Simple Summaries

Quitting Smoking

Reginald McKnight

Simple Summary by Sarah Frank

• Narrator is writing to “B_____”

• B’s mother is pissed at her but won’t say why

• It’s been years since the two have corresponded • “I've been thinking about that thing that happened when you, me, Stick, and Camel saw that guy snatch that woman into his car in front of Griff's”

o Something happened with narrator and his girlfriend Anna that brought up the memories and messed up their relationship • “I feel bad that I've gotta talk about Anna behind her back like this, but goddamnit, you're the only guy who'd understand”

• Anna pushed the narrator to get an AA

• Narrator was fired because he was “studying at work” but he thinks the real reason is he wouldn’t wear the uniform  moved in with Anna

• “She has a kid, though, and to tell you the truth, I could do without the instant family stuff”

o Kid is named Max

• “one night, about a month ago, Anna and I were in the sack and she wouldn't even kiss me good night.”

o Unusual because Anna usually is into it

o Anna starts crying

o “she said she got upset cause that day in class they were talking about social deviants (sp?) and her prof said that all of society makes it easy for men to com- mit rape and that there was no real way to completely eradicate it” o Anna suggested castration (brilliant)

• Anna revealed that she was raped by a friend of her ex-boyfriend

• “laying there next to Anna it's like I was reliving that night. I kept see- ing the blue car, and how the woman kept saying, please, please, please,”

• “the thing that fucked me up the most that night was when the cop asked the big money, bonus question, What color was the guy? You and me said, Couldn't tell. Too dark, Camel and Stick said, at the same time, Black.”

• Unable to sleep, the narrator gets up and goes for a walk

o Imagining stopping a rape on the streets

• “I wanted a cigarette, but I didn't smoke. Anna went to school and I went to work. Things seemed pretty normal.”

• “I thought she was sensing something, 'cause her attitude was changing at home”

• “I couldn't stand myself. And I couldn't stand her. After we'd screw-and it was screwing by then, not love -I couldn't stand the touch of her”

• Scott started smoking more

• “I tried and tried to tell her, but I couldn't, and I knew I was smoking a wall between us. I knew that, man, so I'd try every day to quit”

• Anna found cigarettes -- “Sure, I told her I'd quit again, but I never did. I just got smarter about hiding things”

• Scott asked her what would’ve happened if she said no to the man who raped her

o Anna said he would’ve killed her and that sometimes she wishes he did

• “Right then, I knew I was losing her, and I had to tell her.”

o “I was gonna tell her, B , about everything, the way we all just stood there, and watched a huge piece of that woman's life get sucked away into a car, the make, model, and year of which I guess we'll never know.”

• Scott says he is surprised she doesn’t hate all men  “Then she said, "I'm surprised I don't hate black men. The guy who raped me was black."”

• “I never looked back at her face. If I had, I probably wouldn't've split. I mean she was acting completely innocent, like she didn't have any idea of what she'd said.”