Sunday, August 5, 2018

Janet Flash: Hair Of The Cat

by Michael Seese

To assuage the bruised feeling of her cat -- Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl -- who realized She'd not had a flash fiction contest in Her honor, Janet asked us to do the honors
























We were to craft a story of 100 words, using:

yowl
fur
purr
sneer
whisker
 

Caterwaul was suggested as an optional word. I tried to come up with some variation of sneer, like I can tell... 's neer, which sounded like words being slurred, and came up with the idea of a cat returning after a night on the town. I give you “Hair Of The Cat.”

Whiskers weighed down by the morning dew, I struggled to leo-locate my backyard. I could have sworn I left it here somewhere. Perhaps I did have a little too much catnip.

Her caterwaul guided me home.

“Hi, person,” I slur-purred, my temporary affection met with foot-tapping insouciance.

“Look what the cat dragged in.”

Yow! Lay off the decibels, lady. And don't get your fur in a bunch.

I made preparations to wipe that smug sneer from her face vis-à-vis a “gift" in her intimates drawer, until a tactical scratch to my ears wilted my will.

Did I mention the catnip?


 

Though I probably shouldn't admit this, in hindsight I wish I had said "situational affection" instead of "temporary affection."

As always, I welcome your thoughts. Or cat on the town stories.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Janet Flash: The Tango

by Michael Seese

I so hate to boast. But I have to. Before kids, I used to love playing softball. Later on, I developed home run power. And there's a certain feeling when you connect. When you know you "hit it out of the park."

I feel the same about my latest Janet Reid flash fiction piece

























In honor of author Sam Hawke giving her a shout-out in his book City Of Lies, she asked us to write 100 words using:

city
lie
sam
hawke
woo hoo


Trying to do something with "woo hoo" I thought about what I could build off "woo." From that came "The Tango."

High above the city, where the ragged skyscrapers and soot-laden smokestacks belie its true beauty, a fiery dance unfolded. He flirted with the vast welkin, its ample blue proscenium the ideal stage for his aerial tango.

Hawk eyes wide with desire, he circled; she counterpointed at a safe distance.

“Shy one!” he shouted. “You believe I know not how to woo? Ho! Only true love could spur me thus.”

He dove on passion’s wings, anticipating reciprocation, not expecting the sickening crack of his neck.

Tumbling earthward, life ebbing, he glanced at his love, now merely a pale reflection of himself.


We'll see if Janet thinks I connected.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Lazy SPAM

by Michael Seese

First came self-service gas stations. Then self-service supermarket checkouts. And now, apparently self-serve SPAM, per the extortive email below. 


There's no hyperlink to click on.

No email address to write back to the Nigerian prince and claim my untold riches. 

Just vague instructions to send $700 worth of Bitcoin to some big, long string of letters and numbers.

Though I do appreciate the friendly "howdy" from Saudi arabia. 

I could imagine these guys robbing a bank. "This is a hold-up. Put your money in this bag. We'll be sitting over there."

The way I see it, there are three main problems with their tack.

1. Send Bitcoin? Um, how do I that? From Paypal? My online bank account? Seriously, I work in IT, and have no idea how to do it.

2. Or what? Did they lock up my PC with ransonware? Kidnap my dog and will force her to listen to Ariana Grande talk?  No, they claim they have dirt on me, and will show it to my friends. Which leads to...

3. If I received an email with the subject, "Wait until you see the gross thing John Doe did," I'd delete without opening it. Unless I needed fodder for another rant about SPAM. And I think I can speak for my friends when I say they're too smart to fall for it as well.

Though I've never assigned a letter grade to the SPAM emails I receive, if I were to do so, this one wouldn't even rate an E for "effort."

And if, by chance, you do get an email with the subject, "Wait until you see the gross thing Michael Seese did," you can ignore it. It's not real, or it was photo-shopped, or something.

In all seriousness, I looked through my record of posts and saw my last entry on SPAM was two years ago. And though I know I've gotten a few in the interim, it really has tailed off for me. How about you? Are you getting more or less SPAM than you were a few years back?

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 TerrorismForDummies.com.  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?"

“What?"

"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."

Then...

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:
tenet
canon
rule
law
reg

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?


UPDATE:

By the way...

I WON!

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.