Part 7 0f 8

A series about a poison gas attack on three Michigan Prisons located in Muskegon, Michigan

Scenario Number Nine: Death by Poison Gas

A True Michigan Prison Story

Part 7 of 8

Brooks Correctional Facility Perimeter

Jake left and though Warden Biggie Biggins was weary of coffee he fixed another cup. Something warm to hold. He takes a sip, realizes his mouth is stale and goes to his restroom to brush his teeth; a peppermint bloom fills his head and he splashes his face with cool water. He straightens his tie, puts on his coat, and walks to the main entrance still holding his coffee. Keri is outside with Jake and a few other executive staff and the daybreak is a rosy swelling just above the scrub oaks. They look north, along the perimeter fence, and the PSPO vehicle is midway between them and what they’re looking at.

About a hundred yards ahead of the PSPO vehicle, right next to the exterior perimeter fence, suspended several feet above the ground and hovering as high as the tree tops, is a contained yellow mist cloud that came to the perimeter fence and stopped. Would it kill everything in the trees? Would it kill the trees? “I’ve experienced chlorine gas before, and it’s yellow-green” Warden Biggie Biggins tells Keri. “I’m surprised that cloud is pale yellow, almost white.”

“It’s not chlorine gas,” she says, nonchalantly.

“It’s not?”

“Nope.”

The swelling day brakes, yielding a deep red sun pasted above the trees and filtered yellow-white by the gas cloud; as the air warms, the cloud thins then disappears. Gone? That’s it?

“What was it?”

“They just called and said it was tetronitro… something or other. Less dangerous because it’s diluted, is what they said.”

“No shit?”

“No shit.”

Fatigue grips Warden Biggie Biggins’ body like a mailed fist. Others look around, some tensely pacing, not knowing what to do with their energy. Some softly wept. Warden Biggie Biggins had seen this before, in crises that auto-resolve and leave staff hanging. Warden Biggie Biggins tells the two Deputy Wardens and Shift Commanders to contact the institutional chaplains and psychologists and let staff know they’ll be in the training center if anybody needs to talk.

The warden goes home.

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