(NOTE: This is a 12-part story following a burly as he navigates his way through the ranks of the Jokerz and leaves a mark on Gotham City like no other Impostor before. Comments, feedback, etc. appreciated.)
A JOKERZ' JOURNEY:
CHAPTER 01 - Thanks For Playing!
The man behind the counter eyed Mighty Mike and his buddy curiously, but still served up their Firefly Fajitas, pounds of jalapeno wings, and half-dozen Vigor Chug energy drinks, took their money, and offered change. When the two burly men waved it off as a tip, it was as though the man wiped off the mental sweat from his brow with his mind. The two Jokerz glanced at each other bemused before heading for the exit with their meal.
Leaving Nite-Wing's 24-hour joint and emerging into the brisk evening air, Mighty Mike cracked open a Vigor. He downed it flat, dropping the can behind him with a triumphant belch. "So yummy and so good for me," the clown boasted cheerfully.
His pal, a guy they called Tears because of how the black paint under his eyes was always smeared, just shook his head; he didn't say anything though, he hardly ever did unless it was crucial, Mighty Mike had noticed.
They crossed the road and kept walking for a bit until they were outside the old Monarch Theatre down the street. Run-down and out-of-business since not long after that rich doofus Wayne's old folks were offed in the back alley, the looney bat actually bought the building and left it standing all these years as some kind of weird tribute or memorial to them. Just another crazy coming out of strange old Gotham; the city was haunted, believed more as fact than fiction on the streets and in the shadows.
Mighty Mike figured they must've looked pretty odd themselves, a pair of fully-overgrown men sitting on the curb out front of a condemned building in the middle of the night geared up from head-to-toes in the traditional green and purple Jokerz wear. Tears was decked out with a green mohawk and purple-flannelled pants while Mighty Mike himself fashioned spiky hair with a headband, faux cheetah-print jeans and a windbreaker jacket with zebra-striped arms. Thinking about it, they were still an Amusement Mile away from being Gotham City's oddest couple; that was a title up for permanent grabs around these parts.
Tears had already mowed down his fajita and ripped into the wings, so Mighty Mike snapped out of his daze and dug in too; he was hungry enough to eat a Cobblepot's ransom in food and knew his partner was too, so it would be a race to the finish. The wings didn't last long.
Leaning back against a lonely lamp post, Mighty Mike cracked open another Vigor Chug and looked the street up and down with nervous eyes; he still wasn't used to the whole get-up, but figured he ought to be fine after a few more patrols. Gotham was a different place these days; the Joker, the Scarecrow, the Riddler, they had changed things forever. There was no turning back; the city belonged to the freaks now.
"Hear that?" Tears leaned in close, looking around to the far side of the abandoned Theatre, hand already planted firmly on the hilt of his silencer-equipped Kingmaker; as newer recruits, they were only given handguns and knives.
Mighty Mike shook his head no, reaching for another Vigor; whenever his nerves started getting out of whack, a quick sugar rush always calmed him enough to focus. If there were any Bats creeping around, he didn't want to get caught in a panic. He stood up alongside Tears; "Maybe it's just a stray alley cat."
"No." Tears stuck his hand in a cargo pocket and pulled out a pair of round blue capsules. "Here, take one. Ninja Smoke Bombs, for invisibility." He quickly added a disclaimer, "I swiped them from the Funhouse before we left the Mile," answering Mighty Mike's question before he could even ask. "Stay close."
Mighty Mike stumbled back a step when a cloud of blue smoke surrounded Tears and the pot-bellied clown disappeared in front of his eyes without a trace. He examined the Ninja Smoke Bomb with an unsure eye before smashing it on the pavement at his feet; the spice was also starting to kick into overdrive, compounding his brief disorienation. He snapped out of it with a slap to the face and barely made out the faint outline of Tear's frame stalking away.
The two crept in unison through the shadows past a collection of trash cans and broken trampoline, turning into the dark alley down the side of the Monarch Theatre. They stopped and scouted the area and heard a low growl and two gravelly voices. Prowling closer, the two Jokerz turned the next corner and spotted a trio of Bats standing around on a smoke break. Obviously on patrol, they were about to find the trouble they were looking for; Mighty Mike's heart raced faster with each slow step.
Walking up within an arm's reach behind the unsuspecting Bats, wearing cheap blue jeans and old t-shirts, the burly duo stopped tiptoeing and lifted their guns level with the cowls of the still-oblivious men. A silent countdown later and Mighty Mike and Tears squeezed their triggers together, each clown emptying a full clip into the back of their chosen target's skull.
The dead toughs dropped to the ground like sacks of puppies, while the third spun and took off into the darkness. As Tears ran after the coward, Mighty Mike found himself feeling paralyzed as immense pain spread through his body like the blood in his veins; looking down, he almost fainted at the sight of the bear trap clenched hungrily around his ankle.
Shaking the damn thing off as best he could before prying it open, Mighty Mike knelt down and rubbed the tenderness, blood trickling from the jagged bite marks. The pain started to ease, but as he rose to his feet, was startled by a trash can tipping over, crashing in the dead silence and causing him to trip over himself. A cat leapt out of the mess and hopped over a wooden fence, off to cause more mischief in the night. He cursed the black feline, returning to an upright position.
He heard footsteps behind him and turned, greeted by the blank stare of a Bat standing close enough to kiss. Stumbling backwards and fumbling with his Kingmaker, Mighty Mike sighed a breath of relief as the body dropped to its knees, then slumped over into a pile; knife sticking out of the new corpse's back, red oozed from the wound as Tears stood over his kill with a smile clearly visible behind the painted frown. This called for another Vigor Chug.