Ch. 11: The Paranoia Journals. (In the Hole.) October 12-16, 1987.

Ch. 11: The Paranoia Journals. (In the Hole.) October 12-16, 1987.

A Chapter by Gee Roughin

Monday, October 12, 1987.
So the trial is finally over. Hoping to feel some hope for a week now, but bury that fast. Too much hope here, they say, you gonna break.


I am guilty of murder by temporary insanity. They stuck me in “gen. pop.” at the State prison till a bed opens up in Psych, apparently. The sentence is for six months under psychiatric observation, and then at the discretion of...


I'm trying to look tough but inside--how can I describe? They've already pounded it in how worthless we all are here.


There was a strip search coming in. 20 of us in the same room, the female guards yelling and eyeballing, the door open with male guards turning their heads in to witness the show. Humiliating. More than that. Like an auction block.


We had to strip all the way. When I pulled off my underwear, the tampon string was hanging out (where else was it supposed to go?) so one female guard strode over (gloves on) and yanked it out. She had a plastic bag for the tampon, but not for the blood"it ended up dripping down my leg and onto the floor.


Then it was the orifices. Right breast. Left breast. Since there's no place to hide anything under my breasts, I wasn't going to touch them just for fun, but the same sergeant yelled out, “You with the little ones"you too,” pointing at me so everyone turned to stare while I moved the muscle of each breast up and down.


I'm trying to be careful and logical about it as I recall the thing, but I really felt like I was doing some kind of sick sex show. So then they had us turn around, bend over (all the way) and pull open our butt cheeks to show there's nothing in the anus. The female guard strolled around looking, and I thought I felt her stop near me. My face was all flushed and my heart was racing. I thought, this can't be happening to me. How can this be happening to me? Are there really no limits to what they can do to us here? Is that what this is?


The last thing was to squat and cough, or cough and squat--I don't know and I couldn't do it right, so the same woman kept yelling at me, “Cough! Cough! You're not coughing!” till I guess all the menstrual walls had emptied out of me and onto the cement. When I asked her for a pad to replace the tampon, she announced “Maxi pad” into the corridor so ten male guards collected at the still open door to discuss where to get some.


I guess the one good thing is I have a roommate. She's very gentle"she held me when I cried tonight.


She's sick and has gone to sleep so I'll have to put this down and sleep too.




Tuesday, October 13, 1987.


My roommate is sick. She told me about how it's been today.

Imagine having cancer when you're out. How terrifying, how excruciating. How helpless you are.


Now add that your doctors think of you as their enemy, you're kept away from the people who love you, and your pain is used as punishment. Radiation and surgery in chains, no help to and from the clinic, delays and refusals for care and medication. It's a nightmare.


I woke up in the night to her moaning, and after an hour she got up to pace. I asked her if she was okay, and she just said sorry I woke you, go back to sleep. In the morning she told me she ran out of painkillers two days ago and they haven't replaced them yet. What dogs.


She said some people--lots of people die in here all the time--the worst way cause they don't believe you when you're sick--the tumors go undiagnosed till they're advanced and you're really in pain--when it's too late.


Cathy's terminal. She got diagnosed but she's still terminal. No whining--she just didn't leave the cell. Really weak. At least the medication came tonight. Asked after lock-in what she eats when she stays in and she didn't answer--I feel awful now. But how do you sneak it up?




Friday, October 16, 1987.


It's like descending into levels of hell. Just when you think you know what the punishment's like, they kick you down another, then another. Is there a bottom to it?


Yesterday, there was a pat search. We saw them coming down the line--Cathy saw them and said (weakly) “Don't react. I'm just telling you--” I didn't know what she meant--I didn't see what they were doing.


It was like the cops at my arrest--you turn around and they feel all over your body--breasts and all. Male guards. Men. When I saw them doing this to Cathy's sick body I just lost it--I was shaking and my heart was beating and I just started screaming at them--Don't you do that to her, she's a sick dying woman you b******s you F*****g pricks--I kept at it screaming my head off and swearing up and down so they all came at me--they shoved my head up against the bars, yanked on my arms while one of them pressed his hands all up and down me--I felt like I was being gang banged I couldn't stop screaming.


When they were satisfied I had no weapons I could access immediately while handcuffed and held down by three of them three times my size, they dragged me out and down (Cathy was crying). I don't know what made me react like that--it was futile--but I was resisting and screaming the whole way.

When we got to where they were taking me (a kind of cage) they shoved me inside and locked the door. I stopped screaming. Two of the guards left. The guy who stayed told me to turn around and back up to the door. Why? I asked him. So I can take the cuffs off, ya f*****g c**t. I did what he said. He took the cuffs off. “Strip,” he said. I turned around and looked at him. I know male guards aren't supposed to do that, so I said no. “It's a strip search,” he said, “now strip.” When I think about it now I think he was setting me up. I don't know why I didn't see it. I want a female guard, I said. “Why?” he asked, something sadistic and lewd, then “The female guards are coming, now strip.” I'll wait, I said.


Two female guards arrived then and the male guard told them, “The prisoner refuses to strip.”


Before I could say it wasn't like that, the two female guards sprayed me with some kinda thing like pepper spray--I was coughing, I couldn't breathe, my eyes and skin were burning up--then they were on me--I felt these shots of pain in my arms that shot straight to my heart, then they started beating me all over myself till something hard hit my ear and I passed out.


I woke up naked, chained to a concrete bed in a closed cell. The door is steel. I must have bruises all over--and below my ear it was bleeding. It's still my period, so I was bleeding there too (just a little now) and since I was chained to the bed I had to pee on it. I don't know what time it was. There are florescent lights on the ceiling. Judging from time till breakfast came, I think I woke up around 3am.


The woman who brought me breakfast was cold-faced but decent, I think. She brought me a kind of black and white prison uniform and some underwear. She didn't look at me while she unchained me--not till I was dressed. I asked her for pads. She said it's usually longer--I think she meant about the clothes.


I asked for writing stuff too, and she said she's not supposed to do that. I believe her. When she came back with the pads she didn't come in--she stuck them through a kind of slot in the door. Same with lunch. For dinner, she put paper and a pen through the slot with it.


I guess this is the hole. I had to write all that down while I still remember the details, but now I'm exhausted. Cold too, and a fever, and a raging headache. Asked for aspirin too this morning but I guess that was out.

© 2011 Gee Roughin

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Added on November 6, 2011
Last Updated on November 6, 2011
Tags: fear, paranoia, America, 80s, prisons, the hole, paranoid wasp


Gee Roughin
Gee Roughin

Cairo, Egypt

Before spending seven years writing Paranoid Wasp, I studied literature at Wheaton College (IL), Yale University and the University of Chicago. I moved to Paris in 1999. In addition to ten years in Fr.. more..