Lucas' jaw dropped open. His mother dabbed at her eyes with her tissue.
"You mean that I have a twin?" he said.
"Indeed you do!" yelled a voice from the closet. The man inside kicked the door open and emerged from a pile of coats with a pistol pointed straight at Lucas' heart. "And not just any old twin!"
"He's the evil one," his mother said through her tears. "I'm sorry that I didn't warn you. He's holding me hostage."
"My name is Sacul and blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, I will now take your wallet and car keys!"
Lucas shook his head. "Now wait just a minute. I'm not forking over my keys and my money to a lunatic with a gun. How do I know that you're actually my evil twin."
Lucas stared at Sacul. They did look remarkably similar, from the wide-set eyes to the strong part in their hair to the prominent nose. In fact, the only difference that Lucas could tell was that Sacul wore all black and sported a goatee, while Lucas couldn't grow one at all.
"Damn!" Lucas said. Sacul grinned.
"Your keys, my brother," he said, holding out his free hand.
"Will stay in my pocket!" Lucas roared, throwing a plate from the coffee table straight at Sacul's head, like a flying disc. It cracked into his temple. Blood sprouted and he staggered backward. In a moment, Lucas was upon Sacul, wrestling over the gun.
Lucas emerged from the fracas with the gun, keeping it leveled at Sacul. "You're crazy."
Sacul suddenly grinned. A sharp pain shot through Lucas' skull as he watched the pieces of vase shower down from above, followed by a buzzing in his ears. He collapsed. As he lost consciousness, he saw his mother holding a partly broken vase. She picked up the gun and handed it back to Sacul.
Lucas awoke to the sound of his cell phone ringing. He was still in his mother's living room. It was dark outside. Standing and battling the rising bile at the back of his throat, he went outside. His cell phone glowed in the bushes, right where he'd thrown it before he went into the house. It was a safety tip that he'd learned from a buddy. If you suspected you were going to be robbed at a drop, hide your cell phone outside so that you can make a call for help.
"Hello?" he said.
"Oh, thank god. Where are you?"
"I'm at my mom's house."
"Are you okay?"
"Yes," he said. He patted his pockets. They were empty. "I have a bit of a headache. My mom wasn't kidding about the stunning news. Ugh. She announced that I have a twin brother."
"You were right. He was just here, pretending to be you. I didn't open the door because I knew something was up. His chin was untanned and didn't act like you."
Relief flooded through Lucas. "So you're okay?"
"Yes. He ended up breaking into the house but he didn't get the jewels. You'll have to replace a sconce on the wall, though. I blew it off the wall with the shotgun."
"Okay," Lucas said.
"And the refrigerator is kind of ruined."
"Yes. But he left pretty quickly after that."
"I'll bet. I'm going to try to track them down. My mother also announced, in not so many words, that my aunt isn't the evil one of that pair."
"Your mother put on a good show, then."
"Like mother, like son."
"Do you want me to come get you?"
"No, I'll take a taxi. Stay there, keep the shotgun loaded. I'll call you when I'm outside so I don't have to buy a replacement husband to go along with the replacement refrigerator."
He hung up. He knew where Sacul and his mom would be.
Lucas' mom hopped into her son's car, gunned the engine, and took off down the street. She rocketed up to a stop sign and straight through the intersection while she slammed on the brakes. The car hopped into the air as it hit the curb and slammed into a copse of trees with four wheels off of the ground.
Dazed from the impact and the airbags and smarting all over from the seatbelt, she dragged herself out of the wreckage. It dumped smoke into the air. She sprawled on the grass, catching her breath. Sacul must have betrayed me and cut my brakes, she thought. She wasn't surprised. He was the evil twin, after all.
"Nice night for a smoke," Lucas said, emerging from the copse of trees.
Her eyes opened wider than when the brake pedal flopped to the floor.
"Oh, thank god that you're here! Sacul forced me to-"
"Cram it. Where is he?"
"I know you're mad but you have to believe-"
"I don't have to believe anything. Where's Sacul?"
"He went to the casino. After he cut my brakes."
Lucas began to walk away, then paused. "Don't fuck with me again, Mom, or next time I'll cut the airbags, too. See you at Easter."
Sacul had nothing but rotten luck all night. He'd lost thousands of dollars, gained and lost the interest of a dozen women. It was a good thing that it wasn't his money or he'd be really upset.
It was good being the evil one. Nobody was really surprised when he screwed them over or backstabbed him. His goatee was his banner, his black suit his shield. Society needed people like him, he made everyone else feel better about themselves. All they had to do was pay his fees. Where, when and how he collected these fees were part of his charm.
Lucas, what a sucker. Sacul considered the poetry of the whole thing. Lucas couldn't even claim the credit of being a sucker. The fact was that people like Sacul created the suckers. Sacul was the one who created good and evil, wrong and right.
Sacul bellied up to a slot machine with a bucket of dollar coins in one hand and a drink with more fruit than an orchard in the other.
His bad luck continued with the slots. The clock crept towards 4am and finally he ambled to his penthouse hotel room. That goody-two-shoes Lucas sure had a high credit limit.
Kicking off his shoes and loosening his thin, black tie, Sacul turned on the TV that was taller than he was. Soon, he was snoring and didn't notice the two thugs that entered the room with the first light of dawn. They dropped a bag over his head and gave him two swift punches in the stomach. Sacul toppled off of the couch, gasping.
He heard rustling in the room. The bag was pulled off and a fox of a woman stood before him. Her quick, sparkling eyes shimmered with rage.
"Sacul," she said. It wasn't a question.
"That's, ahem, ooow, me. That hurts. Not as much as when you fell from heaven, I'd wager."
"I don't know if the windows in a hotel room on the 28th floor open, but I'm sure that we could arrange something," she said.
Sacul didn't say anything.
"Does it amuse you to fuck with women?"
"To fuck with women. This note that you left on my bedstand after we screwed last night." She waved around a white note
"Look, do I know you? I mean, I'd like to get to know you, but I don't just have meaningless sex with women. I would remember you."
The woman's eyes bugged out. "I control this town! I have six keys to the city hanging over my bed!" She balled up the note and threw it so that it bounced off of Sacul's nose.
He uncrumpled it.
"I hope you like gonorrhea. Love and kisses, Sacul. P.s. those keys are gaudy like your face."
"Wait!" Sacul said, relief replacing his fear. "This isn't my signature! I can prove it! Hang on!"
He fumbled for his wallet. All of his credit cards, all of his IDs were gone. How did that happen?
"And this was tossed in my bedsheets," the woman said, throwing Sacul's ID on his his stomach.
Sacul's heart sank.
"We also had our pictures taken in front of the Colossus Casino fountain," she said. She threw a photograph at him.
It was the woman and...a man who looked exactly like Sacul except with a glue-on goatee.
"No, no, I can prove that it wasn't me! It was an impersonator! Look, his goatee is different than mine!"
The woman squinted at the picture, and then at Sacul, and then back at the picture. She shot out a hand and touched his goatee.
"You're right. He was very proud of that goatee. It was much softer than this scrabbly business. But what about the ID?"
"Character assassination by a political foe!" he blurted.
That seemed to appease the woman. "It's been known to happen. Keep that shit," she said, marching out. Sacul watched them go. One of the thugs pulled the door shut to reveal Lucas standing behind it.
"Hello, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood."
Sacul felt like he'd been punched in the stomach again. He scrambled to his feet, seizing a vase.
"You can set that down," Lucas said, "I'd never hurt a fly. I'm the good one, remember? You can even tell because I don't have a goatee and I don't wear black. Isn't that convenient? You can always tell which twin is the evil one, right?"
The Moral: if your ID is stolen, check to make sure that your stupid identical twin didn't do it.