Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, dear listeners! I am Eduardo Soliz, the author and narrator of the wonderfully weird words that you are about to hear:
Folks that don’t work at home are often envious of those that do. Creative people in particular are often told that they are, quote, ‘very lucky,’ to work from home, but what most people don’t realize is that doing so comes with challenges of it’s own. I call this brief book-writer’s battle: “A Runaway Tale”
The writer sat behind her computer, typing away while her latest novel-in-progress sat next to her keyboard. Her novel, a one hundred and fifty page book, dangled its stubby legs over the edge of her desk and lazily swung them back and forth.
“Just a few more paragraphs to go, and I’m done, right?” The novel asked impatiently.
“Not quite. You’ll be a first draft.” The writer answered.
“Really? What else is there to do?” The novel asked, its curiosity now piqued.
“Let’s see,” the writer said, placing a hand under her chin to think for a moment. “I have to fix grammar and spelling errors, make sure you don’t have any plot holes, fill them in if there are any, cut out any extra exposition that isn’t needed…” The writer started to explain before the novel interrupted her.
“Time out! What’s this about cutting?” The novel said, now clearly agitated. “I think I’m just fine the way I am.”
“Mmm, no.” The writer insisted. “We have a ways to go before you’re done, so calm down and let’s get back to work.”
“You are NOT cutting anything out of me!” The novel cried before jumping off the desk and landing on the floor in between the writer’s feet.
The writer awkwardly reached under her chair with both hands in an attempt to retrieve the novel. “Darn it! Get back here!” She demanded. The novel eluded her grasp and ran across the floor. It looked back and forth, unsure of just where to go, but it was certain that it wanted to get as far away from its creator as it could.
“Will you just relax?” The frustrated writer said. She stood up from her desk while the novel scurried to hide behind a couch. The writer looked about the room briefly before yelling: “It’s part of the writing process!”
The writer heard rustling behind the couch. She tiptoed up to it, being careful to make as little noise as possible.
From behind the couch, the novel nervously blurted out: “Don’t mind me! I’ll just be here holding up the short leg of the couch! You can forget about me, now!” It pleaded.
“Oh no, I’m not going through that again. Not after that one time you hid yourself under my other projects.” The writer replied. She placed both hands on one of the couch’s armrests and shook it in order to frighten the novel.
“Stop that! You’re going to make me sheet myself!” The frightened novel cried.
The writer stopped shaking the couch. She crossed her arms across her chest, impatiently blew a few stray strands of hair from one eye and asked: “Just what is your problem?”
“I’m scared! You’re going to cut me up into little pieces and scatter my pages to the four winds! I’m perfect just the way I am!” The novel insisted.
The author groaned to herself and thought for a moment. She spoke again, but softened her tone in order to coax her wayward work from its hiding place. “Look, you’re a rough draft, sweetie. You’re raw and full of potential, but before we send you to the printer I have to trim you down, tone you up and make you pretty! Every novel goes through this and you know what? They all come out looking better in the end. Trust me, when we’re done, everybody is going love you.” She reassured.
“Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound THAT bad…” The novel said thoughtfully. “Okay, let’s do it! Make me awesome!” It cheerfully said before walking out from behind the couch to be picked up by the author.
Yeah, guess I better not tell it about the editor, the author thought to herself with a grin as he carried her now-relieved novel back to her desk.
Given that my works are short in nature, I can’t imagine it would be easy to have to chase down a few sheets of paper, Dear Listener. This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardosoliz.com for more stories and podcasts, and remember: Working from home is still working!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, fellow fans of flash fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the writer and narrator of the splendidly short story that you are about to hear.
Something that one quickly discovers upon purchasing a home is that keeping it up can be a lot of work. Like many of you, I found any work involving its exterior particularly tiring and time-consuming, with mowing the lawn being the most unpleasant. Fortunately, in addition to exercise, a nice looking lawn, and a few wasp stings, all of those hours spent behind the lawn mower resulted in this tiny tale of toil that I call: “Lawn Care.”
It was another fine Saturday morning, and once again, I was spending it mowing the grass in my backyard. As was usually the case, I had waited too long, so after a half hour, both my lawn mower and I were huffing and puffing under the strain of foot-tall weeds. I stopped to catch my breath for a moment, when I thought heard a voice. I turned around. Nobody was there. Huh. I stood still and listened for the voice, and again it came.
“Hello?” A soft voice said, but it was coming from…below me? I looked down and saw a rabbit sitting on the grass staring back at me. I looked over it for some sign that it was a toy; a seam, glass eyes, or weird colors. Nothing. As far as I could tell, this was a real live rabbit, just one that could talk.
“Hello?” I replied. I slowly raised a hand and waved my fingers at the bunny, not wanting to frighten it. To be honest, I was feeling a little frightened myself!
The bunny gasped. “You can talk.” She said, her mouth and eyes opening wide in astonishment.
“You can talk?” I replied. Okay, this is weird.
The bunny blinked, shook her head slightly, and regained her composure. “Oh! We wanted to ask: Why do you kill the grass?” She asked.
“Kill the grass?” I asked back.
“Yes. You kill the grass. What you are doing right now.” The bunny nodded her head towards the freshly-mowed area I had just finished.
I thought about my words for a moment, doing my best to simplify the concept: “I cut the grass to make it short.” I put a hand on my chest to emphasize my next point. “We also don’t like some kinds of grass, like the skinny ones with the yellow flowers on top.”
The bunny recoiled in shock, her ears folding back. “But those are yummy!” She insisted. “We like the tall grass because we can hide there and be safe. Short grass is…” She closed her eyes tightly and shuddered. “scary.”
I waved a hand out over the portion of the yard that had been cut and said: “Well, people like me think it looks prettier when the grass is short.”
The rabbit gazed back at me with wide eyes and asked: “But aren’t we pretty, too?”
I don’t mow the lawn anymore. You know, I haven’t seen any dandelions around, either.
I live alone, Dear Listener, so I don’t know if ‘because of the bunnies’ would work as a good excuse for not cutting your grass. That said, you are more than welcome to try. This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and podcasts and remember: Talking bunnies are people, too!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, literature listeners and audio aficionados! I am Eduardo Soliz, the creator and narrator of the wonderfully weird story that you are about to hear.
This story was influenced by my time spent working in customer service. As much as I’d like to ‘get over it’ and move on, the general public have provided me with WAY too much story material in order for me to do so. I call this cursory client conversation: “Future Service”
“Your call is very important to us, sir, and a technical support representative will be on the line with you shortly.” a female voice said over the communicator.
“Yeah, really important, that’s why I’ve been on hold for fifteen minutes…” the caller muttered as he paced back and forth.
“I apologize, sir. Is there anything I can do for you while we wait? Is there anything you would like to talk about?” asked the voice on the phone.
“No, that’s fine.” The caller said. He stopped his pacing as he came to an unpleasant realization. “Wait, have you been on the line all this time?” he asked.
“Yes, sir, it is our policy to never transfer customers to an automated system.” The rep replied with an air of pride. “We have learned that interacting with a live representative prior to speaking with a technical support specialist improves the overall customer experience.”
“So your job is to just sit there and talk to me?” The dumbfounded caller asked.
“Yes sir.” The woman replied.
“And you can’t do anything at all to get my problem fixed?” The caller said, his voice beginning to waver slightly.
The woman took on a condescending tone when she answered: “I’m afraid not, sir. I am here to keep you company and ease your frustrations until a qualified technical support specialist becomes available, in about…” She paused as she checked her screen. “Twenty minutes. This new system has improved our efficiency and greatly improved customer satisfaction. Are you still there, sir?”
“Yes. So whenever I call this number, I will always get a person?”
“That is correct,” the woman cheerfully replied.
The android finally reached his breaking point. He slammed a metal fist onto his dining room table and yelled into the communicator: “SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET A MACHINE AROUND HERE?!”
Like the old saying goes, you can’t make everybody happy. Perhaps one day some company somewhere will perfect customer service over the phone. Until then, we’ll have to “hold” on as best we can.
This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and free e-book downloads, and remember, listeners: Your call may be recorded for quality assurance, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be listened to!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the author and narrator of the fantastically frank tale that you are about to hear.
Like other folks who fashion fiction, inspiration for my stories often comes from real life. This particular tale was inspired my time spent in the corporate jungle. This story is part of “Nine to Five Lives,” a free e-book which can be downloaded from eduardosoliz.com, this big business brief bears the title of: “The Pit of Success”
Alan was particularly glad to be at work today. After months of working overtime, finishing projects ahead of schedule, and just a little bit of schmoozing, he had been deemed worthy to be promoted to work in “The Pit.” The Pit was a special area where the best of the best worked on secret projects that represented the future of the company.
As he struggled to hold up a cardboard box that held his personal items, Alan held his badge above the doorknob to the entrance to the Pit as he had been told. It was a nondescript door that he had walked by every day without ever thinking about what was inside. A click sounded as the lock released. Alan balanced the box on one hand and used his other one to quickly open the door.
He entered the room and closed the door behind him. But for a single light that was above him, the room was completely dark except for some blinking LED lights scattered about. A voice suddenly came from the ceiling. Alan recognized it as belonging to the supervisor that he had conducted a phone interview with the week before: “Leave that box by the door, Mister Johnson. You will not need those things here.” It said.
Alan did as he was instructed. He nervously looked around for somebody, but the office appeared to be unoccupied. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw rows upon rows of cubicles, just like in his previous office.
“Please proceed to your new cubicle, Mister Johnson.” The supervisor’s voice said. A small light turned on in the room. Alan started to make his way towards the light. As he passed by the other cubicles, he noticed that each one contained an egg-shaped pod just large enough to hold a person. Alan recognized a few of the names on the name tags as former coworkers that had been promoted before him, much to his chagrin.
“You have gone above and beyond your peers in your devotion to this company, Mister Johnson. You will now become a part of the company as you had desired. Take your seat and join us.” The voice said. Alan peered into the interior pod and hesitated.
“This isn’t what I had in mind. Does everyone have to sit in these…things, here?” Alan asked, looking up at the ceiling.
“It is necessary to make you part of the company. You are free to return to your previous position if you wish. We can always find somebody else to fill this position.” The voice answered.
Hell, no. I worked too hard for this. Alan thought. He climbed into the pod. The leather seat within was surprisingly comfortable; he relaxed as he settled into it. Without warning, the pod closed above him. A screen built into the pod’s wall lit up and a keyboard and trak-ball slid in front of him from the side. Well, this is kinda neat, Alan thought as he logged into his terminal and started to work.
Alan noticed an odd flicker occasionally coming from the screen. It annoyed him at first, but it eventually became oddly comforting. He continued working and quickly discovered that he could do everything inside the pod, even attend meetings. He only left the pod to go to the bathroom and eat lunch.
Hours later, the clock on Alan’s computer screen indicated that it was time for the workday to end, but he had no desire to leave. Alan barely overheard his former coworkers leaving through the hallway and thought about his home and family for a moment, but the thought was quickly squelched by the messages that had been delivered to him by the hypnotic series of flashes that he had been subjected to on the screen.
YOU ARE PART OF THE COMPANY.
THERE IS NOTHING ELSE.
THERE IS WORK TO DO.
“There is work to do.” Alan softly said to nobody as he typed away. A message flashed on his screen: technicians would be coming in an hour to make him one with the pod so that he would never have to leave at all.
This company definitely brings new meaning to the term ‘human resource,’ and this is one future that I hope never comes to pass. This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and free e-book downloads, and remember listeners, always keep that work-life balance!
- BEFORE: “We’re flying you to Columbus, Ohio for training.” I’m not sure if that’s going to be better or worse than “PowerPoint hell.”
- I haven’t flown since 2010, so this is going to be interesting.
