Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

Posts Tagged ‘mysteries

131. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 21

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28 June 2011

– Well. I don’t know. It’s pretty much a dead issue now, isn’t it?

– Nobody can really do anything about it, no matter what happens. He’s gone. Nothing will bring him back.

– What do I wish? I guess that—I just wish that true justice existed on this planet.

– And I mean, not the type of justice that this country prides itself in—where they base judgments off of tangible evidence, facts that you can see and make calculated decisions or whatever. I’m talking about true internal justice. Cosmic justice, if you want to get all corny about it.

– The type of justice that would make a guilty man go insane with remorse before he even committed the crime in the first place.

– I wish our positions in life were based off of our present-day character and not what we’ve done or haven’t done in the past.

– I don’t know. Maybe if things were that way, Tony would still be here with us right now. Francisco’s father would be here to help raise him—our child, with me.

– Maybe he wouldn’t have had to die the way he did.

– No. Earl did what he meant to do. And I don’t wish anything on him but justice. Not revenge, justice. I hate him for what I know he did, but there’s nothing that can be done about that anymore. And, sucks to say it, but if you look at it realistically there are a lot more elements at fault than just him.

– I’d say genetics. Its human genes primarily that are at fault when anything like this ever happens. We’re all screwed up from birth, when you get down to it. Tony was human, and I’ll always remember him like that. For what he was, and what he wasn’t. That’s the closest thing to true justice I can give him.

– Sure, I have one in my wallet. I like to show it to Francisco so he can see what his father looked like. Don’t want him not to know. [Ms. D’Amico pulls a picture out of her purse] He was so handsome, this one doesn’t do him justice.

– Yeah, he was pretty tall, even though it might just be because I’m short, I don’t know.

-Well, about your height actually. And your build.

– He had strong hands from all that drawing and painting, lots of veins showing, like how you have those veins on the back interweaving? They were kind of like that. Wide like that too, and the same skin texture, darker than you though, from working outside I guess.

– Matter of fact [Ms. D’Amico frowns, scratches her thigh absently] If you shaved, cut your hair—and if that little bump on your nose weren’t there, your mouth was a little wider, brown eyes—are those contacts? [Ms. D’Amico stands suddenly, taking a step back and squinting then putting a hand to her mouth, eyes wide] No—

End Interview

130. Excerpt from Earl Bishop’s Prison Journal

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1-27-10:
 
Been thinking about the future a lot lately, same way I did when I first got in here. Went away for a while but it’s back now, that same uncertainty, with less of the pleasantries.
 
I keep hearing that recurring line from The Matrix in my head, like the words the entire movie runs off, the shit Morpheus and Trinity and everybody keep whispering in Neo’s ear the whole time:
 
“You’re going to have to make a choice.”
 
Everybody in that fucking movie says that to everybody else. Make a choice, make a choice, come with us or don’t, red pill or blue pill, inside the matrix or outside, live or die.
 
But, see, I feel like my choice was already made for me a long time ago. I made the initial decision, sure, but it led to a lot of other decisions that I had no control over.
 
Guess that’s what you call consequences.
 
I’m being released tomorrow. Never thought I’d make it through this. I almost feel like leaving this journal in the cell for the next person to find. Or sending it to somebody who’s on trial right now or, better yet, somebody who’s just about to do something that’s going to alter the course of their life forever. Let them know the stipulations of living a “free” life in this fucked up society.
 
But it wouldn’t matter, I know it.
 
People are going to do what they want no matter what you tell them. It’s the way nature built us, the way it’ll probably build whatever species takes our place in the future.
 
You don’t believe that, watch Planet of the Apes sometime. You might learn something, like we’re only on top now because nobody’s kicked us off yet. And that upsetting any balance in this world will always come back to bite you in the ass.
 
This isn’t a moral I’m trying to set up for you, whoever you are reading this right now. I’m just stating the truth.
 
When you die, everything you gained, everything you lost, it doesn’t matter anymore.
 
It’s the most beautiful fact in the world, and it also makes everything completely fucking pointless, which is why I know that after you’re done reading this, you’re going to go right back to what you were doing before you picked this journal up, whether it’s smoking crack or fighting in the streets or getting your degree.
 
Either way, end result’s the same, right?
 
Right.

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129. Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

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March 28, 2008,

Was in the book store today and saw this little kid whose dad was trying to veer him towards the book section, but all the boy wanted was to look at the comics. I laughed when I saw the father pleading and he looked at me and laughed too, rolling his eyes. As if to say, “what can you do?”

But I wasn’t laughing at the kid’s resistance so much as I was laughing at his dad’s condescension.

I wanted to walk up to him and tell him he could keep that shit up if he wanted, but it would never work out in his favor.

You can’t control people, no matter what you do. It’s in humanity’s nature to rebel.

That dad wants his kid to read more because his son wants the comics, and that kid wants the comics more because his dad wants him to read books. It’s unavoidable, that conflict. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it because, if we’re all rebels, then doesn’t that mean that rebels, by their very definition, don’t actually exist?

It’s these things that fuel me nowadays; for the first time in my life the things that go on in my head actually comfort me, give me strength to face the world as it is and not as this ideal image that I used to make it into.

I think things may be leveling out for me finally, or starting to at least. Me, my life, this med school thing. I’m getting the hang of it all. Starting my Brain and Behavior courses this summer, teaching some undergrad electives too on this assistantship they gave me. Hopefully with that I can keep these student loans from getting even more retardedly high than they already are, so maybe I can actually live my life for me for once as opposed to living it for somebody else.

As far as Louise, yeah she’s still around. I don’t know what’s going on with her. She says she’s distant sometimes because of school, that she doesn’t want any set-in-stone commitments until we’re both finished with our residencies and all that. She says there’s nobody else, even though she still disappears for days on end and acts like nothing’s weird when she just pops back up again.

I can’t tell if I believe her or not. I don’t know if I care enough to try. Part of me just wants to end it, to prove to myself that it doesn’t matter.

But, on the same note, going back to being alone doesn’t even really seem like an option.

I don’t know, maybe I should. I don’t need this. What I need to do is remember where I came from, where I’m going, and have faith in myself that it’ll all be alright if I just don’t let up.

Things always end up alright in the long run, if you wait long enough.

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128. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 18

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11 July 2011

– You probably think you know me now, son.

– You don’t, bruh. I ain’t one of these other niggas out there, son. I’m settin’ up a empire right now.

– I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout slangin’ shit neither, I’m talkin’ ‘bout record label type shit.

– You see, I’ma be on some Roc-A-Fella shit. Straight up Jay-Z-type bread.

– Have me a fam a my own someday too, and I’ma make it right for them, son. I ain’t found a honey yet who I’d be liable to settle with, but it’s goin’ happen one a these days. And it’s goin’ be a real fam, not like how me and Earl was raised. And when it do happen, it’s goin’ be perfect, son. You goin’ hear ‘bout it, ‘bout Classic walkin’ round with his kids and baby mom’s and shit, and my kids goin’ know I’ma be there for ‘em at the end a the day, know what I’m sayin’?

– Not like my pops. Not like Earl’s pops. Muhfucka’s goin’ depend on me, son. Believe that.

 [There’s a long pause as Wayne stares out the window, jaw clenched, then he  turns and speaks quietly] Man, I think about Earl every muhfuckin’ day. Every time somebody come ‘round lookin’ for some product, knockin’ on my door and shit, or Sheila—landlady—come ‘round lookin’ for rent, I think its Earl out there with his bag and that damn notebook.

– Part a me do. Part a me be wondering where he at every day, what went down with him and that nigga Tony, if he ever got what he needed out the shit.

– I remember the last thing Earl told me ‘fore he walked out that door, bruh. He said, Classic, I ain’t goin’ be remembered for this. Not for who I am right now. I’m goin’ be better than this, create some new memories, bruh, get rid a the past and start fresh.

– Said that shit then walked out, and I been wantin’ to talk to the muhfucka ever since. Tell him, I got you, bruh. [Wayne nods and puts a hand over his heart] I got you, know what I’m sayin’?

– We all got that dream, bruh. Earl took that shit in his own hands. I wanna tell him I got mad love for him, but he ain’t leave me no contact or nothin’, and I ain’t ‘bout to go lookin’ for the nigga.

– ‘Cause, bruh. I can’t.

– Not knowin’ what happened to Earl is some bullshit, yeah. Can’t stand it, not knowin’ if he aight or not. But, son—I gave him that piece.

– That Smith and Wes I got him, that’s aidin’ and abettin’, bruh.

– I ain’t sayin’ Earl a snitch or nothin’, but he might let it slip by accident I’m the one gave him that piece. Anything happen to him and I’m anywhere in the area, they goin’ be gunnin’ for me next.

– I love Earl, bruh, but like I told you when you came up in here wavin’ yo’ money ‘round askin’ questions and shit. I gotta look out for me and mine’s. For real. Now, what up with that cash, bruh?

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127. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 20

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28 June 2011

– No problem. Just glad to get it all off my chest.

– It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, I admit that. Not anymore, at least. I love Frankie, our baby. I see a lot of Tony in him sometimes. Other times I see a lot of me. Both make me happy.

– He’s too young to understand it now, but I promised him the day he was born—lying in the hospital, holding him in that huge blanket they give you—that he’d grow up to have everything I could possibly give him. His father left us enough, what with the money in the mail and the exhibition and all.

– Yeah, a few days after he died I got a package, no return address. It was his handwriting, opened it up and there’s—let’s just say it was enough to take me through the pregnancy and those first few months.

– Found out a few days after that Tony had put me down as the benefactor on his contract with my aunt, so we got all the sales from his paintings too.

– It’s not a fortune, not enough to live off forever. But it’s enough to give our son a semi-normal upbringing, minus any hardship.

– And, I mean, I’m back at work now obviously. Gave up bartending for a full-time position at my aunt’s gallery as her assistant. Pay’s good, I get to be around a lot of art, and my boss is a family member so it’s fun. Most of the time. When she’s not being a Nazi. And, to tell you the truth, I think things are as normal now as they’ll ever be.

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126. Interview with Graham Baker: Part 3

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16 July 2011

– Listen, the basic gist of it all is you’ve got to make a decision when you’re getting involved with making a new life for yourself.

– There’s two types of disappearing acts: pseudocide, and just plain disappearing.

– The former produces a death certificate and is illegal, makes people think you’re actually not a part of humanity anymore and is a pretty big undertaking.

– But if you just can’t take shit anymore, if things are just that bad, then that’s a different story. There’s no laws against just packing up and leaving.

– If you don’t want to be found, though, pseudocide’s the most convincing. People have a tendency to leave you alone when they think you’re dead.

– It’s a process you have to go through, though. I’ve seen the process fulfilled, and it takes work. Work and lots of research. My book will tell you, pick it up when you get a chance.

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125. Interview with Dr. Aileen Parks: Part 5

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16 July 2011

– No, sir. Tuition costs are only a small portion of the actual costs of getting a university education.

– The average yearly cost of room and board in the ’09-’10 school year—remember, you’ve got to live somewhere—was $8,200. For books and supplies, $1,100. If you didn’t have a laptop—a necessity in this information age—add another $700 to that, minimum.

– Combine that with tuition and you’ve got over $13,000 a year for college-related expenses alone.

– Throw in health insurance for good measure, transportation costs, miscellaneous expenses, and what you’ve got then is an average American college student who could choose to work a part time job during their tenure at Whatever-State University, to supplement expenses, and still would end up leaving school with more debt than they could handle.

– Add that all up and what you’ve got is a generation of people—children—who are victims of the most profitable system of legal American slavery since the pre-civil war era.

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