I Quit Smoking (Again) Today by Johnny Moore

Look what I found at Squalorly lit magazine this week. This well-crafted story by Johnny Moore is also a good study in the comingling of present and past tense, and repetition.  Be sure to read the whole story to see what I mean.  Here are a couple excerpts:

My parents used to smoke with life versus outside of it—there was no smoke-break, only smoke. My father was all bones and lank and Fu Manchu, smoking three packs a day through his twenties. This seems like a lot by today’s standards, but I’d do the same if I could get a pack for less than a dollar and smoke wherever I pleased. He quit cold turkey after getting a job he applied to as a nonsmoker. My mother quit as well, but still bums them from me after a few glasses of wine. Cigarettes were once a personal accessory, like earrings or footwear; they are now an event, an end in themselves. Today, someone wants a cigarette, they corral the other smokers for an excursion into the elements for nicotine and small talk. This is boring. So, today, I’ve given up.

. . . . .

I quit smoking today. I am fourteen years old and with my family on vacation in Germany. I sneak out of the hotel room and buy a pack from the vending machine in the lobby. It’s the middle of the night and the world is quiet. The lounge looks like the setting from a detective novel. I want a tailored suit. I want to be Philip Marlowe. I sit and pick up matches resting in a clean ashtray. I open the journal I’ve brought for pretense and rest it on my crossed legs. I remember seeing my big sister pack her cigarettes, so …


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