No? Well keep your !@#$ opinions to yourself on that one. I knew the architect, and he was under orders to make the building match the man. So apparently J. Edgar Hoover was a grid. Who knew?
You know, they keep wanting to take John's name off it. Can't blame 'em, after all the bad news about what he'd been doing came out, after he died. I mean, who knew he was such a nasty piece of work? Other than everyone who worked for or alongside him, that is.
But I don't think so. I won't let 'em. For all the bad he did a lot more good. Say what you want about his mistakes, bad character, and distinct lack of ethics at times, but the FBI is a world class investigative body. And he's the man who made it that way.
Besides, you gotta love someone who kept just about every President since Calvin Coolidge so !@#$ scared of him that they just let him do whatever the !@#$ he wanted. Remind you of anyone you know?
Fear. It's a good thing to instill in others. That's why I wanted to take you here, actually. Because if we want to talk about The Big Man, we gotta talk about fear
To most god-fearing, American law enforcement personnel, Gilbert M Biggs was the devil. It wasn't because he was particularly evil, though he did some really !@#$ up !@#$ in his time. It was because he had three things going for him.
Thing number one, he was a walking inhibition and morality destroyer. He could literally take the most pious and kindhearted person you knew and, one conversation later, get them to do the most !@#$ up, heinous things without even a second thought.
So if you wanted to knock over a bank, he could talk someone on the inside into easing the way for the gang. He could talk city council members into passing crooked legislation. !@#$, he could get an Abbess to turn the local Nunnery into a whorehouse.
Fortunately, the effects of one conversation were short lived. Maybe a week at most. And they had to be done face-to-face, in person, which meant that Roosevelt was safe from being !@#$ with.
But the more you talked to him, the worse it got, and before you knew it the effects were !@#$ permanent. Every so often some hero would trip over some totally !@#$ up piece of human wreckage that used to be an upright citizen, and find out they'd spent some time with The Big Man.
Thing number two, the !@#$ could disappear. He'd get into an elevator and the car would be empty by the time it opened up on the top floor. He'd get into a car and never get out. He'd turn a corner and poof, gone.
And even if you did catch him, you still have to deal with thing number three. He couldn't !@#$ die. He'd been seen to be poisoned, shot to pieces, burned alive in a fire, dropped in a vat of acid, crashed in a plane, stepped on by a giant metal crocodile, or just flat out annihilated. And then he'd be back, good as new, not too long thereafter.
So I'm sure you can imagine what it must have been like for President Roosevelt to be having that conversation. It was like Billy Graham opening his door and having Marilyn !@#$ Manson standing there, offering to have all his Spooky kids drop whatever they were doing and go work for an otherwise-fubared Christian charity relief in Africa.
Well, okay. Maybe not the best comparison in the world, but hang around. I'll have better ones.
* * *
So what did The Big Man have to say for himself? !@#$ good question, son.
The offer was this: he knew that the President needed more super boots on the ground, both at home and abroad. He was willing to provide some of those boots, provided Uncle Sam didn't mind that they were a little dirty.
The Big Man offered to use his influence, if you know what I mean, to broker a truce between the supervillain community, which he claimed to be in charge of, and national law enforcement. The truce would involve the villains switching sides for the duration, at least up until the end of whatever war was coming.
During that time they would not engage in any illegal activity at home, in America. They would act as responsible and vigilant citizens, keeping an eye out for spies, saboteurs, and outside agitators. They'd even do their part to fight crime by going after the supervillains who didn't sign on with the deal.
And when the war came, they would volunteer their services for the war effort, and gladly be deployed wherever and whenever the War Department saw fit to see them. They'd work alongside their former hero nemeses and arch-rivals to keep America and her allies safe from whatever threats came their way.
The catch? At the end of it all, they walked, up to and including The Big Man. All charges dropped, all outstanding warrants shredded. So far as the law was concerned, anyone who played fair and square got a new start.
I think the ending words he used were "I'm a criminal, Mr. President. I make no apologies for that. But I'm an American first. Let me serve my country in her time of need, and in return I'll trouble her no more."
Yeah, enough to make you !@#$ puke. But there was something about all that bull!@#$ that had Roosevelt intrigued. All he had to do was weigh the option of less crime on the streets for the time being, another force looking for spies and saboteurs, and extra muscle when the war came, versus saying "no" and having to deal with them and foreign agents, some of whom were doubtlessly superpowered, and might be working with the supervillain community as they spoke.
All he had to do was think of a bunch of former supervillains who'd been persuaded to be good guys by The Big Man, all serving their country in its time of need.
He took a week, just for show, but it was a !@#$ foregone conclusion. The President said yes, and told The Big Man he had a chance to deliver. But he'd better not go back on his word.
And The Big Man said "I'm a man of my word, Mr. President. As of this day forward, we are all on the same side."
Yeah. Not the thing you want to hear after walking across town with a few of those dogs in your gut.
* * *
So I'm sure you're probably wondering, something, son. You're probably wondering "why can't he just go over to Europe, sneak into Hitler's bedroom, and talk him into being a good little boy? If he can't die, and he can vanish around corners, then how !@#$ hard can that be?"
And that's a !@#$ good question. The answer is something we don't figure out for years, afterward. It turns out The Big Man's power is even more insidious than you might have thought. It only works on a person if they're basically decent at heart, and not likely to do wrong, bad, evil, or totally !@#$ up things.
I mean, everyone's got a demon in them, but if you've got yours mostly under control, he can't do !@#$ to you. So Roosevelt was safer than he knew, as were most people in the room with him when those nasty videoconferences took place.
But that meant that every word The Big Man said about using his influence on the others was a total lie. They hadn't been forced into good behavior. They were just acting good, on pain of having something worse than death dropped on their heads if they blew the scheme.
And what was the scheme? Well, let's consider this. The Big Man has a fourth thing going for him. He's essentially the Lex Luthor of crime. If you took the Kingpin, and gave him Professor Moriarty's widespread plots and schemes, and turned Lex's scientific genius into crime smarts, you'd have The Big Man.
Mr. Biggs doesn't just see ahead. He sees several steps ahead. He has the chess game mapped out years in advance, and you don't even know you're playing until he's got his fingers around your head and is maneuvering you into a suicide run against two rooks and a queen.
(How's that for a comparison, son?)
So, say you're a supervillain back in the 20's and 30's. You've spent the last couple decades robbing banks of their big bills and taking advantage of a nation whose police are still highly inefficient, and whose top cops in the Bureau are a little sloppy around the edges. You've got the long underwear set and the local police after your fine little !@#%, but generally speaking you're doing okay.
But things are changing. You've got someone like John running the Bureau, now, and he's not taking !@#$ from anyone. He's got his G-men out across the country running down bank robbers and other assorted scum. New techniques in crime solving are being applied, and it's getting harder to beat the rap when they finally do nab you, provided they even take you in alive.
And you remember me saying that John doesn't like superheroes, either, right? He thinks they're almost as bad as the supervillains. Maybe it's because he wants his Bureau to be the good guys, and not a bunch of idiots in long underwear. Or maybe it's because he might know a thing or two about the sort of monsters in the mind that'd make you put your long johns on over your pants and take to the streets at 3 in the AM, pouncing on rapists, thieves, and someone who thinks God told him to knock over the Treasury, and gave him the power to do it with?
Or maybe he's just !@#$ jealous? Who can say?
But now there's a war, and a war's always a good chance to mix it up. One deal with the President, and suddenly white is black, up is down, and punk rock is !@#$ new wave.
Suddenly the bad guys are the good guys, even though the good guys are also the bad guys.
Suddenly John can't go after either of them, anymore, because the President is telling him they're needed for the effort for the war that's undoubtedly coming. And that's got to !@#$ with his sense of right and wrong, right there, which makes it harder for him to make good and sensible decisions when it comes to going after anyone.
In the meantime, you'll note that The Big Man's supercriminals are going after any other villains out there who won't play ball. This equates to The Big Man having just taken over the country's supercrime with official, but quiet, backing from the American government.
And a full Presidential pardon? Oh, that's just wonderful. It means that anyone who did horrible, nasty, !@#$ vile and awful things before the War gets to walk out of the end of it a free man or woman.
Which means you get to spend the war planning your next move without worrying about the man chasing after you. And oh what plans they made...
Okay, up we go. There's a good place nearby where we can get a beer. Then it's on to the White House. Really.
(SPYGOD is listening to Play for Today (The Cure) and pulling back a Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious)