Killing Time

Scene

The JOKER sits on his bed in a padded cell in Arkham Asylum, he is wearing a straitjacket. The room is dark and the only light comes from a small, barred window high in the wall.

The JOKER keeps glancing towards a dark corner of the room – stage left.

JOKER

  • (Sighing) You’re persistent I’ll give you that. You could at least bring a gift you know, some little trinket, a saw maybe, (viciously) or a crowbar. (brightening) Something that says you really care. All these visits and not even a bunch of flowers. (Pause) You’re a great conversationalist. Bet you and Bird Boy just never stop chit chatting. How is . . . ? Oh, that’s right, poor little Bird Brain’s, brains fell out of their nest. Would you like me to tell you why I killed ol’ rotten Robin? How it felt to crush his skull? Do you want me to describe how sticky and sweet his oozy, red blood was as I licked it off my fingers? (Long pause. The JOKER stares into the darkness waiting for an answer, when none comes he shifts his focus to the wall.) You’re just no fun anymore.

The hole in the door opens – stage right, a hand reaches through and places a small clear cup full of pills, and a glass of water on the ledge. The JOKER watches as the hand withdraws and the hole is closed again. He jumps off the bed, walks over to the door, and tries to grab the pills/water but is stopped by the straitjacket. He keeps trying, making his point.

  • (Walking back to the bed.) What we really need around here is a better class of idiot. (He sits back on the bed.) How about it Bats, you feel up to the job? I’m sure you have a little free time on your hands, now you no longer have to wash Boy Wonder’s underpants. Come on, what d’ya say? The decor is terrible, the food’s lousy and the company mostly drools. You’ll love it. Feel right at home in no time at all. You could flap around and hide in the dark corners. I’ll even let you scowl at me. It’ll be just like the good old days. Remember them Bats? Remember the good old days when it was just you and me? No irritating, squawky, little Bird Boy coming in and trying to steal the show. Everyone else was just a pathetic little sideshow, we’re the real freaks. You and me, together, forever. How about it my sweet? I promise, (grinning) I’ll beg you to kill me whenever you introduce your fist to my face. (Pause) Alright, if it’ll make you feel better about the Bird, you can sock it to me right now. I’ll admit, I did have fun but it was callous and ill mannered of me to murder your boy like that. Go on, lay one on me Bats. Beat me within an inch of my life, just like I did the Bird. (The JOKER closes his eyes and screws up his face, waiting for a punch that doesn’t come.) Oh for Christ’s sake Batty Man, lighten up. You know how it goes, ‘if life should treat you bad, don’t get even, get mad.’

The JOKER leans against the wall and looks up to the window, his face caught in the moonlight. He smiles.

  • Maybe those pills aren’t for me Bats. Maybe they know you’re here and they’re trying to give you a little, push in the right direction. Perhaps I’m your honey trap. You are after all a wanted man, and they do know how fond of me you are. You should watch it sweetie pie, people might start to say we’re in love. (Pause) No? Well, it was worth a shot. (Long pause. The JOKER adopts a serious tone.) Your name is worthless, they hate you just as much as they hate me. I’ve killed your friends, I’ve torn your beloved Gotham apart, and yet still, you, don’t, kill me.

The JOKER stares into the corner, waiting for a reaction.

  • (Cheerfully) Us fruitcakes really do need to stick together you know. I mean, if the costumed freaks can’t rely on one another, then this really is a foul world. (Grinning) The truth is you like it, don’t you Bats? I could murder and maim everyone you’re meant to care for, and still, the only thing you’ll ever do is beat me and throw me in here. I’m the only thing you really give two hoots about. And you, like it. You like your tortured soul and your guilt. You love how rotten I make you feel. You like the darkness and the shadows that hold you there. (Looking directly into the corner.) Don’t you, Brucie baby?

A loud clanking sound is heard and the door opens spilling light into the room. The shadows in the corner shift slightly. The JOKER is illuminated on the bed but the corner stays hidden. He turns to the person obscured by the door and starts to laugh.

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