Kick the Habit, or Kick the Bucket
Stephen King’s short story “Quitters, Inc.” involves a smoker trying to kick the habit, and getting results no matter the means. Dick Morrison meets Jimmy McCann, an old friend, in the bar of the Kennedy International airport. McCann has stopped smoking, gained a promotion, and become physically fir since the last time they met. He tells Morrison about an agency that helped him quit smoking and gave him a business card for Quitters, Inc., which Morrison just put in his wallet. A month later he sees the card fall out of his wallet and decides to go see them. Upon going to Quitters, Inc., Morrison meets Vic Donatti, the man in charge of his case. Morrison signs a contract saying that he won’t reveal anything they do in the course of his treatment. Donatti tells Morrison that he will never smoke again after that day. When he goes back for his next appointment, Donatti starts by punching the cigarettes Morrison had on him whilst still smiling. Donatti then reveals how much they know about their clients by referencing Morrison’s handicapped son who he told them nothing about. Donatti tells him that he is a pragmatist, or someone who is oriented towards the success or failure of something through practical means. Donatti shows Morrison that a rabbit can be taught that eating food will cause an electric shock to occur and therefore after enough aversion training the rabbit will starve itself to avoid the shock. Donatti then explains the various ways they discipline their clients for slipping up, the tenth and last being death. They guarantee you won’t ever smoke again. After a series of non-smoking, Morrison slips up, his wife is kidnapped, and he is called in to watch her get electrocuted for thirty seconds. Afterwards she tells him that she understands what they are trying to do. After months of not smoking Morrison gains weight and Donatti says that if he can’t lose it they will cut off his wife’s pinky finger. After that Morrison...
Bibliography: King, Stephen. “Quitters, Inc.” Night Shift
New York: Penguin Group, 1979. 208-228
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