"Alright, let's see who we've got next. A Miss Quinzel."
"It's Mrs. Quinn."
"Really? On your file it says your full name is Harleen Frances Quinzel. And that you've never been married."
"Well I don't care what some stupid file says, my name is Harley Quinn. And me and Mr. J ain't married, but we're planning on it! He just needs to kill that stupid Bat, and then we'll be honeymoonin' in Maui in no time!"
"Riiiight. Ok, 'Mrs. Quinn', my name is Patrica Martinez, I'm your new psychiatric."
"What happened to the other guy?"
"You drove him to kill himself with your psychotic actions."
"All I did was shake the guy up a bit, yeesh, 'fraidy cat.' Shame too, he was handsome. Ah well, you seem more brighter anyway. Hey what else does it say on that little piece-a-paper ya got?"
"Well let's see here. It says that you were born in a lower part of Gotham, into a poor and rather abrasive family. It also says you were an intelligent college student, getting into GCU with a gymnastics scholarship. You had a bright future, but you threw it all away for an even brighter one as a psychiatric; like me. In fact, it says you were a psychiatric at this very estate. Hm, interesting, you threw that brighter future away for a life of crime with your 'darlin Mr. J'."
"Nothing. It's just, why? Why throw your life away like that, for some...some psychotic clown?"
"Mr. J is not a psychotic clown! He's my hero, and I didn't throw my life away; he saved it."
"Oh? And how so?"
"Tell ya what, because I like your face, I'm gonna tell you my REAL story. Not the stupid crap ya got scribbled on those files there."
"By all means."
"Alright then, ahem.."
Lower Gotham Streets
[Note: present time (with Patrica and Harley) will be in bold]
It all started when I was fifteen years old. I lived in a lower part of Gotham, it had more rats than people. My mom always pressured me to do good in school. "You're gonna be the first Quinzel in college," she always said.
"So you acknowledge that your name is Quinzel?"
"WAS Quinzel, Doc. Now don't interrupt!
Anyway, while my mom pressured me in book smarts, my dad wanted me to learn street smarts. "Listen here Harl, ain't nobody gonna disrespect my little girl. Anyone messes with ya, you take this wooden bat and—POW! Light's out! You got that?"
"I got it dad! Nobody's gonna mess with me!"
"Howard stop teaching her to be violent, shes going to get in trouble one of these days," my mom would always say. Guess she wasn't too far off on that huh? "Harleen honey, come inside. It's time for Geography."
"Aww mom! I don't wanna study that stuff, I want to go play hopscotch!"
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Nothing. Just..didn't picture you as someone who ever played hopscotch."
"It's a fun hobby. Anyway..."
My mom home-schooled me. She thought public schools were stupid, and that they were where "proactive minds went to be compressed and dumbed down." Her words, not mine. Anyway, mom was really smart. She taught me math, history, English, the whole nine yards! Or at least she tried to, I didn't really care about any of that stuff. I only wanted to go out and play.
But there was no arguing with my mom. She loved to teach, and I was the only student she could get.
"What do you mean?"
"My mom never went to college, so she never got her degree. Means she can't teach Doc."
"If you're mother was so smart, why didn't she go to college."
"She had me."
"I like to think she made the greater decision."
"Marlene, why do you keep tryin to fill her mind with that crap?!"
"It's not crap Howard! It's knowledge."
"Ehh, that scholarly stuff don't do anything for ya in real life. Look at me, I didn't go to college, and I'm a working man."
"I want her to have a better life than ours Howard."
"What's wrong with our life huh?!" My mom and dad always yelled a lot. It was kind of annoying, so to get away from all that loud noise, I'd sneak out my bedroom window and go play with the other kids. "Hey look, it's the Harlequin!" Stupid Jerry would always call me that! Don't worry Doc, I get revenge on him later.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold, Miss Quinzel."
"So's ice cream. And it's Mrs. Quinn, now stop interrupting the story. It's about to get good!
So one day, my mom and dad were arguing, again. And it was about me, again. My dear old mother always told me that it was because I was the most special person in their lives. Ha! Too funny. The most important person in my mom's life was herself and her crushed dreams. And the most important person in my dad's, was his favorite stripper. He'd visit her every week, twice a week; called it "overtime". Anyway, yeah, they're fighting as usual. But this time, it ended a little differently.
"I don't care Mar! She's not even going to get into college!"
"How could you say that Howard? She's your daughter!"
"Cuz none of us got into college, what makes her so special?"
"She has a chance to be different! All she needs is a kickstart!"
"We are not starting a college savings for her Marlene! That's hard-earned money that needs to go to feeding the family!"
"Oh what? And some on the side for gambling, and running around with you 'friend from work'?! We have enough money Howard! I know you've been taking more jobs with that Falcone."
"I told you to stay outta my business Marlene." At this point, I was already out the window and halfway down the street. I would skip and hum a little tune, each time I snuck out. It was dark out this time, but I didn't care. South Hink' wasn't as bad as everyone always said. Yeah there were a bunch of creeps out, but they usually left me alone. But this time, some weird guy in a fedora walked up to me.
"Hey little girl, you seen this man?" he asked me. He held up a picture of my old man. "That's my dad!" I said without thinking. "Oh really? And where is your daddy, little girl? I'd like to have a few words with him." I gulped loudly as I slowly backed away from him. I ran as fast as I could back home. "Hey! Get back here!" I could hear the guy running after me, but I was too afraid to turn around and see how close he was. I managed to lose him by scaling the rooftops.
"I was very athletic, Doc. Still am actually."
I made it home and climbed through my window. I got in my bed, shut off the light and tried to sleep. It was quiet in the house, so I assumed my parents had stopped arguing, and were probably in the process of getting me a little sibling.
But after a few more moments of silence, the whole house echoed with a terrifying sound.
"BOOM BOOM BOOM!"
"Made you jump huh Doc?"
I ran downstairs as fast as I could, to see where that loud sound was coming from. Imagine my surprise when I see Pa holding a smoking gun, with Ma on the other side of the barrel. Before I could yell, or speak, or anything at all, some men busted down our door. They were all wearing fedoras, just like the weirdo who talked to me before. "What are you doing here? Tell Falcone he'll get his mo—"
"BOOM BOOM BOO—"
"Stop that, I get it."
"I'm terribly sorry."
"You should be, interrupting a story's just bad manners. How would you like it if I interrupted you?"
"Ahp! See? Not funny is it? Now pay attention."
Gotham City Orphanage
Not all of us can be Bruce Wayne, getting adopted by our butlers and takin' limo's to after-parties. For those of us orphans without a legal guardian, we were taken to the Gotham City Orphanage: 'The Safest Home For Those Without One'. It was a stupid place with a stupid slogan. The walls were chipping, the pipes were rusty, and the playground was just a small sandbox and a busted old tire swing. I hated the kids too.
"I thought you liked to play outside with other kids."
"None of these kids were fun. They didn't wanna play hopscotch, or tag, or any of the fun stuff. There was this one kid, but I only talked to him because I loved to tease him."
"Hey copper pot! What's with the long face?"
"I told you that's not my name. It's Cobbl—"
"Jeez lighten up a little copper pot." He hated me for that, I think he still holds it against me. Like I care! Anyway, one day, one of the ladies working there told us that the orphanage could finally afford to have a career day. A whole bunch of people were going to come and tell us about their jobs. It was as boring as it sounds. Until she arrived. She was a beauty! She could do flips and tricks like I've never seen before. It was like seeing one of those weird circus contortionists. Ya know, the ones that can fit in the little suitcase? Anyway, she told me she was a gymnast, and that being a gymnast was a tough career that only the most hard-working could sustain. I was the most hard-working kid I knew, if I couldn't sustain a gymnastics career, no one could!
A Full-Ride To College-Town!
