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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
DECEMBER 2019

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--- CHRISTMAS BEHIND BARS ---
25th December 2019

I just got back from indoor recreation where our whole block went and played bingo tonight. They do this a couple of times a year where they call three cell blocks at a time and play nine different bingo games. Walking in, you have to show them your ID then they give you a ticket and a bingo card, along with a box of Raisinettes. The guy in front of me was all giddy about getting "free" raisinettes and I was like, "Free? I had to rob seven banks to get these, pal." That shut him up. Sometimes you've gotta sticker shock them to bring them back to earth. On the way out as we're leaving, they hand us a bag of popcorn as we hand them back our bingo cards.

So we all go in and sit down at the tables in the indoor rec center. If you saw this place, as a taxpayer you'd probably be pissed. There's about 10 tables and five flat screens up on each side of the room (10 total) that play sports, news, (The Clinton News Network; I had them change it to Fox one day and about started a riot). There's a music room where you can check out instruments and play them; there's an art room for arts and crafts and there's a leather craft room with lockers in there, but you have to order 150.00 in leather to get in that club. Then there's the DVD room with about 15 '9 inch flat panel screens. Three days a week I'm allowed to go down there with my ear buds and choose a movie (the last one I chose was King Arthur: Legend of The Sword).

People play cards or board games at the tables and occasionally take breaks to beat and stab one another. It's prison, whaddya gonna do, right? But the indoor rec center is one of the two places in the institution where there's a printer located. So when I assign something to "Print" here in the cell block, I have to go either to the indoor rec center or the library to print it out. And like email, it's .15 a page to print. The Genovese crime family doesn't racketeer like the BOP does.

At the same tables, the bingo-gatekeepers gave away more bags of food goodies as prizes. If you behave like animals, I guess they're ok with treating you like one.

In what seems to be a decade-long streak, I was a loser tonight. But I did come within one number and yelled "BINGO!!!" just for the joy of watching the room erupt. You've gotta get your fun around here where you can. Now I'm back in the block getting ready to read my new Dennis LeHane book that I received at mail call tonight (thank you Rod Humphrey). I'm drinking a cup of vanilla cappuccino and knocking out this twenty. The way I have it figured, I should only have about three more Christmases back here. It's hard to imagine that, but I would be lying if I told you that I don't lay in my bunk in the dark after lockdown and think about it. Because I do.

I hope you're having a happy Holiday Season. God bless you, one and all.

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

--- SOLDIERS LIKE ME ---
17th December 2019

I was out chilling on the yard this afternoon with my transgender Native American friend, Chyna Doll (more on her later in this blog), soaking up the warm December Florida sunshine as I bumped some Tupac on my MP3 and thought about how diversely people express themselves. Tupac rapped, "Everywhere I see a soldier, a soldier.../...Everywhere I see a soldier like me." I thought about a conversation that I had with Tupac's father, Doc, as we walked the sandy yard at the United States Penitentiary at Victorville.

Doc (Mutulu Shakur, nicknamed Doc because he's an acupuncturist) told me that Tupac used to visit him every week. After one of these visits while Doc was at USP Lompoc back in 1994, the Warden there approached him and asked him if Tupac might consider coming into the prison and doing a Benefit Concert for the men doing time there. Tupac accepted the invitation, and so it came to pass that on a warm California Sunday afternoon, Tupac Shakur came into the prison and gave a four hour long concert out on the rec yard. It would be the last benefit concert that he gave. Less than 12 months later he was shot to death by a still unidentified gunman as he rode down a street in Las Vegas. Talented, wealthy, and already an icon and legend in a musical genre that he popularized on a global level, Tupac died in a self-fulfilled prophecy that his music perpetuated and often glorified-in the midst of gunfire and violence.

All of these thoughts fired off my synapses like a fresh clip of 9 mm's firing from the mouth of a Tec-9. Tupac spit the lyric, "Twenty cops...one for every year in jail.../...they tried to keep a nigga down but they failed" and I glanced up at the cop sitting in the open window of the gun tower above me, cradling a Bushmaster AR-15 as he looked down on Chyna Doll and I, looking for a chance to express himself; and I thought to myself, "How apropos." Then in a true moment of serendipity, the song ended and the song White Trash Beautiful by Everlast came thru my ear buds.

With the nod of my head, I signaled to Chyna Doll that it was time to get up and walk the track for a bit. As we walked, I thought about something that one of my favorite writers said one time. A "Soldier" of Black American literature that went from a shack in Stamps, Arkansas to being a Professor of Literature at Oxford University; Maya Angelou. She said, "The needs of a society determine its ethics." She said this in reference to being Black in America in the 1960's. She went on to say, "...and in the Black American ghetto, the Hero is the man who is offered only crumbs from his country's table but by his courage and ingenuity manages to take for himself a Lucullan feast."

I consider this quote through the kaleidoscope of my present subculture and penological prism, and the remix came out, "The needs of a society and of a person's survival determine its ethics; and in the subculture of American prison society, the Hero is the man who is banished to a tundra of emotional and economic poverty, and, given only the hatred, negativity, violence and regret of his society yet manages to carve for himself and his friends a utopia of laughter, love, and hope."

On the surface, Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou would seem to have only two things in common. They were both Black and they are both dead. However, they were also both literate soldiers in the struggle of their People in the war against racism. They also shared something else: The masterful talent of being able to passionately express their life experience and move others with their prose. One of them did this with an insight and intellectual acuity and beauty that made her prose seem to be magical at times. The other one with such a baseness and angst-filled prose that it almost became physically tangible at times.

As Chyna Doll and I rounded the oval track and I explained my point of view on these things, I stopped to buy her a piece of candy from a guy that was walking around selling suckers for a stamp. While we continued to walk and my MP3 shuffled through Graveyard by Halsey, and then to Monkey Man by The Rolling Stones, I noticed people that we passed stopping to lustily stare at Chyna Doll as she sucked on her lolly pop. This led me to consider Chyna Doll and her ethics and dichotomous personality characteristics, as well as her various forms of expression.

Chyna Doll is a 35 year old Apache from the Fort Apache rez in Arizona. She is doing 25 years and has been in prison since she's been a kid. She has long, shiny hair that looks like Black silk and is naturally hairless in the way that a lot of Native Americans are, and true to form, she is stoic like a Tobacco Store Wooden Indian. "She" is also prettier than a lot of the women I've dated. And despite the fact that she is transgender and identifies as a her, I'm not really sure that Chyna Doll is actually gay. I have a feeling that Chyna Doll's sexual identity is based more in economics than anything else. But it would be unwise to underestimate Chyna because of one other fact. Chyna Doll is a soldier in her own right; Chyna Doll is a stone-cold killer. She's doing time for slicing her neighbors throat from ear to ear back on the rez. She was 17 years old at the time she expressed herself in this manner.

Chyna Doll is what I refer to as "Ethically fluid." First and foremost, Chyna Doll is a junkie and because of this her ethics are determined by her drug habit. She spends her days primping and looking at herself in a handheld mirror like some new-age Native Narcissus, and spends the majority of her time smoking K-2, shooting Suboxone, and fucking and sucking, as she lives from one lust to the next. I told her one time that at least it took the white man several wars and thousand cases of whiskey to finally get her people to surrender their land; but all it took for her to surrender her ass was a strip of Suboxone. She actually smiled at that one.

As we left one part of the yard and passed through a fenced gate onto another, we passed beneath the gun tower. The cop who'd been watching us (and also watching Chyna work on the sucker) just couldn't help himself. He yelled down to me, "When's the wedding, Frye?" and he cackled at his own joke and seeming machismo. I stopped walking, and looked up and said, "That's a good one, Officer Bushmaster. But you know what's even funnier? That your tax dollars are paying for the Warrior Princess's new tits. Now THAT's funny." He screwed up his face at me then disappeared from view. I pictured him jacking a round into the chamber as he called me everything but a Catholic.

Princess Suckawhiteman finally spoke up, and asked me, "Are you crazy?" I replied, "I'm hanging out with you on the yard of a USP and buying you suckers just for entertainment. Ya think?"

The Notorious B.I.G. came on my MP3 and expressed himself by rapping You're Not Famous Till Someone Kills You and I took that as a sign to take my philosophizing, sucker-buying, dumb ass off the yard. After watching Chyna Doll's prison porno for the last half hour or so, I felt like I could use a shower.

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