GOLIATHS, TROLLS AND OTHER HUMAN MONSTERS
Whoever said that idiocy is a very dangerous thing was either a brilliant genius or the proud relative of an idiot brother, just like me.
As far as idiocy goes, this has got to be the most idiotic thing that we’ve ever, EVER done. I mean, most people - normal people - try to stay clear from anything that might land them in jail. Most people - normal people wanted by the police - are extra careful in staying as far as they can from anything near white and blue.
My brother, the idiot, thought that it was a genius move to trigger an alarm, while braking and entering a museum, so that the police could come and arrest us. On purpose.
His reasoning? If they’re doing exactly what we want them to do, then it’s not a bad thing for them to put the cuffs on us and send us straight to prison. If we do it on purpose, then it’s not stupid to hand yourself over for extradition to another state where years and years of prison time or possible death awaits you!
No. This is us, getting them, exactly where we want them.
The same guy that goes on and on about the waste of time and money it is to use ‘costumes’ for any particular job, is willing to play the prisoner’s part to catch some ghost that’s been wasting cons in some prison where a friend of dad’s happens to work. Not to mention that this is the same guy that was busting my balls, nearly going nuts just from staying inside a hotel room for three freaking days. With magic fingers’ beds!
I can’t wait to see him climb the walls of a tiny, windowless prison cell.
Every single moment and contingency was carefully planned and taken in account before we went in. Or at least as far as we could plan without the use of a crystal ball and freaking tea leafs.
Deacon, dad’s friend and hopefully our foolproof escape plan, gave us a play-by-play of everything that went on inside his prison, everything that we could expect as inmates. Everything that we were supposed to avoid.
He warned us about the usual stuff: don’t let yourself get cornered, don’t look weak, don’t turn your back on an unfriendly face and don’t get yourself mistaken for a woman.
None of it was news to either Dean or me, but we both appreciated Deacon’s intentions of keeping us safe. Dean had half joked about haircuts and beards, to which he was told to fuck off and the matter was dropped. Either way, don’t think it would’ve helped much.
We weren’t going in to mingle; we had no intentions of making friends. I would’ve avoid talking to anyone altogether, if the case didn’t needed further investigation from the inside.
Myth or myth, showers and their extracurricular activities between inmates were something that we both agreed to NOT put to a test while inside. When it’s your own ass on the line, all those ‘reaching for the soap’ jokes to lose their funny pretty fast. This job shouldn’t take more than three days. This job COULDN’T take more than three days. We could deal with our own BO’s for that long.
No matter how prepared we were, no matter how secure Deacon had made our escape, this job still had ‘shit happens’ written all over it. I was just waiting for it to hit the fan.
The safest thing to do while inside would be to stay in each other’s view the whole time, covering our respective backs from all unforeseen troubles, but something like that was near impossible to achieve. For starters, Deacon had his hands tied when it came to the cells we end up in.
All the new inmates were assigned cots by alphabetic order and, even though our last name is the same, there was nothing to be done about the distance that goes between a ‘D’ and an ‘S’. Dean ended up with an oily extra from ‘Dawn of the dead’. I ended up with Goliath, the creepy giant.
Then, there was the matter of being the new guys, a label from which not Deacon, the president or God Himself could rid us of that easily.
In some weird way, the same rules that had made our lives miserable in almost every new school that we’ve ever been to, seemed to apply in here as well. No matter what state we were in, no matter how small the school was, there always seemed to be a group of bullies around, whose favorite sport was to pick on the new kid. And if the new kid was geeky and gangly like I used to be, the picking on only got worse.
Some things never really change.
Then too, Dean would step between the bullies and me, even after I turned big enough to do it myself. Most of the time Dean spent in detention when we were in high school was because of that. In here, it lands him in solitary.
In the end, it was best for Dean to spend his first night in prison trapped inside a solitary cell. Aside from murderous ghostly visits, it was a lot safer for him.
I spend my night lying awake in my bunk, haunted by terrible ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ that my mind was coming up with and trying to ignore the sounds around me. The expression ‘sounds from hell’ comes to mind and the only thing I can think of is that this isn’t even one of the worst prisons that we could’ve end up in.
I looked up its history before we got ourselves arrested, part as research for our ghost, part to try and figure exactly where Dean’s was getting us in to. I found out the usual stories of violence, murders, uprisings and riots, but compared to other places, there really weren’t that many.
It was still, however, a place where people were send to because they had some kind of debt to pay to society; a place where you’re more likely to find violent people than at the local mall; a place where, no matter what crime you’ve committed outside, you’re judged by the way you look, by the way you act, by the race you belong to, by whom you talk to, whom you piss off.
Politically correct stays outside the gates and the rule of thumb inside is ‘know your place, defend it or get fucked’. Five minutes inside and, despite the fact that neither Dean nor me had ever seen the inside of a prison, we already knew which boundaries not to break and which to stick to.
It was kind of a paradox, really. You go in knowing that you have to keep a low profile and you don’t wanna raise any trouble that might put you in the spotlight, because being in the spotlight is bad. However, you can’t achieve this without defending your place, most likely in a violent way, which automatically blows your low profile, gets you in trouble and most certainly, gets you in the damn spotlight.
Dean’s brawl in the canteen with ‘mister bad mood’ might’ve landed him in solitary, but managed to take us out of the pussies list. Or at least, took him out of that list. For all I know, I might have to battle my own troll if I want out too. I don’t particularly care.
The second fight was a distraction. An easy, even if painful, way to get all eyes on my brother so that I could slip in to the kitchen unnoticed. It worked like a charm, for long enough to allow me to get what I needed from the kitchen, use the air ducts to reach the old cell blocks and burn that bloody mattress.
It also put Dean in the spotlight again.
You can hear very disturbing things just from crossing the yard from one end to the other. And given what Dean and I do for a living, there’s disturbing and there’s DISTURBING.
Hearing two guys comparing notes on how to gut a guy, without spilling gunk on their clothes, is maybe a three on my scale.
Seeing some guy pimp out his terrified, younger-than-me-cellmate, in exchange for dope, that’s probably a six, with a side of yuck.
Listening to a couple of guys planning on getting the drop on the new fish with the ‘cock sucking’ mouth and realize that they’re not talking about aquariums but about your own brother because they, oh so discreetly, fuck him with their eyes the second he steps in the yard, that just blows off the scale.
I could possibly allege ignorance of what the hell they were talking about, if they hadn’t been so damn blunt and graphic about it. I mean, yeah I can tell that Dean’s the kind of guy that physically attracts people, but it’s usually female people. Besides, no matter how much of a player I realize him to be, it’s always complicated to see your own family members as sexual beings. It’s just wrong.
I look at Dean now, trying to get pass the fact that this is the guy responsible for that awful smell inside the car everytime he eats fried onions; or that this is the guy that still leaves his wet towels all over the bathroom floor, even though he knows that he might have to use them again because the cleaning crew wont even come near our room. I look at my brother and see the guy that- to my unending shame - proclaims, on the rare occasions when he allows himself to cross the line from happily buzzed to pissing drunk, to have wiped my ass clean too many times. Sometimes he remembers to add my not being bigger than his forearm at the time. Sometimes he just wants to see me embarrassed.
I try to take my mind off the hunt and our need to get far, far away from here and Henricksen and I force myself to see Dean through the eyes of a stranger. I try to see Dean through the eyes of those, obvious horny and not that picky, guys.
Dean’s just coming from the infirmary and his face kind of looks like that villain guy from Batman, Two-Face. One side of his face is pale while the other is going for the whole American flag motif, white, red and blue. All he’s missing is the stars.
I focus on the pout-y lips that he has always denied and the girly-curly eyelashes that I used to make fun of when we were kids and suddenly I realize that this isn’t funny, this is not funny at all.
With a sinking feeling I realize that to these guys, locked up in here for who-knows how long, Dean’s lips might look as good or better than Angelina Jolie’s and a lot more at hand than hers will ever be.
The images that that realization spurs, aided by the triple X rated late night films that those inmates were daydreaming about, are so disturbing that I think I might’ve actually gasped out loud, because Dean looks at me with a ‘what?’ look on his face and boy, why? Why does that bruise in his face had to be just enough to highlight Dean’s eyes in such a way that makes it look like he’s wearing eyeliner?
