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MARCH 2014

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26th March 2014

I'm feeling philosophical and reflective today; I'm feeling sad and tired. All around me I see broken lives, broken dreams and promises, and when I look inside myself I see a broken heart that I just can't seem to mend. Last night in the dark I kneeled on the cold concrete of my cell and I leaned into my folded hands and tears streamed down my cheeks as I prayed for the ghosts from my life; the ghosts that won't seem to stop haunting the halls of my memory. I poured out my heart and cried to a God that doesn't hear me. A God that I still have faith in, but that I can't seem to feel. I am strong and defined as an Alpha Male, and I do my best to hope that my prayers will serve to allow the ghosts to leave me alone, but it just doesn't seem meant to be. I can't seem to find an absolution. So I got up off my knees and picked up this pen and went to the only place that I seem to be able to find some solace.

Most disabilities are of a physical nature and are easily identified, but the ones of the emotional and/or psychiatric variety are sometimes not as easy to spot. I'm viewing the chinks in my armor as cracks these days and it seems like every time that I patch one up, I spot another one. This pen is like a finger in my emotional dyke and at times like this I just want to yank it out and let the water rush in. Sometimes I crave the water.

I'm not sure that all of the words in all of the languages of the world could be fashioned in a way to heal me; to patch the cracks. Writing, just like faith, seems to be just another lie that I tell myself and use to justify that I'm not really the piece of shit that 99% of the world thinks that I am. I'm not sure that all of the writing in the world will ever change the fact that I gave the world and the ghosts ample ammunition to form this opinion.

My altruistic goal in becoming a writer was to take whatever that was left inside of me that was good, and use it to entertain the world. Although I never mentioned it, I also harbored a secret desire that I could use my writing to heal myself. Some of my initial goal has been realized in that I now have three books in two different genres that are read by people all over the world. Books that inform and entertain, while making people laugh and maybe even pensive sometimes. And then there's the poetry...

So why am I still crying on my knees in the dark?

Maybe the larger question should be, "Why am I laying myself raw for you and admitting all of these things and all of my faults at the risk of diminishing the appearance of my masculinity?" This confession doesn't change my Alpha status, and I have no plausible answers for these rhetorical questions, but I do know that part of the reason I tell you all these things is because of something that is rooted in my core beliefs.

I believe that in spite of the fact that all of my desires and money and hopes ultimately couldn't overcome my self-destructive pathos, and I became a criminal, and despite the fact that because of this pathos I have hurt and disappointed the very ones in my life that I loved the most, I believe that you and I can not be that different. Yes, I'm a criminal, but that's just one of my labels. Some of my other labels are Father, Brother, Son...and Friend. I believe you can feel me.

I believe that whoever you are, no matter what age you are, and no matter what part of the world you may be in when you read this, you know what it feels like to be alone in the dark with your cheeks wet from tears because your heart is hurting. Although you may never have committed a crime, you know what it feels like to be in this particular prison. On some level, you know what it feels like to be me.

The government has ensured that I have plenty of time to be philosophical, and to be reflective and sad, but unfortunately there's nothing left for me to say on this subject.

I'm out of words. I'm out of ink.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

19th March 2014

There's an owl that sits on top of the building that I live in. The owl is about two feet tall with Gray feathers and a White chest and he has pointy ears. Running down the entire length of his back is bird shit. Like 99% of everybody else in this joint, the owl is fake. He was purchased by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in an effort to keep pigeons from congregating on the roof and defecating down the side of the building. But some pigeon decided to let the BOP know just how scared of this owl he really is. Apparently somebody forgot that these are High Security pigeons living in a USP.

I laid in my bunk last night and thought about the owl. I feel for him. He's just an fake old prison owl that was probably purchased for some ungodly amount of money off of federalowls.com, but he was just minding his own business and not bothering anybody when somebody decided that they wanted to shit all over him. I can relate to this.

All of the great religious tomes from the Bible and the Torah, to the Koran and the Tao espouse the belief that kindness is a virtue and that there is a karmic benefit to being a nice guy. Tell that to the owl. Then take a look at his backside and see where it got him.

How many times has somebody taken your kindness for weakness and shit all over you? It's happened to me more times that I can count. And every time that it happens, I shut down a little more and become a little more anti-social, and I wonder about my judgment and wonder how I could've perceived that someone who turned out to be rotten, was originally a good guy. Getting burned like this not only makes me feel dumb as an onion, but it also makes me cynical.

I live in prison though, and prison is filled with some of the most reprobate minds the world has to offer, and with people who are devoid of any type of decency. I understand that I deserve to be in prison, and I have no problem connecting the dots on how I got here, but at least I can trace the impetus of my previous moral deficiency to a medical issue: Addiction. When I treat the addiction (see 'Don't Get High') , the morally deficient behavior goes away and I revert back to my normal self. My point is that I can trace my ventures into being a scumbag to a reason. "Reprobate" is not my normal state of mind (although you'd never convince the prosecutor of this). I blogged about this very thing in a blog titled UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES that was about my son and that's available on the Free Frye Fund as a "Pay For" post. Oh, and I'd like to thank the people out there who have purchased blogs via this fund (all three of you), and I'd like to give a shout out to Jose Pep who sent $20.00 to the fund for no other reason than to be kind. The world needs more air conditioner repairmen like you, Jose.

In the aforementioned blog I used the example of getting somebody pregnant after a night of drinking and committing behavior while under the influence that you normally wouldn't commit in a sober state of mind. When you sober up, you're left with having to deal with that behavior for the rest of your life. That is a good analogy to my situation and the way that I feel. But not everybody who commits crimes and whose a lying slimeball can trace that behavior to being high or even to some type of mental illness. Some people do things just because they can and because their primary concern is themselves and what THEY want, and they're not concerned in the least of how it might effect the next person or how it might make them feel. Know anyone like this? These people look normal, act nice, smile and laugh, but in the end they are merely parroting how they think good or nice people should act. These kind of people are akin to a Ferrari that has no engine. They look great, but there's nothing underneath the hood. Kind of like my ex. But that's another blog.

But what's a person supposed to do to prevent themselves from becoming the owl...again? Are you supposed to completely shut down and stay to yourself and not make new friends or trust anybody? That's not how us humans are wired. It sounds good to say, and it even works for a time, but I always find myself letting somebody back in. I'll tell you something kind of sad. All of the meaningful conversations I have, and most all of the emotionally reciprocal interactions with humans that I have, come from people who are "Out there" and not "Back here." And I have to spend money either through email or the phone to have these relationships. And even then, I still run into people who lie and who are insincere and running game. The difference is that I can delete them off of my email and/or not call them, but with the ones back here I'm forced to see them everyday. Forced to remember the last time they landed on my head and shit down my back.

I don't care what the Bible and the Tao say; I think that being a nice guy is over-rated. If you don't believe me, just ask the owl. He'll tell ya.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

--- WRECKED ---
10th March 2014

I woke up at like 4:30 am this morning and laid there in the dark thinking about starting yet another day in this hate factory and I wished I were dead. Everybody back here is a liar and a snake and thinks that their bullshit is unique. Obviously, this is nothing new to me, but some days the enormity of my situation and how I can't just walk out of here, and of truly how fucked I am, all rushes in on me and overwhelms me. When this happens...I think about dying.

An hour or so later as I'm still laying there in the dark, my cell fills with the sound of me sucking it up for yet another day and I shoot to the shower the minute that the cop unlocks my door. With my back to the nozzle and my face to the shower door, I let the hot water wash over me and take the tension out of my back muscles as I look through the bars of the door on the shower and look out into the cell house as people begin to schlep around and begin their morning routines. By the time I come out of the shower, there are people from the same gang on the top tier next to the shower working out together and doing military-style burpees. It's 5:30 am. I walk past them with my olive green towel around my neck and my shower bag and shower shoes in my hands and I go back to my cell. I'm wearing boots.

I put on clean boxer briefs, a crisp white t-shirt and new white socks, and a freshly ironed tan uniform with creases on the pants and shirt that are so sharp that you could cut yourself on them if you're not careful. Then I work some gel into my hair with my fingers and put my sunglasses on top of my head, strap on my black G-Shock watch, and I go make a steaming cup of coffee from the hot water spicket that's attached to the drinking fountain. Then I go downstairs and sit in one of the gray plastic lawn chairs and look up at the televisions to see what's on.

There's a nature show on one TV about orangutans with some British guy whispering the narration like he's scared that the orangutans might discover and pummel him at any moment. On the TV directly above the monkeys is a rap video on BET and Miley Cyrus is swinging around on a wrecking ball naked and looking like every crack dealers' fantasy. I glance down at the chimps licking a piece of bamboo and then glance back up at Miley licking the chain of the wrecking ball and think, "This is how far we've come? Darwin would not be impressed..."

