Life's Evil Twin

A simple man struggles with death after near death experiences while being recruited for the family business.

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Larry was walking down the sidewalk. It had been ten years since he had decided to leave school. The teasing eventually took its toll on him. After a couple of tries, he passed the GED exam and enrolled at a community college the next state over. And he made sure never to mention his “gift.” He called his mother for their weekly chat, but he never went back. Larry made damned sure that the freaky little boy he had once been had disappeared completely.

The sun was shining down as Larry strolled along soaking in the brilliant rays. But the pleasure of the afternoon was soon disrupted by his old friend calling on him again. His friend that constantly followed him and reminded him that any truly enjoyable day was merely a dream. Something within a five foot radius was emitting that horrid smell, warning Larry that whatever it was was close to death. And from the strength of the aroma, it was going to be dead very soon.

Larry awkwardly glanced around in an attempt to figure out where the smell was emanating. Or rather, who the smell was coming from. But should he? Did he really want to know? Sometimes his sense was more of a curse than a gift—did he really want to know who would die soon?

As he looked from person to person, his eyes met those of an older woman walking his way. She smiled at Larry in a sweet simple manner that gave joy to his heart. Please don’t let it be her, Larry thought to himself. Not someone so kind and loveable!

Larry had smelled hundreds of deaths since his granddad’s. Some of them affected him more than others. Sometimes, the smell came from a mean, selfish person. Sometimes, it came from an innocent child. Although it was never easy to cope with someone’s impending death, his experiences with the kind people stuck in his head longer.

Larry just smiled a sad smile back at the old woman. He knew he couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, tell her this unwanted news. In fact, Larry knew that it was best to get away from her as quickly as he could. He had learned from his past that it was best if he wasn’t around anymore when someone was about to die. People tended to get suspicious about that sort of thing. Too many questions popped up. It was easier to run away. He also wanted to get away from the smell; it was strong on her, meaning her time was soon.

Larry was stressed, so he quickly pulled out his keychain and started to play with it.  He lowered his eyes and, moving away from the older lady to the outside of the sidewalk, he quickly picked up his pace to make his getaway.  He was moving so quickly he didn’t notice someone else coming down the sidewalk.  Larry and the oncoming person collided with a thud, both almost falling to the ground. Larry could easily see he out weighted her, and really almost made her fall. Worst yet, Larry recognized her. It was Pam, his short-fused wife.  Oh crap, thought Larry. This wasn’t a typical thought when you see your spouse, but he had run into her. He had hit the hornet’s nest. Larry knew she was really going to make him pay for acting strangely in public again.

Well, this day has gone downhill fast! He prepared for the tongue lashing she was about to give him.

Pam had been out shopping without Larry as she liked to do.  Since it was nice outside, she had sent Larry on his way for the day so she could have some down time without him. One thing she wanted to do was to have a smoke.  She had told Larry that she had quit before they got married, but she lied and she still smoked.  She would find ways to get away. Her “down time,” as she called it.  Really, it was a smoke break. She promised herself she’d quit, but not today. She had planned to meet him back home later, after shopping. Lucky she had put out her last smoke before running into him. Like most people, she needed time away from Larry.  She loved him, but sometimes she just needed a break from him.  Sometimes, she needed time to be herself without putting up a front. Time when she didn’t need to be so nice. Being around people just took all the niceness out of her. It was one thing she had loved about being single—the “me times.” She didn’t get much of that anymore.

But being married to Larry had an upside.  She now had two incomes to spend, which greatly helped when she went clothes shopping, her favorite hobby. She’d never tell Larry that, though. She couldn’t let on that being married to him had some perks. She knew she could get someone better looking who made more money than Larry, but why? He was so easily trained! Some women like men they can break or train like a wild horse. Pam didn’t care to spend her time doing that, just too much work. Life was much too short for that. She just simply wanted her way, and Larry let her have her way the majority of the time. His mom had broken him in already for her. That was also another upside for Pam, but he would never know of it. 

As this thought was going through her head, bam!  Someone ran into her!  “Who the devil wasn’t paying attention and slammed into me?” she thought, desperately clinging on to her shopping bags as she was spun around.  “Who did this?  I can’t wait to give them a piece of my mind!”  Before she could start, she realized the person who she ran into her was her own freaky husband Larry. 

“No! It can’t be” she thought.

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