A Life – Anthony Statham


He was born on December 11th, 1950 at 3:33am in a hospital in an undisclosed city. He weighed seven pounds three ounces. The hospital was later torn down to build the parking lot of a stadium for the newly acquired sports franchises. The stadium fell into a state of dilapidation when each of the franchises moved to new cities and the surrounding area became little more than a breeding ground for rampant drug abuse and sexual misconduct.

His mother died giving birth to him. The father was so distraught he gave the baby up for adoption without so much as touching it. The father consented to the birth of the son only as a way of maintaining peace with the mother, who for all his faults he loved dearly. He himself had never wanted children, and in a barbarous roundabout turn of events, the boy honored the wish when he killed the mother. So the boy was raised in the care of nurses and then delivered to a family in Kent Maryland having never tasted milk from a human nipple.


Rbendan Robilard. That’s the name on his birth certificate. The typo in his first name was overlooked but it mattered not. The father signed the papers and was gone, making it clear he never wished to see the boy.


The new mother gave her nipple to him on the third night in his new home. And it was good.


His adopted parents were the Hickersons’ and they called him Donovan. He grew up an only child of two adoptive parents that didn’t know how to be parents and learned as they went. Their home had two bedrooms, an attic and a small cellar. The husband and wife slept in and made love once a week on Saturday night in the master bedroom; the smaller bedroom was designated for the three Dalmatians they owned. One of the dogs was blind and two were deaf, which due to inbreeding in the early stages of developing the breed is rather common. When the boy was still very small and memories were yet to be formed the adoptive parents set up a crib for him in the dog’s room. The dogs turned on him and with great aggression forced the hand of the adoptive parents, so they moved the boy out and into the attic.


Several times a month as a wee youth, up there in the chilly attic, he had a recurring nightmare of a slobbering, heavy breathing animal type face leering at him through the slotted confines of his crib, the eyes nothing more than cracked marble swirls of unseeing madness and carnal hatred, and somewhere in the blackness beyond he heard the off key wails of tormented beasts and the gnashing of soft teeth and clacking claws on hardwood. He never told his adopted parents about the dreams in hopes they would stop of their own accord, which eventually they did but not before he suffered night sweats and bizarre fixation/repulsions at the sight of dogs with white fur.


He attended primary school with the children of fishermen and dockworkers. The children at school and in the neighborhood thought he was a Jew because of his horrendous red hair. It sat on his head like an electrocuted cat. The children called him Kike and Jewy and Little Baby Banker Fuck, among other names


His bedroom in the attic had a small circular window that he often looked out to spy on the girl across the street. She was the only child around who didn’t ridicule him for looking like a Jew. Her hair was also red but much prettier than his. He talked to the girl with the red hair once and it did not go well. She ran home crying. He went into his backyard and dug three holes with his bare hands and then replaced the dirt without burying anything. And afterward, feeling that odd sensation of futility that sometimes strikes a young child he tried to do something nice and brought the three glass milk jugs from the curb to the garage, though unfortunately along the way each glass in turn slipped from his puny little grasp and shattered to bits and shards at his feet. Mesmerized by all the sloshing milk he retrieved a piece of the glass and inadvertently cut his finger and then proceeded to paint the glass in his blood.

That summer the girl and her family moved away. He thought it could have been because of him but was never sure.


No sooner had he received his high school diploma than he was drafted into the United States Military and sent to boot camp in preparation of the war in Vietnam. He made his first two real friends in boot camp and he met a lot of first class assholes. Despite his dislike for the first class assholes he would never doubt their diligence and commitment at allowing politicians in ill-fitting suits and toupees to send them to their deaths in the name of God and country. They’re mostly all dead now, the friends and the assholes, and he sometimes wonders why it wasn’t him instead.

His adoptive mother died while he was away fixing radios for the U.S. military. His adoptive father wrote a letter to notify him and sent it out with no postage, so he never received it.


After his time in the military where he saw no combat he ran into the mother of his actual mother at a Military potluck in Dallas Texas and they had an awkward conversation about the family that never was. The mother of his actual mother complained about his actual father and told him he was lucky in the end. He wasn’t sure if he agreed and got on a bus headed to Mexico. While sitting near the back and watching a strung out couple try to copulate under a soiled blanket he thought back to the conversation with the mother of his actual mother and couldn’t quite come to grasp with whether or not she was really the mother of his actual mother or a figment of his imagination.


He kept the money he saved from his time in the war in his pocket. The duress caused by the ridicule of his youth about his possible Jewishness created in him a mistrust of banks he took to heart.

He spent a great deal of money on hookers in Mexico and ate many tacos from street vendors. His anus bled from ulcers and he refused to see a doctor when he felt he had transmitted chlamydia. It stung horribly when he urinated and when he took his underwear off at night to sleep, he had to delicately peel the material from the tip of his penis where it had become stuck from the seepage.


When he was a high school student he was attacked in the locker room by some rather nefarious jock-type youths. After the gym teacher disappeared to his office the jock-type monsters stalked their prey and cornered him in a dirty bathroom stall and applied a used cotton swab to his urethra, laughing maniacally and heckling the entire time, thinking themselves facetious jolly-makers.

From that moment on just the thought of cotton swabs would bring on violent tremors that shook him to his soul’s core.


In Seattle Washington he took LSD with a group of homeless travelers. He spent the night in a loud bar and six times he thought he died and was resurrected and felt that maybe God was in and around us all, under the lumpy skin on the face of the bartender, behind the dart board. The urine trough spoke to him in the voice of deceased President John F. Kennedy and repeatedly told him it’s okay, everything is okay, Jackie will fix my brain and then I’ll send her to you; and the lights in the ceiling looked to him like fat little angels of holy origin and as he sat on his stool gripping tightly to the edge of the bar because the world was turning at a rate he couldn’t fathom, the roof of the building coming unhinged just like his mind and exposing cosmic radiation he was sure everyone else was noticing too and simply playing it cool, each little fat angel morphed into oily slick, fanged demon cherubs and took turns winking at him and pulling and flicking at their genitals.

When he walked out into the early morning sunlight and he was sure the effects of the LSD were wearing off and his eyes felt like they could be removed from his head and made into pliable shapes of any kind, and he stopped checking the pulse in his neck regularly and forgetting why – the thought that maybe God was real had slipped away and he stumbled into a 24 hour diner, all chrome and vinyl, and ordered a stack of banana and chocolate chip pancakes and couldn’t muster the will to take even a small bite but instead left a twenty dollar bill on the counter and went back outside and tried to talk loud enough to drown out the voice in his head which was now, he was sure, the voice of his dead mother, and her advice wasn’t making sense and he didn’t want to listen to her if he couldn’t be respectful and understand what she wanted to say and she kept telling him it wasn’t his fault and her words did nothing except amplify his guilt, the guilt he never thought about but felt deep in his gut, in his bowels, and finally after a bout of tantric screaming he knelt at the edge of a fountain in the neighborhood known as Crown Heights and vomited and heaved and retched and choked until every blood vessel in his face ruptured.


He spent three nights in Los Angeles California after he heard rumors a major film studio was planning a big budget version of Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’. He didn’t know what that meant but over pitchers of cheap northwestern beer a group of liberal arts kids in Olympia Washington emphatically told him he looked like the lead character from the novel and that he’d be perfect for the part, and so he took a Greyhound bus to Hollywood, and there after being vehemently denied an opportunity to audition for a film all the suits and fat cats claimed wasn’t in the works he ate dinner at a fancy hotel with a moderately priced prostitute as a ways to dampen the blow of a failed Hollywood career. Clint Eastwood sat five tables away and was eating an expensive steak with a woman that was far more attractive than the prostitute he’d acquired. He had seen a couple pictures starring Mr. Eastwood and asked the waiter if the man over there was in fact the famed actor to which the waiter replied it was, but he doesn’t like to be bothered.


He met a girl in San Jose California named Emery and she was not attractive and had a small hand. He felt she suited him for the time being as he didn’t know what his life’s purpose was and she was just as if not more lost a soul than he. They spent a weekend together and she introduced him to The Beatles. They listened to Rocky Raccoon repeatedly and he spent everyday chain-smoking Paul Mall cigarettes and reading the worn out Bible that sat in the drawer next to the bed. The bed vibrated if you fed it enough quarters. He didn’t know who Gideon was and felt it would look bad as to his intelligence if he asked Emery, who he had his concerns about the intelligence of anyhow.

One morning he woke up and Emery was gone. She left a note explaining that her old boyfriend was going to take her back and she wished him luck and said he seemed like a nice guy and all.

He bought a revolver from a local pawn shop and took it to the hotel with him convinced that Emery and the new boyfriend were due to return at any moment to rob him of his life savings he kept in cash for his mistrust of banks.

A few weeks or months later on a warm spring morning the hotel maid knocked and entered. He sat up on the corner of the bed and pulled the revolver from the drawer where it sat next to the old Bible and he took aim and fired and the gun – a piece of shit – which exploded in his hands and he lost two fingers as a result, pointer and middle on his right hand. The maid ran away screaming and thinking of nothing else to do and afraid still that Emery and the new man were set to appear any second he wrapped his bleeding hand in a pillowcase and took the Bible and ran out the door and down the stairs and headed for a bus station.


He discovered cocaine as the king of kings when it came to utilizing time. He relied on cocaine for everything from soul fulfilling sustenance to the best way to make your money disappear. He met women who loved him for his cocaine and he made friends who spent time with him so long as he had cocaine. He did cocaine several times a day with whoever was around until he had no more money and was unable to achieve arousal when in the presence of naked women.


In Denver Colorado and in desperate need of money and itching savagely for more cocaine, along with a complete lack of understanding as to what and how organ donation works he went completely broke sometime in the mid seventies. He crept into a blood donation clinic and offered up any and all organs he could sell that would allow him to live a moderately decent life, including the ability to continue to have sex with prostitutes. The woman at the desk explained that they only dealt in blood and plasma, and also what being an organ donor entailed and how you couldn’t really just walk into a clinic and sell an organ and so forth, so he walked away feeling glum of spirit.

Walking through downtown for several hours under the bright dome of everlasting sunlight he thought seriously about killing himself and before he took that last and huge leap he recalled what the woman at the clinic had said and thought better of it, as killing himself and donating his organs post mortem would benefit him not at all in the here and now.

After a failed couple hours of offering up cheap penile lip service in and around the train station restrooms, hoping to gather enough cash for a measly bump he gave up and panhandled outside the Denver Broncos game. He made enough money to buy a short bump off a hop head he had to get away from because the guy never stopped talking about his ex-wife and how she fucked his brother or something like that, and so then he got blind drunk on cheap wine and fell asleep in the street and was rudely awoken by a homeless man rummaging through his pockets and when he stirred gave the homeless guy such a fright that in a panic the homeless man repeatedly stomped on his groin until he blacked out.


He snuck onto a cargo ship headed out into the Pacific Ocean. His home for a while, time unknown to him, was a small dark space between crates where sometimes the seawater leaked in and made him nauseous with its salty presence.

He had visions of his own death as a young boy and screamed through the nights unaware of where he was or where he was going and lost to himself and the world.

He defecated without abandon, unable to control his bowels and when he had to pee he gave in and let loose a warm wash of mournful regret.

In his hallucinatory state he met his actual mother under a bridge he’d never been to in a city he didn’t know and they held hands and dunked their faces under the dirty water and picked out catfish the size of small children with their teeth and spit them onto the rocky beach. They danced to The Beatles around a campfire that neither of them had made. And in these visions he always fell asleep on the little shore, his mother’s arms wrapped around him, and before the night of these dreams died he would wake up alone and shivering and covered in his own shit, curled up between crates on an enormous ship headed to where, he didn’t know.


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