Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

30-33

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Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

September 1 2003

Morning: 2 out of 10

Afternoon: 3 out of10

Evening: 2 out of 10

I went through my mom’s stuff today. First time since she passed. I found a picture of my dad in a box full of photos, the only picture I’ve seen of him since the day after he left and my mom burned everything he’d left behind in a barbecue pit we keep in the backyard. The picture was jarring, to say the least. Made me realize the quasi-image of him I’ve had in my head for years now is not my dad but some false mental projection of him that I created for some reason. I mean, it was weird seeing his face because I haven’t really had a full memory of that at all. Once I saw the picture though, it was like it filled some gap, and then I kind of wondered if there had ever been a gap to begin with or if I’d just let myself believe there was one. Made me lightheaded as shit looking at it, like somebody’d just implanted a memory in my head or something. Like in The Matrix when they’re uploading data into Neo’s brain so he can learn how to do Kung Fu and jump buildings and shit, the way he looked when they put that first program in his head, I feel like I must of made that face when I looked at the picture of my dad. Wide eyed and frowning but not mad, just confused like “…whoa.”

Basically, the discrepancies are this: my dad wasn’t as tall as I thought he was. He was actually pretty short. And skinny, really skinny, not big and burly like I remembered. My mom was smaller than him in the picture, but not by much. In the picture they’re eating cake and they’ve both got frosting on their noses and they’re laughing. I don’t know who took the picture, but whoever it was they caught something I didn’t even know existed: my mom and dad happy with each other. I can’t tell whether the picture helped my state of mind or not. I’ve been under the impression for most of my life that my parents hated each other every moment of every day since they met which—from what I gather—was right before they gave birth to me. I’d always thought that maybe they were just drawn together by obligation and some sick, masochistic urge to be around each other. But they looked pretty damn happy in that picture. I mean, like, really happy. It’s funny how drastically things can change sometimes.

Actually, what am I talking about? It’s not funny. That shit isn’t funny at all. It sucks. It really fucking sucks.

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with David Lerner: Part 1

Who Is Anthony Stephens?

David Lerner is currently a backup shooting guard for the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic basketball team. Mr. Lerner has most recently been involved in legal and NBA controversies concerning both divorce proceedings and a marijuana possession charge incurred May 2011, which resulted in his suspension for the first ten games of the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season. Mr. Lerner was the neighbor of Earl Bishop during his time at Florida State University.

15 July 2011

– Yeah, I remember Earl. I didn’t really know him, though. I mean, I knew him, but I didn’t know the dude, you know?

– He was, I don’t know, total—pretty odd. Weird dude. Not violent or nothing, just real quiet and—he looked kind of lonely I guess. It was always real quiet over there in his apartment. Sometimes I wouldn’t see him around for weeks and there wouldn’t be a sound from his place and I’d wonder if he moved out or something. But then I’d see him sitting outside one day, smoking a cigarette and you could hear somebody else rattling around inside his crib, so I’m guessing he had, like, friends and shit. But most of the time he was like—silent. Except near the end. There was a lot of racket over there in the end, those last couple of weeks before the cops picked him up, especially during the day. Sometimes at night, like that one night when I came home from that date with Patty. Whole lot of noise then. First time I met Earl was the same day I met Patty actually—my bad, Patty’s my wife. Soon-to-be-ex-wife, you want to get technical about shit.

– Pretty funny story there; Earl was actually there that day.

– The day I met Patty. He was sitting out by the pool that day, which was weird because it was like, one of the only times I ever saw the dude out.

– Usually he smoked outside his apartment for like five minutes here and there. Otherwise it was like, in and out, you never saw the dude. But he was out at the pool that day, smoking and staring at the sky. I remember because I bummed a menthol from him and then I saw Patty and—I mean—

– No, I just—this isn’t going to be some like, national coverage type shit is it?

– Like, the team’s not going to end up with a copy of this are they?

– I’m just saying. Because I don’t smoke or nothing. Now, I mean. I mean, I never smoked a lot or nothing back then and I don’t smoke at all anymore, with my contract and all, and the lawyers and stuff. Not cigarettes at least. [Mr. Lerner chuckles quickly then gets serious] That’s a joke.

– Yeah, whatever, you know—whatever, I introduced myself to Earl and he seemed like a decent dude. I had this red nosed pit back then, real beauty. She was a bitch, but I named her King anyways because she looked like a King so whatever. King liked Earl, I remember that. But King liked everybody, even Patty when I met her, and she was a total cunt from the get go. Lying out tanning on the pool chairs with one of her friends and all like, prissy—[1]


[1] Mr. Lerner proceeds to go on a tangent, explaining the initial meeting between him and his estranged wife, Patricia Lerner (nee Naylor).

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 7

24 June 2011

– It wasn’t just Tony’s plan. Earl was practically the mastermind, from what Tony told me. And if you knew Tony, you’d know that he couldn’t lie. It was like he had no filter between his mind and his face, his expressions just automatically showed how he felt, even if he tried to deny it. Like I remember when we met—[1]

– How’d Earl react to the plan? He was all for it!

