By Tommy Guns
I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was Tuesday, May 11th, 1971, the day I woke up in the Brig, my hands and legs tightly shackled to the bars at the head and foot of the rack on which I was laying. Most of all, I remember the smells. I was laying in my own waste, dried blood and vomit staining my ripped uniform blouse, and a tear at the knee on the left leg of my uniform trousers. There were the smells of despair and hopelessness, and the scent of cold, hard, oily steel, mixed with way too much pine cleaner.
But I still don’t remember much of the three days that preceded that May 11th, or what had brought me to that place, on that memorable day, in the disreputable state I was in. But I do remember what happened after my rude awakening by the sound of a nightstick being banged against the solid steel door of my cell.
I remember wondering why I, a much decorated and combat hardened Marine, was shackled hand and foot to a steel rack in the Brig. I had been in a few scrapes in the past with the Shore Patrol, but was always able to talk my way out of them, based largely on the chest full of ribbons I wore and, of course, my rank. Apparently this time was more serious, or else they just got tired of me tearing things up while on liberty. Suddenly, I heard a key in the lock of the massive steel hatch to my cell, and it swung open, letting in an invasion of bright light that nearly blinded me and ended my reverie. Standing in the hatchway, legs spread wide in a commanding stance, I could just barely make out the figure of a tall Marine in uniform. Surrounded by bright light as he was, my still foggy brain cells were trying to grapple with the problem of whether he was real or some sort of apparition. I couldn’t quite make out his face, but I could see that he was sporting Corporal’s stripes on the left sleeve of his well-creased blouse, the right ones obscured by the red and gold wool MP brassard he was wearing. He had on a full shiny leather duty belt, complete with holsters for his pistol and radio, a handcuff pouch, along with nightstick and flashlight in their holders.
The Corporal entered my cell and banged his nightstick against the side of the rack. The hangover I had made the sound seem even louder to me than it probably was. I remember thinking that he enjoyed the obvious discomfort he saw on my face. “You awake prisoner?” he barked at me. I grunted something unintelligible, to which he responded, “Prisoner. When addressing me, or any of the guards assigned here, the first and last word out of your mouth will be Sir. Do you understand me, prisoner?” I again grunted something unintelligible, and for my effort received a quick rap from his nightstick across my already hurting left leg. I let out a yelp of pain, which earned me yet another rap. Finally realizing that this was not getting me anywhere, I responded, “Sir, yes Sir!” He half smiled and said, “You’ll learn asshole!” Then he motioned behind him and two more Marines came into the cell.
These two guys were huge, with biceps that seemed to strain the seams of their tight fitting uniform blouses. With one at the head of my rack, and the other at the foot, they grabbed and held my limbs as one of the handcuffs and one leg cuff were unlocked and left dangling. Next they half lifted me from the rack, as if I weighed little more than a rag doll, and turned me over on my stomach. First my arms were pulled behind my back and cuffed tightly once again. Then the other leg cuff was locked in place. I was then stood up and pushed out of the cell with one of these huge MPs tightly gripping an arm in case I faltered or hesitated. They marched, half pushed, me down the passageway, through yet another set of locked steel hatches, and finally into the reception and processing area.
After arriving in the processing area, I was locked in a small barred cell that was no more than about two feet square, just large enough to accommodate a standing person. One cuff of a set of handcuffs was locked around one of the bars, and the other was locked around the cuffs on my wrist, so I was not only shackled hand and foot, I was shackled to the bars. I remained in that position for what seemed like at least two hours, long enough for my leg muscles to get cramped and my back to ache from being unable to move very far. If I tried to ease myself down a bit to take pressure off my cramping thigh or calf muscles, my arms were pulled up behind me and it felt as if my shoulders were being ripped from their joints. It was definitely not the most comfortable position to be in for long.
