Banged-Up Abroad Raving Arizona

Welcome to my blog! If you just watched Banged-Up Abroad Raving Arizona, I'm answering questions on Twitter here:

Click here for questions I answered for National Geographic channel 
Click here for my response to the Banged-Up USA premiere.

The episode is based on my two books, Party Time and Hard Time, which are available worldwide including Asia with free shipping here:
Party Time
Hard Time

I hope you enjoyed Raving Arizona. Please Tweet me if you have any questions.

Shaun Attwood

Release Videos

I was released to my family in December 2007 at Heathrow Airport, London.

My YouTube channel

Prison Gang Rape and Beheading Video

This is the most graphic part of the talks I do to schools for ages 16+ only.

Here's the whole talk I do to schools (age 16+ version):

My YouTube channel

Shaun Attwood 

Treating Spider Bites in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail

Excerpt from Hard Time (featured tonight on Banged-Up Abroad "Raving Arizona").

Someone decided the Russian prisoner, Yordan, was the closest thing we had to a doctor because he'd been in the military and knew how to dress wounds. Inmates from all of the races inundated him with demands for medical treatment due to a menace from the insect world: spiders that crawled on us during the night and bit while we slept. The culprit was rarely seen. Some thought it the brown recluse, others the Arizona brown. Whatever the spider, the result was always the same: during the first few days, the bite would slowly expand from a small white blister to a pus-oozing sore; over the next few, tissue would slough away from the abscess leaving a sunken ulcerated crater, exposing underlying tissue. These holes were sometimes as broad as the palm of a hand. Other side effects included fever, chills, vomiting and shock.
  Alejandro was so big, his flab crept up and down the wall as he breathed during his sleep. With scant room for spiders to manoeuvre around him, he was inevitably bitten. His written requests for treatment were ignored. When the pus began, and Officer Mordhorst rebuffed his pleas for help, inmates from all of the races began to sympathise.
  “Give him treatment!” Gravedigger yelled at Mordhorst in the day room.
  “He must go to Medical. Look at his damn back! He must see a Yankee doctor,” Yordan said.
  “It’s getting worse and worse,” Alejandro said, his face pinched.
  “It’s growing. Look! There’s pus coming out,” OG said.
  “I already told you guys: the Medical Unit does not treat insect bites. That’s the jail’s policy,” Officer Mordhorst snarled.
  “That’s fucked up, dawg,” Troll said, playing spades.
  “You’re shit outta luck,” Tracy said to Alejandro.
  “You’re burnt,” Gravedigger said.
  Later that day, Yordon entered my cell. “These damn Yankees think I am a doctor.” He seemed strained, yet proud. “Now they want me to take care of Alejandro’s spider bite. Will you help me?
  “How?” I asked, honoured to be included.
  “Gravedigger and the others are going to hold Alejandro, so the big bastard doesn’t move, while I squeeze the pus out, and I need from you some salt, and perhaps you will help me put salt on the wound?”
  Revolted by the pus aspect, I didn’t think twice about helping my friend: “Count me in.” Plagued by outbreaks of mouth ulcers due to stress and malnourishment, I’d been collecting the tiny salt packets served with the chow because gargling salt water temporarily relieved the burning sensation the ulcers caused. I retrieved the salt packets from under my mattress, and followed Yordan into the day room.
  The bullet-wound scars on Alejandro’s back paled in comparison to what looked like a baseball of yellow plasma trying to exit his body. I was flabbergasted that a spider had caused that. When Yordan fingered the wound, thick yellow pus ran down Alejandro’s back, triggering my gag reflex.
  “That’s fucking gross!” Tracy said.
  Gravedigger smiled. 
  “It hurts like fuck! Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Alejandro asked.
  “Trust me. I was in the Russian military. This wound is easy for me.”
  “He ain’t no doctor!” yelled the big hillbilly, George, sat with the TV-watching crowd. “The commie bastard’ll make you worse!”
  “The irritation will be less when I am finished. Someone bring me toilet paper!” Yordan caught a toilet roll launched from the balcony, unspooled some and swabbed up the pus. “Men, I need you to hold him steady,” he said in the tone a commander reserves for troops entering battle.
  Gravedigger yanked Alejandro’s right arm and locked it between his forearms and biceps. Two men secured Alejandro’s left side.
  Yordon pressed his thumbs against the wound.
  Alejandro moaned. The wound gushed. “It hurts,” he whined.
  “It hurts! Ah good! It will hurt less when I am finished.” Yordan pressed harder, freeing more pus. I wondered if he knew what he was doing.
  “It fucking hurts!” Alejandro said, his face scrunched.
  “More toilet paper!” Yordan’s eyes followed the pus streaking down Alejandro’s back like egg yolk.
  Sweat was streaming from Alejandro’s short black hair, converging on his neck, branching into tributaries on his body, and coagulating with the baby powder coating his skin. 
  Passing Yordan toilet paper, I hoped that was the last of the pus.
  “We done yet?” Alejandro asked, swaying, destabilising the men holding him.
  “Keep him steady! We are not done! The poison is still coming out! More toilet paper please!” Yordan boomed.
  I quickly unspooled more toilet paper. “Here you go.”
  Yordan cleaned up the fresh pus, and applied pressure to the rim of the lesion. 
  Groaning like a dying elephant, Alejandro shifted, dragging along the men holding him.
  “We need more guys to hold him,” Gravedigger said.
  Everyone in the day room stopped their activities to watch more volunteers steady the big man.
  “I think that is it. One moment! Let me see. No! No! We are not done.” Gazing like a fanatic, Yordan discovered a new region of pus to finger.
  Alejandro groaned and shifted again, he looked as if about to faint.
  “More toilet paper!” Yordan yelled.
  “That must be it,” Alejandro said, sweat dripping from his ears and chin.
  The prisoners eased their hold on Alejandro.
  “Wait, men! Let me see.” Yordan thrust his fingers into the sore. The ejaculation of pus, the largest so far, surprised Yordan, delighted Gravedigger, and shocked the rest of us.
  Alejandro stumbled forward, tugging everyone holding him. They steadied him again. It seemed a pint of pus had come out by now.
  “More toilet paper!” Yordan massaged the area, exhausting the supply of pus. “Now I will apply the salt.”
  I tore open the tiny packets, tipped salt into Yordan’s palm, and cringed at the prospect of what he would do next. Yordan sprinkled salt onto the wound, and rubbed it in. Alejandro wailed so loud the hermits rushed from their cells.
  “There. Thanks to my Russian military training and the solidarity of my Yankee and Limey assistants, you are all fixed up now.” Yordan smiled.
  With their bee stripes stained by a combination of pus, sweat and baby powder, the men released Alejandro to much applause. Alejandro swayed, but didn’t collapse.

by Shaun Attwood author of Hard Time and Party Time

Banged-Up Abroad Ecstasy Club Scene

From my memoir, Party Timethat Raving Arizona is based on.

