I’m usually against drabble; I’m not against this. Go read it now.
 short version: the constraint is uninterestingly arbitrary, and very few authors are up to the limitation; much as “five-minute horror film” almost always translates to “one dumb jump scare,” “drabble” almost always translates to “squandered half-an-idea.”
I often bounce from a fiction Podcast because I’m a “monster-of-the-week” guy (in the X-Files sense of “Monster-of-the-week” vs “Mythology”), and far too many “serial drama”-style podcasts 1) fall in love with their Mythology arc and 2) the writers (in my humble) just cannot sustain those long, heavy arcs. Listening becomes a chore and strain; I have enough chores, and if I wanted homework I’d go to grad school.
Thus far, Mayfair Watchers Society is delivering the thing I desperately wanted: a monster-a-week, no cast of 1000s to keep track of over years-long lightly scripted arcs. You can pick it up anywhere; Autopsy happened to have been the episode where I resoundingly felt “This is for me!“
I first read this when I was 12—already an avid reader of OMNI, the 100% perfect magazine for my adolescent Mysteries of the Unknown pre-X-Files brain—and it changed my world:
The chant-like repetition!
The unheimlich at its core, the disconcerting flesh it shows peeking through the drowsy mundane skin of the midwestern suburbs (where I myself lived)–stumbling across this story was like like bitting into an orange that turns out to be full of blood-moist teeth and a Chinese fortune.
The goddamned art!!!
The second person?!
In many ways it was exactly the sort of story I’d always want to write forever after. “In the Sharing Place” is warped by the enormous gravity of this story–and especially its art–forever looming large just below the horizon of my brain.
(Incidentally, if you wanna read “In the Sharing Place” right now, $3 Patreon Patrons get instant access to the story, audiobook, and 40-minute analog horror film versions.)
And, predictably, it was Ellen Datlow (esteemed editor of the Best Horror of the Year anthologies) who commissioned “Mister Ice Cold” and put it in OMNI—and thus into the hands of a 12-year-old kid outside Detroit who really should have been practicing his Torah portion, not up late reading a slick from the drugstore.
This is a “frog boil” story, and may in fact be the perfect frog boil story. If you’re woke-ish, then it is pretty clearly a climate change story. But if you’re on the political right, it may actually seem to much more obviously be an immigration story. It could be a cautionary tale about the dangers of group think (although its up to the reader to determine of its more about anti-mask group think, QAnon group think, CRT group think) or privilege or income disparity.
However you read it, the message is the same: It’s a warning against repeating the same old prayer that humans have repeated prior to disaster for Millenia:
I guess it’s happening, but let it happen in some other neighborhood in some other town far away, above someone else’s roof and out of my sight.
Holy moly is this good. I generally like horror because it deals honestly with trauma and how we cope (or fail to cope) with it. This is a occult/folk horror film that really grabs ahold of not just trauma, but intergenerational trauma—and also intergenerational mutual aid and support.