be a great criminal. #FSCOTTFITZGERALD This Side of Paradise
I HAD A FINE upstanding looking young man come to see me I had seen hanging around for weeks. Have you ever met someone who looks just like you in almost every way? It's very scary but wears off real fast. Mid-thirties, Don Johnson Standard Men's Haircut, slender like me, everything, we were fucking identical. His name was J. C. Helms and he ran a successful multi state marijuana transportation service for many years and large quantities of marijuana generate large quantities of US Currency. After years of this he eventually got busted and the government said he was an Organizer and Leader they charged him under the "King Pin," statute and he would have received a life sentence but plead guilty. Jimmy did something I never heard any mortal man do: he Self Surrender to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons to serve a TWENTY YEAR SENTENCE! He would do a minimum of eighteen calendar years and they promised him he would go to where we were, FCI Seagoville, just south of Fort Worth along a major interstate. Took him three years: they sent him to FCI La Tuna, St. Anthony, New Mexico along interstate 10. He said it was awful.
A LOT of serious men would hang around and watch me for months before talking to me and listen for scuttlebutt for my reputation, before approaching me. Like George Kosko in "I'm Going to Turn a Toothpick Into a Lumber Yard," (link), I had a stellar reputation because I was the only guy there who actually sit in a class room for three years of night school while holding down a full time job. That and I read one-hundred and twenty volumes of United States Supreme Court cases while I was there and knew more about the law than anyone you ever heard of. After I placed fellow prisoners in charge of every little single thing to do, I ran track, read, played Blackjack and talked to Jimmy.
J.C. HELM'S had almost three months to self surrender to FCI La Tuna and had every facet of his life in order to go away for twenty-years but he didn't plan on his wife wanting a divorce and now "Jimmy," to me, is in a pickle and he needs my help. He knows I'm getting out soon and it seams he has buried two million dollars in two Blue Igloo Ice Cooler's full of shrink wrapped hundred dollar bills behind a certain Rest Area on a certain major Interstate, and he wanted me to go get that money for him....
"Mr. Vaughn, I made an appointment with your secretary and gave her
ON A BACKSTREET in any little town anywhere in America one person with a strong desire to help others and probably homeless themselves at one time began a women and children in crises center or a food pantry in a local nondenominational small church or a homeless shelter for the down and out. The Helm's Homeless Shelter in Jimmy's hometown was began by one of his relatives Jenny, there were sixty-two 'Helms, listed in the phone book of a community of less than two-thousand. I sat in the back of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store on the main drag of the small town and could see her when she pulled up in a old beater and made her way to the front door where she always reached into the big commercial size mail box knowing someday in big donation was at hand. She did get a five-hundred dollar check from a local church the first year she opened when she was twenty-nine in 1978. All these years later always in the red, she was now $62,859 in debt right now and hadn't had a good night's sleep in years, but that was about to change. Poor people could be seen coming and going at a country pace, Jimmy told me he used to ride by there with that trusty tool-box in his bright red pick-up truck he had had for years slap full of money and didn't know how to help her. If he walked up and handed her cash it was like admitting he was a marijuana dealer, he couldn't do that then, but now he could.
I WATCHED HER fish out the small box just big enough to hold a hundred-thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills wrapped in bright money-green Christmas paper, she paused just long enough to read the card, "FROM JCHELMS Love-Jimmy," ripped open the cheap paper and immediately leap straight in the air like a teenager like her ass was on fire and began running around the parking lot like a crazy woman, suddenly stopping to look in the box and start all over again...
THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY JAIL in Tampa, Florida was the last place I expected to find Cheri Helms, doing day twenty-seven of a thirty day sentence for her third DUI. When I checked in I found out I could pay seventy-five dollar a day for the remaining days she had, and she could leave with me, I paid it and found this drop dead brunette gorgeous woman even without makeup, Jimmy's age, but looked nineteen even with her roots showing and fading tan. I found her sitting behind thick safety-glass with a big clumsy black phone she looked all of one hundred pounds ambushed by fate and in need of protection but had a fierce independent look about her. I was her only visit and she was surprised to see me and even shocked for a moment. "Who the fuck are you?" She had the thickest country accent you ever heard.