On Saturday night, Matt parks in Phoenix’s run-down warehouse district.  
“Got any change?” asks a hobo.
“Here’s a dollar,” I say. “Don’t spend it all on drugs.”
We walk past the Madison Street jail, a bleak tall tower with tiny windows. The music leaking from the Silver Dollar Club tingles my forearm skin, bringing something inside of me alive. We pay and enter a large dark room packed with people dancing. When the stompy house music slows down, hundreds of arms shoot into the air.
I laugh at a large face projected onto a wall: a camp old man in goth makeup. He peeps at me, grins and stares ahead as if nothing happened.
“Did you see that?” I say, hoping the face peeps again.
“What?” Matt asks.
“That face just looked at me, and smiled.”
“Did you take drugs already and not tell me?”
“I wish. Let’s get some Ecstasy shall we?” I say.
“I’ll ask around.”
“I like it. It’s like an English club, only much smaller. Maybe there’s hope for raves in Phoenix after all. I’ll be right back. I’ve got to take a piss.” I leave Matt at the bar. In the stall I try to enter, two muscle boys in wife beaters are having sex.
“Sorry,” I say.
“Join us or get out. Either way, close the goddam door!” one says.
The next stall is empty. All done, I find Matt chatting to a bull of a Mexican American with a steel ring through the nose.
“This is Moo,” Matt says.
“Hello, Moo,” I say.
“Hi,” Moo says in a high-pitched whisper.
“Moo’s got X,” Matt says.
“How much for?” I ask, excited.
“Twenty-five,” Matt says.
“I’ll take one,” I say.
“Two,” Matt says.
“Fifty dollars first,” Moo says in the voice of a little girl. Moo does the deal and leaves. Familiar with the taste of Ecstasy, I chew the pill.
“Why’re you chewing it?” Matt asks.
“So I know if it’s bunk or not,” I say.
“It’s gotta taste gross! If they’re bunk, I’ll beat that Moo’s ass.”
“No, it’s good. It tastes right. We’ll be off our heads here soon. Me before you, because it hits you faster when you chew it.”
“Now you tell me! Gee, thanks!”
We hover around the bar, waiting for our highs to arrive. It takes thirty minutes for my knees to buckle. I lean against Matt.
“Y’all right?” Matt asks.
“Never felt better.” The sides of my head tingle, warmth inches in. It sweeps my face, the nape of my neck and creeps down my spine. My diaphragm and chest move in harmony as my breathing slows down. Each exhale releases more tension. I grow hot but relaxed. “It’s great… that we met,” I say, my eyeballs flickering upwards. “I would never have had the balls to steal those Kruger accounts without you.”
“At the rate we’re opening new accounts, we’ll be millionaires in a few years.”
“Isn’t it great?” I say.
“Fucking A!”
We high-five.
“Five years from now we’ll be at Merrill Lynch, living in mansions in Paradise Valley.”
“Driving BMWs and badass Japanese sports cars,” Matt says.
“Taking holidays all over the world.”
We laugh.
“You know what else I’m going to do when I have the money?” I ask.
“Move to Utah, convert to Mormonism, and have ten wives,” Matt says.
“No, silly. I’m going to throw proper raves in Arizona, so people can experience how I felt when I started raving.”
“It’s all country and western and metal and rap out here. There’s not enough interest.”
“By the time we’re rich, it’ll be more popular. I’ll figure it out. Raves for thousands of people, not a few hundred like this.”
“Raves would be awesome out in the desert.”
“I’m getting… like… a rush of energy,” I say. “Ready to dance?”
“Hell, yeah!”
The dancers on a raised area pull us up. Inhibitions gone, I move effortlessly to the music. I close my eyes and let the music move me. I seem to float. Rush after rush sweeps my body like electricity.  
Are you ready? goes the song. Jump everybody jump everybody jump
We leap from platform to platform. When DJ Sandra Collins plays Prodigy’s “Charly,” I close my eyes, and imagine I’m at an English rave. We dance our way to the front of the main stage, dripping sweat, hands in the air, eyeballs rolling towards heaven, hugging the strangers around us, grinning at the throng of freaks below. I feel right at home.

Banged-Up Abroad Skinhead Scene 2

From my jail memoir, Hard Time, that Raving Arizona is based on:

The commotion was in the shower area, about fifteen feet behind me. Skinheads were attacking a naked figure on the floor. Inmates stopped what they were doing, gravitated toward the shower area, and formed a sinister audience. I’m on the phone the day room, speaking to my girlfriend, Claudia.

“What is it?” Claudia asked.
“Looks like…er…some kind of disturbance,” I said into the telephone.
“What? What’s wrong? You alright?” she said, her voice starting to crack.
“Sure…er…I’m fine. It doesn’t involve me,” I said, distracted by the violence and proximity of the growing crowd.
The naked man raised his head and I saw it was another new prisoner called David. There was a plea for help in his eyes as they briefly met mine – a look that froze me against the wall. 
“Er…I might need to get off the phone here soon.”
“Die you sick chomo!” Rob, the biggest of the skinheads yelled, dropping his heel on David’s temple. Chomo is American prison slang for child molestor.
“What’s going on? Are you OK?” Claudia asked, her voice hitting some high notes.
The skinheads vied for stomping room. David arched his back in agony.
“Yes. I’m fine,” I said, struggling not to relay my fear. “It just gets crazy in these places, that’s all.”
The blows silenced David. Blood streamed from his nose.
“I have to go now. I love you,” I said, not wanting to worry her any further.
“Love you too. Every time I go to my mom’s house, I take your sweaty T-shirt and Floppy.” Floppy was a Build-A-Bear creation that played my voice saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you, Bungle Bee.”
One of the skinheads jumped up and down on David. I thought I heard his ribs snap.
“Bye, love.” I hung up.

