May 12

The Refresh


When you love something so much and realize that you must change, it’s difficult to capture every facet that you need to do so. But I did it.

Welcome to AndrewStories.

Re-branding is something that I knew I needed to do as of a few months ago, so I began doing it. Of course it would have been nice to do it as the year turned to 2016, but life doesn’t come wrapped up in pretty packages such as this. Today is the new day, the new time, the flip of the chapter. Today is when AndrewStories becomes my new home.

@drewisawriter served me very well, and I’ll bid it a fond farewell. It’s a brand that brought me up from my professional writing infancy, and I will always love it. But a decade is about all it had in the tank. Just look at what the brand is on its face: it says I’m a writer. I know that, and I don’t feel the need to bluntly hit readers and clients over the head with it every day. I wanted something different, and now I have it.

So now I’m editing this piece and the website as a larger whole at a tavern in Beaverton, Oregon, which is a suburb directly west of Portland. It’s a bright, sunny day of about 77 degrees. These 77 degrees are sure a lot warmer than they were in Phoenix, my former hometown. The point it, I’m here now, living my creative life, but so many changes have taken place in the recent 16 months that my goddamn head is still spinning.

There will be cursing, there will be storytelling, passions passionated, onions peeled, revelations revealed, and hearts likely broken. Each week here at AndrewStories you will get some of the best of what I do as a writer, and now, a published author. While the ideas seem like they are endless, it’s never about the ideas, since those are fucking cheap as the very dirt you walk on. I’m about the execution of the hundreds of ideas that exist between my ears and in my storytelling. And it continues to be an absolute pleasure to have you in my audience.


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May 12

Your Storytelling Fix: “15 Items Or Less”


15 Items Or Less

  While at least the entire front of the grocery store had halted operations, other shoppers in the middle and back of the store remained clueless as to the reality that would eventually face them as they proceeded to the checkout lane. Huddled shoppers whimpered, some quietly.

Clyde was a man of six feet, dressed in as much black as a human being could possibly be adorned in. Gloves, jacket, boots, Kevlar, you name it. Oh, and his gun was black too. His very big gun, that of the Colt .45 variety. There wasn’t a very much more effective way to use this getup and this weapon besides what Clyde was doing right now: robbing the grocery store.

A few new corpses lay near the register that Clyde was emptying furiously, that of the nearest bag-boy and two unfortunate shoppers. Had they decided to shop anywhere else that day, they’d surely be alive. It was at the very hands of Clyde that he deemed the exact opposite. Because when an armed man dressed all in black holds up your neighborhood grocery store, your odds of survival just became less.

“Why don’t you just take what you want and get out of here?” whimpered a woman, shaking from what she had just witnessed.

Clyde stopped shaking the register’s till into his large sack, chucking it onto the nearby manager’s desk. He slithered carefully over to the outspoken lady, and she predictably cowered once he brushed his gun’s barrel across her aged cheeks.

“Because I want to cause people pain, you loud bitch,” said Clyde. “And now I have a place to cause pain, and that is in your life.”

Clyde clipped his words, as he figured silence was due. The fear quotient would be higher among the shopping patrons that were still with their lives. Ah, to hell with silence.

“Will you please be done with this?” the woman begged, to which Clyde leaned in, intimidating her more.

“Oh, Jesus Christ, please, no!” she whimpered softly.

The barrel now at her right temple, Clyde pulled the trigger. The spray of life and brain was immediate, and fierce. Milliseconds, it took, to get things that weren’t dark red to that very color. The woman’s body collapsed onto the floor.

Sullen and sober, Clyde drew his Colt back. There was much more to do, now that he absolutely had everyone’s full and undivided attention.

The dispatched woman’s body lay on the floor, directly in the way of Clyde’s direction of walking. He figured that he had enough clout to get his hostages to do some of his bidding at this point in the game. Because, to Clyde, it was all a game in his warped head.

“You and you, fuckheads, drag this whore’s body out of the way, and get a mop,” he said to two of his hostages. “Clean some of that blood up, make this walkway not slippery. Got that? Go!”

The two hostages scrambled to their feet and moved almost too fast. Inside of two minutes, Clyde’s bidding was nearly completed, and he stood up from his current position, which was leaning back and watching the two do their commanded work.

“That’s some fine work, fellas. Go grab a Snickers bar or something and get your worthless faces back on the floor. Now.”

The poor hostages didn’t take their prize. Clyde watched them lay flat.

While it was only six minutes after Clyde had single-handedly commandeered the entire store, he took one of those minutes to check the aisles to make sure there were no heroes waiting in the wings. Upon a second once-over of the aisles, he sped quickly back to the front of the store to count his hostages. Still 23 of them, all facing the floor and doing exactly as they’ve been told up to this point in time.

“Wow, you’re really quite a group of citizens here. Doing everything I say. This is what lemmings are. Anyone familiar with lemmings? Ya fucking worthless human beings. Every one of you, with your frequent shopper cards and your safe homes to go to. Get it clear, fuckheads. I despise every one of you.”

“And I despise you,” called out a voice from a corner of the store Clyde hadn’t exactly checked.

A shot rang out, just as the hero-in-waiting was saying this. It pierced Clyde’s forehead with such accuracy, he was dead before his body plunked on the ground.

“Sergeant Collins, everyone,” he said. “Off-duty police officer. The danger is over.”