Thursday, October 23, 2014

Castle: "Child's Play"

by Michael Seese

I don't have a lot to say about this episode. It wasn't my favorite. I give the writers an A for effort though. But overall, I was lukewarm to "Child's Play."

I think the main problem was that since Castle and Beckett had to divide and conquer, there wasn't as much "mind melding" going on.

Still, I did have a lot of little "loves."

- I loved the concept of potato chip fudge ice cream. (Which does exist, by the way.) 

- Also loved Beckett's face when Castle fed her some.

- I loved the way when the skeptical kids literally perked up when Castle said, "If you can tell a story, you can write a story."

- And, who couldn't love Castle and Emily's fairy tea party? 

I only wrote down two lines of note:

Castle: "Being 95% kid myself."

Castle: "Neat trick," said to Mrs. Ruiz when she said "Class," and they all sat down.

OK a few nitpicks...

- Castle was a surprise visitor to the school. So I'm hard pressed to imagine that Jason's father really talked about Richard Castle and that his books "suck."

- Likewise, I find it hard to believe that the clerk at the mailbox store actually memoried Anton's P.O. Box.

Oh well. Looking forward to next week.

Tell me what you thought about "Child's Play."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Indies Unlimited: Fall Fire

by Michael Seese

Quick aside... so far my "October Insanity" is going swimmingly. Thank you for asking. As part of that effort, I'm getting contributing weekly (though hopefully not weakly) to three different flash fiction contests. If it's Monday (as I write this) it must be Indies Unlimited.

This week we had to work off a nice fall picture.

This is (the not so nice) "Fall Fire."

Damn those stupid municipal ordinances. Especially those that outlaw perfectly reasonable activities, like burning leaves.

“Fall foliage.” The words roll off the tongue so much more smoothly than “autumn arboriage.” Who among us does not maintain a little alcove in our special warm place for memories of fall, and all the crispy, colorful beauty associated with it?

As we get older, Christmas begins to lose its wondrous and magical appeal. But fall remains pure, unsullied by crass commercialism.

I grew up surrounded by acres of woodlands. So many Saturday mornings were devoted to the ritual of raking leaves. Collect them on a huge blue tarp. Drag it to the back of the lot. Repeat, until the yard was clean. Sprinkle a bit of gasoline. Ignite. And enjoy.

Year after year after year.

My father could have asked the landscapers to do it. But he wanted me to.

“It’s good exercise.”
“It builds character.”
“You have to work for everything in life.” (Even though he didn’t; he inherited his fortune from Grandpa.)

Yes, how ironic that my father believed you had to earn everything.

Even love.

That’s probably why Mom left him, and all that money, behind. I wasn’t willing to do that.

In some ways I miss those days. I suppose I'll miss my father some day, too.

Damn those stupid municipal ordinances. Especially those that outlaw perfectly reasonable activities, like burning leaves.

It sure will take a long time to dispose of a body in the fireplace.

Happy raking!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Castle: "Clear & Present Danger"

by Michael Seese

Last week I proclaimed Castle to be back. This week, the humor returned. "Clear & Present Danger" represented a return to the Scooby-gang mysteries which I personally find to be so much fun. 

For reference, see "Undead Again" or "Secret Santa." Like those episodes, Castle posits an improbable theory which Beckett refutes. Of course, once she has some "hands-on" experience with the Invisible Man, she changes her tune a bit.

(Picky aside: I can appreciate that being choked by an invisible entity would freak her out. Still, she's a cop. She's trained to kick, punch, whatever it takes to get out of a chokehold.)

And this week we had not one, but two characters say the victim had been acting strangely.

"Recently, he started hanging out in Brooklyn," according to Fats Shepherd, the owner / manager / player at Chelsea Billards.

"Will started acting paranoid last week," said Donna Brooks.

Hmmm. Wonder why?

As expected, lots of funny lines.

Beckett: "Anyway, back to the real world." (After Castle's gaming conversation with Henry Wright.)

Beckett: "That's not creepy. That's probable cause."

Beckett: "The only place we're going to find the devil is in the details."

Castle: "You collapsed the foam."

Castle: "And you thought zombie apocalypse survival training campe was a waste of time."
Beckett: "You just kind of made nerdy sexy."

"Henry: "We both realized I had become Frodo.

"Castle: "I missed our mind melds."

And this week, not so much "looks" as good physical humor. Of note:

- Castle leaning for support against the cop guarding the crime scene.
- Castle's air karate moves after their encounter with the Invisble Man.

What did you think of "Clear & Present Danger?"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flash! Friday "Checkmate"

by Michael Seese

Another Friday, another Flash! Friday. Writing is a funny thing. I thought my entry for last week was pretty strong. And yet, it didn't even receive a mention. I point this out not in a whiny sense; I'm always just amazed at how much variation there is among readers' personal tastes.

Let's hope I fair better this week.

This week, this was the magic photo:


And this is "Checkmate."

Have you contemplated how proof of extraterrestrial life would impact Christianity?” he said, felling a bishop with his pawn.

They’d been playing this game so long, he knew the next move. The next hundred, in fact.

Faith, like all living organisms, adapts,” the old man replied, countering with a knight.

He also knew which buttons to push.

That sounds suspiciously like, dare I say, evolution.”

You choose your words. I’ll choose mine.”

But the elder’s confident voice betrayed a slight catch. He knew the game was drawing to a close. Even so, he could not resign. Too much was at stake.

And what of Jesus Christ? Admission to heaven requires belief in Him. Are we to assume He lived, preached on countless other worlds?”

Enough!” the old man snapped, sweeping an arm across the board. The pieces scattered, then one by one returned to their respective, necessary places. Science looked at his age-old adversary Religion, and smiled. Knowingly.


Feel free to comment on "Checkmate."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Castle: Montreal

by Michael Seese

Sorry for the late post; our TV was out of commission last week. But I FIXED IT! Enough boasting.

Richard Castle is back, and I don't mean only from Canada. (The birthplace of Nathan Fillion, in case you didn't know.) No, he's back from his two-month mystery hiatus, back to solving crimes, and back to himself, now that he has a partial explanation of what happened. (Or does he... Personally, I think my theory still is in the running.)

As you might suspect from the previous paragraph, SPOILERS will be everywhere. Proceed at your own risk.

I thought "Montreal"was a pretty good episode. The mystery behind the murder seemed to get stranger and stranger as it went on. But I found the resolution to be plausible, as was the explanation as to why the victim could not go to the police.

(Oh, and true to Castle form, the victim's wife noted that "these last few weeks he had been having a hard time.")

Meanwhile, Castle was freelancing, trying to solve his own crime.

In fact, I thought the "split" near the end -- two minutes of Beckett and the boys on the case, two minutes of Castle in Canada -- was very effective.

And lots of humor. Some great lines:

Castle: "To find a needle in a haystack, do we not first need a haystack?"

Castle: "A tactical smooch is just one weapon in my arsenal."

Quick aside: That "tactical smooch" was out of character and, IMHO, one sign that my theory may be right.

Castle: "You picked up a man at grief counseling?"

Castle: "Tell me again how you got my phone number."
Crazy Guy: "I work for the phone company."
Castle: "Of course you do."

Castle: "Natalie went all Glenn Close on him."

Castle: "Need I remind you I'm a grown man. I don't need to ask your permission. That being said, please, please, please can I go?"

And the looks...

Captain Gate's complete surprise at the "tactical smooch."

And was it just me, or did the bank manager seem a little guilty when Castle asked, "Do I look familiar?"

Funny aside: When Beckett confronted the warehouse manager, "Mac," he bolted. In real life, would someone who (ostensibly) is not a career criminal do that? I mean, the cops know who you are, and probably where you live. Unless you have cash in the Cayman Islands, and a suitcase with your passport in your car, really, do you think you're going to get away?

Picky aside: I thought it strange that when castle returned to Montreal alone, and entered the (apparently) abandoned building where he recorded the goodbye messages, the faux Henry Jenkins just happened to be there waiting for him. That guy needs a life. Of his own, that is. I'm just sayin'.

With any luck, we'll get to "Clear & Present Danger" (which looks hilarious, BTW) tonight or tomorrow.

Let's hear your thoughts on "Montreal."  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finish That Thought: The Game

by Michael Seese

Funny thing....

I've been writing a lot of -- or better said, more regular -- flash fiction lately. With Flash! Friday and Indies Unlimited (both of which use a photo prompt) I tend to write more "serious" pieces. Though for some reason my Flash! Friday stories seem more... poignant, I suppose. 

In contrast, "Finish That Thought," which requires that we finish a sentence, tends to lead to humorous pieces. For example, "The Game."

This week, our first sentence was: "It is time to make the announcement." Our special challenge was to include a beaded necklace, a bridge, a glass of water, and an envelope.

So here it goes.

“It is time to make the announcement,” Mr. Boddy said, clinking a glass of water with his fork. “Someone in this room will die tonight.”

