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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Janet Flash: Male To Order

by Michael Seese

To celebrate the arrival of Clay, the latest office cat, Janet sponsored another contest.

Our words for the week:


So to go give you a little insight into the method for my madness (or badness, depending on the day), I usually try to work around the "hardest" word in the bunch. At times a name can be hard, because it forces you to have a character, or refer to a character, with that name. (Unless you can split it, or bury it in another word, like using "tomato" for "Tom.") Tablet was kind of hard for me as well. As I was driving to pick up my daughter from gymnastics, I turned over tablet and Henry in my mind. About halfway there it clicked, and I pretty much had it mentally written by the time I got her.

Below is "Male To Order."

Her tablet’s face scarred from an endless stream of swipes left, Janet readied her emotional white flag yet again. "Gustav" signaled an end to the Gs. She pressed on.

And then...


Six feet even. Adorable pug nose. Cleft chin. Sandy hair. Clearly modeled on Brad Pitt. The brown eyes wouldn't do. "They have to be blue," she said to no one, her de facto companion of 25 years. The "Kids? Maybe" package seemed worth a few extra bucks.

With a satisfied tap Janet submitted the order, lit a fire, poured two glasses of Cabernet, and waited for the delivery.

I wonder how long it will be until we can mail-order a mate? Hmmm.