Ask most people who’ve done serious prison time what the experience was like and you’ll get a long, blank, painful look. Not so with Jake. He immediately springs to life and launches into exciting tale after tale of the grand experiences he’s had inside America’s houses of incarceration, laughing his head off the whole time. You kind of get the impression that, Hey, being behind bars, at least for a short stretch, might not be that bad after all. I asked Jake if he thought prison was something everyone should experience.
“No! Definitely not!” he roared, glaring at me with an angry, disgusted look. “Being in jail is a painful and humiliating experience that no one needs to go through and no one enjoys. Anyone who tells you any different is a complete asshole, and that’s not me, sir!
“What the hell could be worse than having all your personal freedom taken away?” he continued. “Your every moment is controlled by your keepers. You eat when they say ‘eat,’ and you shit when they say ‘shit.’ You might be smarter than they are, and you were probably better to your mother than they were to theirs, but now you shut up when they say ‘shut up,’ and you stand where they say to stand. Does that sound like fun to you?
“No one loves their freedom and independence more than I do, man!” Jake exclaimed. “I know what it’s like to swing my leg onto a customized Harley chopper and set out across America with the wind screaming in my face and the blood rushing through my veins. Freedom! Glorious freedom! Most people from the life I was born into rode a damn desk all their life, wearing neckties their family bought them for Christmas, but I took one bite of that happy horseshit and spit it out. Now here I was, locked in a friggin’ cell!
“Don’t you think I might’ve had a moment or two of self-doubt, like maybe I’d made a mistake or something? Do you think I liked being in solitary and not seeing the sun day after day after I’d been a Miami Beach party boy? How do you think I felt knowing I might never walk down a street on an autumn afternoon feeling the light rain on my face again? Sometimes a thought like that would hit me sideways and I’d get a overwhelming feeling of panic and dread of the future I was facing.
“What I did was make the best of a very bad situation,” Jake told me. “I grew accustomed to hearing inmates laying on their bunks all night whimpering for that woman they’d never sleep with again, or for that kid they’d never get to throw a baseball back and forth with. They’d gather in the prison yard to brag about the great life they had on the outside, and how they definitely didn’t deserve their prison sentence. Hey, I was the only guilty one in the whole damn place! I sure as hell did what I was accused of, and no amount of fantasy bullshit was gonna change that. I never talked about what my life was like on the outside, because I was exceedingly well aware that that life was gone, maybe forever, and what I had to do was embrace the reality of my new life. I wouldn’t allow myself to wallow in despair. I’d made a decision at a very early age to always go right straight for the gusto every friggin’ time, no matter what the circumstances might be, and being locked in a jail cell was no exception. You have to grab whatever opportunity for fun and excitement comes your way, because if you don’t, well, you don’t — just like on the outside.
“Let me see,” Jake said, pretending to ponder, “maybe I can come up with one of my fun prison stories to illustrate the point for you.”
Oh, the sarcasm, I thought to myself.
“OK, here you go,” he began, beaming. “Sonny Barger, the president of the Hell’s Angels at the time and the greatest leader of men the planet has ever known, arranged a little surprise for me when I was incarcerated in San Quentin in the late 1960s. The story of how I managed to make the most of that little surprise might give you some insight into how I approached life behind bars in general.
“Sonny, of course, had a very good idea of what I was going through in San Quentin, insomuch as he knew I’d never been in any kind of jail before, and now here I was locked up with some of the country’s most dangerous criminals. He also knew the warden had ordered that I couldn’t have visits from my Hell’s Angels brothers. Maybe he thought they’d try to spring me, I don’t know.
“Anyway, one visiting day when they announced over the intercom which inmates had visitors, they said my name. I couldn’t believe it, because I hardly knew anyone in California besides my Hell’s Angels brothers, so I was very curious about what was up. When I got to the visiting room I didn’t recognize anyone, but when I spotted an absolutely beautiful blonde woman wearing a black mini-skirt, sitting with her legs crossed waiting with the other visitors, she was all I was interested in anyway. We’re talking a 28-year-old, extraordinarily healthy American male, with a notoriously immense sexual appetite, who hasn’t seen a woman in months!
“When the woman saw me staring at her, she smiled demurely and lowered her gaze, appearing to be blushing. Then she picked her head up and looked straight over at me with the most wanton, I-want-you-right-now look I’ve ever seen on a woman’s face in my life! When she slowly uncrossed her legs, stood up and started walking across the room to my visitors station, like she was on the boardwalk of the Miss America beauty pageant, San Quentin suddenly turned into heaven!
“So there she was, sitting a few feet across the table from me, with a wooden divider about a foot tall separating us, but I didn’t care about that. Just looking at her was enough for me! We tried to talk a little, but she seemed to be having trouble speaking. I thought she was just nervous, but I soon found out that wasn’t the case at all.
“A prisoner and his visitor were allowed one fairly short kiss, and the procedure was for the two of you to stand up and lean over the wooden divider. Romantic, huh? Well, anyway, I figured out that what the voluptuous yellow-haired lady was trying to say was that we should kiss, because her visit was a little gift from Sonny and he’d be disappointed if we didn’t. I was all for it, of course, but as soon as we leaned in and our lips met, I realized there was another gift involved here. She stuck her tongue in my mouth deeper than any woman had before and deposited two LSD tablets down my throat! Thank you, Sonny!
“Now that she could talk better, we had a very enjoyable conversation, mostly about Sonny’s appreciation of the fact I hadn’t ratted on my Hell’s Angels brothers after the suicide charge I led into the apartment of some enemies of the club. The LSD started to do its thing, though, and I was losing my ability to continue our conversation. Sonny was buddies with a well-known, genius chemist who created the most potent form of LSD available, and I had ingested two tablets of what I recognized to be his signature recipe.
“Now, anyone who’s familiar with the tripping experience will tell you that in addition to the hallucinations, LSD makes whatever your state of mind is more intense. So I was intensely horny, and there’s this blonde goddess panting for my body as much as I am for hers. Damn! After a while we just stopped talking and sat looking at one another, practically drooling. Then I did it! I hopped up onto the visitors table, stepped over the fucking divider, then jumped down and muckled onto her! I can still feel her body today!
“We were clawing at each other like wild animals in heat! And keep in mind that everybody in the room was watching us. My hands immediately flew up her dress, and before the guards got to us and started beating me with their billy clubs I achieved full digital penetration. Full digital penetration, sir! When they were dragging me away, one of the guards laughed and said I’d be spending a few months in solitary, on bread and water, for my brief moment of pure joy. When he asked me if it was worth it, I yelled, ‘Hell, yes!’ And all the other prisoners and their visitors applauded like mad and cheered their heads off!
“Just for the record, my friend,” Jake added, having calmed down a bit, “the young lady’s name was Ginger and she was a graduate of UCLA. When I got miraculously paroled from San Quentin, she was waiting for me at Sonny Barger’s house. We spent the night in his bed, and I’ve always considered that one of the highest honors I’ve ever received.
“So that’s the end of today’s little love story,” Jake chuckled as I closed my notebook. “Bet you didn’t know I had such a big romantic streak in me, huh?”