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Crystal Meth Unicorns From the San Bruno Jail

January 31st, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Tim Gordon (of Royal Quiet Deluxe) was released from jail out in San Francisco last Friday. He had been locked up in there since late September on a false testimony for crimes that he definitely did not commit.

That’s the justice system for you. They tried to break him, tried to get him to plead guilty to crimes he didn’t commit, and he stood strong. Now he’s out and I couldn’t be happier about it.

We have been writing back and forth like teenaged lovers at two different boarding schools since sometime around Halloween. As happy as I am that Tim is out, I am going to miss writing so often. I looked forward to opening his letters at my office. I’d shut my door and read them over and over throughout the day, keeping them in my pocket until I got home at night.

He’d send me little stuff from time to time, stuff that showed he was thinking about me — stuff that showed he was keeping his soul alive, too. He said it was okay to share some of these here, and I will be over the next few months.

I was supposed to be the one keeping Tim’s spirits up, but the picture and letter below really made me smile. My friend Xeni coined the term “unicorn chaser,” and I doubt she’s seen one as bittersweet as this one.

Before reading, you should know this: Tim actually did used to hammer a pen up his nose and make drawings for all takers on the streets of San Francisco. Trust me, it’ll make sense later.

Crystal Meth Unicorns

(See the letter explaining this after the jump.)

Unicorn Letter, front

Unicorn Letter, back

Here’s a transcript for Google/readability purposes. I’ve take the liberty of making minor spelling and punctuation edits:


I scored some color pencils about 2 weeks ago and have been drawing quite a bit. It’s been a while since I actually used pens and pencils for anything past a rough sketch. Usually PhotoShop or Illustrator takes it over from there.

It’s been nice to physically create again. I’ve had an issue with subject matter in here, though. I mostly draw self-portraits of sorts: Me in orange, counting the days with looks of desperation or depression.

One or two people saw my drawings an now everyone wants me to draw shit for them or their lady back home. I have to say, it’s opened up my mind and my sketch pad greatly.

It kind of reminds me when I first started doing “nose drawings,” where I’d hammer a pen up my nose and draw. At first I got stuck in the studio with “what the fuck do I draw?” I took a desk out to public places and asked people what they wanted me to draw, then rendered that.

It was great practice, then eventually the performance evolved to just that – Drawing what the people wanted.

I get commissions for chips, candy bars, stamped envelopes, basic commissary goodies. Mostly I get people wanting tattoo designs. I did a nice version of “The Weighing of the Souls” the other day. A black Muslim man asked me to draw a unicorn for his wife. I tried to make a black unicorn, but it just wouldn’t come out right. Eventually the guy got a white unicorn with blond hair & blue eyes. He liked it, though.

It’s funny, ’cause when I was in jail in Virginia back in 2002, I drew a unicorn next to a waterfall, all set under a rainbow for some guy’s wife.

Anyway, all this inspired me to draw you a unicorn scene. White folks are rare in here, kinda like unicorns. At the moment in my pod of 48 guys there is only one other honky. He is constantly trying to be my pal, but he is really really fucking annoying.

He has a “Jesus” neck tattoo, which is really odd because the last white guy in here had a Satanic neck tattoo! In reality both of those guys’ God was obviously crystal meth. Enjoy the drawing, it makes me laugh – which is very necessary in this place.



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