Friday, July 13, 2018


by Michael Seese

First came self-service gas stations. Then self-service supermarket checkouts. And now, apparently self-serve SPAM, per the extortive email below. 

There's no hyperlink to click on.

No email address to write back to the Nigerian prince and claim my untold riches. 

Just vague instructions to send $700 worth of Bitcoin to some big, long string of letters and numbers.

Though I do appreciate the friendly "howdy" from Saudi arabia. 

I could imagine these guys robbing a bank. "This is a hold-up. Put your money in this bag. We'll be sitting over there."

The way I see it, there are three main problems with their tack.

1. Send Bitcoin? Um, how do I that? From Paypal? My online bank account? Seriously, I work in IT, and have no idea how to do it.

2. Or what? Did they lock up my PC with ransonware? Kidnap my dog and will force her to listen to Ariana Grande talk?  No, they claim they have dirt on me, and will show it to my friends. Which leads to...

3. If I received an email with the subject, "Wait until you see the gross thing John Doe did," I'd delete without opening it. Unless I needed fodder for another rant about SPAM. And I think I can speak for my friends when I say they're too smart to fall for it as well.

Though I've never assigned a letter grade to the SPAM emails I receive, if I were to do so, this one wouldn't even rate an E for "effort."

And if, by chance, you do get an email with the subject, "Wait until you see the gross thing Michael Seese did," you can ignore it. It's not real, or it was photo-shopped, or something.

In all seriousness, I looked through my record of posts and saw my last entry on SPAM was two years ago. And though I know I've gotten a few in the interim, it really has tailed off for me. How about you? Are you getting more or less SPAM than you were a few years back?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Janet Flash: Up In Arms

by Michael Seese

A cold and rainy weekend in Chagrin Falls. And the dog is having, shall we say, digestive issues.

And on the writing front, we have the "Darius The Great Flash Fiction" contest. Janet Reid follower and frequent poster Adib Khorram has a book, Darius the Great is Not Okay, coming out in August.  

To commemorate the release Janet asked us to use

- Iran
- Adib
- tea
- dad
- great

in a 100-word story. My entry is "Up In Arms."

The guys with the great big guns seemed surly. I suspect it had something to do with the warhead I borrowed.

"Where bomb be?” the unibrow barked in English so broken it was beyond repair.

Apparently, I'd advertised the sale on  These Iranians put the “HA!” in jihad. Still, armed only with a shovel, I was underdressed for the party.

“Let’s not get our sirwals in a bunch. I'll let you have it. Gladly. One question. Coffee or tea?"


"That's what stewardesses ask folks when they fly," I said, fingering the button and counting back from ten.

This is a case where I definitely could have used about 20 more words. Oh well.

Happy flying.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Janet Flash: My Dear Old Chum

by Michael Seese

Continuing to stir things up, rather than present us with five random (or not) words, superagent Janet Reid gave us a photo prompt for this week's flash fiction contest.

Since it's hard to see, note the shark, her self-ascribed spirit animal, and the martini glass.

Focusing on the martini and shark (more so that the merit badge) I came up with "My Dear Old Chum."

HQ said “The Sand Tiger” wouldn't surface until 10:30. To kill time, I eased up to a table. The leather-clad brunette showed a certain flair for Chemin de Fer. Deft fingers dealt a winning hand. We cashed out, quickly, lips colliding as we fell into the elevator.

Behind closed doors, I locked my steely blues on her.

“So, darling, have you a name?”

“Reid. Janet Reid. And I like my martinis sharken, not stirred.”

“Sharken? I believe you’re mistaken.”

She flashed a smile. Row upon row of pearly whites emerged.

“No, Mr. Bond, I believe the mistake was yours.”

What would you do with a martini-drinking shark?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Janet Flash: Mad Libs

by Michael Seese

Something a little different this week...

Last Tuesday, Janet Reid posted a mini-contest. Having read a Laura Lippman tweet:

Janet challenged us to replace "missing credit card" with a new three word phrase, and "the filter in the dishwasher" with a location (word count not specified.)

My entry was kinda dark:

I knew that I would find the evil voices somewhere in the house, but I had no money on the television, which hasn't worked for years. Or the kitchen, with its wainscoted walls laughing at me. Again. Or the knife drawer, empty, save for one.

Or the imposter, sleeping next to me.

Mine, along with several others, got a shout-out a few days later because "you guyz are storytellers to your finger tips. Even with something this short, and this limited, many of you wrote stories. I'm in awe."


Saturday morning, she created a follow-up contest. So enamored was Janet with Adele's entry:

I knew that I would find my three emergency passports somewhere in my house, but I had no money on in his sock drawer, under his gun.

That she asked us to write the next couple lines, thirty words max. Not to blow my own horn, but I read about the contest at 6:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the deadline. Still, I came up with:

I knew that I would find my three emergency passports somewhere in my house, but I had no money on in his sock drawer, under his gun.

The floorboard creaked. One second too late.

I'd forgotten what chloroform smells like. Sweet. Seductive. Sinister.

When I refound consciousness, an unfamiliar voice -- out there -- intoned.

"Ashes to ashes..."

I must say, I'm pretty darned proud. Results (hopefully) tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Janet Flash: Against The Lawn

by Michael Seese

The sun is shining. The thermometer is thinking about kissing 60 degrees. And for the second week in a row, we have a Janet contest.

In honor of the imminent release of Writing Without Rules by one of her authors, Jeff Somers

she challenged us to craft 100-word stories using:

I came up with "Against The Lawn" literally in my sleep yesterday morning.

Susa was livid, though limited.

“Your hoor, this ma stole all my ehs. I ca’t eve say it anymore.” She punctuated her pathos with a plaintiff plea of “Please!”

Cases in the Alphabellate Court can be tricky, often turning on some obscure rule or twisted tenetcality. Susa stumbled into the latter.

“He should face a firig squad. Or a canon.”

A collective gasp sucked the air from the courtroom, and her argument. My smirk turned to face the judge.

“You see, your honor. Reg ipsa loquitur. I didn't steal them all. I borrowed a few. That's not against the lawn.”

Kinda different. But when the theme with without rules, well...

So what is your favorite rule to break?


By the way...


Her initial comment was:

Of course this is witty, it's Michael Seese.
It took me a minute to get the joke, which means it's terrific!
Even with all the joking around, it's still easy to understand.
True mastery is making something look easy. And Michael does.

Those bon mots appeared in the "I'm having a hard time deciding" post.

Then a few days later she named me the winner, adding:

It's Michael Seese.
The story, the clever word play, the brilliant homonym use of the prompt word: it's just amazing.  In other words: exactly what we've come to expect from Michael Seese.

OK, so my ego spent about a week on Cloud 9 1/2.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Janet Flash: The Power

by Michael Seese

Today I'm taking my son to Buffalo for a Cub Scout overnight on the USS Little Rock, a Cleveland-class light cruiser that saw action in World War II. It is a cool experience, though not the best night for sleep, as 20 snoring dads in a metal room can raise quite a ruckus. And they wake us up at 6:30.

So before I went, I had to make sure to write my latest Janet flash story.

Our mission this week. Use


in a 100-word story. 

I played with the words, and "Smith & Wesson" came to my mind. That led to "The Power."

The Smith & Wesson, heavy in my still-trembling hands, smelled like her death. Helpless to circumvent the inevitable, I watched the last vestiges of life trickle out the hole I'd put in her heart. Is this how God feels? I wondered. Amazed at, and terrified of, the power. I understood why He can't look us in the eye.

"Maybe her fawns are around," Dad said, drunk on bloodlust and joy. I thought of Bambi and felt even more crap awful.

"Congratulations, son. Today you found out what it is to be a man."

In my mind, I only discovered mortality.

Your thoughts? Especially from the hunters out there.

PS: If you've not already done so, file your taxes!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's Official... I'm A Misfit

by Michael Seese

Or I will be later this year. Allow me to explain...

A long time ago I wrote a short story titled "The Other Brother: Scandal." 

The concept: The great "consulting detective" Sherlock Holmes has an unknown (to him) twin brother. (Long story short, Mr. & Mrs. Holmes didn't want two brothers to compete with their beloved Mycroft, so they condemned one to an orphanage.) Possessing the renowned Holmes acumen and physical prowess, yet lacking any sense of morality, he turns to a life of crime -- specifically murder -- eavesdropping on his brother's exploits in order to join the game. "Scandal" recasts A Scandal In Bohemia (Doyle's first short story) from the other brother's point of view.

Flash forward to last October. On (to repeat, a great site for authors) I found a call from Bards and Sages Publishing for "The Society Of Misfit Stories." I submitted, and voilĂ !

The story will appear on their website in December, and in print sometime next year.

Please spread the word. And if you feel like ponying up 99¢ to buy a copy.... that would be OK, too.