Posted by u/kikistiel:
I am an artist, and my main job before the one I have now was selling my work at comic, anime, and video game cons across the US and Canada, and sometimes in more countries. It was surprisingly a lucrative job if you did it right and I enjoyed it, and required a lot more work than people realized. But I digress, the point is I was familiar with the convention scene and this leads me to my next point:
I used to take commissions at conventions but I stopped doing them years ago because I got too busy and my art had improved enough that $100 felt too low for my skill level, and I’m all about artists pricing their work fairly and not working for pennies. A couple of years ago, just as I had started phasing out commission work, a man had approached me at a con. You get a lot of socially awkward people at cons, to be expected, but 99.5% of them are really sweet and just like to talk about stuff the dig. If you have a good amount of patience, it’s enjoyable.
But this guy... he immediately asked me if I did commissions. I said no, unfortunately not anymore. He asked me how much my prices were, and usually when people ask I just... quote some arbitrary high number just to get them to throw out the idea without outright telling them no. And if they want to pay it, well. Then we can talk. I said $350. He said, cool, done. In cash? I was stammering at him, not expecting him to go for it. Eventually I just asked him what he wanted. To make a long story shorter, he wanted furry art. Soft core, to be exact. I had never in my life done furry art, but I knew how lucrative it seemed to be. I said, "Oh, each character would be extra. NSFW would be extra too. This would be a big commission." He’s like, "Oh, no worries. How much extra?"
This went back and forth for a while and to save time, he paid me $700, in cash, on the spot.
After I did it in one night in my hotel room, I found he had taken my business card and had given my email to his friends who may be interested in commissioning art. The requests for weirder and weirder, but the pay stayed surprisingly good. Eventually, I ended up making a FurAffinity account under a fake name and tweaked my style and techniques enough that no one could ever trace the art back to me. I decided to just fully embrace the furry art bank life. It was open season — I guarantee you I was a no-name in that community and still made good money, so I’m horrified to think what the really popular artists get.
Things went downhill when I mistakenly befriended someone in the community. She was another furry artist, and we just sort of hit it off in the online community. She seemed like an edgy self-hating furry so our jabbing humor at the expense of furries made us bond. She was cool, all was well. Eventually I admitted to her that I didn’t actually [care] about furries, and she took it in stride. Said she understood why I used the community to make money because she wished she wasn’t a furry either, but you can’t help what you like.
She told me that if I really wanted to make bank, I should go to a furry convention. I was immediately like no. Never in my life, but she told me about an anime con that I regularly attended that next year would be sharing the same venue and weekend as a furry convention. Just table hop, she said. She told me to split her table with her, try it out, see how I fared. I already had a table at the anime con, so I was like sure, why the hell not? What could it hurt?
We decided to even share a hotel room. This isn’t uncommon. In artist alleys many artists room share together since we have similar schedules and don’t tend to party hard because we are working. She seemed like a good person and it’s not uncommon to just meet someone irl when you’re rooming with them.
I arrived Thursday before the con, but the furry con had already started. I got a text from my friend to come sit at her table in the furry con “dealers den” for a few hours since my con didn’t start until Friday, just to see if it clicked. She had already checked in to the hotel room and had the keys anyways, so I picked up my badge and went. I was... surprised to find her at the table. In full fursuit.
They was the weird part. She was a self-hating furry, or so she claimed, so to go full commitment and be in a suit was... ok. Hmm. I was already out of my comfort zone in the sea of furries, and my friend was supposed to be like my anchor, my guide through this Other world to protect me from this [stuff]. I was immediately on edge. It got worse when I sat down and introduced myself and she did that... thing. That thing that furries do where they are in fur suits and don’t talk. She nodded when I made sure she was who I thought she was, but she just did the overly exaggerated cute poses and even had a squeaky toy in her fursuit to make noise. But she didn’t say a word. She hugged me, and somehow??? Managed to interact with customers who all knew her and adored her (I guess she was well know in the community) and if she wanted to communicate, would write. Or text in this big a** oaw things. She said she hates wearing suits but because she doesn’t have to talk in them, she doesn’t have to interact much with customers.
Okay. That I could kind maybe believe. Sort of.
At around 7 p.m. we packed up to leave to go to the hotel room. She stayed in suit the whole way up. In the room I flopped down on my bed exhausted. I asked her if she was going to come out of that thing, understandably a little freaked out... from this whole thing. Then she did the thing that made me want to run out of the room, which I didn’t against my better judgment. I had flopped on the bed with the upper half of my body, my feet still on the floor, my shirt had ridden up my torso. She stepped in between my legs and TICKLED me on my exposed belly. I flipped out, as one does, when sneak attacked by tickles and wriggled out of her reach.
She made that “laughing” pose that furries do where they hold their paws to their mouths bashfully but still silent. I was so creeped out. My go-to way of handling stress like that is laughing it off nervously. She got the hint and motioned she was going to get a shower.
As soon as she was in the shower I decided I didn’t want to be there when she got out, for now. But instead of lugging all my stuff I decided I would come back for it, preferably with friends. But I needed a key, so I went to her wallet she had taken out of one of her suit pockets, and tried to find the keys I had seen her slip in to her wallet. And of course as soon as I opened it I just had to see her ID. I just had to, I was too curious not too. And when I opened it I looked at the ID slot and I flipped. My. S**t.
Whoever was in that ID was not in any way who I was expecting to see on that picture. I didn’t know the super personal details of my friend besides her name and age and general descriptive factors. Mid 20s, white girl, etc. That was not who was on this ID. It was a man, with long greasy hair, glasses, and stubble, in his mid 40 or early 50s I’d wager. I was so shocked that I literally threw the wallet across the room after grabbing a key and ran out of that hotel room. I took fifteen flights of stairs down to the lobby and called up a friend who was coming to the con freaking out.
I never saw the real person under the suit. My friend, a tall burly scary looking dude, went up for my stuff later that night with the key I’d grabbed. When he came back with all my things, he said there was no one in the room. I stayed with him in his room that weekend, and kept only to the convention my “friend” didn’t have a badge to get in to unless I was with a group outside of it. The next night I deleted my furaffinity account, blocked my “friend” on my chat app, and deleted every connection I had to the furry world. The money be damned. I would never venture in to that mess again.
(This post was edited due to length. Please read the full post here.)