Prison. Ridgeview Goes To The Ball Field: Frog Gravy 7

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

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

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

Frog Gravy contains graphic, offensive, politically incorrect dialogue.

Ridgeview goes to the ball field. PeWee (pronounced Pee Wee) Valley Women’s Prison, near Louisville, 4-21-09. Disclaimer.

Before we visit the ball field, let me explain this statement a bit better:

“Frog Gravy contains graphic, offensive, politically incorrect dialogue.”

The term ‘niggah,’ for example, is something one may hear commonly in the jail or prison setting in the South, and is a term of salutation or endearment that is only exchanged between inmates that are self-described as black or mixed.

The term ‘nigger,’ on the other hand, is considered a derogatory slur, and is never exchanged in any setting.

The term ‘white trash’ is a derogatory slur that one may also hear uttered in a sarcastic and insulting good fun sort of way. However, the receiver never takes it in good fun, so ‘white trash’ is usually heard behind an inmate’s back.

The term ‘hillbilly’ is, in my experience anyway, a term of endearment. Hillbillies self-describe, express pride in their heritage, and indulge and embellish others’ curiosity in them with an amazing story-telling ability and a refreshing way of laughing at themselves.

Ridgeview goes to the ball field.

A commenter in the last post wanted me to explain the Ridgeview Dormitory atmosphere a bit better. Seeking lower companionship can be hard or easy, depending on your perspective. Everyone hunts. Everyone is hunted. Whether one is predator or prey is often debatable.

Here is what you gotta do:

1. Get a pair of Nike “Shox” tennis shoes from commissary and keep them blinding bright white by constantly brushing them with State-issue toothpaste.

2. Put on a pair of Russell sweat pants and roll one leg up to just below the knee. Got it? Good. Okay. Now, pull your sweat pants down like you are going to use the toilet, only leave the State-issue underpants in place, so that most of the details of your ass, including crack, cheeks and tattoos, are visible. Let that ass hang out, clad in those State underpants. Arrange the elastic waist band so that it stops at the top of the thigh in front, and onto the butt cheeks in the back.

3. Hook your thumbs into the elastic.

4. Put on a long john shirt, and over that, a gleaming white t-shirt.

5. Put on a baseball cap and turn it sideways. If you do not have one, put on a commissary knit stocking cap and turn that sideways. Hold the cap in place with sunglasses, if possible.

6. All right. Good. Now slouch down and start your walk. It is more of a strut. Bob and nod the head, strutting, sort of like a gangster rooster. Strut. Nod. Bob. Strut nod nod strut strut nod. Bob. Practice this.

7. Claim it. Claim your space. You own it. Good. Now say “Big mac Daddy,” and grab your crotch.

8. Then say, “I know that’s right. I know that’s wassup, niggah.” But only say “niggah” if you are black, or mixed.

9. If you have teeth (Why he can eat corn on the cob through a picket fence)- If you have front teeth, they have to have a grill (gold lining or gold plating on the front teeth). If you have dentures, they have to have a grill.

10. Say, “You feel me? I know that’s right. You feel me?”

11. Make frequent hand gestures, jabbing at the air. Announce, “Rock out witch your cock out,” and finish with, “Motherfucker.”

12. Good. Let’s walk it on out now. Let’s walk it on around the ball field. Now let’s find some white trash. Yeah that’s right. Let’s bring in some white trash WalMart chicks.

13. Okay. Good. Now someone shout an insult: “You big fat bitch!”

14. And wait for the refrain: “Who you callin’ a bitch, ho? Who you callin’ a bitch, ho? Put your hands on me. Let a bitch put her hand on me. I’ll beat the breaks off her.! I ain’t scared.

15. Great. Now let’s go find a hillbilly song. Here’s one: “Well now ah-been…ah-locked up…Ah-mosta mah life…Used to have a husband…And ah-now ah have me a wife…”

This sort of sums up a typical scene at the ball field for Ridgeview, during recreation, and includes some of the things you may see or hear. Anyone care to join?

Didn’t think so.

Later that evening I am in the dayroom exchanging roommate horror stories with Rhonda. Her mother is also an inmate here at PeWee, although she lives in another dorm, and will eventually be shipped to Otter Creek, the privately owned prison. Kentucky likes to lock up members of the same family, but not in the same facility.

Rhonda complains of a woman that lives a few doors from her. She is in a wheelchair and refuses to bathe. “She’s really obnoxious,” says Rhonda. “Plus, she doesn’t need to be in a wheelchair.”

I say, “I don’t get that. I wanted to be out of a wheelchair a few years ago when I was in a wheelchair. I tried to walk way too soon. You say this woman is able to do for herself?”

Rhonda replies, “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with her. If she can run that mouth of hers, she can run a washrag across her ass.”

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