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The Horror Issue

I'm Busted

People in the real world imagine a lot of horror stories coming out of prison. And in a sense they're right-a lot of foul shit goes down. All you free people have seen Oz, right? But living in the belly of the beast, prisoners learn that horror stories...

People in the real world imagine a lot of horror stories coming out of prison. And in a sense they’re right—a lot of foul shit goes down. All you free people have seen Oz, right? But living in the belly of the beast, prisoners learn that horror stories are only at the extreme end of the spectrum. Yeah, there’s violence, rapes, extortion, gang wars, racial conflicts, drug disputes, stabbing, and murder, but it’s all in perspective. It’s all relative to how a con is living and how he does his time. If he associates with riffraff then he has to expect the dirt to come into play.


But sometimes even in prison a convict will hear of something so grotesque and gruesome that even he is shocked. And when these horror stories happen, the tales will travel all around the prison system like FedEx. Here’s a couple of them told firsthand.

“That shit was vicious,” says Lil’ Debo, referring to what supposedly went down in the pen he just transferred in from. “They said them niggas were on some Jeffrey Dahmer type shit.” Lil’ Debo squinches his face in disgust, showing his disdain for the mass murderer who even in prison can’t get any respect.

“See, this is how it went down,” he says. “This cracker was bringing in heroin for the Crips. He was a bank-robber dude. But he loved his dope. He had a nice girl from San Diego that was holding him down. She would get the package from the Crips people and bring it on the VI.” A lot of visitors bring balloons of illegal drugs in on the visits and the prisoners swallow them to smuggle into the jail.

“They was doing this on the regular,” Lil’ Debo says. “Well, one time the Crip dudes is waiting for the package. They knew the cracker been on the VI all day. So they trying to get it, right? But the cracker say that shit ain’t passed yet.” When prisoners swallow balloons they have to wait for them to pass through their system and shit them out.

“But one of them Crip dudes peeped the cracker nodding,” Lil’ Debo says. “So in his own mind he just knows the cracker is fronting. He tells his homies and they decide that the cracker is holding on them.” In prison drug deals, the double cross goes down on the regular.


“So these Crips, they figure they gonna cut old boy up. They some vicious young cats from L.A. They don’t be fucking around,” Lil’ Debo says. “They get to talking about what they gonna do to old boy, and pretty soon they get carried away and talking about ripping his guts out and taking their dope.

“Now ain’t nobody think these young ’uns is really gonna do all that. They figure it’s just some loose talk, but they’s on a mission,” Lil’ Debo says and smiles, showing his gold-plated teeth. “They go down to the cracker’s cell with their shanks and start cutting old boy up. They keep cutting and cutting and then they rip out the cracker’s intestines.” Lil’ Debo holds his hand up and mimes a ripping motion.

“One of the O.G.’s goes down to see what’s up and he can’t believe his fucking eyes.” Lil’ Debo says. “His young homies got old boy’s guts strewn all over the floor of the cell. They chopping the intestines up to find their balloons of dope. The room’s stinking like shit and the homies are all covered in blood and guts, looking like Freddy Krueger and shit. And old boy’s still alive with his eyes open watching the young ’uns chop up his intestines..

“Well, it turns out old boy wasn’t fronting. He was doing somebody else’s dope, not the Crips’,” L’il Debo says, holding his hands up and shrugging. “They got their dope, but that shit was too damn gruesome and messy. Those young ’uns got cased up for that shit and are probably still in ADX to this day. Ain’t nobody got no problem about murdering some fool but what those homies did was sick.”


And although chaos is abundant in the netherworld of corruption and violence, it’s not restricted to the physical realm. There are plenty of crazies in here who are fighting their own horrors in their minds. They amble up to the pill line everyday doing the Thorazine shuffle, Wacked-out on prescription drugs and in another world. They make frequent visits to the prison shrinks office to give detailed accounts that spring from the recesses of their paranoid mind, probably leaving the poor, underpaid prison shrink blessing God that these fuckers are locked up.

“I see demons,” Wild Bill says with no hint of sarcasm. He is very serious. “When I sleep in my cell at night I can feel their claws scraping my skin as they try to suck me into their world.” And Wild Bill, who is known as a joker, is not joking now. When he told the shrink, all they did was up his dosage of Thorazine.

“The pills don’t help,” he says. “I can’t even sleep. Every night as soon as I drift off to sleep the demons come. They trap me in my bunk and I can’t move. They whisper to me, ‘The drop given was at 14 feet.’ Now what the fuck does that mean?” For real, who the fuck knows, but Wild Bill must be crazy.

“I’m not crazy,” he swears. “That shit is real. Sometimes I wake up screaming with sweat all over my body. And scratches. Look here.” He shows a wicked-looking long red scratch on his arm. “I’m not crazy. This fucking institution is crazy. This place is haunted. This shit is real. They’re trying to kill me. The drop given was at 14 feet? What the fuck does that mean?” Wild Bill looks all beady-eyed with dark circles under his eyes and he’s not some little scared motherfucker either. He’s a big bad convict from West Virginia. A Hell’s Angel who rides with the meanest dudes on the East Coast. Most dudes on the compound cut a wide path around Wild Bill and stay the fuck out of his way.

“I’m serious, man,” he says. “That shit is fucking me up. the shrinks don’t know what the fuck to say. The drugs aren’t working. I can’t sleep man. I’m scared to fucking go to sleep. They’re coming to get me. Do you hear me? They’re coming to get me.” And it’s horrors like this that a lot of prisoners have to deal with. The horrors of their own minds. For the crimes committed, the people hurt, the violence perpetrated. It all comes back on the psyche. A guilty conscience is a dangerous thing, and the horrors it can inflict on the mind can leave big bad men like Wild Bill screaming in the middle of the night for the whole block to hear.