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Joker's Wild

Mac O'Roni

     Gambit had found his true calling. He lived for this.
     It all started when Shadowcat snagged the tape out of his abandoned camcorder while Wolverine was chasing him through the mansion. In short order she had made dozens of copies, and before long Track of the Two-Legged Wolverine, as they were calling it, had become a school institution. Then Kitty had used Cerebro to record a few days’ worth of Gambit’s daily routine working as the school receptionist—he was hardly a conventional receptionist, as he never answered the telephone in the same persona twice and often hung up on callers without even letting them say a word. She circulated copies throughout the student body, and it was quickly voted “comedy album of the year” by the young mutants who came to learn at the institute.
     He had become an overnight celebrity among them, and being the energy creature that he was, he thrived on the attention. But he had found in himself a desire to make people laugh—it was probably that damned empathy at work, but it felt pretty good to be able to make folks happy.
     It still came as a bit of a surprise when Professor Xavier invited him to be the entertainment at the school assembly the day before spring break. A chance to perform in front of the whole school, with official sanction—there had to be a catch. But there was no catch. The only adviso he received was to keep it PG-13. That was no big deal—he personally thought that comedy worked better without explicit content. A big clue as to why he preferred the old-time comics like the Three Stooges and Abbott & Costello to guys like George Carlin and Eddie Murphy.
     But there was one big problem: he was aware that he was a heck of a lot funnier when he didn’t really think about being funny; when he was conscious of playing to an audience, his invention dried up quickly.
     But he got a break. Late one night, lying in bed and obsessing over his impending debut, he had a sudden and utterly inexplicable epiphany. He shot out of bed and feverishly began jotting down the words that had so unexpectedly popped into his mind. If he actually performed this bit, he knew he was a dead man. His charm and silver tongue would not be enough to get him out of the trouble he would no doubt create for himself. But he was desperate, and frankly, this was hilarious. Or it was, at least, at four o’clock in the morning.
     The day finally arrived. He was introduced, and stepped out through the curtains to the front of the stage.
     “Afte’noon, all. F’dose a you don’ know me, d’reason I talk dis way’s ‘cause I’m a Cajun, from N’Awlins, Louisiana, an’ so if at any point t’day you find dat you can’t unnerstan’ what I’m sayin’, I got two words f’you t’keep in mind: Up yours.
     "Down on d’bayou it’s always rainin’ an’ wet. Hell, N’Awlins sinks a little furt’er inta d’swamp every year. Floods out a lot down dere, I can tell ya. One year we had dis real big flood, and dey was dis ol’ boy stan’in’ out in his front yard. D’water was up t’his knees, an’ a couple a fellas came by in a rowboat an’ tole ‘im t’get in and dey’d take ‘im t’higher groun’. But he says, ‘Oh, no. D’Lawd’ll take care a me.’ Well, a little while later another couple a guys in a rowboat come by an’ foun’ ‘im on his front porch, an’ d’water was up t’his chest. They tole ‘im t’get in d’boat, but he jus’ tole ‘em what he done tole d’last guys, dat d’Lawd’d take care of ‘im.
     “Well, d’water jus’ kep’ on risin’, an’ soon ‘nuff some rescuers came by in a helicopter. Dey foun’ dis ol’ boy stan’in’ up on his roof, an’ d’water was up t’his neck. Dey tole ‘im dey’d rescue ‘im, but he jus’ tole ‘em dat de Lawd would take care of ‘im.
     “Well, he drown, y’see. Gets up t’Heaven an’ he come face-t’-face wit’ de Lawd, an’ he ask d’Lawd what happen to ‘im. D’Lawd tole him, ‘I dunno, I sent two rowboats an’ a helicopter for ya.’”
     He paused a second or two for the laughter to subside. Then he continued, “Y’know, lately I ben gettin’ kin’a infamous ‘roun’ dese parts f’some a de t’ings I do. From what I ben hearin’ back from you chilluns,” he said, “what ya’ll like bes’ is d’ silly songs I make up from time t’ time.
     “I had a reques’ from a studen’ dis mornin’. I usually do not do requests, unless of course I’ve ben asked to. An’ dat’s what happen. She call me up an’ say, ‘Mr. LeByoo, would you please sing…’ an’ den she couldn’t remember d’name a d’song she wanted t’ hear. So I asked if she could hum it or sing a li’l a it f’me, an’ if I recognized it I’d sing it. But she couldn’t remember how it went. Den she tole me, ‘You d’one made it up, you ought t’know it.’” He shrugged. “I tole her dat I was sorry, but I wa’dn’t gonna be able t’help her on dis one, an’ she said dat it really didn’t matter ‘cause she wa’dn’t gonna be here t’day.
     “So, now I’m gonna sing somet’in’ else. It’s a li’l sumt’in’ I like t’ call ‘Drag Queen Wolverine,’ an’ it goes like dis.”
     He picked up the acoustic guitar leaning against the wings of the stage and began to play. This is the song he sang:

I spit up my Scotch when I saw her
At the Outback Bar and Grille.
She was dressed all in lace an’ pink satin,
An’ I thought, “Woah, if looks could kill!”

