07 Nov 04
The Rain Room Revisited
Aunty Ann had nightmares after reading the blog that described the showers at the Madison Street jail. ('Wankers' 06 May 04). Perhaps Aunty Ann should't read on.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings we are offered showers. After the breakfast chow is served the officer grunts,“Showers?”
“Two for showers,” is my standard reply. The same officer will then return at some random time between 7.30 and 9.30 am, and wake us up to take us to the showers. The officer opens the trap whilst we put on our flip-flops and orange jumpsuits, and grab our towels and soap. Individually, Penguin and I back up to the cell door and the guard handcuffs us through the trap. The door is unlocked and the officer yells, “Cell 27!” The guard in the control tower presses a button and our door slides open. One of us is instructed to go to the upper shower and the other to the lower one.
Upon arriving at one of the cells containing a shower, I wait outside until the guard in the control tower presses the button that opens the door. When it is open I step inside and the door slides shut. I am then unhandcuffed through the trap and handed a razor. The cell is tiny, dingy and dimly lit. There is no mirror to look at whilst shaving. I undress and hang my clothes upon a steel hanger that is screwed to the wall. I always inspect the floor and walls to see if there are any messes that need to be avoided. The lower shower drains much better than the upper one, so the amount of hair matted with semen is usually lower downstairs. Some semen is usually observable on the floors and walls of both showers.
A button activates the shower. The water runs at a comfortable temperature for around ten minutes. This provides enough time for a thorough soaping and a blind shaving session. It takes a few months to master shaving without being able to observe yourself. I have to feel my face to determine where the stubble is. I don't shave my head because I'm afraid of cutting my ears off. One time Penguin returned with a bleeding ear. On another occasion I sliced my Adam’s apple.
When the water stops we are at the mercy of the guards as to how soon they will return us to our cell. The average wait is 15 minutes, but there have been some occasions when Penguin and I were left in the showers for up to two hours. When left in the shower I often do the hula-hula yoga pose while looking at the black mould on the walls, and the tiny grey flies that seem to hop rather than fly. Some inmates get hysterical after being left inside there. Those that yell and bang on the door usually have their stays extended.
Before releasing us from the showers, the guards examine our razors to ensure that we have not extracted blades to make weapons. After this inspection we are handcuffed through the traps. The doors slide open and as we trudge back to our cell inmates taunt us:
“Did you shave your ass?”
“Did you step on my water babies?”
“We know what kind of yoga you’re doing in there!”
“Did you see my dead kids?”
“Did you find your anal G-spot?”
Upon returning to our cell we are released from our handcuffs through the trap.
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