Prison Journal – Part IVNov 2nd, 2009 | By Steven B. Smith | Category: Armed Robbery, Series | 2830 views
(excerpts from my private journal I started while in York County Prison in 1970, detailing my last 5 months in jail and my first 10 months of freedom after).
The following is from the August 14, 1970 edition of the York Dispatch:
Plead for Leniency: 2 Draw 11 Months for $140 Holdup at East York
Two first offenders from Baltimore were sentenced today in York County Court to 11½ to 23 months in the county jail on their April 22nd plea of guilty to armed robbery in the February 12th holdup of a woman clerk at the Turkey Hill Minit Market, 1401 E. Market St., where $140 was taken from the cash register.
Judge James E. Buckingham imposed the sentences on Steven B. Smith, 23, and Ray Blute, 36, after lengthy pleas for leniency by counsel, who emphasized, with supporting letters, the high caliber and potential of the men and their willingness to undergo psychiatric treatment.
Counsel for Smith pleaded against incarceration in a state prison, with hardened criminals, calling it a training
ground for future criminals, while counsel for Blute said he felt no further incarceration necessary. Both cited the exemplary conduct reported to them by the warden during their incarceration since being apprehended at the scene.
Comments of Judge: Judge Buckingham described the crime, which carries a maximum of 20 years, as very serious and said the courts are in a position where they have to protect the public.
He said he agreed in many respects with the recommendation of the district attorney’s office for a long penitentiary sentence and disliked to go against it. But after a great deal of thought and study of the pre-sentence report, which recommended release on supervised probation with psychiatric treatment, according to council for Smith, the judge said he was foregoing state imprisonment because he felt there was a chance for the defendants.
While he could release them now, he added that he felt they deserved more punishment and warned them that if they appeared before him again on such a charge they would go to state prison. He said they didn’t know how fortunate they were not to be going this time and how very close they came.
He suspended sentencing on the larceny and Uniform Firearms Act counts to which they also pleaded guilty.
August 20, 1970: So… Ray Blute and I are imprisoned for taking $140 from a clerk at Turkey Hill Minit Market at gunpoint about ten p.m. Thursday night February 12th. By 10:30 we were in the back seat of a police car. I’m less a writer than a recorder. Ray is writing up a storm and I’m jealous. I’ve only thought a few of his stories good. But still, he is writing, and he’s here under the same conditions I am.
(note – I couldn’t say this in my prison notebook because the guards or the warden could read it at any time, but we stole over $500, but by the time the police detective finished counting it, there was only $140 left; the rest went into the detective’s pocket)
August 21: From six a.m. to nine p.m. your cell doors are open and you can walk up and down the walkway or play cards. That’s about it. No chairs or clocks or mirrors. After two months in cell seven tier six, I became convinced I had no face because I hadn’t seen myself for so long. I’d wake at night painfully aware of being trapped in a six by eight locked cell having no idea of the time. I tried smuggling a watch in, but got caught, and couldn’t see Robin for five weeks.
Now I’m in the kitchen where I cook. Every other morning, I get up at five and put a hundred bowls of cold cereal out and start the day’s menu. They lock us in at night at nine p.m., but in a 25’ by 30’ room instead of a six by eight cell. During the day, we (the kitchen workers) have the run of the whole basement and a great deal of the first floor instead of a six by fifty foot walkway. Plus, we have AM/FM radio during the day and a one channel TV from four to nine at night. The benefits are more than worth the work, plus I get to see my wife at night, instead of during the day on Tuesday, and it’s much better for both of us.
The TV is on back in the dorm now, but I can seldom bring myself to watch it. We only have one channel. The new season begins soon and I’ll watch a lot more then. But tonight, I’ll stay out here in the potato room watching the night air seep in through the window, a window with very thick iron bars, then a heavy mesh screen and then a fine mesh screen.
To visit my wife upstairs, I must stare and talk through three screens, but it’s worth it just to see her. I do love her. I can get all soft and mysterious inside my chest merely thinking of her, and except for a few instances, she has been great while I’ve been here.
