Ian Ayris recently posted about the importance of coming up with a good short story title. I have to agree with him--it can almost make or break a story for me. Electric Candyland, the new Matthew McBride story at Darkest Before the Dawn, not only has a kickass title that rolls off the tongue, but sets you up for a wild, meth-induced ride.
There some blazing lines in here, like: "He stared lost into his own reflection, hard pressed to recognize the man he used to be. His eyes were a spiderweb of red lines that connected to deep black pupils which were as dead as a starless night." I love how he takes a cliche--bloodshot eyes--and totally reinvents it. The entirety of the opening scene with Fish examining himself in a mirror, unable to wrap his head around the most simple of facts, is both surreal and terrifying.
Then when two meth-addict cops show up looking to score, things go completely haywire, leading to an ending that's like a chorus of screeching violins. McBride seems to be everywhere lately (Crimefactory, Plots with Guns, A Twist of Noir, Needle's winter issue), and this is another fantastic addition to his body of work.