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23. Guts

Well, gang, just when I thought nothing interesting was ever going to happen in this shithole again, low and behold I got to see some guts.  Guts guts, the insides.  I had to go over to the medical building to get a vaccination on Thursday.  The medical building is a sort of neutral territory placed right in the middle of levels one, two, and four.  (Michigan got rid of level 3's some years ago.  I'm not sure why and I don't specifically care, just sayin'.)  There's an officer that sits at a desk while convicts of different levels sit in the plastic chairs against the wall like a tiny DMV.  Just like any DMV, everybody is angry and most don't have the correct paperwork and will be sent back to their unit empty handed.

The guard has everyone's ID and call-out sheet and when your number is up he'll direct you to either the doctor or the dentist.  It's a cattle call and very efficient.  There's no time wasted (for them) but you may sit there for hours.  Usually, guys from separate units will pass contraband back and forth and gossip.  Christ, the gossip.  I thought broads liked to gossip but there is no grape vine like a prison grapevine.  It's all who is snitching, or who's got basketball numbers for some double rape / homicide, (basketball numbers are when you get a sentence with so many years that it resembles the score for a basketball game.)  who's not paying whom, this guys a broad because he said something disrespectful to some other guy, but the disrespected guy didn't do shit, so they're both fucking broads.

There's no end, it goes on and on and it drives me batshit.  I don't feed into or spread gossip in the world and I thought, in general, most dudes didn't.  I was wrong.  It's like a bizzaro episode of Days of Our Lives but with stabbings and tons of ramen noodle soup.

Anyway, the escorting officer brought us into the medical building (which is blessedly cool.  There's no air conditioning in this prison.  It's a goddamn sauna in here.) and the guard behind the desk says, "You might as well take 'em back.  we got a couple of cutters from 7 block coming in."  The escorting guard replied, "Fuck 'em, they can wait.  I'm going home."

So we sat in the little school-style chairs against the wall and the boys commenced to gossiping.  Then they brought in the cutters.  7 block is the unit where all the crazies are housed.  I don't mean your average bi-polar or drunk, I'm talking about shit-in-a-box-for-a-pet type crazy.  They wheeled them in with wheel chairs and the first guy had cut himself pretty good up and down both his arms and legs.  He was a real bleeder.  If you've ever seen a significant wound caused by a razor blade you'd understand.  An inch-long cut can spread double that wide.  There's the white just beneath the skin and then a vivid yellow layer of fat followed by tendon and muscle.  It's vicious and bloody but not usually life threatening. unless you're digging for arteries.  The longest cut I saw was about three or four inches long and lay wide open along the top of his thigh.  He was trailing a spectacular amount of blood and it left tracks from the big wheel chair wheels.  It looked like a couple of ten speeds had been drag racing.

Then they brought in the show stopper.  This guy was a notorious cutter / puller.  He had cut open his abdomen on a separate occasion and had been caught pulling at his intestines.  They took him to the hospital to get fixed up and stapled but he had managed to pull the staples out and was digging around in there again. When they brought him in, the guards had handcuffed his hands to the arm rests so he wouldn't be able to keep pulling his guts out but he still had a significant amount of intestine hanging out.  The smell was the worst of it.  I can't describe the smell of the inside of a human's abdominal cavity and I'm sure you wouldn't want me to try.  It could have been from some infection he had developed from his previous gut tugging but I'm not sure that it wouldn't have smelled that way anyway.  My cousin Meghan might be able to fill us in on that.

What amazed me most about the scene wasn't the wounded men but the one's watching.  The exasperated and bored and irritated looks on the guards' faces.  The convicts who tried to look bored or just looked outright terrified.  There was no screaming and yelling, the nurses just casually walked out and spoke to the cutters by name in a kind of disappointed motherly sort of manner.  The blood was immense, more from the first guy than from the Puller.  After a minute it was a confusion of boot prints, wheelchair tread marks, and small, child-like sneaker impressions left by the nurses.

They ushered the men through and all that was left behind was a bunch of gore.  The guard let out an exasperated sigh and mumbled something about, "these goddamn lunatics," and got out a spray bottle of 2% bleach and started to wet the blood, turning it an instant black.  He looked at us and said, almost apologetically, "I like to spray the blood before the porters get over here cause most of them don't have blood-borne pathogen certificates."

It was all over except for the tar-black bleach-soaked gore that the porters came in a started squeegeeing off of the tile.  I got my poo-monia vaccine and kept it moving.  Fucking prison, right?


PS - I gossiped about it as soon as I got back to my unit.  Nobody was really impressed.

This is where John does the typing.


  1. I had about five different 'guts' jokes and puns, but decided against them all. Too easy. Nice work. See you in a couple weeks, son.

  2. My favorite part was the P.S.

  3. Holy fucking batshit, beyond 'self harm' and then some, not that I won't be gossiping about your yarn down at the bike shop. Stay safe mate.

  4. The inside of the human body smells like super warm raw hamburger meat (for the most part). It absolutely does not smell pleasant at all but I wouldn't say it's stomach turning either. When ever anyone has eviscerated organs they always get some sort of infection and that always smells horrendous. The best way to describe what Ryan had to smell would be like hot raw hamburger that was super rotten. Makes me not feel very well even thinking about it!!