The spectators had adopted the safety-in-numbers survival strategy of the wildebeest. None of them dared venture from the herd. Mesmerised by the violence, they watched from a safe distance. Gripped by the same instinct, I joined the back of the herd.
As if they’d exhausted their supply of aggression on David, the skinheads stopped the beating and marched away in unison. David was a whimpering heaving mound of flesh, blood pooling around his head. 
What kind of world am I in? I thought. This stuff really happens. How will I survive? 
Just when the violence seemed to be over, a rhinoceros of a man with spider webs tattooed on his thick neck approached the skinheads. “How come we can still hear the chomo?”
“We smashed the chomo good, dawg,” Rob said.
“Not good enough.” The man went to the shower with the casual gait of someone going to the shop to buy a bottle of milk, grabbed David’s neck, and started slamming David’s skull against the concrete as if he were trying to break open a coconut. Crack-crack-crack…
I was revolted but compelled to watch. The big man had increased the stakes, and I didn’t doubt the code of these people included killing anyone who interfered or flagged down a guard. Even walking away would be a show of disapproval, an invitation to be attacked next. I was terrified.
David’s body convulsed. His eyes closed. Then stillness. Silence. He remained on the floor until a guard walked the pod ten minutes later.
“Everybody, lockdown! Lockdown right now!” the guard yelled.

Shouting at the guard, the inmates returned to their cells, slamming their doors behind them. Guards rushed into the day room. Pressing myself to the cell door, I watched them remove David on a stretcher. There was fluid other than blood leaking from his head. A yellowish fluid.

Banged-Up Abroad Skinhead Scene 1

From my jail memoir, Hard Time, that Raving Arizona is based on:

Lingering in the doorway of the corner cell were three skinheads. Young. Tattooed. Waiting.
Forcing a smile they failed to return, I joined them. “I just got here,” I said, conscious of the fear in my voice.
“You need to come inside the cell, so we can have a little chat.”
“OK,” I said.
“Go in there, dawg.”
I walked into the cell, stopped by the window and turned around. Looking at them, I could see my left eyelid twitching. One of them blocked the doorway. Another leaned an arm adorned with a Valknut – three interconnected triangles found in early-medieval Germanic inscriptions – against the wall, forming a barrier.
“Where you from, dawg?”
“What the fuck you doing out here?”
“I was a stockbroker, then I threw raves.”
“So what they arrest you doing?”
“I’m not quite sure. They didn’t actually arrest me doing anything. I was just –”
Raising his forearms, the biggest skinhead stepped forward, fists clenched. “What the fuck you mean, you’re not quite sure?”
I braced to be attacked.
“How the fuck don’t you know what your charges are?”
I’ll try to push my way through them and escape.
“I do but –”
“Every motherfucker knows his charges! What you hiding from us?”
Got to push through them. If I fight against the wall they’ll just close in on me. 
“He’s bullshitting us!” The third closed the door, but not so it was locked.
I’m screwed. Charge and hope for the best.
“If you got sex offences, you’d better tell us now ’cause we will find out!”
“I don’t have sex offences. What I mean is, I don’t understand my charges: conspiracy, crime syndicate. I’m new to this. The cops just raided me and nobody’s explained what evidence they have. I thought they’d let me go when they didn’t find any drugs at my apartment. I don’t know what’s going on.”
“Where’s your paperwork at?”
“Right here,” I said, fishing it out of my top pocket.
“Lemme see.” The biggest skinhead snatched the charge sheet. Reading it, he said, “Goddam, dawg! $750,000 cash-only bond! You some kinda Mafia dude or what?”
“No. I threw raves. We did drugs. Everyone had a good time.” I wondered if my charges were acceptable to them.
“I shot someone in the chest at a rave,” the mid-sized one said in a scary matter-of-fact tone. “He was on GHB. I’m getting 10 for attempted murder.”
A raver or doesn’t like ravers?
“I’m here for drugs too, dawg. Name’s Rob,” the biggest one said. “Stand up and hold your fist out, man.”
Heart check? I thought. I raised both fists, dropped my chin, and tried to squint like Lee Van Cleef.
They laughed at me. “Not like that! Just hold a fist out like this.” Rob held his right fist out as if he’d just lost at the card game raps. I copied him, and he bumped his fist into mine. “That’s how we shake hands in here, dawg.”
I laughed and they joined in. My tension fell like a firework returning to earth.
“It’s to avoid catching diseases from people’s fingers. There’s a lotta sick motherfuckers up in this joint.”
“My mouth’s killing me. How do I get a toothbrush?” I asked.
“I’ll grab you one,” Rob said. “I’m the head of the whites for this pod. Used to be in the Marines.” He held out a tiny toothbrush. Splayed and stained.
“Thanks, Rob. Why’s the toothbrush so small?”
“So we can’t make shanks out of them.”
“Jailhouse knives. You’ve gotta lot to learn, dawg.”
“Got any toothpaste?”
“Here you go.” Rob smeared the toothbrush with AmerFresh, a brand made in China that Sheriff Joe Arpaio provided the inmates – five years later, the FDA found AmerFresh to be contaminated with diethylene glycol (DEG), a toxic chemical used in antifreeze and as a solvent.
“Do you mind if I brush my teeth at your sink?”
“Nah, go ahead,” Rob said.
I shuffled past them to the sink. The AmerFresh put out the fire in my mouth.
“You need to take a shower too,” Rob said.
I thought of all the shower scenes I’d seen in prison movies.
“Everyone coming from The Horseshoe fucking stinks. You’re making our race look bad going around smelling like that. We don’t wanna have to smash you for bad hygiene.”
“No problem. Where’s the showers at?” I asked, still brushing my teeth.
“In the corner, next to this cell,” Rob said, pointing at the wall.
“Better get in there before they call lockdown,” the mid-sized one said.
“What time’s that at?” I asked.
“Ten thirty.”
“Alright, I’m off to the shower then.” I cupped water in my hand a few times to rinse my mouth with, then stepped toward the door.
Rob blocked me. I flinched. “Not so fast. We ain’t finished with you yet.”
His last sentence crushed me. “What is it?” I asked, afraid of what he might say.  
Rob cocked his head back, narrowed his eyes. “What do you know about your cellies?” Accusation had returned to his voice.
“Not much. I guess Boyd’s here a lot, but the other one, David, has barely spoke a word.”
“Yeah, we know all about crackhead Boyd. What about the other one? Any idea what his charges are?”
Rob trained such a gaze on me I gulped. “No idea.”
“We think he’s a mo.”
“A chomo. A child molester.”
“Uh oh.”
“You can get smashed in here for having a celly who’s a chomo.”
My tension escalated again. “What should I do?”
“Usually, we’d tell you to tell him to roll up, but we’re gonna handle it for you.”
“OK. Thanks,” I said, unsure why I’d thanked them. “I’d better go and get my shower then.”
“You do that. And don’t go in the shower barefoot. Durango foot rot ain’t nothin’ nice, dawg.”

