…And Other Crimes…Inspired by a Spike Lee Joint

spike-lee-joint-1.2A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering how to title my first collection of three stories. Since they were crime stories, I hit on the idea of replacing Stories with Crimes, so instead of The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Stories, I settled on The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes.

I owe this homage to a memory of Spike Lee titling his movies ‘joints’ rather than ‘movies,’ ever since I saw Lee’s joint Do the Right Thing. The opening credits got a laugh just by announcing ‘A Spike Lee Joint.’ Entertainment first! Plus you can get high off a Spike Lee film.

Henceforth, my ‘stories’ for my Trio 1 will be known as ‘crimes,’ hence the title The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes. Fraud is the focus of “The Man in Gray Tie,” consent in “(He) Said, (She) Said,” and plagiarism in “The Last Page of Friendship.”

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Introducing “The Man in the Gray Tie” (Trio 1, Story 1)

Have You Ever Gambled and Won Something You Couldn’t Afford?The idea for “The Man in the Gray Tie” (the title story for The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes) was a memory of visiting the English countryside. There was a small auction house in North Yorkshire that captured my imagination, nestled away under some trees and quite posh-looking. I didn’t go inside, but the memory lingered….

It was the combination of this setting and reading Roald Dahl’s short stories that inspired me, in particular Dahl’s “Parson’s Pleasure” (starring the unforgettable Mr. Boggis). In that story, a man tours the English countryside ripping people off–mostly taking their antique furniture. I created a similar character in Dr. Sidney Holton, someone who is not motivated by money, but rather the thrill of duping other people. His victim in this case is the affluent auction house, whoever owns it.

What would happen, Dr Holton wonders, if he bids up the prices at the auction house…for his satisfaction. Well, what happens is not what he expects. This time, in taking his wife’s beloved dog into the auction, his plan backfires. Since the animal’s is his wife’s pride and joy (more than he is), he has something to lose more than his integrity, yet somehow more to gain than embarrassment…

Check out this first story at “The Man in the Gray Tie.”

Introducing…The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (Trio 1)


Hi, I am currently working on some new stories. The first three will be released as a mini-collection (Trio 1) and called The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes. So far I’ve written six of the stories (Trios 1 and 2) and about to embark on the seventh. Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about the experience of writing these stories, and the inspiration behind them.

Basically, it’s time to give a little behind-the-scenes on the experience. Along the way there are lots of U-turns, hurdles to overcome, dead ends, and so on. But there are also some sweet, funny moments associated with writing (you wouldn’t think it, I know), its pitfalls, and how the most unexpected things can find their way into stories, and improve them.

The first story I wrote for the collection is the title story, “The Man in the Gray Tie.” Hopefully I won’t change the title of this story, but it’s entirely possible. I am already considering a polka dot tie, since the gray tie is perhaps too reminiscent of the lead character of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey (2011). Given the main character is my story keeps all his clothes on, that should be where the confusion ends. 🙂

Hope to see you here!