”

The woman screamed as Harley backhanded her. “Do what? Turn Mistah J in!? Abandon him for a so-called normal life?! I’ve seen what normal is, lady, and it ain’t pretty! Mistah J set me free, and I ain’t goin’ back to that life!”

The doctor held her cheek and whimpered, but her submissiveness didn’t subdue Harley. The costumed girl pulled the psychiatrist from her chair and in another second an additional shot was fired.

“See? One way or another, everybody goes free. That’s just one of the things my angel taught me.”

As his remaining colleague covered his ears and shook his head in despair, Lecter leaned back thoughtfully in his seat. Suddenly he was very interested in what Dr. Harleen Quinzel had to say.

To Be Continued…

Image courtesy of filmoa.com

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