Jack snuck inside the circus and saw a Joker.
Joe had painted her face white, just like nine others. She was clad in a yellow costume with a ruffled collar and a red pointy hat, just like nine others. She tripped, fell and rammed against beams and walls, just like nine others, but to Jack, she alone was visible.
As he looked at her, a smile formed on his face. His pinkish white cheek morphed into a canvas of red and it reeled him into a paradigm where he had never been before.
All of Jack’s worries faded, the thoughts of his mamma’s pain disappeared into thin air. The entire burden he was, until then, painfully carrying on his shoulders suddenly vanished…he was just another normal kid having some fun.
‘So did you love this woman? Joe?’ asked Dr. D., as he cracked his knuckles and then stretched his back.
Joker laughed at the Doctor in an irritable tone and then said, ‘No, no, doctor. No. Not the sort of love you are thinking about. No! Jack thought of Joe like his mamma…the mamma that he’d have killed to have.’
‘Mamma? So you resented your biological mother?’
Joker rolled his eyes and swiveled his tongue on his lip. ‘Yes. Jack didn’t like his mamma, that pathetic old lady. Jack’s mamma was a coward; she was like a worm, easily crushable and of no real existence. She was the kind of people who are born just so others could feast on them and get high on power. Jack hated her, of course he resented her!’
‘Um, okay. So what happened after the circus? Did Jack go and talk to Joe?’
‘He sure did. Jack waited at the back exit of the circus for over an hour after the curtains were down. He wanted to meet Joe so bad that he had forgotten how late it was…and how angry his father would be, seeing that his son wasn’t at home past the curfew time! All Jack wanted to do was to meet the Joker,’ said the Joker and smirked.
A couple of minutes hence, Joe walked out. The white paint that covered her pretty face was washed off and a navy-blue skirt with grey sweater had substituted her tacky joker’s outfit.
‘Tacky?’ probed the Doctor.
‘Ever seen me dress like those tacky jokers? I wear a suit,’ replied the Joker and lifted his eyebrows.
‘A tacky suit.’
‘So you say. Anyway, Joe saw me with her sparkly eyes and smiled. She pulled out a scarf from her purse and walked towards me, saying, “I see you enjoyed the show, Jack. You look so handsome when you smile”.’
‘Ain’t that the truth?’ remarked the Doctor.
‘I didn’t have these scars back then, Doctor.’
“Who is a Joker?” she asked Jack.
“Someone who makes others laugh?”
“Or someone who laughs to keep from crying,” said Joe and looked at Jack. “I am a joker by choice, not by force. I have other means of income with which I can live comfortably, but I chose to be a joker because this is who I am.”
“Why do you want to be a joker? Is it because you had a bad childhood like mine?”
“During my segment at the circus today, Bam Bam hit me hard with a mallet. The very next minute, we were walking hand in hand, our smiles as wide as the sky. Ah Choo pushed me off the pedestal and sent me crashing on the floor and Butter Fingers let my hand go on the trapeze and sent me flying down. A couple of minutes later, the three of us were together plotting a scheme against Gulliver.”
‘“I don’t understand,” said little Jake, that poor kid,’ said the Joker and laughed.
“A joker is one who always remains in the present. A joker pays no heed to the past or holds no grudges or regrets. A joker simply does that which would make him feel ecstatic, not caring about the consequence or the risk involved. I don’t fear falling while trapezing, I don’t think about what happens when I get hit by a mallet, I just do it because when I’m at the circus, I’m not me, I’m a joker, a person who works on the idea of using deceptive means to get the better of someone.”
“Oh. So you mean to say that you don’t want to tell me about your childhood.
“Not just you, to anyone. All of it is in the past and a true joker doesn’t care about it. He just wears a big smile on his face and marches forth.”
“But Joe, you are you, I mean, you aren’t a joker now. You are a joker only when you are at the circus. So what stops you from telling me about yourself?”
“Well, you are right. But I’d like to be a true joker one day. I’d like to be rid of all the negativity and find an emotion that fits my persona. Then I want to feast on that emotion and embody that persona of greatness and merriment. I’m on that path now and at this juncture I fear the depth more than I fear the height. One step into the past and I go crashing down. I might not care about the fall in the future, but now I do.”
“But Joe, isn’t life all about emotions? I mean, how can you just find one emotion and be content with it?”
“Jack, heard of the butterfly effect?”
‘“No”, little Jack said perplexedly.’
“A metaphorical example of the butterfly effect can be given through an example where a hurricane is formed by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.”
‘Little Jack still looked perplexed.’
“The butterfly effect is an essential concept under the chaos theory. The theory that explains everything there is to know about life. Embrace the chaos and you would have embraced life. Embrace chaos and stop worrying about the happenings of your life, because when you consider the bigger picture, your life is beautiful when it is chaotic, when you stop worrying, when you stop brooding and let everything happen the way it is supposed to happen. Murphy’s Law…”
‘Doctor, she went on and on and I frankly got real bored. Anyway, I was amazed by how much she knew about life and chaos and joker and well, I just wanted to learn…little by little.’
‘She said, “There is a doctor. He, um, you have to talk to him. He…have you heard about The Conclave?’
‘Talk to him, you will be…you will come to know everything about the Conclave. Talk to him and you will learn that the only sane way to live in this life is to live without rules. Talk to him and find out what it means to be a real joker.’