Raving Arizona is based on my memoirs Party Time and Hard Time

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Party Time with Amazon links.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Hard Time with Amazon links.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Prison Time

Shaun Attwood

Welcome From Asia

If you just watched Locked-Up Abroad Raving Arizona in Asia, both of my books are available with free worldwide shipping here:

Here are my answers to questions from National Geographic channel:

Prison Time Chapter 1

Prison Time, the third and final book in the English Shaun trilogy is complete and should be published early next year. The other two books are Party Time and Hard Time. Here's Chapter 1:

“I’ve got a padlock in a sock. I can smash your brains in while you’re asleep. I can kill you whenever I want.” My new cellmate sizes me up with no trace of human feeling in his eyes. Muscular and pot-bellied, he’s caked in prison ink, including six snakes on his skull, slithering side by side. The top of his right ear is missing in a semi-circle.
The waves of fear are overwhelming. After being in transportation all day, I can feel my bladder hurting. “I’m not looking to cause any trouble. I’m the quietest cellmate you’ll ever have. All I do is read and write.”
Scowling, he shakes his head. “Why’ve they put a fish in with me?” He swaggers close enough for me to smell his cigarette breath. “Us convicts don’t get along with fresh fish.”
“Should I ask to move then?” I say, hoping he’ll agree if he hates new prisoners so much.
“No! They’ll think I threatened you!”

In the 8 by 12 feet slab of space, I swerve around him, and place my property box on the top bunk.
He pushes me aside and grabs the box. “You just put that on my artwork! I ought to fucking smash you, fish!”
“Sorry, I didn’t see it.”
“You need to be more aware of your fucking surroundings! What you in for anyway, fish?”
I explain my charges, Ecstasy dealing, and how I spent 26 months fighting my case.
“How come the cops were so hard-core after you?” he asks, squinting.
“It was a big case, a multi-million dollar investigation. They raided over a hundred people, and didn’t find any drugs. They were pretty pissed off. I’d stopped dealing by the time they caught up with me, but I’d done plenty over the years, so I accept my punishment.”
“Throwing raves,” he says, staring at the ceiling as if remembering something. “Were you partying with underage girls?” he asks, his voice slow, coaxing.
Being called a sex offender is the worst insult in prison. Into my third year of incarceration, I’m conditioned to react. “What you trying to say?” I yell angrily, brow clenched.
“Were you fucking underage girls?” Flexing his body, he shakes both fists as if about to punch me.
“Hey, I’m no child molester , and I’d prefer you didn’t say shit like that!”
“My buddy next door is doing 25 to life for murdering a child molester . How do I know Ecstasy dealing ain’t your cover story?” He inhales loudly, nostrils flaring.
“You want to see my fucking paperwork?”

A stocky prisoner walks in. Short hair. Dark eyes. Powerful neck. On one arm: a tattoo of a man in handcuffs above the word OMERTA – the Mafia code of silence towards law enforcement. “What the fuck’s going on in here, Bud?” asks Junior Bull – the son of “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, a Mafia mass murderer who was my biggest competitor in the Ecstasy market.
Relieved to see a familiar face, I say, “How’re you doing?”
Shaking my hand, he says in a New York Italian accent, “I’m doing alright. I read that shit in the newspaper about you starting a blog in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail.”
“The blog’s been bringing media heat on the conditions.” While in the Maricopa County jail, I documented the human rights violations on sweat-soaked scraps of paper, using a tiny pencil sharpened on the door. Hidden in legal paperwork and the binding of books, my writing was smuggled out of Visitation by my aunt – right under the noses of armed guards – and posted to the Internet as a blog, Jon’s Jail Journal. In recent months, it drew international media attention.
“You know him?” Bud asks.
“Yeah, from Towers jail. He’s a good dude. He’s in for dealing Ecstasy like me.”
“It’s a good job you said that ’cause I was about to smash his ass,” Bud says.
“It’s a good job Wild Man ain’t here ’cause you’d a got your ass thrown off the balcony,” Junior Bull says.
I laugh. The presence of my best friend, Wild Man, was partly the reason I never took a beating at the county jail, but with Wild Man in a different prison, I feel vulnerable. When Bud casts a death stare on me, my smile fades.
“What the fuck you guys on about?” Bud asks.
“Let’s go talk downstairs.” Junior Bull leads Bud out.

