Catherine LaFleur

Adventures in Camp Prisoney Land, by Catherine LaFleur

This Story is Full of Spiders, Don’t Touch it!

I have three gears in the morning: stop, mosey and amble. This irritates the prison guards because they are always yelling at us, “Put some pep in your step, inmate!” So, there I was moseying along to my job in the law library when a limb fell out of a tree right in my path. Really! It practically fell on me. You can imagine how startled I was. Officer Morelock, standing nearby, ordered me and another inmate, Beatrix to move the obstruction out of the street. And that’s when the trouble began.
Beatrix on one end, me on the other, all together now….lift. Then a wave of little red spiders erupted from the wood and swarmed over my hands, up my arms and into my clothes and hair. Scream! And Scream! And altogether, Beatrix, scream!
The other inmates rushed us, whacking us with their coats and hands. Then we were dragged into the modality room – still screaming in tandem- where our friends yanked us out of our clothes still slapping us silly. Officer Morelock followed yelling, “Don’t touch them!” Still our fellow inmates pummeled the spiders mercilessly until tiny bodies surrounded us. Morelock was humane enough to radio in a medical emergency. We left in our underwear. Once we got to the nurse, she gave us a cursory inspection and declared no bites were evident. The inmate orderlies carefully shook out our clothes and combed through our hair searching for arachnid invaders. Fortunately none remained.
And then….and then, within twelve hours I had a lump (not a bump) along my spine. It grew and grew like something out of a horror movie. of course I went to medical and declared an emergency, at 2 a.m. in the morning, on the eve of a federal holiday. Nurse Houlihan was delighted. As you know, gentle readers, I do not seek medical treatment for anything I consider minor due to my cultish upbringing. I would essentially have to be carrying my own severed limb before I’ll admit a nurse or doctor might……might be needed.
Nurse Houlihan acted a bit bored when she saw me. She’s used to the hypochondriacs. After taking my temperature – 104°- she perked up, but once I stripped off my t-shirt, she got downright excited. The swelling – the width of my palm- extended from my spine all the way around my waist and into my stomach. It was ropey, raised like bread dough, hard, and red.
When she poked it, I screamed “Don’t touch that!” And she screamed when I screamed, so we were altogether screaming. The medical officer came running back to the infirmary because she thought someone was being assaulted. The officer just didn’t expect the victim to be me.
Next thing I know, the nurse is pushing me face first onto a gurney then dialing the phone for Rasta Doc, who is on call. She comes back and jabs me with four needles. That made me groggy after a few minutes. Then I felt like I was in a lava bath. I think I might have fainted? It gets a bit murky after that. Maybe I was delerious. I do remember getting in the elevator but forgetting why I was there. There was a flashback to that movie, The Believers, where spiders lay eggs in the body. The spiders then hatch out of the face while the victim screams in fear and agony. The medical officer later told me she had to lure me out with a peanut butter cup. I got the icy shivers and I must have passed out. By the time I woke up, it was morning and Rasta Doc was prodding me. He didn’t startle too much when I screamed “Don’t touch that!”
Hmmmmmm……I thought, this might be a bit serious since Rasta is here on a government holiday. He went tsk tsk tsk and ordered the nurse to take me to the surgical room. There he informed me I would have to be cut and drained. Okay, okay, just cut me already, because by that time even breathing was shooting lightning through me. Thank goodness he numbed me up. Slice!
And then something really terrible gushed forth. Let’s just say it was beyond foul. Also, the situation was not helped by me throwing up everything I’d eaten for the last ten years. I had to stay in the infirmary several days.The incision had to be cleaned every few hours because the bandages would become drenched with ichor. I was a leaking superfund site. Plus the wound had to be stripped and packed each time. The nurses all had a turn squeezing me like the Blueberry Girl from Willie Wonka. I screamed and squeeled like a girl. Nurse Houlihan remarked I would have an interesting scar. “When I’m asked about this, I’ll just say I was shanked by the medical staff. Better not give them any trouble!”

Catherine LaFleur DOC #J14175
Homestead Correctional Institution
19000 S.W 377th Street, Suite 200
Florida City, Florida 33034

Categories: Catherine LaFleur

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