In a moribund economy, many people are considering jobs they'd never thought of. Becoming a trauma scene medical-waste practitioner may not be for everyone. Taking a hands-on approach is one way to find out. For Penthouse magazine, I went to a crime scene cleaning school in Las Vegas to learn more about this fascinating vocation.
Here's a brief sampling:
Our instructor, David O'Brien swings open the bedroom door. Inside it looks like a Manson Family reunion. Fake brains -- composed of animal tissue -- are thickly splattered all over the walls and ceiling. An elaborate Jackson Pollock-style spattering of animal blood is everywhere. The beds are soaked in dry red residue. Maggots squirm on the bed and floor. The stench -- murky and thick -- goes straight to my watering eyes. I quickly start breathing through my mouth.
"Always be aware of your surroundings," O'Brien commands. "This is what it smells like after a few hours. Imagine what it smells like after a few weeks. The smell will get up into your mucous membranes and stay there for two weeks; every time you belch you will taste it," he says. "I want you to really smell it," he stresses. "If anyone feels the least bit woozy -- stop. I want you to take a break. No matter how gruesome this is, nothing will prepare you for the real thing." Then, gesturing to a box in the corner: "Unhook that bag. Hold that container up."
We uncomfortably shift our feet as the Christmas surprise is unwrapped. Inside are brown remnants of a crusty pillow -- the famous pillow. This head cushion was taken from an actual crime/trauma scene, from under the cranium of a deceased prostitute who had numerous viruses.
"I want you to get familiar with the smell," O'Brien says, as we line up to take a whiff. "It's the smell of death and you need to know how to identify it."
"Yeah, we're good," says one guy, quickly backing away. The group teams up to clean the two blood- and brain-stained bedrooms and the blood-sprayed bathroom. "Cut up the mattress with a utility knife," O'Brien says. "Wherever you see blood, cut it out."
The high-grade disinfectant spray -- which kills every germ known to humanity -- makes me sneeze inside my respirator mask. Apparently I do not have it on properly.
Read the rest of the story by clicking to Penthouse magazine.
Photos are the author's own.
Follow Harmon Leon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/harmonleon