Ah, simpler times.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

It’s Friday afternoon, meetings are wrapping up, the inbox has been cleaned out a touch, and let’s be honest: Your productivity from now until the end of the day is going to be garbage, as you alternately check social media and see what times Deadpool 2 is playing this weekend, all while the low-level ennui constituting modern existence smolders beneath the surface of your seemingly benumbed exterior. Sounds like a damn fine time to read a little Stephen King.

And you’re in luck, because the Robert Pollard of horror fiction has just released a new short story, available for free, on his website. Clocking in at a satisfyingly fleet 32 pages (double-spaced, because King is a good student who follows the rules), “Laurie” is the tale of a sister trying to give a shelter-bound dog to her brother, who just lost his wife of 40 years six months earlier. Or, at least, that’s how it starts—we’re a little nervous to keep reading, just in case anything happens to this lovable little mutt. As always, we’ll be deeply relieved if the dog ends up lying in the kitchen nibbling happily on a chew toy, while her potential new owner gets vivisected twelve ways from Sunday.

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The story is a prelude to the latest book he’s releasing May 22—as Dread Central notes, King calls the tale “an appetizer to the main course, The Outsider, coming next week.” The new novel’s synopsis reads thusly:

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

Well, there you go. An ironclad case. No need to read any further. Enjoy this Friday—and look, another 90 seconds have passed since you first clicked on this! Surely the boss won’t notice if you leave a little early.

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