Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad


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Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 2

24 June 2011

-I didn’t mean to mention Les. He’s—forget Les. He doesn’t matter.

– He’s just—

– Tony?

– Oh, Les? Les was—whatever, you could say Les was a character. I guess he played a part in everything that happened, in a sense. I mean—[Ms. D’Amico clears her throat nervously] Les was an artist, a true artist. A genius. No training, just a natural master of the art form. I mean, you should have seen some of his stuff. I wish you could have. You would have appreciated it.

– No particular reason. Anybody would have appreciated it, I mean. Lots of people did, all those visitors at the gallery that night, the night Tony died, they loved Les’s stuff. Loved it. Fact that he died that night made the exhibition even more popular too, screwed up as it sounds. I swear, if you can find a Les Palmer painting right now for under three grand, you’d be lucky. I’d buy it quick too, if I were you, before the person selling realizes they’re being ripped off.

– What did Les have to do with Tony. [Ms. D’Amico smiles and shrugs] I guess you could say they met when Tony moved here, around the same time I met Tony actually. He and Les kind of just—took to each other. [Ms. D’Amico laughs]

– I’m sorry, no. It’s just that—I guess you could say Les and Tony were inseparable. In a sense.

– That’s the best way I can explain it. I barely know you. So, to you, Les and Tony were inseparable.


Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

December 20 2002

Morning: 5 out of 10

Afternoon: 5 out of 10

Night: 2 out of 10

Pretty consistent for most of the day, until I went to work.

I was on the line and I’d just dropped an order of cheese sticks and was waiting for the fryer to beep while Raul the cook over on grill side was fixing two peppercorn steaks, and then Gabe that guido-looking Puerto-Rican server from up front came back and him and Raul got to talking about some girl they thought they’d both fucked the same night at some Christmas party last week.

Actually, this might be significant to what you, Doc Silver, say is “my social reintegration.” This is where the problems come up Doc, when this is the type of shit I’ve got to listen to everyday.

These assholes spent like twenty minutes, three overcooked burgers and a couple of dropped steaks trading clues about this girl, what her tits and ass looked like naked, where her birthmarks were, what she sounded like when she came, what time it was, the whole deal. Serious detective work for those two.

You could tell one was trying to catch the other in a lie too. Neither one of them believed the other, not because they were jealous or nothing, nothing like that. These dudes, I’ve hung out with dudes like them my whole life. They’d not only have sex with the same girl on the same night, they’d fuck her at the same time if she was willing. Her and her friends. And not because they’d think it was like their only chance to get a piece but because it would be another story to share in the kitchen at Shambles. I’m telling you Doc, I hate working at that fucking restaurant.

And I swear, these two, they kept studying each other every time they described another part of her, like they were playing poker or something. They disagreed on her name, but then Gabe said something about a tattoo on her pelvis and Raul said, yeah, a scorpion, and then they laughed and slapped each other’s backs and it was like Fourth of July back there.

Anyways, point is all that’s going on and I’m on fry side trying to mind my own business “in the event of something making you uncomfortable”—like you told me—and this song came on the radio my manager’s got set up near the broiler.

I didn’t know what song it was at the time, not until I came home later and looked up the one line of lyric that stuck in my head like a fucking virus: I just hit the floor/don’t ask for more. Over and over again, like this constant ticker spinning around behind my eyes.

So I Googled it, just typed in the words and this song came up: “Wasting My Time” by Default.

Never heard it before. Couldn’t have, actually, not before today. I checked. It came out last week, and I don’t listen to the radio unless I’m at work. I stick to my CD’s and MP3’s: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Method Man, anything that I can choose myself. I hate waiting for them to play something I like on the radio station, and they never do anyways.

So I’m completely confused why I responded to hearing this one song (which wasn’t even that good) by throwing myself in the walk-in cooler out back of Shambles and, for like five minutes, crying until my eyes were little slits and my tears were burning against my cheeks from the cold.

I’m never going to live this down at work, seriously. I think I might quit. I don’t need the money, my mom and the lawyers left me enough to take care of myself. But then there’s what you said, about me being bored and acting up and shit.

But, I mean, what the hell do I look like going back into work?

I’m forever going to be known as “that fry cook that started crying in the cooler like a bitch.”

And the most screwed up part of it is I don’t even know why. I mean, I like music just as much as the next guy but it’s like, every day now there’s another song that sets me off.

Couple of weeks ago it was that Gorillaz record “Clint Eastwood.” That one’s not even sad.

Seriously, I need to get a handle on this shit. This isn’t normal. You say, Doc, that it’s good that I recognize this, recognize that it’s not normal to act like this. You say that’s step one of treatment.

But seriously, Doc…how many fucking steps are there?


Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 2

11 July 2011

– Who the fuck is Anthony Stephens?

– You mean Tony? [Mr. Price sucks his teeth] Don’t talk ‘bout that nigga ‘round me, son. He the one started all this shit. What you know ‘bout Tony?

– Hell yeah, he started all this shit, bruh. He the reason Earl missing right now, reason why Earl got sent to the pen in the first place. Nigga had to disappear after how Tony did him. Fucked up my cuz’s life, son. Earl was ‘bout to be that typa brotha too, know what I’m sayin’? I’m talkin’ six-figures-a-year type a brotha, comin’ straight outta college with mad bread and bitches all on his dick.

– Money, son. That shit’ll get you everything, and bitches love doctors. Earl woulda had ‘em screamin’ his name five deep in his crib, [Mr. Price motions around the hotel room] place like this, penthouse suite in the city and shit, son. That’s what Earl woulda been if it wasn’t for Tony Muhfuckin’ Stephens. Earl was ‘bout to do big things.

– Naw, I never met Tony. You can talk ‘bout that nigga like he dead all you want though. If he ain’t dead, let me know. I got niggas can take care a that shit real quick.


Excerpt from Earl Bishop’s Prison Journal

08-27-08 (continued):
I went in for my weekly group therapy session last Tuesday and the doctor had the nerve to tell me I’m living in a dream world. That I need to “check in to reality.”
So I asked him what the hell he would choose if he was in this place—dream or nightmare?—and he changed the subject, completely ignored me. Started yapping about all the reasons we’ve got to come to these meetings, says we’ve all got “behavioral issues” we need to work on.
A bunch of grown ass men sitting around in a fucking circle, each of us locked up for different bullshit that none of us deserve to be imprisoned for, and we’re the ones with “behavioral issues”?
If you could’ve seen the look we all gave the doctor—like he’s the one whose got the issues. How he sees things the way he does, I don’t get it. You listen to the guys in that room, there’s not an unjustified one in the lot.
Tom, the guy who sits next to me, he’s in for armed robbery, some real Wild West type shit. Way he describes it, I’m thinking like an Ocean’s Eleven type situation. Or better yet, since he was by himself, more like that old school flick Thief, only in that film James Caan knew what the hell he was doing, and Tom’s not the sharpest knife on the cutting block. He got a tip that a jewelry shop owner was transporting half a pound of diamonds from one of his stores to another, and the guy making the move was some pompous fuck out of Jacksonville, taking the whole load over in the passenger seat of his ’91 Camaro, wrapped in a velvet bag with a tie around the neck. That’s it, all the security he had. Practically begging for it. Tom was in deep with some Russians over a high-stakes poker game he’d played drunk one night—they’re sitting there threatening his wife and all that—so he did what he had to do. Don’t know how he got caught—I’m assuming he didn’t plan it out right—but the point is its survival of the fittest in here and out there, and anybody who thinks otherwise is being willfully ignorant.
It’s most of us in here, though. All of us trying to live our lives and constantly being told what we’re doing’s not good enough.
Like the guy on my other side, Juan; couple of months ago, his girl slammed his baby son’s head into a wall because the baby wouldn’t shut up. So Juan slammed his girl’s head into the same wall a couple times, asked her if she liked how it felt. He’s got three years for that.
Another guy across the room, Jim, he’s always talking like he just stepped off the set of The Fast and the Furious. Shot his brother in the leg for stealing and crashing his brand new Mustang GT. In the leg. And he’s doing twenty.
And another guy, Fred, he’s doing ten years for pulling the plug on his father’s life support machine without getting his mother’s signature on the release forms. Says he didn’t want to see his old man go out like that, didn’t think it was right that he and his family couldn’t just let him go with a little bit of dignity. His mother pressed charges (which was, as I told Fred, some truly cold-blooded shit), and now he’s here in this place, visiting the same room every week with the rest of us, with me doing two years on a b.s. arson charge.
And they’re telling us we’ve got to go to these meetings, write in these journals, because we’ve all got “compulsive behavioral issues.”
Load of bullshit. These are not people with compulsive behavioral issues. These are people surviving the only way they know how.


Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 3

24 June 2011

– You really don’t know anything, do you?

– I can’t get a line on you.

– It’s like, for a second you seem like you know more about everything than I do, but then you’ll say something and I’ll think you barely know anything at all. It’s weird. You remind me so much of him actually.

– Of Le—Tony, I mean.

– I don’t know. I don’t even know who you a—

– Fucking A. Whatever. I don’t even know why I’m—he’s dead. I told myself I’d stop acting like he wasn’t. He probably would’ve wanted someone to know anyways. Les was a lonely man—Tony was, I mean. And Les—dammit.

– There is no Les Palmer, ok? There. Les Palmer was a figment of Tony’s imagination. His new identity. It was Tony. Just Tony. It’s always been about Tony.

– Tony made up Les to protect himself after what happened. That whole thing between him and Earl, it got him all paranoid and he just needed a cover, I guess.

[Ms. D’Amico seems suddenly upset] No. Hell no. I don’t know anything about Earl except what happened between them in Tallahassee. I’ve never met him. If you find him though, call somebody. Do not trust him. He’s dangerous.

– You really don’t know anything, do you? That’s where all of this started. College, with Earl. Everything that happened: Earl going to jail, Tony moving down here, becoming Les and getting killed, all of it started in Tallahassee. Tony was a completely different person back then, from what I can tell. A normal guy with normal goals and dreams. [Ms. D’Amico speaks softly] I wish I knew him then. [Ms. D’Amico pauses for a lengthy period, staring out the window, then looks up with a heat flashing suddenly in her eyes] Earl got him into this, and Earl deserves everything that’s happened to him since.

Click For Parts 12-16

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Written by patrickandersonjr

April 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm

One Response

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  1. It’s interesting! I want to find out more about the characters. Catherine says Tony moved from Tallahassee to south FL and changed his name to Les. Les What?

    Some serial novels offer a character list. Have you considered that? You could update the character list at the end of each segment or chapter so that the reader would only be able to refresh his memory on what he has already read, not give away what is to come later. Would that be too much trouble for you, the author. After all, i am reading five books at a time, and sometimes I forget is who.

    BTW, what happened to the pictures? You had some nice pictures in the first segment, but none in this segment.


    James Hamilton

    June 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

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