An Unusual Cat

The folks at Hawaii Public Radio like to talk about “driveway moments” — times when you’re listening to something so great, you find yourself just sitting in your car in your driveway just to hear the whole thing.

Believe it or not, one such moment I had way back in May still floats around my head. It was during NPR’s Selected Shorts, a great show out of WNYC that I love and hate, because it really makes me miss writing. This particular episode featured Robert Sean Leonard (probably best known for his role in the movie adaptation of The Dead Poet’s Society) reading “The Smoker” by David Schickler. Apparently, the story was published in 2002 in Kissing in Manhattan. And I loved it.

I finally got around to looking it up today. The day I’d heard it I found excerpts here and there, but I hoped against hope that the whole thing was online. And fortunately, I found it, archived by The New Yorker. I also discovered, to some trepidation, that there is even a movie planned based on “The Smoker.” Supposedly picked to play the singular character of girls’ school student Nicole Bonner? Natalie Portman.

Casting for the character of flustered teacher Douglas Kerchek, I think, is just as important, though. Rob Morrow, maybe, if he’s aged a bit.

Read it before you see it, though. It’s almost always better.

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