This ain’t good. This is so past screwed up that its’ starting to look screwed down, screwed left and screwed right, all rolled up in to one big fucked.
My heart’s hammering inside my chest as I grab him by his sleeve and drag him away from prying eyes, wishing for once to be even bigger so that I could just hide him inside my pocket. Ghost or no ghost, I’ve got to take Dean out of here now.
The idiot, of course, wants to stay. Because, really, who wouldn’t?
Who in its perfect mind says that they want to stay INSIDE a prison? Dean’s either incredible blind to what’s going on around him, or he’s incredible brave about the whole thing, which leads me back to being an idiot.
Ok, granted, I burned the wrong remains so, technically, the job’s not finished and we do always try our best to finish the job. But how do you explain to your own and only brother - in a clear enough manner, without having to do therapy for the rest of your life - that because there are one too many guys in here wanting a piece of his ass in the worst possible way, you’ve rather see this job get fucked than him?
Because I don’t say it in so many words and the ‘only’ excuse I can come up with is the growing risk to our lives every minute that we stay in here, the prick ignores me, turns around and announces that he’s going to take a leak.
I follow him in to the yard’s bathroom because: one, he’s not coming out of there until he agrees with me; and two, that bad feeling that’s been mushrooming in the pit of my stomach for too long just reached epic proportions and I won’t allow him out of my sight for one second. Kind of like a personal enabler of respected virtue. You know, a PERV.
They say that when you can see them coming, then there’s not much you can do. And I so saw this one coming that its not even funny.
The minute I walked in to that bathroom and realized that there was no one else there but me and Dean, I started to get this cold feeling inside my stomach and this insistent voice inside my head screaming ‘GET OUT! GET OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT!’
“Dean,” I started, ready to just drag him out of there, leak taken or not.
Dean stopped his mumbled cursing about the piss poor idea of putting buttons on jumpsuits and met my eyes.
And then we both heard it.
They weren’t talking, trying really hard to be as stealthy as they could. They weren’t doing such a good job about it. But then again, when you spend your whole life dealing with things that can take stealth in to a whole new level, a supernatural level, your ears get freakishly sharp.
We could hear feet, too many pairs for it to be some random guys just coming in to use the john. Definitely more pairs of feet than just the two guys that I had heard talking in the yard.
Years of dealing with violence and danger gives you, if nothing else, a clear view of things to come that almost borders on precognition.
Dean doesn’t need me to tell him what I heard in the yard to know that those feet are coming for us and that they mean trouble. He may not know specifically what their intentions are - and if I have any saying in that matter, he will never know - but he knows that there is only one way out of this bathroom for both of us and that’s through whomever is coming.
I can tell from Dean’s eyes that he’s dying to tell me to get myself out of here the second the chance presents itself, the big brother gene engraved so deeply in his genetic makeup that it stopped being an aspect of who he is and became who he is. I’m glad that he keeps silent, for once acknowledging that I can’t turn my back on him anymore than he can.
There’s seven of them, all built like bulls, all looking like they’ve done this sort of thing before, all looking like innocence hasn’t been a part of their lives for a very long time.
My eyes catch the glint of metal in the hands of at least four of them. The tactical thought process that our father managed to drill in to us both tells me that those are the ones we need to take out first. I can’t decide on a leader of the pack, all of them advancing in a group of equals, or else he would be first on my list.
At some level, where I can still think clinically and cold about this, I wonder what our chances are of actually wining this fight. Dean and me grew up raised by a Marine’s corporal, fighting things way more powerful and dangerous than your average Joe. We have training, we have experience and we have each other.
These guys are yahoos, street fighters, brawl-leaches. Still, things like weapons, fighting space and cheer numbers have a tendency to tip the scales, no matter how much more trained and ready you are. None of those are on our side.
They have weapons and their mouths. Which they immediately put to use. The mouths, that is.
If Dean had no idea what their plans were before, he’s being given a pretty vivid description of it now, their rough voices and blunt language violating our ears as they tease and taunt Dean with their predictions of who will do what to which body parts of whom.
In the end, it all happens too fast. Despite all the teasing and bad-mouthing, they know that they’ll have to move quickly if they want to get their jollies off before the guards wise up to the fact that there’s almost a dozen prisoners missing from the yard.
It always looks pretty awesome when you see those choreographed fights in the movies, with cool moves and furniture being crashed under gym-pumped hard bodies and martial arts masters. In real life, a fight between that many people, it’s just a mess.
You hit what you can; you hit hard enough to cause enough damaged and save yourself the waste of time of having to strike a second time. It’s messy, it’s ugly and it’s near impossible to keep track of everything that happens. Still, part of my attention was on Dean, tracking where he was and how he was faring. So, I knew the exact moment when he went down, defeated by the sheer number of guys trapping him.
The sight of my brother’s arms and legs being grabbed and spread under hungry, horny eyes distracted me for one second too many. It was enough for one of the three guys that I was fighting to get a drop on me.
I remember seeing this fat fist coming towards me, a bright light, blinking and next thing I know, there’s that mustached guard leaning over me, shaking my shoulder off its hinges and barking at me to get the fuck up. I can’t even remember how I reached the tiled floor.
There’s too much adrenaline cursing through my body right then to allow my eyes to actually focus on my surroundings. I was so sure that the guy’s punch hadn’t been enough for me to black out, but from the amount of things that have changed around me in the mean time, I’m forced to admit that I’ve probably passed out at some point.
My eyes immediately search for Dean, the last image I had of him still burning in my mind. There are too many bodies wearing orange under these harsh lights and I can feel my eyes water from the assault. I discover that I really hate orange.
My wandering gaze finally finds Dean, just as mustache-guard and some other I haven’t seen before, haul me to my feet.
The room tilts around me, but that does nothing to hide the fact that Dean looks wrong. Not wrong in the sense of limbs-bent-out-of-shape-wrong or funny wigs in the head. Its colors, the colors are all wrong. Too white and pasty. A watercolor version of Dean.
Dean’s always been on the fair side, turning lobster red whenever he catches too much sun too fast. Now he looks sickly white, not just his face but the whole of him.
It takes me too long to realize that the reason for that has less to do with his skin pigmentation and more to do with the fact that I’m looking at the white t-shirt and boxers he’s wearing beneath his jumpsuit.
Dean’s head is facing down, eyes tracking the fumbling movements of his hands as he pulls the ugly orange thing up and tries to fasten the buttons. Why was it even down?
I think at the implications of the deranged state of Dean’s clothes and my mind just shuts down. There are only so many reasons for a guy’s clothes to be off and only one comes to mind right then.
But there was no time for that to have happen. I’m pretty sure that there was no time for anything to have happen at all. Right?
I can still hear my own reply to Dean when those same words were directed at me-- God! Was it only yesterday? - and yeah, given the circumstances, I need a bit more than pretty sure. Right now I need more than really pretty sure, I need fucking scientific proof, tiny germs in a petri dish spelling ‘nothing happen’ with their tiny germs chromosomes. I need the Pope signing a paper where it reads that it’s dogmatic law that my brother’s ass remains unfucked!
I can’t help but chuckle at the insanity of the thought. The chuckle carries no sound or merriment behind it, just another escape valve for the pressure building up inside my chest.
I don’t have a watch in here, but I’m really pretty sure that there was no time for anything more serious than a forced strip tease to happen, right? I listen to myself and almost slap my own face at the idiocy that’s leaking from my brain. Like having your clothes ripped apart by a group of violent strangers is a normal occurrence in Dean’s life.
Oh God! I can’t even consider the possibilities of what might’ve happen while I was safely unconscious.
Dean finally looks up and carefully avoids my eyes. He’s got a matching black eye on the other side of his face and his nose is bloody. In contrast with the rest of him, his face is too red. Not the lobster red, but a more rare shade of red to be seen in Dean’s cheek, the embarrassed red.
The only time I remember seeing that particular shade on my brother’s face was back when we were kids. Dean was probably thirteen, maybe fourteen, and he’d forgotten to lock the bathroom’s door before getting ‘friendly’ with a skin magazine. Dad walked in on him and jumped right back out, muttering about horny teenagers and shooting hormones with rock salt. Dean’s face stayed red ‘til the following week.
