Sunday, September 25, 2016

Janet Flash: Lost

by Michael Seese

The moral of the story this week is always write. A few months back I jotted down 50 or 60 words about a remorseful alcoholic, and kept it in a doc on my tablet called "Flash Ideas." Then along came this week's Janet Reid short story contest. And voilĂ !

The key words were:


And I saw immediately how they could fit into the existing story. With that, I give you "Footsteps."

Seven years of the bottle had taken its toll. My nights melted into one continuous blackout. My days, one continuous black. I hear people escape it. The lies. The shame. The regrets.

I won't be one of them.

As I blew out the candles, precariously punched into a lopsided homemade cake, I wished my Dixie cup held something more fortifying than fruit punch.

“How will you celebrate your newfound freedom?” my Mom asked.

“I thought I'd take my shiny new driver's license out for a spin. Drive around a bit. Maybe pop over to the 7-11. They're still open, right?”

Only a LITTLE depressing.

Results (hopefully) tomorrow on Janet's blog.

And as always, please let me know what you think. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Janet Flash: Stand Up

by Michael Seese

I'm a little late getting this one in, between a busy Labor Day weekend and yesterday's timely thermometer spike.

There had no been any activity on the Janet flash front of late, as she took off the month of August to ... you know ... do agent work. Also, she switched jobs, as detailed in this post.

So last Friday the contest resumed. Our key words were:   


I came up with something I call "Stand Up."

After nearly six weeks adrift, morale had reached a low. The captain's son suggested entertainment.

“Stop me if you've herd this one before… Get it?”

“Why did the pony whisper? Because he was a little horse.”

“What did the mama lion say to her cubs? I'm proud of you kids. I mean pride of you.”

“This routine is going to the dogs.” The dachshunds were not amused. Only the hyenas were laughing. For the wrong reasons.

“That's the spirit,” Michael said, eying their toothy grins. Thus fell the curtain on the first and only open Mike night on Noah's Ark.

Some people are born with horse sense. Me? I've spent a lifetime saddled with mule sense.

This one already has been filed in the "not a winner" pile. But y'all might find some merriment.

As an aside, I came up with an opening line for a story that would have been completely different. Some people are born with horse sense. Me? I've spent a lifetime saddled with mule sense.  I'm kinda proud of that one, so I thought I'd share.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Funny (Not Really) Foto #74

by Michael Seese

When I started my car this afternoon, here is what I saw:


The perfect (heat) storm of

1. A hot day
2. No wind
3. Blacktop

Welcome to September, Cleveland.  

(And apparently my dashboard needs a good cleaning.) 

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm A Sonnet, And I Don't Even...

by Michael Seese

Hmmm.  I'll have to think about how to finish that rhyme. But it should be no problem, now that I am recognized sonnet writer.

I've always enjoyed writing a variety of forms. Novels. Short stories. Flash fiction. Non-fiction. Poetry. 

Simple poems are easy to write. But in case you've forgotten your high school English lessons, sonnets are complex. 

- They have to be in iambic pentameter.
- They utilize a specific rhyme scheme, which varies slightly based on the "flavor." For example, the Petrarchan follows the pattern abab abab cde cde; many Shakespearean use abab cdcd efef gg

Several times now I have submitted a sonnet or three to the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, which is sponsored by the folks who bring us The Great River Shakespeare Festival. (My wife and I will definitely have to drag the kids to that some time.) 

To this point, nada.

Well, I am proud to be able to finally say I am among the champions. My entry, "The Honeymoon" was named one of the winners! To bring myself down to earth a bit, it was a Laureates' Choice, which means, not the big Kahuna. Still...

OK, enough gushing about myself. Time to come up with a word that rhymes with "sonnet."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Janet Flash: "Not The Flower"

by Michael Seese

When I write something for one of Janet Reid's contests, I always expect to have a good shot at winning. Last time was no exception. But I have to say, the winning entry, penned by Steven D, was pretty darned good.

So this week, I kind of took the idea and turned it on it head. Given:


I came up with “Not The Flower."

You cower. Despite the swelter, you can't stop shivering. The voices are right above you. Poppa warned you about them. The men from the Dark League. Now they're here.

Words fall through the cracks like dust.

"Lilies? Yes, they're beautiful flowers. Oh..."

"Jennings Road. Can't say I'm familiar..."

"Broad daylight..."

"I’ll call if..."

Then silence. Again.

Someone begins prying up a floorboard. Gut-ripping fear gives way to relief when Poppa's face appears.

"Can I come out now?" you ask.

"Not yet, pumpkin. They might come back. Don't worry. You're not the girl they're looking for. I promise."

I don't know about you, but for me second-person narrative seems to ... intimate. More so than first-person.

As always, please share your thoughts.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Janet Flash: "17"

by Michael Seese

A funny thing happened on the way to this week's Janet Reid contest. I wrote a story, and NOBODY DIES! Janet noted she is attending the ThrillerFest XI conference. In honor of that, she chose the words:

16 (the latter a reference to 2016)

From those words came "17."

I missed the thrill of being 16.

From the juvenile stuff like egging houses or ringing a doorbell and running, to more life-altering adolescent lapses like waking up, stinking of gin, and finding random bruises in awkward places. While my friends’ paths criss-crossed and careened toward adulthood, I was forced onto the straight road of responsibility. 

Speaking of ringing and running, I hope the Hendersons -- so says the name on the mailbox -- will let her have some fun. Just not too much. Like her mother did.

“To 17!” I said to nobody, pitching back another shot to celebrate bittersweet freedom. 

As always, I welcome your comments. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Funny Foto #73

by Michael Seese

Spotted in a story window in town.


There's a joke in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

And Happy 4th of July everyone.