As I get up to head down to the library I finish the rest of my coffee, switch from the TV to music on my MP3 and catch Britney Spears on shuffle singing "Toxic" and look around me and decide that it's a perfect soundtrack for another day in this dump.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

--- DOING TIME ---
9th March 2014

Prison life is waiting on mail while you're doing time
While your family won't write or send a dime
It's waiting on visits that never take place
From people who claim to love you, but then forget your face

It's listening to excuses while people tell you they're trying
Making you promises while you know that they're lying
It's going "All In" with somebody you thought you knew
But the plans that they're making don't include you

It's hearing people tell you how much they care
But in your time of need they're never there
It's letting what they say go straight to your head
And trying to resurrect relationships that you know are dead

It's calling and hearing a block on the phone
And accepting that for them, life has gone on
All of these things are just part of doing time
Because being out of sight is being out of mind

It's taking all of your honor, your hope, and your pride
And keeping on smiling while you're dying inside
It's trying to meet and hang on to loved ones and friends
As you sit in a cage with nothing but a pen

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

8th March 2014

I think I told you, but the late rapper Tupac Shakur's father lives down the tier from me here in Cell Block 6A at USP Victorville. His name is Mutulu but he goes by the nickname "Doc." He's Muslim, has a little age on him, works out every day, and is cool as a fan. As I was sitting at the computer the other day he formally introduced himself and told me that he heard I was a writer. I smiled and replied, "Well, that depends on who you ask."

After our conversation, I put together a package of my current writing projects that had a compilation of blogs, an adult and a children's poem, my book BANK BLOGGER and a cover letter connecting the literary dots. I told him to check it out during lockdown or during count time when he had some time to read it w/out people bothering him. He did. Afterwards, he told me that him and a few other guys have a club here called The Southern California Writer's Club and that it meets in the library on Thursday nights. He invited me to come and be part of the group and asked me to put together a presentation for the guys and speak on Thursday night (SPEECH!!! SPEECH!!! SPEECH!!!). This is an actual club from the local community outside of the prison in Apple Valley that comes into the prison to promote writing for inmates.

I accepted his invitation.

It's pretty cliche to come to prison and write a book. And with the way that people are able to self publish these days, it's become even more cliche. But it's rare to come back here and get a publisher that's willing to back you, and it's extremely rare to have two on two different continents. Most of the guys back here shoot multiple corrlinks requests to publishers that go unanswered, so on Open Mic Night I'm going to go up to the podium and show them some pages out of my Playbook and see if I can't help some people get form "There" to "Here." People who are in a tight spot like I am and who are trying to do something positive with their time in this hate factory. I'll keep you posted. I'm pretty excited about just being invited. It was a nice way to start my birthday.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

4th March 2014

In the spirit of rehabilitation, The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers different classes for people to take. In the vernacular of the feds, these classes are called "Programming" and when you complete one of the classes a certificate is given to you and then placed in your file. I don't really like the term "Programming" though because it conjures up images of Patty Hearst and those Symbanese Liberation douche bags she robbed Banks with back in the seventies. But some of the classes they give are good, and they also help you advance your custody level to a potentially nicer zoo (A medium or low custody prison). You basically start out at Jurassic Park back here and try to work your way down to a petting zoo. So far, I'm still stuck in the T-Rex and Raptor area of Jurassic Park. I don't think that I'm really petting zoo material, but that doesn't mean that I don't try to take classes and improve myself.

So far on this ride I've received a certificate for donating $50.00 to the Breast Cancer Awareness drive and although I didn't do it for the certificate, it was nice of them to give me one. Then I received a certificate for a class I completed on how to give CPR. I signed up for the class after Don Corleone choked on a meatball one time and I had to Heimlich him. When the meatball finally shot out of his mafia piehole it looked like a salvo fired from the H.M.S. Bounty. If they offer a "How To Chew Properly" class, I plan to sign him up.

I am presently enrolled in and attending a remedial drug education class. It's held on Thursdays and is given by a sandy-haired, somewhat chunky, dowdy woman named Mrs. Hamm. Since this is prison and I'm a licensed a Bank Blogger and as such don't have to be politically correct, or even particularly sensitive, I call Mrs. Hamm, Virginia. Unfortunately, I've had to explain this joke to a couple of my classmates. Imagine that.