He’ still fumbling with those buttons as the guard pushes him past me towards the door. Only when he’s near enough do I realize that the reason he’s taking so damn long to get those buttons in to their rightful place is because there aren’t any left. Someone must’ve ripped them off, but I don’t think Dean has realized that yet.
The fact that, although he walks by me close enough for our shoulders to brush, Dean still wont meet my eyes, only adds up to my uneasiness.
My gut has turned in to ice and refuses to warm up until I can hear Dean saying that he’s all right. At this point I don’t even care if it’s bullshit, I just need those words coming out of his mouth.
There are more guards standing outside, all other prisoners already back in to their cells.
I never actually met Deacon in person, being in Stanford when dad and Dean ran in to him, but it was easy for me to guess now which one of these guards was dad’s friend. I would put my money on the one who turned white when Dean and me walked out of that bathroom. When he came to see what the commotion was, I’m guessing John’s sons were not whom he was expecting to find.
I would have never thought that Deacon and the guard that had been beating the crap out of Dean ever since we got here, would be the same person. Guess it makes sense, in a way, to avoid falling in to some kind of special treatment that would blow our cover and his involvement.
I’m sure that the time for caring about covers is past us now, because Deacon announces to his colleagues that he’ll be taking me and Dean to the infirmary and that no, he can handle us both, there’s no need for another guard’s presence.
I guess this is our get away plan. I have no idea how he will ever explain that to his superiors. At this point, I can’t really bring myself to care.
He avoids asking about what happened in that bathroom, awkwardly asking me if we actually need to get to the infirmary, his eyes carefully avoiding Dean and his deranged clothes. Dean brushes him off, face a little less red, a little paler and hands still busy tying the arms of his ruined jumpsuit around his waist, trying to keep the whole thing from falling down.
We follow Deacon in to an empty shower room, the decor of the place a little too close on the creepy side to the one we’ve just vacated and I have to wonder if the goose bumps that suddenly jump to attention in Dean’s arms are from the cold or the dejá vu.
Deacon ignores that too and gives Dean the message from our lawyer telling where Glockner is buried and he sends us on our way. Even though he’s grateful, I can now see that, given the chance to go back, ghost or no ghost, Deacon wouldn’t have asked us to come here. I agree with him now more than ever.
We leave an unconscious Deacon there, with the assurance that this ghost will be dealt with and a jaw that’s somewhere between scary-bruised and broken, just to make it more real.
I operate in a semi-hazed state all through the salt and burn of nurse Glockner’s bones, glad that at least that we can put behind our backs. Everything else is just hanging over our heads, like a Damocles’ sword, waiting to chop them off.
Yemen, for us, ends up being Bobby’s place.
Dean insists on driving all the way there. Motels are too risky for us right now and he likes driving the car, so I let him seat behind the wheel, driving and listening to heavy metal for eight hours straight.
I spent half that time trying to find the right words to start a conversation. How do I ask him about what happen? Do I really want a step-by-step recount of what they did? Do I really wanna know how far those inmates got?
From the way Dean’s knuckles turn white from time to time, as he clenches his hands around the steering wheel trying to strangle the life out of it, or the way he still avoids making eye contact, I know that those men got far enough. Too far.
This particular cassette reaches the end – Ozzy Osbourne?- and I take that as my cue to say something. I settle for giving him a choice.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” I rasp, voice silent for too long.
“Talk about what?” Dean asks nonchalantly, his eyes never leaving the empty road.
At this point in my life, I really shouldn’t be surprise by Dean’s amazing abilities of denial, but I still stare at him, astonished. Oh, I don’t know Dean, let’s talk about the weather, or Super Bowl or the fact that you might have came a bald man’s hair away from being sexually assaulted in a freaking prison bathroom. By the way, how’s that group grope thing working for you?
“Stuff,” I end up saying, swallowing all the rest.
Dean laughs, and that’s about the last sound that I would’ve expected from him right now. It’s not even a nervous laugh; it’s an honest to God chuckle.
