The esteemed Shirley Jackson's other famous short story, "Charles" first appeared in the fancy ladies' magazine Mademoiselle in the summer of 1948. It was next included in her landmark short story collection the following year, titled The Lottery: The Adventures of James Harris, and most likely has never been out of print; it is taught in schools to this day—which is not any way I'd like people to be introduced to this story. Like most good things, "Charles" deserves its own special discovery.
I can't recall when or how I first read "Charles," but I was a teenager, so that was some decades ago. I've always remembered that frisson of the ending, and the final sentence is a perfect one, upending everything that has come before, adding an unexpected darkness to what had seemed to be a sly, almost whimsical tale of the domestic (Jackson was also famous for her wryly observed stories of her home life, like in Raising Demons, seen below in a 1970s reprint)."Britta-d" on "Community").
Spoiler! Gonna talk about the ending. The parents aren't too upset hearing about Charles's misbehavior, but the upcoming PTA meeting has them both intrigued: perhaps now they can meet the mother of this tiny terrorizer! Mother goes alone while Father suggests inviting the woman home for tea with them after. But at the meeting she sees no woman that looks "haggard enough" to be the boy's parent. She sidles up to the teacher and begins to chat with her, and then finds out the truth: there is no Charles in the class.