"Joker Jitters": With the city overrun by people infected with the Joker's toxin, the kids at Gotham Academy have been gathered into tents in the Gymnasium for their safety. Housed together in their tent, Pomeline Fritch tries to convince [[M
- Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Really good! just excited to hear more spooky Joker stories!
Appearing in "Joker Jitters"
- The Joker (Appears only in a story)
- Highland Man (Appears only in a story)
Synopsis for "Joker Jitters"
With the city overrun by people infected with the Joker's toxin, the kids at Gotham Academy have been gathered into tents in the Gymnasium for their safety. Housed together in their tent, Pomeline Fritch tries to convince Maps Mizoguchi and Olive Silverlock to ditch the others and sneak around. Olive nixes that plan, though, admitting that she trusts Professor MacPherson's judgment that they should stay put. Indignantly, Pomeline claims that for a history teacher, Professor MacPherson doesn't know very much about The Joker - but she knows a good story.
Three days before Halloween, Jimmy had found the perfect mask for his costume, but he was short ten cents to buy it - so he stole it instead. When he got home and tried it on, though, he began to hear a voice in his head. Terrified, he tried to return the mask to the store, but when he got there, it seemed like it hadn't been there in years. He tried leaving the mask at the old store anyway, but the next day, he found it in his locker. No matter how he tried to get rid of it or destroy it, it just kept coming back. And finally, one day, he woke to find that it had replaced his own face. To this day, the laughing mask is still out there, waiting to put a smile on other faces.
After hearing the story, Maps cries out, and the others warn her to keep it down, lest the legendary Custodian hear her. Legend tells of a custodian who protects the school grounds from monsters. Professor MacPherson pokes her head into their tent to warn that the Custodian probably heard them with how loud they're being. When Maps explains that they were just telling Joker stories, though, Ms. MacPherson can't help but join in.
Where she grew up, in Ullapool, Scotland, children would tell stories of a Highland Man much like the Joker. There, in the Scottish highlands, there was a wandering jester who roamed in search of travellers to entertain. He was known by all for his garb of red and his grin of glistening teeth. He was most known for his ability to make people laugh, smile, and sing, even as he committed gruesome acts using his collection of human faces, severed limbs, and playing his bagpipe of rotting flesh. Those who failed to laugh would become props for his next show. The only escape from him was to laugh, smile, or sing. And when he had his fill of it, he would take a bow, pack his things, and be on his way in search of more travellers.
So pleased by the story that she requires more, Olive obliges Maps' cravings by telling her own story. It was one her mother had told her after she was put in the hospital.
There was a sleepover at her high school, and Sybil saw some restless students sneak out of the Gymnasium - seniors. They had told everyone that they planned to summon the smiling man. Everyone knew the legend of the smiling man, and how to summon him. All they had to do was look into a mirror in a dark room and tell him a joke. The only catch was that his sense of humour was particularly sick, so it would take a particular kind of joke to make him laugh. The girl and one of the two boys told as many jokes as they could think of, to no avail. When the second boy made his attempt, though, the joke he told was so perverse that his friends would never repeat it. They didn't find it funny - and neither, apparently, did the smiling man. He did not appear that night. However, the second boy looked into the mirror and saw his own contorted face grinning back at him. He ran away, horrified - but everywhere he looked, he saw that face in his reflection. The experience drove him mad - to the point that he ended up in Arkham, and to this day, he still can't look into a mirror.
Maps declares that story the best of the bunch, and Ms. MacPherson urges the girls to all get some sleep, and rest assured that they are in the safest place in all of Gotham City, with Headmaster Hammer - the real life Custodian - watching over them.
- This book was first published on March 1, 2015.
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