I saw you the other night and you’re looking well. I don’t know what you were doing in that place at that time, friend, but you’re secret is safe with me. There’s certainly no need for me to mention it to your wife when I see her. I don’t think she’d understand.

Settle down, son. You’re in no trouble. It probably wasn’t you at all out at that seedy club with a wad of dollar bills in your sweaty fist. It was probably someone who looks like you because God knows, everybody’s got one.

I get it all the time. I’m standing in line at the corner store, eager to get my cauliflower and wheat germ and get out of there. A tap on my shoulder and some stranger is behind me grinning like a Dr. Seuss creature. He wants to know why I’m out of jail already. Or why I stood up his sister when I was supposed to take her to the mall. The more I try to explain that I’m not who he thinks I am, the more it sounds like lying.

“You’re Tony, from Sabattus Street.”

“No,” I say. “Mark from somewhere else.”

An uncertain look. A scratch of the head.

“Man, are you sure?”

Pretty sure, anyway. Ever since I came to Lewiston, I’ve been approached by people who swear I’m someone else. It happens whether I’m bearded, clean-shaven or if I have my hair up in curlers. It happens downtown, uptown and everywhere in between.

“If you’re not Tony from Sabattus Street,” they will say, “you really should look him up. I think you have a brother out there.”

I have great compassion for Tony from Sabattus Street. Because surely he’s also hearing these strange tales of a twin while he’s out there trying to fly kites or chase stray cats around the alleys, whatever the weirdo does for fun. There’s also the fact that if he looks like me, he looks like every police composite sketch ever tacked to a telephone pole.

“I know this one!” I frequently scream, running into a detective’s office with the tattered sketch in my hand. “His name is Tony! From Sabattus Street!”

Tony remains at large.

It’s just amazing that we haven’t run into each other yet, this dashing stranger and I. I imagine it will be a startling moment for both of us. We’ll stand their making slow, goofy hand gestures, each trying to convince ourselves that we’re not staring into a mirror. Like when Gilligan confronted his look-alike on the island and had to fake a sneeze to uncover the ruse.

But in accordance to some rule of clones, we have never met, and maybe that’s for the best. I don’t want to know this twin of mine because it’s easier for me to blame him for things that way. Think I said something rude to you in a parking lot the other week? It wasn’t me. It was that other guy.

Thought you spotted me pushing a shopping cart full of goods out of the adult store? Ditto. My twin has some strange proclivities.

There’s a strong chance that this goes beyond the simple sharing of facial characteristics. If you believe the drunker of your physicists, you know there are theories afloat that suggest that carbon copies of each of us exist in parallel worlds. Perhaps my twin is really me, walking a course across Lewiston that never intersects with my own. And if it’s true, just how sad is that? Two identical copies of me in the world and we both landed here. Neither has a home in Malibu and a lifestyle of extravagance and leisure.

Tony, my friend, please get your act together. You really should be making more of our life.


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