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I long ago determined that this place is actually a mental institution disguised as a federal pen. Here's a random sampling of some of the usual suspects from my world and the people you might see me blog about or who might occasionally pop up in my stories:

Authority on everything from brick masonry to gynaecology. If you don't think that he knows everything, just ask him and he'll tell you different. To hear him tell it he's done everything from train Navy Seals to practice ophthalmology, to attend seminary and run with the bulls in Pamplona. I think he fell in some of that bullshit and rolled around in it. Every time I see him he's holding court with lesser miscreants and I'll say to whoever I'm with, "Will you look at This Fucking Guy?" He did correctly diagnose a rash that I had on my arm and recommend a good cream though. Can you believe This Fucking Guy?

4'8" Mexican that I pay Ramen noodle soups to come in and clean my cell, change my linens, fluff my pillows, and clean my fan. He's under a hundred pounds and is almost bald, but the hair that he does have left he's pushed up into this Mohawk thingy that sticks straight up off his head like a spike and has the effect of making him look like a Mexican Cockatoo. Has an affection for over-sized clothing and doesn't speak a lick of English - or claims not to - and no matter what you say to him he just smiles and nods and gives a little wave. I'm constantly testing his alleged English deficiency by saying things to him like, "Workie Workie, can I gouge your eye out and skull fuck you?" to which he'll just smile and nod and wave. Doing time for illegal entry into the U.S. (3rd offense) and is in a USP because of his association with a Mexican drug cartel. I'll bet they miss him. He's a great worker.

Six foot tall Chinaman that lives on my tier that's crazy as a shithouse rat. Loves to catch pigeons and other birds and cook them and eat them. Triad member from NYC doing Life for murder and racketeering. It wouldn't bother me to see him come down with a severe case of Bird Flu. I'll bet the pigeons wouldn't mind either.

White supremacist Skinhead that has swastikas tattooed under his eyes and OLD SCHOOL HATE tattooed across his neck just to take the mystery out of it. Is serving a life sentence for burning down synagogues in what he nostalgically refers to as his "Genocidal Phase."

The prison nurse. This guy has the bedside manner of Kathy Bates in the movie Misery. Hands out medicine at the pill line window and if you're slow about swallowing it he'll scream "TAKE IT!!! TAKE IT NOW!!!" He's my least favorite part of managed healthcare.

Columbian cartel member that was kidnapped by the United States government from the jungles of South America and brought here to stand trial for simple possession of 8 tons of cocaine. He's my barber and while he's giving me a trim we'll discuss everything from countries that are favorable for avoiding extradition, to recipes for cooking with plantains in the jungle.

Prison guard and former Marine and veteran of the Iraq war that thinks he's still standing watch in Fallujah. He blinks a lot and has a look like the word "Vacancy" on a motel sign. And he's skittish. I keep him on his toes like a ballerina. I'll make a loud noise by dropping a book or scream "ALLAH AKBAR!!!" and he'll go straight up in the air like a cat. He's a prison guard, it's his job to stay on his toes. And it's my job to keep him there.

Native American Indian doing life for murder and gun trafficking on his reservation. Has long black hair and wears a head band and has a dry sense of humor. Told me one time that my Indian name is "Shoshunda." When I asked him what that meant he replied, "Seven Banks Running."

Three fluffy-bearded Muslims that were most likely born Huey, Dewey, and Louie, until, Praise Allah, they committed a federal crime and converted to Islam...apparently just to piss me off. They take life way too serious and I always seem to get stuck in line behind them.

Retired Capo for one of the five families in NYC and my BPFF. The feds retired him via convictions for racketeering and murder. Cooks up great sauces and great schemes. Also has great criminal diplomacy. All of the hacks here love him and think that he loves them. We passed one walking the other morning and he said to him, "Good morning Officer Smith." After the cop was out of earshot he said to me, "That Smith is okay. We'll kill him last."

Prison employee and my boss over in the lockdown block where I work. Before he got the job running the block I work in he was formerly in the Special Investigative Service here. SIS are the people who read our mail, listen to our phone calls, and who try and catch their fellow officers doing something wrong. In short, they're The Gestapo. And although J. Edgar no longer serves The Fuhrer, it's still in his blood and he's naturally suspicious about everything. I clean the showers in his block wearing black knee-high boots, yellow latex gloves, and a white baseball cap turned backwards. He'll frequently walk in while I'm cleaning and ask me, "What are you doing?" to which I'll say something like, "Handling more DNA than an Innocence Project." He'll give me a steely-eyed "I've got my eye on you convict" look and walk off. Not a bad guy when he's getting my paycheck right. Unfortunately, that's only about 60% of the time.

Member of the Crips doing life for guns, drugs, conspiracy, and anything else the feds could find to keep his black ass off the street. He has so much gold in his mouth that it's rumored that when it came time to pay his lawyer before trial he pulled out one of his teeth and tossed it across the table to him in the county jail.

Older white dude doing life for the bombing of abortion clinics. In a prison full of twisted individuals this guys sticks out. Some people act crazy but I've determined that this is no act. I was standing in line next to him one day and asked him, "Tom, if you could vote in this election, who would you vote for?" With a burning look he answered, "One's a Muslim and the other's a warlock and they both slaughter unborn children and will burn in hell for it!" Ooookay. Apparently old Trimester Tom has some strong political opinions too.

Wiseguy from Philly whose squat with a sloping forehead and always has gel in his hair. His bloodline is about two generations removed from Homo Erectus. Talking to him is like watching reruns of The Sopranos and Jersey Shore. Doing life for killing a government witness. Keeps a picture of him in his cell and says he wishes he could dig him up and kill him again.

Old convict that's been down for 25 years on a life sentence. Gang member convicted of selling guns to the dictator of a third world country. Is so institutionalized that anything out of the norm freaks him out and makes him scared. He's always stopping outside the bars of my cell and saying something stupid like, "They're seven minutes late calling lunch. Do you think someone got killed?" Uh, no I don't. I think it took seven minutes longer to prepare the poison they are serving us for lunch.

Although this joint has a 30 foot wall around it, the convicts aren't the only wildlife inside of it. There are also birds, skunks, and cats. I feed four cats that live behind a fence and are more gangsta than a lot of the guys that live on my tier. I prepare them meals that range from Mouse Souffle to Kitty Quiche to packs of tuna fish. They act like they love me until I feed them and give them what they want, and then they act like they don't know me anymore. Just like my last girlfriend. I love em though; here are my cats:

Gray Tom cat with a white spot on his head. He has a perpetual scowl on his face and has one ear that sticks straight up off his head that is missing a hunk, and his other ear lays flat on his head. Has the disposition of a drunken Irishman from Southie. Has a big set of furry nuts and likes to walk around showing them off.

Solid black female cat. Sassy and charismatic, yet bitter, hence the name. Has more attitude than a Beyonce video.

Small black kitty named by a friend of mine that's a poet in New York City. Maya's a little cutie.

The new playa on the scene. Popped through the bars of a basement window in the cell house I live in one day. Whitey let him stay so I've been feed him ever since. He's Orange and fluffy and looks like a pizza puff with legs.

So that's some of the usual suspects in my present world. Does my present world suck? Like a gaping chest wound. But it's all part of the ride. There's no sense in crying about it. If you like what you read, please buy my books. I need money for tuna fish for Whitey and his crew. They're eating me out of house and home. If I get any poorer I'll be down eating sparrows with The Chinaman. Nobody likes a poor bank robber either. Especially me.

Jeffrey P. Frye