My friend, the criminal. 

Please know that what you read below is my account from my side of the “bars.”  No names have been used for the purpose of anonymity. I have been given full permission to write about The Pink Bandit’s time as an inmate as well as our correspondence and conversations over the last 6 years. Enjoy!

I met The Pink Bandit in jail; I was a mental health case manager at the time, and she was fresh meat in a fishbowl of piranhas. She was a kindred spirit that picked up my inner nerd quirks (nerks? New word?  No? Okay.) from across a metal table.  The thin, canvas jumpsuits were such an unflattering green on almost anyone, but she was smiling, (nervously) and it seemed to be that she was “managing” this situation decently.  This young girl, fresh out of college had just started working at the local paper…why in the world was she here? She just kept saying that she knew why she was here, and that she was just doing her time. She was too optimistic. Too oblivious? I couldn’t figure it out at first glance, so I started to dig through her chart. 

Her chart contained little about her (as this was her initial evaluation) so I just stared at the cover of her chart and listened. Our psychiatrist got to asking the conversational questions head shrinkers ask when probing every orephace of another’s memories for problems to solve or analyze. She was in good hands. This doctor knew her shit and I’d witnessed her walk people to safety through mental mine fields. This kid we were staring at seemed to be in a euphoric state of denial.  Or something…

It was culture shock but jail style. She wasn’t used to the lack of books, the tiny flexi-pens that made it impossible to write for long periods of time without making your hand cramp. The lack of things to write on. In the first months of her incarceration I would watch her scribble on napkins when she couldn’t get paper quick enough. Eventually, her library grew, mostly due to nice friends and family sending her books upon books. She introduced me to The Bloggess, who just happens to be my favorite author of all times. I accomplished getting a signed copy of her newest book for Crystal when and if they ever let her out. Haha

I digress…

She wove a story that flowed too easily to be true, it felt.  It sounded straight out of a blockbuster hit or best selling novel. I was flabbergasted (I know, nerd alert!) to realize that we were in school around the same time. I had read her articles in the Kernal and the Herald Leader.  She came from a small town in South Central Kentucky, which was known to be very small and rural.  Her family was struggling financially, and she had somehow ended up being the so-called “daddy warbucks” of the family…while in college…full time…with a job that barely paid enough to support herself. 
Here came the tears. Not many – crying in jail should be done in private, when you go to bed or when you’re in the shower. One thing this newbie had figured out was this…don’t let them see you cry. You’ll become someone’s bitch. 
 Back to her story…the tears forming were definitely real. This was probably the first time she had talked about the mess she dealt with regarding her family. Her father had passed and her mother suffered from multiple sclerosis, as well as a smattering of mental health issues. She had been the caregiver for some time and when her mother became too difficult to take care of on her own, forcing her mother to have to live in a nursing home, forcing her to pay the bill. This worked for a while and she made ends meet until she couldn’t anymore. And when she couldn’t anymore, she somehow decided that robbing a bank would no longer suffice as just a joke to her close friends when running low on funds. She was coined the Pink Bandit not long after she committed the second of four robberies a short four months later.

If I remember correctly, she hates that name…