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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. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Jessica Garza is a writer and artist incarcerated in California.