Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad


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Interview with James Bennett: Part 2

5 July 2011

– I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I—we—got the call, especially after we got Bishop’s license plate number off that Hill guy. I’m wired when we pull up to Bishop’s apartment and, I mean, he opened the door and I just knew.

– He was my meal ticket. Case closed in twenty-four, no questions asked. Go straight to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect your two hundred dollars.

– Kid mouths off to me a little, pushes my buttons, tells me I’ve got nothing on him, like we’re in some ‘50’s detective flick or something.

– So, in my excitement, I—yeah, I rough the kid up a little bit, tell him to shut his mouth. Step into his apartment and put him in cuffs, rifle through some of his shit, maybe push him up against the wall a couple of times. Nothing I’ve never done before, nothing any officer hasn’t done before.

– You gotta keep perps in line or they’ll take advantage of you, you know?

– And, I mean, I was seeing stars I was so excited, imagining the half empty bottle of Jack in the closet at my apartment and thinking about how hard I was going to celebrate that night. Maybe even get into the bit of Crown I had stashed under the sink.

– Yeah. Wasn’t really roughing him up though. More like…an intense arrest situation.

– Yeah. So we get him down to the precinct and I’m all smiles until the kid’s greaseball lawyer walks in. And suddenly my golden ticket ain’t a sure thing anymore, you know? A little more like bronze now, or fucking steel.

– [Mr. Bennett grinds his teeth and takes a sip of his water] Lawyer’s a character too. State-appointed, one of those aspiring types. The kind of guy that thinks pro bono’s an erection or something.

– He starts raving about how Bishop’s rights have been violated. This is before we even get to really questioning him, mind you. Hadn’t really gotten into it and he’d already admitted that he was there when the fire started, back at the apartment when I’d roughed him up a little. Officer Harold heard it, I heard it, full disclosure in my report, got the kid to sign a confession and everything. Bishop said he was there but he wasn’t the one that started it, his friend was.

– The mystery friend nobody could ever find.

– Which was all bullshit, but it was close enough to get his ass in a windowless room.

– Anybody can fake genuine. I’d have gotten the real truth out of him if all that other stuff hadn’t gone down. Five minutes, tops.


Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 11

11 July 2011

– Man, hell naw. Earl wouldn’t lie ‘bout no shit like that.

– You ain’t see the nigga, son. I know my cuz, man. He ain’t into that shit, and he can’t fake no shit like the way he was actin’ when I seen him.

– Tony fucked him over, son. Them cops jacked Earl up, and if that lawyer hadn’t helped my cuz out, the nigga’d probably still be locked up, son.

– They was gunnin’ for him, bruh. I mean, it was like they had it out for Earl on some personal shit, like the nigga owed ‘em money or somethin’.

– Fuck type a justice system that is, bruh? Type a system goin’ let a nigga helpin’ out another nigga get messed up by poh-leece? Slammed into refrigerators and walls and shit by people who ‘posed to be helpin’ his ass. Then lock him up for some shit wasn’t even him? That ain’t justice, son. Ain’t no type of justice, just bullshit, that’s what it is. For real.


Interview with Rose Flagler: Part 2

14 July 2011

– The Food Network’s pleasant. Not like these other channels with the murders and suicides and—lord, it’s sad. So sad. It’s no wonder about this generation.

– But Stephens was slightly older than what I’m used to seeing.

– Twenty-something, at least. Around your age, maybe a little younger, but not too much. You’d think too old to fall in with all that nonsense.

– I thought the fads of today stuck with the grade school children. But maybe that’s just my opinion, based off my own experiences. My generation aged differently than yours. Frank and I met in high school, married at nineteen right before the war.[1]

– He came back from his tour and we had our first daughter, Monica, when I was twenty-four. And I was an adult then. I felt my age and so did the other women around me. It wasn’t too young. It was just right. Frank had his career, I had mine, and we were alright.

– But now, I don’t know.

– Just the way it is. Why, just the other day Sheryl, our second daughter, called to tell us she and her husband are dealing with one of these phases right now with our granddaughter, Marie. Marie just turned thirteen last month and she’s latched on to this new thing. Sheryl told us they’re calling it [Mrs. Flagler pauses, thoughtful] eno. No, sorry, emo. Short for emotional, as in the children who fancy it are very emotional people.

