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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
JANUARY 2020

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The Bank Robber's Blog: Jan 2020
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--- RETOOLING THE PICKLE ---
15th January 2020

I have only mentioned this to a couple of people, but a few months ago I changed cell blocks. I told this to my friend, the literary guru of Civil War era historical fiction, Alexius Rex (alexiusrex.weebly.com) and also to Miss America (my sister, Tracy, the guru of United States Postal Workers). I explained to them that my moving cell blocks is noteworthy because I entered a residential behavior modification/drug program called The Challenge Program. The only people who live in my cell block are participants of the program (See: Other psychos). The program is 18 months long and upon completion I will receive 40 acres and a mule. Just kidding. I will receive a snazzy certificate and the satisfaction of a job well done (See: Nothing of tangible value).

Coincidentally, I was called to move about two days or so after I penned the story ANOTHER MORNING IN THE HOTHOUSE for BANK ROBBER: STORIES FROM THE LIFE. This is the story where I attempted to share with my readers the sheer insanity of this place by telling them how my day began with someone rushing into my cell holding a syringe and asking me to inject their friend in the jugular vein (because he couldn't do it himself). It is also the tale where I introduced my readers to the uber-mensch and writer Clayton Lindemuth, the guru of Grit Lit, who conjures up and writes about characters such as a 400 lb. hooker named Shirley and an 83 year old drug lord named Lester (his books are available on Amazon and are worth picking up).

If you've read about three of my blogs, you have most likely been able to glean the chaotic and volatile nature of a maximum-security federal pen. It's like a Clown Convention where all the clowns are violent. At this custody level they don't really sweat the small stuff (due to the constant state of violence). In this USP realm "The rules” are often determined by what a person can get away with without the cops catching them or what a person can get away with using violence, force, intimidation, and/or manipulation. I attempted to explain this premise to my brother-in-law, Mickey (guru of HVAC systems), by explaining: At this custody level there is only really three rules that they expect us to follow. 1) Don't kill the guards or staff, 2) Don't kill each other (on their shift), and, 3) Don't try to go over the wall.

In my tenure as USP riffraff, I have found these to be the basic three rules and found that everything else is pretty much negotiable. I again considered this premise the other day and considered how after a decade in this environment how I've come to find a certain comfort and/or stability in this volatile, chaotic, world. An existence where I'm showing my proclivity for being an extreme people-pleaser by shooting drugs into somebody's jugular vein for them simply because they can't do it on their own. But wait! There's more.

I feel sure that when you people out there see a guy running at top speed with three guys with knives in their hands chasing him, that you think, "OMG! That man is in danger!!!" But when I get up in morning and walk out onto the tier and see this scenario, I just shake my head, and think to myself, There goes old Tyrone. He's cutting-up again.

It was my self-realization that I now somehow accept this as "Normal" that led me to determine that I needed some psychological, social, and environmental retooling.

In the Challenge Program block that I now live in, there are colorful murals with positive affirmations that adorn the walls. No one drinks or uses drugs. Which in itself is truly amazing for any cell block in a United States Penitentiary. Five days a week we are expected to be up, fully dressed in our khaki uniform, and have our bed made and our cell clean. We are not allowed to lay down in our bunk and the televisions are turned off till 4 pm Monday thru Friday.

To start the day after the doors pop at 6 am, fifty plastic chairs are set up in the middle of the block; twenty-five chairs facing twenty-five chairs, with a podium set up at the front. A wireless mic is given to each side of the room to pass around and give feedback with. At 7:50 am, also Monday thru Friday, we have a "Community Meeting” that is led by an inmate facilitator. The meeting follows a format. The first order of business is that Roll is called, and when you hear your name you are required to stand up, and say, "Good morning, Community." After this, different individuals do a brief accounting of the news, weather, and the sports. Next is Community Business, which includes an oral prediction of the menu in the chow hall that day. The next in the format is called Positive Praises, where Community members congratulate other Community members on making a right decision concerning a behavior that they might have been struggling with (See: I'm proud of you Billy for not stabbing anyone so far this week). The next part of the meeting is my least favorite. Interventions.

