1964-04-03 - The Most Dangerous Game
Summary: Lois Lane comes to interview the Joker for her Intoxicated Interviews series. She gets pulled into the most dangerous game of her life, but manages to get the story. Russian roulette, anyone?
Related: None
Theme Song: None
joker lois 

Lois likely has to track down most of her targets, usually; it might come as a surprise that she's gotten a letter at the news agency proper instead. Somewhat mundane and unimposing, nobody would have tampered with it. Although within is a simple letter, written in an almost jagged yet oddly precise cursive script.

You still giving interviews? Come to my place! We'll have a riot!

- J

What follows is a Joker playing card, on the margins of which an address has been carved in with some kind of blade. Of course, if this is actually real, she could always just forward it to the Police. An escaped Joker is rarely a matter so easy to take care of, and it might set back any untoward plans weeks or even months, if she's lucky. …Then again, that'd mean no interview, would it?


Considering the Joker hasn't *killed* anyone recently, at least no one she's aware of, Lois took about five seconds to debate going to the police before she leapt up from her desk, commenting to Clark, "I got a lead. Tell'em I won't be back this afternoon… Don't worry. I've got this." And she's tossing on her fur trimmed, long leather coat and glasses before dashing out of the news room and down the street.

Lois parks her beloved car around the block, not wanting to risk her El Dorado even as she's putting her body and mind at risk, most likely. She doesn't care. This was a prime story and she was chasing it. So, within an hour of the invitation, the laid back woman steps up the stairs and down the hall to the indicated apartment. She barely even turns a nose at the smell of weed in the hallway — she was in her type of place. She takes in a deep breath, staring at the door for a heartbeat or two before finally getting the courage to knock.


Before Lois even finishes knocking, the door slides open. There's an absolutely massive figure in a trenchcoat, broad of shoulder and thick of muscle. He's likely six and a half feet high, and the upper part of his face can't be seen completely due to the threshold of the frame. He's wearing a plastic clown mask, complete with red nose and wild green hair, skin white with red circles on the cheeks.

"Ooo, is that Lois? Come in, come in! I'm in the kitchen!" comes the tell-tale voice of the Clown Prince of Crime. The living room looks disturbingly lived in, couches and chairs, bookshelves filled to the brink, small nuances here and there a keen eye would know is not the domicile of someone who's merely using a safehouse. To the right is a door leading into the bedroom, and to the left an open doorway into the well-lit kitchen, white tile floor and fridge barely visible.

There's pictures, too; apparently a family of three, although every head has a picture of the Joker pasted atop the glass of the frame, from a polaroid. The huge figure steps aside to let her in, only sound from him the muffled breathing of his tight mask.


Lois' pale eyes jerk up hard, slightly startled, as the door opens before she even finishes knocking. That was fast. She's keeping her gaze as calm as possible as it climbs upwards over that too-tall, masked figure. "…Well…Hello." She dead pans to the thug, not giving them any other joy of a reaction. Or perhaps she's simply baked enough herself that she's not that easy to scare, who knows? A second later, she's walking inside and looking around the place, staring over the rims of her plastic framed, blue tinted sunglasses as she takes in every little detail. The camera in the bag over her shoulder is suddenly burning a hole to come out, but she stops herself.

"It is, indeed, Lois Lane. And you must be … The Joker." She states, respect, intrigue and a slight level of enjoyment in her husky toned voice. The woman stand ing before the Joker certainly doesn't look like a reporter. She's in tight jeans and a tied off, hawaiian shirt beneath a long, natural colored suede coat trimmed with old fur. She has the look of someone who hides bloodshot, drugged eyes behind tinted lenses and probably hasn't had a whole night's sleep in a week. She carries a fairly heavy leather bag.


"Oh, that's just Smiley. He's mostly harmless, I promise. Well… compared to me!" A laugh leaves then, one known to give nightmares to most completely familiar with the man they are dealing with. There's a small circular table with three chairs within the kitchen proper, and a large old-school bag like a doctor might have toted around for home visits in the 1920's. It's bright purple with golden clasps keeping it shut. It seems to have a fair amount in it.

Joker himself is wearing his standard purple suit accented in green. Tall and thin, his skin has an off-white color that gives an impression of makeup, mouth drawn up into a grin that shows no humor. He's eating what seems to be leftovers of some sort from the fridge, potatoes and gravy, peas, and a piece of meat with the lumpiness of chill still present.

"You can call me Mr. J! Or Jokesy! Or… well, I don't really care. What's in a name?" Intense eyes are upon Lois, and if she bothers to notice, he's not yet blinked since she entered the kitchen. Smiley is more stealthy than it seems, as he'd be flooding the only way out a moment later.

"So… how does this work, hmm? An interview? I've only ever answered questions for a psyche before! And only one's ever had a GOOD sense of humor about it!"


