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31st October 2012

It's Thursday evening as I write this and I'm sitting at a table by the bocce courts on the recreation yard. The table is a heavy-duty wire mesh thing that's painted yellow and shaped like a picnic table. The spot I'm sitting at is kind of in the corner of the yard by the back gate and right under a gun tower that's undoubtedly filled with country boys with high-powered rifles that are all juiced-up on chewing tobacco and who would love nothing more than to shoot some fleeing convict off the wall. If they think it's gonna be me, they have the wrong Caucasian. I'm allergic to flees.

As I look out across the yard I see a mixture of thugs, robbers, mobsters, dope boys and rats all doing their best to burn up energy and time. White, black, brown or yellow, every single one of them share one psychological characteristic. Where society has placed boundaries, they saw opportunities. They're also all gamblers who lost at least one bet. A bet they'd placed several times before on what they thought was a lock, only to relearn a truth they already knew: When it comes to betting there are no sure things. That's why they call it gambling. There's nothing wrong with gambling and losing, with taking your best shot. But only an insane gambler would dispute his loss and challenge the rules of a game he didn't make and can't control. But that's what a lot of these guys back here do. They spend years and years and thousands and thousands of dollars of their family's money defending a lie instead of just throwing in the towel and regrouping when the jig is up. They never understand that the first victim of the lie is the liar. I am a criminal and certainly no better than any of them, but I'm not delusional to think that it was okay to rob seven banks. But being a gambler myself I could've at least hedged my bets a little and worn a damn mask. My bad.

So as I sit here in the mix watching the sun dip behind a 30 ft stone wall signifying the end of another day, and as I watch the brethren do the math before placing their next bet, I can't help but feel like I'm all in and feel a little philosophical. The philosopher Nietchze said that one definition of insanity is "Repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results." I think he might've been onto something. So why so I still think about placing a bet and winning sometimes?

As I wrote that last line, the song "Don't let the sun go down on me" by Elton John started flowing through my Big Boy Koss headphones. Here's a lyric from this song that seems apropos:

I'm growing tired.
And time stands still before me.

I feel that lyric. Man, do I. I hope the sun doesn't set on me while I'm back here. I want to be free again. I don't have a "Home" per se, or anyone waiting for me to come back to so I can't say, I want to go home; but I do want to be free. But there's no lock on that bet either. That's what happens when you gamble with your life. The house always wins.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

27th October 2012

Two days ago they wheeled TVs into the lock down blocks on the tiers so the men there who are locked down could watch a video on suicide prevention. Then yesterday (post-video) a guy in the block I work in hung himself.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

25th October 2012

For every high there's a low and some bills take a while before you have to pay them. I've got one concerning my liver that's come due because the doctors say that I've spent too many years having onions with my liver (and they go to med school to give opinions like this). So before I start my treatment they require that I be screened by a psychologist to determine my mental fitness to undergo the treatment.

The shrink was thin and in his early fifties with gray hair and a pointy nose with shiny skin that made me think more of OCD than good hygiene, and he had a stoic air about him. He seems like the kind of guy you could tell that he just won the lottery and he'd say, "That's nice" and never change his expression. I knew going into his office that I was gonna have some fun with this dude.

Here's a version of how the interview went:

Doc: Good morning.
Me: Good morning.
Doc: This is an interview to determine your psychological fitness to undergo chemo.
Me: Okay.
Doc: How are you feeling this morning?
Me: With my hands.
Doc: I see. (pause) How would you describe your moods most days?
Me: Some days I have to keep myself from break-dancing.
Doc: Well... (pause) What's the best feeling you've ever had?
Me: Getting away.
Doc: Hmm. (pause) I see here in your file that you're serving a sentence for being what they've termed a serial bank robber. Would you say that's an accurate description?
Me: No. I've never eaten a bowl of cereal in a bank in my life.
Doc: (Says nothing but I almost detected a smirk at that one.)
Me: (Stares forwards, withholds smile.)
Doc: What would you attribute your criminal behavior to?
Me: Having more testosterone than a bull-moose.
Doc: Okay. (pause) Do you realize that when you undergo this treatment that you'll experience severe weight and hair loss?
Me: Does it look like I'm missing any meals? And look at my hair. I'm in my forties and beavers don't have pelts like this.
Doc: And you're subject to experience severe depression and have suicidal ideations. Do you think you can handle emotional trauma like this?
Me: You should meet my ex and ask me that question.
Doc: How would you describe your psychological fitness?
Me: Ford Tough.
Doc: (Shuffles papers.)
Me: (Stares forwards, withholds smile.)
Doc: (Looks completely exasperated and then asks) Is there anything you'd like to ask of me?
Me: Can I have a hug?
Doc: This interview is over.

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog

20th October 2012

Jeffrey Frye takes a call from the President concerning his pardon (circa 1992).

Jeffrey Frye in 1992

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog