David Schickler's short story "The Smoker- focused on two individuals whose lives were seemingly opposites, until they become intertwined in a bizarre arranged marriage. Nicole Bonner is a student in Douglas Kerchak's advanced placement English class. She is an exciting breath of fresh air in Douglas' routine life. In fact, they are almost complete opposites. She is a student in high school who doesn't always follow the rules, on assignments or in life.He lives a dull, routine life that involves going to the movies and grading papers. However she becomes the catalyst in his life, the one force that changes everything.
Douglas and Nicole seem to have nothing in common. She is a student, at the beginning of her education. He is a Harvard graduate and a teacher at her school. She is very interested in boys, saying that she has dated a few. He makes it an effort to not be attracted to any women. She is very focused on her family. She even allows them to choose who she marries. He doesn't have a close family, or if he does it is not shown in the story. He lives alone and does everything alone. She can't even pick her own husband alone. Everything she does is motivated by excitement. Her life is constantly changing, as is most high school students. She actively reads a new novel every night in a constant thirst for knowledge. Douglas, on the other hand, lives a life motivated by monotony. He does the same thing every day. He goes to the movies, which is a passive way to acquire knowledge. Douglas is very uncomfortable in his own skin, while Nicole is confident almost to a fault. His life is nowhere near interesting, until he meets her.
Douglas' life is almost unbearably routine, until he begins to notice Nicole. Actually, it is not as much him noticing her but her trying to seduce him. Schickler uses the choice of language as a way of foreshadowing what is going to happen. Nicole's last name is "Bonner,"" which is close to "boner,"" slang for an erection.