An intervention in this program is like an accountability pull-up where one Community member has observed another doing something wrong and written them up for it. They both go to the front of the room and stand face-to-face behind the podium while the person who wrote the intervention reads the behavioral True Bill to the one whose been indicted. He then goes on to give his opinion on how this wrong behavior effects the Community, then other various Community members stand up and share how they too have struggled with this behavior and what they do to try and overcome it; the person whose been written up responds back to them all to share what their insight has meant to him. These interventions are for something as benign as speaking to someone in another block through the window as we walk to chow (using Prison Sign Language (PSL) which I happen to know), to something as offensive as a person standing behind their door and masturbating on female staff (See: Being a fucken creep).

The meeting (finally) ends with something called an "Upbeat Ritual" that is designed to start the day treatment day on a fun note and to offset the tasering and public roasting that you've just done to someone you call your friend (See: Ratting him out). When the Upbeat Ritual is done, the Community breaks up and goes to their assigned Core or Process groups (See: Psychotherapy with real live psychos) that are led by a person's Drug Treatment Staff, or DTS as we call them.

If anyone out there reading this is under the impression that I am built in such a way that I find it acceptable for someone (See: Anyone) to rat me out for liberating milk from the chow hall in my sock (my last intervention), then you must've been reading someone else's blog these last several years. Calling "Ratting” therapy doesn't make it so. Or as my grandpa Linder Newman from Cowling, Illinois used to say, "Cutting the ears off a donkey don't make it a damn horse, boy." But I came here to reestablish a healthy daily routine that will carry over into my life in the free world when I am released in five years or so (I've been back here 11 yrs. so far). I also came here to be in a positive environment where I can work on my struggles with addiction and the warped behavior patterns I have devolved to as a result of it (See: Forgetting that the FDIC didn't actually owe me the money I liberated from the banks).

I'll tell you something though. The drugs are just a symptom of a much larger and core issue. And I may be older than Moses's sandals and will always be a felon, but that doesn't mean that I can't change and start giving back after having spent a lifetime of taking. Because I can. And I will.

I recently told my friend and former Spanish flame, Renee O. that becoming an addict and a criminal is akin to taking a cucumber and turning it into a pickle. Once it becomes a pickle, all of the wishing in the world won't turn it back into a cucumber. This doesn't mean that I can't be a nice, healthy pickle though. Which, somehow, has turned out to be the ultimate goal. Go figure.

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

--- NEW YEARS' RESOLUTIONS ---
1st January 2020

-CONVICT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2020-

1) Work on perfecting the art of smuggling food out of the chow hall.
2) Don't buy lap dances from the large-breasted transgender.
3) Don't carry a knife down the front of my pants.
4) Act surprised and horrified when I witness someone being violently butchered in front of my face.
5) Stay away from the gun tower's stun grenade.
6) Drink a little less moonshine than I did in 2019.
7) Be polite to the officers and pretend that they don't look at me as pond scum.
8) Don't join a gang.
9) Don't get a face or neck tattoo.
10) Start watching National Geographic documentaries on DVDs in the library.
11) Stop considering my custodial situation as optional.
12) Find a legitimate legal issue for which I have standing and sue the Warden behind it.
14) Buy my cellmate some Gas X pills
15) Make sure that I have plenty of Blue Plate mayonnaise to bring to the chow hall and to dip my French fries in on Cheeseburger Day every Wednesday.

-PERSONAL NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2020-

1) Show compassion and kindness to people that I might not think deserve it.
2) Be less selfish.
3) Drink 16 ounces of water right when I wake up in the morning.
4) Develop a routine for fasting once a week.
5) Develop and stick to a daily meditation routine and keep a journal that tracks my progress and growth.
6) Develop a daily writing schedule and stick to it.
7) Do eBooks for A CHICAGO STORY and ONE CRAZY DAY.
8) Finish THE LIFE OF RILEY and see it in publication as a five book novella series.
9) Publish the illustrated children's poem book that I had planned to do seven years ago.
10) Write both of my granddaughters once a week.
11) Say the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy once a day.
12) Call my sister every Sunday.
13) Forgive people that I normally wouldn't.
15) Start and finish the next book in the RILEY series.

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