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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
DECEMBER 2014

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--- THIS PLACE IS BUGGED ---
29th December 2014

Being that it's December and cold outside, it's been pretty challenging coming up with dinner for Shorty Morgan lately. I presently have a bounty out for "Live Flies." I pay one stamp per fly. This has created a whole gaggle of fly hunters. I saw a short Mexican man hopping around this morning and unsuccessfully chasing one.

Every single Sunday in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the noon meal they serve brunch. It usually sucks, but this morning they were serving biscuits and gravy, and they've been screwing up and actually making good biscuits lately so I thought I'd go up there and scarf down a few. As I was waiting in line outside of the chow hall I saw a black bug crawling on the concrete to the side of where I was standing. It was the size of a cockroach, and was a crawly bug...as opposed to a flying bug.

I usually carry around an empty pill bottle in my pocket to store captured bugs in until I get back to the house, but I'd forgotten to bring it with me this morning. So when I bent down to pick up the bug I didn't know what to do with it. I only knew that Shorty Morgan would love it and that he hadn't ate anything since I bumped into a slow-moving spider four days ago. I let the small, black, non-flying bug crawl around on my hand for a minute, then I figured, What the hell, and I reached up put it on the top of my head. I figured that it would crawl around my hair until I got back. My shrink is always telling me, "Think before you act, Jeffrey. Use your head to solve your problems. That's what it's there for." I'm not sure that this is what she meant, but it seemed like as good a solution to my problem as any.

Well, I went into the chow hall and got my tray and I sat down at a table across from an older white man. He wasn't short or fat, and he didn't have a beard. He had silver hair and watery, somewhat sad, sky-blue eyes that looked at me from behind gold-rimmed glasses. He stared at me for a minute before saying, " Excuse me, but there's a bug crawling around in your hair." I picked up my biscuit and took a bite off of of it, looked at him and said, "Thank you" and kept eating. After that, he put his head down and stared at his gravy like it was a Sudoku puzzle or something and never said another word to me. I came back to my house and leaned over the blanket on my bunk and ran my fingers through my hair and shook it out, but there was no bug. He was gone. He'd escaped. God bless him.

My cellie came in off the yard with a pocketful of small crickets that he'd found. There was a crowd gathered in my cell to watch, and I opened the lid on his house and dropped the crickets inside. Shorty Morgan promptly flew across his frogitat and caught one mid-air and gobbled it down without saying a word. Then he crawled underneath a tuft of grass and hid. He loves acting mysterious. The remaining crickets are now crawling around his house and chirping, like crickets do. For now, Shorty Morgan is sated and has crickets on deck.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- HAIL MARY ---
25th December 2014

Motherhood is a painful privilege. At least it was for one particular mother. She was a mere 14 years old at the time of her conception. A conception that would lead her to indescribable joy and eternal favor and reverence, yet one that would eventually pierce her very soul with sorrow. It was a conception that would change history. And the baby that she delivered would ultimately end up delivering her.

The young girl's name was Mary, and she was from a little town in Israel named Nazareth. By all accounts, Mary was a simple girl from a simple family, who at the age of 14, fell in love with a simple carpenter named Joseph. Joseph also fell in love with Mary, and he asked for her hand in marriage. She gladly accepted and they planned to find their own home and start a family once they were married. But fate had other plans for them.

History is replete with examples of God using ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. People who were receptive to God's will and who were willing to be obedient to Him. However, as Mary learned over time, agreeing to do God's will does not necessarily guarantee a person comfort or convenience. In fact, some times, being obedient guarantees the exact opposite. History is filled with examples of this too.

Angels are spiritual beings created by God to do His bidding here on earth. There are actually nine separate "Choirs" of angels that God created for specific tasks. Then there are seven supreme angels that are known as Archangels. When God decided to incarnate into human form, angels preceded His birth. One of these was the Archangel Gabriel who God dispatched to visit young Mary and tell her that through and by the Holy Spirit, she would become pregnant. Can you even imagine the feelings, doubts, and questions that something like that would provoke in a person? But Mary's only question to Gabriel was, "But how can this happen? I am a virgin." After Gabriel explained that the conception would be accomplished through supernatural ways that she didn't necessarily understand, her next action was one of obedience that was triggered by her absolute faith and trust in God. She simply replied, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything that you have said about me come true."

Try and picture a young girl in her situation going to her fiance and telling him that she was pregnant by God and that she knew this because an angel had told her so. Joseph loved Mary with all of his heart and knew her to be a good girl, but even he wasn't going for that. After she told him she was pregnant, he made plans to quietly break off the engagement and let her down easy. Who could blame him? What God did next was to send the angel Gabriel to Joseph. The Archangel cosigned Mary's story of an immaculate conception, and he told Joseph to love and cherish Mary, and to make her his wife. Gabriel told Joseph that Mary had been chosen to be the Blessed Mother of God. Then he instructed Joseph to name their baby Jesus. "Jesus" is a Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means " The Lord saves." Joseph obeyed God.

