Bryan was a big, goofy kid. Actually, at six-foot-six, two hundred eighty-five pounds, “big” doesn’t quite do him justice. At first glance, he gave the impression of an imposing slab of concrete with the ability to tear a guy’s arms out of their sockets, but upon closer inspection, his overall appearance was a study in contrasts.
A fine fuzz of fair hair spiked from the top of his head that was so blond as to belie belief. His eyes, too, though hidden behind the ridiculously thick lenses of his glasses, seemed an impossible shade of the clearest, cleanest, purest blue. They were pretty blue eyes, no doubt about it, and I say that in the most heterosexual way possible. He looked to be a prime example of Hitler’s Aryan ideal and so-called master race.
Unlike Adolf’s acolytes, however, Bryan did not appear capable of the same degree of evil and mindless murder with which the Nazi party became synonymous. To put it another way, Bryan wouldn’t (or couldn’t) hurt a fly. To put it yet another way, Bryan was a ginormous wuss. It turned out that he was also a snitch; although personally, I don’t believe the situation was quite that simple or clear—more gray than black and white.
A loud, hollow, thunk was followed by plastic bouncing on concrete, then metallic rattling before the first words were spoken in anger. I recognized each sound immediately. The prison I was in at the time had two hard plastic stools in each cell which were about two feet tall, shaped roughly like a spool of thread, and could be easily moved around the cell. This is what I heard collide with the wall in the cell next to mine before it bounced across the floor and settled against the cell door, making the door shake in its frame.
“You stupid little bitch!”
The voice sounded out clearly through the vent that connected our two cells, and was obviously not the nasal, thin tone of Bryan, but rather the more baritone voice of his cellie who was only five-ten, one hundred eighty pounds—practically tiny compared to Bryan. There were various sounds of struggle—shower shoes scuffling, fists hitting soft flesh and unyielding bone, someone crashing into the wall before crumbling to the floor. By the way it shook my cell, I assumed it was the bigger of the two who had lost his legs and was quickly proven right when voices took the place of the violent noises.
“C’mon! Get up, you pussy!”
“Nnnooo.” Bryan had managed to turn the two-letter word into the elongated whining moan of a small child. “I’m nnnot gonna fffight you.” Between his stammering and sniffling, it was fairly obvious that Bryan was blubbering like a baby.
“Get up!” Bryan’s cellie sounded frightening in his furor and ferocity.
“No!” Bryan yelled back but only seemed petulant rather than defiant. As he whined and wailed, he just sounded hurt and scared, while his cellie beat him about the head and body. Bryan had curled into a ball in the corner of his cell, crying and calling out for his cellie to stop, but the assault continued. It was a sad thing to hear, something truly pathetic. A couple guys in other cells and I called for the cellie to stop, saying that Bryan had had enough. The commotion brought the “fight” to the C/Os’ attention, and they rushed to the cell. Finally, he stopped beating on Bryan.
After the two men were hauled away, the general consensus was that Bryan’s cellie was bogus, and it was too bad for Bryan who would sit in Seg for a while, even though he clearly wasn’t the aggressor. On the heels of that conclusion was a second one, which was that Bryan, indeed, was a giant pussy. No one predicted that Bryan would return the very next day. When he did show up on the deck, no one really knew how to react. When Bryan freely confessed to telling IA everything about the fight—how he cowered and cried—most everyone was at a loss for words, incredulous over how wholeheartedly and freely Bryan confessed to his wimpy behavior and demeanor.
Opinions were pretty evenly split. Some felt Bryan was a snitching piece of crap, while others thought he merely did what he had to do in order to get out of Seg. It wasn’t as if he lied about what happened in the cell, and of the two men, Bryan was the innocent one. By so winningly embracing cowardice, Bryan had come out of the fray with only a few bruises to go along with his tattered reputation.
Ironically, if Bryan had fought back, he would’ve been held in higher esteem for standing up for himself, but then would’ve earned a minimum of thirty days in Seg. He paid the price for his choice as he was vilified and labeled as a snitch by some, and just outright ostracized by others. When a guy gets a reputation for talking to the authorities, it’s a hard one to shake. Choosing to err on the side of caution, I mostly kept my distance from Bryan. The entire incident also served to earn Bryan the title of Big Baby, which I never personally used, but could pretty well understand.