December 2, 2014: The Double of Michael Sinclaire

I’m sitting across from two identical men.
Both claim to be Michael Sinclaire.

Michael Sinclaire: I first saw him about ten years ago. At the movies. We were both asking for extra butter.

Michael Sinclaire: It’s really the only way to have movie theater popcorn.

Strange News: So, that was it? How did you react? Either of you.

MS: Oh, at first it was funny. But then…it became horrifying.

MS: He tried to kill me once.

SN: You tried to kill him?

MS: To be fair, I’ve tried to kill him too. It’s just not natural…we look alike, act a like…I think we even share the same memories.

MS: Our childhood was the same. We even have the same photographs.

SN: How is it possible? You two are autonomous, right? You each lived your own childhoods.

MS: We did. I grew up in Connecticut and he grew up in Washington.

MS: But we had the same experiences, even got the same Christmas and Birthday presents.

SN: So you led the same life on opposite ends of the country?

They make the same movements as they both sip their waters and nod in agreement.

MS: We aren’t quite sure what to make of each other, or what to do with each other for that matter.

MS: Sometimes one of us will experience something before the other one…like an early warning system. I knew his wife was going to die three days before she did.

SN: How did you know that?

MS: Because mine did.

They nod solemnly.

SN: So now you live together?

MS: We figured it would be easier this way.

MS: I didn’t feel comfortable knowing that someone else was out there living my life away from me. So now we live our lives, together, at the same time.

MS: Once my wife died, he moved in. This way, things happen to us simultaneously. We get sick at the same time, we fall asleep at the same time…no future predictions.

They move in sync. Crossing and un-crossing their legs. Looking at their fingernails. Picking lint from their shirts.

SN: Going back to what you said earlier…about trying to kill each other…can you explain why?

MS: It’s…it’s like the concept of the abstract. Like seeing something outside of your body…that belongs on the inside. Like the dread you sense when you see your own blood.

MS: It’s an unnatural fear…seeing yourself outside of yourself. Seeing yourself sleeping, lying there motionless…like looking over your own corpse.

MS: It’s very upsetting.

MS: Yes, it’s a dreadful feeling.

They look at each other and then back down at the floor. I can’t tell if it’s animosity, apathy, or just plain resignation that brews between them.

They both shake my hand and pat me on the shoulder as I make my exit.

At the door I try not to obviously stare at them, looking for any kind of difference, anything that could separate them, distinguish one of them from the other.

They wave to me from their window as I cross the road, reflections standing side by side.

My own reflection in my car window startles me.

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