Biography of a Villain: Dr. Frank Sloth
Dr. Frank Sloth was not really a doctor, but nobody needed to know that. All that anybody needed to know was that he was a fearsome being to whom they should forfeit everything.
Dr. Frank Sloth, however, had not always been such a villain. As all great heroes have a beginning, so does each great outlaw. We all choose our paths in life, but others may clear that path for us and push us down it. Dr. Frank Sloth’s story begins when he was just a child.
Mr. and Mrs. Sloth were so excited to have their first baby. He would be called Frank, after his grandfather, Mrs. Sloth thought. He would be a happy child, a Gormball champion, thought Mr. Sloth. He would have his mother’s golden hair and his father’s fair skin, ten fingers, ten toes.
When Frank Sloth was born, Mr. and Mrs. Sloth were horrified. This couldn’t be their baby! they thought, for the child before them did not have golden hair, nor a fair complexion. This baby had slimy green skin and wide black eyes. When he cried, it was the wailing of a creature unlike any the Sloths had ever heard. Soon after Frank Sloth was born, he was sent to live with his grandmother.
Roberta Sloth was a kindly old woman with a crown of silver hair and a face so wrinkled one could not find her eyes. Frank Sloth had grown from a tiny baby into a troublesome toddler. It took all of Roberta Sloth’s power to strap Frank into his seat for meals.
“Frankie!” Grandma Sloth would cry as the child in the highchair in front of her threw his spoon across the kitchen. “Bad boy!”
Frank Sloth would giggle happily and clap his little green hands. Just two years old, Frank did not know any better. He did not have to clean up after himself and he did not know that making messes was wrong. While his grandmother would leave to fetch a wet cloth and scrub the mashed food off the tiled kitchen floor, small Frank Sloth would dip his fingers in his food and draw a picture on his plate.
Grandma Sloth, bones creaking, would return to Frank. Upon seeing the new mess, she would sigh.
“Gramma!” Sloth would chirp. “Pretty picture!”
Grandma Sloth would peer closer at the mess her grandson had made and see that it was, indeed, a pretty picture. Two year old Frank Sloth had drawn an image of a space ship. Shaking her head amusedly at the mashed pea space craft, Grandma Sloth would lift little Frank out of his highchair and put him to bed.
What a remarkable infant, she would think while she washed the impressive portrait off his plate each night.
Four years later, Frank Sloth grew from a remarkable infant into a happy little boy. He got excellent marks in all of his classes and he had a lot of friends with whom he would play games at playtime. His favorite game was hide-and-seek, because he was the best hider. Nobody was ever able to find him, because he would hide in trees or bushes where his emerald skin was camouflaged.
“Five, four, three, two, one!” cried Frank’s friend, Humbert. “Ready or not, here I come!”
Frank Sloth chuckled to himself and he watched Humbert waddle off in the opposite direction. From his perch on the highest branch in the tallest tree of the playground, he knew it would be ages before Humbert ever found him – if he found him at all.
Waiting for his friends to seek him out, Frank Sloth imagined himself on the open seas, sailing a pirate ship to distant lands and discovering rare items. He pictured himself as an adventurer, digging up bones of ancient creatures and giving lectures at museums and classrooms full of children his age, who would stare at him with wonder and admiration glittering in their little eyes.
Two hours had gone by and none of Frank’s friends had found him. In fact, they had all gone, leaving him behind. Loneliness was not a feeling Frank Sloth enjoyed, but it was a feeling that would become familiar in the coming years.
When Frank Sloth turned eleven, he had a birthday party. His grandmother had stayed up most of the night hanging decorations and baking Frank his favorite cake – triple chocolate chunk. Frank awoke that morning with a huge smile on his little green face and the aroma of his cake filling his nostrils.
He galloped down the stairs to see the living room decorated with balloons and streamers and confetti and felt his heart do somersaults. How happy he was! His friends would be there in only a matter of hours and he would open his presents and, oh, how much fun they would have.
“Grandma,” young Frank Sloth exclaimed. “I can’t wait for today!”
Grandma Sloth laid out Frank’s clothes for his birthday party on his unmade bed upstairs: a lumpy brown suit that had once belonged to Frank’s father. Frank hurriedly slipped out of his pajamas and into the well-worn suit and zipped back down the stairs. His party was due to start in only three minutes!
Grandma Sloth’s cake went into the refrigerator later that night, uncut. The decorations she had hung, once so vibrant and cheerful, now hung on the walls as an indicator of the time when Frank Sloth, little boy, began turning into Frank Sloth, non-Doctor but villainous nonetheless.
Nobody had shown up to his birthday party and Frank Sloth had vowed payback.
Six long years later, Frank Sloth had grown into an angry teenager with a vivid imagination. He still thought about pirate ships as he had during his hide-and-seek games as a child, only now he had dreamed of conquering distant lands and stealing rare items. He was a lonely young man, and nobody seemed to notice.
By the time Frank Sloth had finished school, he had already began to build his own space craft. He bought white paint from the hardware store and wrote, “VIRTUPETS SPACE STATION,” on the side in large, blocky letters.
“What are you doin’, son?” asked Mr. Huxley, the hardware store owner. “Plannin’ on goin’ on a trip?”
Frank Sloth raised a thick green eyebrow and nodded. “I am going to discover a new planet.”
Later that year, Frank Sloth had completed construction on his Virtupets Space Station. He admired its wide red wings and perfectly round body. “I perfectly created this vessel,” he said to himself. “With a hammer in my hand, I can fix anything. I am like a doctor of building.”
And so Frank Sloth became Dr. Frank Sloth.
Dr. Frank Sloth travelled in Virtupets Space Station for years. He had lost count of how many he spent inside his red and black space craft, but he knew his mission to discover a new place to live would be a huge success, nonetheless.
He would absolutely discover a new planet, just as he had told Mr. Huxley, he thought. I will find a planet and make my own people that would all clamor over each other to be my friend. But no, he would not befriend any of them. He would make them long for his company as his friends on his home planet had done to him.
Shortly thereafter, Frank Sloth had discovered a strange planet. Landing on its surface, he had discovered it was a perfect place for him to develop new life forms. Experiment after experiment had been a success and his sludge-people had been loyal to him. Suddenly, all that changed. His planet started sprouting grass and cute, cuddly life forms that looked at him curiously and then shied away from his green, alien form.
Deciding that he would not let another being hurt him as his childhood friends had, Dr. Frank Sloth stayed on this planet called Neopia. He would rule over it one day and everyone would fear him and love him at the same time.
So you see, Dr. Frank Sloth was once a happy child with friends and a fondness for adventure and pirate ships. He had not always been the cruel antagonist Neopia knows today. He chose his path, down the road to villainy, with the help of many people.
Dr. Frank Sloth may be an unkind man now, but somewhere inside of him is a lonely child wanting to open his birthday presents. Next time you encounter Dr. Frank Sloth, maybe you should give him a hug. He probably would not say no to a good game of hide-and-seek, either. He is, after all, an excellent hider.