The woman is good about showing no fear. Even as that laugh comes through the room, it gets a slow arch of an eyebrow, curious, but not that fearful shudder. It's what she came for, after all. Lois' pale pink lips, slightly glossed with some sort of cherry balm, pull into a lazy sort of smile. She moves up to the table where the Joker sits and bows her head, "Mr. J, then… I think I like that. Shows a certain level of respect while being a bit more personal to." Lois talks like they might be friends. SHe's generally very good at setting her interview-ees at ease, and she's trying to do the same here.

She then folds down into sitting at one of the chairs opposite him, as long as he doesn't protest. She draws her bag into her lap but doesn't quite open it yet. As he asks how it all works, she bows her head willingly and dives right into the more professional explanation of things. "In truth, it works however *you* want it to. I have a recorder here and a camera. I'd love to record the whole interview and get a few photos. If you don't want that, that's fine. I can just as easily take notes in my note book. I ask questions, you answer what you're comfortable answering, we go from there. Oh… and… I brought drugs. And booze. Whatever your intoxication of choice is. You don't have to take it but, uh…the theme of the series is intoxicated interviews. So… " She shrugs. It's clear she'd like him to play along. "I'm a weed or quaaludes girl myself."


There's no sense that the Joker isn't relaxed. There's certainly something off-putting about him. A sense of someone parading about with human mannerisms, but never fully invested in the act. Every motion somehow stiff, few shifts or subtle motions that normal people do. The longer he's studied, the more such stands out. "Oh, yes. Respect is very important to me. Some don't take me SERIOUSLY… can you believe that?" He brings up a napkin from his lap to dab his ruby red lips.

"However I want…? I see." Joker's smile almost vanishes, glancing up at the ceiling and stroking his chin. "Go ahead. I've nothing to hide! I never have… if anything, I wish MORE of my audience wasn't the captive sort! Oh, the media… we've had a love/hate relationship most of my career, but I can't HELP but imagine every time I escape, it brings a smile to people like you… knowing you'll have no issues selling papers that day. Haaaaahahaha!"

Although he holds up a hand at the mention of drugs. "Although I'm afraid things like that don't work very well on me. I don't really need outside aide to experience reality different from others, you see? How about this. A game! We can play a game. It'd put me at ease… and I do like a little excitement in mundane situations." He's opened up his bag beside with a few audible clacks, rustling about. Smiley remains behind in the doorway, silent beyond those moist, rattling breathes.


"I..uh… hope you don't mind that I put in the article you provided your own relaxation. So… I can keep with the theme, at least? People can fill in the blank on whatever they think that relaxation is." Lois admits with a wry bit of a smile, like they were sharing their own private joke, but she is still a rather normal woman in a very strange situation and the dichotomy is clear. She is nothing like him, no matter how much she's trying to put that casual bonding attitude in place.

Since he's said she can do as she pleases, Lois opens her own bag and pulls out the chunky recorder. She hits play, the tape already queued up. Then she grabs out her large camera, screwing the lens into place but not moving for photos yet. While she's probably smoked a bit on the way here, her motions are crisp enough that she's probably mostly sober and clearly a professional. "And…whatever you want to do. A game? As long as I can ask questions and get the story back to the news room, I'm here to keep you at ease." Though there is a *faint* line of nerves behind her voice. What sort of game did he mean…?


"Relaxation to me is the unexpected." The Joker states, simply. "If I can guess what you'll do, I get bored. Nobody likes it when /I/ get bored. You seem fun! Open to unique experiences. If that's the case…"

He surfaces with a silver revolver, with a purple grip. "Then I'm *just* the man for you." Digging in his pocket, he pulls out a single silver bullet. Before with a flick of the wrist, knocking the cylinder out and revealing it to be empty.

He almost lazily places the bullet in, before giving it a wild spin. "Do you know what the odds are in dying in this game?" he asks, grin stretching further with the audible strain of his teeth pressing together somehow not lost to the rampant whirr of the over-lubricated gun as it spins, spins and spins.

Then he snaps it shut abruptly. "Almost one hundred percent, if neither party chickens out! Hoo!"


Lois' pale eyes go a bit wide behind those glasses. She can't keep her cool when there is a gun on the table and a silver bullet in it, even if most of the chambers are empty. She swallows back, throat suddenly dry and jumping hard with her heart having climbed into it along with her pulse rate. She says nothing for a few moments, sitting up straighter in her chair. "…I am most *certainly* open to unique experiences, Mr. J…" Lois admits, a touch of pride in her voice about that. It was something she sought after all. "But… I am also rather open to continuing to experience them. A game with a one hundred percent chance of death… Seems rather boring to me, in truth." Yes, she puts a bit of daring behind it, "We know how it ends. And then the story stops. What fun is there in that?" She might be scared, but she's also intelligent and isn't going to just suck up possibly dying. So, she pushes back. "I suspect you like living as much as I do."


