Super Short Storytime: “Where Credit is Due”

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Art by Chris Holm

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!”

THE END.


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!

300 Seconds Episode 90: “A few words before Furry Invasion 2018”

Listen to the podcast here!

I was recently a guest on Tommy Kovacs Splat from the Past podcast. Join us as we discuss our convention experiences in California and Texas.  That’s Splat from the Past, episode number 215, on YouTube. And now, on with the show…

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!

300 Seconds Episode #85: “Self-Checked Out”

Listen to this podcast episode here!

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 85: “Self-Checked Out” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

After hearing good things from friends about the movie Coco for the last few weeks, I decided to finally watch it the other day.  I don’t go to the movies very often, and when I do, I like to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.  Also, the fact that the tickets are cheaper is also a nice bonus.  I woke up and got dressed a little too late to catch the earliest show that was nearby, so I thought I’d catch the next one which was a few miles away.  The theater was one that I hadn’t been to since I moved out of that area a number of years ago, and it was a little bit of a drive.

It was eleven o’clock in the morning and I hadn’t had breakfast yet, and I’m a breakfast guy.   Whataburger is my usual go-to in the mornings, but I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ that comes in just after breakfast hours asking for breakfast.   As a quick side note: Honey-butter chicken biscuits and BoBs would be great any time of the day, Whataburger.  I’m just sayin’

I remembered there was also McDonald’s on the way and thought a sausage biscuit would at least  get me through the movie.  Unless I’m in a huge hurry, I don’t like using the drive-thru window.  Since I spend nearly all of my workday sitting behind a computer and then go home and…sit behind a computer, I like to get on my feet whenever I can, so I parked my car and went inside.

I had never been to this McDonald’s before, but I figured it that it would be like most of the others I had been to.   I mean, it’s a McDonald’s, you know?  I walked in and the first thing I noticed was four giant screens to my left, beckoning me to use them place an order.  The second thing that I noticed was that nobody was using them, and since there w ere a few people in line, I thought I’d walk up to the touch screen and get a taste of The Future!

I have to admit, it was pretty neat ordering, it was like using an app on a really big phone.  Since there was nobody waiting behind me in line, I could take my time looking over the menu.  There was also an option to customize my order, which I didn’t really need but something to check out for later.  A card reader just below the screen allowed me to pay, and my receipt popped out of a slot to the left of the screen.  I placed my order, then walked away from the screen to wait.  Was it faster than going to the register?  Probably not, because not only did I take my time looking over the menu, but I had to learn how to use the system.

As I stood and waited for my order, a woman walked into the restaurant and also walked up to one of the screens.  She stared at it for a few seconds, tentatively poked at the screen a few times, then turned to ask somebody:  “Do I have to use the screen?”

The other customer told her ‘no’ and pointed to the register.  With a sigh of relief, the woman said “Oh, good” and she walked over to wait in line at the register.  I smiled.  Clearly, The Future had not arrived for her just yet.  I was genuinely surprised, because the woman was not very old.  Now don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t very young, either, but to me, at least, she appeared to be young enough to go: “Okay, maybe I’ll give this a shot.”

For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about how automated kiosks and self-check-outs are going to put people out of work, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.  Lots of folks, like the woman I saw in that McDonald’s, just aren’t going to be willing to try the new thing, and for people that are willing to try it, there is going to be a learning curve which will take some time to work through.  Let’s also not forget the people that do try it and get stuck, which I know all of you have witnessed if you’ve spent any time in a grocery store self-checkout.

As for me, I look forward to taking the opportunity to avoid any unnecessary human contact, because, well, I’m a computer guy, and that’s what we do.

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after my I pre-order my tickets for Wreck-It-Ralph 2.  I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 Seconds subscribe via iTunes and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com, and thanks you for listening!