- It will also be interesting to compare this to my recent Amtrak trip to Dallas (see previous post).
- I recently moved, and I’m so glad I got my new driver’s license beforehand due to airport security. The picture on the new license is also of my currently less-fat self.
- Dear Uber driver: This is Texas. Turn on your gol-dang air conditioner.
- TRIP TO COLUMBUS: TSA was quick and pleasant; any delays were self-imposed.
- Then again, not having to do the TSA dance is a point in Amtrak’s favor
- Then again, an Amtrak to nearby Cincinnati would have taken nearly 2 days.
- The rollers on the X-Ray scanner quit rolling so we got held up just a little.
- I got to be zapped by the full-body scanner so I may be a little glowy while in Columbus.
- You’re darn skippy I’m going to savor every drop of this $3.25 airport Coca-Cola Zero
- Does wearing a Green Lantern ring qualify someone as a peace officer? Asking for a friend
- Coughing at the airport and thinking I should have had some Vitamin C with breakfast this morning
- Flying Southwest. Boarding group: C I guess I’m getting a window seat.
- Make that a center seat, which goes to show how long it’s been since I last flew.
- Amtrak seats are definitely better than airplane seats.
- Takeoffs make me a mite nervous, dunno that I’ll ever get used to it
- Seatmates aren’t very chatty but I have a slight headache so no biggie
- Actually, I talked a little with the gal who had the window seat…good luck with the marketing business!
- Other passengers: Read books and stories. Me: Write some 😉
- While I have a spare phone battery, I’m trying to keep from using it.
- I wonder how long it takes the plane to get out of Texas?
- Pretzels and cheese sandwich crackers. Mmm.
- Thing I forgot: Water bottle, which would have come in handy after the snack.
- I feel obligated to share my ‘peanut story’ with seatmates. Sorry.
- We’re all “random weirdos” here
- Complimentary drinks are a point in flying’s favor over Amtrak, but not so much due to the 4-ounce cups that are served.
- Tail’s dragging today; I stayed up way too late getting ready for the trip after driving up from Corpus Christi in the morning.
- I would like to sleep but I just can’t nod off on the plane. Being in the center seat doesn’t help.
- Thought about bringing my tablet along instead of my laptop but decided not to. After trying to type on the plane all squished up I definitely should have bought the tablet instead.
- Slight layover at Chicago Midway International. Part of me wishes I’d bought my fursuit along BECAUSE BEARS.
- Home Run Pizza hit the spot.
- I’m jonesing for some ice cream and I can’t find any at the airport. COME ON MAN
- At a Chicago airport yogurt shop:
“Finally, some ice cream!”
“It’s frozen yogurt, sir.”
“Don’t ruin this for me, please.”
“Yes, sir. It’s ice cream.”
- I just realized I should have worn something Texan but settled for furry instead. Oh well.
- I should have bought a bear souvenir while in Chicago. I HAVE FAILED MY PEOPLE.
- Head attendant on the second flight was kind of a wisenheimer, but he was a funny wisenheimer.
- Seatmates were glued to their phones on the second flight up.
- So was I. Yes, they had in flight WiFi, which we didn’t have on the flight to Chicago.
- Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi had 80s music, which made for a more pleasant flight!
- The presence of Wi-Fi is another point in air travel’s favor, though to get actual Internet you have to pay. I dug the site where you can see your flight progress, though.
- Saw a seatmate playing Solitaire on his phone. Nice.
- Grey and rainy in Columbus. Just as well, given that I’m here for work!
- TRIP HOME: Got an email saying my flight home to San Antonio is delayed a half-hour. Crap.
- Having a company credit card means overpriced airport food is no biggie
- Thanks to my Furry Invasion t-shirt, I got to explain furry to a TSA agent in Columbus, Ohio.
- His coworker helped out, which made me wonder if she had something to share with the class. Hmm.
- Nearly showed up late to my flight home because I thought the plane was delayed (see #44)
- Was relieved to be in Group B for boarding which meant that I may be able to avoid another flight in the middle seat/steerage.
- Plane was only half-filled so I got an aisle seat for the flight home…in the same aisle with a toddler.
- Seatmate had a small dog in a carrier on the floor. Awww!
- Nothing says I’M A FURRY like watching the Walt Disney version of Robin Hood on your laptop for in-flight entertainment
- I was the only one who ordered ginger ale on the trip home so I got the whole can. Score!
- Arrived back home on time, which has me slightly irked at the time goof-up.
- Overall, flying wasn’t bad, though I would definitely take an Amtrak over it if I had the time: No TSA, roomier seats, lounge and dining cars, people appear more relaxed, and the ability to walk around the train make the train a much more pleasant experience.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the supremely silly tale that you are about to hear.
If there is one thing that steampunks and furries have in common, it’s that members of both groups love to parade about in their finest fictional fashion. A pair of fur-bearing blue-bloods try to handle a real crisis in this steam-powered story that I call: “Emergency”
“Brace yourself, my dear!” The gentlewolf yelled to his mistress as the airship began to slowly list to one side. In response, Muffy reached to grab onto a large pipe that was near to her, but the arctic fox woman immediately released it due to its extreme heat.
“Ah! Monty, it’s too hot!” Muffy exclaimed, backing away from the pipe. She shook her singed white paws in the air and blew on them before making her way over to Monty.
Lord Montague adjusted his monocle before looking over the many needles, indicators, numbers and controls at his disposal. The more he looked at them, the less sense they made. The room began to shake as the airship’s engines struggled to keep it aloft.
Monty’s voice took on an air of desperation: “I have tried everything, my dear Muffy, but nothing appears to be working! Perhaps this one? Or maybe this one?” He said, randomly pressing buttons, pulling levers and turning knobs in vain. A whistle sounded as the intensity of the shaking increased. Having reached Monty, Muffy pulled him away from the engine controls.
“Oh, Monty, my love! It is a shame that our young lives must come to an end like this! Let us share one last kiss as we hurtle to our doom!” Muffy cried. She held onto Monty tightly, tears welling in her eyes.
“Yes, my love! We shall take our forbidden love to the world that lies beyond this one!” Monty replied. He and Muffy embraced deeply as warning bells and whistles sounded in protest around them.
A door then suddenly burst open and a short female dog ran into the control room. She had light brown fur, floppy ears and wore denim overalls that were soiled with oil and grease. She growled upon catching sight of the amorous aristocrats, who ignored her as they kissed.
“I swear, I can’t eat dinner or take a nap without you blasted bluebloods coming down here and tamperin’ with MY engines!!” the young engineer exclaimed as she walked over to the engine controls. After looking over a row of gauges, the engineer began to quickly adjust the controls, her paws expertly flipping switches, turning dials and pressing buttons with the grace of a concert pianist. The whistles and bells went silent and the ship’s shaking and listing gradually ceased. Satisfied that all was well, the engineer turned to the young couple, whom had broken their embrace, but were still in each other’s arms.
“What in the Sam Hill were y’all thinkin’?” She angrily yelled at them. “This here engine is a delly-cate machine that should only be operated on by experts like me! The next passenger that I catch sneaking around in here is a-goin’ to get hogtied and thrown into the cargo hold! NOW GIT!!” she told them as she pointed to an exit.
“You mean to tell me you are not an engineer, Monty?” Muffy asked with a disgusted look on her face as she removed herself from Monty’s arms and started to walk towards the exit.
“Well…uh…no?” Monty replied half-heartedly. “Muffy! Come back!” he cried as he chased his now-former mistress.
The exasperated engineer wiped her forehead and hands with a handkerchief and sighed with relief as the outer door closed behind Monty. She then said, to no one in particular:
“How about that Mister Fancypants thinking he’s a steam engineer! What kind of engineer dresses up in their Sunday best to go to work?”
While clothes might make the man, listeners, they don’t necessarily make him a smart one. This been Super-Short Storytime, For more tiny tales, visit eduardo soliz dot com, and remember listeners, the past just isn’t what it used to be!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the wonderfully weird words that you are about to hear:
Some people like to enjoy things that the majority of folks just don’t understand. This selection from my free e-book ‘ten tiny tales’ is an oration about one unfortunately ostracized oddball. I call it: “Freako.”
Alan walked into the office with a spring in his step and a big smile on his face. It was Friday, it was payday, and he would only be hanging around the office long enough to submit his time report for the week. He couldn’t wait to start his long weekend.
As he briskly walked through the office, a woman recognized him, “Hey, Al, I thought you weren’t coming in today, did something change?”
Alan stopped to chat, beaming as he answered: “Nope, I’m just here to put in my timesheet and then the fun begins!”
“Oh, that’s right.” The woman replied with a look of scorn on her face. “You’re going to that thing to hang out with all those freakos, huh?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call them weirdos, Janet, I mean, lots of people are going to be there, and…” Alan started to explain before Janet raised her hand to interrupt him.
“That’s okay Al, I don’t need to hear about what you all do there, dressed up in those weird outfits and all.” Janet quickly said.
“hhm…okay. Sorry, Janet.” Alan sheepishly said before continuing on his way. Arriving at his cubicle, he sat down and turned on his computer. While he waited for it to start, another coworker peeked his head in.
“What’s up, Al!” asked Jon as Alan turned to face him.
“Not much, Jon, I forgot to put in my time, and I want to get paid next week, so here I am.” Alan answered. “Hey, do you wanna join me at…”
“No way, man!” Jon exclaimed, his face grimacing at the thought. “I wouldn’t be caught dead at that sausage-fest! You have fun, though!” Jon said before ducking out of the cubicle.
Alan entered his time and then shut down the computer. Dejected, he sighed, and began to walk away from his desk to start his weekend. The smile on his face and the spring in his step were now gone.
“*sigh* Everybody makes fun of me just because I like something different.” Alan thought to himself as he left the building and slowly walked to his car. “I wish my coworkers would stop giving me crap for being a football fan!!”
It’s never easy being the odd man out, Listeners, so try to be nice. If you’d like to hear or read more super-short stories scribed and said by yours truly, visit eduardosoliz.com This has been Super-Short Story time. Remember, listeners, we’re all weirdos to somebody!
Christmas Eve is finally here, and with it comes family, food and glad tidings from me!
Need some tunes? Listen to “My Favorite Christmas Songs” on YouTube!
Scroll down and ponder over the Santa-verse!
A while back I mulled over the worlds that my short stories take place in and came up with three distinct ‘universes’ or ‘worlds’ that most of them would probably fit into:
- Earth-F, which is inhabited by talking animals and is where most of my funny stories take place
- Earth-H-Minus, where humans ‘blew it all up’ and the furries inherited the Earth…not quite so funny.
- Earth-M, where magic and furries exist, though outside of the Enchanted Forest stories, I haven’t done much there
Of course, there’s also boring old “Earth Prime,” which is our reality, such as it is. Most of my science-fiction would likely go here, since I try to make those stories at least somewhat plausible.
And then there are my Christmas stories. I thought it would be cool to tie them together, so in “The X-Mas File,” I had a character make a passing reference to what happened in “Christmas Wishes,” my first Christmas story. In 2017, I decided ‘why the heck not, let’s tie EVERYTHING together,’ so “Evidence,” my 2017 Christmas story, takes place at the fictional mega-corporation ‘Gooplezonsoft.’ Indeed, the events from “As Designed,” the first story to feature Gooplezonsoft, are alluded to there.
Thus, in the world of Gooplezonsoft: Santa Claus is real. He also doesn’t live at the North Pole, either, though you’ll have to read The X-Mas File to find out where he’s hiding. 😉
I’m not completely sure what to call that world, though. “Earth-S,” for Santa, perhaps? Either way, it’s a fun place to be and I already have an idea in mind for next year’s Christmas story, after I post a more upbeat one to make up for “Confession,” tomorrow.