Belligerent and Stupid (Story by Risa Peris)

Sweet, stupid people like to take their information lying down. Like supplicants opening their arms to the strange heaven that hung over us (immobilized us) like a bad case of the flu. The rickety, rackety community center offered pliant, oozy yoga mats. I preferred to sit rigidly in my rigid chair. I was a belligerent, smart person with cocaine addiction. Actually, I didn’t discriminate much on drugs or alcohol. I had my uppers and downers. No arrests yet, but there was a close call in Central Park one night. But I was a white man in a Burberry coat, a Rolex, and Ferragamo shoes. The police paid little attention to me. They chased the dealer though. He was black.

Why was I in this class on breaking addictions? Oh yes, I was addicted. I started early. My boarding school was full of drugs.

“Antony, want a Valium?”

“Yes, please.” I handed over a tenner. The Valium soothed me. Made me brave enough to go outside.

I was raped, repeatedly, by my mother’s best friend starting at that less than sweet age of ten. He barely acknowledged me in mother’s presence.

“Be a good boy now and get your mother her favorite drink.” It was rum, Cointreau, tonic, lemon, and Sweet n’ Low.

“Oh dahhhling, tanks you soooo.” Mother sounded haughty while at the same time slurring words. “Youuuse make da bessst drinks. Yeeessss.”

“He’s a good boy, Sarah. Now, runoff Antony. Your mother and I are about to have a riveting conversation about Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. You would weep with boredom.”

When mother had passed out, he would come to my room. I won’t say more. I can’t say more.

The community center group leader tried to get me on the mat.

“No, thank you. I don’t like being prostrate amongst strangers.”

“You need to be committed to being drug-free. Right now you’re putting up resistance.”

I was and I had every intention of going to Scalia’s for dirty martinis after group.

Sweet, stupid people…well, they didn’t know my story. The crime perpetrated against me. But maybe I was belligerent and stupid. If only I could articulate the crime. The rape. If only I could be vulnerable.


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