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, 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 expertslike 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!
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.
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!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 91: A few words after Furry Invasion 2018, so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Furry Invasion took place at the El Tropicano Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio last weekend, October 5-7. I did my best to pack in as much fun as I could in between shifts at work: I hung out for a little while on early Friday to pick up my badge and I made it out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Overall, Furry Invasion was a marked improvement over last year, but once again, there are a number of little nitpicks that affected me personally that I’m going to bring up. Spoiler alert: They still have panel issues.
I arrived at registration at about ten o’clock on Friday morning and it went pretty quickly; there was really nobody in line. They scanned my e-mail, checked my ID and I got my stuff…awesome! I didn’t hear any squawking about registration this year, though there were a few complaints about finding registration, it was kind of in a weird spot, but that was expected. Two quick nitpicks about registration, however. Number one: Stickers are supposed to go on the BADGE ITSELF, not on the badge holder. Second, and this is more for the people running the show; if you have a guy that’s hacking and coughing his guts out, maybe he shouldn’t be in a position to be handing out credit cards, IDs and badges TO MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE CONVENTION. Yeah, the guy that checked me out let out a nice fit of coughing after he gave me my stuff, which made me very glad that I carry hand sanitizer with me.
One big complaint I heard about throughout the weekend was parking: Last year there was a parking lot across the street, however this year new hotel is being built in that space, so that significantly reduced the number of available parking spots. As for me, I was able to easily find meter parking on Baltimore street near the hotel on each day of the convention. My biggest trouble was having enough quarters 😉 Now this is an issue with the venue itself, another venue issue that came up was the elevators breaking down.
And now I’m going to talk about panels for a little bit because there are a number of issues going on here. It was a pretty good plan on paper: The panel schedule itself was done ahead of time, which is good, and the leadership decided to put the panel [schedule] online, and that’s also good. There was also a screen set up with the panel schedules rotating and a QR code that you could scan to pull up the schedule on your phone. This is also good. Unfortunately the plan kinda fell apart in the execution.
To begin with, putting the schedule on the website isn’t a bad idea, but the Furry Invasion website is not optimized for phones. That’s being polite, because it’s pretty awful on phones. Here’s the thing, guys, it’s cool that y’all have an online digital schedule that you can update on the fly, but there is nothing wrong with paper. Once your schedule is as final as it’s going to be, print out a bunch of copies. Hang a copy of each room’s schedule outside the door. Also, make a PDF copy and have that be downloadable from your website.
So I had a weird exchange with my friend Mordecai on Saturday; he thought my Furry 101 panel was at 6PM. I told him it was at 5 and he said the conbook said 6. This really confused me because Furry 101 wasn’t even mentioned in the conbook. Turns out that Mordecai was given a copy of LAST year’s conbook. Don’t that that guys. Just don’t. Recycle them. I was also given a less than ideal time and the crappiest room in the convention, but you know, what are you going to do? Based on all that, I’m probably going to skip presenting next year. On the plus side, they did have a projector set up.
Speaking of scheduling, for whatever reason the fursuit parade started before its scheduled time. I was on my way to get a soda from the machine in the lobby when all of a sudden I saw furries marching towards me. It was all I could do to scramble to find a spot and remember how to work my camera, which is what happens when you have a job that wakes you up at five in the morning.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m nitpicking a lot. When I have to nitpick like this, it’s because most of the convention was good. I had a good time, and I’ve been hearing lots of good things both online and off about Furry Invasion 2018. Overall, I think things will continue to get better as the staff builds from their experience, and I’ll definitely be back next year.
Furry Invasion 2018 was a good con overall. Except for issues related to the venue and my own personal panel issues, which admittedly, are my own, there were no major issues present on the part of the con itself. I had an enjoyable time, when I was able to get out there, I will certainly be back next year, hopefully for the whole thing. The theme for next year’s Furry Invasion is going to be ‘Cyberpunk’ and it appears to be taking place on the weekend of October 4, 2019, and I look forward to seeing you there…or perhaps I should say ‘furward!’
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I recover from the long weekend of work and fun. I am Eduardo Soliz, please subscribe to this podcast and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories. Thank you for listening!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 90: A few words before Furry Invasion: The Road to Furdition, so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Furry Invasion will be happening at the El Tropicano Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio this weekend, October 5-7 with badge pickup happening tomorrow night. Because life has been getting in the way of my fun lately, I will only be at Furry Invasion Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I’ll be presenting my Furry 101 panel on Saturday afternoon at 5PM in the Bolivar C room. If you or someone you know would like to know more about the fandom, then come on down.
This is the second year for Furry Invasion; last year’s show was a solid first effort that had a few hiccups here and there, including a few that affected me personally, so just a heads up, this is going to get just a little bitey.
The biggest issues that I had last year were the slow registration line and the panel schedule being disorganized. The problem with registration last year was that attendees were required to print their registration sheets at the convention which slowed down the process considerably. At other conventions, attendees are allowed to print out their preregistrations beforehand, allowing them to be processed much more quickly. I’m happy to report that I was allowed to print out my registration paperwork after paying, so that should make things more efficient. While that problem appears to have been solved, a new one has been introduced by the convention’s choice to put registration in the hotel’s ballroom, which is in the back of the hotel and on the third floor. This is going to make signage VERY important and staff should also be aware of how to get to registration so they can direct people there.
My second beef last year was with the panel scheduling; the schedule that was printed in the conbook ended up being different than the actual schedule, due to some changes being made after the original schedule was made. This led to some confusion among attendees and presenters, including myself. Fortunately, the Powers That Be decided to make the schedule digital this year, which means that last minute-changes can be made without fear of ending up with an outdated print schedule, so good on them. What I’m hoping happens is that they print out each panel room’s schedule and post it outside so folks can see what is happening.
While Furry Invasion has made efforts to fix their registration and panel scheduling issues from last year, one thing that was sadly not addressed, was the weather. Now, you may be asking yourself: What can the convention do about the weather? Well, they can try to push the con ahead a week or two in the hopes that the weather cools down. Cooler weather makes it easier for fursuiters to go outside and have fun, puts less strain on the venue’s air conditioning and is just nicer. Should there be a third go-round, Furry Invasion really needs to look at pushing their date forward a week or two.
I openly admit that yes, I am harping on the convention a bit, but that’s mainly because the first two issues I mentioned were really touchy issues for me personally. As I mentioned at the top, the first Furry Invasion went well; if the registration and panel problems weren’t there it likely would have been a great show instead of a good one. Year two should be better since steps have been taken to address most of the issues from last year and the staff will have a year of experience under their belt to build on.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after the convention. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe to this podcast or check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories. Thank you for listening!
Even though I’m bear-ly in my 40s 😀 I joined an online group for older furries recently. After a while, my Spidey-Sense began to tell me that most of other folks in the group have at least a decade or two on me:
“I hate that thing that’s popular with the young people!”
Black and white pictures
Scans of actual Polaroid pictures
Pictures rotated the wrong way
Five-year old memes
“Why is this [meme] funny? It makes no sense!”
When people say ‘back in the day’ they REALLY mean it
San Antonio’s first furry convention, Alamo City Furry Invasion, took place this past weekend. Many locals (including myself) were excited to have a furry convention in our hometown and I noticed a few things during the furry fun:
BEFORE-Sorry guys, but ‘Alamo City Furry Invasion’ as a name is too long, I’ve just been calling it ‘Furry Invasion.’
RealmsCon also happened over the same weekend, so I have another reason to not go there.
Thing we forgot to mention on the pre-game podcast: Parking around the con itself is going to be ‘fun’ especially for those of us not getting a hotel room.
There was some confusion about the availability of a projector. We were told to reserve the one projector they had, which was odd considering I checked a box that said ‘I need a projector’ when submitting my panel.
I made arrangements to have one just in case.
Day before the con and we don’t have an online map
There have been a few complaints beforehand about the potential parking costs, oh well.
Took a walk around the hotel Thursday afternoon and it was plenty warm, which doesn’t bode well for our fursuiters.
Surprised they aren’t doing a ‘print out your email’ thing for pre-registrations, hope that doesn’t slow down registration.
FRIDAY-Pleasant surprise: Free parking for hotel guests while it was available. I fed the meter.
I had to make jokes about “Don’t let your meter expire or Judy Hopps will pay you a visit!”
I see the hotel and Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ pops in my head.
As always, the guy with the Bluetooth speaker has to have crappy taste in music. I swear it’s a physical law at this point.
Got into the reg line at 3:38 and waited for 45 minutes, pbbt
The ‘WE’RE SORRY’ guy in the reg line finally got on my nerves and I had to open a can of manager on him.
Fire alarm lights go off at 541 on Friday, oh boy.
Little Kid: “Pokémon!” Dad: “I don’t think those are Pokémon…”
Just a little sadface over not getting a personalized dog tag…does that make me weird?
The comic book was a lame substitute, and it’s not good to see staff members with tags
No furry Westerns for movie night? Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron? An American Tail: Fivel Goes West?
If I’d have realized there were going to be so many people there on Friday, I would have shaved!
SATURDAY-Up bright and early so I can shave (see above) and get a parking spot (see #3)
There were plenty of parking spots with meters around the hotel and even some $1-$2 parking a block away.
You still have to feed the meter on Saturday? LAME
Downloadable PDF format for the schedule would have been nice
Oh wait, the online schedule is different than the printed one, uh-oh.
That is, assuming you can read it, looks like they used they used 4-point font.
Nice job of giving credit where credit is due at opening ceremonies
For fuzzing sake, can we keep fetish gear out of furcons already?
Stop popping your heads and breaking the magic, people!
They definitely dropped the ball on the schedule. What is most surprising to me is either the staff didn’t notice or they chose to not do anything about it. No bueno.
How to handle major screw-ups: 1-Apologize. 2-Take no more than two sentences to say what went wrong. 3-Tell us how YOU ARE GOING TO FIX IT.
I mention the previous item because I heard the same ‘printer guy screwed up the schedule’ story way too many fuzzing times. WE DON’T CARE WHAT WENT WRONG JUST FIX IT.
Regardless, I got by with a little (okay, a lot) of help from my friends for Furry 101.
A bunch of quiet people attended Furry 101, there were no questions for me at the end!
Some parents were there too, and were very complimentary after the fact.
OMG all the Amber Alerts
Seems I forgot to turn off the Amber Alerts on my new phone, too. DERP
Guillermo’s Italian restaurant near the hotel was delicious.
Had to do karaoke to finally get Copacabana out of my head.
Forgot about the 20-bar instrumental break in the middle, should have found a dance partner.
Going to be hard to not wear my Dallas Cowboys jersey on Sunday. GET IT? COWBOYS? 😀
I wasn’t even aware of the food trucks, need to work on communication, there. Maybe a bulletin board?
Bedbugs, tire slashing and threats? It’s a party now.
I won’t lie, my eyes got a little misty when one guy did ‘Free Fallin’ during karaoke. God Bless Tom Petty.
SUNDAY-To the person who glomped another fursuiter: YOU SUCK
Apparently fursuiters weren’t happy with the fursuit lounge closing at night. Even by my cranky middle-aged standards, 10 o’clock is WAY too early.
Another furry watching football? SAY IT AIN’T SO!
If you’re still telling Tony Romo jokes now, stop talking about football. Just. Stop.
Had my panel cancelled on Sunday because I was feeling way
oo hungry that afternoon…and they scheduled it opposite closing ceremonies.
737 attendees, wow!
IMO attendance would have been higher but for RealmsCon being the same weekend in Corpus Christi and some folks in Houston are likely still recovering from the hurricane.
I should probably get a room next year so I’m not dragging my tail home in the middle of the night.
Overall, it was good but y’all really need to fix that scheduling, guys!