So what did I tell you, son? Best dogs in DC or what? All we need now is a couple beers and we're in heaven, even if this is the furthest place from it, most days.
Well, yeah, they'd probably bust us for carrying open containers. Of course, I'd just bust 'em back for !@#$ with a man on official business. This isn't just sight-seeing today. Someone's gonna meet the reaper, face-first and in the dirt.
Who? Oh, we'll get to that. Don't you worry.
Speaking of getting to that, here we are. I said we were going to the White House, didn't I? Well, !@#$ that. This is a lot more important to the story.
Where are we? !@#$ you, son. You should know what this is. This is the place on the Mall that no one ever comes to, except to go from one thing to another.
The World War II Memorial. Inaugurated in 2004. One pillar for every state involved in the conflict, and one star on that wall for every person who died defending them.
40,000 stars, son. That's a lot of dogfaces, jarheads, and sailor boys.
No, I don't know who's bright !@#$ idea it was to make this hallowed ground look like just another !@#$ fountain, but they should be dug up, brought back to life, !@#$ slapped, and shot in the !@#$ face. Everyone's too busy looking at the Washington Monument over there and the Lincoln Memorial over there to pay attention to what's really going on.
Kind of like life in DC, actually.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite spots. You can tell who really gives a !@#$ about important things. They take their time and look around. They salute. They touch the stars on the wall.
There was a lot worth crying about in those days, but we didn't start weeping until the Japanese brought the reality home for us. We wanted to stay out of Europe's problems, and didn't really care about what happened in the Pacific as long as it stayed far West of Hawaii. We had our hemisphere and were content with it, especially after what happened the last time we went overseas.
But we knew it was coming. We knew. You didn't have to be one of those crime-fighting psychic swami types to know that fascism and democracy were going to go head-to-head. If it wasn't over human rights it'd be over business, and if it wasn't over business it'd be over the simple fact that when the rock starts rolling down the hill, it's going to take others with it, and before long you're dodging a !@#$ avalanche.
This particular avalanche was called the Nazi Party. There was stuff going on in Spain and Italy, too, of course, not to mention the Pacific. But if you wanted to put a face on the darkness that was going to consume the world for all those years, you couldn't have picked a better face that a certain !@#$hole with a Charlie Chaplin mustache, a Hugo Boss uniform, and a really !@#$ book to sell.
No, not Herman Cain. Jesus !@#$, son. Pay attention.
A lot of the groups that Hitler sent off to the camps like to say they were the first ones who were rounded up when the Third Reich took power. But it's a well-known fact that the first group were superheroes. Hitler was !@#$ queer for them in a bad way, what with all that talk about supermen and what have you, so he figured the more he had on his side, the more it looked like what he was selling had some real weight to it.
Not everyone wanted to get a membership card and goosestep in time, though. In fact, there were a lot of them who told him to get !@#$. So those German heroes were given an ultimatum: use their power for the good of the Fatherland, or suffer the consequences.
Bottom line, when the Wehrmacht struck, it had superhumans at the front line. And you better !@#$ believe that scared the !@#$ out of the Russians, not to mention the Brits, and then us.
Roosevelt watched those films with a growing sense of dread. He knew that Hitler had plans to attack America, once Europe was under his heel, and that we'd be facing some of those superhumans in battle when that happened. He also knew that Japan had a mess of superheroes at work conquering the Pacific rim, and they were very well organized.
There was a superhero gap, basically. And while they could get patriotic heroes to sign up and help England on the quiet, he knew they'd need more for the time when the world lit up like a bonfire, and all the people who were saying "let's stay out of it" started calling for blood.
Which is funny, because at the same time he's thinking about that gap, and telling his people to find ways to close it, someone else is thinking about a way to exploit it. Someone with a lot of inside information, and the smarts to make it all work for him.
So one fine day in 1939, the President gets word through one of his Department people that someone would like to meet with him on a matter of national security. The someone doesn't have a name, of course, but this well-meaning man of mystery's handed over a letter that he says the President really needs to see.
And, sure enough, every !@#$ word on the page is something that the President and his people have either been thinking, or doing, or trying to keep quiet about that little problem in Europe. That and a few intriguing solutions to the gap, except that they that aren't fully explained. They're all tantalizing suggestions, half-answers, and !@#$ like that.
Of course there's more, but apparently this guy will only talk to the President, himself. And that's what really sets Roosevelt's hackles up. Who is this guy and how the !@#$ does he know all this !@#$? Is there a leak in the Oval Office or the War Department? What's going on, here?
No one's got a good answer, but what can they do? They're !@#$ if they don't fix the problem, and this guy seems to have all the answers. Pragmatism beats out paranoia, eventually. Besides, Roosevelt wants to know how this guy knows all this stuff.
Now, meeting with the President's a dicey thing, even in the best of situations. But Roosevelt's in a chair and doesn't want anyone to know about it. That's okay, though. It seems the guy not only knows about that, too, but has a solution.
The meeting happens by way of a big wooden crate. Someone wheels it into the Oval Office. Inside the box is another box. A big black box with a curved pane of glass in the front and a lot of glass tubes sticking out the back. And on top of the box is what looks like a movie camera, only it's wired into the box and doesn't seem to have a crank or a winder or anything.
Meeting time comes, someone throws the switch. The box hums and comes to life. And on the big pane of glass, looking at the Roosevelt, is the one and only Gilbert M Biggs.
Otherwise known as The Big Man.
"Hello, Mr. President," says the man on the screen: "You can hear and see me, and I can hear and see you. I thought this would be more convenient and less risky for the both of us. Shall we talk about a solution to our nation's problem?"
The President, astounded, nods and says "Yes. Let's talk."
Two firsts, right then and there. First Oval Office video-conference, back before most people even knew what a !@#$ television was. And first time the American Government knowingly got into bed with its own supercriminals.
It'd be about eight more years before we realized what we'd done and snuck out of the hotel room window, but by then the damage was done.
Okay, time to get moving. White House this time. No fooling.
(SPYGOD is listening to Lament (The Cure) and still enjoying that questionable lemon-lime soda)