We drink Sparks (and more Sparks) and have the sort of insanely interesting conversation that has me asking questions until two in the morning.
What’s one of the most intimidating things you see?
Carter: The weirdest, most intimidating thing to see is a body without a head.
Schoeller: It is pretty fucking weird. The expressions are so awesome!
Carter: No matter where you put the head, it’s weird.
Schoeller: I always put it between their legs. When you put it in a body bag, it’s going to roll out if you don’t put it between something that’s gonna hold it. [He pauses.] And you know they’ve always wanted to be there.
Have you ever seen anything weird, like a body come alive?
Carter: That’s definitely a myth. They do not move. They fart. They can make a weird noise called a death rattle, like the air escaping. But they can’t sit up. And I hate when people are like, ‘Well, my grandmother worked in a nursing home and she said the body sat right up.’ If it could sit up, I wouldn’t have to fuckin’ carry it around all day.
Schoeller: The only experience I’ve ever had was during a removal in Florida where this whole extended family was in the room with us. I always say, ‘You’re welcome to be here while we do this removal, although a lot of times it’s very traumatic for the family, and you might want to leave.’ They were like, ‘No, we want to be here.’ And I was with this guy who didn’t know shit. So we’re doing this removal of this old lady and I wrap her up in a sheet, and I put the stretcher along the bed. I don’t know what the fuck this guy was thinking, but he grabs the legs and walks forward towards me, causing the stomach to compress and air to go out the vocal chords. And she goes, Aaaeehhhhhhhh!
The family was like, ‘Oh my God! She’s still alive!’
I’m like, ‘Trust me. She’s not alive. My associate accidentally stepped forward, compressing the stomach with some air in the lungs to go through the vocal chords and make a noise.’ Talk about watching hope be crushed in those people. It was brutal.
What does a decomposing body smell like?
Schoeller: Have you ever had Ruffles potato chips? Old-school Ruffles with ridges? At the bottom of the bag, there’s that oily chip stuff.
That’s exactly what decomposing bodies smell like.
Carter: It’s like sour cheese. Like that times a million.
Since you’re working with naked people all day, do you see people and think, ‘I know what you look like naked’?
Schoeller: No. I see people on the street and I’m like, ‘I know what you look like dead.’
Do you think about your own death a lot?
Carter: I do. I’m overly cautious about everything. I’m aware of my surroundings. I’m such an advocate for wearing your seatbelt and not driving drunk. I’m like so protective of everything.
Schoeller: I want to be plasticized. [The same process that’s preserved the corpses that’re traveling around the country in Body Worlds.]
Carter [to Schoeller]: Baby, if there’s a way to find you after we’re dead, I will. Would you hunt me?
Schoeller: Yeah, of course, I would, baby.
Carter: Either that, or I’ll eat you. We always joke like that. ‘Baby, I’m gonna eat you when you’re dead.’
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