Some of the usual suspects in the class include Louis Ippolito (a.k.a. Fat Louie). He's a wiseguy from Philadelphia whose squat and has perfect hair that is held in place by copious amounts of gel. His bloodline is about two generations removed from homo erectus and talking to him is like watching reruns of The Sopranos. He sits next to me.

Then there's a tall, thin, ferret-looking former cartel member named Juan Carlos who sits across from me with his legs crossed and wears his reading glasses hanging from a gold chain around his neck, and who has an aristocratic air about him. He was educated in Princeton, made a career of moving kilos across the border in Texas, and now enjoys his retirement in the federal pen. Juan Carlos is the teacher's pet and seems to have all the answers. Mrs. Virginia Hamm constantly calls on him and sometimes I think she does it just because she likes the way the name Juan Carlos feeling rolling off her little country Palette. We love to hate on Juan Carlos. Especially Fat Louie.

Then there's a member of the Crips in the class whose dark-skinned with dreadlocks and who has so much gold in his mouth that's it's rumored that when it came time to pay his lawyer before trial that he pulled out one of his teeth and threw it across the table to him in the county jail and said, "Here, nigga, sell this." I've blogged about him before. His name is Ghetto Boyee and he's the master of the ghetto sound bite and continually lives up to his moniker and spits out ghetto wisdom with the eloquence of Tupac Shakur, but his I.Q. is probably higher than the rest of us in the class. Especially Fat Louie.

The class is filled with other unmentionable miscreants, with the exception of one severely cross-eyed guy from D.C. Whenever I have a conversation with him I always move around a lot because I'm not sure if we're making eye contact.

Today they showed a video of an intervention. The target was some poor schlep named Mark who'd had a severe back injury and had a morphine pump installed under his skin and subsequently became addicted to painkillers. He was 40ish and used to be some type of professional, but now sat on his sister's couch in his bathrobe eating potato chips and Oxycontin while watching Family Guy. Despite the surgically implanted morphine pump and the blow-out disc, his sister had decided that Mark was now an addict and should seek treatment. So she hired some Tough Love Nazi who looked like Dr. Phil and that billed himself as an "Interventionist" to ambush Mark and take away his Ruffles and Oxys. Mark wasn't feeling it. But after much director inspired drama, the end result was that Mark sought treatment. Glory be.

When the video was over, Virginia turned the lights back up and pointed to Juan Carlos and purred, "Juuuaan Carrloss, how did that video make you feel?" Juan Carlos recrossed his legs and plucked away an imaginary piece of lint and said, "I believe that the sister did the right thing, Mrs. Hamm. It is obvious that Mark's over usage of his legitimate prescription pain medication had a negative effect on the family unit as a whole." Mrs. Hamm's face glazed with a satisfied beam at his answer and Fat Louie started making smooching kissy noises with his lips. Mrs. Hamm baked him with a stare and said, "Please wait your turn Mr. Oppolinski." Fat Louie shot back, "It's Oppolito! I look Polish to you?" Virginia then pointed to Ghetto Boyee and asked, "What do you think?" He leaned farther back in his chair and sucked in air thru his teeth and said, "I think they oughta leave the nigga be. I watch Family Guy too." Then she finally pointed at Fat Louie and said, "Now, what do you think of the sister's reaction to Mark's drug usage?" Fat Louie spread his arms wide and said, "Why youse guys always asking me questions?" At this point I was sitting there thinking that even Snooki and re-runs of Jersey Shore don't offer this kind of entertainment, when Virginia Hamm gave me a honeyed look and asked, "Have you ever taken drugs, Jeffrey?" I replied, "I used to be addicted to performance enhancing drugs." Mrs. Hamm further inquired, "Oh, which one was that?" I answered, "Heroin." Everybody laughed and even Mrs. Hamm cheesed a little bit. Then she asked, "And were you ever the subject of an intervention?" I replied, "Yeah, 40 FBI agents were kind enough to intervene and help me stop." Fat Louie howled, Ghetto boy flashed a golden smile and said, "That's what's up" and Juan Carlos gave a disapproving snort. The cross-eyed guy looked somewhere. Virginia then asked, "And how did that make you feel, Jeffrey?" I said,"Extremely wanted."

On that note, the class ended and we all bolted for the door with Mrs. Hamm yelling, "Next week is on sedatives! I expect you all to be here and be awake!"

I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog