Monday, January 26, 2015

Castle: Private Eye Caramba!

by Michael Seese

It appears as though Castle P.I. is still on the job. Though I may be proven wrong, I suspect the show will remain light-hearted as long as Castle is flying solo. Of course, since the crime in Private Eye Caramba! involved a telenovela -- and Castle's assignment a purloined purse -- what are we to expect?

You knew the writers were having a blast when they put the gang on the set and let them watch the heated exchange between a raven-haired beauty and the open-shirted Fabio, minus the flowing locks and rippling muscles. Esposito's (obvious) total infatuation was a hoot. (As was his puppy-dog gushing over Sofia at the end.)

Also, I thought the contrivance to bring Castle into the fold was plausible enough.

Finally, I was glad to see they still had Ryan playing the C card.

Ryan: "She might have been killed by a psychotic plumber lying in wait."
Esposito: "Is that your Castle theory?"

And as always, I enjoyed the presence of Perlmutter, no offense to Lanie. And if memory serves, no "lividity."

Perlmutter: "Detective Beckett, it's so pleasant to see you and not see Castle."

The other quips of note included:

Castle: "I'll be my own muse."

Castle: "Canvasing? Oh, that thing you get Espo and Ryan to do."

Ronnie: "Oh, wow. I thought you were a writer. What happened?"

Castle: "A little awkward."
Beckett: "Try mortifying."

Beckett: "Do you realize how lucky you are?"
Castle: Extremely lucky. After all I'm married to you."

Esposito: "You do realize it was a prop gun."
Castle: "What?"

And, well, any of Castle's voiceovers.

"My phone was quieter than a dead church mouse."
"I was about to pour a little smile in my coffee."
"Give those gams of yours a rest." (OK, that one wasn't a voiceover. Still...)

So, how long do you think the Castle P.I. thing will last?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Flash! Friday The Boy With The Hazel Eyes + Undercurrents

by Michael Seese

Once again, I gave Flash! Friday something old, something new. This week, we had to include a beach, and this photo:

So first came "The Boy With The Hazel Eyes."

Agata never forgot the boy with the hazel eyes. He introduced himself with a cannonball that splashed water in her face. She knew then it would some day be love. That summer at her family's cottage on Lake Scharmützel was the true beginning of her life.

Saying goodbye tasted like poison.

He wrote every week. When he'd send a photograph, she soared. But once Hitler's serpent tongue stated seducing the country, his letters became less frequent. Too soon, they stopped altogether.

Then the monsters with machine guns came to their door. Their new home embraced them with a ring of razor wire.

Still, she never forgot the boy with the hazel eyes. Memories of the splash of water, the hidden kisses, were all that kept her alive. Agata held out hope she would see him again.

Two weeks after her father died, Agata's prayer was answered. Immediately, she wished Fate had ignored her.

Gone were the crisp brown shirt and black shorts from the photos. In their place clung the uniform of death. He didn't see her, or he pretended not to. For this small favor, she was grateful.

When the war ended, she walked out the gates alone.

And she never could forget the boy with the hazel eyes.

Then I dusted off one I wrote for a Janet Reid contest last November, though I had to double it. (Like that's ever a problem for me.)

And here is "Undercurrents."

Most family traditions grow from joy. Some, though, are born of pain.

This beach will forever remain embedded in my very fabric. To this day, I can close my eyes, and relive it all. Building sandcastles with my brothers. Chasing seagulls. My father’s white nose. Sometimes, seeing dolphins dancing above the waves. And eating ice cream ALL DAY LONG!

So many good memories.

And one horrible memory, of hearing my mother’s screams when she looked out into the ocean and saw that Bill and Max were gone.

From that day, we lived beneath a cloud that never rained upon us, yet always threatened to.

Our family returned to the beach every year. We’d stay in the same hotel. And my mother would sit in the same spot, just staring at the blue emptiness. Though it was never said, I always believed my parents held out hope they would see them again.

Why don’t they? I wondered.

I did.

I tried to tell my parents. But they never believed me.

"Maybe when they’re in heaven," Max would say.

Even after my parents passed away, I would return to the beach. I’d sit there for hours, watching the waves. And I'd try to understand why my brothers no longer spoke to me.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Funny Foto #63

by Michael Seese

You might have heard of this movie called Frozen. It's kind of popular. My daughter is a huge fan. One day, my wife found this at the store.


As you can see, it's a "Collector's Edition," for those of you who collect cereal boxes based on popular movies.

Awesome news. Now my box of "Psycho Flakes" won't be so lonely.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Flash! Friday: Lions

by Michael Seese

Flash! Friday hostess Rebekah served up a few changes this week. You can read it all here. But in a nutshell:

1. "This coming year we’ll focus on the primary elements of story: character, setting, plot, and theme. We’ll rotate through these four in a well-behaved, orderly fashion."
2. We have been allotted 200 words, +/- 10, up from 150.

So this week, the character is a janitor. And this is the photo.

Even with the extra 50 words, I had to work to winnow down "Lions."

A janitor is a lot like air. You don't give a second thought to the presence of either. But you sure as hell notice their absence.

Joseph was grateful for his job at the Federated Church. It afforded him shelter, security. Alone, in his small apartment in the basement, he would drink in the peace. Growing up, silence had been a commodity as rare to him as the luxuries Westerners took for granted. He cursed those who allowed hate to poison the once-pristine well of religion. Too many friends had died at the hands of those who saw their way as the only way.

He had prayed for guidance, for strength. Finally, he was granted both. He celebrated by smoking a cigarette, inhaling the freedom which comes with conviction.

Watching the Sunday parishioners file in this snowy morning, Rev. Holt felt his janitor's absence, as a slushy, slippery mess began accumulating just inside the door.

Where in the world is Joe? he wondered. Rev. Holt never would have imagined his janitor was huddled in the apartment, preparing to make his presence felt.

Yussef looked at his comrades, and dramatically slapped the clip into his AK-47. "My brothers, the time has come. Today, we throw these Christians to the lions."

You wondered where the Colosseum would fit in, didn't you? Feel free to share your thoughts on "Lions."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Castle P.I.

by Michael Seese

Castle is back, and he's zanier than ever. You could tell from the previews this would be a wacky one. And "Castle P.I." did not disappoint.

I would be remiss if I failed to cite the de rigueur segue from death to domestic bliss. This week, it was the gunshot blending with the crack of an egg. 

I likewise would be remiss if I failed to note that after countless weeks, lividity has returned, thanks to M.E. Perlmutter, who remains one of my favorite characters, an always-welcome breath of snide air.

IMHO, three scenes in particular were laugh-out-loud funny.

- Castle and Perlmutter playing "ring around the dead girl."
- The interrogation of Spalding Elliott, replete with Castle tossing dog fur in his general direction. 
- The Caskett call, where each tried to figure out what the other knew. The call then morphed into their apartment, and Castle's comically overfilled wine glass. "Let me top that off for you," he graciously offered in return. And I loved the way each took a different route around the couch.

So, on to the lines...

Martha: "It's just that ever since you've been banned from working with Katherine, you and your pajamas have been seeing an awful lot of each other. "

Castle: "Master interrogator like yourself? That's the best one you've got?"

Perlmutter: "How a woman so astute could choose to marry Castle?"

Ryan: "Like Lassie, Sparkles is out there, trying to track down the killer."

Ryan: "Someone has to provide us with out of the box thinking now that Castle's not around."

Esposito: "Baby Castle over here may be right."

Beckett: "He is resourceful. But he's not that resourceful."
Ryan: "He got you to marry him, didn't he?"

Castle: "Did I tell you I got peppered sprayed today?"
Alexis: "You say that like it's a good thing."

Castle: "What happened to that rebellious girl with the leather jacket and the motorcycle?"
Beckett: She enforces the law now and drinks expensive wine."

Castle: "Ryan, you played the C card?"
Ryan: "You weren't around. Somebody had to step up."

And finally, Castle's voice over: "Kicked to the gutter like yesterday's trash."

I have to say, I must note a few picky asides.

- The victim paid for her trip with cash. Really? Can you even do that?
- I thought Esposito was a little too hard on Castle. They've been friends for a long time, and it's not like Espo would be ticked that Castle went around protocol. (And he probably would not mourn the loss of a bad cop.)
- SPOILER!!!!! In the surveillance photo of Nicole fishing the cigarette butt out of the trash, she wasn't wearing gloves. Someone didn't coach her very well.

As a funny aside, I found it amusing that the alley where Castle got pepper-sprayed had a sign on a wall: "Smile. You're On Camera." See? Those convenient surveillance cameras are everywhere.

Then, it all wrapped up quite mysteriously. On some shows, you might think not revealing the killer's motive (i.e., the person really behind it) was lazy writing. With Castle, I'm sure we haven't heard the end of it. 

Based on the previews, it appears we have at least one more week of Castle P.I.

What are your thoughts on "Castle P.I.?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flash Fiction: The Love Of Money

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I contributed to the Indies Unlimited flash contest. Nothing personal, of course. Either I was busy, or the photo didn't click. But this week, I resolved to come up with something.

Here is the photo prompt.


And this is "The Love Of Money."

"The love of money is the root of all evil."

A lot of wisdom was poured into the Bible. Perhaps I should have gone to that well more often.

Five gold eggs rattle in my empty hands. Five gold eggs which have sealed three fates.

Between 1885 and 1917, the House of Fabergé crafted 50 bejeweled eggs, give or take, for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. This, we all know. But Wikipedia won't tell you there once existed five gold eggs as well. Weighing just over three pound each, collectively they're worth just south of $400,000 today. How they came into my possession is largely irrelevant, though the story may involve a Commandment or two.

History managed to forget them. Others did not.

The men who kicked down our door made an offer that was straightforward and succinct. And non-negotiable.

"Give them to us, and we'll let you live."

"It's not that simple," I said. "They're not here."

So they amended the deal.

"Deliver to us the eggs, and we'll deliver back to you your wife and son."

It shouldn't be this hard. But it is.

An announcement comes over the loudspeaker.

"Attention passengers, this is the final boarding call for flight 1678, direct service to Berlin."

I take the photo out of my wallet and lay it on the seat next to me. I won't be needing it any more. I pocket the lucre and board the plane, cursing my love of money with each weighted step.

Remember, you CAN vote for it between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. EST tomorrow, Wednesday, right here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Her Move"

by Michael Seese

While I was busy pondering "The Saving Breath" (sort of) and "Temptation," I saw that Janet Reid was offering a flash contest of her own. To celebrate Mette Ivie Harrison's The Bishop's Wife (which she loved) she tasked us with writing a 100-word story using


Below is "Her Move."

Her words were a hammer to his ego. But Edward's facade refused to be dented.

"I'm leaving you," Madeline repeated.

He laughed.

"Please! This isn't one of your paperback romances, Maddie. You're no queen. And I'm not some fawning servant. I'm the CFO of a Fortune 500 corporation. I scraped you out of the mailroom. And I can toss you back," he said, completely unemotional, completely unrepentant.

Madeline had one move remaining.

"I know your secret. You're sleeping with your CEO. Wouldn't his wife – and the Board – love to hear that? Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think."