Most people have heard the old adage, "A picture is worth a hundred words." Truer words were never spoken in the case of "Pete". For those of you who have spent time "behind the walls" you know what I am talking about. For those who have not, this maybe a lesson to learn.
Some of the best pencil drawings, and paintings that I have seen over the years have been done by inmates. A good example is look at the tattoos that most of the ex-con display, intentionally or not. Most of these two examples are done with some of the crudest tools that they themselves make or have other prison "genuis's" make. I have heard guard after guard, including myself say on ocassions, "this guy could make a lot of money if he would only put his mind to work on the streets instead of wasting away in here."
To get back to "Pete", we arrested him at his home back in the early 1970's. The other cops and I were busy being excited with finding pictures of other convicts, some on the run, some not. As we were about to leave his home, I noticed a small, maybe 10" X 14" painting hanging on the wall. I was facinated with it and asked him what it was about. He told us that it summed up his entire life. I can't remember all that was on it, but here are some of the features:
At the very top was a human skull which represented his pending death. Beneath it was a hypo syringe with a few drops of blood coming out. This represente his drug addiction to heroin. There were numbers, 1, 5, 10, that stood for the years he spent in prison. Two clowns, one smiling and the other crying. He said that it meant Smile now, cry later. It also had the Ace of Spades, which he said was the card of death. He said many times he felt like he was going to die of an overdose, or being killed by someone over a drug deal gone bad. He just recently died in an automobile accident...