Heroes Are Hard To Fine

The Town That Hated Heroes

from Sploid

A miserable little version of Gotham City, the Michigan town of Jackson has turned on its only superhero.

Citizens complain about the masked crusader. The lawless burg's police chief belittles the crimefighter's success. And local newspaper reporters have spitefully revealed the hero's identity, all because the all-too-human man behind the mask got pulled over for
having a few beers.

Captain Jackson, once a proud symbol of a troubled city, has been destroyed by the very people he protected.

Thomas Frankini, a 49-year-old factory worker, will
no longer patrol the murderous gang-controlled streets of Jackson.

"My patrol days are over, I'm afraid," Frankini told the Detroit Free Press.

Five years back, when the century was young and at least a few citizens still cared about their dilapidated joke of a city,
Captain Jackson was born.

"It was a cold winter night, as I remember it," the former manager of the historic Michigan Theater said. "We were playing a Cary Grant movie or something like that and he suddenly appeared and held the door open for seniors."

And just like that, a bit of hope had returned to the squalid little town.

The Captain searched for lost dogs and murder victims, appeared at town events and made regular patrols of Jackson's downtown - a downtown mostly abandoned by business, a downtown ruled by gangsters and rats.

Back in October, the Captain was off duty. The regular man behind the hero had a few beers and drove home.

But he was stopped on the way, stopped by a policeman who should've been hunting Jackson's crazed murderers rather than harassing hard-working citizens who like to have a beer now and then. The cops said he was driving drunk. He got a misdemeanor charge and six months' probation and tried to get on with his life.

A spiteful reporter at the local paper came across word of the sentencing in December. And two weeks ago, the lousy little rag hit the streets with its biggest scoop: They knew Captain Jackson's real-life identity, and they knew that real-life man got a ticket for driving after having a few beers.

The details of the offense are unclear. The Jackson paper claimed Frankini had a blood-alcohol level of .0625 percent, while the Detroit paper more than doubled it to 0.135 percent.

The truth may never be known, especially since the press has admitted a vicious vendetta against their rotten town's only hero.

Steven Hepker, reporter for the so-called Citizen Patriot newspaper in Jackson, is smug about his hatchet job.

"We would do the same thing to a police officer," Hepker said. "And, maybe, deep down, there was a desire to unmask the superhero."

It would be easy to dismiss the character assassination if it was just the press. After all, reporters have always hated heroes - they always hate what they can never be.

But the citizens and cops seemed overjoyed by the Captain's fall from grace.

"I would like to be his nemesis," some hateful woman walking the deadly streets of Jackson told the Detroit paper. "His clothes should be more loose-fitting. He's a self-appointed superhero. I don't think you should do that."

Another woman just piled it on, telling the Jackson paper that somehow, over all these years, people actually hated their champion.

"I know one downtown merchant who has always been disturbed by the fact that we are asking our kids to
trust someone in a mask," Susan Murdie told the same reporter who ruined the Captain's career. "How do you explain him to someone from out of town?"

Murdie's question is moot. The only people coming from out of town are dope dealers and gangbangers.

Meanwhile, the police chief who once basked in the reflected glory of
Captain Jackson has now distanced himself from the hero. It was the deputy chief who was assigned the job of attacking the Captain's credibility.

"He came to Chief Portis and told him what he planned to do, and the chief said he couldn't stop him," Deputy Chief Matthew Heins
told the Jackson paper.

Captain Jackson may return to crimefighting someday, he said, but not in Jackson, not in the filthy town he honored with his very name. The blood-soaked streets of Jackson will remain that way.

'Do you understand now, Jackson?! Do you finally see the truth?! Humans do not deserve heroes! They kill their heroes when they should serve us or die! Inferior, frightened animals! They must be eradicated before they destroy us all! Ah....yes, you understand now, don't you? Come, join me...'


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