Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

34-36

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Interview with David Lerner: Part 2

15 July 2011

– Sorry, I’m rambling. It’s the divorce. It’s got me all heated still. I’m so tired and like—angry all the time now. I used to be so happy. I will be so happy, when all this shit is over with.

– The divorce I mean, not this. This is actually a break, I think. It’s good to reminisce sometimes. Remember how things were before life got all—complicated, you know?

– Yeah, so, the day I met Earl he was out at the pool and Patty was being a bitch and I looked at Earl and pointed at Patty and said “you believe this broad?” And I expected Earl to kind of laugh in that nervous way people do when they’re—I don’t know. Nervous. You know what I’m talking about. That “heh heh” chuckle to kind of make the person think you’re not uncomfortable when you really are and then that eye shift where you look anywhere that isn’t at the person whose making you feel uncomfortable. I know, I do it, you do it, you’d have to be like, disconnected from reality or just like, really a cocky dickhead to not do it every once in a while. Like, see, my thing is, I do it every time a bum comes up and asks me for a quarter, smelling like old beer and shit. I don’t want to be mean when I see them because like—I don’t know. Nobody knows what their situation is. But holy shit, it’s like every single time I go to the gas station, dude.

– Anyways, I’m just having a little bit of fun that day, right? Puffing my chest out a little, being all manly, and I look at Earl and point at Patty, and Earl just sits there. He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t smile, just looks at me, then stares at Patty for like a whole ten seconds, then shakes his head and leaves. Just gets up and walks away. Fucking traitor, bro. No support. So Patty gave me this bitchy look while I was laughing and pointing at her and—[1]


[1] Mr. Lerner goes on to explain how he managed to convince Mrs. Lerner to go on a date with him.

________________________________________________________________________

Excerpt from Earl Bishop’s Prison Journal

10-29-08:
 
The people who denied my appeal, they probably think I’m a fucking brat for even complaining.
 
“Grow some balls Earl, why don’tcha.” That’s what they’d say to me if they saw me.
 
Obviously these bastards don’t know what prison’s like. They obviously don’t realize that the only difference between me in here and them out there is the fact that “in here” even exists.
 
They don’t realize that if there wasn’t a “prison” to compare the “free world” to, the “free world” wouldn’t seem so goddamn free.
 
They’d tell me I deserve this, the monotony and constant noise; tell me that I need to stop bitching and pay my dues. But they don’t see that their own lives of constantly trying to move up in the ranks, getting that degree and getting that job then wasting away their better years so they can, maybe, get that retirement check then die is the same shit we’ve got to deal with in here, shuffling around in lines whenever we’re going to the yard or the cafeteria, trying to hold our heads high even though our minds are completely fucking smashed, just to keep the slight hope that somebody might give us some goddamn respect; the moves we make in the prison system’s ladder, from fresh-meat to seasoned-convict; the way we’ve got to work around the prison guards the same way you’ve got to work your way around your corporate bosses, only difference being our bosses would love to eyeball fuck each of us with the barrel of their guns. Which is a little more motivation than you’ve got out there, tell you the truth.
 
And you can’t say shit to me like I don’t know about that side, the side you’re on. I’m a chameleon, man. I’ve been there.
 
I got the degree.
 
I got the credentials.
 
I’ve seen the worthlessness of your “value” system.
 
You officials would come in here, hear me out, then say to me, “this is prison, Earl, what did you expect?”
 
But you don’t see that you’re in a prison your damn selves.
 
I was reborn the first morning I woke up in this cell; reborn into a world just as fucked up as the one I left behind.
 
Not more fucked up. Just as.
 
You’d try to say that I’m wrong for thinking like that too. And you know what I’d say to that?
 
Fuck you. Plain and simple.
 

________________________________________________________________________

Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

September 1 2003 (continued)

What I remember about my parents being together doesn’t have anything in common with that picture of my mom and dad.

In fact what I remember about my dad is so far from the image that picture creates that I’m starting to think the photo was a fake. Or that the guy in the picture wasn’t really my dad but some other dude pretending to be my dad.

The last clear memory I have of my father is him walking into my room one day, around the time I was about to start middle school, and just staring at me.

I was watching TV and he stood in the doorway looking at me for this awkwardly long period of time; like, that point where you have to look away and wiggle around because the person staring at you is starting to creep you out, like they’re going to kill you or just freak out and start screaming at any moment.

He just stood there staring at me, like he was in a trance or something, and finally I said what? What is it?

He kept staring at me for a second longer then dropped his head, said nothing, then another long pause before he said, quietly, I just wondered… and that was it.

My dad never acted like that before, from what I can remember. He barely said two words to me before that day, just used to shuffle my hair around and pat me on the back every once in a while. I remember that. That was our affection.

So at this point I’m like, whoa, what the hell’s going on. I waited and he didn’t say anything for a while and finally he just shook his head and said never mind then walked away.

The next day I came home from school and all the blinds in the house were drawn and my mom was lying on the couch with a pillow over her head. I asked her what happened and she blubbered a little bit and then I walked into her bedroom and saw my dad’s side of the closet was cleared out.

That’s the last time I heard from my father. The last two words he ever said to me: never mind.

Click For Parts 37-40

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Written by patrickandersonjr

April 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

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