Illustration by Jessica Garza

Prison Cricket woke up my quiet cell, which was now an insomniac’s cell. He had arrived the previous night, gotten himself comfortable and decided to stay. 

I had been sitting alone when I noticed the visitor, and my melancholic face sprang to life with a smile.

The crack at the bottom of my door was a welcome mat to any creature small enough to slip in for a friendly visit. I imagined they were coming to say hello and chit-chat with a lonely prison inmate the way creatures would if they could.

As the cricket sat there looking up at me, I felt like he was saying, “Are you a friendly human monster? Will you allow me to stay awhile while I pitch my cricket pick up line into the airwaves, searching for a date with a pretty cricket girl of my own cricket kind?

Pretending that he could understand, I responded, “Yes, you can stay! What do you and your cricket girl want to eat on your first date? I can be your chef and waiter, and you can impress your date with the fine establishment you’ve been invited to.”

“First I have to call my cricket girl,” Prison Cricket seemed to say. He found a cozy corner underneath a towel and proceeded to chirp. 

At first I didn’t mind at all. But then I began to get tired and turned off the light. Prison Cricket just kept chirping away as happily as ever.

As you might guess, I didn’t get much sleep that night. But I so wanted to meet his cricket girl that I stayed awake and waited up with him. Both of us happily chirped away throughout the prison night — just me and Prison Cricket.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Jessica Garza

Jessica Garza is a writer and artist incarcerated in California.