Saturday, April 12, 2014

"I Always Get My Man”

By Michael Seese

I didn't think I was going to be able to pull off a Flash Friday this week. Inspiration didn't strike me. But with 45 minutes to spare, I got to work. And 15 minutes before the deadline, I managed to post "I Always Get My Man."

Here is the photo.


And here is the story.

Donovan peered through the binoculars.

“I don’t like this,” he said. “The trains in this part of Europe always run behind.”

“Don’t worry,” Jenkins said calmly. “I always get my man.”

“You’re too confident. We shouldn’t have used a timer. We should have used a compression detonator.” He checked his watch, then stared down once again. “Damn it! That bomb is going to go in one minute. And the train is nowhere to be seen. We’re about to blow up a bridge for nothing. This doesn’t make sense. Why kill a bunch of innocents to get to one man? How does HQ even know the mole is on that train anyway? He’s a ghost. No one has ever seen him. He could be anyone. Any ideas, Jenkins? Jenkins?”

But his “partner” was gone.

At that moment Donovan became acutely aware of the ticking emanating from his own backpack.

“You were right, my friend. You do always get your man.”

Feel free to share your thoughts on "I Always Get My Man."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kigo: Seasonal Words

By Michael Seese

Back in January, I submitted five haiku to the folks at Chuffed Buff Books for their collection Kigo: Seasonal Words.

I had gotten confirmation a few weeks back that something had been accepted. But I didn't know what. Now I know it was "waiting for new green" and "white veil is lifted"

Here is the cover.

Stop stop by their website, and perhaps download a copy.

Working on my summer poetry now...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wedding Bell Reds

by Michael Seese

What is it that the Post Office says? "Neither rain nor snow nor gloom..." Well, what about rotator cuff surger? Yes, friends, seven hours ago I was in the O.R.

And now, here is "Wedding Bell Reds," based on this picture for Flash! Friday.

“ ‘I’m Burning For You?’ ‘Light My Fire?’ ”

“Nice songs. But too fast,” said Ashley.

“You’re right,” said Blaise.

Poof! The piece of paper went up in smoke.

“That’s it,” she blurted out. “How about ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes?’ It’s pretty, and slow. Perfect for our first dance.”

“Then it’s settled.”

“Now about the menu... Spicy chili?”

“Can’t be too hot.”

“Baked Alaska?”

“Yes. Though technically don’t we want Bombe Alaska?”

“Right,” Ashley said.

“I’ll have to make sure the bartender can do flaming rum shots. That was the drink at my fraternity. All the brothers loved it.”

“About that...” she said carefully, so as to not dampen Blaise’s spirits. “Are you going to invite the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?”

“I have to,” Blaise said. “He’s my best friend.”

“Yeah. But remember what happened at our cookout last summer?”

“Oh, yeah. Ouch.”

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Flash Fiction: Chances

By Michael Seese

Yesterday I wrote "Chances," for the Indies Unlimited flash fiction contest.

Here is the photo prompt:


And here is the story:

Our chance encounter seemed so contrived that even Danielle Steele would have written it off. 

She saw me, standing there, dripping and pathetic, and offered to share her umbrella.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"The Café du Commerce. It's my favorite restaurant."

"That's my favorite as well! Are you meeting... Are you dining alone?"

"I am. It's my usual Tuesday ritual. Though I had to push it back a day, owing to a business appointment. You?"


"May I join you?"

Our dinner lasted until they began putting the chairs on the tables.

As we strolled toward our parting point, I chanced it. "May I... call you some time?"

"I believe in in destiny. If Fate wishes for us to be together, She will see that it happens. Perhaps at the market. In the park. Or waiting for the bus again. If you find me—when you find me—place a passionfruit where I may see it. Then I will know it was Her hand."

Two days hence, I stood outside an apartment on the Rue du Prony, waiting. Twenty minutes later, she appeared at the window. A small smile broadened into a ray of sunlight when she spied the gift.

She took it, nodded toward the entrance of her building, and closed the shutters. I smiled, and turned away just as the explosion shattered the afternoon air and, I assumed, the girl.

I pulled the notebook from my pocket, and crossed another name off my list.

Not too dark, eh? Let me know what you think.

Oh, and you still have until 8:00 p.m. EST on April 1 to enter. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Beached" and "Two Bicycles"

By Michael Seese

I nearly forgot....

I discovered two new weekly flash fiction competitions.

Flash! Friday posts a photo and concept prompt on Friday morning. Due by midnight are 150 words.

Indies Unlimited posts a photo prompt on Saturday, with 250 words due on Tuesday. That one has public voting, so expect some prodding from me.

Without further ado, here is the photo for last week's Indies Unlimited:

and "Beached."

The police struggled to restrain the grind of onlookers. Down at the beach, the din didn’t even register with Dr. Newton. His attention was focused on the immobile blacck mass before him.

“Damn it! That’s the third this month. She’s a beautiful specimen.”

“How can you tell it’s female?” asked Simone. 
“When you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, you sense it.”

“Do you think this has something to do with...”

“With the oil? The cleanup? I think it has everything to do with that.”

“Why doesn’t the government do something?”

“Because big business is powerful. They grease the skids. That’s how our world operates. We, on land, need fuel. At any cost. Screw marine life.” 
“What if something like that happens again?”
“Worst case, widespread extinctions,” Newton said as he ran an appreciative hand along the smooth skin. 
“There must be—”

“Shhh!” he hissed. “I feel something!” He placed a sensor against the leviathan, and listened. “She’s still alive!”

An audible buzz surged through the crowd.

“She’s severely dehydrated.” Newton called to the crowd. “Everyone! We need your help!”

Without a word, the throng lined up beside the imperiled creature. Taking turns, each plugged a finger into her lubrication port, and delivered a quantity of oil. Newton checked her levels, then rebooted.

The submarine’s internal works once again operating, she began rolling toward the water. With a titanic splash, she entered the surf.

As she sailed out to sea, a metallic cheer arose from the crowd.

Here is "Two Bicycles," with a prompt of space travel:

He gazed to the northwest. "Where are you?" he said aloud. He didn't care if anyone overheard. No one could think him to be any crazier.

He was sure they'd believe him. But they laughed, and mocked him. They would pick up an imaginary phone and say, "Call me."

A downward spiral of the big Ds ensued. Depression. Drugs. Desperation. At least he had fared better than his siblings. His sister now resided in a state asylum. Michael hanged himself before they could take him. The only reason Elliott had not been put away was because he ran away. His life had become little more than a scurry between the filthy, stinking underpasses which dwell in the shadows of the LA freeway system.

"You said you'd come back!" he screamed. "You promised. I even got you your own bicycle. Where are you, E.T.?"

At that moment, 500 feet below Area 51, Dr. Lassiter looked at his team.

"Let's begin. Scalpel."

Feel free to share your thoughts on either story.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Castle: The Greater Good

By Michael Seese


OK, "The Greater Good" was not my favorite installment in the Castle firmament. I have said in the past that I appreciate episodes which expand the lives of the other characters, which "The Greater Good" did. Unfortunately, I thought "The Greater Good" ultimately was unraveled by a completely implausible motive for murder.

Did I need to write "The Greater Good" three times in the preceding paragraph? No. Did the writers need to have someone say it three times in the show? No. But they did.

Anyway, I thought that Penny Johnson Jerald -- Captain Gates -- did a really nice job, both in the scenes with her sister, as well as those in which she talked to Beckett about her sister. The ending, naturally, was touchy-feely. But that's OK.

Quick aside #1: Lanie was back this week, and as such, so was "lividity."

Quick aside #2: True to form, everything had been hunky-dory for the victim, until he started seeming "stressed" because "something happened at work."

Quick aside #3: Even the victim's boss got in on the act. "Pete was a rising star. His clients loved him. But..."

Quick aside #4: From what I read online, the receptionist at JP Harding is the real-life sister of Penny Johnson Jerald

Picky aside: A six-digit numeric password? Come on. Banks force you to use letters, numbers, special characters, and hieroglyphics.

There were a lot of good lines and looks.

Castle: "Talk about an appropriate, if not slightly on the nose, metaphor."
Beckett: "Castle. I love you. But I will not marry you on a ride, or up in space, or on slide." (Especially funny since Castle also did suggest outer space.)
Castle: "I'll bet Dr. Seuss got married somewhere fun." 

Beckett: "Wait. He has an island? We should invite him to the wedding."

Castle: "Hairy's my middle name. That sounded a lot better in my head."

Nunez: "Who did this?"
Castle: "We were thinking you... might... be able to... help us."

And the two best looks:

Beckett and Castle when Elizabeth stormed past. "Let's not put her on the list."

Beckett's and Castle's despair when Martha said she needed to fetch her guest list.

Oh well. Until next week.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SPAM Tennis, Part 2

By Michael Seese

Two posts back, I recounted my adventures in the world of Singaporian (is that a word?) finance. To be exact, I had received an email from Mr. Cham Tao Soon of Chairman Audit Committee of UOB Bank, Singapore with an offer to "lay claims" to a secret account worth millions." In this case, the money belonged to Mr. Dimka Ilkovska-Boskovic, who was a member of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski's cabinet, who perished along with the President in a plane crash.

Mr. Soon and I exchanged pleasantries, as well as sensitive documents. At the time of my last post, he was traveling on business. After a few days, I thought I would touch base, since that's what friends do. 

Dear Mr. Soon --
 I hope your travels have been productive. I look forward to hearing from you so that we may continue our enterprise.


He replied:

I see the phone number you give to me as yours turns out to be the fax number for Russian online visa application. Thanks for the time wasting.
Office in Moscow
 Address: 107014 Moscow, Zhebrunova Street 6, Office 117
 Phone: 7-495-505-6325
 Fax: 7-495-649-8328

Wow! He checks references? Bummer. I had so many fun responses planned for his inevitable request for good-faith money. It really was going to be a tennis match. Oh well. I answered nonetheless.

 Dear Mr. Cham --

Or should that be "Sham?" Or perhaps "Scam?"

I'd hardly call it time wasting. I had a lot of fun imagining how excited you must have been to think you actually had a sucker on the line.

Tchau, mother-----r.


I chose the sign-off "tchau," as is it goodbye in Brazilian Portuguese. If you'll recall from the previous post, the original email came from the .br top-level domain. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, he really was from Brazil, and would think, "How did he know...?"

A few days later I got this, in the same mailbox. (Bear in mind, my dear friend Cham was the only person who knew of it, and I can't imagine him "sharing" it with anyone.)

I think the moral of the story is obvious. If you're hiding untold illegally obtained millions, don't fly. The odds are you will crash.

I responded to this one with "Nice try, (expletive deleted)." 

Until next time crime fighters.