Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.
Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.
Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”
Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce. I have a new book out entitled Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. It came about because my editor hounded me for two years to put all my short stories into one collection. Actually, it was supposed to be a two-volume set because there was so much material. I fended her off for as long as possible. I didn’t want to do the work of editing all the stories. There were a lot of them. But she finally wore me down. Instead of two volumes, I put all the stories into a single book because I wanted to get the whole thing over with. I had other books to write.
Bedtime Stories is made up of fiction and nonfiction stories and some of ’em are about my criminal youth. I must tell you, I never thought any of these stories would see the light of day. I wrote them for myself and then forgot about them. By the way, there are all sorts of genres within its pages, from westerns to detective stories to love stories and just about anything else that you can imagine.
There are a whole lotta stories in the book—700 pages worth. Enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, here’s one of the shorter fiction stories from the book.
Standing on the graveyard grass, looking down at the freshly-filled grave, stood The Preacher, dressed in black and wearing a black, circular, wide-brim hat. There was not a headstone as of yet, but The Preacher knew the name of the occupant. It was his brother. Five days previously, he had murdered the man who now lay under the earth at his feet. The Preacher did not want to kill this one. But he felt he had to, and he knew with a certainty that he would have to kill again … and soon.
After saying a prayer over his brother’s buried body, The Preacher walked slowly back to the highway. As he walked, he thought of how unnecessary it had all been. All his brother had to do was not interfere in the Lord’s work. It should have made no difference that the work involved the killing of Junior McGuire.
He thought back to his last conversation with his brother:
“You must not interfere.”
“You’ve been killing since you were a boy. But you was family, so I held my own peace.”
“I am family to man.”
“You always were different, even when we was kids. But now you come to town and tell me you must take Junior McGuire. Well, Junior is a friend of mine. He’s the mayor of this town, for God’s sake.”
“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Are those your last words on the matter?”
“Yup, I just can’t let you kill Junior McGuire.”
The conversation replayed itself repeatedly in The Preacher’s mind.
Now that there were no more obstacles, The Preacher could be about the Lord’s work. And this time, the Lord’s work was the quick dispatch of Junior McGuire.
The Preacher had been at this work a long time. Sometimes he wearied of the mission the Lord had bestowed upon him. However, he believed that no matter how weary, he must persevere until he was allowed a rest or brought to his just reward.
The walk from the graveyard into town was a short one. Before he knew it, The Preacher found himself standing in front of McGuire’s Dry Goods Emporium. He entered without hesitation and sought out The McGuire.
The store was empty, but filled with people or not, it made no difference to The Preacher. He was about God’s work. He proceeded to the back room where he encountered a man of about fifty, stacking cartons in a corner. The Preacher inquired of the man, “Are you McGuire?” When an affirmative response was forthcoming, The Preacher laid his hands upon the sinner.
The Preacher had been at this so long he felt as though he could see the soul of the damned leave the body and pass through the floorboards on its way to perdition.
As he left McGuire’s, The Preacher thought to himself, I pray the time never comes when I enjoy this work.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.
Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.