If you share your brother’s emotions, it can be difficult to know if they belong to you or they belong to him. I was the good son—academically inclined, and more than willing to follow the rules. Joey did what he wanted to do. I could sense his choices before they happened. I could understand his thoughts. I learned algebra and calculus, while he learned how to calculate the spread. I looked a woman in her eyes, and Joey looked up her skirt. Women never understood my intentions, but Joey made them clear immediately.
“When you get off work, we should get off together.”
He was disgusting. I hated to call him my brother. I went to church on Sunday, and he went to the strip club. He told me that he admired beauty, and had more love inside him than 10 men, but it was more like a legion of demons that told him what to do. He listened to the spirits inside and ignored our parents. Middle School was bad, but when we got into High School, and I got my driver’s license, Joey wanted to drive.
“You don’t have a license,” I said.
“Come on, I look just like you. The cops ain’t going to know.”
He was right, and the thought scared me. I bought this red Firebird. Maybe it was my compensation for being too good. Joey was jealous. I could tell. I could feel his emotions. Half-of-the-time I felt possessed by lust, anger, and impulses that didn’t belong to me. Joey grabbed a girl, and felt her behind—and the adrenaline inside my heart made my toes feel like butterflies. I didn’t need to act out. Joey did it for me. And the impulses he had, I resisted. And the goodness in me, he resisted. We should have been one person—free to choose good and evil, but we were separated before birth—knit together in our mother’s womb by God. I don’t know why I am so good and Joey is so bad.
When I woke up, my car was missing. Then I got a phone call.
“Are you the owner of a 1992 Firebird?”
“Yes,” I said.
“It was involved in a hit and run. We found it wrapped around a telephone pole two miles from the accident. The driver wasn’t in the car, but we have video surveillance of the owner running from the scene.”
“Oh, that’s not me. It was my twin brother.”
“Yeah, right. Okay, we’ll have to send a squad car to your house and arrest you.”
“No, really, it wasn’t me.”
“That’s what they all say in prison. And if you ask me, that’s where you are headed, whether you cooperate or not.”
I looked outside the house. Joey was staggering up the driveway with blood dripping from his head, clutching his ribs. At least they can’t pin it on me, I thought.
“Hey man, give your brother some love,” Joey said.
“Did you hit a girl on the road?”
“Oh, I thought that was a deer. Is she alive?”
“Well, I need you to vouch for me.”
“They have video footage Joey. You’re going to prison.”
“Like hell, I am.”
His booking was routine. I lost my high school car, and my brother was sentenced 10 years. I married a Fundamentalist woman who lives by the word of God. I feel Joey’s emotions in prison—his unreformed heart, but we still get along just fine.
“How’s the wife?” Joey asked.
“She’s on a real pure streak. I’ve had no sex for the last 6 months.”
“Man—I’m getting more sex in prison, than you out-of-prison. Life just ain’t fair, is it?” Joey smiled.
I shuddered to think what might happen when he got out. As the day drew nearer, I could feel the excitement in my bones, but it wasn’t my excitement. I had to go on a business trip and wouldn’t be able to pick-up my brother from prison. “Take an Uber,” I said.
Selling furniture in Nebraska was not exciting, but I started to feel excitement, and then I felt real dread. I drove home. It took two days, and when I got there, my conservative wife greeted me in her underwear.
“I want to thank you hubby—for bringing our marriage back to life.”