You may wonder how God could exist and remain in Heaven, while also coming down to earth at the same time as a human. I don't think there's a theologian on earth that could answer that question in a way that they could prove. It's one of the great mysteries of faith. The way that I picture it is like this. Picture a beautiful red rose. The most full, rich, blood-red rose that you've ever seen. Now pluck a petal off of the rose. The rose is God, and the petal is Jesus. Both are part of the same beautiful thing, but the petal has a finite life span.

Joseph and Mary may not have been wealthy, but one thing that they both possessed was Royal blood. They were both descendants of King David, the first king of Judah; a king that God loved so much that God described him as, "A man after my own heart." King David is the same David of David & Goliath fame. The David that went from being a shepherd boy to being a king. The same David that wrote most of the psalms in the Bible, and who with his wife Bathsheba, fathered the eventual King Solomon who was responsible for building the great temple in Jerusalem.

David is another example of God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. But he's also a great example of God's ability to forgive. After David became king, he turned into an adulterer and a murderer. He basically stole Bathsheba, and then he had her husband killed. He eventually repented, and when he did, God forgave him and then went on to bless him. God considered David so special that when He decided to come to earth in human form, He made Himself a direct descendant of David. How does David factor into things? At the time of Mary's pregnancy, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus had decreed that a census be taken throughout the Roman empire. People were required to return to their ancestral home. Joseph's ancestral home was Bethlehem. It was also the ancestral home of David.

Bethlehem is a small town that's south of Jerusalem. It sits on a high ridge about 2100 feet above sea level. Bethlehem wasn't only the ancestral home of Joseph, and the place that they travelled to for the census, it was also the prophesized birthplace of the messiah by prophets Old Testament times. On the night of Jesus's birth, Joseph and Mary were unable to find lodging in the city of Bethlehem. So they sought refuge for the night in a manger. While mangers have been portrayed throughout the years as open-air barn-like structures, this depiction is inaccurate. Mangers back in that time were really little more than a cave.

On the evening of the birth of Christ, Joseph created a bed of straw for Mary to lay down on. He did his best to keep his bride comfortable. There were animals in the manger, and the only light in the manger came from torches that Joseph had lit and stuck into holders in the wall. Judging against modern comforts that are presently available to expectant mothers, you might think that Mary was uncomfortable. But it's hard to miss something that you've never had. I believe that on that fated night, Mary was actually happy and filled with joy. She had warmth and shelter; she had the man that she loved by her side holding her hand; and she had God's favor. She had everything. While nothing is really known about her mindset that night, there are other things about that night that are definitely known. They were written down and recorded for history and are still talked about more than 2000 years later.

In the fields outside of the manger were flocks of sheep that were tended to by shepherd boys. As Immanuel came into the world, angels appeared to the shepherds. When the shepherd boys saw them, they were terrified. The angels told them not to be afraid, and then they told them that on that night, the Savior of the world was born. Then the skies opened up and all of Heaven's angels began to sing. After this passed, the shepherd boys went into Bethlehem to find the manger and they worshipped the newly born Jesus.

History recorded that three wise men visited Jesus after his birth. But the facts show that nobody really knows when they came, or even exactly how many wise men there were. By most accounts though, they most likely came when Jesus was about a year old. Jewish tradition says that the wise men men were of high position, and most likely came from a place called Parthia, which was located near the site of ancient Babylon. Unfortunately, the wise men made what turned out to be a not so wise decision when they went to a man by the name of King Herod to inquire as to where they could find the newly born messiah. Herod The Great, as he was known, was an evil king who was known for rebuilding the temple of Solomon that had been torn down. But King Herod was also known to be cruel and a destroyer of people - including his own family.

At the time of Jesus's birth, the land of Israel was divided into four political districts, and several lesser territories. Judea (also known as Judah) was in the South, Samaria in the middle, Galilee to the North, and Idumea to the Southwest. King Herod ruled all of these districts at the time. He attempted to buy the loyalty of the Jews because he was not a legitimate heir to the throne which he inhabited. Only descendants of King David who were in his bloodline were considered to be legitimate heirs. This did not include Herod, because he was not a descendant of David.

