I fart dead people
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: Like its owners, Allston’s Horror Business is punk, not goth.
Looking over the menu at Aneka Rasa before his wife arrives, Schoeller says he can’t order the chicken satay here because when he got it last time, the skewered meat had fat chunks on it. “I can’t eat fat like that,” he says. “And I really hate embalming fat people, like people who weigh 300 pounds. Because when you cut open a fat person,” he says matter-of-factly, “butter leaks out. Literally, yellow oil leaks out of the wound and floats on top of the water. If you put butter in the microwave and put it in the water, it turns into little balls — fat globules — and that’s what comes out of fat dead people. It’s so nasty.”
Schoeller is not trying to shock me. He grouses about this in the same way teachers complain about meddling parents — having to slice open obese people is just an annoying trifle of his trade. And looking inside peoples’ bodies and seeing all the gross stuff inside them is a big reason why Schoeller eats well, hits the gym regularly, and is, well, pretty damn buff.
“I know what happens when you eat something, where it goes,” he says.
He’s even entered body-building competitions for which he’s spent weeks dieting, lowering his body fat to one-and-a-half percent. (Of course, Schoeller’s presentations have their own macabre flair: “I had a bunch of dudes carry me out in a body bag and I crawled out of the body bag like a zombie.”) Carter arrives, outfitted in a pink Rancid hoodie and a fake-fur-hooded winter jacket from Horror Business. We order (pad Thai for her and me; “lean chicken” for Schoeller), and she explains how she got into the death industry.
“It mainly started with morbid curiosity,” she says. “Then it turned into an anatomy fascination. Then I really started liking forensics.
Once you’ve been doing it, you’re looking at stuff and you’ll be searching through somebody’s gastric or stomach contents and you find a pill or something weird, so it became more of a mystery thing. A large portion of it is knowing the unknown. But I feel like my whole thing with death started with an innocent, ‘I hate my life, I’m depressed, I like dead stuff.’ Now it’s matured into a fascination with anatomy and the court system, forensics, police work. As opposed to reading horror books, now I like anatomy books.”
In the past few years, Carter has sawed open skulls, helped pull corpses out of water (“floaters”), and collected stabbing victims.
She’s watched police cadets who have to view autopsies as part of their training flee from the room, faint, or vomit. One young cadet passed out and fell against a wall so violently that his head broke through the plaster. She’s watched mothers identify their homicide- victim children.
“You just think about the stupidest shit to get your mind off it. The mom’s like banging on the window and wailing and screaming and collapsing on the ground, and I’d just be standing there and looking, and like, oh my god, this lady’s sock has a hole in it. . . . You’re like, I wish there was something I could do for five seconds that would make this person feel better.”