Published Online September 27, 2019
The theme for Furry Invasion 2019 was “Cyberpunk,” which inspired this tale of two brothers trying to make a name for themselves in an unlikely place.
This is one of those stories that may actually take place sooner rather than later…I hope!
“I like the idea, but am I going to have those wires sticking out of my head?” The woman frowned, pointing at the slim salesman’s jet-black hair, from which two metal antennas extended. “No offense, dearie!” She quickly added.
Across the counter, Yavi frowned and shrugged his shoulders. The twenty-something had grown accustomed to being on the receiving end of such comments. “It’s no problem,” he said in a Russian accent.
The woman reached into her hair with both hands and produced two enhancers, resembling large melted chocolate chips. She placed them on the counter. “See, these are what I have now. They work okay, but Susan, the little tart, she can practically hear through walls with hers!”
Yavi picked one up and examined it: “Yes. These are made to not be seen, but they lack in performance. I presume your friend wears enhancers like mine, with long antennas?”
“Susan is not my friend.” The woman huffed. “But yes, they look like yours. She looks like a Martian hussy.”
“No worries.” Yavi replied. “We will do our best to minimize the, uhm, appearance, but the longer the antennas, the better the enhancers work. That’s just the way it is, ma’am.”
The customer placed an arm on her hip and sighed. Yavi frowned; he knew what was coming next.
“I’m sorry, dearie, but I just can’t be walking around looking like an ancient…oh, what did they call them? Oh yes, a tee-vee set!” The woman said. She picked up her sensors from the counter and reattached them onto her head.
“I understand, ma’am.” Yavi replied. “Ta-ta!” the customer chirped before turning around and walking away.
Before the woman exited the shop, Yavi cried: “If you change your mind, we’ll be here!”
The customer responded with a half-hearted wave back before exiting the shop.
Yavi banged a fist on the counter after the door closed. From behind him, his brother, clad in a polo shirt, bounced into the shop. “Have I missed anything, dear brother?” He placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder.
Yavi brushed the hand away. “You missed another customer not buying our enhancers because they look too ‘techie,’ too ‘nerdy,’ too ‘weird,’ Van.” Yavi made finger quotes around the objections. “Open cybernetic implant and enhancer shop in the nice part of town, my brother says. We’ll make a fortune, he says! The only thing we’re making here are fools of ourselves, Van.”
Van smiled and patted Yavi on the shoulder on his way to the store’s entrance. “You always were the emotional one, dear brother.” He locked the door and hung a sign that read: OUT TO LUNCH. “Come!” Van exclaimed, waving his arm. “I have devised an ingenious solution to our problem.” He walked past Yavi and through a door leading to the back of the shop.
Van sighed, then followed his brother into the back of the store past boxes of electronic components, muttering various expletives under his breath in both English and in their native tongue.
“You know what your problem is, Yavi?” Van loudly asked. Before Yavi could answer, he continued: “You are a techie…a gear-head, as they say in this country. You make things that work good, but you don’t make them look good.”
Yavi shrugged his shoulders and glanced upwards: “They look fine to me.”
“Exactly!” Van exclaimed. “They look good to you, my brother, but again, you are gear-head. Most people are not gear-heads.”
“Most people are idiots.” Yavi grumbled.
Van laughed and nodded his head in agreement: “This is very true, dear brother, but idiots have money.” He came to a sudden stop upon reaching a workbench. Yavi did not notice him and nearly stumbled forward into Van.
“This, my brother, is how we are going to get the idiot’s money!” Van spun around and proudly presented to his brother…a hairband upon which sat a pair of black fuzzy rabbit ears.
“Cute.” Yavi frowned, his hands balling into fists. “So we are selling costumes now?!” He growled.
“Take off your enhancers.” Van requested. Yavi tilted his head and glared back.
“Just do it.”
“Fine.” Yavi reached up and detached the metal antennas from the connectors implanted in his head. He then reached behind Van to place them onto the workbench with a loud smack.
Van handed him the rabbit ears. “Put them on.” Van smiled.
Yavi hesitated for a moment. He grunted and took the rabbit ears from Van to examine them. He flipped them over and saw a pair of connectors.
“These are enhancers?” Yavi asked.
“A new design, and our salvation.” Van smiled. “Try them on…I think you will be pleasantly surprised.“
Yavi responded with a humph, but raised the ears to his head and plugged them into the connectors implanted there. Van crossed his hands and looked back, nodding his head and smiling.
Yavi’s eyes narrowed, then widened. “My God.” He gasped. “I can hear…everything.” Yavi turned around and scanned the room. “This is incredible! How?”
Van turned around to pick an enhancers from the workbench. “It is very simple. Instead of one or two large sensors, like these.” He raised one up and pointed at it with his other hand. “We weave many smaller sensors together. More effective, and it looks like fur, so why not make them into something fun!” He smiled. Suddenly, Yavi took off running towards the storefront. “Brother?” Van asked.
Upon reaching the storefront, Van saw his brother unlocking the door. “What are you doing?” He asked.
“She is coming back!” Yavi answered, scrambling to unlock the door. He yanked the OUT TO LUNCH sign off the door and ran back to the counter. “Do I look okay?” He asked Van while smoothing out his T-shirt.
“Yes.” Van snickered. “You make a very handsome bunny. Are you okay, Yavi?”
“Shhh!” Yavi whispered. “Here she comes!”
The door opened and the customer Yavi had talked to previously entered the shop with a slip in one hand. She began to ask “Can one of you dearies validate…” Upon seeing Yavi, she stopped dead still and stared at him for a moment before exploding in laughter. “OH MY GAWSH!” She bellowed, pointing at Yavi’s ears. “Those are so cute!”
“Thank you!” Yavi answered. “Is new model enhancer. Works much better than previous model and much more fashionable than TV antennas!” Smiling, he pointed up at the ears.
Giggling, the customer trotted to the counter and stared intently at Yavi’s ears for a moment. She reached to touch them but stopped short of doing so. “Oh my gosh! I want a pair! Do you sell other colors?” She asked.
Yavi turned to Van and asked: “Do we sell other colors?”
“Of course we do!” Van exclaimed. “Your pair will be custom made, and if you will allow me a moment, madam, I will take your order.” He reached for a pen and pad. Grinning, he asked: “What color would you like, madam?” Yavi walked to the back of the store while his brother discussed the woman’s purchase.
Ten minutes later, the woman exited the shop. “Our first customer!” Van exclaimed. “But one thing puzzles me, Yavi. How did you know she was coming?”
“I could hear her talking on her phone outside thanks to these.” Yavi answered, pointing at his ears.
“Woww.” Van gasped. “Brother, I think we’re going to be okay.” He stopped. “Oh. I almost forgot something.”
“She wants to know if we also sell tails.”
“We do now!” Van laughed and slapped Yavi on the shoulder. Yavi punched his brother’s arm in return. The two brothers laughed.