She stopped writing for long periods of time which caused me much mental anguish, and once she slept with another man, an ex-con named David Hall. I thought of killing myself because of the physical pain. My wife made love to another man. I’m surprised how calmly I write that. I guess because it doesn’t matter that much anymore. She loves me so completely now, that one night really can’t matter. May 8th, the thirteenth Friday I was here, she slept with him, the same night I had my head completely shaved, eyebrows too. I looked like a science fiction android. So now, my eyebrows are as long as my wife’s chastity. How many other husbands can say that?
Other things you miss in jail (you miss a lot): all aspects of your wife, privacy, nature, the feel of a warm sun bathing your skin, movies, foods, drinking a little wine with friends, freedom. The sense of being alive. But as lousy as this is, eleven months is worth it because I was going all wrong. I was being cold to Robin. I loved her, but she didn’t know it, and sometimes I didn’t either. It’s going to be so good with us when we become us again physically in 158 days. No more half-interested sex, no more shoving off her embraces. Now it’s going to be me doing the hugging. I’ve learned so much about my blindness while in here. I won’t misuse her again.
Mitch Genten’s wife is more mentally sick then even before. A couple weeks ago, he asked Robin to go to bed with him. I no longer care for him as a friend because a friend would not attempt to sleep with your wife while you were in jail. Mitch is not a friend.
August 31: I blew up at Ray tonight. Three days ago he told me he had a new story invention, but refused to tell me what. Yesterday he told me he had a new epistle source, but wouldn’t tell me. Told me he had another story invention, but refused to explain. Today he told me that maybe he has a third epistle source, but refused to tell me. Working on jigsaw puzzle, he kept bitching at me because I was sorting the pieces and he wanted the box. He kept on like a spoiled child, so I blew up and called him a bastard. He has ended what little friendship we had, which hurts because I have been going out of my way to make everything I could easier for him here. I know I’m also acting childish, but I’m finished with him and his authoritarian holier than thou attitude.
October 15: Ray Blute strikes me as an intellectual phony or pseudo philosopher. But the main thing is that phony or not, he is writing a lot, which is much more than I’m doing.
I heard rumors that one guard is a narco agent and perhaps a couple prisoners. This place is beginning to sound like a cheap novel. Last night a guard caught a prisoner’s arm in the slamming door at lock up, breaking the arm. Then he came down to the dorm to brag about it. He used to take his bullet out of his pocket and show us to impress us. The guards carry unloaded pistols with bullets in their pockets in case a prisoner steals their gun. He showed us his pistol. Real weirdo. He’s been fired since last night. He wanted to take another prisoner in back and beat him up.
Plus rumors say a lot of stuff is being brought in and narks are trying to find it. I wish I could know everything that goes on here. It would be a self-written unbelievable novel. A draft resistor came in tonight. 21 years old and talks like a college professor. It made me ashamed to open my mouth.
Mike Wolf admitted to being a cop, specifically an undercover nark, and he seemed like such a nice guy too. I’ve talked too freely with him and he knows my ideas, but there’s nothing he can prove, all hearsay. I’ve got to learn to keep my mouth shut. Damn.
October 23: I just snapped at Ray for interrupting me. He’s irritated me a lot lately with his gross immaturity alternating with his ‘Leave me, I’m God attitude.’ Actually he’s irritated me a great deal ever since he made a pass at Robin last January. He keeps saying we’re all four going to get together when we get out. I doubt it. Part of tonight’s anger stems from me getting to see Robin about fifteen minutes Sunday, yet Wednesday he sees Linda ninety minutes. Of course I had compensations and wouldn’t trade my fifteen for 180 of his.
Ray speaks of his sexual freedom to wife swap and sleep with dozens of mistresses. I laugh and yield him his right to do as he wishes, but I pity his shallowness. I look down from my love and feel sorry for his lack of love, his ignorance. It is odd for me to write this, but he is too wrapped up in mental ideas and philosophies; he forgets and knows not the emotional philosophy of love. How finally loving the perfect mate does away with the need for five mistresses. He’s still playing at being a man proving his virility. “Look ma! Five women finally proving I’m a man.” It takes more man to love one woman totally and spend your life with her. A mistress requires no acceptance of yourself. Flit from vagina to vagina never really knowing the mind and heart behind the clitoris, never giving more of yourself than another orgasm. “Wake up, Ray, you’re a 36 year old baby.” What a personality to spend eleven months with. I found him shallow on the outside, I find him shallower in here, and narrow as well. But I mustn’t snap at him because prison is tense enough without further personal bickering.
