I am spiritual and superstitious. It’s true. Maybe it’s dumb and I offend my “there is no afterlife” atheist friends, but a lot the “happy accidents” in my life have happened by following hunches. I have gotten a lot of long-time friends this way. Thus it is with my writing.
So, I was at Anime Mid Atlantic last weekend. I am their cosplay emcee, run by Tiki Tanuki, a great cosplay wrangler and master. I have to plug her work, she’ because she is really a great, confident boss and deserves praise for her work. Anyway, I was also keeping an eye on the Katsucon table, as now my friend and long-time Katsucon staffer Christian was running it for the first time. He did pretty good for the first time around, and took a lot of rolls with the punches as her figured some stuff out. Part of this was he got trapped in traffic on Friday, and we only had 4 volunteers (me, Sean, Scarlet, and Natalie) and a box of flyers to man it. During a break where I alone was at the table, someone came up to me. He looked like a gangly older teenager, maybe 17-19 years old. I am bad at age, so if he’s reading this, sorry if I got it wrong.
“Hey… are you Grig Larson?” He asked with mild enthusiasm. “Writer of the Punk Walrus Saga?”
Holy hell, I rarely hear that title brought up at anime cons. And usually by older people because I published that damn thing in 1993. Nearly 20 years ago. I have to remind myself, because I have a dark sense of sick humor that likes to shock myself, that it would be like graduating high school and meeting someone, “Hey, did you write that book in the 60s?”
“Why yes,” I said with a growing smile. “How did you hear about it?”
“Hear about it? It’s big in the furry community!”
I swear to God, if this was a sitcom, I would hear a record needle scratch in the background. You see, I am not… that cool with furries. A few of you may not know what a “furry” is, so in a nutshell, it is a subculture of people who dress like animals. Some more than others. A few might wear a cat tail and cat ears, and a few wear full body suits like they work for a children’s TV show.
I do not HATE furries, and not that I want them banned from anime cons or anywhere… they just ook me out. Like clowns. After spending some time with furry friends of mine, who were put off by my distaste of their culture and wanted to set me straight, I realized I got ooked out by furries for several reasons:
- The entire coulrophobic, “scary clown” thing; I don’t trust people I can’t see their expressions behind for reasons that are too spiritually mumbo-jumbo for me to get into on this writing blog. Lumbering, expressionless costumes with people behind them, especially fannish and damaged people, are really disconnecting and disconcerting to me. For those who don’t have this fear, imagine this: you live in a world where a few people walk around with a voiceover that speaks for them. And the voices that emanate from their still mouths don’t always match their expressions. Like a cute little girl, eating an ice cream cone like a normal child, but speaking (without moving her lips) with a deep male voice that says the bleeding won’t stop. That level of fucking creepy. I am more okay with furries who are not wearing large head gear than those who are. I am even MORE comfortable if they LOOK scary. Gwar costumes? Awesome. Girl with cat ears, a tail, and a bell around her neck? Cute. A giant fox with a Disney-like expression, twirling their tail and flirting? GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!
- A smaller subset of furry fandom is about “yiffing,” which is the sound supposedly made when those in full body costumes have sex; like the sound a fat person wearing corduroy pants might make walking down the street. How much of furry fandom has a bestiality level I do not know. Working in anime, a lot of people assume we all want to fuck underage anime girls with an octopus, so I understand that outsider perceptions are often poorly stereotyped. Bestiality, which I place with necrophilia and pedophilia, are crimes to me because they force sex on the unwilling. But does dressing up as a rabbit and dog, and then fucking one another, constitute bestiality? I don’t know, Punkie, does it? I think if anyone wants a real answer to this, they should ask a furry until I sort this out.
- I have met a lot of messed up furries. I don’t know if there are more messed up furries than, say, messed up NASCAR enthusiasts, but coupled with #1 and #2, it seemed like more. I knew a girl once into “pony play” that I think is a danger to herself and others, but truthfully, the pony play was only a small part of what was wrong with that girl. She also smeared her excrement on the door handles of ex boyfriends (and those she wanted to think were her ex boyfriends) and was arrested for biting people in Harbor Place in downtown Baltimore (no lie; her defense was she thought they were a sugar cube).
Me and my furry friends reached a truce where I don’t speak about furry things with them. I have to be honest, I am not out to get them, and if there was ever a “fandom versus mundane” war, I’d be happy to have them on my side. I just have my own issues I have to work through.
Which apparently the Forces-That-Be just decided would have to be done sooner than later. Mildly amused at the Gods’ prank on me, ha ha, I followed up with my usual thanks. He wasn’t done, though.
“Have you written anything more than that one book?”
I had. I had a sequel that never got published because the old publishing company/distributor that put it out was now dead. My old book was available through Mystic Station Designs for a while, but they refocused their core business model back to gaming only, and my book had poor sales, so it got cut. I still have to get those books back.
“You should totally publish them again,” he said. “Let the furries know.”
I told some of my furry friends. They laughed. HARD. While not all of them knew of my book, the tellings of my story were met with a range of, “Of course!” and “You wrote a book in 1993? I was like, 2 years old then.” Thank goodness I don’t have this fear of aging, as I have friends that would see that phrase alone as, “You are a drain on society, and have done nothing with your life. This iceberg we have put you on grandma, will drift only a little while before you are eaten by a polar bear, where you might serve as some final use to those in need.”
But most agreed to the thing I feared most: “You need to republish them.” So, I think that’s my next project after “Space Bitch.” I will medicate on this, but if all goes according to plan, I think I will release them as multiple short stories, with a final compilation as a 20th anniversary edition.
My God have mercy upon my soul. Because they started it.