"I think you misunderstood me." Joker states, rather calmly given the situation. The gun is designed in such a way that there's no way of seeing into the cylinder from in front or behind. It's settled in the middle and then given a spin, rather casually. "There's almost a hundred percent chance ONE of us will die. That's all I was saying! What a bit of news it'd be. The Joker, scorn of New York, dead by his own hand! That'd save the goodie-goodie sorts from dirtying their hands! Why, I bet they'd throw a PARADE and make it a national holiday! And all you need to ante up, to make the world a better place…"
The pistol comes to a stop, aiming right at Lois. "Is your OWN life! Who could possibly say no? I certainly won't!"


While Lois is still nervous, her head tilts and he actually gets a full out *smirk* from her, a look of 'you have got to be kidding me.' She's skeptical and amused at the same time, "…and just why in the hell would I do that? As you said, every time you get out, pull something crazy, we sell thousands of newspapers and I get my name above the fold covering it. You're good for business, Mr. J. AND you are interesting. So… I am clearly not fond of possibly dying myself. Nor am I fond of the idea of YOU dying. So…why would I play this game? There is no win in it for me except for a big story that'll be forgotten a week after when your name goes into dust and history."

Lois rolls her shoulders in a casual shrug, leaning back in the table and kicking her feet up on the edge of it. A deliberate motion to look as casual and relaxed as possible, "If you are really attached to the game, it's your interview. I'll play. But I really thought you could do better than some mobster's idiotic drinking game that doesn't really end in a win for either of us." Yes, she's calling his bluff, but Lois is a daring woman and she believes in her logic.


Slowly the Joker's smile fades. It obviously takes a lot of effort, forcing those partially paralyzed muscles down. His eyes lid, looking at Lois now as if she were some sort of a speck. "Forget about me?" he states, before suddeny moving to snatch up the gun and press the barrel to Lois' forehead. "ME?! They are ALREADY writing books about me! Dozens!! I'll go down in history as the most fascinating serial killer ever born! MY legacy is already set up, baby! What about you?! YOUR only chance at being well known… is being attached to my epitath!! And yet, if you fail… you'll just be another statistic in a long, long list of names…"

He makes to drop the gun, clattering loudly on the table before sweeping his food off. The plate shatters upon the tile floor. "Have you ever felt it? The rush of knowing your life might end? Everyone dies, Ms. Lane. But so many go obliviously through life, never knowing when their personal punchline is up! Here, you'll get to feel it. Your own pulse on the trigger. Will you hear a click…? Or nothing? It's a gift. You shouldn't be so derogative of it."

And then he leans back, gesturing. "But you're focusing WAY too much on the GAME. This is an interview, first and foremost! Every question, we'll each pull the trigger. So… three! At most, you get three questions! Best make them count!"


The gun at her forehead does make her slightly jump. For as cool a customer as Lois Lane is, there aren't many people in the world who can keep completely calm with the cold barrel of a gun pressed into their head. She manages it somewhat, swallowing back against her heart and staring up at him over the rims of her sunglasses. "I don't *care* about being known, is the difference… You do…" She dares to mouth back. Sometimes, she doesn't know when to shut up.

But then the gun is dropped and she releases that slight breath she was holding, sinking back into her seat again. She watches him quietly for a few frantic heartbeats, listening to the words that her recorder is also so neatly catching. Finally, her eyes narrow a bit more, a trace of amusement in them. "…In the game, don't you spin the revolver every time? SO you never know when it will hit, or it could never hit? I'll…play your game, if we get to spin. I didn't come here for just three questions. A… compromise. It lets you, hopefully, get more story out. And we still get to risk our lives. Deal?" Yes, it's still idiotic.

The things she'd do for a story.


"…hmmhmm. Aren't you a curious one. Well, the night is young. We'll get to the bottom of /that./" The Joker states, before leaning back slightly. Some of his interest appears to be returning, and Lois might feel that although the new predatory stare in his keen eyes is unsettling, it's somehow… /safer/ than him going the opposite direction. A fine balancing act.

"I decline!" he finally coos, clapping his hands together a single time. "It's my game, not yours! Now, stop dilly-dallying! Throw it at me, Ms. Lane! Let's do some cold, hard journalism!!"

Smiley continues to breathe lightly behind, not quite within arm's reach of the chair, but not visible. And it might not be wise to glance away from the Joker when he's poised forward like that, hands folded before the table. "But as a bonus, I'll throw in something special, just for you, before we finish!"


There is a slight wince around her eyes as he doesn't take her modified suggestion. For a long moment, Lois is quiet. There is the consideration in her eyes of just getting up and leaving, her throat dry. For all the drugs and risks she took, the woman didn't care to die. She flickers pale eyes backwards, looking momentarily at the door, but instead there is just Smiley. Suddenly, she seems to realize that she might not even have a choice. So, she sighs, shaking her head. "…The things I do for a story…" She mutters beneath her breath. But, it seems they are on.

