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31st August 2017

In more than 80 countries around the world, Labor Day is synonymous, or linked with, International Workers Day, which usually occurs on May 1. In America, a machinist named Matthew Maguire first proposed our ownholiday in 1892 while he served as Secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. During this period, the country was experiencing labor unrest, and President Grover Cleveland chose to make it an official holiday in 1887. He chose to recognize it on the first Monday of September. The purpose of Labor Day is to nationally recognize the contributions that American workers have made, and continue to make, to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

Culturally, most school districts in the United States resume classes for the new school year sometime around the Labor Day weekend. This weekend has also come to be celebrated by most Americans as the end of Summer. Labor Day weekend also marks the beginning of the football season for college and the National Football League (NFL), and is the middle point between weeks 1 and 2 of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships that are held each year in Flushing Meadows, New York.

I was recently telling a friend of mine from Kentucky named Bluegrass Billie about some of the festivities that the prison has planned here for the Labor Day Weekend. Here at the asylum, we're expected to work, and we even have a prison industries factory that's called "Unicor" that produces clothing for American soldiers. But it's a little hard to celebrate labor that pays 12 cents an hour.

But haven taken that well-deserved swing, the institution does try to put on a decent celebration. The Food Service department serves a meal that consists of fried chicken, hamburgers and onion rings, and fresh fruit. I will be present for this meal and mooing up to the trough with the other convicted cows, because it's hard to get a good onion ring in prison. The gulag that I am presently confined in also has an in-house movie channel where they bring in current movies and show them three times a day on the TVs in our cell block. The movies for this weekend are: The Fate of the Furious, The Great Wall, and Wonder Woman. For the first time in 9 1/2 years I'll feel comfortable watching a movie with somebody sitting behind me.

The final offering in the holiday weekend's Festivities of Felonious Fun, are tournaments offered by the Recreation Department that take place in both the indoor recreation area, and also outside on the rec yard. Some of these include: Volleyball, Pinochle, Handball, Chess, Texas "One-Pitch" softball, bocce, and scrabble. I have thrown my hat into the ring, and plan to compete in the last two.

My partner for the bocce tournament is a nice guy from the hills of East Tennessee named Rhett (15 years for possession of Ephedrine and manufacturing meth). He favors Walter White from Breaking Bad, so this is what I call him - Walter White. Our task will be to eliminate a myriad of miscreants with the hope of capturing the much coveted prize: a certificate, and 5 packets or so of Gatorade. I feel unworthy of such a bounty, but in spite of this, I've still decided to compete.

The Scrabble competition will most likely prove to be more interesting. The last time that I played Scrabble was around Christmas while in transit in Oklahoma City. I played a young black guy named Slab (7 years for Conspiracy to Distribute Crack Cocaine), and I beat him like he stole something. The highlight of the game was when he put down the word "Maniguh." I looked at it for a minute, and finally told him, "Use it in a sentence." He pointed to a dark-skinned kid who had one of his hands down his pants as he looked up at the Jerry Springer Show on TV with a look of wonder on his face, and he said, "That's Donte. He's my nigguh." I said, "Get that shit up off the board."

I won't have Slab to chop up this weekend, and with my luck I'll have to play some savant who never made it out of the second grade, but who knows every two letter word in the Scrabble dictionary. The prize for this event is also a certificate and a few packets of Gatorade. How much diuretics can one Winner consume? I'm getting ready to find out.

There's another event being offered that my buddy Don Corleone (Life plus 5 for Racketeering) wanted me (20 years for untimely banking withdrawals) to enter with him. The game is called "Cornhole." This game consists of throwing beanbags (from about 25 feet) at a board that's been slightly elevated off the ground with a hole in the middle of it. The object is to get the beanbag in the hole, and each team has a board on their side of the Cornhole Court. It's like a non-violent version of Horseshoes.

When I refused to enter the competition, Don Corleone got mad. I told him, "There's a lot of certificates that I wouldn't mind getting this weekend, but a certificate for being the prison Cornhole Champ isn't one of them. How would I explain that to my friends?" Then just to make sure that he understood that my decision was final, I added, "Fuhgettaboutit."

So this is how I plan to spend my laborless Labor Day weekend starting tomorrow. I'll be eating burgers, hanging out in the sun with my friends, and watching football. And thanks to Matthew Maguire, President Grover Cleveland, Walter White, and a few crack dealers who can't spell, I will most likely be drinking Gatorade until next Labor Day. I feel unworthy.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog