Illustration by Meg Rogers

When we were last with Gerald in his hometown of New Orleans, he had just learned that his old crew, including his best friend Greg, had gone to prison for a string of robberies and he was worried he might get dragged into their bust… 

You know, the jail is so wild, man. Let me show you how the jail roll. And I know this how it roll cause I been in there. 

Say your girlfriend come. I would tell you, “Man, don’t go out there.” 

“I’m gonna go out there and holler at your girl.” 

You might say, “Huh??” 

“You go out there, I’m gonna kill you.”  

Dude don’t even go out there on his visit. He let me go. 

You have some old heads tell you about the jail. They used to make dudes “Jump in the Cup”. “Jump in the Cup” mean they’ll make you jump in the cup. Cup of water. 

You might think a man can’t jump in a cup. But that what they call it, “Jump in the Cup.” 

They play dangerous games in that jail. You got dudes make dudes bark, like a dog. It’s wild. 

We play a game like whoever go to sleep first… we play “Mummy Man”. 

“Mummy Man” mean if you go to bed first, we take all the tissue and wrap it around your ass then burn you, burn your feet. 

“Mummy man.” You jump up like a mummy! 

And we play cards. Like, we play cutthroat spades. That mean you play for yourself, I play for myself. But we play for drinks of water. Big cup of water. 

You can’t use the bathroom. You can’t go to the bathroom. You can’t go until you win your way out. 

But I used to be so slick in the game. I used to take a plastic bag and tie it around myself — but they don’t know. It’s a dangerous game, but it’s fun. 

To be continued. Gerald’s first book, “Still Standing: how an ex-con found salvation in the floodwaters of Katrina,” is available on