"I'm the guy Jimmy sent to make sure you are alright, how you doing."
"I'm just fucking dandy, can't you tell? Where's Jimmy?" There's Notice's everywhere telling you these conversations are monitored.
"He's on a extended vacation. What are you doing when you get out of here?"
"My mom is supposed to be send me a money order so I can get back up there, but I haven't got yet and we been talking about it since I got in here."
"What is it you want to do?"
"I just want to get out of here and I'll deal with all that then, I'm not stressing all that now." After a few moments, "You scarred the hell out of me, I thought you were Jimmy and I was in a dream for an instant. Anybody tell you you look just like "Jimmy?"
They called her name over the public address system telling her to report to Booking and Discharge and bring all her property and her eye's lit up like a a little kid and started bouncing around overjoyed and happy to be getting out.
"Did you do this? Why didn't you tell me."
She started crying and fell forward balling with the phone in her ear, I said.
"I'll see you outside."
And left her there to compose herself.
LESS THAN an hour later she jumped in my old pick-up truck her eyes alight and sparkling and she was hyper-ventilating she was so excited. First thing out of her mouth again was,
"You know you look just 'Jimmy don't you?
I thought I was having a flashback thing when I seen you. What are you doing here? Where's Jimmy?
'What's that? he waited a second and then said, "Shrimp."
"I'd like to go into rehab. I can't live like this anymore! This is my third DUI! Next time I go to real prison!" She paused a again after looking around at all the comings and goings of a big city county jail and looked directly at me again, "I'm broken. I need to talk to somebody. My life spun out of control after Jimmy got locked up." Again, after a short pause she exclaimed, "Hell, I want a drink again right
"Fuck that! I can't be around drinking, but I can get you into rehab....
"Really? Because I have nowhere to go, I don't want to start dancing again. That's the worst enviornment to be around if you don't want to drink. If I have to go live with my mother again I will just die."
"Well alright, just remember, anything I do for you is from Jimmy, I don't got nothing neither......I'm just 'Jimmy's Ghost...
JIMMY'S TWO kid's were at the foster parents of Joe and Linda McDuggan in the little town of _____. I had Cherie wait in the car way out on the side of the road I walked up the three hundred foot drive way in the bright beautiful sunny day with children playing in the front yard and they seen me first when the dogs started barking and running toward me. I seen the could see their mother in the passenger seat of the car along the road with the window down. I passed a couple broke down cars and old lawn mowers in need of repair, they all stopped and were watching me swinging my arms like I was playing so as not to alarm them. The front door swung open before i got to it and Linda McLuhan was ready to do battle for them children. Big Bill right behind her for back-up they were disarmed by me smiling like Publisher's Clearing House just showed up. I step up two small stairs high enough to hand her two small Green Christmas wrapped packages with each of the children's names on small cards and looked a lot like bundles of money.
"Jimmy told me to bring ya'll this." I turned around and started back bit stopped and whipped out my iphone and pretended to look at Google Maps while filming the children in HD with them knowing it.
THE FIRST TIME I approached an old beater in the Wallyworld parking lot I could see kids and puppies and old blankets and beat up shoes. People and kids sleeping every which way making no effort to shield the world from their impoverished state. I remember when I was a kid in the same situation my alcoholic parents dragged us through. My dad was sick of stopping for the dogs to pee and once in the middle of the night my dad driving I got the small puppy to actually piss in a plastic bowl with the dexterity of hand surgeon operating at sixty miles an hour. I think I was day dreaming about telling all my family what great hand I was when I slid the window open to throw the pee out and it went right back in the car all over every one! I think they were debating burring me at the next rest area they so pissed off...
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11:42 AM 3/10/2015
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