While the Jews feared Herod because he was paranoid, ruthless, and a psychopath, they didn't respect him, and he knew this. So when the wise men told him of the birth of the prophesized messiah, he did his best to seek out Jesus and have him killed. He issued an edict in the town of Bethlehem to have killed, all boys that were two years old and younger. Hundreds of innocent children were slaughtered as a result of this edict. Mercifully, Jesus was not one of them. Once again, an angel came to Joseph (in his sleep) and told him to take Mary and Jesus and flee. And, once again, Joseph obeyed God.

Mary went on to give birth to other children, boys and girls, through normal means of conception. She most certainly enjoyed decades as a mother and wife. But just as a man named Simeon had prophesized to her in the temple when Jesus was eight days old and he recognized Jesus to be the messiah, "A sword eventually pierced Mary's soul." This happened when she had to bear witness to her baby being tortured and eventually crucified by the very people He came into the world to save. Because even though he was a man by then, Jesus was still Mary's baby.

As Jesus hung nailed to a cross, Mary stood at the foot of that cross with Jesus's friend Mary of Magdala, and the only one of Jesus's disciples who hadn't run and hid-John of Patmos. She was the only person who witnessed the birth, and also the death of Jesus. For Mary, motherhood was a painful privilege indeed.

I think that I'll end this epic Christmas blog with the words that Mary's cousin Elizabeth said to her when Mary went to visit and tell her of the miraculous and celestial secret of her pregnancy. Elizabeth herself was six months pregnant at the time, and when Mary approached her, the child in Elizabeth's womb jumped and she involuntarily said something out loud. The words that she uttered are the same words that begin the Catholic prayer known as the Hail Mary. They perfectly describe one little unknown teenage girl whose faith, obedience, and love changed the course of history...and put the Christ in Christmas. These are the words: "Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

Merry Christmas.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- OUT ON THE LEDGE ---
10th December 2014

Violence. I've blogged about it before. It's a part of life, and it's especially a part my present world. Prison is where civilized societies corral their individuals who can't contain or properly channel their violent impulses. However, violence in civilized societies also carries a certain amount of hypocrisy. If you put on a uniform for your government and go shoot, butcher, or maim an enemy on the order of your commanding officer, you're considered a patriot. But bag one for yourself, and you're called a criminal. The difference in these two situations turns on the rule of law, and also, it turns on self-control.

One thing that I learned early on in this world is that human beings have a propensity for violence. It's part of our makeup. My best friend and next-door neighbor Ritchie Petrus taught me this when I was six years old. We were beefing over a cap gun and he hit me over the head with a dandelion digger and split my wig. What was my response to this violent action (besides getting my head stitched up)? I responded like any six year old American boy from Chicago would. I beat Ritchie's ass. This was the first time in my life that I remember being violent or getting stitched up. I had a six year lead-in with no stitches, and I've pretty much been getting stitched up for one reason or another ever since.

Throughout my life I've had sporadic episodes of violence, most of which were self-directed. I have two overdoses, two heart attacks, and I have scars all over my body that attest to this. Also, when you're a convicted Bank Robber whose done time and continues to do time in the prisons that I have, violence is just a way of life. It's a tool and a problem solver. I may not be a thug most days, but I do live a thug life. Every single day. The last time that I had to deal with any type of violence was two weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was self-inflicted.

If "Rational thought" were a building, I live my life on the ledge. The word "Normal" denotes a mean average. Hence, normal people may think of robbing a bank when they get into financial straits, but they possess the requisite sanity and serotonin not to act on this thought. Sanity and serotonin are two things of which I am in short supply these days.

For all of you out there not in the psychological know, serotonin is a chemical in your brain that's responsible for keeping you on an even keel. It also governs your impulse control and is what keeps the baby from not touching the hot stove after they learn that it will burn them. If you took my brain and squeezed it like a sponge, you probably wouldn't get even one drop of serotonin. Subsequently, I've spent my life with burnt and blistered hands.

Because of my chemical reality, I sometimes don't think like normal people do. My core values and the foundation of my belief system that was engrained into me from my parents is rock solid and in tact, but values and beliefs are not the same as random and impulsive thoughts. These are the connected dots that define me as crazy and the average person as normal.

This chemical imbalance long ago created an inner wail within me that I sought to mute through hard narcotics such as cocaine and heroin. Using the drugs ultimately led to criminal behavior, and to various cells throughout the United States, as well as a couple of different foreign countries. These incarcerations have also led to a plethora of people being injected into my life who sought to justify inflated, and sometimes undeserved salaries by diagnosing, and then placing a plethora of simple and complex labels on me.

But all of the King's horses and all of the King's men, couldn't keep Jeffrey from going back to the bank again. And again and again.

Put a monkey in a cage, and then come back in 20 years, and you know what you're gonna find? Me. Smiling, with a gleam in my eye and with scars all over my wrist.

