Rants, raves, fiction, and laughs

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frique and Fragg

Frique and Fragg were 2 mad scientist characaters that popped up in the comic I drew for my University Newspaper. They were living on campus experimenting on psyche students, despite the fact that F&F had been expelled already siting misuse of facilities. I LOVED their dynamic together and ever since SOME incarnation of F&F has cropped up in every world I've created.

Confessions of an Ethically Challenged Scientist

By Monica Marier

My name is Elliot Fragg and my life sucks.

I’m not stating that looking for any sympathy or anything. I’m pretty resigned to the fact, but if you’re going to read this you need to understand from the get-go that my life has always sucked, and in all probability will continue to suck until I am dead. And it will suck because I’m the close personal friend of Lucas Frique.

So now that we got that out of the way, I’ll relate how this obnoxious little man became my friend. The whole of it is true apart from the stuff I made up ‘cause I can’t remember.

I’d been working with Frique since we were science lab partners in middle school, back in ’93. He was a pudgy short kid with glasses and unruly red hair that was always too long. He had a perpetual frown on his face which I found out was solely due to temperament.

Frique hated everything on principle.

He hated the teachers who didn’t ‘understand him.’ He hated the big jocks who dunked him headfirst in the toilet every day and took his money. He hated the kids who took pity on him and tried to be his friend (not that there were many). He chased them all off pretty quickly with his sharp tongue and halitosis.

Why he picked me for a confidant was beyond me. It wasn’t for my charisma or popularity. When you’re a legally-blind half-Asian albino in a crowd of ninety-four preteen peers, you’re pretty much screwed. I was a prominent nail just waiting for another hammer to come along. In fact my very apparent “Dork Readings” might have been what drew Frique to me in the first place. It also might have been the few times he saw me drawing fractals in my notebook or translating jokes into binary.

It was around second semester that he first addressed me. We’d made do with limited comments related to whatever project our class was working on, but he’d never said more to me than “pass the spectroscope,” or “your elbow’s in my petrie dish.” We’d just finished our geology lab a half-hour earlier than everyone else, when he slid over a piece of graph paper. It was a diagram for a circuit drawn in 4-color ballpoint pen.

“Do you think we should use FR-4 or CM-1 for a dielectric?” he asked me.

Just like that.

It was as if we were already in the middle of a conversation and things like introductions and general polite inquiry were out of the way. That’s how Frique was. He never beat about the bush or worried about making a good impression.

I don’t even think he knew my name at that time, unless he’d caught a glimpse of “Elliot Fragg” at the top of my worksheets and didn’t think it worth asking. He didn’t start calling me “Fragg” until years later. I was just “you” like there was no one else in his little world.

That frightened me.

We were a pretty insular pair all those years in school together and later on when we went to college for Chemistry. We made Hubris University’s investments in eye-wash stations well worth it.

And then there were the events preceding our expulsion.

That was the problem with Frique. He was a wheedler —a silver-tongued devil. He made everything sound so innocent right until you heard the police sirens. He never had to talk me into anything, because he knew that wasn’t how my mind worked. I attacked any given problem with the sheer desire of solving it, without stopping to think about repercussions. Usually, in a theoretical sense, there would have been no repercussions … if I’d been working with anyone but Lucas Frique.

For example, when I developed a compound that would reduce rotting road kill into eco-friendly compost more quickly, I never expected Frique to use it on the body of our Professor of Biochemistry he’d killed and buried behind our dorm. When I invented a breathable gas that was more effective than laughing gas to immobilize and numb dental patients, I didn’t expect Frique to use it on several members of the student body. A few of them ended up behind the dorm too. Frique would simply ruminate aloud on a subject like, “I wonder if it’s possible to create a machine to project a person’s thoughts,” and I would be on the first draft a few seconds later. Frique would provide the parts (which he probably stole) and correct my math while I feverishly designed and perfected. Then I would find out that Frique wanted to use my mind-reading device to dig up dark secrets about a teacher’s aide for the purpose of blackmail.

The manufactured viruses, the sonic wave devices, the electrically charged suits (I admit that making electro-shock suits was a real “duh” moment for me afterwards) and many more insidious devices were designed and perfected by me for Frique’s purposes. His test subjects were the students and staff at that unfortunate school. I never pleaded with him to stop. It would have been like trying to halt a landslide by waving a stop sign. And I was too scared — no —I was terrified beyond all reason.

I still am.

Every time he approaches me with that boyish face and impish expression of interest I break out in a cold sweat. I’m his to command — and as many times as I’ve tried to break away, I’ve never been able to manage it. He’d always draw me back with promises, with threats, and on one occasion, a gun. He’d never be able to let me go, because without me around there would be only him, talking to himself and letting his mind spiral into tessellating madness.

