Marijuana

Jeffrey Meranto – My Wife, My Bride

 

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The Meranto’s

“Jeffrey Meranto, Mrs Jeffrey Meranto,” my new Bride said again and again as she gazed upon the ring I had just placed upon her finger. A ring that had less than a hint of a diamond set in it.

“Mrs Jeffrey Meranto Your Honor. . ,” my mind returning to the present as my Wife stood up before The Judge to give testimony concerning why I should not be sent to prison for the rest of my life for my marijuana charge.

As my Wife spoke memories of my Aunt Stella and my Mother filled my thoughts, “Oh he’s such a Prince your Jeffrey is.” My Aunt Stella said to my Mother. My Aunt Stella who would announce herself on the phone as, “Hey it’s your Fat Aunt Stella, put your Ma on the line.”

“He sure is a keeper your Jeffrey. He’s gonna be a real prize one day, that’s for sure,” Aunt Stella went on.

“True enough,” replied my Mom. “He’s gonna be a prize all right, but whether he’s gonna be The Grand Prize or The Booby Prize only God knows.”

Looking into The Future through my past, as my Wife sat down beside me, I sat there with the understanding that I had become The Grandest Booby Prize of All.

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Jeffrey Meranto. .My Best Worst Day, “Sam I Am. .”

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Typical Prison Cell in America

As I read the news a few days ago I noticed that Electrolux had acquired part of G.E. as in General Electric. The large corporation that manufactures every appliance one needs for today’s home, from refrigerators to stoves and washing machines and all things in between. The name Electrolux rang a bell in my head. Electrolux the manufacturer of vacuum cleaners sold quite often door to door by down on their luck types trying to hustle some homeowner into purchasing one of their latest models. So many bells were ringing in my head that I a got a headache thinking back not so many days before.

                                                       Stress The Big Killer

While serving my sentence for Marijuana I was diagnosed with Cancer and transferred to a medical unit for treatment.

“Stress, my good man. Stress is a killer. This is why, in my humble opinion, you have Cancer.” So stated my Doctor as he pinched, probed, and otherwise examined me that day.

My Doctor was from India, he stood something under 5 feet tall and came complete with multi-colored Turban, white lab coat cut in a Nehru style, and a red dot in the middle of his forehead. In his office he wore small yellow and red colored slippers that looked to be made of velvet. His highly polished wingtips sat on a shelf where he would occasionally pick one up to brush off a speck of dust or pluck some something from inside it. His gloved hands would then inspect the shoe place it back on the shelf and he would silently glide back before me and continue with his examination of me, his patient. “Please to be sticking your tongue out and open wide your mouth,” his fingers moments before handling his shoes now inside my mouth. My thoughts went to pictures I had seen of the hordes of people washing in the filth of the Ganges river but, I was too weak from the Chemo to complain.

“You must to be cautious of stress, my good man,” the Doctor went on fingers deep inside my mouth. “People in my country live in poverty of the worst sort and they live to be 80, 90, even over 100 years of age. Why, I am asking of you, Why and how? Stress I say to you, they have much less stress than you in your country.” His fingers ever in my mouth raising my level of stress until his India dialect and banter somehow mesmerised me into submissive bliss and my thoughts went to my buddy Joe Taco who had just the year before “retired early” from his prison sentence due to Cancer.

Enter Sam The Scam

Later I discovered myself back in my cell wrapped up in my painful delirium as my cell door slid open and the words “Hey buddy, hi. Sam I Am,”  rang out from the mouth of my new cell mate. The cell we lived in was designed for one person with no room to spare. Sam drug his mattress inside the cell then the cell door shut and for the next 8 or 9 months he became my daily entertainment.

I had never met Sam before but, I had heard about him from my first cell mate, “Bits and Pieces.” Bits and Pieces had told me a tale of how he and Sam had years before run a mail order business from inside of prison where they would sell, through the mail, coupons provided free by any number of large Casinos in Las Vegas.

Sam’s wife lived in Las Vegas, she would gather coupons for everything from free drinks, discounts for Top Name Acts on The Strip, to price discounts for rooms then Sam would have her take out ads in a variety of magazines selling them “At Discounted Package Prices.” Bits and Pieces worked in the prison print shop where he would reproduce all the coupons and even crop in pictures of Sam in an assortment of flyers and they would package it all up send it to Sam’s wife and she would mail these “Discount Packages” to anyone who mailed in the $9.99 they were selling it for. According to Bit and Pieces, they made “A KILLING” on it. That was until Sam got into some trouble in prison for selling fake Rolex watches to some King Pin Drug Dealers from Mexico and had to leave the yard for his own safety.

Prisoners could not have expensive Rolex watches, at least not in that particular prison. Sam would sell the watches and have them shipped to relatives of the Convicts he sold them to. One day one of the Cons went to a visit where his Father came in to see him wearing his new fake Rolex. Now this guy may have been raised poor on a corn farm in Mexico but, he knew enough about Rolex watches to know that the second hand did not go tic tic tic. It’s second hand has a continual sweeping motion so, when he saw the tell-tale tic tic tic of “You’ve Been Scammed” he came back into the cell block yelling, “Sam I Am . . Going To Kill You!” After Sam made his get away he forever afterwards introduced himself as, “Sam I Am” although by everyone else inside of prison he was known as “Sam The Scam” or “Sam The Sham.”

Sam was doing time for some Dry Cleaning Hustle. He’d go to the Library of any city and look through phone books from different large towns near by and copy the addresses of restaurants. Then he’d send them a short letter saying some waiter or waitress had spilled something on his suit jacket, explain that he hadn’t wanted to cause a scene at the time, had it dry cleaned himself, please see enclosed a phony dry cleaning receipt, and would you mind ever so much to reimburse me for this amount?

It all worked well for Sam until he sold the idea to some guy who owned an Ethiopian Cab Company. One day the Cab Company Owner ran into Sam at the Post Office and noticed Sam had a fist full of letters from different restaurants and correctly assumed that Sam was running the same scam that he had sold to him.

Someone tipped the Postal Authorities to Sam’s doings and he later got arrested for over a Thousand Counts of Postal Fraud. “It was that Ethiopian Cabbie, I know it was,” Sam wailed one day. “No sense of enterprise that guy. Hell, this Country’s so big he could have sold the idea to half his family and we’d all still have a big enough piece of the pie!”

“I started selling Electrolux vacuum cleaners back in the Fifties door to door,” Sam one day told me. “I should’ve stuck with them. I’ll bet I could be some kind of a Manager by now. .” His voice quietly rings in my ear now.

Yes Sam, I think you should have stuck with Electrolux. Who knows where you’d be today.

 

 

Jeffrey Meranto – My Best Worst Day part 1

Jeffrey Meranto Slipping Into Darkness

It’s odd how a person’s mind functions under stress. As I was placed “Under Arrest” and the Agent told me, “Mr Meranto you are under arrest for narcotics violations,” I didn’t think of my family, I didn’t think of the possibility of years, even a lifetime in prison, I didn’t wonder about what they were saying, or the fact that DEA Agents were swarming into my business like so many uninvited ants invading a picnic, I thought about our cat.

My wife and I had gone down to an animal shelter looking to buy a puppy and we walked away with a mangy old cat. She was secluded in a small cage away from the other animals due to a horrid case of ringworm that made her appear like something come back from the dead. Seeing her all alone and defeated in her small cage we knew she would never be adopted so we asked about her. We were told that her ringworm was “aggressive” and that she had not responded to treatment. Long story short she was slated to be “put down.”

7 months of salves, ointments, emollients, balms, creams, lotions, and dips. 7 months of scratches and bites. 7 months of plastic then rubber then finally leather gloves. 7 months of searching under beds, chairs, cupboards and cabinets to find her so we could continue her treatments. 7 months of playing “Mad Scientists” and she was finally free of her mangy coat.

And I sat with my hands cuffed behind my back watching the DEA thanking God that our cat was healed from ringworm.

Meranto – Jeffrey

Processed Into The System

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Jeffrey Meranto Mugshot

The events that follow an arrest are to be best thought of as being written by some far away Russian Novelist. The only thing missing was the sound of the wind blowing across the snowy steppes as I was placed inside a van that had no windows only steel mesh where the glass should have been.

Hours of waiting, being moved from holding cells to interrogation rooms then on again to the same cells only on a different level then back to the same interrogation rooms rearranged and repainted each time but, the same none the less even though they were in different buildings. Always the same cell always the same room just in different locations.

As I was being marched towards the camera for my “booking” picture I caught a glimpse of my reflection and I was 10 years old again. We had gathered for some family event. Well fed and eager to be away from each other we scrunched together so some balding Uncle could take a Family photo. My Mother in a moment of madness attempted to tame my wild hair.

