20 Jan 05

Under Pressure To Pee

The following conversation took place between thirteen inmates in a small holding cell at Medical. Six of us sat cramped on a concrete ledge on one side of the room, facing another six on the opposite ledge. A thirteenth inmate was in a wheelchair in the middle of the cell. A dozen of us had seen the doctor and we were ready to leave. The only inmate waiting to be seen was a baby-faced Chicano who stood less than five-and-a-half-feet tall. He had a plastic urinalysis container, but he was unable to pee. The inmates thought that none of us would be transported back to our units until the Chicano had performed.

“Can you pee yet?” asked the African American guard stood in the hallway.
“Tsk-tsk. I must o’ asked you ten times by now. Alright, let me know when you’re ready, and I’ll take you to the restroom.”
“Why do they want your pee?” asked an inmate.
"'Cause my backs been hurtin’. They think it's my kidneys.”
“You’d better take a whiz soon 'cause you're holdin’ us up. We won’t get a transportation bus until you’re done.”
“Yeah, hurry up and pee.”
“I can’t!”
“If you don’t take a leak soon, they’ll strap you down and shove a catheter into your prick and then you’ll wish you had peed earlier."
“Yeah, they did that to me at Florence and it fuckin’ hurt like hell. It was sore for seven days. I ain’t ever lettin’ 'em pull that shit again. They shoved it in and worked it right up to my kidneys. It’ll bring the pee right out of you.”
“It ain’t that bad now. They’ve got a pump – it’s a bag they squeeze. They shove in the catheter and squeeze the bag, and your penis spits the pee right out. Still, you’d better pee before they strap you down.”
“I’ll try right now,” the Chicano said, nervously shoving the plastic cup down his orange pants.
“The catheter wouldn’t hurt so bad if the goddam end of the tube that they stick in ya wasn’t made so wide, like the flat end on one of those slurpee straws.”
“You can’t pee in here! What’re you doin'! The guard'll think that one of us peed for you and he’ll make you start all over again.”
“Don’t pee in here, dawg!”
“If he can’t pee, then he needs to drink some water.”
“They ain’t gonna let him go back to his house either.”
“That’s right. They’re gonna strap him down and catheter his shit.”
“I had a catheter once. I was hopin’ that it would make my dick bigger, but all it did was make it sore – real sore.”
“I’ll make you pee real quick. Let me hold yer dick and I’ll aim it at your neighbour, Boxer, right there.”
“You ain’t goin' nowhere near my dick! I’m never gonna pee!”
“When they put the catheter in, they make you hold yer dick. It wouldn’t be so bad if they held it for you.”
“We’ve all seen the doctor apart from you. You’re holdin’ us up. The sooner you pee, the sooner we’ll be goin’ back to our houses.”
The cell door slid open. “Whoever’s seen the doctor, lets go!” the guard said.
We all departed except for the Chicano. I am still wondering about his fate.

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