Two weeks ago I decided to close my eyes, outstretch my arms, and take a swan dive off the ledge. I'd been up for three days laying wide awake in the darkness of a cold concrete box praying for some sleep and serotonin, and laying in the dark feeling the searing heat of all the bridges I'd ever burned, and seeing (in detail) the faces of all of the people I left stranded on those bridges at the moment I struck the match and turned around and walked away. When I get like that I can't see the proverbial glass as being half empty of half full; all I see is shattered glass. When I get like that I just want a syringe full of heroin, but being as I've long-ago removed that as an option, I just have to live through it.

Or not.

So I sought out the one thing I thought might give me some relief and mute the wail. A straight razor. Once again, I gave into the violence God made in me, and I closed my eyes and started slicing. Ripping; tearing at the beautiful tapestry called "Life" that meshes the body and spirit together. I was ready to get on down the road...wherever that might be. I didn't care where...I was just tired of being here.

My next coherent thoughts were shame and embarrassment as I stood naked underneath a padded Blue smock in the suicide cell of a prison hospital. In case you're wondering, it was just like they portray them to be in the movies. Nothing nice. The cell was about 15 x 15 with cinderblocks that have been painted light Blue. A thick screen has been welded over the bars on the window, and a flat slab of steel sat in the center of the room on four steel legs. This was the bunk that had a nasty, thin, Blue mat on top of it. There was a vent directly above it that blew freezing cold air into the cell. I don't ever remember being so cold. There is no sink or bathroom in the cell and the food comes in through a flap in the cell door that's locked from the outside. The eating utensil is a piece of cardboard.

After being in the cell for several hours, I knocked on the glass of the cell door, and I told the cop that I had to go to the bathroom. He was an asshole and rapped back with a set of handcuffs, and told me, "Turn around and cuff up." My wrist was Swiss cheese and I wasn't about to have some handcuffs squeezed down on it. Also, I didn't like his attitude. So I told him, "Fuck you and your handcuffs. I'll piss in the window." It wasn't a bad plan as far as "Suicide Cell Urination Plans" go, but all of the urine ran out of the window and puddled in the middle of the floor where it remained for the entire five days that I was in there. I sure showed him.

I may be crazy as a pisshouse rat, and I may be prone to an occasional swan dive, but I'm still built Ford Tough. Five days naked in a cold concrete cell is uncomfortable, but it's still doable. I mean, really; it's only five days. But the most humbling (and aggravating) part of this entire psychotic sabbatical were the Suicide Companions. I'd rather get another dye pack than have to deal with these voyeuristic freaks again. The top 1/3 of the door to the Suicide Cell is comprised of thick, bullet-proof glass, and for the entire time that I was in that cell somebody sat in a tall chair and watched me like I was a bug. No pun intended. They had an official "Suicide Watch" log that was paperback with a Yellow cardboard cover that with my name and prisoner number on the front. The suicide companions wrote an entry into this log every 15 minutes of their observations, and of the conversations they had with me. I wonder if I could get my hands on this log, if Murder Slim Press would publish it? We could start a new genre and call it "Self-Hurt" instead of self-help. I'll have to check into that.

Simple things take on new meaning when they're taken from you. Things like clothes or a plastic fork. In addition to learning that pissing in one's window is not in one's self interest, I also learned something else in that cell. I learned that I have some true friends here. While I was pacing a cell in a padded suit looking like Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR, my boys were out on the yard sticking up for me to the haters. They sent messages back to tell me to stay strong, and when I came out of the crypt with five days of whiskers and looking like a wild man, they were on the sidewalk out in front of the hospital waiting on me. They called me everything from a fruitcake to an asshole, but they were there. You can't ask for more than that from a friend. Out there or back here.

Violence. Everybody's got it inside of them. You; me; them; Everybody. It's all about how you deal with it, and to keep it real, sometimes it's about dealing with it by choosing the lesser of evils. Life is hard, no matter where you are. My life mostly consists of worrying about whether I can catch a fly for my tree frog Shorty Morgan, or whether or not they're having French fries for Cheeseburger Day. You guys have relationships and jobs and bills to worry about, and worrying about how you're going to pay for adequate Christmas presents.

But no matter who you are, or whether you're living in England, Denmark, Scotland, Australia, or the United States when you read this blog; at the end of the day, we all live inside of our own heads. And on some nights, we all live in the ashes and ruins of our previous decisions. My life just is what it is. I'm not whining about it, I'm just sharing it with you because this is what I do. Sometimes, I wish that I lived in the building and not out on the ledge, but I don't waste a lot of time on that type of thinking because that just wasn't the hand that I was dealt. I think that my buddy Don Corleone summed it up best when he told me, "You're a fucking fruitcake."

Oh well, I guess we all gotta be something.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2