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Today for Private Eye monthly we are interviewing Mike White, local gumshoe and veteran of the mean streets of Bedlam. It is a priviledge to have you here today and we have a bunch of questions for you. Why did you want to become a private investigator? It was something I had always dreamed about since I was a kid. Most kids dreamed of being the next Rocky Marciano, the Capo di Capo or chief of police. Not me, comics made me yearn for a life of excitement, solving crimes and getting all the dames. How's that going for you? Has it been what you expected? Yes and no, there has certainly been danger. No one ever tells you about the times someone sticks a gun in your face or a couple a gorillas decide you been askin' too many questions and you think that maybe you have run out of luck. What about the dames? Is there a Mrs White? (Mike laughs) There mighta been a dame or two but this life isn't great for relationships. Your partner never knows when that 3am phone call is gonna happen. There's no guaranteed paycheck, the hours can be murder, and it can be hard explaining that you needed to go to a bar for 3 hours to speak to witnesses who might be hookers and strippers. Who knows though, right? Maybe someone who will come along who can understand the life. You talk about how tough Bedlam is, even though you have been here 15 years as a private eye. What is the secret of your success? That's a pretty tricky one to answer. I guess I try to never go into a situation unprepared. In this game knowledge is king. Here we got a lot of puppets and not so many puppet masters. You gotta know the puppet masters and know whose back to scratch. You can't outfight every gangster in town. You gotta know how to talk to people. You also gotta look after the people who are looking after you. Your informants gotta know you will move heaven and earth to protect them. I guess the last one is trust your instincts. Have you ever had to shoot someone? Nope. When I was a cop I saw how many lives got ruined by guns. Besides, you can't arrest a corpse, can you. Also, vendettas still happen. Doesn't that put you at a disadvantage? Not really. You see if you can pull a gun before I knock your face out the back of your head. I don't need to worry so much about hurting innocent bystanders neither. Nowadays, there are new criminals. Some of these guys are bulletproof or can shoot laser beams out of their eyes? How do you deal with them? Politely. Seriously though, same way as anybody else. Gather information. Find out who is pulling their strings. Why did you leave the police force? Geez, you been doing a little research yourself. Bedlam cops are doing a thankless job in a dirty city. I have huge respect for them. I guess I just wanted to not be at the beck and call of anybody. Although this life can be tough I can choose my own clients and which cases to do. I can choose my own hours too. I am doing what I love. Do you think there is still a place for private detectives when you got guys like the Mystik and Hammer of Justice dealing with criminals? More than ever. Those guys might be great at stopping those eye laser beam guys but they don't know nothing about helping that little old lady down the street get back her wedding ring that was burgled from her place or help someone find out whether they have been catfished or not. I don't think it is in their job description. Here's a million dollar question for you. How would you solve the problem of crime in Bedlam? I guess you need to change the conditions that lead to crime. Poverty. This is largely caused by corruption. You gotta persuade the puppetmasters that there will be direct, personal consequences for them if they remain in Bedlam. This stuff though is way above my pay grade. So you've never been tempted to put on a cape? Are you crazy, and look like a kook. Nah, give me a decent pair of trousers and a nice shirt. Them other weirdos can wear the silly costumes. You look like a pretty fit guy. How do you keep in shape? I'm pretty old-fashioned. I go to a boxing gym 3 or more times a week. What do you do when you aren't working? When my bank manager gives me time off ya mean. It seems like every day someone else in the family is getting married or having a birthday or their first communion or something. If that ain't happening I enjoy going out at night. There's a few good poolbars still around. Failing that I look a good book now and then. How would you describe yourself? I'm just another good italian guy. I am 5'10. I am in pretty good shape and I still got all my own teeth. Maybe I take my job too seriously but when I set my mind on something I usually get it done. I like to dress nice and look professional. I don't drink too much and I don't smoke. When I get excited or I'm around family my accent comes back stronger and I use my hands more when I speak. What things are most important to you in your life? Hmmm... Self-respect, family, God, America and it's ideals, justice and independence. Do you have any deep dark secrets you want to share? Nope. Was there anyone who inspired you growing up? Yeah, my uncle Joe. He was an old-fashioned cop who was tough and would give you a beating if he thought you was getting yourself in trouble. He probably kept me out of jail or worse. Do you have any regrets and would you have done anything differently? Yeah, I got a few. There were a few times that maybe I made the wrong choices or did deals I shouldn't have. There was a time when I asked the wrong person for help only to be let down. What legacy would you like to leave? I ain't dead yet (laughing). I guess I would like people to know that you don't need to change the world to make people's lives better but by making people's lives better you can change the world. I would like people to think of me as someone who worked hard helping other people. What would you say to people who wanted to be like you and follow in your footsteps? For crissakes, don't try and be someone else, especially me. Be the best you that you can be. As for being a detective, this is not a life for everyone. Go be a software developer or surgeon or something that will actually make decent money. Thank you Mike for your time and your insights into the life of a private detective.
--20 questions-- "Hi, this is Voyeur — on the scene and looking clean — here to educate and elaborate on all things superhero." "As most of you who watch my feed already know, the city has a new hero on the street. He showed up a few weeks ago with some rabbit-like refugees from another world in tow. These refugees have been given asylum and are quickly turning into something of a tourist attraction. Borough-made handicrafts are selling like hotcakes — if hotcakes were worth thousands of dollars on Etsy and Ebay!" "But that's not why were coming to you live right now. I have here the new hero, and he's agreed to speak with your Voyeur. Let's give him the Twenty, shall we?" [The camera focuses on the new hero. He is of moderate height, with a smooth, bald pate and a van dyke beard. Expensive-looking blast goggles with red lenses completely obscure his eyes. He wears a white lab coat with indecipherable writing sewn along the edges, and oversized black gloves.] 1. So what do we call you? Well, my given name is Edward Peck... but I understand that it's traditional for champions of this world to take unique monikers that can refer to their power source, their appearance, or even simply an etymological similarity to their name. I have chosen Professor Peculiar, for reasons I consider obvious. 2. Woah, you don't mind sharing your real name? We're live, you know. It doesn't matter greatly. You're unlikely to find me among your clever networked machines, as I am from, ah, elsewhere. 3. So where are you from, then? I am from another dimension, much like this one in many ways but very different in others. On my Earth, for example, we developed the science of Arcana, where your people focused on the science of Physics. To us, magic was simply how things were done, and these clever machines your people developed never happened. There I was a respected scientist, but our science is your magic. 4. What brought you here? I lead the Borough-folk here from their world... I sought a world where they would fit in, or at least be accepted. Your people seem to have an almost instinctual affection for the Borough-folk, due to their strong physical similarity to "rabbits". Another reason I love this world... your candy! [Peculiar grins at this point and takes a lollipop from his coat pocket, unwraps it, and sticks it into his mouth. It's an incongruous sight, as he looks like a stereotypical mad scientist but with a lollipop stick jutting from his lips.] 5. Our candy? Don't you have candy where you're from? Oh certainly... but one would have to go to certain disreputable parts of town to acquire it, and the expense! It's an illicit activity, you see, and viewed as deviant behavior. Yet on your world it's seen as completely innocent. You even allow CHILDREN to eat it! I love it here! 6. So how would you describe yourself? Are you a hero? I am a man of science, first and foremost. I study our multiverse to better understand our place within it. Yet sometimes one cannot simply observe, and must take a hand. When you see the weak suffering under the boot heel of an oppressor, or a child crying due to a lack of food, who could stand back and do nothing? It doesn't take heroism to do these things, it just takes a conscience. 7. What would you say is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness? That sounds like two questions in one, Rich. However, I must say my greatest strength is my unwillingness to give up. You'd be amazed at what you can achieve if you're unwilling to settle for anything but success. As for my greatest weakness? Ah... [Peculiar purses his lips a moment] ... my unwillingness to give up. I could have saved so many more people if I'd accepted that I couldn't save them all. 8. What do you love? What do you hate? I love a well-made crossword puzzle. I love the feeling you get when you change someone, not with force but with logic. I love seeing the world become a better place than it was. What do I hate? [Peculiar chuckles] I hate black licorice. 9. What is your greatest ambition? I think I would like to understand. Yes. I would like to understand everything. That's not too much to ask, is it? 10. Do you have any prejudices? How do you get along with others? I try not to judge anyone before I understand them... but of course, that's the trick, isn't it? Can you ever really understand anyone? No no no, you can't judge people, really, but you can judge ACTIONS. As for getting along with others... entirely overrated in my opinion. 11. Where do your loyalties lie? In what order? Oh, I'm not a fan of allegiances. All that swearing oaths and solemn vows. That just gets you stuck into rigid thinking, it does. No, I'd rather just do what's right and damn the flags and songs and whatnot. 12. Do you have a family? What's the relationship there like? I have a family, I do. Not that I've seen any of them in a good many years. I imagine they're all doing quite well for themselves. We're an intellectual lot, my family. Writers, philosophers, teachers, even a space explorer or two, though I think I've got that lot beat by now. I was the only one to go into pure science, though. We used to stay in touch, back before I left home. The occasional letter, how are you, that sort of thing. We even suffered through the dreaded family gathering, though rarely. Mother never saw the need, really, and Father couldn't be dragged away from his workbench. Always a competition, it was, to see who had achieved the most. 13. Why did you leave your home world? Not enough candy? Hah. No, it was more serious than that. I... ah... I dabbled in forbidden science. More than dabbled, really, I explored it, mapped it out, planted flags, built a summer home in forbidden science. You see, my home world developed dimensional science around the same time your clever tinkerers invented the telegraph. We thought we were so clever. We learned to open doors to other universes, never considering the dangers. We sent out flares into the night of the cosmos, inviting others to come visit. Come they did. Our world was nearly destroyed in two massive wars that reshaped the continents. We only just survived. Naturally, all research into dimensional science was outlawed. Treaties were signed, oaths were sworn. The barrier between our world and the rest was strengthened, to prevent further incursions. My people feared the Great Beyond, and had firmly shut the door. Then I came along and decided I knew better, didn't I? I wasn't even alive during the horrors of the dimensional wars, though I'd read about them well enough. They were so terrified of life from other dimensions, so convinced that everyone else out there was pure evil, I just knew it couldn't be true. When I published my research, I showed them that I had made contact with GOOD people out there... that there were entire worlds that had never known any sort of war, that lacked a word for it in their language! No one listened. I was set to be imprisoned for life, forbidden to practice science, my portals sealed forever. [Peculiar pauses, apparently lost in thought] 14. So what happened? HAH! That's a separate question! You thought I'd forgotten that two-fer you snuck in earlier, didn't ya? I escaped, of course. They hadn't studied dimensional science, remember? They had no way to stop me. I left and, well... I haven't been back since. 15. Alright, Professor. Let's switch to a different subject, though I suspect I already know the answer. How spiritual are you? Do you follow any religious practices? Am I spiritual? I'd say so, yeah. I've seen a lot in my travels through the dimensions, and one thing I've come to understand is that the religions? THEY'RE ALL TRUE. 16. All of them? Even the ones that directly contradict each other? Especially those. I don't understand. I don't think we're meant to. 17. I'm not counting that last one as a question, Professor. Tell me what you fear the most. I'm afraid we'll never reach the end of these question, Rich. I'm waiting for a serious answer. Very well. My biggest fear... I'm afraid that the hateful bastard with a speech impediment that nearly wiped out the Borough-folk may find out he didn't quite get them all. 18. You mean some extra-dimensional warlord might come to our world to finish off what he started? It's a remote possibility. Very, exceedingly remote. I doubt it. Unlikely. Probably not. 50/50 chance at best. That's the other reason I've settled here. To keep an eye on the people whose world I failed to save. One of the reasons I chose this world is because it has so many wondrous defenders. If he ever comes here, I won't be standing alone to stop him. 19. That's disturbing. Have you chosen a team to stand beside you when/if that time comes? Not yet. As you know, I'm still new here and I'm still learning who the other heroes are and what groups they have already formed. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. 20. Ok, last question Professor: Are you married, or have some kind of life partner? [Peculiar grows quiet for a moment] Professor? "No more questions. We're done."