“Careening. Yes, that’s it. I like the word ‘careening’ for this. I am a twin and my twin’s name is Antony and the two of us forever risk careening off into literary cliché.
“I assume you know what I mean here. Abel and Cain? The good son and the bad seed? Darkness and light? Yin and yang? Cage and Travolta swapping mugs in that old action flick?
“It’s a really well-worn trope.
“I’ve never liked cliché and I never wished to go careening off into it. I never wanted it because it is bad: Bad to be only half a person. Lousy to possess half a soul. To bomb science class while the other one excels in it. To be the slightly-too-boyish sister of a slightly-too-girly brother.
“I said ‘No thank you’ to that. Never out loud, of course – that would be crazy – but in my life, my actions, my thinking? I said ‘No thank you’ to that from the start…
“…and wound up constantly careening into bad twin clichés.
“I was the shadow self. I was the moon. I literally lived underground in Houston while my brother stayed in some bright Dallas tower!
“It happens everywhere. Just look around us! Look at the people walking by. The slump of the shoulders. The balling of the fists. People get labeled and they get labeled early and they get labeled wrong – and then this is what comes of it.
“I’m not the evil twin and I never was the evil twin but they called me that and they kept calling me that right up until the moment when the good twin abandoned his sick, pregnant wife and her kids.
It was just about here in my monologue when the bees became an issue.
I handed the remains of my rum to The Shudder. He hadn’t noticed the bees yet. Or maybe he had and just didn’t care.
“If you kill your brother, shoot him from behind a mirror,” said The Shudder. I flapped my hands at the bees.
I’d never heard The Shudder speak before. I’d never been entirely certain he knew English. Hence the honesty of my monologues during our visits.
THRAK! the first bee struck me and I tried leaping from the lawn chair, realizing too late that I was too drunk for such gymnastics. I… well, I careened around and down. I lay in a heap on The Shudder’s balcony.
THRAK! number two to my left wrist.
THRAK! number three to my forehead.
The Shudder finished off the rum. “I believe you are really underestimating the importance of divine symmetry,” he said. “As your brother grows weaker, you become more and more powerful.”
From my position on the ground, I looked out at the darkening sky.
This was turning into the worst hurricane party ever.