“What’s so funny?” I ask, semi-offended to realize that the joke is probably on me.
“You,” he says, finally looking at me for more than two seconds, acknowledging that I need to see his eyes to know what he’s talking about. “You’ve been dying to start the mother of all chick-flick moments ever since we left that fucking prison. I’m just amazed that it took you this long.”
“It’s not a chick-flick moment,” I start, hating to use Dean’s expression for anything that comes even near feelings. “It’s call concern, Dean. It’s wanting to know how you’re dealing with what happen in there.”
“Nothing happen in there,” Dean says with such finality in his voice that, if I hadn’t been there too, I would’ve believed him.
“I was there, remember?” I point that out to him.
“You were out like a light. I saw you take that hit,” he reminds me in return, his eyes unable to resist the temptation of inspecting my puffy cheek one more time.
His gaze reminds my punched cheek that it’s fun to throb in time with my storming heart rate and I decide that it’s time to stop pulling punches.
“I heard some stuff in the yard. That wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, Dean,” I tell. “They were planning on… doing stuff to you.”
Dean pause is almost too small to be noticeable, turning the wheel needlessly to correct the car’s position on the still empty road. It’s enough to make me wonder if, despite his nonchalant attitude in prison, Dean was more aware of what was going on that I gave him credit for.
“You heard it in the yard Sammy? You sure I’m the one you should be concerned about fitting in too much?”
Ah, sarcasm… the final frontier. And now I’m sure that he heard something there too.
“Don’t change the subject, Dean. Your clothes were all torn to hell when I woke up. Something happen!”
“Yeah, something happened, Sam! We were in a fight, punches are thrown, clothes get grabbed, old clothes get ripped, shit happens!” Dean says with more passion and vehemence than I’ve seen him with since we left that bathroom behind. The impala’ steering wheel will never be the same again once Dean’s fingers are done with it.
Dean takes a deep breath, knowing from personal experience that yelling won’t work one bit with me. Dad tried that approach and only got me to argue harder with him. He’s calmer when he speaks next.
“I’m not… it wasn’t… I mean, yeah, my jumpsuit got a little worse for the wear but you know prison clothing, Sam… it’s all frail and teary… one guy pulled too hard and the whole thing just fell apart… nothing more happen Sam, and that’s the honest truth.”
I look at him and, sensing my gaze, Dean meets my eyes again, longer this time, allowing his sincerity to be judged. The problem is that Dean’s too good of an actor and when he makes the extra effort it gets almost impossible to know when he’s bullshitting you.
Only, I’m his brother and I’ve been dealing with Dean’s bullshitting skills literally all my life.
He’s the first to look away, using the road as a pretext, even though we both know that this is as empty as a road can get and there’s no turns for miles. He clears his throat, a nervous tell that he could never get himself rid of.
“What I mean is that nothing happen in there that I can’t deal with, Sammy. It was mostly my pride that got hurt,” he admits.
I can tell that the next sentence is ever harder for him to get out because of the deep breath he takes and the furtive look that he gives me.
“It could’ve gotten a lot worse if you weren’t there.”
I know it’s wrong, but somehow his words fill me with pride. Not because of his acknowledge of my help, which was too little and useless, but because he trusts me. Because it means more to him that I was there to help him than he is embarrassed that I saw him in a moment of fragility. Because Dean doesn’t do fragile, doesn’t show weakness, doesn’t do victim. And this is as close as he’ll ever get to admit that he could’ve become one.
A part of me thinks that, small confession as it was, it was still just too easy. A tooth pulled with almost no effort and I question myself if Dean didn’t just admit to ruin the dinner to avoid mentioning the burned down kitchen. I can smell the smoke, I can almost feel the heat of the flames, but I won’t call him on it just yet.
I know that this is about as much as I’ll get from him now. It’s more than I got from him when dad died. It’s more than enough for now.
Only thing I can do is to keep an eye open for that ‘burned kitchen’ and deal with it if it comes to that.
In the mean time, I’ll have Bobby and his hot chilly-dogs to help me deal with the rest. And that sounds about right.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Liberal use of the f-word. Mention of mature themes.