Finally, another Marine came into the center, took a look at me, and went off to get himself a cup of coffee before returning to sit behind the counter. He pulled out a log and barked out, “Prisoner, what’s your name, last name first, first name last.” I answered with the requisite Sir at the beginning and end, and answered the remainder of his questions concerning my rank, service number and date of birth. After completing his entries in the log, he looked at me and said, “From now on, and for as long as you are confined here, you will be known only as Prisoner Number 65. Is that clear?” I replied, “Sir, yes Sir.” He then told me that I would be assigned to Cell 48, located in Cellblock 4, the maximum security block. I was then instructed that, from that moment on, I was to request permission for everything I wanted to do by announcing, “Sir, prisoner number 65, cell number 48, cellblock number 4, requests permission to . . .” whatever it is I needed to do from using the head to getting a drink of water, hitting the rack, or even getting out of the rack at night.
Next, the Marine came over and released me from my handcuffs and leg irons, but I was still locked in that small, standing room only, cell. I was ordered to strip naked. Once I did so, and handed my soiled uniform through the bars, the handcuffs and leg irons were put back on. He next unlocked the cell and told me to back out, and directed me to another hatch through which I could see still another cell with a showerhead against the far bulkhead. I was ordered into the cell, the barred hatch was locked, and the cuffs removed from my hands, but my ankles remained tightly shackled. I was ordered to take a shower, but there were no faucets of any kind. Then, from somewhere I couldn’t see, the shower was turned on and a stream of ice-cold water hit my chest. I was shocked out of my groggy state and tried to step back out of the stream. The Marine barked at me to stay exactly where I was, tossed me a bar of brown soap, and ordered me to clean the filth and stink off my sorry ass. Interestingly enough, the water seemed less cold and a lot more refreshing than I expected. I was finally becoming more aware of where I was, but still couldn’t figure out how I had gotten myself into this predicament.
After a few minutes, the shower was turned off and I was thrown a small brown towel to dry off with. After I was done, the guard threw a pair of cloth slippers to me, along with a thin cotton hospital gown of some sort. I was ordered to put them on and to come to the hatch and turn around. At this point, the two really large Marines came back into the room carrying a leather belt that had two single handcuffs attached about 18 inches apart. One of them unlocked the cell door and I was ordered to back out of the cell and to get down on my knees. I said, “Sir, yes Sir,” and painfully bent at the knees until my weight carried me to the floor with a jolt that resonated from my knees to my hips.
One of the two gorillas pushed me forward by the neck and shoulders until my face was painfully pushed against the bars of the cell. He held me there by the neck while the other one fastened the leather belt around my waist, cinching it tightly and locking a padlock in place. First my right wrist was cuffed to the belt, followed by my left, and I was lifted to my feet and the cuffs closed tightly and double locked. I was ordered to remain at attention where I was. I didn’t have much choice about it. Even if I wanted to escape, I wasn’t going to get very far with the short chain leg irons restricting even my ability to walk, never mind run anywhere. Even if I could get away, where could I go? I had no clue where I was, other than in some Brig, but which one, and where, was a mystery.
A few minutes later, my two guards each grabbed an arm and I was led through yet another door into an infirmary or clinic area of some sort. A Corpsman was there, and I was ordered to sit on the exam table. The Corpsman did a routine check of my temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, that sort of thing. He scribbled some notes on a form, then put his clipboard down and told my guards to turn me over for a rectal exam. At this point, a part of me wanted to resist, but I knew it was useless. Besides, still another part of me was looking forward to having my butt explored by the Corpsman. For a swabbie, he was a decent looking guy!
They flipped me over on the table rather easily, and pulled me by the legs until they were on the floor with my upper body leaning over the table. One of them held me down while the Corpsman inserted his gloved finger up my butt and moved it around in there for a minute or so. I felt myself getting hard, but did my best to think of something less erotic. I didn’t need the grief of my two goons knowing that I was enjoying the invasion. It didn’t work real well, and when they finally let me up, the front of my thin gown was definitely displaying a bulge in the crotch area. The guard on my left saw it and exclaimed to the other, “Hey Corporal, looks like we got us another fudge packer here!” The Corporal laughed a very sinister laugh and said, “We’ll see about that later.” They took the form from the Corpsman, and they each grabbed an arm and led me out of the infirmary and into yet another room.
To be continued …
Note: This is a story that Tommy Guns sent some years ago, which I am reposting now.