Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Microstory 1227: Krakken

When Hilmar Strauss was born, his father noted that he looked like some kind of sea creature; covered in goo, flailing about, and making all kinds of noise. Hilmar’s mother didn’t appreciate it at the time, but the nickname he used grew on her, and eventually, pretty much everyone was calling him Kraken. Hilmar himself never liked the name, though he didn’t much care for his real name either, so he slightly altered the spelling in a half-act of defiance, half way of taking control of his own life, and finally came to identify himself as Krakken. He fancied himself a bit of an outlaw; one of those people who do illegal things simply because they’re illegal, and not because of any personal gain they provide. He wasn’t violent, angry, or psychotic, but his baby crimes—like stealing his podmate’s crayon in kindergarten—were aging as quickly as he was, so they were bound to become a real problem. Luckily enough, Krakken was living in the right time period, and the right city, to be a criminal who wasn’t really a bad person. New, less destructive, gangs were taking over Kansas City, and pushing out the gun-toting, drug-running, gangs of yesteryear. He wanted to join one of them, but none of them seemed like a reasonable choice. He wasn’t a hacker like the Grammers, nor a musician like the Codas. He liked animals, but the Beasts sometimes took things way too far, and he didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole, and do something he regretted. The Tracers were badasses, but he never thought of himself as a fighter, so applying to them would have been a waste of time. The Taggers were the only choice he had left once he eliminated everyone else. The problem was that he didn’t exactly fit in with them either. Krakken loved art, but he could admit that he wasn’t much good at it. Fortunately for him, that didn’t mean there was no place for him in the Tagger gang. There was plenty of work for him to do, providing ancillary support, and being a lookout. The graffiti artists found a lot of valuable in having someone like him around, who would help them out in any way they needed. He did laundry, cooked meals, protected them from law enforcement, and drove them to and from their walls and underpasses. Don’t misunderstand; the others respected him greatly, and never took his role for granted. They still got their own coffee, and cleaned their own apartments. It was just nice to have someone available to take some of the burden off of them, so they could focus on their work, and he was more than happy to do it. In the end, he didn’t do much crime; the Taggers were one of the less socially impactful groups in the metro, after all. But he was content with his life, and when it was time to move on, he did so, and got himself a real job, so he could be a healthy and productive member of society.

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