November 2: Attempted prison breach tier seven. This place is tighter than a CEO’s wallet. Last night Duke had Wolf and Ed F. take him to the hospital, so Love and Floyd were left here alone. At lockup, tier seven jumped Floyd, put a blanket over his head, a knife at his back. They were going to use him as a hostage. When Love came downstairs, Floyd yelled and threw the blanket off. This surprised them because Floyd is supposed to be a sissy (not so). Then he came up swinging and the two fought their way out. As they were trying to lock down, the ringleader rushed out, but a prisoner from tier six rushed across and shoved him back in (Terry Leonard – good guy) and the door was locked. Love’s eye was stomped and blood red, neck cut a little, blood all over his uniform. I wished I could have been there to help. Love is my friend. So now the entire jail (dorm and outmates excluded) are locked in their cells. Seven is on bread and water plus one meal. I’ll make damn sure their bread is stale hard and their one meal is as small and inferior as possible.
Right now my knuckles are sore. I seem to have scraped them about a dozen times on Duke’s face. He “jumped” me as I went in the hospital room to pick up supper bowls. I had to defend myself against his whining face. I hope he’s swollen up tomorrow. It felt odd, but good to hit someone. I haven’t had a fight for eight years. The guards didn’t seem to be too unhappy over the fight, so nothing should happen to me. I’m vaguely dissatisfied because I didn’t hurt him enough. He’s responsible for Ed Love getting hurt and Ed’s a friend of mine. I figure this as a friendship thing.
(note – the guards had asked me to beat up Duke because he had cut one of the guards who was my friend. I went in and half-heartedly hit him 5-6 times and he made a lot of noise and everybody seemed happy).
November 10: Robin finally told me the truth. In early March she slept with Ron Somebody from DC, from April to June she slept with David Hall until he tired of her and left. I could easily kill him and I hope he dies soon. Then she slept with Jerry bartender while drunk one night.
I feel as if none of it really matters, nothing. John Yeager, Steven Smith, Ron-somebody, David Hall, Jerry–bartender, and someday me again. My name is on her bed list, but I have no recollection of anything. I’m just a name. Adultery, three men two times plus two months worth. O yes, almost forgot Phil Burch. She says they tried to make love, but he was impotent. John Steve Ron Phil David Jerry.
November 17: Sunday night she lay naked with Jerry in his apartment, sixteen days ago. Now she’s afraid she may be pregnant, even though she says nothing happened. If she is, she will get an abortion. Every week she hurts me a little more, but tonight was all over happy. She touched me and I touched and kissed her and hugged her and told her I loved her very much which is true. She cried when I told her I was getting out five weeks early.
November 19: I keep getting flashes of Robin’s nakedness lying next to Jerry’s nakedness and it hurts. Perhaps she can explain Phil and Ron and Dave and Jerry the first time, but she cannot explain this. Seventeen days ago on the night after seeing me, she lies nude in a married man’s bed. She knew how much I loved her; she knew what this would do to me. She gave her word nothing like this would happen, and yet she did it. It is difficult to keep my hurt and disappointment reigned in when I write or talk to her, but I can’t let her know. No use putting more of a load on her. I’ve slipped twice in the last two letters, but maybe it will be ok. I hope that in 33 more days all pain of what Robin’s done will be erased. I don’t know if she’s sure what real love is. Had she loved me as I love her, she would not have slept with four men, she would have stood by the man she loved as long as it took.
She said she didn’t know how long I’d be gone; that’s partially why she slept around before August. And yet only seventeen days ago, she was in Jerry bartender’s bed nude, maybe being made pregnant by him. First she hits me with, “I slept with David once and I give my word I was disgusted and it will never happen again” then she slaps me with “I have an infection in my vulva and it may be VD from Dave I’m so sorry” and then it’s “I slept with David three times. I’m so sorry” and then I fucked Phil and Ron and Jerry and I fucked David for two solid months until he left me, but I’m sorry. I was sick afraid you would be gone ten years and I give you my word, that’s all the facts” and then, and then she says “about a month ago (actually two weeks, she always lies about the date time difference), I went up to Jerry’s apartment while his wife was away, and this is just so absurd, but we lay naked for two hours on his bed, and he never entered me or touched me with his penis or had a climax, but my stomach hurts and is swollen, and it’s so absurd, but could I be pregnant, you know how the vulva magically attracts sperm and well… you know.”
