There’s always an evil twin
Color, light, sound and the smell of marinara sauce, bread and cheese filled every inch of the building. Other kids laughed and screamed while the adults watched. Some of them with more enthusiasm than others.
I picked up the huge piece of cheese pizza in my little hands and bit off the sagging end. The greasy juice touched my tongue, and I smiled as I chewed.
Next to me, my twin sister Julie, scowled at her own pizza.
“It’s good,” I said through my food.
She turned her scowl on me. My enthusiastic chewing slowed, and I had to fight to swallow.
“I want cookies.”
“Mom said to eat what they served us.”
Julie’s scowl turned into a glower, a contrast to our matching pink dresses and pigtails with bows. “I want cookies.” Her one blue eye and one brown eye stared into mine.
“Maybe we’ll have cake later.”
“I don’t want cake.”
Mom had told me to ignore Julie if she tried to pressure me, so I turned back to my pizza and took another bite. The hair on the back of my neck prickled like I’d just gone out into the cold, but I didn’t turn back to Julie.
I knew what she wanted, and I wasn’t going to do it.
Mom said I didn’t have to.
“Julie, Jackie,” Mira’s mom said as she made her way around the table. She handed me a plastic card—like mom’s credit cards. “These will let you play the games. I’ll show you how to do it when you’re finished eating. Can you put those in your pouch?”
I wiped my hands on the napkin next to my plate and took the purple card from the woman. I carefully slipped it into the little crocheted green pouch that hung around my neck. Mira’s mom had made the pouches so we could keep everything safe.
“Thank you,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” Mira’s mom said with a huge smile. “And one for you, Julie.”
Julie took the card and shoved it in her pouch, still glaring.
I kicked her under the table.
“Thank you,” Julie said in a flat voice.
Mira’s mom smiled again, already moving on to the next little girl.
“I don’t want to play stupid games,” Julie said.
I ignored her and joined the conversation with the rest of the girls.
“I’m going to play skee ball. My dad showed me how to get lots of point.”
“I’m going to crawl up into the car.”
“When does the band play?”
I looked around as I chewed. Games—most of which I didn’t know how to play—filled one side of the room. A small play land ran above that, and a stage sat at the end of our table.
“What do you want to do, Jackie?” Mira asked.
I blinked. “Uh.” I ducked my head. “I want to watch the show.”
“Boring,” one of the girls proclaimed.
“Maybe to you,” Mira said.
Julie kicked me under the table and leaned closer. “They hate us.”
I invoked the meanest thing I could think of and said, “Shut up.” If Julie told mom I’d said that, I would be in trouble.
“Watch this,” Julie said. Her scowl turned into an evil grin, and she sat up. “Hey Mira, can I come play games with you?”
I caught Mira’s mother giving her a stern look.
Mira looked from her best friends, to Julie, then to her mom. “Of course. We can all play.”
“Okay,” Julie said with a fake smile.
We finished our food and then Jackie dragged me to the game area with the others.
“I don’t want to play,” I said.
“Just try one,” Julie said. “Mom would want you to.”
I looked at the colorful carpet. Mom would want me to. So I stepped up to a skee ball machine, touched my card to it like Mira’s mom showed us, then watched as the balls dropped down into the slot.
I sighed and picked one up. The wood felt smooth but the ball felt heavy.
“Go on, you can do it,” Julie said in my ear.
I grit my teeth, swiveled my arm back and then launched the ball forward.
The ball made it up and over the bump at the end of the track, but just barely. It didn’t make it into the 10 point area.
The other girls laughed.
“Try again,” Julie said.
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You do it.”
“This is your game,” Julie said.
I ground my teeth and tried again, with the same result.
Mira’s other friends laughed again.
Burning shame filled me, and I stepped away. “I’m going back to the table.”
Julie caught me by the elbow. “You can stop them.”
I blinked, trying to hold back tears, and shook my head.
“Stay until I finish your game, then I’ll go back with you.”
I nodded, and wiped my nose.
Julie was good at games. She would show them. But she didn’t. She did as bad as I did, and the girls laughed at her too.
“Freaks,” one of Mira’s friends said. “Your eyes don’t match. Must make you stupid.”
Julie’s eyes filled with tears, and anger swelled inside of me.
I’d promised mom not to do this, but she’d promised that we would have a good time. If she could lie, I could too.
I let the anger build, and once it felt like it was going to blow the top of my head off, I let it go and imagined a rubber ducky.
The girl who had been laughing the loudest turned first. Her glittery-shoe-wearing best friend screamed, and she turned second.
Mira’s mom ran over. “What happened?”
The other girls screamed as Mira turned.
“You show them,” Julie said. I looked at her and expected to see her crying, but she was smiling. “You show them.”
It’s not hard to come up with something creepy when I get these four options:
Genre – Horror
Character – 7 (ish) Year Old Twin Girls
Setting – ChuckECheese
Random Item – Rubber Ducky