High Heels and Low Lifes
In the criminal world, it is inevitable that one person will get the element of
surprise over another. Itís how the good guys get us, its how we get them etc
etc. When we had said to Victor to freeze (a tired pun, but one that still
usually raises a smile if used correctly), we expected him to whirl around, and
say something like "Two-chay Harold."
We would then play out a small Western shoot out scene - using our hands as imaginary guns. (Victor came up with that rule after a nasty accident involving Hugo Strange and Victorís freeze ray, which had resulted in Strange spending the next two hours thawing out in Edward Nigmaís airing cupboard).
The loser must then declare, "Aah you got me, itísÖall goingÖ dark, mustÖtalkÖlikeÖthis," or something along those lines, then both parties come together, shake hands and greet each other, usually laughing. Half at the genius it must have taken to come up with that game, and half at the obvious lack of it in those who play it.
As Jack will assure you though, silliness makes the world go round (he didnít specify which way) and this is especially true we have realised in the world of the rogues.
Admittedly it took that somewhat abortive theatre trip you may or may not have read about (either in the press or in our humble memoirs) to realise this fact. Even we managed to see the funny side in Jack and ourselves being forced to flee The Hijinx Playhouse on a tandem bicycle. Ever since then Hurricane Harv (so called because of our ability to punch and our innate skill at getting in a stress at the slightest thing) has given way to Happy Go Lucky Harv. The effects were profound - we smiled more, laughed more - didnít even feel like belting Jack with the nearest heavy object when we saw him. Much.
We had even taken to going for morning jogs, until we realised (on a jog that turned into a full blown run) that we were in fact still a wanted criminal and that the sight of a man with two faces running around Gothamís streets dressed in a yellow head band and incredibly tight blue spandex cycle shorts might generate some Police awareness of his activities. In both senses of the word.
(We'll never forget the time Gilda and we were trying for a baby. Not our idea we hasten to add - we didnít want a little sprog wandering around being sick all over our case notes, but it appeared that Gilda, who had always been the dominant one, had other ideas. The woman at the family planning clinic told us that to increase the maleís maximum fertility we must avoid wearing clothes that "didnít allow the little general space in which to command his army". In one fell swoop we lost the use of our cycle shorts. We were completely mortified.)
We'll bet you never pictured us as one of the spandex wearers did you? Holy unnatural bulges Batman!
In conclusion, we were a lot happier. Until that night with Victor anyway.
Seeing that Victor was suitably unimpressed with our usual greeting, we wandered over to him. His shoulders were slumped, rising and falling as he sighed dramatically, no doubt steaming up the front of his glass helmet. He hadnít yet turned to face us. We slapped him on the back.
"Whatís the matter Victor old chum?" We retracted our hand. He still hadnít moved. And his suit, perhaps unsurprisingly, was cold on our bare skin.
"Tell me something Harold." Freeze said. He stopped and sighed. We winced again. We were not actually named Harold - it says Harvey on our birth certificate, and we have shown it to him, but he still refuses to believe it. He claims that in Eastern Europe, where he is from, Harvey is a derivative of Harold. We are not at all impressed.
(For the record, it actually says Harvey Kent on our birth certificate - our father, fucking Nazi that he is, had both his and our name changed legally when our mother died. He called it a new start or something. Good thing too we suppose - soon after we began working as a Law professor at Harvard, a reporter at the Daily Planet called Clark Kent (you may know some of his work) started making a name for himself. 'And people would surely get the two of us mixed up!', we thought ruefully)
We patted Freeze reassuringly on the back. He turned around. We stepped back with a gasp. Tears had frozen on his cheeks. His eyes themselves told their own story - never have we seen such a look of sadness. And we've seen a few - many of them in the mirror every morning.
"Tell me Harold." He said, quietly. "Do you ever missÖGilda?"
"Occasionally Öyes." We said, uncertainly. "Why?" we said, urging ourselves to stop, and that we REALLY didnít want to hear this, "Do you miss Norah at all?"
We really hate Harv nights sometimes. If thereís an eighteen foot banana skin on the road, and a sign written and signed by someone saying that there is a path to go around but they would be completely crushed and heartbroken if we used it, then you can guarandamntee that Harv will walk straight into the banana skin, slip up and break his neck. Heís so Goddamn selfless! It was the same thing here. Despite our urgent insistences otherwise, he just HAD to go and do the whole councillor bit didnít he? We sure as hell didnít wanna hear Victorís Goddamn sob story - we've all heard it a good five thousand times before. But good ol' Harv, real lifeís Charlie Brown, just had to go and offer his shoulder to get cried on didnít he? Or hailed on, cos Victor doesnít really cry as Harvís just explained.
Thatís quite enough out of you! Whoís telling this story, me or you? Do you want to sit through 'The Care Bear Movie' again? It will hurt me just as much as it will hurt you, but Iíll do it if you donít shut up!
Sorry about that. Heís back in his kennel again now, we promise. Anyway.
Hearing what we had said, Victorís eyes filled with tears again. It was surreal - they just trickled down his cheeks, getting slower and slower until finally they froze to his face.
"Oh Harold, of course I do! I miss her so much! Without her I am incomplete! It is like someone has torn away part of me. I crave her like a vampire craves blood. I miss her as you would the sun if you went and lived in Antarctica during the winter months. I miss her the way a wrongfully imprisoned man would miss his freedom. My soul burns for her. Ironic really, imprisoned as I am in a cage of ice. Together, we were water. She was my hydrogen. But now, I, the lonely oxygen particle, am left to fight on alone. And do you know what a single oxygen particle is?" The anger was rising in his voice. "POISONOUS!" he said, bringing his fist in a desperate swing at a nearby filing cabinet.
He impacted into the front with a tremendous clang, a door falling off its hinges, spilling paper all over the floor. He pounded and pounded away at the side of the cabinet, shrieking in agony, until the punches became weaker and weaker, and the shrieking gave way to sobs. Eventually, he collapsed on the floor amongst the sheets, crying softly.
We picked him up under the arms, turned him around so he faced us and held him.
Donít think we are a great humanitarian though. Oh no. Whilst he had been on the floor, we had tossed the coin, unsure of whether to comfort him in his hour of need or sneer at his pathetic emotion. We despise ourselves and our over reliance on the coin. They say Mr Freeze has a heart of ice. We think they have the wrong man.
Eventually he pulled himself together. He apologised profusely, sniffing a bit.
"Harold, you are a true friend. We shall not forget this. Next time your refrigerator breaks down, call us. But seriously. I was so sorry to hear that you and Ivy broke up. Truly sorry. You deserve all the happiness in love in the world Harold, especially after what happened to Gilda."
We were completely taken aback. Our mouth opened and shut like a gold fish. We hadnít thought about it at all recently. Us? In a relationship?
The sound of sirens in the distance reminded us of the current situation. Freeze and we looked at each other.
"Try not to think about her Victor. Just try and chill out OK?" We grinned weakly at him, still thinking about his comments.
"Will do Harold. Two-dleoo." He grinned at us, equally weakly.
All three of us fled the scene.