Frodo and Sam both loved Mary Jane Parker. There was a problem in this. They were best friends from another age, and you may even say that they came from a different world. The world does change every day, every moment, but that is not important at this stage.
Mary Jane Parker had almost ended their friendship that had existed through the Fourth Age. Yet, there was one thing that still bound them together, and this was their hatred for Spiderman, that creepy crawly chap who loved, and was loved by Mary Jane.
Mary Jane found them funny, these two young chaps who were short, wore strange clothes, spoke a queer tongue and had furry feet. She found their addiction to pipes, mushrooms and dragons rather quaint.
Spidey disliked them, and wanted them out of the way. They decided to team up, for now, against him. This was a matter of life or death.
“I am Mary Jane Parker. I am in a dilemma. You know my love – Spiderman.
Recently, I met with two of the cutest characters you could ever have imagined. Their names are Frodo and Samwise. They could very well be characters out of a book. They have this obsession with mushrooms, and pipes! Their feet are furry, and they do talk funny. Dark Lords, and Rings and strange creatures. Such imagination!
They are quaint, but they are so cute and I love to spend time with them. For some reason, I noticed that they seemed to be cold to each other. I wonder why. Really, I wonder why.
Then, there is Spidey. They detest him, and he returns the dislike. Why can’t they hug and kiss like we women do, and just be friends? But no. They must each try to best the other. Each wants to spend time with me alone.
It is flattering, it is, you know, but so stressful indeed.
And now, they are having a duel. Why?
I hadn’t thought that this would happen. So, what was I supposed to do now? A girl just cannot have her hair done in peace. It is so unfair.”
His beer spilled. The glass smashed to the floor. That is when I realized it. He was in love.
“Yes, damn it. Sam is in love with Mary Jane Parker. I do not understand why she encouraged him. Yes, he has been my friend, my companion, my support. However, it was me, Frodo, who was the chosen one. I am the one who was chosen by The Wizard, the Elves and the Dwarves to carry the load, and destroy The Evil One.
Now, I don’t understand why Mary Jane does not see this, and why she laughs at me indulgently when I talk of those days. Sam, when all is said and done, was my gardener.
My gardener. I am the leader. I am The Chosen One.
Then, there is The Spider. As if life was not complex enough, I see no reason for Mary Jane to blush when she sees The Spider. What does he do after all? Fly about and fling webs across the place.
“Wait….. There is a solution. I will mend with Sam, and we’ll plot together to bring The Spider down.”
Poor Spiderman. A plot was afoot. Just how was he going to get out of this one?
Damn that Mary Jane, thought Spidey bitterly. “Why does she have to encourage those two little creatures. Always skulking around, talking of Rings, and Dark Lords, and Mountains of Fire. They claim that they saved the world. Pah! That’s me – Spiderman. I do it everyday. Damn her. She encourages those little weasels.
Dark thoughts whirled in his Spider brain. She had to stop loving them so much. If she didn’t stop doing that soon, he was going to kill her.
No! He loved her too much to harm a hair on her head. Those Hobbits, he thought grimly. They die….
It was over. Their friendship that had survived several ages, was finished.
Damn Frodo, thought Sam, anger swelling in his heart. Why do I always have to be the last to speak? First Frodo, then that damn Spider, and me! I was the one who finally carried him up that Mountain, and now he has his eyes on Mary Jane…
He chewed his lips meditatively, a plan growing in his mind.
‘Mary Jane is mind. Mine….’ he shouted at the wall. ‘She is mine, yes she is. Mine own Precious, she is…’
Nobody was going to steal his beautiful Precious.
‘No! Stop what you’re doing. Now!’, he shouted. Spidey woke up with a start. It was not a dream. He had seen her do it. He looked around. He was alone. It was not a horrible dream.
That evening he was at his favourite pub, that hated letter in hand. The letter in the black envelope. That’s when he saw those hated Hobbits, each holding a black envelope.
‘What’s going on?’, he asked, finding himself to be unusually warm and chummy. Misery does indeed seek misery, and finds comfort in the least expected places.
They showed them their Black Envelopes, gloomy lines coursing down their almost childlike, ageless faces. ‘A beer’, said Frodo. ‘Let’s have a beer, and drown our sorrows together’.
Beer flowed along with their lament. Tears coursed down their cheeks. They vowed eternal, drunken friendship, and swore to find her.
As the evening wore on, the pub doors were flung open, and in walked a most outlandish person. Dressed in green, with a white pasty face, dressed in a red smile that seemed to have been carved on to his visage.
He snarled bitterly. ‘My Harley Quinn has run off with some dame called Mary Jane Parker’.
“Well, that was certainly fun. And very unexpected.”
The two of them lay there in the bed together, their sweat mingling, dusky smells emanating from their recent, amorous activities.
“I loved it when Spidey saw us kissing”, sighed Mary Jane. Harley’s smile was wide, and she purred and stroked Mary Jane’s cheek.
“The Joke is on my man”, she whispered. “What would I have given to see the look on his face, when he opened The Black Envelope”.
“And, to think, we gave each of them identical, Black Envelopes. We really are wicked! So, what shall we do now?”, she asked, looking suggestively at Harley Quinn.
Silence followed, broken only by a few sighs.
Later that evening, a car pulled out of Gotham, and the two of them raced off into a romantic sunset. Life was theirs for the taking. There was no man to answer to, no triangle or quadrangle to get messed up in, or no mad smile to manage. They were free, and their car raced off into the distant horizon, with the two women, screaming in joy. They gave their new found freedom and love full throttle, and soon all that was left was the dust of the city as it settled down for the night.
Night, however, found four men sitting around a table, the shadows on their grim faces, the table lit solely by the quintessential lamp.
The Band of Forsaken Brothers, is what they called themselves, initially. Then, they decided that this was too dramatic a name. The League of The Black Envelope was better. This too, was not good enough.
And then, they hit upon a name. The Band of Black and Red (In deference to The Crazy One’s red mouth, and Spidey’s red costume).
They were ready for the chase!
As the car sped away into the distance, a lone figure sat atop a tower, looking on at the vanishing tail lights, a grim expression on his face. They had gone, and he would have to start all over again. It had been a long, successful partnership as lovers, and as partners in crime. But now, it was over, and he needed a new partner. She could be the one, he thought, but he had to be sure. He always had to be sure, even when he was certain.
He sat there and laughed silently, and then a bit more, his body shaking with laughter.
Outwardly, he was a successful businessman. There was another persona that he often donned, with some rare degree of success – a crime fighter. In the tradition of the old, aging superheroes, he gave himself a name. The Dark Knight, is what they had called him.
Yes, he loved that name. The Dark Knight, the Batman. In reality, all he had done, was to clear the city of criminals, so that Harley Quinn and he could rake in the millions, and continue their career in crime. That sniveling Joker was just their pawn.
That’s when he heard her laugh. He didn’t want to turn around; he knew just what he’d see and he could face anything but that.
Poison Ivy stood behind him, laughing as she twined her body around him. “It’s our turn now”, she said, licking his neck.
His knees seemed to creak as he rose. Damn, he thought. “I ain’t old, so why do these bloody things creak?”. It had to be all the injuries he had been through. But he, The Joker, was indestructible., How could his knees creak? Damn. Damn, damn and damnation. He was becoming predictable, and this could not be allowed. That damn Batman. He thought that he, The Joker, did not know about him and Harley? Why, it was he who had planted Harley in Batman’s bed, with the view to eventually duping him. But she – she – faithless woman that she was, had decided to run off with Mary Jane.
A month had passed, and they had made progress. They seemed to have arrived at a place where the two women had been. Yes, they were on the trail.
They arrived at a hotel, and walked to the reception. A box was waiting for him. He grabbed it and, walked out into the dark night, to look inside. But wait. Maybe, a bomb was inside. No. She would not do that to him. Would she?
He opened it. And to think he’d thought it was a bomb. No, it was something far worse. The joke seemed to be on him. The Joker screamed into the dark, and the passers by thought that they saw a crazy man, with a red mouth and pasty face screaming with laughter.
He would never reveal the contents of the box. Well, not now anyway. The contents had shaken him up a bit too much. He could not believe what had happened, and he sat there outside for a long time, confused thoughts coursing through his brain.
Truth be told, his luck had been a little hard on him lately, as his frayed clothes revealed. He had struck upon this plan of having Harley Quinn planted in The Bat’s bed, so that he could make him an unwitting agent of his schemes. The Joker suddenly realized that he had not seen one penny in the last months. Had he been blind? He had been so much in love with his own greedy little idea that he did not realize that he had been played all this time.
He gnashed his teeth. Hell hath no fury like a Joker scorned, he muttered. Eyes wild, he tore at his hair, and danced and stamped his feet in anger and petulance. He would be avenged. He, The Joker, would rise again. The world would, once again, play His Games, and his glory would be unrivalled. This future moment of triumph would belong to him, and to him alone.
A wild, gleeful look came into his eyes. “Hee! Hee! Hee!”, he laughed hysterically to himself. “Yes, I will use those three to my advantage. That arrogant fool of The Spider, and those two nincompoops who are always blathering about Dark Lords. Yes, they shall be my pawns.”
Rubbing his hands, in his dirty, frayed Joker gloves, he reveled in the scheme that was starting to germinate in his twisted mind.
“Revenge shall be mine”, he screamed into the dark night. As he melted away into the darkness, his voice could be heard, chanting this crazy little mongrel rhyme,
Oh Little Batman wants to play With Little Harley, he went astray. But I am The Joker, I am King; My sport is revenge, I shall make them singe.
Oh Pretty Harley tried to cheat With The Bat and Jane – quite the feat! But I am The Joker, revenge is mine; My evil Genius once more shall shine!
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Ah that Spider, and those Little Men Shall plot with me, in my old den. For I am The Joker, I will be avenged, The Bat and Harley, will feel my revenge!