– Tony barely said anything. All he told Earl was it’d be easier if everybody just thought he was dead, just to get away from all the shit going on in his life. Half-joking like, you know? And suddenly Earl’s all smiles, patting him on the back, telling him how he’d do anything to help Tony—his friend. [Ms. D’Amico shakes her head] That’s what I don’t understand about it all. He was completely supportive of Tony, helped him plan the entire thing. It was Earl’s idea to steal the body from Tony’s anatomy class. It was Earl’s idea to use that old house, it was his idea for Tony to take his truck and run.

– You think Tony could have came up with all of that, the frame of mind he was in? You think desperation makes you think clearly? Tony couldn’t have done all of this on his own during good times, so what makes anybody think he was the mastermind?


[1] Ms. D’Amico goes into a pretty lengthy description of how she noticed these characteristics about Anthony from the moment she met him at a local restaurant where she bartended at the time. Ms. D’Amico is a picture of instability during this account, switching between sadness, anger, and happiness about her relationship with Anthony and the resultant lovechild. She sums up the description by explaining that she only agreed to conduct this interview as a form of catharsis, before finally returning to the topic at hand.

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 6

11 July 2011

– Man, Earl looked at Tony like he was out his goddamn mind, bruh. Told Tony hell naw he ain’t doin’ no crazy shit like that. So Tony backs down and holds his hands up all surprised and shit, ‘cause Earl ain’t never really been the type a nigga to stick up for hisself, know what I’m sayin’? I bet Tony was expectin’ my cuz to hang his head, nod and shit like, alright, Tony. Whatever you say, massa. Yessuh, right away suh, and shit. Probably ‘cause that’s what Earl usually be doing, you know what I’m sayin’? Nigga’s soft sometimes, son. But I taught Earl better than that. Since we was kids, bruh.

– Taught him to stick up for hisself. Like—you want to hear how I taught this nigga?

– I remember this one time, me and Earl was sittin’ in the crib, his mom’s crib, watchin’ MTV, and Earl turn ‘round askin’ if he can watch G.I. Joe. [Mr. Price holds his hands up, about a foot apart] That’s the generation gap right there, you know what I’m sayin’? I only got ‘bout three years on the nigga, but three years is a lot when I’m fourteen and the little nigga’s only eleven.

– I was in junior high back then, son. MTV was like the dictionary back in junior high, back when they was still ‘bout music and shit. Like Yo! MTV Raps. Loved that shit. Not like they is now, stupid ass reality shows and a bunch a uppity rich niggas and bitches talkin’ ‘bout how much money they got. Fuck that. You watched MTV back in the day and you was runnin’ things ‘round the time that school bell ring. Walkin’ through the hallways like a fuckin’ hip hop encyclopedia and shit. People be askin’ you, yo, what up with that new Biggie video, nigga? And me? Man, I seen that shit like two weeks ago. Got every scene memorized. Me and my niggas, we used to go ‘round testin’ each other; say some shit like, who yo’ favorite nigga from New Kids on the Block and shit, and if you got any answer but fuck you nigga then you gettin’ ranked on[1] for the rest a the year, know what I’m sayin’?

– But Earl, he wasn’t ‘bout that yet back then, bruh. Nigga was still playing with Legos and shit, know what I’m sayin’?

– So Earl ask to watch G.I. Joe this day and I’m watchin’ MTV so I say hell naw, and he just look at me all sad and shit and turn back ‘round, ain’t say shit to me ‘bout it. But that’s my little cuz, bruh. I can’t let the nigga turn bitch on me. So I kicked his ass in the back a his head, hard as hell, so it sounded like when you hit one a them big ass plastic garbage cans. [Mr. Price chuckles] Big head nigga. Put my foot right in his skull, bruh, and he turn ‘round lookin’ like he ‘bout to cry, askin’ me why I hit him. And I’m like don’t cry nigga, and don’t ask me why I kicked you. Kick me back. So the nigga kicks me in the shin, right? And my whole leg goes numb. I almost punched him dead in his mouth but he looked so damn scared I just rubbed my leg and told him this: you ain’t goin’ get shit actin’ like you ain’t got a dick between yo legs. You gotta fight for what’s yours, son, ‘cause these niggas out here on the streets, they’ll take everything from yo ass in a second if you don’t. And Earl? Earl lookin’ at me like I’m fuckin’ Jesus Christ on a cross, like my words was gospel.

– I schooled that nigga, bruh. That was me talkin’ when he told Tony he was outta his goddamn mind, tryin’ ta kill hisself.

– Then what? Tony kept talkin’, that’s what. Nigga ain’t know how to just shut the fuck up. And everything I taught Earl fell outta his ear and he went and fucked his whole life up.


[1] “Ranked on”: one of many slang terms for being made fun of by your peers.

Written by patrickandersonjr

April 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

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