She sits forward a bit more, tilting her head and giving him a half smile, "So, Mr. J. You are fairly infamous as a threat to our fair city. What made you decide to get into villainy? Why do it?" She cuts right to the chase, it seems. Her question style is normally not quite so limited, so she's having to rejig the order. "Once you answer, I'll pick up the gun and start the game."


Once Lois glances behind her, she might not hear the Joker get up in her distracted state. Turning back to him, his face would be so close, his angular nose would nearly brush her own. Intent on locking eyes with the reporter, gripping the table to either side as he stands hunched forward to be on her level. His smile seems somehow broader. "Alright. But I get to ask /you/ a question each pull too, then. That should be fair. Don't worry, you don't have to publish those. Or even mention it! That's just for *me.*"

Slowly he turns and strides back to his chair, grasping it and giving it a twirl. It rotates a few times on one leg, in a rather impressive display, as he moves behind and then straddles it backwards, facing both Lois and the Table. "I don't really understand your question, though. Villainy? What do you mean by that? Such a vague word. I'm not INTENTIONALLY doing anything wicked at all! Does THAT not count for something?!"


The woman *definitely* wasn't expecting him to be that close when she turned back around. Lois' eyes widen, but she doesn't jump back. She just blinks at him. No fear. None she's letting herself show. It's never good to let a predator sense you are scared, and weed helps a LOT with that. So she just stares back into those maddened eyes, almost touching nose to nose. A heartbeat later, she actually cracks a small, wry smile. "Keep this close and I'm gonna think you're flirting with me." She teases back lightly.

But her side of the flirting stops a moment later when he proposes that deal and not understanding her question. She tilts her head in assent to the questions, "Fine. Question for a question. End of each round of questioning, one of us picks up the gun and pulls. If we're still alive, we move on. And, as for that question… Fine. Why do you do *what* you do. The threats. The pranks. The killing."


"Oh, I'd NEVER flirt with another lady. Harley just wouldn't have it! She's a little possessive, you know." The Joker murmurs, with something of a wayward sigh. That whole relationship could probably have a hundred questions alone. But when she clarifies her question, something of a frown almost tweaks at his lips once more. "Why? Oh, as if you'd understand. But I'll give it a go! Frankly my dear, I hate IGNORANCE. And I hate people who PRETEND. Acting like something's not what it is! Acting like life is something more! That just /irritates/ me. Gnaws and bites and BURROWS in my mind like maggots in a corpse!" His face warps in what seems to be genuine discomfort, raking long nails down his cheeks and leaving angry red scratches just shy of blood.

"Partly, it's to settle myself down. I find it almost theraputic, hoohoo! Lord knows Arkham doesn't help much! And partly, I hope someone, somewhere, might understand my MESSAGE. It can't be said… no, if that was possible, I'd have gleefully announced it to the world. So I try to *show* it." He makes a few vague gestures, looking almost frustrated, seeking words.

"Like… I'm playing charades. But I don't quite remember the word. So I'm going through the motions, TRYING to get it right, but the message is just so /clouded/ that sometimes, it doesn't make a lick of sense at all! Yet I keep trying, right? Right?! That's good, isn't it!" …That answer probably didn't answer anything at all. But never once did he acknowledge evil, being cruel, or doing something unjust.


The woman arches a brow at the Harley comment, making some sort of mental note. A question for later on. Lois listens with a quiet, attentitve patience that REALLY doesn't match the fact of being a woman with a gun almost literally to her head, stuck in a room with a mad man, trying to be a professional about it all. Maybe she really has fried something in her brain over the years.

"…Alright. A… message. Interesting. I have follow up questions on that but, unless I get follow ups in a round, I suspect it is your turn to ask a question. So… Ask away." Lois bows her head, clearly playing along with the game. It was probably the easiest way to keep him calm.


"I think you're forgetting something, Lois." the Joker states, before leaning forward to tap on the metal of the gun. "It's not my turn until I hear the click!" He leans back then to watch, attentively.


"I thought we… never mind. Fuck it." Lois grunts out, finally having gotten tired of arguing with a madman. So, before she loses courage, she reaches forward and grabs the gun. Metal to temple, eyes a bit too wide, she pulls the trigger in a split of a second. And it clicks empty. She cannot entirely hide the shake of her hand as she sets the gun back down.


A hand reaches out to grasp the gun, bringing it up casually. "What are you numbing yourself from?" he wonders, bringing up the gun. He places the cold barrel directly to his temple, staring Lois in the eyes. He pulls the trigger, and it clicks. There is absolutely no reaction, no hesitation. If anything, a mild thrill in his eyes when nothing happens. The gun is slid back into the middle.

"The drugs. These encounters. It seems to be you're looking for a truth. Or an escape? Almost desperately. Every night, I wager you're doing your own little russian roulette with an overdose! Or a bad one night stand that ends up with your strangled corpse on a bed! What's it all for?!"


The woman watches him quietly, no reaction as he picks up the gun, pulls the trigger. They'd gone over the edge, now. They were both in deep, so the initial fear is now washed away in a sea of adrenaline and acceptance. A deep smirk crosses her lips at the questions, "…That's more than one question. The drugs are separate from the stories. One question for one question. Unless you want to give me a freebie." She flashes him a cold sort of smile, but doesn't let him clarify which quesiton he wants to ask first. She just simply answers.

"…The drugs shut it off. They… let me function. You might be like this too, I dunno… so damn smart that the whole world drives you insane. You see every detail. Hear every conversation. Can't forget any of it. Pick apart a crime scene, a story… hell, just walking down the street, I catch every sliver of motivation, motion… It's maddening, being able to see it all. Remember it all. And the rest of the world is just so damn… Slow. Dumb. It takes them forever. So… the drugs slow me down. They let me operate like everyone else. They make everything not scream quite so loud. It… just makes life easier. Isn't that what drugs do for everyone?"


"Oh, little Lois, I understand more than you might ever imagine." The Joker then leans slightly closer, whispering the next. "I went the other direction entirely." What precisely this might mean is unknown. He made himself MORE hyper-sensitive and intelligent? No real comment was made on anything related to extra questions, however. He seems somewhat satisfied. "Well, your go! Lay it on me. At /least/ one more question now. Hopefully you'll live long enough to hear it, but worst case, I PROMISE to speak loudly and clearly into your recorder!"


A lazy shrug come to her shoulders as he says he understands. The woman wasn't looking for sympathy, she just answered the question she asked. Lois only was looking to get through this interview alive. She swallows back, looking to the gun again as he mentions the next question. Her delicate fingertips come out and gently pull the gun back in her direction, "I'll pull the trigger after you answer." She promises, apparently wanting to at least HEAR what she's risking her life for. Lois also doesn't know how to be a good girl who simply follows the rules, even of this most dangerous game. "What happened to make you like this? What happened to… make you pursue sending this ephemeral message to the world? Why did you go from being… well…Whoever you were, to being Mr. J?"


A long sigh leaves the Joker at this, drooping down to rest his chin on his crossed arms. "My dad was a veteran of World War 2. It broke him badly. Our mother left him. Just one day, she was gone! All I ever wanted was to make him laugh…" He's quiet for long moments, glancing sidelong, eyes lost in a haze of memory. "But he was a very abusive man. I thought it made him FEEL better, beating me the way he did. And always, I tried to make him laugh. See the humor in life. But I knew looking at him, the war killed that for good… that just made me want to do it all the harder. I felt, if I found the right words, the right thing to say, he might laugh again!! I could change his perspective, his very world! So I dropped out of high school, worked on comedy… the dark, self-deprecating kind I thought my father might like…"

He goes quiet then. Just Smiley's raspy breath filling the kitchen, and the distant tic-toc of a nearby wall clock. "I finally had it. The perfect joke. I burst into his study… and he had a shotgun in his mouth. He looked at me for a moment, I looked at him. …then he pulled the trigger. Bam! Kapow! Gone, gone, gone! Ohhh, if only I had TOLD him that joke SOONER!" He pulls on his purple hair, face agony.

"And what's WORSE, I don't even remember what it WAS. How I TRY, Lois, how I TRY. It's like I had the secret to life figured out, then suddenly it was gone!! …most of the rest you know. Had a bad gig in the Ace Chemical Plant, vat of chemicals, Gray Falcon, rest is history! But even now… I REALLY want to know what that perfect joke was…"


As Lois listens to the story, she tries not to look skeptical. Part of it seemed practiced, too practiced, but most likely genuine also. A sob story to some. To Lois? It's just another line for a headline story. "…well…That's shit that you forgot the joke. Life is cruel, isn't it?" She finally, huskily mutters, a snerking sort of laugh following up. She could understand the pain, at least.

Then she's picking up the gun, hand trembling just a bit. It was even more likely this time. Almost fifty fifty by now. Her pulse is racing hard enough she can feel it in her fingertip, like he said, and the slam of her heart against her sternum. But she asked the question. So, she takes in a deep breath and pulls the trigger…

… to an empty chamber. She cannot entirely hide her relief as she puts the gun back down. She slides it down, across the table, over to him. "Your serve."


The Joker idly reaches out to grasp the gun and slide it back over to himself. "My question's pretty simple this time." He lifts it up and then presses the muzzle firmly against his temple. "Do you REALLY, truly think you are going to survive this evening?" A moment later, he pulls the trigger in a fluid motion.


The wildness in his eyes appears to be increasing. Four pulls. Two left. Lois has even odds now of it being the live one… although who's to say he has any intention of following through, if the live chamber is guaranteed to be his?

Smiley shifts, a dull creak of leather gloves as fingers clench and the gun is tossed back into the middle.


A half smile crosses her lips and Lois neatly stands up, grabbing at her recorder. She doesn't shut it off, but she does make motions to put it away. "Yes. Yes, I do. Because, while I had more questions, what I got is more than enough for the paper. Short and sweet. A chance for people to maybe… Understand you. That's all I wanted. So… I think this interview is over now, Mr. J. It has been a pleasure."

Lois then reaches for her camera, carefully pulling the strap of it back around her neck and then shifting her hair out from under it so she can let leather rest against skin. "Don't suppose I could get a few photos before I do? I really like the family picture in the front room." She motions to the one with his face on all the heads.


"We're not done." The Joker states, very simply. Fingers remain steepled before him, staring at Lois intently. "I told you we're playing it to completion! The odds are still 50/50. I'm not sure why you're backing out /now./ So close to the final punchline!" He still seems almost jovial, although there's a danger to his tone, the tension now present, and that the odd fire in his eyes has only grown more.

…and then he sighs. "Oh, but no. Now I've spooked you. You don't want to play with me. Fine, fine… sigh. I really thought you might UNDERSTAND. Yet you've been wearing a mask all evening…" He lifts his hand, and snaps his fingers.

Smiley takes a step forward.

"And as I said… I HATE people who pretend!"


The woman stills in her motions to leave as he says they are not done. Skepticism and now a touch of actual fear cuts through her eyes. Lois stares up at him, camera still around the back of her neck. She shifts the rest of her pack onto her shoulder and frowns a bit more, "I do want to play with you. I do. I just don't want to die that much, Mr. J. Despite the drugs, the risks… everything else, I do like living. We played a good game. I never, ever promised to complete it. So… I will be on my way." She gives him a small salute and turns on the ball of her foot, moving to go.

But there is Smiley. She clears her throat, trying to give him a bit of a sunny smile in turn, too nice and too nervous over it all. "If you'd…excuse me." She will try to step around Smiley to the door. The quicker she can get out of there, the better.


"And I never promised to let you leave alive." The Joker finally states, with a sort of absolution to it.

Smiley suddenly shifts forward, both hands coming together with remarkable speed in an attempt to grasp Lois in a generic, if effective, bearhug. He's still overfilling the doorway; squeezing past him with that aggression is unlikely to work.

"The ONE thing I won't condone is someone pretending not to be afraid of me. That's the greatest lie of them all… There's not a SINGLE person in this world who'd be comfortable in a room with me! Hoohoo!" He's moved to a stand, although without any sort of rush.


WHile Lois tries to duck, she's simply not fast enough right now and there is SO MUCH of Smiley TO duck. So, suddenly, she's caught tightly up in those massive arms. The woman gives a little yelp, half scrambling against the massive man, trying to fight out of his arms with her twitching, kicking motions, but this was an effective hold and she simply wasn't a strong woman, "I'm a member of the fourth estate! WE're supposed to be… Neutral! Respected! Dammit, JOker, I just wanted to tell your story!"

The fear is clear in her voice now. Trapped, life threatened even though she made the smart choice to walk away. She whimpers a bit more, trying to squirm free still, heart raggedly racing, "And of course I'm scared, but it was worth it to let you get to … to explain things to the world, dammit. It was worth the fear!"


"Oh, you already did!" The Joker states, lifting up the recorder and waggling it in her direction. "I'm sure another opportunistic reporter will take your foundation, and make a neat article. 'Lois Lane: Joker Interview ends in Last Laugh'. Catchy, isn't it?!"

Of course, that was the mistake. Thinking rationality applied here. That there was rules, restrictions, ethics to the Joker. But he rapidly becomes bored, settling down on the table and then pulling out a nailfile. Shifting to begin carefully rubbing it on his fingernails with a yawn.

Smiley is less idle. Twisting, he attempts to SLAM Lois into the adjacent wall, and then drop her to the ground. Only to drop to his knees, trying to get those leather-gloved hands about her neck and begin the active act of strangling. That's not even a very INTERESTING way to die. And Joker's not even the one doing it!! That'd certainly make her death even less notable.


The downside of being a fairly skinny, not all that strong woman who spends way more time taking drugs than she does in the gym is that she's not really able to over power someone like Smiley. It doesn't mean she's not going to try. She scrambles, putting her poor camera behind her (she's actually protecting her camera with her body, like it was some CHILD she had to defend. Reporters, man!) and stumbling backwards across the floor the moment that Smiley drops her so he can try and strangle her. Yes, the slam into the wall hurt. HURT LIKE HELL. But adrenaline helps and she's jerking away.

She manages to duck free of that strangling once, but his second try he gets those too-strong hands around her throat. SHe can't even scream. Hell, she can't even BREATHE. Panicking, she begins kicking, her leather boots trying to find Smiley's crotch as violently as possible in repeated kicks. Her elbow goes to his ribs and, perhaps most dangerously of all, her fingernails go for his eyes. She fights like the devil even as she's running out of air.


