Please give a warm welcome to fellow Muse author Scott R. Caseley and his YA mystery Isosceles as he shares a satirical piece of flash fiction about the writing process.
“Twice in A Millennium Inspiration”
Written by Scott R. Caseley
Swedish Translations provided by Tanja Pihlblad
Like millions of other people around the globe, I bought and read Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy for a book club. While I struggled to get past a lot of the Swedish in the text, I found myself most impressed by his Salander character. Two other club members, Jackie, an American and her fiancée, a Swede named Anders had seen both film versions of “Dragon Tattoo”. While she preferred Noomi Repace in the title role, he was a fan of Rooney Mara. When a heated argument sprung up one night at the library after a book club meeting over which performance was better, I settled it by telling them I would watch both and be the tiebreaker.
“Maybe you’ll get ideas for your next book, too, win-win,” Jackie said with a kind smile. I appreciated it, but her kindness was as constant as my writer’s block both of which had been a part of my life for several years now. I once wrote one novel, a psychological thriller. It received some decent press and sales were not bad for an unknown like me. Since then, my ink well was dry, and the creative part of my brain was on pause.
“We’ll see,” I smirked.
“Go for it, min vän.” Anders said patting me on the back with confidence. He often called me ‘min vän’. I just smiled and agreed though I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t want him to see me as a stereotypical American who could only speak one language. Though, in fact, sadly I am.
After they left, I perused the video section, which had to have at least three thousand titles. There was an attractive brunette, around my age of twenty-five in the comedy section. When she selected a DVD and held it in her hands, I did a quick check and noticed she didn’t have a wedding band. It had been forever since my last date, but I decided against trying to pick her up. It was difficult enough trying to create clever lines for dialogue for a fictitious piece, let alone an icebreaker to impress a woman. With my tail between my legs, I selected both ‘Tattoo’ films and headed to the counter to check them out.
I watched the Swedish version first and enjoyed the pacing and the action, Noomi’s Salander was deadly, dangerous, and of course, her spiked hair was hot too. I took my phone out of my pocket to see there were seventeen new text messages and all from Jackie and Anders to see which Salander was my choice. Rather than answer them, I popped in the Blu Ray for the Fincher adaptation and began to watch. Mara seemed to immerse herself in the character, making her lethal yet vulnerable. Fincher’s deft direction kept me on the edge of my seat though I knew the story well from both the novel and the Swedish version. When the credits rolled, I felt inspired by both films and convinced myself I needed to write a compelling thriller with a strong female protagonist. But, first I needed to get some sleep.
As a writer, you’d think my imagination would lend itself to impressive dreams with dynamic visuals and compelling action, but alas the reality was they were pretty humdrum. Usually just a retelling of an event that happened in my waking life, or so uninteresting, they aren’t worth repeating here. However, on this ‘Tattoo’ marathon night, my dream got off to a dramatic start.
Rain was coming down sounding like nature’s rendition of Beethoven’s “Moonlit Sonata”, in a haunting and peaceful way. I sat on the couch in my living room reading the latest Young Adult novel by Marysue Hobika on my Kindle. A clap of thunder drowned out the beautiful concerto and I was startled when someone burst through my front door. I powered down my ereader and headed into the kitchen where the attractive brunette from the library stood wearing all black and was drenched from head to toe. She lit up a cigarette and began trembling as she held it and inhaled deeply. Her eyes seemed dangerous, so I hesitated to tell her smoking wasn’t allowed in my apartment.
She removed the cigarette from her lips and spoke nervously, “Hej” I sat down at the kitchen table, and observed her, not knowing what to say, as I couldn’t understand what she said. My smartphone was on the table, I picked it up, and discreetly scanned it for a translate app to see if I could type the word she said, though I didn’t know how to spell it. Was it haj, hij, or hej? Because of my Larsson overdose, I did know it was Swedish, so that was at least a start. I did a quick search for translation apps on Google and found one. I downloaded it, and thanks to my Wi-Fi connection, it took a matter of seconds.
“Jag heter Annika—” as she spoke, the most amazing thing happened, English words in white text started to form in front of her chest revealing she said her name was Annika. “Vad är detta, engelska undertexter framför mig? Hur gjorde du det?” (What is this, English subtitles in front of me? How did you do that?) I could have answered her in English and had the app do Swedish subtitles for her, but I was far too awestruck at what was going on to do so. “Jag heter Annika och kommer från Västerås, Sverige, även kallad ‘gurkstaden’.” (My name is Annika, I’m from Västerås, Sweden, often nicknamed the Cucumber City).
“Hi, I’m Andy Schmidt,” as I told her my name, a smile came across her face. Then, I realized, Duh, she must know who I am, she did come to my apartment after all.
“Jag har förstått att du är författare. Jag sitter på en riktigt bra story som sker framför ögonen på mig på mitt jobb. Det kommer helt klart bli en bestseller. Här är detaljerna.” (I understand you are a writer. I have quite a story unfolding where I work that will be a Bestseller for sure. Here are the details.) Intrigued as I was about the prospect of a new story, a Bestseller no less, part of me was dubious about receiving an idea under these circumstances. Whatever the story was, it must’ve been something very hazardous, since she came to my apartment, looking like a scared child. However, the writer in me won over the protective side.
Sensing none of my trepidation, she continued on, “Jag jobbar som studievägledare på ett universitet och jag hörde av misstag skolans Dekan tala med hennes elevassistent vid vaktmästarens förråd. Dekanens man är konstkurator vid det lokala historiska museet där några antika föremål blivit stulna från ett av rummen. Misstankar riktades mot honom, men nu är han också försvunnen. Hon måste tro att hennes assistent är den enda som kan hjälpa henne att hitta både honom och de försvunna föremålen!” (I am a counselor at a university, and I overheard the Dean speaking to her student assistant by the janitor’s closet. The Dean’s husband is curator at the local historical society where some antiquities were stolen from one of the rooms. He was suspected of taking them, but now he has vanished too. She must believe that her assistant is the only one who can help her find him and the missing items.)
“Nå, vad tycker du? Gillar du det?” (What do you think? You like?) I read the subtitles and smiled like a maniac eager to start putting pen to paper. I knew the best thing would be to start taking notes. I reached for a newspaper sprawled out before me, and removed a pen from my pocket. Just as I began to write, she grabbed me by the wrist. Her grip was callused and intimidating. I glanced up, her eyes boring into me with fiery intensity. I sensed whatever she would say next, I wouldn’t need the subtitles to know it wasn’t going to be good, “Det finns mycket mer men det kostar. Fem miljoner, varav tre i förskott.” (There’s a lot more but it’s going to cost you. Five million, three up front.)
“I don’t have that kind of money,” I admitted out loud, thankful she didn’t speak English, because I was afraid of what she would do to me if she knew how destitute I was.
“Fine, I should have known better than to come here. I’ll get Gillian Flynn’s agent’s number and pitch the idea. She could always use another Bestseller,” she spoke with a southern accent. I was too in shock to speak. Before I could say anything in response, I heard my phone ringing in my pocket, the unmistakable sound of “Moonlit Sonata”.
My eyes snapped open; I was on the couch with my phone sitting in the palm of my hand. The screen indicated ‘1 New Voicemail’ from ‘Unknown Caller’. I pressed the Voicemail key and pressed the phone to my ear, “Hi, I hope I’m dialing the right number, I’m trying to reach Andrea Schmidt. This is so awkward. My name is Stephanie, I saw you in the library yesterday renting the ‘Dragon Tattoo’ films and they’re two of my favorite movies. I was wondering if you would like to watch them with me sometime. You might have seen me there, I was in the video section when you were picking them up and I got your number from the librarian.” She then left her number, and I debated about whether to call her back.
I ended up writing five pages based on what Annika told me in the dream, and then I called up the real woman to agree to meet for coffee sometime. If that went well, then maybe watch a movie with her. I didn’t want to rush things, besides I had a novel to write now.
When he finds his best friend Trey Goodsby dead and almost completely submerged in a bathtub filled with bloody water, Sean McIntyre is determined to find out if it was an accident or suicide. If it was suicide, why did he do it? And, did his death accidental or intentional have anything to do with Madeline Edwards, the woman who came between them constantly through their thirteen-year friendship? Isosceles, a coming-of-age mystery romance begins with the death of Trey Goodsby, and explores his relationships with family, friends, his romances, and which of the circumstances he found himself in that led to the tragic event, and the repercussions for those he left behind. Purchse at:
About the Author:
Scott R. Caseley was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. He gained an interest in writing in elementary school in nearby Hudson. Growing up, he carried a small notebook or pen on family trips making observations and frequently turned them into poems or short stories. While attending Franklin Pierce University, he co-wrote and co-directed a student film. After graduating, he wrote and directed a dramatic feature, co-wrote and directed a documentary and conducted interviews for an online magazine. He’s also passionate about acting, and he’s enjoyed performing on stage, in bit parts on film, and is also a trained voice actor. In addition to his creative pursuits, he is passionate about healthy living. He follows a fitness regimen consisting of several activities such as; weight training, walking, swimming, yoga, and hula hooping. He complements this by cooking several nutritious examples of international and American cuisine. Last, but certainly not least he also enjoys just spending time with family and friends until the early morning hours with plenty of laughter and coffee. You can find Scott on: