Guest contributor: Monica Wood

Writing from Inside: “Urk,” by Kim S.

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics



If you think the human comedy disappears on the other side of the barbed wire, think again. Kim wrote this pieced in our “Meet the Authors” class and read it as part of a presentation the ladies put on for their fellow inmates. This one–rated PG-13–brought the house down.  There are few things more heartening than a roomful of people laughing their heads off, especially when the laughers include inmates and guards alike.  Note: “CO” stands for corrections officer, or prison guard. [MW]


URK! by Kim S.

I’d been living in Segregation for six months, and because I was suicidal, they wouldn’t give me a razor. Six months is a long time: I was so hairy I could have braided the hair.

So, there I am, lying in my bunk, when Sergeant G announces, “We’ve got a surprise for you.” She pulls her hand from behind her back, and there it is: a purple electric Remington, all charged up, ready to go ahead and shave away!

Sergeant G goes downstairs while I read the packaging. “Long or short.” “Wet or dry.” Perfect! Just what I need.

I get undressed and start that baby up. Let’s just say that I go to the most sensitive area first. I plunge the razor into the jungle, and… What?

Urk. It’s stuck. Oh, my God. I don’t want to call the CO!

Urk. Really, really stuck. 

What can I do? I may have to ask Sergeant G to cut it out! So I move that sucker back and forth, and finally get it free. Do you think I learn my lesson? Nope. Razor right back where it came from.

Urk. Urk. Urk. Now I’ve done it!

From outside my door I hear Sergeant X asking Sergeant G if he can see me. “Sure,” says Sergeant G. “Go on in.”

Urk! Urk! Urk! Too late. Here I am, spread-eagle, with Sergeant X at my door.

I look up. Our eyes meet. He turns away.

Now I’m frantically turning on the razor, moving it back and forth till it finally comes free, leaving me with a lopsided mohawk. And a vow to remain hairy.



[Today’s post is the fourth from a group of women inmates whom I work with in a program called “Meet the Authors.” (They don’t have internet access, but your comments will get back to them, through me, after being vetted through the chain of command.)  The program runs in 12-week rounds, two hours per week, with a different group of students for each round, always with a few repeaters. We read the work of Maine women writers, who come to discuss their work and offer a writing exercise in their respective genres. The women then write short pieces, using prompts from me or the guest writers, and revise them according to feedback from the group.


To read the first post from inside, click here.  To read the second, click here.  To read the third, click here.  To read my full introduction, click here.   –Monica Wood]

  1. Sue Paradis writes:

    thanks for the chuckle, Kim! I’ll think of it whenever I shave!

  2. Jen Dupree writes:

    Oh, goodness. I read this while at work–I didn’t know I was going to laugh until I cried! Funny, with heart. And, to echo what Amy said, there’s a little bittersweet moment when you realize how these women have zero privacy. Great job.

  3. Lea Wait writes:

    Love the humor — well written and great view of a reality many of us haven’t experienced. (Well at least we haven’t experienced the lack-of-privacy part), with a twist. (Or a pull …) Gave me today’s smile!

  4. Amy Chapman writes:

    I love this, and I laughed out loud, too…but it also occurred to me that our privacy is just one more thing we take for granted on the outside that isn’t an option for the writer. Thanks for a laugh AND a new perspective.

  5. Deirdre Fulton writes:

    Monica and Kim,

    This is a great, funny, poignant vignette. I bet every woman reading this laughed and groaned in sympathy. I love the details about what it said on the packaging. And of course the sound effect is perfect.

    I want to know just a few more details about that mortifying moment when Sargeant X walked in. Were any words exchanged? I bet one or both of them gasped or made another sound of surprise/horror… Eek!

    Thanks for sharing,

  6. Kathy writes:

    What a moment! Urk is right.

  7. Kerry Headley writes: