Monday, September 24, 2007


The Fine Tooth Comb Agency was started 40 years ago by a shitty little gumshoe named Benjamin Fine. He’d gathered about six or seven of his betters in the detective racket and thought that their combined efforts could make a difference against a corrupt police force. And for a while, they did. Sort of.

But this was also around the same time that the first of the "masks" started showing up.

The godfather of all the do-gooders called himself The Bounder. Typical, all-American whack job. Had the red, white and blue get up, utility belt, the whole bit. After a while, he brought his wife into it. Code name: Moxie. Serious piece of ass, she was. Their heroic exploits over the years inspired a lot of other idiots to put on the cape and cowl and try their hands at vigilantism. Jesus, a lot of people with good intentions got fucked up or killed around that time.

Well, after a little while the Fine Tooth Comb stopped handling missing persons and extra-marital affair cases and set their sights on mask-related investigations, making sure these jackasses were held accountable for their actions.

Benjamin Fine, FTC’s founder, never trusted the masks. He believed in law, plain and simple. He didn’t think that you should take it into your own hands. That’s why he went after the cops, that’s why he went after the masked vigilante. Now, that may seem like backwards thinking. I mean, that’s what flatfoots were doing essentially, right? Well, turns out that Fine had a bigger reason for not trusting these hooded crimefighters. Fine was Moxie’s older brother. If that doesn’t make his vested interest obvious, I don’t know how else to explain it to you.

But the Bounder was no fool. He kept his ears clean and his arrests by the book. And he never made Moxie do anything she didn’t want to do. Fine just never saw this. In his mind, this was the only way to keep tabs on her.

All that was 40 years ago though. A tiny droplet of time in a cast ocean of history.

The Bounder died last year of old age. Stroke, I think, actually. He’d hung up the cape a long time ago. Moxie’s still kicking around in some old superhero’s retirement home in Tallahassee. Fine gave up the Fine Tooth Comb Agency about seven years after he started it. But at a price. Uncle Sam came to him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Cash money for the agency. Quarter of a mil, some say. I hear he moved to Florida recently to be near Moxie. Though maybe he just liked the beach.

Nowadays, there’s a mask on every rooftop and the skies are littered with them. I hear tell they outnumber the supervillain population seven to one, but my numbers could be off.

Benjamin Fine’s little detective agency is now the FTC, a division of the Department of Defense. Imagine that, will you? The same government agency that has their crosshairs locked on the Koreans 24-7 is in charge of keeping our own superheroes in check.

Makes you wish for the simpler time.



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