Some Weird Sin
Disclaimer and some such:
I do not have the rights to use any characters
officially associated with The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen
television series. I am using these characters without the
permission of FOX, 1013 Productions, Chris Carter, or
any other copyright owners. Of course, this is intended for
[non-profit] entertainment only, and no
infringement on copyrights or trademarks
was intended by the author.
Any similarities to people, places, and other works of
fanfiction are purely coincidental.
All other characters not officially associated with
The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen (including, but not limited to,
Smithee and Ellroy) are property of the author
and should not be recycled into another story without
No animals were harmed during the making of this fanfic,
except for two mosquitoes and one waterbug.
Cost of coffee drunk while writing this: $15.82
Cost of paper used to print out draft copies: $2.38
Cost of Anne Hawley's beta-reading skills: PRICELESS
The 'present' of this story takes place a few years
before The Lone Gunmen series timeline.
* * *
The first time I met Frohike was at some seedy
bar in southeast DC in 1987, a dive
hacker hangout called Big Brothers.
We were there exchanging trade secrets, or something
ridiculous like that. He had his small group of cohorts,
smugly labeled The Frohike Electronics Corporation.
I was still pretty green, sitting on the stool next to
my then-boss Smithee - a friend of Ellroy's. He was even
seedier than the bar, but my biggest problem with him
was that Ellroy had made the mistake, when introducing
us, of calling me Ringo. And Smithee couldn't get enough
of that. Like my father, he thought it was a big joke.
I had to hold myself back from punching him squarely
in the kisser every time the name dripped from his greasy
lips. But every time I felt like punching him, I also
felt guilty about my temper, and then
I would have to wonder what else I'd inherited from
my father, besides my height.
So Smithee basically managed to make me feel suicidal
on a pretty regular basis. Man, it felt sweet
when I hacked him out of business within that next year.
I was just off the bus, or whatever the phrase
was, working like a slave for this moron's bootleg
cable and software enterprise. He paid me next to
nothing, but he did manage to arrange a tiny rent-free
apartment until I could afford my own place.
I didn't question the origins of the apartment
but I'm sure they were quite illegal.
Smithee and Frohike talked their shit, and after
business was over Frohike pulled up in the stool
next to me and bought me a drink. He pushed his
wire-rims back and looked me up and down, not
caring about subtlety. I knew what he saw: Some tall,
skinny kid, trying to look tougher than he was, decked
out in hacker-grunge - black glasses, black Alice
Cooper tee, black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans,
black Converse. My hair was in that awkward stage of
growing out, and I had it pulled back in a
rubber-band. He probably thought my pasty
complexion came from endless hours of sitting
inside, staring at a computer screen or tinkering
with electronic equipment. He was part right - I did
spend hours sitting in front of computer screens.
The pastiness, however, was simple genetics.
But all he said, when he was done appraising me,
was, "How old are you?" Straight to the point.
"I've been trying to figure it out all night."
"What's it to you?"
"Don't bullshit me, Goldilocks." The drinks came.
He passed me my beer. "I've seen your work. It's
good. What are you, 24, 25?"
He almost choked on his Heineken. "Nineteen?
Nineteen, man. You're a goddamn baby. Smithee!"
he called down the counter. "You're violating
child labor laws here."
I think Smithee answered, "Fuck you," but it was
hard to hear over Frohike's laughter.
"What's your name, kid? Doesn't he call you
Lennon or Ringo or something?"
"My name's Langly."
He rolled his eyes. "Don't you people ever have first
"It's Richard," I said, after a beat. I was
surprised he asked.
He stuck out his hand. He wore fingerless gloves,
even then - for all I know, they're the same pair he
has now. "Well, Richard Langly, I'm Melvin Frohike.
But if you call me anything other than Frohike
I'll have to kill you, and you better believe I
know 58 different ways to kill a man without leaving
I grinned. He seemed cool. Genuine - that was hard
to come by among the people I was hanging out
with at the time. For the next several minutes we
drank in silence. Then he turned to me and said,
all serious, "Look, kid, I don't know what you're
doing working for guys like that when you should be
at home, with your parents, playing Chutes and
Ladders, or smoking dope, or whatever teenagers do.
I'm sure it's an interesting story."
He paused, sipped his beer. He looked like a
guy with his own interesting stories. "I suppose
I don't have to tell you to be careful?"
"I can take care of myself."
"That accent . . . where are you from, anyway? The Dakotas?"
He was close. I blushed, and mumbled, "Nebraska."
He whistled. "Nebraska. Sheesh. Well in that case,
be really careful, farmboy."
I saw Smithee get up like he was about to leave.
He motioned for me to join him. "I gotta go gawk
at some tall buildings," I said, exaggerating my
Plains drawl. "Hey, thanks for the beer, man."
"Don't forget what I said." He touched my elbow
when I got up to leave. A casual gesture, just
trying to get my attention; but I tensed and
"About the 58 different ways you can kill a man
without leaving evidence?" I said, trying to keep
it light, hoping he hadn't noticed.
He glanced over at Smithee, who was getting
impatient and giving me the evil eye. "No, kid. Be careful."
I realized, walking home, that this guy Frohike
had called me every name under the sun - Goldilocks,
farmboy, kid - but he never once called me Ringo.
It was nice. I had a pleasant buzz from the beer he
bought me. For the first time in a while,
I didn't go straight to my bed and wallow in self-pity.
Okay, sure, we're at each others' throats most of
the time now that we work and live together.
Hell, we were at each others' throats back then,
too. But it was all in the name of healthy competition
and harmless jabbing. Nothing serious. What he said
to me in the bar was more fatherly than anything my
real father ever said to me. Since meeting him that
first time, I would see him around DC every
now and then. He always treated me to a beer,
and made sure to rag on my age, or hair, or clothing.
To this day, I consider Frohike the first real
friend I ever made.
* * *