Overture for a Comedy

Summary:
June 13 2014: Harley and the Joker plot their return to the grand stage that is the Tri-City area.

Hyena's Laugh Cabaret

A long unused hideout under a dingy Cabaret in Otisburg.


Characters

NPCs

  • Chubby and Laffy, poor mooks.

Mood Music:
[*]


The Hyena's Laugh is a dingy pub and cabaret located just a few blocks from the border between Otisburg and the poverty ridden East End. The inside is full of, as a songwriter once wrote, the smell of wine and cheap perfume. Also cigarette smoke and lots of cheap beer. The interior is poorly lit and the entertainment is not… not really geared toward cultural enhancement. It is, in short, a rather stark illustration of the present state of affairs in the poorer parts of Gotham these days. Most anyone who isn't a regular passes by the flickering neon sign without a second thought. The place is that unremarkable. Below it, however…

There's a set of rooms below that even most of the staff doesn't know about. The one unmarked door that leads down to them is perpetually locked. No one gives it a second thought. Into the largest of these rooms, which connect to long defunct subway service tunnels, strides a tall, lean man with green hair, chalky white skin and a perpetual smirk on his face. Looking around at the dusty, cobwebbed interior he lets out a somewhat sinister chuckle. "Ah, it's good to be home. One of them, anyway."

*

The Joker's top henchgirl, that's 'person' thank you, does back flips down the tunnel instead of walking. She stops when getting to the main room and looks around. With a wrinkle of her nose, she wipes off the dust of one of the tables with a black gloved hand. Showing it to the boss, it's whiter then it was. "We're gonna need to find some new lackeys to help us clean this place up, Puddin'.

*

The Clown Prince himself looks grandly around the room, as always seeing things as he envisions them more than they actually are. He pulls the sheet off a particularly luxuriant overstuffed armchair - one centered on a large mural of a certain caped crusader with a handlebar mustache added in what is hopefully just dark red paint… but probably isn't - and flops down in it grandly, throwing a leg over one of the arms. "Yes, yes. Daddy's considered that. There's a lot to do before our opening act. The help, always the help…" He sighs. He'll have to put some effort into recruiting. But he always manages. Something seems missing, and not just lackeys. What is it? What is it? AH! "And we need to find out where they took Snicker and Doodle… Everything must be just so."

*

Back home and back with her darling Mr. J, Harley starts collecting sheets that are covering the upholstered furniture, folding the sheets and then tossing them in an untidy pile in the corner. "We definitely have to get our babies back. It's just not a home without the pitter pat of their little feet or the sound of their laughter as the chew on their little B-man dolls." She walks over to the kitchen area, opening the fridge. "We got power, Puddin'. But our last bunch of henchmen forgot to clean out the fridge before putting this place down. Pee yu!" The fridge door closes with a slam.

*

"We'll flush it down the water main. It'll be a present for someone. Surprise food poisoning." The Joker stands, chuckling to himself, and walks over to a cobwebbed map of the Tri-City area, pinned to the wall. He sweeps it clean with a theatrical gesture, much like a conductor readying an orchestra. "Now let's see. We need to assemble our actors. The lackeys, yes, but also the various capes and costumes. There seems to some new ones in town, or at least that's what the nurse was saying before she got a whiff of my flower." He tugs absently at the fake gag flower on his vest. "She was much happier after. You took care of yours properly, didn't you Harley?" He turns to his prime henchgirl, momentarily distracted from his plotting on the map.

*

Harley Quinn looks over her shoulder at her paramour, seeming to try to remember. Her blue eyes look ceiling-ward as she chews on a gloved finger. "Mine? Hrmm. Well, that depends." She smiles ever so sweetly, giggling and swishing her hips from side to side. "Does shankin' him in the kidneys and leaving him to bleed out count as properly, Mr. J?" She bounces then and heads over to the area where the armoire is, pulling the sheet off it and peeking inside. "More bad smells, but at least this one is mothballs. Your suit are all picture perfect, Puddin'. Oh! And look!" She pulls out a ballerina rendition of her harlequin outfit. "I had forgotten which of our hideouts I left this one in."

*

"Always love the irony when you stick them." The Joker cackles quietly. "Ooooh, yes. We can talk about proper costuming later. Now, where was I… ah yes, the actors. So many new ones and not a peep from Batsy yet. I'm starting to think he doesn't like us, Harley dear. Perhaps we should plan out a little… preview. And perform for his friends. Word of mouth is always the best advertising." He turns and saunters on over to Harley, looking past her to examine his purple pinstripe suit and then her outfit more closely.

*

"You're right. You're always right. We have to decide on the talent before we worry about the costuming. And the stage. You know, I bet ya Bats put out babies back in the Gotham Zoo. He's a bit of a one trick pony that way." Harley hangs up the outfit and flops down to sit on the bed, waving a hand and coughing as she sits among a cloud of rising dust. "A preview might be perfect, Mr. J. Get the audience ready for the big show."

*

Harley's Puddin' sighs wearily. "No imagination on Batsy. No… verve. No flair! Just grumbly, glass scratchy voice and and an endless drumbeat of philosophical inanity. And not a decent sense of humor between he and any of his friends. Maybe he's made some new ones." The Joker thinks about that and then breaks out into giggles as if that were the best joke he's heard in years. "Yes, get the audience ready… but can't spoil too much. Maybe a teaser at a different venue…" He looks back at the map and pulls out a knife. "Eeeny. Meeeny. Miney… MOE!" The knife flies and lands right in the middle of downtown New York. "The Big Apple it is!"

*

Harley Quinn looks at the knife when it pulled out with childish glee, clapping her hands eagerly as she watches it fly. When it lands on New York, she pouts. "But I just came back from there," she complains, petulant. She leans back on her arms while still sitting on the bed, looking at the map. "So, something in New York. A taste of what's to come for the big show. We could blow something up… or… a shopping spree? Oh Puddin! Can we go window shoppin'? A have the perfect hammer for Tiffany's."

*

The Joker is silent for a long moment that stretches until Harley might think he's ignored her. "Yes… shopping…" He says pensively. "Of course!" He turns back to Harley with a wide, near manic grin adorning his chalky face. "Yes. What's a production without a few props?! Of course Harley. You and Daddy will go shopping, though we may have to split up to get it all covered. Make a list, Harley, of the things you'll need."

*

Squealing happily and laying back on the air, she kicks her feet with excitement. Rolling off the bed, she goes to give Joker a hug and kisses him on the cheek. "You're always so good to me, Mr. J!," she says, either forgetting or ignoring all the times he's been very *not* good to her. She looks for something to write with, a pad and pen. Hrmm. Apparently not. Then she looks up to the ceiling where she can hear the clomp clomp clomp of feet on the floor of the bar above. "I'll be right back. Just need a few things." Heading to the door, she tries to unlock it. "Huh! It's stuck," she says before giving the deadbolt a little more oomph. "There we go. Good thing I've been going to the gym."

*

The Joker turns back to the room as Harley goes upstairs. He runs his hand along a table, then a lintel bolted into the brick wall, looking every bit the disapproving martinet for just a moment, then grins to himself at his own private joke and walks over to a file cabinet. That too, proves to be stuck,but a swift kick dislodges it… and leaves a big dent in the side. He rifles through the contents and pulls out a file with various photos of the established do-gooders, the A-List from before he and Harley last went to Arkham. "Let's see… who to cast…"

*

There is a sound of a ruckus upstairs for a moment. Then screaming. More footfalls. Lots more footfalls. Gunshot. More ruckus. More gunshots. A scream and then silence. And then down the stairs there is the sound of heavy thumping and humming. In comes Harley with a smile on her face. "I found us some volunteers, Mr. J."

"You crazy bitch! You shot me! You shot me!" Harley drops the unconscious one and picks up the one that is whining by his shirt and brings his face to hers. She really needs to change her outfit, she's definitely feeling the more violent Harley tonight. Her voice is low and gravelly, or at least and low and gravelly as a chipmunk can be. "Shut yer yap and I'll mend it. Keep talkin' an' yer liable to upset me. And trust me, you don't wanna do that. I'm liable to invite you to dinner with my babies."

*

Mister J. turns at the disturbance. "Ah, gentlemen!" He gestures grandly and tosses the file onto a dusty table, the photos spilling out of the file. Superman. Wonder Woman. The Batman. A few others. The Joker walks over to the still conscious one and picks him up, surprisingly lightly for how solid he is, setting him on his feet and dusting his jacket off. "My associate and I want to get you in on the ground floor of a blockbuster hit." His eyes glint madly as he looks the unfortunate barfly square in his. "The Carnivale…" He says, his voice getting lower and, if possible, even more sinister. "Now we're a small organization now, but we anticipate… explosive growth."

*

The Joker's face isn't exactly a secret. It's been on the news, in the papers. This is Gotham. If you don't know who the Joker is, then you clearly just moved here. The pain in his foot is forgotten. What's a little bullet hole when one is being talked to by the Clown Prince of Gotham? The bartender swallows hard and nods his head slowly. He's not dumb. Do what the Joker wants and the worst that will happen is being beaten by Batman and sent to Blackgate. Say no and die. It really is an easy choice. "What ever you say… boss."

Harley smiles, heading back upstairs and coming down again a little later with a shotgun over her shoulder. "Just needed to do a little tidying up. Can't leave any hints before the grand display. Oh, and thanks for the new toy, new guy."

*

"Excellent." The truth is there are many ways to die around the Joker and saying no to him is only the most certain of them. He walks back to the file cabinet and roots around for a few moments, coming up with an old German Luger. Loaded, of course. "Now, we need to get this hideout up to snuff and prepare for our upcoming grand opening. Chubby!" He's decided just now that the bartender is 'Chubby'. "I need you to make a dentist appointment. For your sore tooth." He grins at Harley and winks. The NO2 in the office will be handy, but it's also quite clearly a setup for poor Chubby.

*

The bartender is having a hard time standing on that one bloody foot. Luckily, the floor isn't carpeted so it's easier to get the blood stains off the floor. Practical housekeeping for psychopaths! He looks confused when the Joker mentions his sore tooth. "Tooth? No, she shot me in the foot. My teeth are-." He'll learn to always agree with the Joker eventually, but the argument gets him a vicious kick to the face from the petite bundle of mayhem he forgot was standing so close. More screaming as he holds his face he turns to look at her. "Are you nuts!? What was that for?!" Harley smiles at him sweetly, standing there on one leg while she holds the other in a standing split. When one of the Pussycat Dolls does that, it's sexy as hell. When Harley does it, it's kinda intimidating. "Well, you said yer tooth wasn't sore. I fixed it. Right?" She bats her eyes at him. "Yeah… yeah… it hurts plenty. Gonna need to go to the dentist."

*

"Good. It's all settled then. Be sure to get all your prescriptions filled!" So that's NO2, check. Weaponry he'll handle himself. And they'll need some more help. He gets the feeling Chubby may call in sick soon. He and Harley will have to do some hiring. And there's still the matter of… he starts to nudge the unconscious man with his foot. "Hey. Laffy! Wake up. No sleeping on the job! You have a hot date at the zoo!"

*

The man laying on the floor is only just starting to come to. He holds his head and groans blinking and then… he looks up and has a much similar reaction to Chubby. Panic. Joker! Harley Quinn! He's a dead man! "I have a wife! A family! Don't kill me!" Harley rolls her eyes and sighs, dropping her leg to walk over to Joker and drape herself onto him, looking at him like a devoted pet. "This one ain't to smart, Puddin'. Sorry."

*

The Joker strokes Harley's hair between the pigtails. "It's okay. Daddy'll handle this." He eyes the man with a manic gleam in his expression. "A wife, you say. Kids? Well that's perrrrrrrfect. You were going to take them to the zoo, right? To see the Hyenas. Everyone loves Hyenas. Especially kids. Be sure to take lots of pictures. Your close friends Harley and Mister J. love the little animals. And… tell the Missus I said hi." That last bit in a threatening tone, as if he already knows where to find his family.

*

With a swallow, Laffy looks over to Chubby. This was not what they expected would happen tonight at the seedy bar on the edge of town. Mind you, with the bar being so close to Arkham, perhaps it's not as surprising as it should be. He starts to nod his head, cluing in with the threat to his family. "The zoo. Yeah… we'll head to the zoo. Lots of pictures."

*

"Good. I look forward to hearing all about your trip." He pauses. "Tomorrow at one. Will that give you time to get everything you need on your shopping trip that afternoon, Harley?" He leans down and pinches Laffy's cheek, just a little too hard and then turns to his shotgun toting girlfriend.

*

Harley Quinn watches as the second new recruit starts to tow the line. Her man is always so good with the help. They always see things his way. It only takes a little time. She sighs softly and leans over to Chubby. "Ain't he just a dream?" she asks. His mumbled responds seems to be agreement with hers, though the word nightmare is overheard. "So, you each have your jobs. Dentist and Zoo. Be back here at one for your next jobs. And don't keep Mr. J waiting."

*

"And close the door on your way out. What were you? Raised in a barn?" He snickers and turns back to Harley. "Wonderful. Good Initiative, Harley." He pinches her cheek, not nearly as hard. Still hard enough to make a normal woman hurt though. "Daddy's quite pleased. And Batsy.. well, he's in for the ride of his life. He and all his friends."


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