Premium Harmony

Premium Harmony   by Stephen King

Stephen King’s short story, “Premium Harmony”, takes us through the final afternoon of a couple who are basically just trying to make it from one day to the next.   The story begins, “They’ve been married for ten years and for a long time everything was O.K. - swell - but now they argue.”   Marriages survive upon meeting in the middle or agreeing to disagree and then moving on but “Premium Harmony” is far from such marital bliss.

Ray and Mary seem to argue pretty much about everything, not ever really having a positive thing to say to one another.   Ray refers to their arguments “like greyhounds chasing the mechanical rabbit”,   meaning they don’t seem to even realize they are arguing it’s simply that over the years became a habit to them both.   I would agree that they seem to stick with their marriage because it’s who they are, it’s their routine.  

The story begins with Ray and Mary heading to the local Wal-Mart for grass seed.   It sounds like this has been an argument going on for awhile, Mary who feels like the house would sell better if they fixed the lawn but Ray continues to stress that grass won’t grow because it’s too hot of a summer.   Remembering her niece’s birthday, Mary suddenly insists Ray first stop at “Quik-Pik” so she can pick up the gift, a purple kickball.   Both try to stand firm and support why or why not to make the stop.   Ray is troubled by the thought “she’ll get her way”.  

Throughout the story, it is apparent that Ray displays resentment towards almost anything that has to do with his wife.   Starting with the dog, which he originally got for Mary when she found out she couldn’t have children.   The dog, Biznezz but called Biz for short, in Ray’s opinion is “always looking at Mary, even when he is the one talking.”   Next, he resents the niece for no other reason than because Mary wishes to make a special stop to purchase a birthday gift which he felt was unnessary.   To justify the special stop, Ray...