The Twins – an Addict and a Banker (#27)

eastwind journals

‘True Tales’ Series – Volume 27

Updated May 31, 2023 (archive tr180-181)
By Bernie V. Lopez,

Roger became the CEO for an international bank. Richard became a Kung Fu black belter. But he became a drug addict in two years.

Roger caught his wife cheating and shot her and her lover casually on a sidewalk café. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, from banker to jailbird. Richard visited Roger regularly in jail. After ten long years, they meet again.

ROGER – I can’t stand this violent place anymore. A guy is killed every week. Soon, I will be the next. I have been thinking hard of suicide.

RICHARD – Same here. The notion pops in often in my mind when I am high. Soon, I will be killing people to get drug money and join you. I need a place to go ‘cold turkey’ (sudden withdrawal from drugs causing extreme pain and depression, but is effective).

ROGER – Yesterday, an inmate committed suicide.

RICHARD – (Snapping a finger.) I just got an idea. Why don’t we swap. The jail is the perfect place for me to go cold turkey. No drugs available. No choice but to stop.

ROGER – And I can recuperate somewhere. Great idea. We will be saving each other from suicide.

The two banged their knuckles together on the glass between them. The next week, Richard brought a pick for the handcuffs, and when the guard was not looking, they exchanged places. Roger handcuffed Richard after they exchanged clothes and shoes. They could exchange clothes in 15 seconds after weeks of rehearsals. The guard did not even notice.

Roger rented a cheap cottage in a remote lonely beach in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The first time he sat on a sand dune viewing the seascape for four hours until sunset, he wept his heart out, sobbing aloud shamelessly. Every day, he spent hours in his sand dune sanctuary, eating very little. He easily lost 30 pounds, but it healed his wounded spirit.

Then, he started to pray, talking aloud casually to the Lord, during long evening beach walks. In time, he restored his spirituality. He was weak physically but was strong spiritually. He was a new man.

Using Richard’s identification cards, Roger found a job as a high school teacher in a quiet Cape Cod village. He poured himself in his students, teaching them the meaning of life and values and attitudes needed to deal with the cruel world. He loved his students and they loved him back. It was a perfect synergy, an exchange of wisdom and spirituality. Roger found his niche and was happy in the simplicity of life as a teacher. He evolved from Banker to murderer to teacher.

As Roger evolved from banker to teacher, Richard wallowed in jail. He got out of drug addiction quickly cold-turkey by sheer will power. It was easy since there are no drugs in jail.

Slowly, he cleared his head, and detoxified his body. He started eating well. If Roger lost 30 pounds at the beach, Richard gained the same in jail. He went back to Kung Fu. In no time, like Roger, he was a new man.

Andy the Hulk was the most notorious jailbird. No one dared to cross his path. The Blacks and the Italians stayed away. But not Richard. He neither showed fear nor belligerence. He smiled casually to him.

One day, Richard had a confrontation with one of Andy’s men who was irritated by his smile. He punched Richard but missed. Richard easily ‘kung-fued’ him black and blue. Andy took over. Within 20 seconds, Richard also beat him black and blue.

ANDY – I’m impressed. Would you like to teach me and my men?

RICHARD – Sure, but I have a better idea. I will teach all inmates who are interested.

ANDY – The warden won’t permit such a crazy idea.

RICHARD – Wanna bet? Let me talk to Warden Williams.

WILLIAMS – (Laughing hard). Martial arts classes in jail? You’re kidding. It will induce more violence. Never done before.

RICHARD – There’s always a first time. Believe me, Williams, there will be less violence. Kung Fu teaches non-violence, not vengeance or anger. I will teach them non-violence.

WILLIAMS – It’s crazy but you may have a point. Okay, let’s do an experiment.

Eighty of all inmates joined the Kung Fu classes. He had four classes a day in the open air as his students sat on the grass.

RICHARD – First lesson, Kung Fu is the art of self-defense. It is not used for vengeance or anger. Second, there is a difference between brute force and mind-control force. Third, the idea is to be quick to deflect a blow and follow up with a counter-punch. Let me demonstrate. I need a volunteer.

A burly black stood up. The class laughed as Richard was a foot shorter. But when Richard floored him in ten seconds, the laughter stopped. Everyone applauded. Without talking theory, Richard used sparring to teach his lessons. The inmates learned quickly. There was a general peaceful atmosphere. Richard taught them gentleness and forgiveness rather than martial arts. His first lessons were on anger management and conflict management rather getting even with big guys. He became the revered guru. He loved his students as much as they loved him, just like Roger with his students.

WILLIAMS – I’m surprised. Not a single killing in one entire month. You training is working wonders.

RICHARD – Our penal system sucks. We make criminals more criminal.

WILLIAMS – True. A smile works much more than a stick.

RICHARD – Can you present our idea to other wardens – Kung Fu training inside prison? I can do the syllabus.

In time, Richard’s Kung Fu classes spread like wildfire to many jails in several states. He was invited by wardens, who idolized him for bringing peace and harmony in many jails, to give pep talks to their inmates. When he became famous, it was easy to get himself paroled and out of jail in no time. As soon as he was freed, he taught the future teachers, one or two bright representatives from each jail nationwide. It took him two years to install Kung Fu classes in every jail nationwide. The key was to tell them not to deviate from his syllabus. That became his legacy.

Richard joined Roger in Cape Code and became a teacher of martial arts. The twins, who saved each other from suicide, still played the same game, swapping Kung Fu classes with algebra classes, without students knowing about it.


from her nest atop the limestone cliff
towering above the rainforest
the mother eagle patiently teaches her yearling
how to stretch his scrawny wings for weeks
until she feels he is ready for his first flight

the mother eagle then pushes her baby off the cliff
in a microsecond, instinct takes over
either the baby plunges to his death
or he instantly glides gently
nine out of ten, wings give baby eagles freedom

he is instantly on his own
infinity is contained within that microsecond
when the yearling is airborne for the first time
first-flight, first-leap moulds the yearling’s
destiny, survival, his entire life

humans have the same instinctive first flights
from total inertia and darkness
to total energy and light
from total fear and ignorance
to total courage and wisdom

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Author’s book. At age 26, the author (eastwind) drifted through Europe, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for three straight years. He wrote a book on his adventures, Wings and Wanderlust. He learned deep insights that radically changed his view of life, which he wants to share with readers looking for themselves or wanting to catch the wind. More about the book (get a copy) =

Author’s Credentials. Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo University) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN, ex-TVS Tokyo) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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