I rush to a stainless steel sink/toilet bolted to a cement-block wall by the front of the cell, unbutton my orange jumpsuit and crane my neck to watch the upper-tier walkway in case Bud returns. I bask in relief as my bladder deflates. After flushing, I take stock of my new home, grateful for the slight improvement in the conditions versus what I’d grown accustomed to in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail. No cockroaches. No blood stains. A working swamp cooler. Something I’ve never seen in a cell before: shelves. The steel table bolted to the wall is slightly larger, too. But how will I concentrate on writing with Bud around? There’s a mixture of smells in the room. Cleaning chemicals. Aftershave. Tobacco. A vinegar-like odour. The slit of a window at the back overlooks gravel in a no-man’s-land before the next building with gleaming curls of razor wire around its roof.
From the doorway upstairs, I’m facing two storeys of cells overlooking a day room with shower cubicles at the end of both tiers. At two white plastic circular tables, prisoners are playing dominoes, cards, chess and Scrabble, some concentrating, others yelling obscenities, contributing to a brain-scraping din that I hope to block out by purchasing a Walkman. In a raised box-shaped Plexiglas control tower, two guards are monitoring the prisoners.

Bud returns. My pulse jumps. Not wanting to feel like I’m stuck in a kennel with a rabid dog, I grab a notepad and pen and head for the day room.

Focussed on my body language, not wanting to signal any weakness, I’m striding along the upper tier, head and chest elevated, when two hands appear from a doorway and grab me. I drop the pad. The pen clinks against grid-metal and tumbles to the day room as I’m pulled into a cell reeking of backside sweat and masturbation, a cheese-tinted funk.
“I’m Booga. Let’s fuck,” says a squat man in urine-stained boxers, with WHITE TRASH tattooed on his torso below a mobile home, and an arm sleeved with the Virgin Mary.
Shocked, I brace to flee or fight to preserve my anal virginity. I can’t believe my eyes when he drops his boxers and waggles his penis.
Dancing to music playing through a speaker he has rigged up, Booga smiles in a sexy way. “Come on,” he says in a husky voice. “Drop your pants. Let’s fuck.” He pulls pornography faces. I question his sanity. He moves closer. “If I let you fart in my mouth, can I fart in yours?”
“You can fuck off,” I say, springing towards the doorway.
He grabs me. We scuffle. Every time I make progress towards the doorway, he clings to my clothes, dragging me back in. When I feel his penis rub against my leg, my adrenalin kicks in so forcefully I experience a burst of strength and wriggle free. I bolt out as fast as my shower sandals will allow, and snatch my pad. Looking over my shoulder, I see him stood calmly in the doorway, smiling. He points at me. “You have to walk past my door every day. We’re gonna get together. I’ll lick your ass, and you can fart in my mouth.” Booga blows a kiss and disappears.

I rush downstairs. With my back to a wall, I pause to steady my thoughts and breathing. In survival mode, I think, What’s going to come at me next? In the hope of reducing my tension, I borrow a pen to do what helps me stay sane: writing. With the details fresh in my mind, I document my journey to the prison for my blog readers, keeping an eye out in case anyone else wants to test the new prisoner. The more I write, the more I fill with a sense of purpose. Jon’s Jail Journal is a connection to the outside world that I cherish.

Someone yells, “One time!” The din lowers. A door rumbles open. A guard does a security walk, his every move scrutinised by dozens of scornful eyes staring from cells. When he exits, the din resumes, and the prisoners return to injecting drugs to escape from reality, including the length of their sentences. This continues all day with “Two times!” signifying two approaching guards, and “Three times!” three and so on. Every now and then an announcement by a guard over the speakers briefly lowers the din.

Before lockdown, I join the line for a shower, holding bars of soap in a towel that I aim to swing at the head of the next person to try me. With boisterous inmates a few feet away, yelling at the men in the showers to “Stop jerking off,” and “Hurry the fuck up,” I get in a cubicle that reeks of bleach and mildew. With every nerve strained, I undress and rinse fast.

At night, despite the desert heat, I cocoon myself in a blanket from head to toe and turn towards the wall, making my face more difficult to strike. I leave a hole for air, but the warm cement block inches from my mouth returns each exhalation to my face as if it’s breathing on me, creating a feeling of suffocation. For hours, my heart drums so hard against the thin mattress I feel as if I’m moving even though I’m still. I try to sleep, but my eyes keep springing open and my head turning towards the cell as I try to penetrate the darkness, searching for Bud swinging a padlock in a sock at my head.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Party Time.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Hard Time.

Shaun Attwood

The Driver (Part 2) Guest Blog by Andy Stanley

My guest blogger, Andy Stanley, is a former employee of the criminal enterprise I ran in Arizona before my arrest. If you’ve read Hard Time or Party Time, you’re familiar with the larger-than-life friends of mine Wild Man and Wild Woman. The Wild Ones feature in Part 1 and 2 of Andy’s story. The entire story of my Ecstasy smuggling mission in Mexico is a chapter in Party Time.

After telling Shaun that the Wild Ones were missing in Mexico, and the house he’d rented for them looked like it had been bombed, Shaun decided that since I only knew how to say “Thank you,” and “Go fuck yourself,” in Spanish, it would be best if I returned to Puerto Peñasco on a search-and-rescue mission accompanied by Tulips and leave my wife at home.
Hispanic Tulips, an ex US-military sniper, was born in the USA but spoke fluent Spanish. Just the guy I needed to help me figure out what had happened to the Wild Ones. Once again I grabbed my keys, crystal meth, and gun. I picked Tulips up, and headed for Puerto Peñasco.

For those of you who don't live in America or a gun friendly country, Mexico isn’t exactly tolerant when it comes to outsiders rolling with a pocket full of rocket fuel and a super concealable handgun. But after what I saw at the Wild Ones’ bombed-out house the day before, I decided to take a chance with my gun. I preferred not to be sober for the money shot, so I stashed the gun and drugs inside a makeshift shelf up under the center console of my car.

We hit the Mexican border just after dark and for the first time I was stopped on the Mexico side at the border. Tulips and I were ordered out of the car by 5"4 maybe 5"6 Federales – Mexican Federal Police. They were wearing plain olive drab uniforms, clean shaven, and stinking like The Aqua Velva truck had T-boned the Old Spice truck in front of the B.O. Factory on a hot day in hell.