The man killed in cold blood, tortured his fellow humans and plotted the deaths of thousands in his dark dreams, and he was never frightened of that blackness in his soul … because I was his anchor to humanity. With me around, he’d never be alone. Being alone is the only thing Frique is terrified of. I'd kill myself if I wasn't terrified of Frique digging me up and keeping me alive with electric impulses — "The Fragg That Wouldn't Die."

Right now I’m working on a giant robot with nine kinds of weapons and a strain of flesh-eating bacteria. We’re going to hold the Smithsonian Institute for ransom until the Natural History museum updates its dinosaur exhibit.

It’s Frique’s attempt at being funny.

My life sucks.


Daniel Ritter said...

Two things I love about this;
- The peppering of precise details (fractals, etc) showing the knowledge or research that makes this rich scifi
- The dynamic between these two; this recipe can start a bunch of very readable fires :)

Monica Marier said...

@Daniel Thanks! I always have fun with these two. Oddly enough, I planned to make this pure dialogue, but for once it was only Elliot talking. It took it to a MUCH darker place than I anticipated. Some day I will do a F&F book, but for now they're in the background, dishing out chaos.

Deanna Schrayer said...

Great read Monica! I love how his voice comes across - you can easily tell he's resigned to this life of no more pleasantries. I look forward to more from F&F!

Monica Marier said...

@Thanks for Reading Deanna! I will be doing more F&F in future. :)

Tony Noland said...

Hmmm... "drawn entirely in pencil", eh? What else would one draw a circuit with? Seems like an entirely reasonable person to me.

Sulci Collective said...

this is great knockabout fun. A series beckons?

marc nash

Anonymous said...

These characters are great. I agree with Sulci a series definately beckons.

Monica Marier said...

@Tony FIxed it, thanks for the spot. :)

@Marc & @Lara Thanks, guys! Some day I will get around to telling Firque & Fragg's story. Like most tertiary characters, I'm curious about what makes each tick.

Mari said...

A F&F book, pleaaaase! Loved this, Mon! OMG, I think this is the best of your stories. Book!

Sonia said...

Great, quick read. Dark, but funny, which should be an odd combo, but really isn't. I enjoyed it!

John Wiswell said...

"Haven't you ever tried being a nice scientist?" the mother asks, wringing her hands. At least he's not g--

Then she's hit with a shrinking laser.

Minor typo in 4th-from-last paragraph: "cold blod"

Sam said...

Great fun! What a pair of wonderful (to write) characters. A book you say? Jolly good! :)

Monica Marier said...

@Mari Great to see you on here again! Thanks, dear!

@Sonia I think dark and funny go well together. Like chocolate and bacon.

@John Is that from something? If not I might have to yoink it.

@Sam They're guilty pleasures of mine. Mind you, it's pretty far down the list of projects.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Oh these two are fun, aren't they? Like the dark and twisted Beaker and Bunsen from the Muppets!

Monica Marier said...

@Icy funny you should say that. I usually have Fragg in a pop-culture-y tshirt and I most CERTAINLY gave him a Bunsen & Beaker one. I love those guys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Icy! Now all I'm seeing is muppetts!
Seriously though, this is just great Monica. It races along and you put in so many great lines which speak volumes and generate laughs.
"I'd kill myself if I wasn't terrified of Frique digging me up and keeping me alive with electric impulses"
I agree: there's a book here. You've written the synopsis.

Chuck Allen said...

This was so much fun to read! I agree with the others - this pair needs their own book. :)

Raven Corinn Carluk said...

Well told, and very true to intellectual sociopaths. Though Frique is a liitle darker than Fragg. I love it.

This also makes me want to recommend Soon I Will be Incincible. Great book about mad genius supervillain.

Sam Pennington said...

Brilliant! I loved the end paragraph about 'holding the Smithsonion for ransom until the Natural History Museum updates its dinosaur collection.' Wonderful psychopaths!!

Monica Marier said...

@Scribbler Glad you liked the B-movie ref. I'll add this project to DA LIST. Thanks, :)

@Chuck Thanks for stopping by, Chuck! Glad you liked it.

@Raven I was surrounded by guys like this in HS and College, I'm familiar w. some of the mindset, only my buddies didn't kill people... I think.

@Sam Yeah, my brother and I would walk around that place pointing out all the inacuracies for fun when we were kids. :)

Anonymous said...

That was fantastic and the end was hilarious. Thanks for sharing F & F with us.

AidanF said...

A great pair, I wonder what his version of the story is, since she doesn't sound completely fair and balanced. I love the fantastic things she designs and how he twists their usage into something worse than she had originally planned.