Oh, there's no beauty in true murder. An awkwardness to it, that the Joker almost finds charming. The clumsy grasps of Smiley as he makes for Lois' throat, the deep grunt of pain as he's kicked right in the groin. The large man drops to his knees, one hand leaving her, but the other is more than strong enough to keep her pinned. And settled as he is now, a repeat bongo-drum to the crotch is unlikely to work.

"Hoo! You really ARE fighting for your life, aren't you?!" And then a gleam of metal, before a strange *thunk* impacts a couple feet from Lois. A large kitchen knife, tip sunk enough to remain upright in the tile. Smiley makes a grunt of surprise, glancing over towards it.

"Do you really want to live BADLY enough, though?" he wonders, peering down at the girl curiously. Something else, not the pistol, seems to be hidden behind his back.


The woman is fighting for her very life. She drags in a ragged pull for air in the split second of surprise she has from the groin shot, but his other hand is still in place and she's half being drug down with him. Of course, if she was willing to blind the man, the thought of using the knife that the joker has thrown in her direction is not even really a hesitation.

Desperate, all panicked reactions and instincts, Lois' hand reaches out almost blindly for the hilt. But she doesn't use the knife in a manner which would kill the man — she's not a killer — she just wants to get herself free. She rakes it across his arm that is still holding her, trying to cut sinew and skin enough that he'll lose strength and let her go. If she can just get to the door, she'll be free. SHe only slightly winces as the smattering of blood that begins to fill the room, on the floor, on her jacket…


The slash works somewhat as desired. Tense muscle isn't as easy to slash through as one might think, let alone a poorly maintained one from this mystery kitchen. Smiley seems more enraged than badly injured, attempting to grasp Lois by her hair and heft her up, to SLAM back down in a rather disorienting manner.

"Oh, that's no good… you should have gone for the throat! No matter. Maybe this is more your style." He reveals a large rolling pin, dropping this with a clatter beside Lois. Nice and weighty. Having spent a moment trying to assess how bad his wound is, Smiley is caught off-guard to find the target he's supposed to kill armed /twice/, but knows the Joker well enough to not argue it, moving possibly too slowly to try and restrain her arms before anything more can be done with either of the weapons!


The renewed anger on her throat and the SLAM against the floor is enough to kick another level of adrenaline through her body. Lois is desperate. She wants to survive. This guy has probably fucked up her camera and this situation is getting more dangerous by the second. She still has the knife in one hand, strangled enough that their are black spots at the edges of her vision, but her other hand reaches for the pin. If she can get free without killing him, she'll show Smiley more mercy than he showed her.

So, the moment she gets the pin, she's swinging HARD. Straight for his temple. Trying to knock him out. But it might not be enough. So, the knife is being used too. Not the throat, the gut. A wound he could survive if he got help, but that would be painful enough to put him down and set her free. Hopefully one, if not both, of her attacks would work, because she maybe had 30 seconds of consciousness left.


The pin slips past Smiley's hand, failing to block it. There's a meaty THUD when it impacts, and he staggers sideways, thumping into the wall. A moment later and the knife sinks in. Not that deep, thankfully, probably less than she intended, but he'd slide down to the floor with it jutting out all the same with both hands grasping the hilt.

And then the Joker is standing over her, aiming the purple pistol down at her face. "Ms. Lane." he states, simply. Before twirling it around, presenting the hilt towards her. "If you're REALLY done with these theatrics, let's finish the interview?" The untold implication, of course, that Smiley's attempt to kill her was a warning. The truly dangerous one here, as he said at the onset… is himself.


The woman collapses back to the floor, hard, just having been on the edge of blacking out but consciousess rushes back in as soon as she gets air to her brain. Her throat is going to be raw and bruised in the morning, but now she's still alive. Bruised. Hurting. But alive. Lois stares back up at him with a mix of fear and slight hate in her eyes, then she mutters a few curses and grabs the gun from his hand. "…If my camera's busted, you will wish you were dead…" Lois mutters, some of her ego still in tact. SHe couldn't completely fall to pieces, it just wasn't like her.

Then, shakily, she's getting up off the floor. She half stumbles back over to the table, pulling out her still running recorder. It seems she's in far worse shape than her equipment, but she was instinctively protecting it. "Fine. Last questions. You answer, and… I'll finish my round." Lois mutters quietly. "What are your plans for the future?"


"Oh, come now. Maybe I WILL be dead before the end of the evening!" The Joker leans down, grasping the hilt of the knife and yanking it out. Smiley shrieks, trembling, but then panting and grasping his head woozily returns to his feet, standing in the doorway with effort once more. Walking back to the opposite side of the table, he sinks the knife down, bloody tip impacting the wood, and the Joker returns to his seat. There's no doubt that Lois can get past Smiley in that state. But he'd slow her enough for the clown to DO something. And that is probably very, very bad.

