A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich

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A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich

A Rebel Life: Murder by the rich by Peter Kalafatis, is a true story about growing up hardcore punk, in the streets of New York City, with violent gangs, drugged-up, aimlessly rebelling, and searching for meaning to life. You will be captivated by the visual scenes painted with the language of the working class, as you observe the author's crude emotions from his brother’s death and futile search for revenge of an enemy that no one perceives.

Here are the words of a man's psychotic break, written in a letter during the three days leading to his younger brother's funeral.

A Rebel Life is written as a novel, with straightforward language, wrapped with an existential anarchist undertone that has a declarative manifesto roar of the true cause to some of the trappings kids of the working class fall into–violence, drugs and gangs. The author is in a timeless battle against his natural enemy – the cause to his ignorance that wasted part of his life on the streets and kept him aimlessly fighting his own working class people – the source to all the pain in his Brooklyn neighborhood – the origin to the violence on the streets – and the reason why his brother eventually died of an overdose. This source of working class misery is the perpetual weed of history – The Rich.

Sourced from A Rebel Life

  • "I wanted the hard, disgusting, saddening, and empowering truth. The kind of truth that makes you seem like a lunatic to people. The truth that keeps you heavily dosed on some sort of narcotic so you don’t lose your sanity."

  • "I knew shit floated downstream and in this river, I stood there at the end as a 13-year-old confused and saddened. I was just waiting for that final fist full of a rich man’s regurgitated feces to be shoved into my face as well."

  • "The rich indirectly, elaborately, and consciously murdered my brother by creating and controlling a system that destroys true individualism and real individuals."
  • "Our stupidity is inherited mindlessly through each passing generation, reinforced through our neighborhoods, directed by our educational system, and exploited by the ones among us who love living in the master’s house."

"Wealthy people have always been a small minority of well-educated and equipped human beings. They aren’t truly racist or nationalistic unless it serves their purpose. They have conquered nature and exist in another world apart from our own. Their living standards and education are the best. By and large they do not experience raw life as we do. They carefully and logically choose through their environment as we react emotionally within our terrain. Through generations, they have fashioned this world for themselves. We built it for their enlightenment and we’ve become simple operators of their machines. Our minds are not our own, if true equality doesn’t exist. When the playing field is equal, and we all have the complete ability to become enlightened, then, and only then can we be held responsible for our actions."

  • "The last bits of emotion that kept me human were being squeezed from the undergrowth of my being."
  • "To think that my brother’s pain should have conformed to my understanding of pain makes me into the elitist pig that I hate."
  • "I was angry and had no direction - another American rebel without a cause in the making."
  • "The streets simply spilled out their ignorance into our schools. These urban monuments with gray painted walls, underneath the graffiti voice of the streets, became our housing units and our conditioning centers."
  • "Everyone was feeling the bite of the streets and no one could get ahead in this game unless you were some sheep that had no heart or mind."
  • "I came into this world mindless and I was kept that way by a system that needed me more ignorant than enlightened."
  • "The rich have us so fucked up that we even blame ourselves, when if we track the cause of our decisions we would eventually find them holding the smoking gun."
  • "My taste in music was off, my view of the world was off, my use of slang was off, and I was off. I stood out like a virgin in a whore house waiting to be fucked by the next pig that came through the door. Those kids at Columbine weren’t the first ones with those ideas because I played that scenario over in my head a million times; they were just pushed enough to actually do it."
  • "HERE IN THE HALLOW DEPTHS OF MY MIND, manifestations form to further my insanity down a path lined with the blood of rebels. Sadness paralyzes me into an awakened comatose state. The worst day in my life ended and I prayed to my delusion to rest my heart from this deep anger that grips it."

“Maybe next time you should put some thought in your dreams, so they can make a little sense. We’re not all chairs you know. Some of us can think and see what’s going on.”

“You people killed me in my own dream and now I can’t wake up. More wine!” God shouted at the chair.

The server ran over and poured the wine into God’s glass. She stood by the table quietly ready to receive more orders.

“You don’t have to listen to him,” I said to her. She tilted her head in my direction, but her eyes remained staring at the floor. “God is dead. It’s now up to us and what we make of our own existence. We’re only chairs if we allow this dead relic to convince us of it.”

  • "I was lost in this violent brick city among cut-throats and junkies and hopeless to get away."
  • "With each thump of the man’s skull hitting the concrete, I could feel the vibrations from where I stood, which was only a few feet away. I looked over at him and blood was releasing itself from his ears, his mouth, and his head. He is going to die, I thought, and so am I. If I defied my friends and attempted a rescue, I would have received a worse fate than this man for my act of rebellion."
  • "I was enslaved by my ignorance. I was mindless and full of emotions. It wasn’t love, but fear. Fear for my own safety consumed me. I was now becoming what they intended me to be. "
  • "I know that my kind probably had a hand in my brother’s actual death, but if I focused on his immediate killers, I would always cycle back to the same point. Bottom-line, the ultimate responsibility laid on the lap of the rich. They are the ones that horde wealth. Every problem of the world today and in history leads back to them. I’ve known this for many years, but today I must actually do something about it because their system has taken my brother’s life."

