‘Premium Harmony’ by Stephen King

King, Stephen 2009

Premium Harmony by Stephen King, 2009

The magic trick:

Telling the story from Rays point of view only

Wow, what a bleak story. No, we don’t have any creepy clowns or man-eating dogs or even any global germ outbreaks. We have something far scarier than any of that child’s play: we have Stephen King’s picture of stale, suburban marriage. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

The best aspect of the story is King’s use of limited point of view. The reader has access to the action only from Ray’s vantage point. Now, that means we also have access to his various thoughts, many of which are comical, inappropriate, offensive, or just plain mean. That’s where the story gets interesting. It’s his series of reactions, complicated as they may be, that make the story tick. And that’s quite a trick on King’s part.

The selection:

“I’ll get the ball. Then I’ll come back. If you still feel you have to spend four dollars and fifty cents to poison your lungs, you can go in. I’ll sit with the baby.”

Ray hates it when she calls Biz the baby. He’s a dog, and he may be as bright as Mary likes to boast when they have company, but he still shits outside and licks where his balls used to be.

“Buy a few Twinkies while you’re at it,” he tells her. “Or maybe they’re having a special on Ho Hos.”

“You’re so mean,” she says. She gets out of the car and slams the door. He’s parked too close to the concrete cube of a building and she has to sidle until she’s past the trunk of the car, and he knows she knows he’s looking at her, seeing how she’s now so big she has to sidle. He knows she thinks he parked close to the building on purpose, to make her sidle, and maybe he did.

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