Welcome to the 2022 April A to Z Challenge! Each day (minus Sundays) in the month of April will feature a short work of fiction based on a random word beginning with the corresponding letter of the day. Those random words will be provided by various friends and family members throughout the month. Today’s word, broken, was provided by my sister, April.
“Did you hear something, Red?” asked Harley as she put down the heavy grocery bag on top of the mini-fridge. Cautiously, her eyes scanned the makeshift kitchen for signs of an intruder.
Poison Ivy came in through the same door that Harley Quinn had just entered. “You’re just jumpy. You always get that way when you hear a rumor that your ex has escaped from Arkham again.”
“No, I swear I heard somethin’.”
Ivy took time to look around the rundown, abandoned greenhouse before sighing, “Probably just rats. It’s not like we’ve had time to make this place as homey as we’d like.” In an attempt to comfort the worried blonde, Ivy squeezed Harley’s shoulder before beginning to put away the few groceries they had purchased.
Neither woman could ignore the distinct sound of something falling to the floor on the other side of the greenhouse.
“See?!” Harley whisper-screamed at Ivy, who just nodded silently in response.
Poison Ivy signaled for Harley to move directly toward the source of the noise. She would take the long way around, giving them a chance to somewhat surround the intruder. If, in fact, they had an intruder. Better to be safe than sorry, she thought as she moved behind a row of tall plants.
Harley attempted to show no fear as she made her way across the open space. But that rumor that the Joker was running around crossed her mind all over again. That kind of filled her with dread.
During the day, this place was filled with sunlight, a strong selling point for her when Ivy first convinced her the greenhouse would be a good place to lay low for a while. Now, at night, she could hardly see three feet in front of her. Harley could finally understand why all those Bat-people wore those fancy belts with all the pockets. Sure does make it handy if you need to have a small flashlight for times like these.
In the dim light provided by the fluorescents over the kitchen area, Harley could make out the shape of a man slumped over on the floor, leaning against the glass wall. Stepping closer, she questioned if what she was seeing actually was a man as she realized she was looking at the Penguin.
He looked up at her. “Ah, Dr. Quinzel,” he said, greeting her with that aristocratic tone he liked to use when he was playing the part of a “legitimate” businessman. “I do love what you an Ms. Isley have done with the place.”
“What are you doin’ here, Beak Brain?” Harley asked, obviously mocking Penguin’s oversized and misshapen nose.
“Charming as ever,” he said as he attempted to right himself into a straighter sitting position.
Assuming he was trying to stand, Ivy approached quickly from the Penguin’s right and planted her foot on his chest. “Down, Oswald.”
Frustrated, Penguin grunted, “Oh, please. I’m in no position to pose a threat to either of you.”
They both looked down at him, seeing that he was clearly injured.
“Yeah, you kinda look like you’ve been hit by a truck. What happened?” asked Harley, “Not that I actually care…”
“Let’s just say I had an unfortunate encounter with the Dark Knight and his band of misfit children when I was simply trying to treat a number of my employees to a night on the town,” said the Penguin, wincing as he adjusted his broken left leg.
Harley and Ivy looked at each other, both rolling their eyes.
“It’s true,” Penguin said, noting the ladies’ disbelief. “The Pittsburgh Penguins are in town playing against Gotham and I thought it fitting to take in a hockey game.”
“Right,” said Ivy, “and you had no intention of engaging in any sort of criminal activity whatsoever?”
“How dare you! I am a legitimate businessman!” he shouted, allowing his haughty tone to falter and nearly letting one of his famous WAUGHs slip out.
“If you’re so legit, why aren’t you at the Iceberg Lounge nursin’ your wounds?” asked Harley.
“You know why.”
Ivy leaned down until she was inches from Penguin’s face. “Because that’s the first place the Batman will look for you. And then he would string you up and leave you as a gift for Commissioner Gordon.”
Penguin shifted his gaze to the floor, ashamed of the position he now found himself in. He hated looking weak. He hated asking for help. He hated finding himself with no other options.
“I just need to lie low for a few days,” he said as he made a show of slowly reaching into his jacket pocket. Pulling out a wad of cash, he continued, “I’ll make it worth your while.”
Ivy snatched the money from Oswald’s flipper-like hand. “That’s ten grand,” he said, “You can count it if you want. And there’s more where that came from once I get back on my feet and can safely return to the Iceberg.”
Harley eyed the cash as Ivy thumbed through the bills, saying, “It’s not like we couldn’t use it.”
“I knew we could all get along if we simply talked things through,” said Penguin as he shifted into a more comfortable position. “Now, Harleen, my dear, I don’t suppose you know anything about setting a broken tibia?”
“I’m a psychiatrist, not an ER doc,” she told him before turning back to the kitchen area to finish putting away groceries.
Ivy, who seemed to have a cooler head in the moment, said, “We’ll do what we can to make you comfortable, Penguin. But don’t push your luck.”
“I’m forever in your debt, Pamela.”
These characters are not my own. Batman and all related characters are the property of DC Comics. This is a work of fan fiction and is just for fun. Please don’t sue me.