Without a shirt on, I sat down preparing my cereal. The homemade tattoo of a giant spade that I did on my stomach last night was red and itchy. After all the cereal ingredients were mixed together, I stabbed the spoon into the bowl. My back was hunched over the table, while I read the cereal box. Kate sat down next to me with her arms folded. She was quiet and just stared at the side of my face.

Did she really think this piece of shit 16-year-old, with deep psychological issues and a pea for a brain, could ever become a father? I failed everything throughout my entire school years. I tried every drug imaginable and I liked them. I had no possibility for a good future. Did she want to bring this kid up to see me strung out on dope, or watch me die in a gang fight, or visit me in prison? I guess she had as much limited sense as I did.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the baby myself,” she said waiting for me to break in and say something profound. I just stared at the box and at times, I even took another spoonful of cereal.

  • "OVER THE CREATURE THAT IS MAN stands a bridge to a new being. Behind man, his ape ancestor waves, waiting to come back to him and ahead of him is the meaning of his existence. It is at this moment in time that man can be the ultimate controller of his destiny. His choice will bring about utopia for humanity or send us all back to the trees. What does man do if he is not only pulled back by his ancestor, but also pushed by his enemy?"
  • "I tried to convince her that my thoughts are all calculated these days and my actions won’t produce anything stupid. Anyway, I don’t like that word because stupid is used by the rich to label their sheep."
  • "Maybe, I needed to lay dormant like the other giants and sow the seeds for the complete destruction of this vampire class. Or, maybe, I needed immediate gratification by finding the richest neighborhood with some pig in the biggest house and lay my gun right down his throat. I’d tell him my compassion was left at my brother’s burial site as the trigger snapped."
  • "I knew the streets were still in me because something so traumatic never leaves you. No amount of books or length of schooling can wash the streets away. But I can only repress my thoughts until they are forced to explode."

“I’ve got to get even,” I said through clenched teeth. My wife stood behind me rubbing my back. “They fucking killed him, made him commit suicide, Jeany. He didn’t want to die. I know it! I was there. I know what it is for that shit to control you. It wasn’t him, I’m telling you, it wasn’t him.” I shrugged my wife’s hand off my shoulder.

  • “Part of me wants to say fuck it and get even. I don’t know, kill something or destroy something. Just make it known that I think my brother got murdered. The other part is just thinking about it, logically. You know, just stay and work within the system to change minds. I’m afraid that part is going to think my brother’s death into an excuse for the rich.”
  • "Drunken days spilled into drunken nights as I roamed around lower Manhattan looking to find myself among the cutthroats and junkies that filled the neighborhood. I had ink pissed into my skin up and down my body to show that my loyalty was to the streets. I didn’t have two coins to save my life and the pebble in my head kept me running around in circles. "
  • "One of them catapulted towards me from the front. My eye caught a rusted screwdriver with a black handle as he embraced me around my waist. He slid the screwdriver into my back as easily as sticking a cooking thermometer into a side of beef. The adrenaline and alcohol made me numb to the real pain that this piece of metal made inside of me."
  • "With a kamikaze diving kick over my shoulder in an effort to help, Eric falls on a knife, stabbing into flesh on his right side about three inches deep, just missing his lung. He was a sturdy 19-year-old with beefy arms, but they couldn’t help him with a puncture in his side and with four raging dogs tearing at his skin. This wasn’t some scrap you have in high school, where you know someone in authority is eventually going to breakup your fist fight. This corner of Eighth Street and First was a roman arena, where slaves were fighting for their freedom. This shit was to the death and if I could only get this son-of-a-bitch’s throat in my hands, I’d snap it—right at the first sign of my emperor’s thumb moving downwards. Fighting to the death was what the rich wanted from us and we gave it cheerfully."
  • "Another shot of adrenaline and I ripped off my bloody shirt and stuffed it in my pocket. Tattoos and blood covered my body."
  • "“Am I going to die?” I asked in an adolescent way. I wanted so much for it all to end. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to do it over and choose the right way. I wanted to go to school. I wanted a direction and a greater purpose to live by. I wanted to know why things were the way they were. Most of all, I just wanted to wake up."
  • "THE NIGHT BLANKETED MY NEIGHBORHOOD as I waited for my wife to fall asleep. There were some heavy thoughts laying on me these past two days. The memories of my past kept spiking into my head to preserve some old-school reputation. The ferocious thirst for revenge had me foaming at the mouth. I was truly on a fence and either direction would change my life forever. One side was sleep and the other was oblivion."

My lips sifted the saliva from the front of my teeth in a sigh of disgust at what I was hearing. I poured more of the black liquid down my throat. My body separated the alcohol from the rest of the substance and sent it to my brain. The alcohol coated the gray pudding and further released control. The professionals turned to look at me.

“What?” I said to them with one hand on the glass and the other on the bar. My head turned toward them. They didn’t respond. They weren’t that type. Neither was I anymore, but I was drunk and not in control. They went back to their conversation; this time they were a little louder and more obnoxious. I went back to watching my beer.