I got to training right away! Every night, I'd dream of being adopted by that gymnast, or at least a gymnastics loving family. Maybe we could travel the world doing cool flips and tricks for crowds. We'd be just like those amazing Flying Graysons! But...ya know...without the dying part. I'd train any chance I could get, I couldn't wait to show my new family all of the cool things I could do. But...no one ever adopted me. I stayed in the orphanage all through grade-school, and high-school, and if it wasn't for the place shutting down, I probably would have been there through college too.
But it wasn't all bad, I graduated high-school with high honors, and even got a gymnastics scholarship. I was all set for college, but those damn memories kept coming back.
"Of my folks."
"Lady Brenda, one of the nannies at the orphanage, found me the best therapist money could buy. But they didn't have a lot of money to begin with..."
"Hello, my name is Doctor Billings. How nice to meet you Miss, uh..."
"Harleen Quinzel. You don't look like a doctor."
"How very observant of you. Regardless of my authenticity, your nanny payed an amount for my services. A rather low one I might add. So I'm here to help; what seems to be the problem?"
"I keep getting flashbacks of a certain time in my life."
"Uh huh, I see. And what time is that?"
"My childhood." I told the "Doc" all about my life as a kid, kinda like how I'm telling you. I told him about my parents, and he just wrote down in his little scribble book. Finally, after about an hour of one-sided conversation, he spoke. "Ok, I think I have the answer to your problems Miss Quinzel. If you would kindly look into this swirling watch.
"Swirly what now? I thought you were a doctor, not a hypnotist."
"I thought you said I didn't look like a doctor. Swirling watch please."
"Touche. But look, Billings, I don't think a party trick is gonna—"
And before I knew it, lights out. I woke up two hours later. No Billings, no horrible flashbacks; I was cured.
"I wouldn't call subjecting yourself to hypnotism to repress harmful and emotional memories into the confines of your subconscious cured."
"You use a lot of big words Doc, you compensating for something?"
"Whatever. Please continue."
So with my mind clear, I was able to excel in college. Halfway through however, I came face to face with a shocking revelation. "I hate gymnastics! It's too much! I can't go out, I can't slack off, it's like I'm a freakin' lab rat or something!"
"Why're you telling me?" Pamela Ivy, my best friend at GCU asked me.
"You went to school with Poison Ivy?"
"She had to have gotten her smarts from somewhere Doc."
"Why don't you just tell the coach you want to quit?"
"I can't do that! A meet's coming up! And besides, what will I do without gymnastics? That's all I've wanted to do in life."
"Did I ever tell you that I'm ditching my English major for Plant Sciences?"
"No, what does that have to do with what we're talking about now?" She chuckled and stuffed her books into her locker. "I've loved reading and writing since I was a kid, so English was my set major long before I even applied to GCU. But I came here and found a new interest. Sure it was tough at first, but I like PS, and I think I'll make a great botanist one day."
"So...you're saying I should become a botanist."
"You're sort of dumb sometimes for an honor roll student. I'm saying you should follow whatever dreams and ambitions you find yourself having. Yesterday it was gymnastics, today it's...whatever. Who knows what it'll be tomorrow? That's the fun of it. Red's words motivated me to go out and find my passion! A couple of weeks later, I was a psychiatric intern at Arkham Asylum.
"Now pay attention Doc, 'cuz this is the part where my life takes a turn...for the better."
Merry Mr. J!
I was 21 years old, and alone. Ivy had already become a supervillain, while I was stuck in a loop. Every day I would do the same thing; get up, have breakfast, go to work, interview a wacko, go home, eat dinner, sleep, and then repeat. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the job, but I still felt empty inside.
"Perhaps because of your childhood trau—"
"Ah ah! No interrupting Doc, we're headed towards the best part!"
"Patient exchange, you're off Zzasz."
"What? but why? We were making such good progress!"
"He's somehow stalking you. I don't want that maniac hurting you like his other victims."
"Hmph, I ain't afraid of him!"
