Life can be challenging for molluscs, even for the most daunting and terrifying mythical ones. As a young kraken, perhaps you're fed up with having to deal with people who sneer and act like you don't exist. Perhaps you're a bit depressed about being fifty years old and never having been able to sink your beak into one of those tasty schooners that grandpa brags about having snacked for breakfast in his day. You say there aren't any. The old wise-ass just says you're too lazy to find any, and that today's youth has no appreciation for the screams of doomed mariners. Kids, they say, just want to gobble fast food and drink cheap swill like mazut. Of course, at their age "fast food" means anything that goes more than eight knots with a tailwind.

As a young, up-and-coming member of your species, you want a way to assert yourself and establish your position in life. You're fed up of living in a hole. And my advice is that asserting yourself begins at home--nay, it begins with the home. Ever since you moved out of ma and pa's mansion on the abyssal plain to the big reef city, you've suffered from a lack of space, companionship, and, possibly, whaler-bone doilies. That sort of life is not fit for a cuttlefish, let alone a kraken.

So, first, expand your horizons. Or at least expand the horizon that's twenty feet across and next door to a school of clownfish. It's really hard to be intimidating when your roof is being crapped on by stripy, giggling fish, and you don't get much respect when your ambience is so shallow. Ditch the reef and set your sights on something outside the epipelagic ghetto and distinctly more chthonian. A nice little cavern along the continental margin is the least you should have if you want to command a modicum of respectability as a fierce, heartless predator of the innocent.

Finding a suitable kraken house is just the beginning, of course. You still have to make it habitable after you evict whatever that thing with the eighteen jaws was and claim the place. And by habitable, I do not mean that you move in, look around, and let it all hang out. You have to make it yours. You need to roll up your hide and mark the place with your personality and melanin. After all, one of the principal components of improving your lot is to get laid, and that won't happen until you can make an impression that amounts to more than a dinner-plate sized ring of goo on a RO/RO's hull. Clean up after yourself. If you eat the previous tenants, don't keep their stuff around. You don't want your guests to think that you consider Jackson Pollock to be more than a source of calories, do you? Dump anything that's not edible in the nearest hydrothermal vent.

Atmosphere and decoration are the most important part. As a high-order mollusc, your senses are keen. Act like it. You want your digs to smell like Davy Jones's locker room, not like the perfume counter at Harrod's, when that deliciously slimy krakenette finally agrees to come home with you after you slip her that ethanol tanker. You cannot be serious about making the beast with two sacs when the lack of shredded flesh on your couch can't even begin to satisfy your own gustatory organs, let alone your mate's. And get rid of the pin-ups. Your date won't be nearly as impressed by Miss Mesopelagic 2005's continental shelf as you are.

Don't forget the intellectual touch. A few casually scattered books will always impress. Toss a copy of Moby Dick on the side table and make sure that the GIANT SQUID volume that you never read (you're not a political cryptid, after all) is conspicuous on its shelf. The stack of Octopussy mags needs to go. No one believes that you read them for the articles when the well-worn centerfold drops out as you open the rag. Show a lighter side, too, and make room for some comedy like Jacques Cousteau and some fashionable sci-fi about land-dwelling monsters next to it. Your music collection should be compact and mainstream. A few contemporary compilations of groaning hulls (to set the mood, dummy!) and some classics like the soundtrack from the sinking of the Titanic. Stay away from avant-garde rubbish like Imploding Submarines, it doesn't impress anyone.

Storage, too, is an important aspect of a home. Once you find that special something, she will want to know that you can provide as well as she can. Your pantry should fit at least a medium container ship or two and you should have at least a chest freezer, a leg freezer, and an anoxic shed in the back yard. Keep them well stocked at all times. You never know who'll show up with an appetite, and it might just discourage your parents from dragging fresh sailors with them when they visit and having them take up space until you can give them away. Your mother never could remember that you prefer Filipinos to Greeks and insists on buying too much of both. Try to look like you're on a healthy diet so don't store any nuclear subs or fattening cruise ships where they can be seen.

Once you're all settled in your new kraken house, you can start working on seriously improving your position in kraken society. You'll be able to meet more influential monsters. Your career will be better off when you're not ashamed to invite your boss to dinner and a proper home will let you do just that. After all, you don't want to spend your life wiping someone else's benthic bottom when you could be a dashing sperm whale ranger. A house with character shows your cephalopod peers (and superiors) that you're a blue-blooded go-getter and not some two-hearted, coral-hugging, vertebrate-loving pansy.

Classy marine doom takes work, my limb-regenerating friend. And class starts with your immediate surroundings. Now go ahead and start working on swapping that dump of yours for a properly hadean kraken home waiting to be filled with terrible love, beaky death, and the squelch of little tentacles.

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