God damn, but I am a grade A fool, a sucker, a cuckolded husband whose wife flits from bed to bed and runs home and tells hubby of each conquest. Even if she were sick before August, there is no reason for what she did seventeen days ago, no fucking reason in the book. And yet I love her, how god damned stupid can I get? But this is ridiculous because I am working myself into a psychotic hole. The facts are simple: while I was in jail, my wife thoroughly broke her wedding vows. She slept with many men, many times. She lied to me about it. She slept with the men willingly. She lied to me willingly. She did not truly love me while doing this. She loved in a shallow way, a shallow love that couldn’t withstand the responsibility of not dropping her pants to every man who knocked on her bedroom door. She broke her wedding vows, she lied, and she put me through living hell. And then she said the past doesn’t matter, and it wouldn’t have if she had not slept with Jerry seventeen days ago. That cuts deep.
I’m in here writing love letters, thinking everything is great and that I’m lucky to have such a great wife, and seventeen days ago the night after she sees me, she goes over to Jerry’s and takes her clothes off and lies with him and lies to me. Five nights earlier I had touched her breast with my hand, and yet she rushes to him so his illicit touch can rub my tainted touch off her nipples. I wonder how many penises has taken into her mouth? I should have killed myself back in May when I wanted to after she told me she slept with Dave.
How many places has she made love; how many positions has she made love in? I say “slept with” and “made love” because the real word “fuck” still makes me wince. But that is what she was doing. She was fucked by Phil; she was fucked by Ron; she was fucked and fucked and fucked by Dave, and probably fucked him a lot in return; and she was fucked by Jerry once and maybe twice, if she’s lying to me, and if she is lying and did fuck him seventeen days ago, then she’s probably pregnant, in which case we’re both fucked… but most of all she really fucked over me while I’m in here, but why should that matter? After all I’m only her husband, only one of six men she’s slept with. Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse by a married man with another than his wife or BY A MARRIED WOMAN WITH ANOTHER THAN HER HUSBAND.
December 2: Nicknames here: Squirrelly, Tiny, Mule, Mole, Captain Marvel, Ferd Burfel, Quickdraw, Cloth, Adam 12, Granny, Cockey-suck, Sarge, Slim, Ringo, Fats, Slick, Blackie, Elf Ears, Mighty Mouth, Gnat, Water Rat, Snake, Hack, Nutsy, Corn Flake, Fish Cake… then there’s Dale Becker’s nicknames: Rat, Robin Evans, Becky, Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm, Suzy Creamcheese, Faggot… and so on.
Tyrone and I started running Becker about 10:00, so he got up grabbed a newspaper and accidentally brushed Tyrone’s face. Tyrone pushed him some more and then Becky got up and turned off his TV. He said we couldn’t watch it anymore. Whitacre pushed Becker awhile. I got up and turned the TV on again. Becker unplugged it. I plugged it in. He unplugged it and tried to push by me. I made him go around me. There was more verbal abuse from us all to Becker. He took the TV up.
Later I came down and pushed him more verbally, called him a faggot, etc.
He said, “Nothing you say can bother me.” He said (or rather hinted), “I could go down to Baltimore and hurt your wife.”
Then he said, “Your wife is a lesbian,” and he jumped up, ordered me, “Shut up, don’t call my wife lezzie again!”
He picked up the wooden chair.
I walked over to card table and told the group, “Better not call Becky’s wife a lesbian because he doesn’t like it.”
Becker threw the chair at me (he’s seven feet away), but missed and it broke against the post. He picked up the broken pieces and I walked over and grabbed the pieces he had in both hands, but he wouldn’t let go. So I jerked the rung out of his left hand and smashed it across his right. He dropped the chair, but picked up a jagged L-piece, and I began wondering if he would beat my head in. I stalked back to him and took this piece away also. I thought about hitting him, but was aware of having only twenty days left, so I turned around and took the piece upstairs and told Ed, Dolly, and Mike what happened and that basically is it.
