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20th June 2020

The entire Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has been on a lockdown for COVID-19 since the tail end of March 2020 (and we still are as of the writing of this blog). This lockdown only provides for three hours out of our cell per week (one on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), during which time we must me masked.

Only one tier is let out at a time so that we can maintain proper social distancing. But all of this changed with the George Floyd killing and subsequent race riots. When these things happened, we went on a full lockdown where there was zero inmate movement in the institution. The email system was also suspended so that we couldn't even potentially organize with family or lesser felons. The way that this all shook-out for the average convict is that the staff now had to perform prison functions that inmates normally would; things like cooking our meals and washing our clothes.

The correctional officers here (C.O.'s) are part of a well-represented union. They have good insurance and probably start on salary at a smidgen north of $50,000 a year. But believe me when I tell you that, at the end of the day (and shift), they are really just one step above the inmates. They just get to go home for a few hours a day. Then they're "Back on the line." A harsh assessment? Yes, but no less true. I look at them as comparable to factory workers at the local Ford assembly plant. As such, there are certain things that they consider themselves as being above doing (other than being kind and compassionate). Apparently, one of these things is cooking our food, because for the last two weeks they've been slinging saltlick biscuits through the bean flap in my door (see No Hot Meals). My first thought was that there was a movement afoot to defund the Food Service Department here. There seems to be a lot of defunding going around these days.

I had this thought after looking at my lunch...it was peanut butter packs...again. As I sat with my Styrofoam tray perched across my lap and looked down at the peanut butter, two slices of stale bread, and a small apple that was most likely picked by an undocumented worker (see Illegal Immigrant), I had one thought: Being a criminal sure has turned out to be a poor career choice. Next time before choosing a career I need to consult a headhunter or career counselor, instead of the dope man. But, like a good federal sponge, I sucked it up. Then I ran out of toilet paper.

As the overpaid union factory worker (w/ a good Dental plan) blew by my cell, I yelled, "Hey! I need some toilet paper!" He was farther down the tier as I heard him say over his back, "Oh, I don't do that. You'll get your issue when it's time." I stood there with my stomach gurgling, and thought to myself, What a dick. I oughta call his union rep. So I looked around my cell for something to use as toilet paper. My first thought was to use the assistant U.S. Attorney's response to my last appeal (sorry, Mr. Bianchi). But I settled for an old Star Magazine. It worked, but it was humbling. I envisioned a picture of Ariana Grande imprinted on my butt cheek and her ponytail flipping up and down every time I got up off my bunk. Fed up with the Gitmoesque conditions of my confinement, I took to social media. I took to InstaSlam (the inside of my cell door).

I pounded on the thick steel door, then yelled, "These cocksuckers are treating us like dogs!!!" No sooner had I said this than the transgender down the tier named Peaches yelled, "Hey!" at my choice of personal pronoun (or is that a verb?), so I yelled, "No offense, Peaches." Then, like a good socially conscious convict, I cleaned it up and re-yelled, "These penile aficionados have to stop their canine-like treatment of us." That didn't get any social justice-based retorts, so I guess I did okay. I couldn't help but feel that something was lost in the translation though.

After this rant, I sat down and started thinking about all of this whole George Floyd/Black Lives Matter/Riots hubbub. All of this political theater. I'm a felon, not a pundit, so don't look for me to stick up for some rogue, asshole cop who commits murder. Wrong is wrong, no matter the uniform you wear or your profession. The bottom line is that, no matter a person's color, ALL lives matter. ALL lives are sacred. Even a person whose been to prison nine times like George Floyd had.

It is worth pointing out though that Mr. Floyd wasn't snatched out of a church or from a hospice as he did volunteer work. He was killed while being combative with the cops who were arresting him for committing a crime. He was also on meth and fentynal. Yet, there was the Reverend Al Sharpton delivering his eulogy (in two different states) oven his Golden casket that had been paid for by none other than Kanye West.

My question(s) is this: What about the 18 black people killed in one day in Chicago on May 31, 2020? Did THEIR Black Lives Matter? I noticed that The Reverend Al didn't show up to do any of their eulogies. Or what about the retired black police Captain David Dorn in St. Louis who was shot dead by rioters (or is that protestors?) as he tried to protect his friend's pawn shop. This guy worked in the police department for 40 years, largely serving and protecting the African American community. Does HIS Black Life Matter? Where's HIS Golden casket? Like I said, I'm a felon, not a pundit, but it is worth pointing out that it's a sad day in America when the robbers have to start sticking up for the cops. Just saying.

All of this came full-circle for me when this past Wednesday when it came and went without receiving my weekly cheeseburger and fries. As my family, friends and faithful readers know, Wednesday is Cheeseburger Day in the BOP. It's one of the main reasons that I decided to plead guilty and forego a trial (along with the fact that I was actually guilty). But what could I do about it? I was locked in a cell chewing on a defunded saltlick biscuit with a picture of Ariana Grande imprinted on my ass. So again, I took to social media. This time, I took to Faceblock (my vent).

I stood on my stainless steel toilet and started chanting, "No Cheeseburgers No Peace!!!" I was dog whistling my dawgs; gas-lighting my base; using my penitentiary privilege. Consplaining. All that. It wasn't long before the entire cell block was chanting, "No Cheeseburgers No Peace!!!" and mule-kicking the inside of their doors. The line supervisor (C.O.) looked nervous and put a call into the foreman (the on-duty Lieutenant), whereupon he quickly made his way down to the block.

He walked into the block and headed straight to my cell. He looked at me through my door, then shook his head, and said, "Are you proud of yourself, Frye?" I shrugged, and replied, "All I want is a cheeseburger and a roll of toilet paper, Lt. Then I'll call off the mob." I let that hang in the air for a minute, before adding, "Or you can go call the Plant Manager. It's your call." This guy was an old troubleshooter. He'd learned a long time ago the #1 prison supervisory rule: Give them what they want so they'll shut up. He turned to one of his minions, and barked, "Give him a goddamn roll of toilet paper!" then he headed back out of the block. He had other lines to supervise.

Time and pressure doesn't always produce a diamond. I'm living proof of this. But "No Cheeseburgers No Peace!!!" Believe it.

Jeffrey P. Frye 89319-071
USP Coleman, II
P.O. Box 1034
Coleman, FL 33521