Premium Harmony

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"Premium Harmony"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Series The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Publisher The New Yorker
Media type Print
Publication date November 2009
Preceded by Mile 81
Followed by Batman and Robin Have an Altercation

Premium Harmony is a 3,700-word short story by American author Stephen King. It was published in the November 2009 issue of The New Yorker magazine.[1] The story is set in Castle Rock, King's famous fictitious city, and is the first to take place in that setting since the short story "The Man in the Black Suit" (1995); in "Premium Harmony" the city is almost ghost-like and run-down.

Plot summary[edit]

While en route to Wal-Mart for grass seed, Ray and Mary Burkett, with their dog Biznezz in the back seat, fight about the state of their lawn, his smoking, and her obesity. Mary demands they stop at a convenience store in order to purchase a purple kickball for their niece's birthday, and while in there she suffers a heart attack and immediately dies. Her husband Ray is fetched from the car by a store employee. The emergency medical technicians arrive, pronounce her dead, and remove her body. Ray remains with the store employees and customers, recounting Mary's County Fair awards for her quilting. After nearly two hours have passed, he returns to the car, where Biznezz has died from hyperthermia, with the remnants of a Sno Ball Ray had fed him earlier still in his whiskers. This causes in Ray a simultaneous welling-up of "great sadness" and "amusement." The story is written in third-person limited narrative and reveals a number of Ray's more egocentric thoughts throughout the story's events, such as being disturbed at the similarity between the manager's attempts at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and French kissing, the thought that a bystander might give him a mercy fuck, and, as the story closes, the thought that he can now smoke whatever, whenever, and wherever he likes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ King, Stephen (9 November 2009). "Premium Harmony". The New Yorker. New York, USA: Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 27 November 2009.