“MOM!” I exclaimed loudly, as she was using the one sure cure-all that all Mothers use for everything from cleaning a smudged face, to putting the shine back on your Sunday School Shoes, or, as was in my case, to slick down some cowlick – Saliva. My Mother had spit in her hand and was applying it with vigor to my head.

Satisfied and looking at my hair she gave the nod that all was in order. Click. One month later when our copy of the photo had arrived my Mom said, “Oh Jeffrey.” My hair had a mind of its own and while I might behave for fear of having my Mom tell my Dad, my hair had no such inclination and the picture proved it. There I was my head sprouting horns left, right, and center. The photo was framed and set on the mantel and for years I had to look at it with my many sets of wet horns.

As I stood there in the jail having my picture taken I remembered that old family picture and thought to myself, “This one’s going to look even worse.” And I think I was right.

We all have bad days. We all have worse days. From the time of my arrest until after my release from prison I view as one day, ” The Worst Day” of my life. Time stopped. I woke up, went to work, and got arrested. I went to sleep that night in a jail cell trying to determine how old it was by peeling away the successive layers of paint. Year one white, years  following yellow, beige, grey, black, and blue. Years later I wake up in a hotel room with green and gold drapes after being released from prison . . next day the alarm rings – stretch then yawn. Day two.

Jeffrey Meranto Phoenix Businessman steps in POOP

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Family Man, Retired Phoenix AZ Business Man Jeffrey Meranto

  I have never worked for anyone other than myself. I write this with a bit of pride but, not for myself . . for my Father.

When I was eleven years old my Father and I were out shopping in the old Christown Shopping Mall. Big stuff back in those days!

We got whatever it was that my Dad wanted to purchase and we did some window shopping. Just wandering about the various stores him looking at tools and things that he thought might be useful around the house me looking at every pretty girl in Phoenix who happened to be there. And at that time in Phoenix Christown was where they were.

(Eleven was when pretty girls began to matter to me! Leading me to later be married to The Prettiest Girl in Phoenix AZ! My Wife, my Bride who has stuck with me through all the good times and bad.)

Jeff Meranto's Dream Bike. 1960 Schwinn banana seat with apehanger handle bars

Jeff’s Dream Ride

And then there it was, the one thing that could turn my eye from all those pretty girls. . a 1960ish Schwinn Bicycle. Not just any Schwinn bike this was HOT, Banana Bike Seat, Apehanger handle bars, 3 speed with a stick shift! WOW!

“DAD, I Gotta have it!” The words escaped from my mouth before I had time to concoct any plan of action that might somehow someway convince my Father that his eldest son who, lacked nothing in life, “NEEDED” this latest new toy.

It was more than $50.00. My Dad looked at the price tag. “FIFTY DOLLARS?!?! Jeffrey, you could get a used car for FIFTY DOLLARS. JEFF you are NOT getting this bike.”

That was that, when DAD looked at me with that “DAD LOOK” I knew I was doomed. Every boy knows that certain Dad Look that says “are you crazy, are you even my child, or did you get mixed up with some other boy at the hospital and I brought the wrong kid home?”

So we drove home. Me looking wistfully out the window dreaming about how cool I’d look riding that bike and my Dad no doubt looking me over making certain that there were familiar family features imprinted upon my face assuring him that daft as I might be, I truly was his offspring. . .

After two days of  wandering  around listlessly and aimlessly because of unhappiness over my unfulfilled “Need” of a new bike my Father called me into the living room and told me that if I really wanted that bike I should WORK for it. And he gave me an idea. Take the lawn mower around the neighborhood and mow lawns. Sometimes Fathers Can Be Brilliant!

So I did just that and I attacked my neighborhood with all the fervor any young 11 year old on a quest can muster. After one solid week of knocking on doors, dragging the mower, mowing lawns, repeat I had amassed about 13 dollars. I could see my prize nearly in my grip, wind whipping through my crew cut scalp as I popped wheelies within the confines of my imagination!

My Father asked me, “So how’s it going? How much didya’ make this last week?” I was so excited, “13 Dollars Dad!” He smiled his Dad Smile then asked me, “And how much do you plan on giving me?” “Huh?”, was the best I could answer.

“For the use of my mower. Rental fees for using my lawn mower. What do you think is fair?”

My very first Bubble burst.”POP!”  I had never thought of Anything like that which he being a Father very well knew. He explained to me some basic facts of business which I can put here in brief: “It’s a ‘Dog eat dog world’ .”

By the time I had gotten enough cash to purchase that bike I bought my own lawn mower, which my Father would charge me storage fees for, and truly entered into the world of small business ownership. 4 years later with two high school guys as employees I had 3 lawn mowers, 2 gas powered edgers, and and assortment of odds and ends for lawn and garden grooming.