I have witnesses and guards on my side and all, but maybe who knows. They took Becky out to the hospital to x-ray his hand for a possible broken finger. Damn, I can’t stand the thought of losing my 36 days and not getting out for Christmas.
December 3: Becker’s finger is broken, but the whole affair is being officially ignored. I went to the hospital today and had part of my toenail removed. I was in so much pain tonight, and Becker gave me one of his pain pills, the pills he was given to take care of the pain from his finger that I broke. He’s odd. I took several aspirins and they actually worked.
December 11: My bad mood began last night when Wolf was talking to Robin on phone. He said (jokingly), “I’m going down to see you today.”
She said, “I don’t know, I can’t afford to take off work.”
Not, “no” or “of course not” but “I don’t know.” Tuesday night she asked, “Could I have a drink with him?” and I said no. It hurt that she even asked. She flirts and it hurts me. I am a very jealous person, and if she loved me as I love her, she wouldn’t flirt. I simply don’t know anymore. Everything is going along fine and then something like this revives my fears. I’m too close to getting out to be emotional like this, except that it’s being this close that makes me jittery anyway. If I ever catch Robin cheating on me again, I’m going to put the guy in the hospital for a very very long time, kiss Robin goodbye and take off.
December 17; Groceries came today, every other Thursday. Averages out to $250 a week exclusive of milk bread eggs meat. Meat eggs bread and milk may come to another $250 weekly. For an average of 125 prisoners at $500 a week totals out at four dollars a week per man. That ain’t much.
December 24: Robin came up to the jail 7:30 Tuesday night. I was stone sick; all the tension of eleven months worry and waiting and fear had hit me. My gut and neck hurt and I was really down. Rob and I played two games ping pong back in the rec, walked awhile, and she helped Dolly while I changed. Then Mike and I stood Ed and Ray to three games shuffleboard (I won a dollar last game), and thusly we passed my last four hours in jail.
I drove back in super heavy fog, drank half a bottle of wine and made love twice to Robin; then went to sleep. Woke up, made love again, sleep, awake. Maybe five hours sleep. I bathed, and we went to a record shop, Mothers Tires, Ginos, Hutzlers, Giants, wine, back home. We were supposed to go to Mitch and Helen’s, but I couldn’t take it.
We got stoned on the strongest hash I‘ve tasted, and were listening to Neil Diamond, when someone pounded on our door. Three times, pause, three more times. I opened door and there were cops in the hall. Three cops, me super stoned at the peak, the smell of hash, and me just out of jail on my very first day of probation. I went dead inside. But they didn’t even see me because they rushed upstairs calling out, “Is the man you called about up here” and the guy said, “No, he left” and I closed the door and looked at Robin and went even deader inside because of her face.
She was sick with fear. She thought the cops were after us, and it was a ruse and on and on, and I tried everything in the book to calm her and divert her, but it was no use. She went to sleep at 12:30 scared, but we had some heavy rapping before that on pain and how she was, etc. Her fear showed her love for me. Damn, it was pure hell last night. After eleven months of no smoking, I got stoned higher than I’d ever been before, was having visions and then for it to turn into a fear trip at the peak… my stomach’s tight just thinking of it. I never thought hash smoking was strong enough to induce psychosis, but it did. A real bummer.
December 27, 1970: Robin’s got green hash, red hash, black gungy hash, free jerry hash, and super heavy black hash, plus vial of good so so grass. And that is her stash, a very good stash it is for a girl who sixteen months ago was anti-drug. We are relaxed and good now. She’s more tolerant now as am I. This is a very nice visual physical high. We smoked Wednesday night and Friday (Christmas.) It feels good to be this way again. We saw Five Easy Pieces last night, excellent. The Stone’s Let It Bleed album just came on and IT IS OUT OF SIGHT! The pound-pound hypnotic beat of their music, it drives you in and up. The second song is so perfect, beautifully soft. The intro by guitar suddenly scraped by Jagger’s raspy voice. Robin called it “forlorn.”
Maudlin is coming over tonight to smoke, so I’ll simply reload, heavily reload. I’m looking forward to smoking with Robin, plus a third party. Robin and I together have never smoked with anyone else. It’ll be good to see her, educational. We’ve talked continuously these past three days and it is good, we are getting better. The first day was a bit cordial, the rest strained. Now we’ve talked and fucked out most of our tensions, and we have relaxed into a married couple, a happily stoned married couple.
January 1, 1971: I’m lying on the bed writing with Mephisto (the cat) lying on the top half of this page sniffing the pen as I write. It’s damn good to be out, but I’m not totally adjusted yet or completely at ease inside over what Robin has done. She’ll be listening to an old song, and I’ll wonder, “Does that remind her of something she did with Dave… or Ron or Phil or Jerry?” I’ll hold her and wonder if they held her like that. I wonder what she did for them. She took Dave’s penis into her mouth, but she says only briefly. I guess my wife having another man’s penis in her mouth only “briefly” is supposed to make me feel better. She has taken baths and showers with Dave, and he has slept several times overnight here with my wife in our bed.
These things bother me. My wife sleeping (fucking) RonPhilDaveJerry bothers me. She fucked Dave (round twenty times). No, I don’t like it, and I don’t think she should have done it, but, she did do it, and maybe even had to do it to complete being Robin. This I must accept and live with.
I should write a horror story with the most monstrous of destroying monsters, greater even than Gorgo or King Kong or Dracula and I would name this monster “RonPhilDaveJerry and Co.” The huge monster RonPhilDaveJerry advances, penis dripping semen upon another unsuspecting household whose husband is away in jail. And this monster spreads sinisterly over the couples’ wedding bed and viciously fucks the missing husband’s wife, fucks her over and over and over again.
April 7: Robin is unhappy with her poor nobody husband who makes her work. I am the cause of pain. I must be removed. But how? I have two choices. Leave her, or suicide. Leaving her leaves her nothing. Suicide leaves her $20,000. Suicide would also cause her pain.
Waitress just coughed into my ordered coke cup, then filled it with coke, coughing twice more into it. I sat it down on the floor and walked away.
April 20: Robin told me not to pick her up tonight. She’s angry, also shallow. She’s growing, and as she grows she gains new pluses like smoking, tripping and dress sandals, but she’s one of the most narrow-minded selfish people I know. When things go her way, fine; when people or things or animals or the weather goes against her, she explodes bitterly into curses. I don’t care for her when she’s her aggressive harsh man-self. Odds are good we won’t make it.
April 21: We kill each other’s love. I get into a situation and start it off beautifully, but then I slowly louse it up to such a point that I have to get out, à la Five Easy Pieces, à la high school starting off straight A’s ending up C’s, à la Naval Academy getting kicked out, à la finances ending up $3,000 in debt declaring bankruptcy, à la quitting MONY, à la getting fired from Mudge, à la personal relationship with Robin and all people over extended period time, à la armed robbery breakdown, à la ruining Bob Thomas job, à la ruining Robin-Steve marriage, à la my life.
My 143 IQ does me no good because it’s dead. My mind and personality and ambitions match my body deformity of webbed toes, uneven off-sized eyes, tiny mouth, feet way too small, splotchy beard, pale skin, skinny hair, no eyebrows, uncircumcised penis and swollen deformed left testicle. Others find the escape of dying, while I live daily death.
October 15, 1971: The shrew-bitch is in bed. Even making love to her doesn’t shut her whining. Across the street in the third floor kitchen window, there’s a full breasted, long haired, attractive girl. The third floor couple are up there behind their drawn blinds, touching, kissing, loving, coupling, and finding a fresh enjoyment in it. I wished it were my kissing, touching, passion, attraction, maybe even love. I see every short skirt on the street, every full breast, every bra-less jiggle.
Goddamn! She just came out and bitched, brayed, barked at me because I was disturbing her sleep because she couldn’t sleep without me in bed with her. So she snapped, “You can just sleep out here. I’m locking the bedroom door.” Before the beginning of 1974, I will most likely be divorced from her.
To read Part V, see Armed Robbery – Part VHelp Support T21 with your Dollar Donation Today
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