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!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 92, “Needless Things,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Now that the Texas weather has taken a turn for the slightly cooler, I’ve been talking walks around the neighborhood to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Some days I walk in the morning, and some days I walk in the evening. As I go around the neighborhood, I’ll often see people outside, watering their lawns, playing with children, tending to plants, or sometimes cleaning out their garages.
The garages intrigue me; they are nearly always packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff: Bicycles, tools, lawn mowers, children’s toys, exercise equipment, and, of course, boxes. Stacks and stacks of boxes, oftentimes nearly piled up to the ceiling. Cars, SUVs and trucks are often relegated to the driveway or to the street. No room at the inn, as it were.
Seeing all of those garages filled with boxes made me think about all the stuff that I kept in my house; I’m not that bad, I reassured myself. After all, I had enough room left in my garage to use it for its intended purpose, so I’m not one of those people.
That notion got thrown out of the window when I sold my house. I got a realtor and began moving out in anticipation of the house being shown to potential buyers. The realtor drilled it into my head that I had to make sure to remove or secure anything that was ‘stealable’ from the house before the showings started. Right or wrong, I interpreted that as ‘get all of my DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, comic books, books-books, music CDs and nearly all of my computer stuff out of the house.’ As my storage unit slowly began to fill up with boxes, I began to realize, that yes, I did have quite a bit of stuff myself.
By the time the house went on the market and the showings began, I had done a pretty good job of minimizing the amount of stuff that was inside, by either putting stuff into storage or giving stuff away to charity. In many cases, I had two of the same thing that I either didn’t need anymore or I didn’t see myself needing in the future because my next residence will probably be an apartment. One computer went into storage. The second television set that was kept in the bedroom for guests, I sold for cheap to a relative and I did the same with the second living room sofa.
It felt odd to see my house without a lot of the stuff inside of it that made it, well, mine. As a concession to myself, I left the artwork hanging on the walls, as if to say: This house might be up for sale, buster, but until you sign a check, it’s still my house, dagnabbit.
I lived with less stuff for a few weeks as the sale of the house went through, and except for a few moments when I wanted to watch a particular movie, I didn’t really miss the stuff all that much. Granted, I didn’t get rid of everything, I still had my Xbox for entertainment. I moved in with some friends after selling the house, and most of the stuff that I had kept in storage, remained there. The experience made me realize that I can do without quite a bit of stuff, so maybe I’m not doing that bad, after all.
I think we need find a new word to describe the storage units that garages seem to inevitably become. Instead of being a place to store a vehicle, garages have become a place to keep the needless things in our lives; old things that will likely never be used again and yet, they are the things that we just can’t bear to part with. I won’t lie, though. Once I get life squared away and I’m back at my own place, those needless things will be back in my life, taking up space. Or maybe not. After all, I probably won’t have a garage to keep them in, and paying somebody to keep my needless things stashed away kind of sucks.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I make a run to my storage unit. If you’d like to hear or read more of my words visit Eduardo Soliz dot com. Thank you for listening!
As the writer in this story is about to learn, just because someone else has a different job than you do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier. Featured in Fuzzy Words, this furry fracas is titled “Where Credit Is Due.”
The weasel’s tail swished back and forth rapidly as he paced back and forth in his living room with a cell phone held up to one ear. “The script is done, Mark, but I can’t seem to get the songs down, and well, you can’t have a musical without music, right?” He joked in a feeble attempt to appease the angry producer he was speaking with.
Mark was not pleased at William’s attempt at humor, and he let the nervous weasel know: “This is not the time for jokes, Will! I am going to be out several thousand dollars for your advance, not to mention a lot more if you don’t give me a script to put on! It’s been nine months! What’s going on in that head of yours? Are you homesick? Girl trouble? Guy trouble?”
William hesitated before answering. “Do you really want to know, Mark?”
Mark regained some of his composure and eagerly replied, “Well. Yeah, Will. This delay isn’t doing either one of us any good, so…so let’s talk it through and figure this thing out for both our sakes. What’s eating you, man?”
William let out a heavy sigh before answering: “Well, it’s that, uh, I haven’t seen my Muse lately, and, well, I’m pretty useless without her.”
This time, a flabbergasted Mark hesitated briefly before speaking. “Whoa. I did not just hear that. Did you say your Muse?” he asked with a nervous laugh.
“Yeah. My Muse…”
“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING, WILL? That has to be THE nuttiest thing I’ve heard in all my years working on Barkway! Have you lost your mind? You know what? Don’t answer that, ‘cause I think I already know. I need a finished script by the end of next week, or you are finished working in this town, do you understand me? FINISHED. Nobody will touch you with a twenty-foot leash after I’m done. Get some help and get it done, Will!”
Even the beep that William heard as Mark ended the call sounded angry. William collapsed onto his living room sofa, closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. My career is over, William thought as he dropped his cell phone onto the carpeted floor and contemplated the dreary future ahead of him.
After a few moments, he opened his eyes to find her there. His Muse. She was a short, sprightly thing: a mink almost completely covered in brown fur except for her muzzle, which was white. She stood over him and looked down at William with a big goofy grin on her face. William stared back for a few moments before the Muse finally broke the silence.
“Hi-eee!” she cheerfully said as she waved a hand in front of William’s face. In response, he groaned and rubbed his eyes before sitting up on the sofa. This was not the reaction that the Muse was expecting, and she began to pout: “Hey, I thought that you’d be happy to see me, Willie!”
“It’s William, and just where have you been?” an agitated William answered. “I need to finish this play because I’ve got a producer breathing down my neck, and if I don’t get it done, he’s going to want his advance back. You know, the one I already used to pay my rent.”
The shocked Muse took a step back. She opened her mouth to speak, but William cut her off:
“What is it with you, anyway? You’re never there when I need you. You pop up at the worst possible times, or at the last minute, like now. You can’t show up whenever I’m sitting at my laptop, you know, WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE. No, that makes too much sense. Instead, you pop up whenever you feel like it, like when I’m in the shower, or when I can’t sleep at two in the morning, or when I’m out on a date. I then have to drop whatever it is I’m doing so I can jot something down because I have NO DOGGONE IDEA when you’re going to decide to grace me with your presence again!”
For a moment the Muse looked as if she were about to burst into tears. Instead, she regained her composure, took a deep breath, stepped towards William, and unleashed a tirade of her own:
“Oh, so you think it’s so easy to do MY job? You think you’re the ONLY so-called ‘creative’ person that needs a little extra help every now and then? Well, let me tell you, Buddy, you AREN’T. Every day, I have to help loads of people just like you finish their books or their poems or their scripts or their songs or their paintings or their sculptures. Every. Single. Day. It never ends: ‘I’m on a deadline!’ ‘My assignment is due next week!’ “My mom’s birthday is tomorrow!’ ‘Help me!’
So I show up, inspire somebody, and what I get for my trouble? Nothing! Nada, zero, zip, zilch. When people say: ‘Oh, what a wonderful work of art,’ does the artist ever mention me? No. Do you ever hear somebody say, ‘Thank you, Muse,’ in an acceptance speech? NO! I-I don’t even get residuals!”
A bewildered William interrupted her. “But you’re a Muse…what would you even do with money?” He asked.
“SHUT UP!” she snapped back. “It’s the principle!” she said, turning away from William.
William started to approach the Muse, but since her long fluffy tail was in the way, he walked around to face her.
“So you’re just looking for some recognition, huh?” William asked.
“Just a little would be nice.” The Muse said coyly.
William thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. He enthusiastically asked the Muse, “What if, I were to write a play with you in it?”
The Muse pointed a finger at herself before speaking. “With little old me?” she said with feigned modesty.
“Sure. It will be…” William took a step back, assumed a dramatic pose and spoke as if he were narrating a movie trailer: “The inspirational tale of a guy who’s down on his luck. He can’t get a break, and just when he’s hit rock bottom and things can’t get any worse…” he stopped to point at the Muse with both hands, “His Muse appears out of the blue and saves his tail!”
“Yay!” chirped the Muse in a delighted tone, clapping her hands as she excitedly hopped up and down on both feet. “I’d like that, Willie. I really would. Have you thought of a name for it yet?”
William stifled a laugh before answering: “What else could I call it? Un-a-mused!”
With a smile and a wink, the Muse replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll let you take the credit for that one, Willie!”
Inspiration is where you find it, Dear Listeners, that is, assuming it doesn’t find you first. For more super-short, super-silly stories, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com. This has been Super-Short Storytime, and remember, listeners; always cite your sources!
In the future, a pair of friends join the Space Force but don’t exactly end up where they want to be. In light of current events, I should mention that this story was written in 2014. Of course, lots of other folks have had similar notions for years.
It has always been my goal to create a paper book. The problem with doing so is that my short stories are so short that I had to accumulate a pretty good number of them (27 in all) in order to have a book of reasonable length printed.
Naturally, I encountered a bit of a learning curve in publishing something physical. In the digital world, there is no concern about margins and fonts and all of that stuff, because the screen that your book is going to be read on may be of any size and the reader can adjust the text font and text size to their liking. In the print world, you have bleeds and gutters and covers and inches and all sorts of things that need to be done the right way.
Things have certainly changed for the better: Way back when, if you wanted to print a paper book on your own, you had to go through a vanity publisher, which meant paying to have a few hundred (or thousand!) copies printed. This meant that you took a big risk of being stuck with boxes of books that nobody wanted to buy. Thanks to modern print-on-demand technology, paperbacks can be printed as they’re ordered, so just like in the e-book world, your cost of entry is nearly zero, save for the purchase of proof copies.
I gave both CreateSpace and NookPress a try, and ended up going with CreateSpace because of their expanded distribution options. Also their books seemed to be of higher quality and they offered a better discount to authors purchasing their own copies.
A funny thing happened as I showed friends my print proofs; I repeatedly got this ‘so you’re a real writer now’ vibe (and a comment or two) from them. Never mind that I’ve published quite a few digital ones. Oh well, what can you do?
In any event, now that I’ve finished my first one, I can’t wait to do another!
So somebody else got that promotion instead of you and you aren’t happy because you feel that you should have gotten the nod. I get it; I’ve been there myself. But before you come to your bosses (including me) asking why you didn’t get it, ask yourself:
Can you honestly say you are the best at doing your job compared to everyone else? If you have to think it over before answering, the answer is likely no. Even if one person does the job better than you do, guess what? They’re ahead of you.
Do you slack off? Be honest. You do. I know that you do. Heck, I do, too. Everybody does and that’s okay, as long as you’re discreet about it. Here’s the kicker, though: If the guy next to you slacks off less, he’s ahead of you. If he doesn’t slack of at all, guess what? You can’t slack off at all, either, unless you want to be second-best.
Do you give your superiors attitude or treat them with disrespect? Don’t worry, you aren’t the first person to give me crap and I give my bosses crap too. But I only do so when I have a good reason to. Only when I was two hundred percent certain that I am right did I even think about going there. If you throw back attitude at your bosses for no reason, we don’t want you in charge of people. If you can’t respect the people above you, we’re pretty sure you are not going to respect the people beneath you. If that other guy isn’t a jerk and you are, guess what? We’re going to pick him before we pick you.
Do you take on challenging tasks? It’s okay to go in over your head if you think you have a strong chance of success. You don’t have to always succeed, and that’s okay, but you need to show that you are willing to go where angels fear to tread every once in a while. If that other guy is kicking more ass than you are, guess what? He’s the one we want.
So why did that other guy get the promotion instead of you? They did their job better than you did, slacked off less than you did, give their bosses less crap than you did and kicked more ass than you did. You didn’t get promoted because you weren’t good, you didn’t get promoted because the other guy was better than you.
I forget which short story collection I was working on and discussing with a friend, but he posed an interesting question as we were chatting:
Why is your name always at the bottom of your covers? Shouldn’t it be on the top?
While I may not completely produce my own covers anymore (for the better, as you can likely tell) I do place the text atop the artwork. The decision to de-emphasize myself was a conscious one and I did it for a very simple reason:
Nobody knows who I am.
It’s a harsh thing to admit, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If I put “Eduardo Soliz” on the top of a cover, a potential reader might think that the book is about a guy with that name, or they might even think it’s in Spanish. Either way, my name (right now, at least) is not a very big selling point.
Stephen King and James Patterson and those guys, yeah, they can put their names up top because people will recognize then as authors who’s work they enjoy so they’ll be more inclined to pick up a book with their name on top and buy it.
Someday, I’ll be ‘big enough’ to have the nerve to put my name at the top of the page, but until then, I’ll have to play second fiddle to the books themselves.