Ode to Mitnick


Week two of Creative Writing commenced with a request to write a story with Kevin Mitnick as an inspiration. Below is my story.

He pulled up to the old storefront in South LA and took the first parking spot on the street. His late model Lincoln Towncar shook as he shut off the massive big block engine. It was a retired New York City car service car that his dad bought him as a joke, and it never stopped being funny.  An “I heart NY” and a “Free Kevin” bumper sticker adorned the back and made it his own.

He shuffled up to the front door in his dark wash jeans, a black t-shirt, and a backpack covered with pins and patches ready for another day fighting Russian trolls behind the screen of a MacBook Pro. It was late afternoon in California or early morning in Vladivostok, just as the first shift was punching in ready to flood the social network with garbage hashtags and working overtime to hack a campaign staffer’s email.

Even though he was just 16, the Bloomberg campaign had hired him full time after reading a story in the local paper about his exploits hacking the school lunch credit cards after a close friend couldn’t pay for food. “This is just the kind of out of the box thinking we need,” Bloomberg mentioned to his senior aid. “Get that kid on staff.” 

A staffer showed up the next day at his parents house with a generous monetary offer and a “Mike Can Do It” hoodie. He was in. 

He’d been working the afternoon shift for several months now and holding weekly meetings with paid staff and volunteers explaining how phishing worked and how to never click a link in your email. “I mean never,” he’d bellow. Even though the message came from a kid, the staff respected his knowledge and his integrity. 

No one questioned he had a strong sense of right and wrong.

He was also very successful on the hacking front having accessed the internal network of one particularly relentless troll network. How did he do it? A link in an email. One click and he was in. 

He was able to see what the network had on Bloomberg. 

Verdict. Very little. 

He did his job. 

He dug a little further and found the bank accounts of the group. Where was the money coming from? When he found out, the campaign made a press appearance touting the finding and the expertise that made it happen – a skinny teenager that could be easily overlooked but now no longer ignored.