I was relieved Tulips was with me. He would be able to sweet talk them, bribe them or do whatever was necessary to keep them away from the center console containing my two tickets to a lifetime of ass rape in a Mexican jail. Tulips was carrying on a conversation with a Federale that was not going well. Tulips kept looking like he was going to kneel. Every time he did this, the agent went into a fit of pointing and yelling.

Finally, Tulips turned to me and quickly shuffled close enough to say in an embarrassed tone, “Andy, open the trunk. They call it a boot here. I thought he was telling me to take my shoes off.”
This was concerning as I was relying on Tulips to keep me from blindly running into whatever fate the Wild Ones had met.

I went to the front seat of the car and reached under the dash to pull the trunk release and through the windshield I see a medium-sized dog with his nose to the ground leading one of the Mexican officers towards my car. At this point I didn’t think I could handle much more and just sort of let the panic and anxiety wash over me. I looked at Tulips as I walked back to where Senior Old Spice had told me to stand, and waited.

Idly talking to Tulips about a rave we had attended a few weeks prior, I saw out of the corner of my eye Mr. Drug Sniffer finish with the interior of my car and meet up round the back of my car to really get serious. I saw four-foot sections of the trunk lining get thrown out. The drug sniffing dog is distracted by the smell and now the taste of his own large brown balls.
Then, Mr. Aqua Velva tells Tulips that we can go.

 My car is torn to bits inside. Plastic pop tiers broken on the headliner, rubber moulding pulled away on the doors, yet somehow the center console is perfect, and besides the contents, which are everywhere, it is intact. I would later learn that the Mexican Federal Police as well as quite a few American Law Enforcement agencies did not want to spend upwards of $35,000 for each drug dog. They thought it would be cheaper (and much more entertaining I have to believe) to simply buy a German Shepard and watch the reactions of people the handlers suspect are trafficking.

We arrived at the hotel well into the night and were told there were guests already in my usual room. We stayed in the next room over.

In the morning, I slipped the maid a new $20.00 bill and went next door and reclaimed the 8-ball of meth I had left behind when we had fled the country a few nights prior. I ignored Tulips' jibes about how I could have gotten away with a $5.00 bill instead of the $20, and we were off to Cholla Bay.

We made the drive out to Cholla Bay with the windows of my car all the way down. It was a clear morning, the sun was bright and there was a cold breeze blowing from behind the waves. It felt like we were driving off on vacation.
We pulled into Cholla Bay and I went left instead of right, and took the road with a much sharper incline than the road our house was on. My plan was to drive up and over the house and see what I could before we drove up. I stopped in a house above ours and got out. I walked to the edge of the retaining wall and looked over at the house. It was much less menacing in the light.

Tulips was standing by the car patiently waiting. He had been pulled away from important business to come with me. Although he was incredibly polite, I could tell he wanted to get back ASAP. I got into the car right when Oscar, the local cop pulled up with his old Dukes of Hazard 1982 police car and giant beer belly. Oscar was upset because I had spun my tires trying to get traction up the hill. After the lecture and another $20.00 bribe, he sent us on our way.

I pulled up to the house and walked up with Tulips in tow. Although it now looked like nothing more than a whitewashed adobe house, Tulips was now paying attention. I opened the security door with quite a bit of effort. As we were getting ready to step in the door, I saw a matronly pear-shaped Caucasian woman trundling up the hill waving at us. She closed the last few yards red faced and sweating despite the cold wind blowing past.
“Are you Andy?” She beamed at me excitedly.
Tulips and I stared at her with our mouths open, me halfway through the black security door.
“I… um… yeah.”
Tulips and I looked at one another trying to figure out where this cherubic woman had come from. It was still wintertime and assuming Wild Man was gone, I was probably the only other Caucasian for 200 miles.
“Follow me,” she said, clearly in a huge rush despite her pleasant nature. And off she went down the hill toward her house.

We walked into a dark loving room. With sun reflecting off of the whitewashed exterior wall, I could not see inside at all. I had my Spiewak bag unzipped on the side and my hand on my gun. It really felt like we were walking into something awful. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, my worst fears were realized. Wild Man was just waking up, wearing a huge white T-shirt with an AIDS ribbon on the front and what I remember as Ocean Pacific shorts circa 1984 in aqua and at least two sizes too small. He looked hung over and haggard as he was apt to before noon.

After man hugs and greetings were exchanged, Wild Man gave us the recap over beers at JJ's Cantina. The Wild Ones had been drinking all night and had gone back to the house. They'd had a fight over god knows what and in the ensuing spat, Wild Woman had thrown a glass, an ashtray, or let’s just say something heavy at him. It missed Wild Man and crashed into the wall near the ground.
Now here's the irony. Mexican buildings will probably be standing here inhabited by nuclear cockroaches after a holocaust. But they do have weaknesses. A wall made of solid concrete is nearly impossible to cut and snake cables, wires, or any piping through. Much of the time these things can be seen running in closed plastic conduit along the edge of floors. When Wild Woman had thrown the ashtray, it broke open the PVC gas line running to the gas heater. At that time of year heaters ran from sundown to sun up.

Wild Man described the ensuing carnage as a billowing ocean of blue fire that covered the floor in the blink of an eye and rose to the ceiling as fast. He managed to escape with none of his things as his clothing had been burned just bad enough to warrant the donation clothes. Other than legs as smooth as silk, he had escaped pretty much unharmed as the residents that were in town tried to help put the fire out.

The next week, I returned with my wife to see what could be done. The little old man that was sweeping the floor when we arrived would not look at me when we arrived. There were no papers to sign. No police waiting. And none of the smiles I'd grown accustomed to. The old man was from Mesa, Arizona. We asked if there was anything we could do. "You can go." Was all he said. Later, after we were married we bought our first house 6 houses down from him. He never said a word to us even when we passed him in the grocery store.

My next story will be about the first time I met Wild Woman.

Webpage for Party Time, including chapter 1 and Amazon links:

Shaun Attwood

SJB Visit, Woking

Did my final talk of the academic year today at SJB in Woking. In the pic are my brilliant readers, Dylan and Tara. As a little end of term bonus, I gave copies of Hard Time to the first 8 students to put their hands up and ask questions. The talks restart in September, giving me plenty of time to make progress on the self-help book I was recently commissioned to write about the ten most important lessons I learned in my life. 

Shaun Attwood 

Banged-Up Abroad Raving Arizona

Those of you new to Jon's Jail Journal who heard my Australian radio interview yesterday may want to check out my full Banged-Up Abroad episode here on YouTube:

The episode is based on my books Party Time and Hard Time.

Shaun Attwood

Where are you reading Party Time? Bondi Beach, Australia

From Bucko on holiday, this has got to be the most impressive pic in this series so far.

Shaun Attwood 

Banged-Up Abroad Raving Arizona

If you see this ex-criminal's face on your TV in the UK, there's no need to call the cops. The ads have started for the Banged-Up Abroad UK TV premiere on National Geographic Channel July 29th at 9pm. Further info:

Shaun Attwood

The Driver (Part 1) Guest Blog by Andy Stanley

This week’s guest blogger, Andy Stanley, is a former employee of the criminal enterprise I ran in Arizona before my arrest. If you’ve read Hard Time or Party Time, you’re familiar with the larger-than-life friends of mine Wild Man and Wild Woman. The Wild Ones feature in Part 1 of Andy’s story. The entire story of my Ecstasy smuggling mission in Mexico is a chapter in Party Time.

My name is Andy Stanley. Back at the height of his Ecstasy empire, Shaun Attwood used to call me Mr. Wolf, after the character played by Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, esteemed for his driving skills and his ability to clean up messy situations. Let’s just say Shaun employed my services from time to time.

Back then, Shaun made a splash in everyone's lives. I will never forget the little duplex on Farmer Street in Tempe, Arizona where he housed his two English partners in crime, Wild Man and Wild Woman, collectively known as the Wild Ones.
Wild Woman in the duplex on Farmer Street
The duplex served as our dilapidated den of iniquity. Watching DJ Keoki spinning records on the turntables, I traded my Rolex to Shaun as our group dropped like flies after Shaun, sitting like Dionysus on a bed of women and their assorted garments, gleefully distributed caps of GHB to everyone free of charge. I woke up in full Max Hardcore makeup, sitting in a bean-bag chair, wondering where the rest of my eyebrows were. I saw a pretty young lady looking for her – let’s say her shoes – that would later be my wife, mother of my children, and divorce court executioner. Shaun noticed my interest and gave me her ID to return and the rest is history.

Due to the rapidly rising police heat surrounding the Wild Ones, Shaun relocated them to Mexico. In Puerto Peñasco, Wild Man quickly became known as El Gladiador [The Gladiator] and El Oso [The Bear] after throwing a local through a wall at JJ's Cantina. So what, right? Well, JJ's overlooks the ocean and is built on a short pier, so at high tide you're sitting over the water. It was low tide. And it was black lava rock on the beach. I know the local survived because I was not asked to bring a suitcase full of cash to pay off Oscar the local cop.

In Phoenix, Shaun was having difficulty communicating with Wild Man in Mexico because Wild Man’s phone had gone dark earlier in the week while I was planning a trip to bring Wild Man supplies. While this was unusual, it was not necessarily cause for alarm. He had some kind of reloadable Nokia GSM, and he had run out of minutes before and money was one of the things on my supply list. Right next to the "note to self" about keeping the money from Wild Man with the words "Shaun's Pissed Off!" underlined beside it. Shaun was aggravated because his Spring Break Mexico Ecstasy smuggling mission was getting close, and the Wild One’s place was by now supposed to have been established as a temporary home for a large shipment of pills coming from Amsterdam. On these trips, Wild Man was generally able to get whatever petty cash Shaun had allocated for expenses out of me, either through coercion or picking me up by my ankles and shaking me until he had all of my money, drugs and anything shiny that fell out.

I grabbed my keys, dope, and girl then set out on the six-hour drive through Southern Arizona across the Mexican border to the tiny town on the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Peñasco. We arrived in Puerto Peñasco as the sun was setting. My white 1998 Honda Accord was heavily laden with groceries and various items you need to make a house feel like a home. We checked into our usual hotel just down the hill from Plaza Las Glorias.
Puerto Peñasco
In those days everything but the Plaza looked like it had been built with decay in mind. The buildings seemed to melt right into the trash piles, and you sort of had the feeling that not only was there no effort to clean anything, but the environment had sort of evolved and incorporated the filth into its DNA. That being said, to this day, in my 39 years of life and love of good Mexican food, nothing has, or ever will taste as perfect as the street tacos the old man with a little igloo ice chest and a charcoal grill on wheels sold. He would scoot slowly down the strip and make them right in front of you for $1.00 each. I salivate at the memory.

As we finished getting checked in, bags unloaded, and drugs stashed, we quickly ate some tacos and drove to the end of town, through the flea market and down a little alley that opened up about 1/8th of a mile above the beach into what a plough had decided was this week’s road to Cholla Bay. I down shifted and stomped the gas until my rev limiter was about to kill the motor and shifted into higher gear. If you drove like you would on any street, you'd sink to the sand very quickly and would have to wait for someone with a 4X4 to happen past. As it was now nearly dark, you were as likely to be robbed by the police as you were the people driving the 4X4 you were counting on for a tow.

The tiny town of Cholla Bay did its best to stay up late, but it was usually asleep by 8:30pm. At Shaun’s request, my wife had leased a small one-bedroom condo in Cholla Bay. As you entered the town the sandy road turned to a V-shaped fork and the condo was to the right on the left side of the road about 6 to 8 houses up. These smaller Mexican buildings generally look like the owner built them by bending a truckload of rebar into the shape of a house then filled in the gaps with about as much concrete as the hoover dam needed for completion.

