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1st April 2019

Every Friday in this gulag, they have a weekly inspection of the cell blocks. There's not too many ways to gussie-up concrete and steel, but the Powers That Are still feel the need to justify their exorbitant government salaries by walking from block to block, and then from cell to cell, to offer their opinions on how things are looking. I could've sent the answer to that question via email: Things are looking bleak. Stark might also be another accurate description. It's a federal pen though; it's not supposed to look like a suite at Trump Tower. But every Friday before lunch, the block officers come around and tell us to take down our clotheslines and anything we have taped to the wall. Then when the inspectors show up, they yell for us to open our cell doors and stand outside next to them.

Today's coalition of correctional conscripts included none other than the main Warden himself. Warden Joyless. He had about $450,000 worth of salaried minions hovering around him as they strutted into the block, and they immediately fanned-out and began going door-to-door as they tried to outshine each other; all at the expense of us. The Food Service Administrator had the point, and he stuck his head in the door of my cell. When The Boss was in earshot, and with some bass in his voice, he asked me, "Inmate, why is all that water in your toilet?" I shrugged, and said, "I've been meaning to call maintenance about it. It's so...wet." Satisfied, he winked at me and moved on. Next came Warden Joyless. I was ready for him.

He stopped in the doorway of my cell, then looked me up and down, and asked, "What are you doing today?" To which I replied, "20 years, sir." Then, having the perfect opportunity, I asked, "Did you happen to see the local news this morning sir, where a Warden of a prison here in Florida was arrested for trying to blow-up a former inmate's car?" He said, "No, I hadn't heard about that." I replied, "Yeah, they say he burned his lips on the tailpipe." The Warden and I locked eyes, and I honestly feel like we had "A moment." His cabal of minions all held their collective breath, and one made a face something like this :-O as they waited to see how things would play-out. There was a Black woman with them, and I swore that I heard her say under her breath, "NO he did NOT." But she must not have gotten the memo. Because, if she had, she would've known that, 1) I am Jeffrey Frye, and, 2) YES I DID. And have priors for doing so before.

After almost a full 30 seconds (while I'm sure the Warden pondered the bed-space availability in the SHU), he finally busted out laughing. So I did too. It was one big laughfest. Just me & Warden Joyless. Two guys just sharing a laugh. Then his whole crew broke out in laughter, and the Food Service dude loudly said, "That's a good one! I'll have to remember it!" When he said this, the Warden stopped smiling, and cut his eye towards him as if to say, "You better remember who pays you instead." The Food Dude all of a sudden found the tops of his shoes to be very interesting looking. With The Moment having passed, Warden Joyless told me my cell looked squared away, then he me wished a productive 20 years and moseyed on down the tier taking the Insane Clown Posse with him, with The Food Service Administrator bringing up the rear.

Someday I'll learn. But, obviously, it won't be today. And, really, Warden Joyless doesn't expect (or want) much out of me anyways, so I'm really just living up to his lowered expectations, right? Just doing my part.

I seem to be good at this.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog