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:
-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.***