My Diary, by Frederick Usiku Kruger

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Literature Text

"My Diary, by Frederick Usiku Kruger, Lieutenant of the Rackenroon Hyena Brigade"

"While I must spend my days stamping down my emotions, I find that I must have a place to give free rein to the contents of my heart and soul...and so I begin this Diary, to allow myself a vent, a check-valve as it were, lest I go mad with the effort of bottling up my true feelings..."

"My name is Frederick Kruger. I am a spotted hyena. After the fashion of my species, I was given an African name, Yeye Ambaye Mpasuo Kooni Katika Usiku, which means "He Who Slits Throats In The Night." I much prefer my Westernized name, as it means "peaceful ruler" and was given after an admired king from ancient history, Frederick the Great of Prussia. But my mother insists upon caling me "Usiku." My father still refers to me by my puphood nickname of "Frittie."

I was born prematurely when my twin sister died in utero, and my mother was forced to undergo a caesarian section to try to save our lives. The doctors in this part of the world are not that good, and my mother was rendered sterile after excessive bleeding caused them to remove her uterus entirely. My sister was unusually large, I have been told, and had been robbing me of nutrients, which accounted for my small size. In fact, the doctors believed that both pups were dead, until one of the nurses heard me sneeze, and then they expended every effort to save me. Had they known I was male, they might not have been so dedicated to the preservation of my life...fortunately for me, it is nearly impossible to tell newborn spotted hyenas apart.

I was a sickly infant, but somehow, against all expectations, I survived. My mother, forever mourning over what had been done to her, was resigned to having a male heir. She herself is the chiefess of a very wealthy clan, and in our culture, property descends to the youngest daughter, leaving the sons completely out of the inheritance--unless there are only sons; and when a male hyena marries, his property becomes the possession of his wife. My mother did not wish for this to happen, and so she engineered a way which would guarantee that our ancestral home, Kruger Park, would remain under Kruger control. She made a contract with one of the Maramasai Duchesses to marry me to that Duchess's heiress, with the stipulation that Kruger Park descend to one of my daughters, while the youngest daughter would become the eventual Duchess herself.

My mother was brought up to be a hard-headed businesswoman, and she looked upon me as an investment in the future. Without a daughter, she arranged to have me trained to be the perfect Consort for a Royal Duchess--an amalgamation of butler, political advisor, confidante, bodyguard, major-d'omo, and...well, there's no getting around it, is there?--brood stud. I am expected to produce at least two daughters, three to be on the safe side. And I am also expected to be content to stand in the shadows and obey my eventual wife's every whim.

I am afraid I will not be able to do this. Having been exposed to Western thoughts and ideas through my education in England, I find it difficult, if not impossible, to tolerate many of the "traditions" of my race here in Africa. My own family, the Krugers, are very advanced and progressive, as they were descended from more temperate, science-minded hyenas, who migrated out of the Maramasai and started a colony over a gold strike, from whence came their fortune--but even the Krugers can be rather hidebound. My mother wishes for me to marry into royalty so that her successor will have Royal blood in her veins, and the Krugers will no longer be looked down upon as commoners and eccentrics.

And more pragmatically, as a male hyena, I must obey my mother. To do otherwise would result in my social, if not my actual, death. Our family fortune is immense, and the only way I can have access to it is by doing as my mother orders. For she is the chiefess of our clan.

Other than directing my education, my parents have had very little to do with me. My father has several companies which he oversees, and was rarely home--I think that he loathes Africa, and prefers to be in Europe or America. My mother resents me, I think, because I lived and my sister died. She has provided me with the very best quality of everything, but I cannot remember her ever so much as patting me on the back, let alone hugging me. Spotted hyenas are not known for being very affectionate, but my mother is such in name only.

As I grew up, my parents did, however, put several companies under my name, or otherwise made investments on my behalf, so that when I came of age, I would have a tidy fortune of my own. I still needed to obtain my mother's okay before I could use any of that money, of course, but as she herself has been known to make large purchases of what could be considered "toys"--you should see our house--I did not have to subject myself to the indignity of begging. Although, if I could come up with a sound reason for wanting something, she was more likely to grant my request, such as when I wished to purchase a rare, vintage Designer's Challenge Lotus Elise supercar while I was at university. The roads in Africa are hardly suited to such a vehicle, but in Britain there are many tracks upon which to race it, and I told her that learning to successfully operate such a vehicle would be an excercise for my mind, body, and nerve. I wanted to learn every nuance of the car's handling, I told her, and master it.

I got the car."

"Upon graduation from university, with a degree in accounting, I was sent to serve in the court of the Duchess of Rackenroon, to whose Heir I have been betrothed since I was five years old. I had been regarding my departure for Rackenroon with reluctance and trepidation, for the stories I have heard about the place, and its ruler, chill my already cold blood. The Duchess is very old, in her eighties by most accounts, and the story goes that she was so furious after the birth of her third son that she killed her Consort by disembowelling him, for having failed to give her the daughter she desperately needed. The situation got worse later on, for two of the three sons died without issue, and the third son, Regulus, ran away from home and was reported to have been killed by a mobster named Pockets McLaren. This left the Duchess without a direct heir, and so the offspring of her sisters--whom she hates--came into contention to inherit her lands. And after the Duchess outlived her sisters' daughters, their granddaughters...and then their great-granddaughters...came up for consideration."

"Hyenas are a bellicose race, so it was not only a matter of the Duchess outliving her potential heirs, but many of them got killed fighting in the numerous wars that the Hyena Brigade wages. The present two scions of the houses of Olnajine and Olgalili are slightly younger than myself, and are serving in the Brigade as captains. I have not yet met either of them, but I have heard that they are very good Brigadiers. In other words, enthusiastic, bloodthirsty warriors. The Duchess will be inviting them to her capital, Kiyanti, in order to get acquainted with them, for she must select one of them to be her Heir. If she does not name an Heir, there is a very real possibility that the Maramasai will descend into civil war, as the rival factions (of which there are many) try to seize power in Rackenroon."

Rackenroon itself is a very bizarre place. It is the most ecologically diverse of the four Duchies that comprise Maramasai (Ngorongoro, Serengeti, and Amboseli being the others), but the Duchess has managed its resources poorly, to put it bluntly, and in order to remain solvent, she has taken several very large loans out with my family, without ever being able to pay it back. This is the overt reason why my mother was able to broker her deal with the Duchess, to have me installed as the eventual Consort. In the meantime I am to act as the Duchess' comptroller, to get her financial house in order, and if possible, to make Rackenroon into a profitable investment. This is a large responsibility to hand to a twenty year old fresh out of college, but I shall rise to the challenge. After all, I have much at stake in making my mother's plan work out.

Doing so, however, will be as difficult as pulling teeth from a hen, then selling it a set of dentures. The financial records are a mess, if they exist at all, and no one here seems to be the least bit interested in sorting things out, because doing so would probably expose them all to charges of mismanagement, misconduct, embezzlement, graft, and general corruption. Incompetence is a good blanket term--this place is a pestilential hell hole run by incompetent idiots."

"This place is in more of a mess than Motherdear ever imagined..."

"Most people have a box in which they keep their receipts. The Duchess has a ROOM."

"The Duchess thinks a hedge fund is money set aside for trimming the topiaries."

"I have been practicing keeping a straight face. The new glasses help immensely as the lenses conceal my eyes. I must remember to thank Father for them, and the advantage they give me. I must not permit myself to betray the slightest hint of emotion, lest my enemies manage to sieze upon it and turn it to their advantage. To this end I have been regularly going down to the barracks to play poker with some of the noncoms."

"I often feel that it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge into a blind killing frenzy--that is how aggravating my job here is. I am surrounded by blithe morons who must honestly believe that pixies take care of things like bill-paying and treaties and soforth. Well, I suppose they are right--and that overworked pixie's name is Usiku Kruger..."

"I have been commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Hyena Brigade. This is quite an honor, for traditionally, males are barred from holding an officer's rank. But because of my social position, it is necessary for me to be an officer, in order to have standing with the Duchess' staff. Granted, this is the very lowest rank of the officer class, but the fact that I am a guyena holding it--well, it could be viewed as quite an accomplishment, if the Brigadiers weren't muttering behind their paws that my mother's money bought me my commission.

I would not have willingly joined the Brigade. It exists to give middle- and lower-caste hyenas a means to rise in the ranks of our society. As the son and heir of a Chiefess, I already hold a social rank on par with being a prince. Many guyenas dream of joining the Brigade; I dreamed of becoming a celebrity chef, or a writer, or a university professor.

I did undergo the Officer's Training School while in college, reporting for "boot camp" at the Brigade's post in Marrowbone, outside London, and was thoroughly miserable. I don't even wish to think about it now. They made me work twice as hard as the sheyena cadets, and I was subjected to much abuse. But then we all were, really. The conditions were intentionally kept so harsh that the cadets often had to steal food to survive. If they were caught, they were punished--not for stealing, but for getting caught. Thus the hyena code of honor was passed on to another generation...

But I made it, with honors--which they almost choked on announcing--and I must admit that I do like the way I look in my scarlet tunic. I have gold buttons and gold piping on my collar, as well as the gold bars on my epaulettes, to designate me as a Lieutenant. I will get to wear my new uniform tonight at the reception for the Duchess' two great-grandnieces..."

"I doubt that I shall ever know love. Though I am betrothed, having met the two candidates, I fear that my life shall be forfeit upon my wedding night. They are crude, crass, vicious beasts, malicious and malignant, spoiled and imperious--in short, ideal royal sheyenas. They do not even have personal beauty to recommend them. They care for nothing but warfare--the actual battering and fighting, mind you, not the tactical aspect, for which some modicum of brains is required.

Perhaps it is fortunate that the Duchess doesn't care for either of them, although they are her great-grand-nieces...she refuses to make a decision regarding which of these harridans will one day replace her on the throne. This is wise, for she would find herself expeditiously replaced, I believe, and she is well aware of this. As long as she does not name an Heir, I do not have to abide by the terms of the Contract, and be forced to marry one of them...a fate worse than Death..."

"I cannot stand the thought that I am being bartered like a commodity, but I have a chance to do real use my family's fortune to improve the lives of ordinary folk, and by doing so, create opportunities for investment and growth in a land with enormous potential, but no real vision and leadership. If only I could have a sympathetic wife--! I must do what I can to ingratiate myself to the Duchess, so that she will listen to my ideas, and perhaps I can at least accomplish a few things before...well, I don't want to think about the future.

It will be here all to soon."
As part of developing the backstories in my comic strip, I've been jotting down entries in the diary of Lieutenant Fred Kruger, the stone-faced fiance of the comic strip's main character, Kathy Grrsn.  In this week's strips, Kathy has discovered Fred's diary in his travelling trunk, and has teasingly threatened to read it aloud.

So for fun, I've decided to publish some excerpts from the diary.
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Spino2Earth's avatar
His African name is cooler :)
Spino2Earth's avatar
Habari Yeye Ambaye Mpasuo Kooni Katika Usiku!…
Yealurowluro's avatar
Um... forgive my abysmal ignorance but how do I find the subsequent entries?  Is "Entry #44" as listed under "More from KDnightstar" the next one, or are there a stack elsewhere that I cannot find following the above.

Note that this page is linked to from the UMA voting page, thus anybody who doesn't already know how to find the rest is going to be at rather a disadvantage. :)  
KDNightstar's avatar
Thanks for letting me know that.  The entries are all accessible through the "Gallery" page, and are sequentially numbered.

They are also available in a sequence at the Cross-Time Cafe Forum, here:…
That's some nice backstory, thanks for the good read!
DeckardCanine's avatar
I want to give him a hug.
Hallan's avatar
Wow.  Fred is a lot deeper than I at first imagined.
KDNightstar's avatar
You...have no idea.

Still waters.
KDNightstar's avatar
Thanks, JAm.  There'll be more excerpts coming soon.
iamthejam's avatar
Very well done. :D :D :D
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