Sunday, July 2, 2017

DMI2017, Week 26: "Quitters, Inc." by Stephen King

This week the Six of Spades brought me another oldie but goodie from the pages of Night Shift.


Richard Morrison is a typical American businessman -- he smokes, drinks, and eats too much. One day he meets an old friend, Jimmy McCann, in an airport bar, and Jimmy looks great. He has stopped smoking, and he tells Morrison that it's due to the help of a fantastic place called "Quitters, Inc." They guarantee to help you quit smoking, and although he's skeptical, Morrison takes one of their cards from Jimmy. The only problem is, Jimmy can't talk about what Quitters, Inc. does to be so successful.

The business card resurfaces a month or so later, and Morrison decides to pay the offices of Quitters, Inc. a visit. He's introduced to a case manager named Vic Donatti. He tells Morrison that they employ no special techniques to help people quit smoking -- that they are pragmatists. What Morrison finds out only too late is, the pragmatic approach involves things like electric shocks, administered to his wife first, and then him, whenever he slips up and smokes a cigarette. And they'll know, because they will have him under constant surveillance. Further infractions would involve his son being visited by thugs to rough him up. And if Morrison gains weight as a result of stopping smoking (as most people do)? Well, Quitters Inc. has a pragmatic approach to solving that as well. At the risk of a spoiler, I chose the image of the Six of Spades above as a clue to what that approach might be.

Rating: 5 stars; "Quitters, Inc." is an entertaining but highly creepy story that shows King's ability to effortlessly weave an engrossing tale.

Deal Me In 2017 is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


  1. Hi Randall,
    i remember working my way through the stories in Night Shift probably 20 years ago. This is one I actually remember, maybe because it was also made into a tv episode of Tales from the Crypt or something of that ilk.

    Actually, I decided not to be lazy and do some research. It was one of the vignettes in the 1985 film, Cat's Eye, which featured three stories linked together by a cat somehow. I'd forgotten that James Woods(!) starred in Quitters Inc. as the beleaguered smoker... Have you seen it?

    1. I haven't seen it. But I note that it can be rented from Amazon, so I think I might have to watch it one of these days soon.