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MAY 2019

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--- I'M THE CAPTAIN NOW ---
13th May 2019

They say that life is stranger than fiction sometimes, and while this is certainly true, I've come to also believe that occasionally, sometimes they both intersect. Today was one of those times. This is how it happened.

Since this is federal prison and their budget seems to be endless, most United States Penitentiary (USP's) have a DVD Movie Room that's located inside of the Indoor Recreation Center. These rooms have about 15, 13' inch flat-panel screens laid-out along three walls of the room. There's a chair located in front of each viewing station, and the room in manned by inmate workers. We're allowed to go watch movies in this room once a week, unless you're ten years older than God like me (over 45), then you have two extra days for a total of three. The DVD Movie Room is a nice amenity, but it's a little like installing a Jacuzzi at Auschwitz. When the movie is over, this place is still a death camp filled with psychos and sadists. Just saying.

Bucking my normal solitary trend, I have recently started going down to the indoor rec center to watch movies. The guy who's been working behind the desk the last couple of times is black, with bronze skin with a hairline that starts halfway back on his head, and he has a big fluffy Muslim beard. His uniform is always immaculate and pressed, and he takes his job very seriously, always checking a person's birth date on their ID card on the "45 and Over" days to make sure that a 44 year old isn't trying to sneak in. His name is Omar.

When you sit down in at one of the viewing stations, the attendant hands you a pamphlet with movies that have been cataloged by genre and that have a corresponding number next to them for a person to reference. On my last visit I watched Ocean's 12, which was #913. Once I'd selected it, I told Omar the movie number and he came over and inserted the DVD disc into the side of the screen, then plugged-in my headphone to a jack that was also located on the back of the screen. After he'd done this, he pointed one of his several remote controls at the screen and hit "Play." Then, in an accent that I couldn't quite place, he said, "Der you go, mon. Henjoy da moobie."

After the movie had finished, I was standing out in the indoor rec center watching a baseball game that was being broadcast on one of the big flat screen TVs up on the wall. I was talking to a good buddy of mine from Arkansas named Clyde (whose doing time for distributing enough methamphetamine to get every razorback in Arkansas high), and I made the comment, "Have you ever noticed that Omar has that Muslim Somali pirate look? I can see us out fishing and him pulling up alongside us in a Ranger Bass boat, pumping an AK-47 above his head and screaming, "ALLAHU AKBAR!!!" Clyde laughed, and said, "You sure called that one right, brother." Then he told me Omar's story.

We robbers can't be choosers, so we rarely get the latest movies. But have you ever seen that movie CAPTAIN PHILLIPS that stars Tom Hanks? Hanks plays the captain of a container ship that is taken over by a band of Somali pirates that pull up to the side of the huge container ship and board it. Once on the ship, the leader of the group sticks an AK-47 in Tom Hanks' face, and says, "I'm the Captain now, mon." It's a good movie that has a happy ending, that is if you're not a pirate. Because a team Of Navy Seals eventually drops onto the deck of the boat and kills every pirate on there...except for one of them. Omar. On the day that it all went bad for Omar and his band of pirates, he couldn't speak a lick of English, let alone be able to spell the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He sure can now though. Now, because this is my life, he's The Movie Dude. Welcome to my world.

If you read my blog and are one of the occasionally sober, highly-intelligent people who read my blog, you know that I try not to be a pain in the ass. I really do. However, around this joint it's a struggle. I may be a Bad Boy, but I still try to be a good man. Some things are just to good to pass up though.

My next available movie day (after talking to Clyde) was today. I had just come into the cool air of the movie room from the humid Florida outdoors, and I was seated by Omar at Station #3. He handed me the movie catalog, and I just couldn't help myself. I asked him, "Do you guys have the movie "Captain Phillips" with Tom Hanks?" Then I added, "I love movies like that." Well, sir. He just froze me with a look of hatred as his dragonesque, 12-gauge nostrils, flared (and I swear I saw some smoke!). I lack a whole buncha things, but nerve just isn't one of them. And I may be an RP myself (Recovering Pirate), but I'm an American pirate, and I don't much care for offbrand pirates who target somebody just because they're American. So I stared back. I wanted to say, "My name is Jeffrey Frye, and I'm the Captain now...mon." But I didn't. I must've smirked when I was thinking about this though, because old Omar completely lost it. He started screaming at me in Arabic, and I swear that I caught an Allahu Akbar in there somewhere. Satisfied that I've gotten what I came for, I unplugged myself, and got up and left.

I may not know the location of Captain Phillips these days, but I know where Omar is. And I've got my eye on him. My good eye...mon.

Jeffrey P. Frye
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