Behind the Short Story: “Death or Taxes”

Behind the Writing Scenes of “Death or Taxes,” published in the July ’14 issue of Mysterical-E.

Summer 2011: it was that purplish state of dawn. My eyes flew open. My breath caught in my throat. Inspiration had come. It was ready to bubble out, like it or not.

And I liked it. In short order I had finished 1800 words of unabashed crime fiction/ dark comedy, with the requisite twist-em-ups and even a gun. In it a hit man whacked a mob accountant in order to assume his identity and then whack the real target: the U.S. Marshal coming to bring in the accountant. Good tension, wry voice, some turns of phrase, and oh yeah, the gun.

In all It was brilliant…ly inspired crap.

Of course, in 2011, I didn’t see Continue reading

One Half of an Awkward Conversation: Table for Mr. Sinatra

Good evening, sir. And a big ring-a-ding-ding to you, too. And madam! Welcome to Toots Shor’s. Yes, quite a swinging clam-bake here tonight.

Table for two? I see. We’ve nothing just now. What name shall I put your party under?

Could you spell that for me? S-I-N-A-P–R-A. Mr. Sinapra, if I could just get you to step aside–

Oh, Sinatra, is it? I beg your pardon. As you can see, Mr. Sinatra, we’re rather busy at the moment. Friday night, all of Midtown swinging. So have a seat, and I’ll call you when—

Seated now? I’m terribly sorry, sir. It’s quite impossible. These good people ahead of you have been waiting–

My name is Eugene, not Charley. And I assure you no one is taking anyone on the express train to Prankstown. Mr. Shor is quite the card, but no, he’s had a minor procedure done this afternoon. Last I heard he has more dope in him than a jazz club act.

No, I’m not a wise apple. If you’d been around musicians like I have, well, you’d understand. I have Continue reading

A Devil of a Story

“The devil went down to Georgia/He was looking for a soul to steal/He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind/And he was willin’ to make a deal”

Yes, that was the Charlie Daniels Band song “Devil Went down to Georgia.” Country gold, circa 1979. Big beards and bigger hats. Epic flannel. And also a master lesson in storytelling, no matter the medium. Strip away the beards and music, and Continue reading