"Plans? Why, to find a NEW arch-nemesis!" Hands clap together happily, looking genuinely delighted. If Lois was to cut out her little incident trying to quit the game, it's as if nothing changed for the Joker. His mannerisms and strangely off cheer blend perfectly into that memory. "I'm going to retire poor old Gray Falcon. He's getting old. Getting slow. And really…" For a moment a flash of seriousness. "I think I'd be doing him a favor." Another clap! resounds out afterwards. "So! If you know any good heroes, let me know. Captain America, maybe?! Ooo, SUPERMAN! Haaaaahahaha! I'll find a new passion in life… don't you worry."

And then he lifts his hand, gesturing with hard eyes. "Now pull."


The woman reaches forward, not able to hide the tremble from her hands. That wasn't even all that good an answer, but she asked the question and it was over now! A trace of actual moisture glimmers in her eyes, the look of a woman who wants to live, who probably wants to live more than she has in a long time, but only realized it now. "…Thank you. If… this goes poorly, just… send the things back to the planet? You'll get your damn story." Her damned story, technically. But if she dies for it, it might as well get printed.

Lois then reaches the gun up, pressing that cool barrel to her temple. It's a few too long heartbeats before she finally gets the courage to pull the trigger and… Nothing. SHe nearly collapses with relief, sliding the gun back across the table, staring up to him. Hard. "Your. Turn."


The Joker's expression finally shifts, turning into a frown. "…oh." he states, fingers interlaced before himself. "…didn't expect that! Hoohoo! I always thought I was LUCKY. That fate had grander plans for me…!" He snatches up the gun, looking it over. Then he aims it towards Lois. For a split second, the face that countless others have seen, right before their death. And she'd see no joy in it. No happiness. In the moment her life might have ended… boredom.

"…No, no. That's no good." He lifts the gun up. "The heavens have spoken!" He then sweeps his chair aside, standing at attention and pressing the barrel to his temple. "Well… if I'm going to die, at least it'll be on MY terms… heehee!!"

He pulls the trigger. There's a very strange CRACK like a firework, smoke billowing out of the cylinder. From the tip of the gun, blood flows down in a hearty line. Yet when the Joker pulls the gun away, the bullet is lodged into his temple.

"…?" He plucks it out, looking it over. Before beginning to laugh once more. "Well! Imagine that. I DID say that the chance of one of us dying is ALMOST one hundred percent, didn't I?!" He tosses the bullet to bounce across the table towards Lois, coming to a stop near the edge. "Well, THAT was exhilerating." He drops his gun in the open tote bag, closing it and hefting it up to his shoulder. "…oh. I forgot to ask you your question! Well, I'll save it for next time. Kay?"

He then strides over to Smiley, pushing him with a grunt, and herding the huge man towards the door. "Toodles! Make sure to announce I'm looking for a SUCCESSOR! …Or I'll come calling for a NEW interview…! Haaaaahahahaha!"


A small cry escapes her throat as he swings that gun around in her direction, Lois' eyes shooting far too wide. But he doesn't take the option. She's still alive. She stands up, backing up instinctively as he motions to shoot himself. She doesn't really care to be in the gray matter spray. But then… it doesn't work. SOmehow.

Was his skull thick enough to take a bullet? Or did the gun just slightly jam? Lois couldn't tell, but she didn't want to stick around for it either. Still, unable to resist, she reaches the camera up and snaps a flash of a fast photo, of the gun just as it's leaving his forehead and that trickle of blood. She was still a reporter. She still needed the right shot for the story. That was the shot. She tilts her head.

"…I guess we're both lucky. Well, Mr. J… I can't say this has been my most…pleasant interview. No need for a next time. I got what I needed. Thank you…again…" She rasps out. Then she's turning to go, fast. If she can get out the door she might be rethinking her career choices… for probably a whole two hours.


A misfire. The bullet was defective. Lois might not know the sound of one, but that seems to be the reason it wasn't fatal. The majority of the powder did not ignite for some reason, leaving the Joker with only a bleeding headwound. "Luck? Tch. I make my own luck." is all the man coos. "But, ah! I really think…" He comes to a stop at the doorway, as Smiley staggers out into the hallway proper. "…you MIGHT be able to understand. If I tried hard enough."

The tic-tic-tic of the clock in the kitchen continues.

"…meh." And then he shrugs, raising his hand in a wave and striding out. When Lois as well exits, she'll find… him herding Smiley into the stairs leading down, as people begin to open doors and peer around after hearing the pistol's partial firing. That's not quite as mysterious as an abrupt vanishing, but not EVERYTHING can be a magic trick, can it?


Before she fully goes, Lois pauses and leans down. Unless he stops her, and she doubts he will, she scoops up that bullet from the table. He threw it at her, after all. Then she's moving for the door and quickly out. She'll still be sore as hell tomorrow, but she was alive and she had a proper story worth reporting. It wasn't the worst night after all.


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