Author’s note: Frog Gravy is a depiction of daily life during incarceration in Kentucky, first in jails and then in prison, in 2008 and 2009, and is reconstructed from my notes.

Names have been changed, except for nicknames that do not reveal identity.

This post is from jail.

Frog Gravy contains graphic language.

McCracken County Jail, Cell 107, February 2008

I am seated at the steel table, tearing the back blank pages out of various novels, and folding the pages into origami cranes. The novels are from the jail ‘library.’ The titles are: Killing Kelly, The Kill Zone, Renegade, Hand Picked Husband, Cold Night Warm Stranger and Love’s Stolen Promises.

Ruthie is seated next to me, watching. She wants to learn how to fold cranes. I have asked her to watch me fold a few first, and then I will teach her.

The current crane is from Hand Picked Husband.

Leese is on her bunk, writing a poem. Sirkka is on Terry’s bunk, rubbing Terry’s back. The television is on, airing The Price Is Right.

Down the hall in his isolation cell, Harry yells “HELP! Let me out! Helpmehelpmehelpme HELP!”

Christie is on her bunk, talking:

“Last time I was in the hole, I was next door to Trip, and I mean we talked all night. I am not lyin,’ he was hung just like a mule, and he’d get down onto the floor underneath the door like this…” (She demonstrates), “and stick his thing under the door and say, “Can you see it now?!””

“He was hung,” agrees Tina, “Especially for a white boy.”

Christie continues: “And he said if I send you a piece of paper will you wipe your coochie on it and send it back to me? And at first I wasn’t gonna do it, but he’d say, “Chicken, you chicken,” so then I did it.”

“And?” I ask.

“And there was all this pantin’ and everything, and then it was quiet.”

“Trip was a trip,” says Tina. “He used to jerk off at the window to the hallway when we were walking by his cell on our way to church service.”

“Didn’t he get kicked out of church for that?” asks Sirkka.

“Yeah,” says Tina. “And there’d be all this jizz on the windows…”

“That’s not as bad as Jennifer up on the table naked with a shampoo bottle up her cooch when the men walked by,” I say.

A male Class D, Walter, who has a crush on Christie, walks by the hallway window with a broom and signals Christie that he has a note for her, but he will wait until the guard passes.

The guard, Sally, opens the door flap to our cell, hands in a roll of toilet paper, and says, “You bitches is lazy.”

Sally closes the flap and leaves.

“Isn’t she going to retire soon?” I ask.

“She’s always been like that,” says Christie.

Walter comes back, and sweeps a note for Christie under the door with the broom.

Walter wants the other Class D who works the hallway with him fired, so Walter can have the whole hallway to himself. He has cooked up a scheme. He wants us to put a note out to the guards.

Walter has taken the time to compose the note for us. It reads:

“That man on Class D, second shift, askd us to suck his big black dick. We is white women and we are not enterested.”

Tina says, “I don’t want to write a note out on Cecil.”

“Neither do I,” I say. “He never hurt any of us.”

Terry says, “Yeah. He never hurt nobody.”

Suddenly Sirkka jumps up and runs across the room shouting, “OH! What the fuck was THAT?! You nasty bitch!!”

It seems that Terry has just farted.

Christie says, “She lifted her ass cheeks, just like a man.”

Tina says, “Something crawled up in there and died.”

“Put a cork in yer butt,” says Leese.

“I can’t poop. That’s the problem,” says Terry.

“Put some soap in your butt,” says Christie. “I used to do that with my daughter when she was constipated.”

“Yeah, it works,” says Tina.

I can’t believe it but Terry is headed to the toilet with soap in hand.

“Rachel, help me,” says Terry from the stall.

“Not with that, nope,” I say.

“Just put a little piece in, then pull it out,” says Christie.

“Does it burn?” asks Terry.

“Have you ever had a dick up your ass?” asks Leese.

“She didn’t just say that,” I say.

From the stall, Terry says, “I don’t believe you, Leese. Have you ever had a dick up your ass?”

“Hell, yeah. He done popped the head in and I kicked the motherfucker right off and ran to the shower, cryin.’ I cried when I shit. I don’t let no dick up my asshole.”

Tina says, “You can come with a dick up your ass.”

Terry (in the stall) says, “This burns like a dick up your ass.”

Christie says, “Put your leg up. Stick the bar further up your ass.”

Leese says, “Courtesy flush, courtesy flush!”


“You drop ten turds…you flush eleven times. You’re gassin’ up the cell,” says Leese.

“Nice. We smell like goat herders at a vulture’s dinner,” I say.

Tina says, “These conversations we be havin.’ I ain’t never gonna be right when I git out.”

“You ain’t right now,” says Terry from the stall. “Ha! You may be right but you ain’t right now. Get it?”

“…said the woman with a bar of jail house soap up her ass,” I say.

Author’s end note: Other Frog Gravy posts, including some description of Cell 107 in an early post are gathered here:

or you can scroll backward through my posts at MyFDL