How would one expect an assemblage of six renowned aristocrats to react to said pronouncement?

Gasps? No.

Screams? No.

Panic? No.

The genteel guests erupted in applause, and then scattered to the remote recesses of the deserted manse, leaving Mr.. Boddy and Wadsworth, his trusted butler, alone in the dining room.

“Well,” Mr. Boddy said, “what shall be our weapon of choice?”

“The revolver tends to kill rather effectively, sir,” replied the dignified Brit.

“A fine suggestion, Wadsworth. Further, as an instrument of human dispatch, it allows for a more hands-off approach than the other methods.”

“Agreed, sir. Though it does tend to leave a larger mess for me to clean up.”

“Yes, regrettable. But, to make an omelet...” he shrugged. “On to the lounge!”

Their crisp footsteps echoed sharply on the hardwood floor. Entering the plush parlor they found the woman in red reclining casually on an overstuffed chaise lounge, fondling her beaded necklace. A single shot through the heart left the young starlet scarlet.

“Might I suggest, sir, that we employ the secret passage as a shortcut to the conservatory?”

“A splendid idea, Wadsworth. We’ll clean up the mess later.” Wadsworth knew there would be no “we” about the task. Mr. Boddy pressed a button ensconced in the pastel paisley wallpaper. A large section of the floor slid aside revealing a concealed staircase. Wadsworth removed a hurricane lamp from a table, lit it, and led the way down.

As they traversed a diagonal beneath the manor, the butler paused on the bridge over the underground river. His employer stopped by his side.

“Is something troubling you, Wadsworth?”

“If I may, sir. Do you ever tire of this?”

“A fair question. With 324 possibilities, I did not think I would. But I will admit it has lost some of its luster. Nonetheless, we cannot end the game now.”

In the conservatory they encountered Reverend Green.

“Forgive me, Father,” Mr. Boddy said before turning him into a holey ghost. In the billiard room Colonel Mustard sank a bank shot. Mr. Boddy sank his shot as well. In the library Professor Plum studied a dusty tome. Mr. Boddy saw to it that he was written into the history books. Mrs. Peacock, in the study, exploded like a clay pigeon. Finally, across to the kitchen where Mrs. White perfectly matched the cabinetry and modern appliances. Before the splattering.

The final piece eliminated, the devilish duo retreated to the cellar to retrieve the envelope.

“Would you do the honors, Wadsworth?’

“Certainly, sir.” He cleared his throat. “I believe it was Mr. Boddy, in most rooms, with the candlestick.”

“Hmmm. It appears as though I had the weapon was wrong.”

“Perhaps next time, sir.”

“Perhaps. Do you think those rich adventure-seekers will ever realize that it’s not a board game I’m advertising?”

Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Indies Unlimited "Imprisoned"

by Michael Seese

Sometimes you write something without quite knowing what's going to happen. This week's Indies Unlimited is just such a beast. We were given this photo:


There is always an option text prompt. Sometimes I completely ignore it. This time I sorta borrowed  it. I came up with the first two sentences, and then thought


But eventually it came to me. And I'm pretty happy with the result, "Imprisoned."

The bald cypress can live 1,000 years. That number corresponds exactly with my sentence.

If I remembered how many people I’ve killed, I might feel some remorse. But I don’t. So I can’t. It’s not in me.

Killing. That’s in me.

It’s like a hunger, of sorts. But not quite.

People speak of watershed moments. That split-second decision which puts you on the left fork, rather than the right. The one which changes the course of your life.


My watershed moment came the day I spilled her blood. We met at a bar. Naturally. She seemed young, too young. I swear, I swear, I swear that I was about to pay for my beer and leave. I should have.

But her eyes.

They were... beyond mesmerizing. They were hypnotizing.

I walked over and made chat. Soon, we were driving back to her place. She lit candles, incense, then poured two tall glasses of red, and handed me one.

Cabernet?” I asked.

No,” she said, taking a lusty swig. “Blood.”

I threw it in her face.

The lesson? Never cross a voodoo queen.

One thousand years of imprisonment in the body of the un-dead. Feasting on humans. Not because I want to. Because I have to.

That’s why I troll the swamps around the LCIW, officially the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. The escapees are easier to overcome. They’re softer. And desperate, since the LCIW is the state’s female death row.

Though their brains are messed up, too.

And remember kids, please stop by Indies Unlimited this Wednesday afternoon (5:00 p.m. - ish EST to 8:00 p.m. sharp) and vote.