ByBryn Davies, writer at

Skip this if you don't need waffling.

So a friend showed me this competition and I thought I'd give it a cheeky bash. Why not, bit of fun, win some top-notch prizes, get some feedback even. My friend actually specified that this was the Joker's origins, and though when I checked there was no specific character, I decided to go with the Joker anyway. I love the violent little nut-ball.

I decided early on to go with Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, as it was the most up to date at the time of writing this, and it leaves behind the good old Jack Nicholson origins of falling into a vat of putrid chemical waste. Delightfully cliché, but a little to finite for writing my own origins, don't you think? With the Dark Knight, the Joker's origins are deliberately vague, perhaps to show the Joker's madness and poor grip on reality and doesn't know himself, or perhaps because the Joker wishes to remain shrouded in mystery.

Whatever the case, here's my take on the Joker's origins. Perhaps it's just another story told by the Joker himself, or perhaps it's something a little more... serious. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

The actual story:

"Y'know, some people ask me about why I do what I do. Why I enjoy it so much. I just love seeing the look on people's faces when they see the look on my face. I mean, if you hate clowns now, I promise you a fun filled evening." The Joker is before you, in all his manic glory, a picture from a nightmarish comic book rocking back and forth on his heels, delicately and lovingly running a gloved hand along the blade of a switch-blade as he paces slowly around the dark, mouldering room, the only light from a grimy, scummy window that's thick with dirt.

"But don't let that scare you away, oh no. Well... you're tied to a chair, aren't you? You're not going anywhere. Do you like the look? I made it myself, y'know." He licks his lips, sucking at his cheek a little. "Well," He says, rolling his eyes, "Almost." He draws the syllable out, rolling his tongue around it as though relishing its taste. "The make-up's easy, even if it's a little hard to get the stuff. I bet you never thought about how weeeiiird it would be to see me putting on face-paint, now did you, hmm?" he edges a little closer, tapping the blade against his chin thoughtfully. "But it's not all the clown look, is it? What really gets people is the scars." he traces along the ugly, livid mark that runs across his whole face like a tortured smile, closing his eyes and shuddering while he does. "Theeese are what really makes people go craazzy." he pulls up a chair of his own, sitting down opposite you in the dark little room. "Do you ever wonder how I got 'em? C'mere, let me tell you a story." You would respond with a no, but your mouth is bound tightly by masking tape and the only noise you can make is a muffled 'mmff'. "Ooh, a little fight in you. I like it. Don't worry, I promised you a story and I'm a man of my word."

"When I was younger I was part of the gangs, waging war on Gotham's filthy streets. We were like rats, scurrying around on our hands and knees, squabbling over scraps, dying every day - but we had nothing better to do, so we did it."

"One day, I find myself cut off from my gang in another gang's territory. Big mistake. These were the kind of guys that cut you up and eat you for breakfast without batting an eyelid." The Joker is becoming more agitated, recalling violent times from his past, and his face twitches like it's been plugged into the mains. "These guys run a tight shop, and it's not long before they catch up with me. So I run, and I hide." He calms down a little, nodding to himself, licking his disfigured lips.

"I find this night club, deserted, patrons drunk or gone, and I clear the place out real quick. Sure enough, someone's hit the panic button, and I hear cars and bikes outside before long. The gang was here, and I hid again, the back of the place, the air conditioning room." He runs a hand through his hair, closing his eyes again and shuddering. "But there were only so many room, and I only had so much time before they found me. Tick-tock." He laughs madly, slapping his thighs, but eventually he calms down, leaning into, hot breath inches away from your face.

"So I improvise. I look around and I find something very strange. Seems like this little place was using laughing gas to cheer people up." He laughs again. "Well, that put a smile on my face. I found a gas mask in there too, I guess the guys who ran the place didn't want to be breathing in too much of the stuff. I put it on, and I turn on the gas." He chews on his cheek again as he recalls.

"Pretty soon, I start to hear laughing from outside. The mask is thick and covers my ears, but I hear everyone having a great time. So I go out and join in, with one of these," He traces his switch-blade across your face, "And I cut them all up into lots of little, happy pieces. But I miss one guy. I go to leave, but he jumps me, laughing while he does, and tries to take my mask off with a knife. A few inches higher, and I was a goner, but he's laughing so hard that he cuts here..." He touches the blade to his left cheek, "...And here. The mask comes off, and we fight, and at the start he's laughing and I'm, I'm... terrified. But as we go... I start to laugh too. And pretty soon, he stops laughing. And I'm laughing because he made me smile. That's why I'm always smiling. You know what he said?" The Joker leans in and whispers in your ear.

"He asks me, 'Why so serious?'" The switch blade slips into your mouth, and presses against your cheek. "'Let's put a smile on that face.'"


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