Recommend contemporary short stories you love

I am defining “contemporary” as “first published in 1999 or after, by an author who was not, at the time of first publication, dead.”

Why? Because the first story I’ll recommend is Eleanor Arnason’s “The Grammarian’s Five Daughters,” which was published in 1999. I both love it and hate it–by which I mean I enjoyed it greatly upon first reading and think it even better now, but also feel horribly inadequate next to Arnason’s talent, skill, & pith.

Anyway, that’s the idea. Please remember to specify the name of the author if possible, and if you can link to the story online, but don’t I will say write cruel things about you on the bathroom walls.

“Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh. I’ve been reading the Nebula nominees for a very long time and this is the best of the decade. Perfectly constructed and with a very strong emotional punch.

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman. Sherlock Holmes. Cthulhu. What’s not to like? (Don’t read Wiki’s plot summary first…)

Complete story as a free PDF from Gaiman’s website