Abort Nation

fetus

My name is Arch Stanton.  I am four.

I do not have a name.  Arch Stanton is a name I heard once, late at night, and decided to keep.  It may be my name someday.  But I cannot speak, and when I leave this place, I do not know if I can articulate my preference to the world; more than likely, a name will be selected for me, and that will be that.

I am remiss.  I heard the word “remiss” on a tv show, and I believe that it is a lame word.  But I understand the meaning, and I know that I am remiss, for I am not four years old: I am four months old.

Did you know that two me’s make a meme?  Here is a meme.

At this stage of my life, I can dream.  I have dreams.  They are of cars and cocaine.  They are warnings against what will happen if I take the one while driving the other.  I hear these prohibitions through the water that surrounds me, and through the skin over top of that.

I can think.  You don’t believe this.  You don’t believe that I can dream of cars.  And of getting high – such disbelief! as you drive down the street, getting high while driving your Durango, plowing into some kid that had the fortune of being born.  But I can dream.  I can think.  I can feel pain.  I can even drink.  If my mother downs a half a bottle of wine, I am drunk.  I have bed spins.  I may even vomit.  I feel it all.

While I cannot write, I can make lists.  I have enough cranial capacity to store thoughts.  Here is a list of things that I want to do upon being born:

-breathe air

-fuck on the beach

-breathe air while fucking on a beach

I have not gotten any further than that as yet.  Oh, forgot, I would like to see the ending to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  My mother sat through most of it but fell asleep at the end.  What happened to that little guy and his ring?  I have no idea.

I am Arch Stanton.  I am now five; five months, and please don’t get confused again.  I have eyebrows now.  But only on one side.  I have testicles, too, but they are indistinguishable from my asshole.  I long for tit.  I want to suck nipples.  When I go to sleep, I dream of sucking tit.  It’s like I was born for that – well, not that I have been born, but you know what I mean.  I got a penis yesterday.  It is very small.  I tried to masturbate when it appeared, but this didn’t work out well.  Not enough structural reinforcement in the muscle tone to let me have a proper go of it.

Mom played some music the other day.  It was Abba, and went like this:

“Like a sunrise in the morning

Life is dawning, move on

How I treasure every minute

Being part of, being in it

With the urge to move on”

Then she fucked my dad.  Talk about a lack of square footage.

Listen, today I heard a rumour.  You don’t believe that I can hear, no more than you can believe that I want a girlfriend some day, that I will be good to her and that she will leave me.  But I can hear.  My mother doesn’t want me.  Doesn’t want the pain.  Doesn’t want the burden.  Doesn’t want the life that will come out with me and stain her all over, make her unbeautiful, make her old, make her unwanted.  She doesn’t want me.  That’s okay.  No one wants me.  I know all about your world.  Muslims are evil.  Climate is changing.  Shit is happening.  Why would you want a baby to come into this world, especially when you are a female and you want to do your meth freely, and then curl underneath your baby blanket when you finally get back to your apartment?  And oh yeah, why would you want a baby brought into a world when you were raped three times in six weeks, by three different guys who took care of you when you were drunk – and by extension, when I was drunk?  And none of those rapists are even my dad.

I am Arch Stanton.

I am Clint Eastwood.  I am Tuco.

I am Angel Eyes.

I am a man and probably will be raped if I am born, too.  That is the way of it.  There are penises in here with me all the time.  Some are short.  Some are long.  Some are thin.  Some are thick.  They are all not my father.  I remember him.  He is a characteristic dick.  I never saw him again.  He is making babies somewhere else.  Good babies.  Self-aware children that he will take care of, because I know he is a good man: he was just not ready, and how can that be held against him?  These are circumstances at play, like badgers or beavers, a type of rodent that scurries about unprepared for life until it finally bashes into a wall and realizes that it is growing old smoking all those cigars in the beaver lodge – that it had better do something, become calm, remain even, learn to love, learn to have children and keep them for once.  All I ever saw of my father was his dick.  But I love the guy, wherever he is.

It is now two days since I got my penis and tried to jerk off.  The prick of a syringe touches my hamstring as my mom talks to a doctor about how much easier her life will be without me.  I love her most of all.  She took care of me.  Fed me.  Touched me.  Let me hear music.  She tried.  But she has it much worse off than my father: she’s stuck with the detritus of life that is growing within her own body, stuck with the possibility of taking care of me by herself.  How is that fair?

The syringe delivers a chemical that smells foul.  It makes me slow.  It stops my dreams.  It slackens my limbs.  It steps across a border; opens a front door; smells Christmas; bakes bread; walks on the moon.  This, your majesty, your highness, is death.  This is what it is like to die when you are five months old.  This is what you presume, that I cannot feel what is coming – but just because I cannot fight for my life does not mean that I cannot call you out for taking it away from me.

I understand, mother.  I remember you, father.  I am Arch Stanton.  Gunfighter.  Entrepreneur.  Baseball player.  Musician.  Cosmonaut.  Drug company executive.  Sharia lawyer.  Muslim.  Christian.  Buddhist.  Jedi.  Psychopath.  Healer.  Bastard.  Hope-bringer.  Mud-slinger.  Politician.  Life-saver.  Dreamer.  Forger.  Lover.  Stoner.  Glass-blower, banker, helper, teacher, miracle-worker, hope-bringer, love-slinger, rain-maker, prophet.  Writer.

The chemical denudes my flesh.  Stops it.  But you did not use enough.  When the pincers come in to take me out, I am still alive.  I slip out and for a moment, see the world.  But I am only five months old, and my body does not properly work.  I see my mother.  I see the doctor.  I am upside down, hanging by my right leg as the pincers dig in and crush my bones, and someone cuts off the connection I have with my mother.  After that, I am dark.  I am done.

They put me in a bag and label me.  They do not use the name “Arch Stanton”.  They put me in a bin, with a collection of medical devices and fat woman blubber extracted by a hose not much different than the thing that used to connect me to my mother.  Someone whispers something about a furnace, and a burning: a flame that will incinerate me, Arch Stanton, as medical waste – that is the only route I have to Heaven.  The only one.

But I don’t blame.  I am a gunfighter.  I don’t hate my mother or my father.  I am the President of the United States of Fuck-Off.  I should hate you.  But how can I?  You kill old people.  You kill convicts.  You kill civilians with drone attacks.  You let people die in the streets.  You feed normal people with shit so toxic that they are going to die young.  You let Africans starve.  You pump people full of chemicals they don’t need.  You spew particulates into the atmosphere that kill the very young and the very old.  You mass-produce cigarettes, knowing they have no safe level of use.  You kill Presidents.  You hang despots.  You do all these things, again and again and again and again.  And so why, in the end, well, why wouldn’t you kill me, too?

***this is a repost – is that the right term? There is something topical about it, and I never really wanted to revisit this story but found myself thinking about it. I hate this piece. But I keep thinking about it. Reason enough, I suppose… All right, below is a song.***

108 thoughts on “Abort Nation

  1. I can’t believe I am the first to comment, here. So many things to say, Lewin. I wanted to be so fucking angry at you for writing this. It is so very easy to assume narrator = author. I had to stop and wait before commenting.

    This piece is unabashedly ferocious. Was it hard to write? Sometimes I find they’re almost fun.

    Thank you.

    • Hey Jones. Honestly, no, not hard to write. The idea jumped up yesterday morning and given a few moments much later in the day, it blurted out. Ferocious… I like that description for this. I’m mostly angry with myself for writing it. I’m not really trying to be political. Just inventing a character in a certain point of life and trying to figure out what they’re thinking and where they’re going. Definitely not hard to write – I like rage and fierceness above everything, it keeps my clock ticking.

      I suspect there won’t be much commentary on this one. Maybe for the best.

      • This may not have been hard to write NB, but was agonizing to read. Shame and shame again, on she who does without reason or regard, and pity and woe on she who must. Here, there is no forgiving and no hope that mother and child would meet in the hereafter. For the child will certainly guard the gate against such entry for she who made such a choice. Such a horrific, terrible, agonizing, painful choice…but choice just the same.

          • Sadly, it was my northern friend. What does ‘feel the lack’ mean? If it means taking you to task…never. We write what our minds, hearts, ghosts, muses, tell us we must. And we read the same way. xo

            • Sorry, quote from a movie, The Thin Red Line. It’s near the end, and it sticks with me, something about kinship and wonder, but so undefined that I have never figured out any true definition that works for me.

              I agree, we write what is demanded by whatever we call our souls. Even if it’s terrible and about something terrible, and we wonder a few days later what we were thinking…

              • Ours is not to wonder why dear NB…it’s just to think/feel/write/do what we must. And you do it as only you can do it. Nuff Said yeah? Besides…if you stopped to wonder why, we’d never witness your lewin-ness. We can read rhyme and reason all day long…but only you can do what you do. Never stop.

  2. OMG…that was INTENSE and so fkn sad! I could just kill the woman, and dick! you have a way of diggin so deep, so painfully deep sometimes…you blow my mind…AGAIN!!! I wish you could arrange to have this posted at abortion clinics, just so they stop and think before they do it. I can’t judge her, but I’m at the point in my life where I feel even rape is no excuse to kill an innocent child. there are millions of people who want to adopt, and only want babies, because they are too selfish to adopt an older child who needs them just as much! there are SO many lost children out there..makes me so sick, and truly the only time I’ve ever wished to be wealthy so I could take care of them all. once again, you’ve written from a place I could never find….hats off to that!…..and makes me want to run out and buy a comdom outlet and stand on the street handing them out!!!! lol

    • Heya Shards. Trying not to get political with this story, it just came out. I imagined a very black place the other day, the type you go to sometimes when you have kids (oh my gosh, what if we had…), that kind of thing. I just imagined a character. Circumstances are so complicated; life is so temporal and complicated, and such bad things happen to good and bad people alike. Who is to blame? Who should take the blame? Who should bare the consequences? I’m way too puny to answer any of that, but I do imagine a character in my head, and this is him, and now he is gone.

      I’ll go in halvsies with you on the condom business… the business model for that is pretty slam dunk.

  3. This was shattering to read.
    Oh man, I am honored that you even took the time to come on my blog to read, and comment.

    Your talent for reaching and grabbing the writer by the throat is unmatched by any blogger I’ve yet read. Yes, this was horrific to read, but rather that than…pleasant.

    What lies ahead for me? This is your fiction; can’t wait to read some of your other blog posts.

    • Well, thank you. I have this queasy feeling about this post, not exactly representative of my writing I think. I try different genres and voices, try to experiment. Not sure where this came from. For the most part, I am blazingly funny and unbelievably charismatic, it’s a bit of a curse really.

      But honestly, thank you for the compliments, they are very touching and mean quite a bit. You’re welcome to peruse the other madness, of course, but I can’t much vouch for the quality of the typical fare in here. Perhaps we can get together someday and firebomb some luxury cars, I would like that, and it would make an excellent story.

  4. This was excellent; I can’t imagine that this would ever seriously be used to back a particular political view point…but what do I know…either way it’s a shame we won’t be bumping into this guy in some random bar.

    And of course, Arch Stanton was always more than just a dead guy buried next to a shit load of gold.

      • Agreed. I’m reading more. I’ve arrived at the My Blog Sucks post. My profanity won’t be too profane, i hope. Please take it as tongue in cheek. And yeah, I’m following.

        • My friend, give me what you got. The more profane the better. I’m not one for the polite crowd.

          I been following you for a while. But I must admit I’m confused by the whole gender thing. Honestly, I’m not what you might call tremendously bright…

      • Im sure you are bright, at least from what I’ve read. So, Stuphblog has 2 writers, Twindaddy and Revis, they are brothers…male.

        I’m a contributor, nothing more, and female. Due to shit, I’ve jaded myself. So much easier not to feel most things. I do love profanity and soap was a food group while growing up.

        So when Stuphblog comes through email or reader, it could be 2 writers or me. To determine who wrote it, just look at posted by. I hope that helps.

        • Well, I’m not sure about the bright part. You’d think I’d have figured out that there was more than one person posting here. I’m bad with details, but this one seems important. Appreciate the clarification – it does help.

  5. Thanks for forcing me to read this. Turns out it wasn’t as long as I thought. The gradual start deceived me, but the piece soon picked up pace.
    No, you did not appear political.

    Loved the concept.
    My best parts are the paragraph where he tries to justify the mother and declares his love for her in spite of herself, the place where he mentions all he could have been (and you included even the not-so-noble futures, like psychopaths… it wasn’t a list of just doctors and lawyers and goodies), and the closing where you deliver a good finish by saying he would still have been killed anyway by that same society were he to be born.

    Thanks again for persuading me to read this. Thanks.

      • Nah! Twas good you forced me. Worth it.

        Well, we probably can only drag the line for so long. Maybe we really can’t say who gets to live or not. Maybe the lines are really blurry.
        But, if this were a debate, you have made an appealing case for the unborn.
        Whilst some of us are aware of medically sanctioned abortions for the sake of, say, the safety of the mother, maybe more allowances will be made for many cases we consider improper today. It’s really a serious issue. Yet, there are lines somewhere drawing the boundary between the right and the wrong choices. Even if we hate to hear that such a line exists.

  6. Sometimes I forget the point of reading is to feel.

    Thanks for reminding me what it’s like to be out of my element and completely uncomfortable.

    That’s why I used to read, anyway. To feel, learn and listen.

    • Sometimes, I forget the point of writing is to feel as well. This one physically hurt to write, and I can’t seem to get through reading it again.

      If I can be a reminder of that, I’m happy. I need those reminders too, I find.

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  9. I don’t agree with a lot of your contentions, Trent, but that’s nothing new, is it? Powerful piece of writing though. By the way, I had to look up Durango, and to my amazement it’s a real car. It first surfaced as a vehicle name in Martin Amis’s ‘Money.’

  10. Glad you re-posted. (Hyphen?) Ferocious. You probably hate it because of all the politics behind it. But take away the politics and it’s all just people, like Soylent Green.

  11. Devastatingly sad all the way around. I completely agree with Rhonda’s comment. You’re always so prolific with these statements on things you write. They really get people thinking – and that’s a great thing to do.

  12. That was a kick in the nuts. I mean, that is a powerful piece. People should be made to read that. The thing is… do you mind if I have a thing on your blog?… I already am against this. I mean, in principal, I am for the right to choose… because I am a Berkeley liberal… and I am adopted, so it could have ended poorly for me… but I am against the actual act. I want women to have a choice, but I want them to make the right one? Is that conflicted enough for you?

  13. Trent. Why do you insist on bringing me to a wonderfully uncomfortable place and then repeatedly bashing me over and over again with your reality stick? That sounds so wrong. Which only makes it so right.
    Nice piece here.
    Just outstanding.

  14. I read the comments going back to when this was originally posted. Somebody said something about reading is supposed make you feel. And somebody else said something about feeling uncomfortable. And that’s what you have mastered. When you let loose, you excel at making the reader feel something they don’t want to feel, but that they need to feel. My favorite stories/novels are the ones that leave me on the edge — between screaming and crying. This piece is an excellent example of that. Well done.

  15. Alright, so you can consider this revenge for my post about the man across the street. You’ve filled with me discomfort and rage. This was a very unpleasant read, and a job well done. If you really pull this stuff off as quickly as you say you do, I’m kind of in awe.

  16. I wonder whether the more interesting route would have been for the angry Arch to be given up by a hopeful mother (off to university; newly in love; just got her big break; in a new city etc), instead of an archly irresponsible and helpless one. Yes, this is an interesting piece of writing, but what “unsettles” me is the implicit notion that abortion is the route of the feckless victim and not the visionary – within that frame lies mysogyny.

    Perhaps it would have been a more challenging piece to juxtapose an angry character against a mother who was torn between choices and responsibilities, and see where the chips landed when it wasn’t simply a case of helplessness and mutual destruction?

    It’s not just the bad girls who get abortions. And it’s not just victims who make bad choices. Yes, an interesting study in characterisation, but an easy route-taken which, I feel, short-changed the central anger and gave it nothing to bounce off.

    • I’m sure there would have been many more interesting routes, and challenging ones. But I wasn’t trying to be political about the avenue taken to get to this point, or the mother’s rationale – I just wanted to think along with the child, and I think that child’s conundrum is there regardless of the circumstances of his birth. Put another way, this is a story about the child, not the mother, and whether that’s challenging – or mysognistic – is irrelevant to this piece of fiction. It’s about the child, nothing more (at least to me – and I know fully that an author loses control of his/her writing once it passes beyond them).

      Appreciate the input. You’ve certainly given me something to think about.

  17. This was my morning to get all caught up on blog reading. La dee dah…I’m moseying through several blogs, many posts, and then …this. Oh boy.

    You have stopped me dead in my tracks, Trent Lewin. Your writing is brilliant. And disturbing. And beautiful.

  18. I am open minded but try to read positive so that I stay sane in a hard labor job. Thus was very difficult and not sure what to say, Trent. I realize you thought I was breezing through this morning but i did read all of these . I was in speed reading in kindergarten. I push like to let you know but have limited time to comment. I loved your comment on my post. Glad you saw the connections.

    • It’s okay but not commenting, but I have to say that those particular posts did not receive a view yesterday so I’m not sure how you read them… but WordPress is quirky that way. Speed reading in kindergarten? That is hard core.

      • Yes, since my Mom was a teacher and Dad a rocket scientist, I learned how to read by age 3 1/2 and Sandusky, Ohio Perkins Elementary is where I went to kindergarten. They had what you would call a “ticker tape” kind of machine where words went by quickly. Doesn’t mean I could memorize but I did learn to take notes and read many books. 🙂
        I will just read one post every once in awhile on your blog. You have convinced me.

  19. I enjoyed the discomfort this gave me. I’m not sure why some people took this as some political stance against abortion. It’s a fascinating point of view from your character. At its core, this topic makes me feel ill, especially because he was taken at a much older age than most aborted… babies. Excellent writing.

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