We were moving after I turned 15 and my Dad helped me find someone to buy my client list plus the equipment for a good profit! Then the I.R.S. came into play, “POP”, my second Bubble burst.

So due to my Father’s wisdom I have always owned my own business and I’ve never worked for anyone other than myself. Which leads us to later in my life when I owned several businesses including a Jet Ski sales business. which is where my troubles began.

jeffrey meranto's bubble

Just prior to my stepping in Big Doo-doo the economy was good, very good. But everyone was talking about ” The Bubble ” and when it would POP. I was up to my ears in debt and everyone I knew kept talking about The Bubble Busting.

One day my Grandson came to spend the weekend and while I was unpacking his things I saw he had brought his own bath stuff . . including a bottle of Mr Bubble. “POP”
Looking back on it, I Laugh, BUT at the time I was panicked. 
Then one day at my business a young guy walks in and asks if he can make a purchase with CASH. 
What do you think I told him?
Long story short, he makes several purchases each time with CASH. So I ask him straight out, “What do you do for a living?” Turns out he’s a Student at The University and he point blank tells me he sells “POT” He’s ready to graduate without any debt. Before he leaves he tells me that he has stopped selling the stuff as he’s about to graduate, But if I ever want any to call him before the semester ends and he’ll get me some for his cost.
Why oh why I ever mentioned it I’ll never know but I did. I was at an upscale club in Scottsdale and I said something to a bartender. The next thing I knew he was introducing me to a “friend of his.” Some guy with a ” Back East ” accent who was ” in the market.”
He wanted 100 kilograms. I was thinking 100 baggies as in Ounces and I thought that was a lot!
I called the Student he said he’s never bought that much before he’d have to get back to me. When he did he gave me a price and I thought “That’s got to be Some Good Pot” as I was thinking Ounces NOT KILOGRAMS! But I also felt better because I never thought this Back East Guy would want to give me that kind of cash.
I asked the kid what the markup would be on resale, he said ” Easy Double & That’s Passing Along A Discount.”
I was more than nervous I was flat out afraid. So I met with the buyer told him the outrageous price and he told me ” No Problem. Meet Me Tonight.”  My heart stopped. The rest of the story is a blur. The bottom line is the Back East Guy was a Government Agent. My one and only sale was to the Feds.
They told me to give them my supplier & the student. I kept thinking how that young boy had his entire life ahead of him, my wife also brought that up to me after I told her the whole story. So my wife and I agreed I would keep my mouth shut and I would dance to whatever music the Prosecutor played.
Possession of Narcotics?? I asked my attorney if they were serious. My attorney said that they were angry because I wouldn’t talk to them and the Federal Prosecutor wanted to make an example out of me. I still wonder, ” An Example Of What & To Who? “
So now even to this day I’m still an example. My charges of Possession of Narcotics & Tax Fraud still haunt me. The fines totally wiped me out financially.
So to anyone and everyone who might be worried about some “BUBBLE BURSTING” there are worse things. Yet even those worse things can be lived through.

Come Back For My Next Post Where I Describe In Hilarious Detail ALL The Bump and Grind that a naive businessman turned wanna be pot dealer can get up to!

 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey Meranto’s “Slam Bang Clang” Brush With The Law [ in brief ]

My name is Jeff Meranto. I am  approaching  the twilight of my life and in doing so it is my desire to record a few facts in order to Set The Record Straight.

A number of years ago I was arrested for Marijuana in Phoenix AZ.  Anyone who types in Jeffrey Meranto, or even Jeff Meranto into a Search Engine will readily see this. At least they will be able to read what the Government put out there.
I admit the general facts of what they wrote. I admit this. I also admit that it was WRONG. I also admit that I became confused by GREED.
 
When I was arrested the Government offered me ” A Deal ” Turn in someone and go completely Free or go to prison.
They said to me, “Mr. Meranto, You’ve got a family you have a life. Don’t be a fool give us some information and you can go home tonight. We will erase EVERYTHING. No Charges, NOTHING. “
They were right. I do have a Family. I had a good reputation as well and they promised me they would destroy both. I found out that this is how Prosecutors operate. Give us something and we will treat you right or keep your mouth shut and be destroyed.
 
It’s all over now so I feel that I can write down how One Middle Aged Family Man with his own business got himself so deep so quick into so much poop and how that continues to haunt me even to this day. .