I read Stephen King’s short story “Morality” this week. The cover of the book said it was “chilling” so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King’s work. What I’ve read prior to this story, I’ve enjoyed. It wasn’t quite the case with this one.
It starts out well enough, with a married couple, Chad and Nora, struggling with finances. Chad is a substitute teacher trying to write a book. Nora is a physical therapist taking care of an elderly pastor who is recovering from a stroke. The pastor realizes Chad and Nora’s difficulties and makes a proposal to Nora. Before he dies, the pastor wants to commit a sin – not just a little sin but a BIG sin. He’s willing to pay Nora $200,000.00 to help him. He explains to her the sin and what she has to do. Nora tells Chad the situation and then they struggle to decide whether they should do it.
At this point, my interest was piqued because the reader doesn’t yet know what this “sin” is and what Nora has to do. The premise of the story was something it seemed only Stephen King could create. However, this is where the story starts to disappoint. The actual “sin” that Nora commits, while a crime, is by no means as “chilling” as I would have expected. The other aspect that drove me crazy was that the pastor didn’t do anything other than pay Nora. I suppose by paying her he was somehow involved in committing the sin, but for someone who was really excited about “sinning”, he didn’t do much of the dirty work.
Chad and Nora’s marriage takes a strange, but not unforeseen, turn before the story ends. While I was disappointed in this story, I’m still planning on reading more of King’s work. Perhaps his short stories aren’t as fascinating as his novels and novellas. I haven’t read enough of any of them to make an informed decision, though.