Twins – A Short Story
A short story by Clare McAfee of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim
Maguire’s Bar was Diarmuid O’Boyle’s preferred pub and of course that meant Clooney Callahan favoured it too. Diarmuid sat in the snug furtively nursing a pint. It was a small, very private room with access to the bar that had a frosted glass external window, set above head height. A higher price was paid for beer in the snug and nobody could look in and see the drinkers. The local police officer might nip in for a quiet pint, the parish priest for his evening whisky, or lovers for a rendezvous.
Diarmuid did not usually frequent the snug on account of the higher prices but he was there this evening because he was trying to give Clooney Callahan the slip. He sighed as he thought of how he had let things get out of hand with Clooney. He felt guilty too because the fellow was like a brother to him; a twin brother really. They were both exactly the same age having been born on the same day Friday 11th March 1994. Both were Pisces.
Diarmuid often thought that they were both like fish out of water, two oddballs uncomfortable with life who had gravitated towards each other starting at nursery school. They had stayed friends all through school, even choosing the same university. However, Clooney had one major flaw; he was a copycat. In the days of childhood when Diarmuid got toys Clooney lobbied his parents until they bought him identical ones. Later it was the same with clothes, holiday destinations and even the degree courses they were studying.
Frankly Diarmuid was sick of it all. He had met a gorgeous girl called Grainne and he had managed to date her on several occasions unbeknownst to Clooney. Diarmuid felt he was losing his heart to this girl and he was quite happy about that. His only fear was that the clingy Clooney would somehow manage to spoil the romance before it got off the ground. Diarmuid almost choked on his beer when the door of the snug opened and in walked Clooney Callahan dressed like a carbon copy of his friend. “There you are indeed!” he declared with satisfaction. “They said you were skulking in here. Who are you hiding from, Diarmuid?”
“I’m not hiding!” Diarmuid protested vehemently. Then without thinking he blurted out, “I’m meeting somebody.” This wasn’t actually true and he immediately regretted saying that.
Clooney looked puzzled and then he smiled and nodded wisely, “There must be a lady in the case. I’d love to meet her, do you have a photo?”
“No!” his friend replied. “Sure you do, or is she so repulsive you don’t want me to see her?”
Stung by this suggestion Diarmuid produced his phone and found Grainne’s photograph. Clooney was visibly impressed by the beautiful image of a girl with long auburn hair and ivory skin. “And green eyes!” he exclaimed. “You’ve done well there, O’Boyle. Has she any siblings?”
Diarmuid hesitated before answering, “Well she is a twin.”
“An identical twin I hope…and with any luck not married.”
“Neither of them is married.”
“Ah Diarmuid boy, this could be the future for both of us. It’s in the stars. You and me are practically brothers and if we should marry these two sisters what a perfect ending for our lives! But you didn’t say if they were identical twins.”
“They do resemble each other.”
“Perfect! However, I suppose there is some little difference by which you can tell them apart.”
Diarmuid looked directly at Clooney and stated, “Her twin brother Tomas has a beard.”
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