"Nevertheless, you have a new patient. Regular around here, goes by the name of 'Joker'."
"Well, what's his real name?"
"Don't know, maybe you can get him to tell ya. You have a psych eval in half an hour. Get ready, this guy's a doozy." I sighed and grabbed the patient file from my boss. I used the employee bathrooms to freshen up. If I had known I was meeting the man of my dreams, I would have put on more make-up. Anyway, I followed the path to his strangely isolated cell. There he was, my puddin!
He greeted me like we knew each other our whole lives, I felt like we did. "Why hello there! You must be the new doctor. Come to fix me up eh?"
"I don't think you need fixing Mr. Joker."
"No. I think you need someone to talk to."
"Oh really? And that someone is you I suppose?"
"It is my job."
"Right you are! And it's MY job to tear this city a new one! So uh..if you could just take off these itchy handcuffs I'll—"
"Nice try. Not really. But anyway, I'm here to talk to you about you. Tell me about your life Mr. Joker. Did anything happen to you during your childhood?"
"I'll tell ya if I can remember that far back." He had a laugh I found sickly at the time. But now, it's my lullaby, like hearing the angels sing.
He told me all about his life. How he never knew his father, how he was always trying to help this city. He saw how corrupt it was, how seedy and evil Gotham truly is. He tried desperately to save it, to change it; but those stupid cops wouldn't listen to him! They kept arresting him, calling him a "criminal" and a "menace to society". It all got worse when that big, dumb, stupid bat came in the picture! He turned my poor Mr. J into the man you see today.
"A broken man! He cruelly pushed him into those chemicals, despite Joker's pleas! He couldn't understand anyone else's methods of saving the city, only his own. So he keeps trying to foil Mr. J's plans! Well I won't let him."
"Harley, calm down."
"I'm gonna find that Bat, and make him pay!"
"Harley, enough! Settle down, please. You're getting yourself worked up."
"Sorry Doc, sometimes I cant help it."
"It's quite alright. Now, is your story over?"
"I think so."
"Good. Now, let's discuss it. First off, do you have any regrets about your past life? Something you wish you could change?"
"Really? Nothing...nothing at all?"
"Next question Doc, chop chop!"
"Okay...er, next question. You said you got revenge on your childhood bully. You never specified how. I hope you didn't harm him Harlee—Harley, harming others is never the solution."
"Oh don't worry Doc, I didn't hurt him."
"He's a security guard here. I'm gonna shoot him, tonight."
"Harley, that's crazy talk. We need to talk about your anger iss—"
"Is that the alarm?"
"Sounds like it."
"Harley, what did you do? What's going on?!"
*attention: prison break in progress. All available personnel please respond*
"I didn't do nothing Doc, I've been in here with you the whole time. I thought we were bonding over my life story."
"Harley this is unacceptable behavior!"
"Oh boohoo! You're not my Ma Doc! Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I've got a prison to run. Well, along with my darlin Mr. J!"
"What are you two planning Harley?"
"Oh it was all Joker's plan actually, he's the mastermind. He led Bats right into a trap! And now, he's gonna kill him!"
"...I just don't get it. How can you be in love with such a psycho? How could someone as smart as you turn into a lunatic?!"
"Harsh words Doc, aren't you psychiatric's supposed to say nice things about the patients? I don't know, I'd say you're doing pretty poorly at your job. And for the record, Mr. J isn't just some psycho. He's the psycho that re-opened my eyes to the truth!"
"He triggered your memories?"
"Not just that, he taught me not to be ashamed of them, and to let them mold me into the person I'm meant to be. Now, I'm finally not all empty inside. I am complete! Isn't that great Doc."
"No! No it is not!"
"Eh, you're just jealous. Soon, Bats is gonna be gone, and me and Mr. J are finally gonna get married! By the way, what size dress are ya Doc?"
"Ah doesn't matter. You won't be alive to hear the wedding bells anyway."
"Harley...stop that. Harley, put down the g—
*BOOM BOOM BOOM*