600 Hours of Edward, The Summer Son) has written a story especially for the holidays. "Comfort and Joy" is a sweet-hearted story about an 83-year-old widower named Frank Abrams (no relation to yours truly) who reaches out to a neighboring family suffering a devastating loss. Lancaster is only charging $1 for the story and is donating all the proceeds (minus any PayPal fees) to a good cause: Feeding America. So, you can feel good while reading a feel-good story. You can buy "Comfort and Joy" (literally) in a variety of ways: at Amazon where you can get the story for your Kindle, at Smashwords, or at Lancaster's website.
3. Andrew Klavan (The Identity Man) has a story, "The Windows," published at City Journal (allegedly the only fiction the publication has ever featured, apart from a story by Charles Dickens). It's a knife-sharp portrait of a paranoiac holed up in his New York apartment.
This morning, his coffee half-done, he stopped by the window beside his desk. Lifted the slats on the shutter. Peeked out at the sidewalk three stories below: the sidewalk and the brownstones and the pale green sycamores of West 69th Street near the park. Suits and skirts on their way to work. Artists and neighborhood ladies walking their dogs. No one suspicious. No one standing strangely still, watching his window. As there sometimes was. Or as he sometimes thought there was.You can read the entire story for free HERE.
He closed the slats. He never opened the shutters. Never.
The Story of the Week at The Library of America's website is "I'll Be Waiting" by Raymond Chandler and it's a classic example of what makes pulp fiction click (like a pair of heels on a deserted sidewalk at midnight). Written in 1939 and first published in The Saturday Evening Post, "I'll Be Waiting" is a tense tale of a hotel detective, a dame in trouble, and racketeering thugs--all of whom converge on Room 14-B. It's filled with snappy, Chandler-esque phrases (a girl is curled up on a davenport "like a corsage in the florist's tissue paper," silence behind a closed door "like the silence of a glacier"--that sort of thing). It's well worth your time if you'd like a little noir to darken your Christmas mood. By the way, if you haven't done so already, you should subscribe to The Library of America's Story of the Week. Every Monday, you'll receive a short work of fiction, a character sketch, an essay, a journalist's dispatch, or a poem. It's a nice way to start your week.