  • "We glanced at each other’s clothes and this established our first impressions. They were rich pigs to me, and I assumed their attitude toward me was that I was a lost lowlife. But we were all born with the same blank slate, a computer waiting to be programmed. Our intelligence is a byproduct of our environment. Our genes don’t type our class. We all have the same potential to reach just as high, but for some reason most of us don’t. "
  • "Try working 80 hours a week digging a hole over and over again, while your boss runs you like a dog. Coming home at the end of a day piss tired, with just enough energy to crack a beer can open and you hope the answer to life is there. Your kids are failing in school and preparing for a life of crime. Your wife works half the hours and devotes the rest of her time reminding the kids that they are worthless. That’s hard work.”
  • "Fuck, that’s not a job for you, it’s a god-damn career. Try waking up day-after-day hating your job. Having no choice in the matter because you’re so fucking stupid that you spend the rest of your time choosing what movie to watch or amusement park to go to or neighbor to hate. These aren’t choices. They’re controls. You got choices. We got motherfuckers fixing it so we can’t even breathe, let alone educate ourselves correctly—to make good choices."
  • "A bed, an old couch and a crate with a phone on it were all they had to offer me. The tattoos stitched on my hands and neck made me the shame of my family. The empty cans of beer were mine. The wasted life I had become was my parents."
  • "The rubber of the tires drove through streets where violence was not a stranger. Graffiti was painted on apartment doors and windows. Grown men who sat around tables playing dominoes lined the streets, while kids drinking 40-ounce bottles of beer pillared the corners. My brother built his reputation here fist by fist, like an animal fighting for scraps. He didn’t choose this way of life like some rich kid chooses his career. We were born for this game, not to run it, but to work for it."
  • "We drove to Brooklyn without saying a word like two hit men that no one could touch. My loaded shotgun lay on my lap with extra ammunition by my feet. Sweat dripped from my fist as I gripped the handle of the gun."
  • "I had a million choices without the ability to choose correctly and that was the equivalent of no choices at all. I hated violence, but it clung to me like a fly on shit. And not only that, I embraced it when it came because it brought some sort of meaning to my hollow life."
  • "I was so entrenched up to my neck in the shit of the rich man’s ignorance that I was simply a cog in his machine. I never lost my mind because I was born mindless like so many of my kind. All I had was an installed piece of software in my head that looped in a virtual reality. It occupied the necessary space needed for independent thought."

“What’s up, bro?” He said and my arms opened up and engulfed my little brother. I felt complete and finally at peace. We were angled so I could see the man in the black suit staring at us from the treetop. I looked away.

I pulled away from my brother and I held his head in my hands in front of me. I could see the reflection of my face in his eyes. I saw anger and guilt and love.

“I got a gun,” I said to him in a low voice so he could only hear me. “I’m going to fucking kill them.”

“This is not the time—this is my dream,” he said.

“Your dream?” I asked puzzled.

“I’ll be right back,” Archie said to his family. “Come on Pete; let’s walk.”

  • "This work-shit-work existence was ridiculous, but when these words came out of us, we were simply labeled as lazy. It’s a rich man’s label, for a rich man’s livestock and the worst part was, it was being propagated by our own kind."
  • "At 21 years-old, my brother was shorter and thinner than I was. He kept his hair cropped short and you could see a line in the shape of a “U” on the left side of his head, where they put a steel plate in the place of his crushed skull. He loved to show it off as a badge of honor and a shield of protection."
  • "Life is Hardcore and dead to right on these blood filled streets that keep pouring into treacherous nights, where any moment your friend could turn on you at the first sign of weakness. What to do to prove you’re in it for life when your investment has brought you so deep into the shit, that there is no turning back? Death or prison was my only logical outcome. I’m going to fight my way out as I fought my way in, but this time, it won’t be my old man. It’ll be those mother fuckers who are keeping me stupid. But first, I needed to worry about this gang war brewing."

“He didn’t want to fucking die!” I said, barreling into the kitchen. “I’m hearing all this shit. He died of a heroin overdose. If any meaning is ever going to come from his life, it is going to be the truth. First, take responsibility and acknowledge what happened and then don’t repeat it. He died of a drug overdose and it wasn’t his fucking fault. We don’t have to hide from that, unless we really did it to him.”

“Enough,” my father said to me in Greek.

“What the hell is this shit? We even blame ourselves, for them, when they fucking kill us. What are we sheep that they can slaughter? All they have to do is just make it seem like we wanted it?” I said angrily.

  • "The black blotches that formed into letters and read, “hard-core,” on my fingers caught the eye of the woman sitting opposite me. Her lips were unnaturally big and so were her breasts. Her look of disgust was normal as her eyes went from my fingers to the tattoos on my neck. The rock on her finger and the gold around her neck made me respond in kind. I’m trying to look hard and you’re trying to look rich; were both fucking idiots, but the difference is that I know it."
  • "Our people are inherently frightened by meaningless violence and it is just another way for them to embrace their herd mind. We need to kill our silent oppressors, logically. Conform and move through their ranks. Be a shadow of your ideals, but DO NOT COMPROMISE THEM. Without them, you are a zombie."


Kalafatis, Peter. A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich, All & None Press, Jan. 2007. ISBN 0615135145

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