Arkham High

Chapter 15

"You nervous, Harvey?" asked Pamela, kissing her boyfriend as everyone piled into the auditorium.

Harvey laughed. "What have I got to be nervous about, Pammie?" he asked. "J's thrown the election! It's not even a competition! The last three campaign speeches we had, he just did impressions of various Looney Tunes characters."

"Well, it was better than his Star Wars impression," retorted Pamela. "I don't know why he thinks he can do Luke Skywalker. Doesn't sound a thing like him."

"Maybe he secretly wants to be a hero," said Harvey, shrugging. "But not this election he won't. He'll never be anything but a Joker."

Joker sat lazily in one of the chairs, legs up on the seat in front of him. "You know what they say, Harley girl – it ain't about winning or losing, it's how you play the game! And I gotta say, I made this game a whole lotta fun!"

"You make everything fun, puddin'," sighed Harley, cuddling him. "And even if you ain't gonna be class president, I'm still gonna be the happiest girl in school going to the prom with you!"

"You're really gonna run with puddin', huh?" he sighed.

"Doncha like it, puddin'?" she asked.

"Not really," he admitted. "It's kinda demeaning for a presidential candidate and hall monitor extraordinaire."

"But it's just perfect for you, puddin'," purred Harley, kissing his cheek.

"Students of Arkham High, it's now time to announce the results from the class president election," said Principal Leland.

"I've prepared a really gracious defeat speech," whispered Joker. "I wonder how many votes I'll get in the end?"

"At least one, puddin'," said Harley, taking his hand and smiling.

"The votes have been tallied, and the winner is…" said Principal Leland, opening an envelope. Her face fell in horror. "It's…uh…J," she stammered.

"What?!" roared Harvey, jumping to his feet. "There's no way in hell that's possible!"

"Yeah, no way in hell!" agreed Joker, leaping up to join him. "I did everything I could think of to lose this goddamn election, and now you're telling me I've won?!"

"Apparently so," said Principal Leland.

"It's gotta be a mistake!" shouted Harvey. "I demand a recount! Now!"

"Everyone just calm down!" snapped Principal Leland. "The last thing we need is another riot! We will be recounting the votes, and will announce the results this afternoon! Thank you!"

"What the hell have you done, J?!" growled Harvey, storming over to him. "How the hell did you rig this?!"

"I didn't!" protested Joker. "I don't want the stupid presidency!"

"You're lying!" yelled Harvey. "Tell me how you did it, or your girlfriend ain't getting into college!"

"Don't you dare threaten Harley in front of me!" shouted Joker.

"J, hall monitors don't fight," began Bruce Wayne, hurrying over. "And neither do class presidents!"

"I ain't class president!" shouted Joker. "But I tell ya what, if it turns out I am, I ain't bowing out in favor of you, Harvey! Nobody tries to blackmail my girlfriend!"

"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," came a smug voice. Everyone turned to see Edward Nygma smiling at them. "What a ruckus over a little election victory," he sighed. "But then I suppose everyone likes an underdog story. And J is quite the underdog. Some might compare him to a female dog."

"Just stay outta this, Eddie – it has nothing to do with you!" growled Harvey.

"Oh, doesn't it?" said Nygma, grinning. "Yes, I suppose you're right. Politics is the realm of the boorish and the moronic, not the intellectually superior."

"Says the guy who got caught cheating!" snapped Harvey.

Nygma smiled. "Once," he agreed, nodding. "It's not going to happen again. Excuse me."

He strode off. "Why don't we all just calmly and quietly head back to our respective classes?" said Bruce. "I'm sure Principal Leland will have cleared all this up by lunchtime."

"Hey, don't be afraid of Harvey, sweets," muttered Joker as he and Harley left the auditorium. "He ain't got no power. That's why he's threatening you."

"He has influence with the scholarship board," murmured Harley. "I don't want his anger to ruin my chances of getting into college." She looked at him. "Did you rig the election?"

"No!" exclaimed Joker. "Harley, you gotta believe me! I said I'd throw it, and I made every effort to do that! This is nothing short of a miracle, and as crazy to you as it is to me, I promise!"

Harley nodded. "I believe you, Mr. J," she murmured. "I gotta go to class now. See you later."

She kissed him tenderly and left. Joker watched her go, and then stormed off in search of Edward Nygma.

"Oh no, you don't, nerd!" he hissed, grabbing him by the back of the collar as he was about to enter a classroom. "We're having ourselves a little talk!"

"What…what do you mean talk?" stammered Nygma, as Joker dragged him toward the toilets. "J…J, no, calm down, not the swirlies! I don't know anything about the election, I promise!"

"Sure, I believe you, Eddie," said Joker, dragging him into a stall and lifting up the toilet lid. "But y'know, when I have trouble remembering stuff, I find a nice, cold shower helps jolt my brain back into gear. Well, this ain't gonna be a shower, but I'm pretty sure it'll refresh your memory anyway," he said, shoving his head into the bowl and flushing.

"Why did you rig the election after I told you not to?" demanded Joker, pulling Nygma's head up at last.

"I didn't…"

"I wouldn't waste your breath if I was you, Eddie," interrupted Joker, shoving his head back down. "You're gonna need to hold it a really long time."

"All right, I'll talk!" cried Nygma at last, gasping for air. "I'll talk! I rigged it to get back at you! To stick you with this responsibility you didn't want, to ruin things for Harley, and thereby ruining things between the both of you, when she'd blame you for cheating! It was good, old-fashioned revenge, plain and simple. So I stole the ballot box and switched out the majority of votes for Harvey with votes for you. A recount won't spot it. It'll look like you won fair and square."

Joker laughed. "Y'know, I gotta say, that's pretty clever of you, Eddie," he chuckled. "But you forgot one very important thing in this great, big scheme of yours."

"W…what's that?" stammered Nygma.

Joker grinned. "You forgot how much pain I can give you," he muttered, grabbing him. "But I'm gonna refresh your memory there too, Eddie. And then we're gonna go have a little talk with Principal Leland. Assuming you can still use your mouth, of course. But hey, if I knock all your teeth out, you can always write it down, am I right? Y'see, Eddie?" he chuckled, shoving his head down the toilet again. "You gotta always look on the bright side of life!"

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