A thick, smooth consistency. Dark, chocolately brown in color. Rancid, and smeared across the back of my thighs. Not a good way to start the day.
I’d been doing so very well. Living the keto life in prison isn’t easy, but I had remained faithful to the carb-restricted diet in combination with vigorous exercise six days a week. In three months, I’d lost nearly 25 pounds. I was feeling better, looking slimmer, but hitting a wall of sorts.
It’s not like I had the option to run out to the supermarket as needed for the freshest produce or the meats, cheeses, and nuts that are the main staples of this revolutionary way of eating and thinking of fat consumption. I was allowed to eat plenty of bacon, but there’s not a strip in sight in prison. I miss bacon so much. You could say I fell off the proverbial wagon.
A minor injury slowed me down in my exercise, then I fell into past bad habits. I ended up bingeing on an overabundance of carb-heavy garbage food. Noodles, rice, chips, cookies, honeybuns. Notice that I used the plural form for each of those items. My digestive system had grown unaccustomed to such trash, especially in such huge quantities, and I would pay for my indiscretion with more than just some simple indigestion.
At one in the morning, I was awakened from a lovely, deep, dreamless sleep by an enormous pressure and pain in my abdomen, groin, and anus. I threw off the blankets and was assaulted by the extreme chill in the cell. The news said we’d be getting the first frost of the season overnight, but DOC policy is to turn on the heat in the buildings at the latest possible date.
The cold shot through me like a dull projectile and made my guts tense up, which only intensified the calamity centered there. I stumbled, bleary-eyed, to the bathroom and embraced the toilet seat with my butt cheeks, fully expecting to barely make it there in time. A weak stream of urine piddled out, but nothing more, and I was left in a peculiar state of mixed-up agony.
Despite this pain, I vacillated between dozing into a thin sleep and bouts of grunting, groaning, and heavy breathing. After about twenty minutes or so, I had managed to expel a stubborn but hefty amount of compacted crap from my system and felt all the better for it. As I cleaned myself up, I actually entertained the notion that it was a good thing that I had gotten my morning waste elimination out of the way so early because I could still get a few more hours of sleep then have plenty of time to write without having to be interrupted by my poop time. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Several hours later, after my morning prayers and cup of coffee, I was sitting on my bunk, writing and minding my own business, when I suddenly had to handle an entirely different kind of business. A loose fart escaped me as a warning shot and portent of so much worse to come. I was on my feet with all the necessary toiletries in hand in an instant. Toilet paper, bar of soap, towel, baby powder, small bottle of bleach to disinfect the seat of the community toilet before I dropped trou.
Unfortunately, my progress stalled right there as I saw that one of my five cellies had already sequestered himself in our semi-private bathroom. A pinch of panic nipped at me, but I settled back onto my bunk and tried to sit comfortably and take my mind off the impending mass of mess slouching towards my sphincter with an insidious inevitability. Sitting quickly became an impossibility, and I regained my feet once more, instituting the shit shuffle as I danced back and forth from foot to foot while taking deep regular breaths in an effort to both control and distract from the crap coming my way.
I didn’t want to think about what I would or could do if my cellie didn’t come out soon. My options were limited and unappealing. I could’ve deposited my gift in a garbage can in the cell, or tried sneaking out to the showers and put my poop there. Each potentiality carried its own intrinsic, disgusting aspect with it, and consequences for being caught doing either would be a walk to Seg or a beatdown. Possibly both.
I glided gingerly across the concrete, careful not to jostle the load I was carrying, and tapped on the bathroom door a couple times to signal to my cellie that I was waiting on him. “Yeah, hold on,” was his response, and it gave me a glimmer of hope which I carried back to my bunk where I stood and shuffled some more while performing my improvised Lamaze exercises. No amount of hope or heavy breathing could stop what came next.
I felt it coming and panic kicked in hard, but it was a futile feeling, utterly useless in my predicament. With all my might and will, I attempted to squeeze my cheeks against the breach, but the slick sludge slid out unimpeded by my best efforts. I ceased all movements and felt hot, wet waste settle between my cheeks. With some pressure released, I tried to reason that it would be okay, that the offensive fecal matter would just sit quietly in the on deck circle, and I could still make it to the toilet in time, thereby averting disaster.
Unfortunately, once that turd train had begun to travel along the tracks, there was no stopping it. I stood in the middle of my dark cell, completely motionless, but mentally screaming and pleading for it to stop as a quite considerable amount of crap continued to evacuate my body. My boxers filled, and I felt the warm shit sliding against the back of my legs and squish along my inner thighs. It was undeniable official: I was a grown man—at nearly 35 the very definition of middle-aged—and I had just crapped in my pants.
Change of Plans
I had an entirely different problem on my hands, and in my pants, at this point. My knees were pinned together due to the foolish belief that it would somehow arrest any further progression of the poop oozing its way down the back of my legs. I turned awkwardly and carefully gathered supplies, bending at the waist and praying for no further fallout–also hoping for nothing to fall out the bottom of my shorts.
The pungent aroma of human waste began to permeate the air of the cell, undeniable in its potency, and I could only hope my remaining four cellies would remain sleeping. A change of clothes and bath towel were added to my overburdened arms. Just as soon as I had them all, I had to pile all my cleanup materials into the crook of my left arm and hug everything to my chest as my right hand reached behind me and grasped at the mass that was migrating lower and threatening to make its presence known on the floor of the cell.
All My Glory
When my cellie finally opened the door, he found me standing just outside the bathroom in all my glory. Supplies were piled high in one arm while my feet were pigeon-toed, and my knees were both pinched together and slightly bent so that I could reach the bulge in the back of my shorts. My hand was pressing the shorts against my body, holding the problematic poop in place by smearing it across my flesh.
Thankfully, my cellie just blinked bleary-eyed and got the hell out of my way. There was no way he couldn’t have smelled me, but I tried to remain nonchalant as I sidled past him and shuffle-stepped through the door with a load caught in my pants by a well-placed palm.
Hovering above the toilet like an accomplished yogi, I had some heavy shit on my mind as well as on my body and clothes. The ever-present nagging issue on my mind was that I had several other guys who would soon be waking and wanting to use the bathroom, so I had to be as quick and economical with my cleansing as possible. For thirty minutes, I worked at dispensing with all the evidence of my accident and was left with a soggy, soapy—but poop-free—pile of clothes ready for the laundry.
At best I felt sort of clean, no longer befouled, which I couldn’t begrudge. I could, however, begrudge the fact that this incident wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have to share a single toilet with so many guys with no viable option in case of emergency. The experience conjured an all-consuming humiliation, helplessness, and shame that I thought I’d left behind me in my childhood years, but prison has a way of making grown men regress. Of course, I never thought I’d revert to my pre-potty trained days, but I suppose every day is an adventure of sorts, albeit, occasionally, a decidedly shitty adventure.