– I can’t understand it at all though. The things Sheryl told us about these emo children, they’re the types of things people used to get psychiatric help for back when I was her age. I mean, they would get a diagnosis and then get therapy. I remember even when Prozac came out years later, the things it was supposed to fix, the things it’s supposed to stop people from doing, those are the same things these kids do for fun now.

– Draft dodgers used to fake being crazy and depressed to stay out of the war. Now we’ve got children faking it for style. Sheryl said they had to take Marie to the hospital for cutting her arm open, nearly bled to death.

– After Marie was discharged, Sheryl made appointments with the school psychologist and spoke with him and, come to find out, Marie’s the fifth child in the past two months. There’s others walking around with scars on their arms from trying to cut themselves.

– Part of the culture’s to wear long sleeves just for that reason, to cover up the marks. My granddaughter—bless her heart— but my granddaughter attempted suicide as a fashion statement.

[1]  Judging by Mr. and Mrs. Flagler’s ages, Assumed to mean Vietnam.


Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

January 29 2005,

Morning: 6 out of 10

Afternoon: 2 out of10

Evening: 4 out of 10

I read this thing for homework tonight about the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century philosopher George Santayana, the guy who came up with the quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

To me, I’ll give Santayana credit for being one of the most observant people in history. But I also think the dude was a fucking instigator. Without him, no way would I have been sitting in Dr. Silver’s chair today balling my eyes out over a mother who’s already dead three years now.

Before everybody jumped on the psychological bandwagon, people seemed to be just fine going about their lives making the same damn mistakes their parents did.

But then you’ve got guys like Santayana and Freud and Pavlov who come along with their theories and suddenly people aren’t okay with their lives the way they are.

Suddenly people are sitting on couches trying to figure out why they’re having dreams about their zombie parents.

Suddenly people are trying to figure out why they feel guilty for their mom’s death and why they don’t remember their father the way he actually looks when he left at an age when they should be able to remember everything and why they feel the same urges now that their father did then, the urge to leave anybody and anything that gets close enough to possibly fuck him over.

I don’t know the answers to these questions. And I don’t want to know.

Some people think this stuff is beneficial to individuals, to society. That knowing more about ourselves as humans is a step in the right direction.

But I feel like people were a lot happier just coping back in the day.

If all you ever have in life are breakthroughs then—in the end—aren’t you just living a broken life?


Interview with Samuel Silverstein: Part 2

11 July 2011

[Mr. Silverstein takes a moment to receive a call from a client, stepping into a separate room in his office. The main room is complete with its own shower, closet, couch and big screen TV. He finishes up and returns to his chair, leaning back]

– Apologies. Business.

– [Mr. Silverstein lets out a hearty laugh] Honest opinion?

– Honestly, all joking aside, Detective Bennett and Earl Bishop were the best things that happened to me.

– I saw Bishop’s file before I heard how they picked him up. I caused the scene because I knew the case was a no-win situation if I couldn’t find an out. A straight up trial would have been career suicide. So I counted on somebody making a mistake. Didn’t think it would be that sort of mistake but, hey, take what I can get.

– [Mr. Silverstein shakes his head] Honestly, though, Detective Bennett’s got one hell of a left hook.

– Well…I came in there expecting a few things. I expected that somebody had done something minor against protocol; searching Bishop’s place without a proper warrant, roughing him up a little too much, failing to read his rights.

– Tallahassee officers aren’t as experienced in this sort of thing as NYPD. It’s harder to pull something like what I did back then up here, more of a challenge.

– I appreciate it, keeps me on my toes, but every once in a while I miss the…simplicity of the South.

– First thing I saw when I walked into the department was the kid’s bruised forehead and the small gash across his arm from the hook of the handcuffs. And even with that there was a slim chance I’d be able to use any of it as leverage in a case like this.

– But there was only a split second for a decision, and if there’s anything I learned back in law school it’s to go with what you’ve got. So I ran into that room and threw everything I had at those detectives, every bit of legal speak I could think of. [Mr. Silverstein shrugs] And Detective Bennett, gentleman that he is, handed me the trial on a silver platter.

Parts 68-71

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Written by patrickandersonjr

May 25, 2012 at 9:00 am

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