Hunt Your Dreams To The Ends Of The Earth: Life Advice From Anton Chigurh

Hallie Bateman & Nick Bateman

illustration by Jack Sjogren

illustration by Jack Sjogren

Hello,

My name is Anton Chigurh, but that is not important. If you are still alive after our first meeting, you will recognize me for the remorseless—yet highly effective—methodology used in my many executions-for-hire. However, I wasn’t always the polished, seasoned professional hitman that I am today. I went from going home miserable after the 9-5 grind to spending my days modifying captive bolt pistols, escaping from handcuffs and going home happy, gosh darnit! Now I set my own hours! I truly believe that when you put your mind to something and dedicate your whole self to it, anything is possible.

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph. ‐ Unknown

Being able to do what you love is great, but you will never be great at it without putting in serious work. There have been a million times when I have felt under qualified and overwhelmed, but I stuck to my guns (usually a TEC‐9 and a Remington 11‐87 with a suppressor) and got the job done. Some might read this as sacrifice. But if you consider it sacrifice to get stabbed in the shoulder while attempting to strangle a man then I don’t know what sacrifice is. I have never left a job feeling like I hadn’t gotten more than I put in.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

If you get a good shot on someone, take it. And speaking metaphorically, if you see an opportunity to pursue your dreams, take it. I thought about quitting my accounting job for years before I finally took the plunge. I was terrified of losing the money, security, and comfort of an office job. But the only thing I lost was weight. Seriously, I had no idea how out out of shape I was until I had to track down my first hit. He ran for 3 miles in the desert before I could tackle him and blow his brains out. Now I’m in the best shape of my life!

You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure. ‐ Zig Ziglar

The first week after I quit my office job to become a hired killer, I tucked a pistol in my creased khakis, and looked in the mirror. I looked like someone you would hire to do your taxes, not someone you’d hire to shoot up a gang hideout. I needed to dress for the job I wanted. I cruised some fashion blogs, enlisted some help from my female friends, and in a few weeks, I had transformed into the 1970’s page‐boy frankenstein you see before you today.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. ‐ Sydney Harris

When you’re struggling to solve a problem in your work, just take a 15 minute walk, and you’ll often find the solution staring you in the face. For example, one time I became obsessed with tracking a man I’d been hired to kill. I just couldn’t find him anywhere! Finally I got so frustrated I just took a walk—and in a few blocks, who do you think I ran into? My guy. I was overwhelmed with the serendipity of the situation as I shot him right in the face. Call me superstitious, but now I take a walk every time I get hung up on an assignment.

There are two sides to every coin. ‐ Unknown

I get a lot of questions about my signature coin flip. It all started when I killed a gambler. With a spark of inspiration, I told him to roll the dice for it. It made the whole experience so interesting for both of us. I knew I was onto something, but the schtick needed to be refined. Dice offered too many options. Cat’s cradle was impossible while holding a gun. And have you ever tried to kill someone after playing a game of Candyland? Too much of a bond develops. Finally, after months of trial and error, I discovered the beautiful simplicity of the coin flip I’m known for today.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. –Albert Einstein

Being a contract killer doesn’t just take a total lack of conscience, you have to be good with numbers, too. Boy did my accounting experience come in handy when that first tax season came around! I didn’t just make a million dollars out of thin air, and I couldn’t just say I killed eight people for it. I had to get creative. I remembered my side hobby of melting bullets into bracelets, so I opened an Etsy store for my handmade jewelry (www.etsy.com/armsbracelets) and registered myself as an LLC. Problem solved. The funny part is, I actually have sold some jewelry! Really popular with army wives.

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. ‐ Steve Jobs

Mistake after mistake, that’s the only way you learn! I always tell the story of one of my first gigs. I was at my family’s house for Thanksgiving when I got the call to kill a dirty cop the next town over. I made an excuse to my relatives and slipped out the door. Thirty minutes later I was standing in his doorway with my aunt’s oxygen tank instead of my trusty captive bolt pistol.There was no time to go back, so I improvised: I just beat him to death with the tank. It was an embarrassing setback, and my aunt ended up going to the hospital due to the mix up, but I knew one thing for sure: I’d never make that mistake again.

Thanks for listening today. So many great people’s words have changed my life, and perhaps now mine will change yours:

Pursue your passions like you do your victims: relentlessly. ‐ Anton Chigurh


Hallie Bateman and Nick Bateman are a sibling writing team based in California.