She had big hairy arms and hard knuckles,
She was far shorter than she was broad.
She gave me a smile an’ said, “Hey, sailor,”
An’ all I could answer was, “Oh, my Lawd!”

She was a drag queen Wolverine,
A big, butch, and burly old broad.
A drag queen Wolverine;
She’s ugly, but ample-ly clawed!

She gave me a look that said, “Hey, bub,
I’m as straight as most anyone else here.”
Then she turned to the guy sitting next to me:
“Hey, snuggle-britches, can I buy you a beer?"

He was too scared to resist and she led him to the floor.
I just couldn’t help watching them dance.
She steered him around and she led him like
She was still the one wearin’ the pants!

She was a drag queen Wolverine,
A big, butch, and burly old broad.
A drag queen Wolverine;
She’s ugly, but ample-ly clawed!

She must not have liked my expression.
Couldn’t help but stare as she walked by.
I knew I shoulda minded my own business when
She stuck a twelve-inch claw in my left eye!

So think of me kindly, dear students.
I sang this song to amuse all of you.
Look back on this fondly, and remember:
Memorial service, Sunday, at two!

     Not even Wolverine, who’d been grinding his teeth all through this performance, could quite resist laughing when Gambit covered his face with both hands and started bawling like a man who knows he’s going to die, horribly, very soon. The kid had done pretty well, for a first-timer, even if it was at his expense. He could be magnanimous and let him live, for a price.
     After the show, after the Cajun finished his schtick, Logan cornered Remy backstage. The kid was seriously scared, but tried to cover it up with his usual cocky grin and smart mouth.
     “How’dja like de song, mon ami?” he asked, but although his voice was steady he couldn’t quite repress the little twitch of fear in those eyes. Wolverine popped the claws on the hand he didn’t have the kid pinned to the wall with and held them up close to those gorgeous onyx and ruby eyes.
     “Dat much, huh?” A little quiver in his voice now. Good.
     “You owe me, Cajun,” he said. “You owe me big. Every time I hear somebody talkin’ about yer little performance today, every time I hear someone quote yer little song, I’m gonna take me a pound a flesh. Startin’ now.”
     He pushed the kid to the floor and straddled him, teeth at his throat. Not biting—nibbling. It tickled and Remy couldn’t quite keep himself from giggling. Logan’s hands tangled in his hair roughly and yanked his head back to bare the full expanse of that long white throat. Wolverine quickly and unceremoniously divested him of his clothing, but at least this time the clothes remained intact—when he’d sliced his shirt and jeans off of him that time in the Danger Room, Gambit had been forced to sneak back to his room upstairs and all the way across the mansion, using all his skills as a thief and his extremely acute spatial sense to avoid detection, butt naked.
     Logan kissed his way down the Cajun’s chest and stomach, sucking at the pale skin hard enough to leave lover’s marks. He buried his nose in that thicket of ginger-cinnamon hair below the kid’s rock-hard belly and snuffled at his genitals like a dog. His smell was strongest here—a smell of spice and sex and old leather and under it all, the intoxicating aroma that could only be defined as Remy himself.
     As strange as it might have seemed, Remy found Logan’s actions, bestial as they were, highly erotic. The idea that someone just wanted to smell him, and down there, diverted a great deal of blood from less important areas, such as his brain, to that most sensitive of organs that swelled and throbbed and cried out for more serious attention.
     “Aw God, cher, please,” he moaned, tangling his fingers in Wolverine’s hair.
     Logan looked up at him and grinned. “This is supposed to be punishment, Gumbo. You don’t get to dictate terms.”
     “Do whatever you want, jus’ do somet’in’!”
     Logan sat up and mused out loud to himself. “Hmm…if he likes it, I guess that doesn’t make it an effective punishment. Maybe what I should do is deny him. How would that work?”
     Remy’s howl of agony was reminiscent of the sound a rabbit makes when in the ultimate throes of pain and terror. He grabbed Logan’s face and pulled him into a desperate kiss, grinding his naked body against him, all stroking hands and licking tongue and prodding erection. Logan felt himself toppling on the precipice of passion and decided to let himself fall.
     “One of these days we’re gonna get in trouble, kid,” he said gruffly, nuzzling the Cajun’s throat as he allowed the young man’s trembling, eager hands to expertly remove his clothing.
     “We only in trouble if we get caught, mon cher, an’ between d’two of us, we ain’ got too much t’worry ‘bout dere. We like Guzzler’s Gin. We don’t need no chaser, ‘cause nothin’ can catch us.”