As we get older, we sometimes acquire the habits or even the looks of our parents or those who have come before us. Sometimes we pick up bad habits from people and plot a self-correcting course away from the behavior. When I worked in California for a major paint manufacturer, I often was in the production area. There were large metal vats where the paint was mixed precisely to match specific vibrant and varied colors.
While one side of my brain absorbed the technical aspects of manufacturing paint there was also a bunch of impulses that designs stories in sometimes bizarre way to make a point. On one such day and I don’t know exactly when as titanium dioxide and surfactants were swirling about in the tank, I imagined an antagonist. It’s good to start with a fiend even more than protagonist. Herbert Fredericks. (I lived near Frederick Street in Moreno Valley, California.) So, what would I do with this creep Mr. Herbert Fredericks? We’ll make him a creep of course.
The blunt of Fredericks sadistic permutations is Mr. Nick Kluger, a guy who does his job in the plant. Kluger is steady, reliable and serious. And he doesn’t like the pompous Fredericks. Fredericks berates and taunts Kluger 24/7 taking some inner sicko satisfaction from Kluger’s distress. He does not pay Kluger for overtime and increases his workload beyond Kluger’s ability to execute. Of course Kluger even with his sixteen years at the plant could just walk. But he doesn’t. Kluger is so furious at Fredericks that the only relief for his emotions is to murder Fredericks.
Okay, Fitton who did you copy or what influenced you? Sorry, but this story evidenced itself from my imagination. There were no people in mind when I constructed Fredericks’ sick personality. It was a matter of piecing together the antithesis of Nick Kluger. Fredericks is suave, sophisticated, and ruthless. He gains satisfaction by the suffering of others. Sure, I’ve known people with snippets of this personality but they weren’t models for this story. I liked my job and the people, the stores, and the company. This story advanced on its own with Fredericks driving the agenda and Kluger reacting.
FITTON’S LIST-Let’s take a look at ‘Bad Characters’ I like or should I say the ones I don’t like!
#10- Noah Cross- John Huston in Chinatown. No question Cross would do anything to get the water to L.A. and personally- we’ll leave it at that.
#9- Nurse Ratched: I’ll be short and sweet here. Ratched (spoken with a Jack Nicholson voice) A heartless and inhuman piece of sludge.
#8- Kahn: Ricardo Montalban: The Wrath of Khan -“A criminal… a product of late 20th century genetic engineering.”
#7- Lionel Barrymore (Mr. Potter) in it’s a wonderful life. Potter could easily taunt people as he did George Baily and let them go down by possessing the Coup de gras in the form of the Saving and Loan’s check. RAT.
#6- Jack Torrance: Jack Nicholson” Heeeeere’s Johnny! You know the rest.
#5- Ming the Merciless–introduced in the original 1934 “Flash Gordon” comic strip ” and he’s merciless. What can I say?
#4-Fredie Kruger-Nightmare on Elm Street
#3- Voldemort–Ralph Fiennes–Harry Potter
#2- Darth Vader-Star Wars
#1-The Emperor Star Wars-Palpatine-
As I write this the emperor stars wars music started playing on the news channel. Weird. Very Weird. I rest my case. The emperor is the worst. He is in total control.
Back to Our Story:
Fredericks has a personal evil but evil nevertheless. He like the above creeps targets his victims at their weakest points and does whatever he has to do to accomplish his ghoulish end. It’s almost as if Fredricks is like a vampire demanding blood. He wants Kluger to kill him. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was in the job description. But given what happens when Kluger becomes Fredericks- maybe it’s required!
by Robert P. Fitton and Fitton Books