Sunday, September 15, 2019

Janet Flash: The Flesh Taxi

by Michael Seese

A Janet Reid contest two weeks in a row. I am one lucky dog. For this week's battle of bon mots, she asked us to use


in a 100-word story. But to foil her nemesis, Steve Forti, the mandated that he use "flesh taxi," a term she found in this tweet by Meredith Ireland:

OMG. How can you NOT want to write a story about that? So I give you "The Flesh Taxi."

"Please! Just let me go home." 

My cri de cœur fell on deaf ears. Bound, gagged, jammed into this filthy ride, I could only stare at freedom through weary windows. Passing the Church Avenue station, my throat involuntarily tightened. "Escape" whispered from an invisible horizon. 

We lurched to a halt. 

Forced upstairs and inside, my screams heard by none, my sanity remains glued to one thought. A better place awaits. A place where I'm one with the sun, day and night, in nebulous bliss. But this cursed flesh taxi insists on taking me to the thing it calls "the apartment."

Not to boast, but I am VERY proud of this one. We'll see what "the judge" thinks on Monday.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Janet Flash: Omelet

by Michael Seese

Energized and enervated after a week away from the hectic Manhattan life, super agent Janet Reid tossed out another contest

As always, use the following:


in a 100-word short story. For Steve Forti, include the word "pneumo." I'm not Steve Forti, but I did it anyway. 

I hit on the idea of a sentence that used "pithy," but meant "pity." While driving to pick up my oldest from paintball, I hit upon the idea for the story I call "Omelet."

I cleared my throat.

"It softens easier to wallow in self pithy, than to face one's demons. Such is the fatal flaw of the young Danish prince, an inert introvert lamenting his existential existence, whimpering like a muffled pulpy, too timid to bark or bite. Alas, poor Yorick! I pneumo— "

"That's enough." I'd come to learn that Professor Cole's arched eyebrow heralded the arrival of a parable posed as a question. "Do you care to explain?"

"I dictated my term paper. I guess Google Voice never read Hamlet."


"You gave me an F. So the point is mute."

And, true story, in her column the day before, Janet talked about using the "right word." I meant to, but didn't get around to, posting my comment:

"To be honest, I consider using the wrong word to be my style." 

I regret not getting it done.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Janet Flash: Together

by Michael Seese

The Duchess Of Yowl, the feline queen who dismissively refers to Janet Reid as "Thumbs" discovered there was a new movie about cats. 

Big cats. In Africa. I imagine you get it. So in honor, Janet created the Purrfect For Your Weekend flash fiction contest

Our mission...

To use: 


And to compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize, you had to use the PHRASE: "demented serenity."

I wanted to do something different with "lion," so I searched up words ending in "li" that I could put before "on." I found a lot of cool words, which gave me some ideas. But then I hit upon "annuli," and "Together" fell into place.

I knew, more or less, what I'd find when I got there.

The heat up "way too high," Dad’s <i>de rigueur</i> kvetch.

Lester Holt, talking to an empty couch.

The dining room table, once host to countless Sunday dinners, now a bed-sheeted ghost.

An unwashed crockpot sullying the sink, evidence of Dad's oft-stated hatred of scrubbing.

Finally, the two of them in his car, hands clasped, dashboard lights glinting off the scratched—but never tarnished—annuli on their fingers. Dad remained bravely beside his "pride and joy," even through her demented serenity.

I turned off the ignition, and dialed 911.

So sad. I actually know someone who did that.

On a happier note, my family and I ran the OROC 5K today. I placed 11th in my age group (old guys) and 317th overall.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Janet Flash: Under The Big Top

by Michael Seese

Feeling down in the dumps last Monday, Janet Reid eased back into the workweek with a LippLibs contest. Finish the sentence, "I knew I would find my joie de vivre, but had no money on ... "

I read about it early in the morning, but didn't have an idea "right there." Then work happened, and I forgot. 

"Flash" forward to Friday, and Janet posted a contest, with a wrinkle. Take one of the entries from Tuesday, and use that as the opening or closing line of your 100-word story. Three different LippLibs caught my eye, but ultimately it was Just Jan's sentence that led me to "Under The Big Top."

I knew I would find my joie de vivre, but had no money on under the big top dressed as a clown.

Winter feasts on the homeless. Just as January relented, releasing its icy grip, February blew through and bitch-slapped me. Seeing countless friends frozen drove a renewed desperation to escape the streets.

The paper stapled to a pole reeked of suspect salvation.

"Fun! Laughs! Oversized shoes! A red honking nose!"

I passed the audition with flying (trapeze) colors, and settled into the unexpected.

Thus began my career as the man-toy of a plus-size contortionist with an Emmett Kelly fetish.


Poor Ringling Bros.

As an aside, if you have never seen "The Greatest Showman," you should. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's Alive!

by Michael Seese

From Twitter last week:

I don't know much about Bakka-Phoenix books, other than they are "Canada's oldest Speculative Fiction bookstore, founded in 1972."

But they are now my second favorite book store, behind the Fireside

So The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber is now officially for sale in Canada. The U.S. release date is early June.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Janet Flash: Cleanup On Aisle 3

by Michael Seese

Trying to accentuate the positive, I suppose...

Friday, Janet Reid lamented a pending public works project.

My normal subway is the L.
The L goes under the East River.
The tunnels were damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Now they're going to fix them.
And that leaves 300,000 people in a fix.
Cause how the HELL are we going to get to work?

Looking for a silver lining, she turned it to a positive, with one of her flash fiction contest. Write 100 words using:


I wanted to find a good way to break up sandy into something fun. That led me to "Cleanup On Aisle 3."

As a child, Tony the Tiger scared the hell out of me. Ferocious beasts should snarl, not wax poetic about glorified Corn Flakes. And don't get me started on Cap'n Crunch, whose eyebrows weren't affixed to his head, but rather, hovered mysteriously in front of his hat. But I dealt with it.

Until that bird ogled me with its googly toucan eyes.

I snapped.

Grabbing my official Red Ryder air rifle, I took aim and Pollocked the kitchen walls with its flavor-bursting reds, oranges, and yellows.

Thus began my runaway train ride into the dark tunnel known as cereal killing.

Yes, it's the word bad joke, ever. But I thought it might brighten her day.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Janet Flash: "Pearls"

by Michael Seese

So I was busy, or lazy, or something and didn't get a chance to post this a few weeks back...

Earlier this month, Janet Reid blog regular Julie Wearhers posted:

I dreamed about Janet last night. It involved sending her a strange, but awesome gift. And now she gives us a strange, but awesome, gift.


"You did what?" Virginia gasped. If she'd had pearls, she would have been clutching them."

 Janet loved the "pearl" sentence so much, she built a contest around it. Contrary to the use-these-five-words format, she asked us to write story around the gist of the line. I came up with "Pearls."

“Always marry for love. But it's just as easy to love a rich fella.”

Young me clutched Mama's pearls of wisdom like a drowning rat clinging to a chunk of driftwood.

Mama sure played that matrimonial maxim into a winning hand, trolling the casinos, all tits and eyelashes. Poor Henry. Never knew what hit him.

I do.

Ball-peen hammer.

At least she considered me worthy of living in “her” house.

Another Mama maxim comes to mind.

“If you can't beat ’em, join ’em.”

I'm going to miss Mama.

But this string of pearls sure goes with her favorite blue dress.

It didn't win. But it did get a shout out:

It says absolutely nothing good about me that I laughed out loud with this from Michael Seese
Poor Henry. Never knew what hit him.
I do.
Ball-peen hammer.

And she posted a new contest yesterday, so expect to see something here tomorrow.