Good morning! I was away to see family for a while, but have returned. I have been working on editing Frog Gravy, the incarceration account, adding new material and organizing the essays into order. The posts online are random, but they give a good picture inside incarceration.
We are also going to try to get the website so that others can post, and invite feedback about what cases to follow.
Author’s note: Frog Gravy is a depiction of daily living during incarceration in Kentucky, during the years 2008 and 2009, and is reconstructed from my notes. Names are changed, except in this case, Ricky is a real name. Nicknames that do not reveal identity are also unchanged.
Frog Gravy contains graphic language.
Belly Of The Beast: Ricky’s World. Fulton County Detention Center, early May, 2008.
After committing a major game misconduct by writing the Governor, various government agencies in Frankfort and Washington, about thirty other people, and a newspaper in Louisville, I am transferred out of McCracken County Jail to the famed Fulton County Detention Center also known as ‘Ricky’s World.’ I will become known in the inmate world as the one that wrote herself out of McCracken County Jail.
I first heard of Ricky’s World when I was in the hole after my trial (My judge wanted me in the hole. We had an adversarial courtroom history and would add to it before we uh, ‘divorced.’)
A woman in the hole with me in McCracken said that when she was at Ricky’s World playing truth-or-dare, she ate pussy on a steel table in the cell on a dare, and the next day, Ricky called her into his office and said, “You mean to tell me that you ate pussy on mah dinner table?”
Ricky’s World is a privately owned and operated jail in Hickman, KY. The jailer’s first name is Ricky. Ricky is an enormous man, the size of a tree.
Ricky’s World is famed in the Kentucky inmate community as being one of the places where the ‘worst of the worst’ are shipped.
Since Hickman is an hour away from my husband, he will have to drive two hours each week for his fifteen-minute visit. This is a source of personal amusement for the judge.
During my ride to Ricky’s World, two guards in the front seat discuss slaughtering chickens, planting vegetables and shopping at WalMart and in the back seat a male inmate and I discuss our legal cases.
On arrival I am placed in a hole that doubles as a holding cell for an hour, and I do step-ups on the cement ledge for an hour. A tray arrives through the food slot but I am only able to positively identify the cookies, so I eat two cookies for lunch.
A guard retrieves me to check me into the facility, produces a sturdy 30-gallon black garbage bag with the whole of my new life in it and upends the contents onto the cement floor in front of the front desk in the jail entryway. She begins to paw through the contents consisting of, to my shock and utter horror, all of the mail, pictures, books and magazines that my family had attempted to send me in McCracken.
I observe her for about five minutes and assume, without internal debate on the merits, that she is high. She finally says, “You are a State inmate. I will let you have all of this.” I silently thank God and we head to the cell. We pass a large men’s population cell and head down a hallway with wolf whistles and cat calls receding. The long hallway is painted a depressing grey and the walk actually slopes downward, even though the facility is on ground level, giving the feel of decent into an actual dungeon. Adding to this feel is the fact that none of the cells we pass have windows of any kind. The atmosphere is dark.
We arrive at a door to a cell, and the guard accompanying me fumbles with the keys for a bit, then hands them to me, and says, “Here, you open it.”
The cell is a twelve-person cement room that houses several people on the unfinished cement floor in addition to four rows of three-tiered steel bunks, for a total of nineteen or twenty inmates. When the door closes, I notice how dark it is compared to McCracken and I am thankful, yet disoriented by the lack of any windows to a hallway, as well as the lack of a clock.
I claim a space on the floor and notice that most of the cell occupants are someplace else. Another inmate sees what I notice and says, “They’re at rec. Out there with all the drama. How much time you got?”
“Eight years,” I say. “More time than that woman at PeWee that boiled her baby and fed it to her husband.”
Two inmates, Tiki and Brooke, are seated at a PlayStation. There is even a microwave, I note with increasing thankfulness.
TiKi is younger than my son, has been here for a year, and is a War on Drugs inmate that will go home soon on the Governor’s new early release program.
TiKi is playing “Grand Theft Auto” on the PlayStation.
On the screen, a criminal runs up and down a city street with a nightstick, mercilessly beating the hell out of innocent pedestrians. He runs to the driver’s side of a stopped car, opens the door, throws the driver onto the street, and steals the car.
Brooke asks, “Is this the one where he takes the prostitute into the woods and fucks her?”
TiKi’s car thief picks up a streetwalker and drives to the woods with her and stops. On the screen the car starts rocking, and she says, “Look at the car move faster and faster, and when she’s done she gets out.”
The car stops rocking and the hooker gets out. TiKi says, “Now look. He shoots her and steals her money.”
After killing the prostitute and stealing her money, the car thief returns to the car and drives away, running over several pedestrians on the sidewalk.
TiKi’s thief stops at a pay phone, gets on the phone and says, “I want to show these punk-ass bitches how a real drive-by works.”
The callee asks, “Don’t you just shoot ‘em like you always do?”
“Can’t just shoot ‘em in a drive-by shooting, dickhead. You gotta be in a car,” answers the thief. “I’m gonna show these people how to shoot from the car. What do you think?”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” says the callee.
TiKi is frustrated. She says, “I cain’t git the gun to aim the way I want it to, oh hail. You cain’t just shoot ‘em, gotta be in a car, it’s a drive-by. This is pissin’ me the fuck off motherfucker-you-just-shot-me-you-stupid-prick.”
Author’s end note: For those of you familiar with Grand Theft Auto, my recall of the telephone conversation above may not be word-for-word accurate. It is, however, in essence what I heard.