Comments for The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates:
The name Stephen King probably brings to mind long horror novels or perhaps the Dark Tower series but he got his start writing short stories. I personally prefer his short stories and novellas over his longer works. This month's double issue has a "virtually perfectly execution" of a Twilight Zone type of story (page 99).
The story is mostly a long phone call between a husband and a wife. It should have been a typical call: the husband calling to say his plane is landing early. This being Stephen King (and F&SF), it's anything but typical. The plane crashed two days earlier and there were no survivors.
The phone call is one last chance to say good-bye and one last chance for James to protect his wife, Annie. It's also a chance to describe the afterlife in terms of broken down architecture, both familiar and strange at the same time.
Of course it's not enough just to record the phone call. King goes a step further and shows the consequences of their last conversation.
In way the story folds back on itself, I'm reminded of other Stephen King stories, especially The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and "The Langoliers."