As we pulled into town, I had a strange feeling that I would have twice more in my time with Shaun. My ears felt warm and like they were growing very rapidly, my eyes seemed to pick out every detail in the sand, and my mind felt two seconds ahead in time. The hairs on my arms and neck stood out on end, and I knew everything was not OK.

We pulled into the vacant lot adjacent to the Wild Ones’dwelling. We had only leased the condo a few weeks prior and this would be my third time through the front door, but on my prior visits it was bright and loud and at least somewhat bawdy. Tonight, it was dark. The porch light was out, the windows were black and something felt wrong. In my soul I knew something was not in harmony with my memory of this place. I ordered my wife back in the car.
“Lock the doors and windows up!” I gave her the keys and had her sit in the driver’s seat. “If anything goes wrong, drive the fuck out of town! Don't stop until you are over the border!”
I closed the door on her. As I was walking up to the side of the condo cursing Mexicans and their insane gun laws and thinking of my gun, a Sig Sauer P229 sitting up inside my car’s exhaust hood next to the bulk of my drugs, I neared the first window. As I took in the window, I had a rush of vertigo as the adrenaline surged to toxic levels in my blood and my mind struggled to sort what I was seeing.

The windows were black. Blackened would be more appropriate. There had been a raging inferno. Because of the solid concrete construction, the exterior, aside from the windows looked as good as new. I edged up to the window and peeked inside at the black. Chunks and mounds of blackened mush with wiry claws entangled in rigor mortis as if hell has frozen in place and then rotted away. Of course it was just bits of clothing and furniture, but in that moment as the last breath of dusk exhaled softly in my ear, it was as if I'd stepped into a nightmare.

I moved as confidently as I could past the rest of the windows and spared only a glance at the front of the house and something snapped into place in my head. All of the windows and now the front door had furniture piled in front of them. Had Wild Man barricaded himself inside? The thought didn’t make sense. I'd seen him do incredible violence without becoming excited enough to open his eyes all the way. I covered the distance back to my car in the blink of an eye.

Waving at my wife and mouthing the words, “Move over NOW!” I flew down the sandy street, across the long dark road to Puerto Peñasco, through town and onto the highway, only spending $100 two times to make the speeding charges go away. Mexican cops – getting that job must be such a windfall.

We made it to the border four minutes before it closed. It was a massive relief. After two hours driving on a dark highway with sporadic streetlights – and don't discount that we were as high as kites on crystal meth – we had come up with the most terrifying cartel kidnappings involving moustachioed Mexicans straight from central casting, carving up Wild Man and cauterizing the wounds with a fat cigar pulled from between rotting teeth. We reached cell reception north of Ajo, Arizona and dialled Shaun. Voicemail first ring. Shit! Try again. Voicemail. So we went 3.5 more hours trying to reach Shaun.

Webpage for Party Time, including chapter 1 and Amazon links:

Shaun Attwood

Second Review of my new book Party Time, the prequel to Hard Time

By Steven McLaughlin, author of Clubland UK and Squaddie

Shaun Attwood is one of life's gifted people. When he was young his gift was for numbers. Now he is older that gift has been supplanted by a gift for words. But it is a gift that has been well earned and paid for, in losses of freedom and opportunity that most of us can scarcely imagine. And the gift that he has to offer in the telling of his tale is one that we'd be wise to seize and ponder - because his gift is a lesson to us all.

Party Time is a book that succeeds on many levels and Shaun Attwood is a writer of brilliance, wit and sensitivity. He is an outstandingly gifted raconteur and his ability to portray human emotion stretched taut as piano wire, caught up in a nightmare of spiralling drug addictions and Faustian pacts with deranged, tragicomic gangsters, is a bittersweet joy to behold. His writer's voice slips effortlessly from observational, to conversational, to stream of conscious - and never once does he lose we the reader. Shaun takes us on a roller coaster ride of desperate highs and lows, which veer from rocket-fuelled joy to slow-motion car-wreck, as his glittering Las Vegas lifestyle burns out in merciless desert heat - an apex predator turned roadkill, scorched into the sands. If ever a cautionary tale was written then this is it.

Laced with warmth and humanity, Party Time is more than just a crime tale; it's a story of friendship, innocence lost, the ties that bind and riches that blind. Underpinning the drama is Shaun's touching and at times misguided sense of responsibility towards his man-child enforcer and childhood protector `Wild Man' - an earthy force of nature who is as physically powerful and destructive as a Mid-West typhoon. Their shared loyalty is an unbreakable, almost telepathic bond that carries dangers in itself - the one area in which Shaun's razor sharp intellect fails him.

When Wild Man trips out so far that he baits infamous Mafioso `Sammy the Bull' Gravano as a `Plastic Gangster' and actively seeks out violence with his crew it is an unintentionally hilarious - but incredibly perilous - crisis for Shaun to damage control and mediate back to peace. And yet he does - time and again using his instinctive gifts to bail out his bear-like pal from all manner of situations. Wild Man rewards Shaun's care with an utterly fearless and unswerving devotion; he is Shaun's not-so-secret weapon and is able to resolve almost any situation by the mere fact of his presence and his aura of a man that is prepared to go to any lengths to protect his friend - even at the cost of himself. As Wild Man succinctly puts it: “you're the brains and I'm the brawn la.” There is never a second's doubt that each man will come through for the other - be it with cash, muscle, a helping hand or a helping fist.

The mental image of these two fiercely bonded Englishmen and their eccentric friendship conquering America's notoriously tough drug scene is one that lingers in the mind long after reading - it is an image that was made for the movies and belongs on the big screen. I look forward to seeing that happen.

If you've ever been involved in clubland and heard the distant wail of blue flashing lights, the close din of rushing boots, the breaking of a bottle, or the harsh utterance of guttural threats and known that `they' are coming for you, then Party Time will resonate like a pounding drum machine. And if you haven't then you'll certainly learn something about what goes on at the business end of the rave equation - behind the dancing and the getting high.

Click here for Party Time’s webpage and Amazon links, including chapter 1:

Click here for the first review of Party Time by journalist Mike Peake: