Two nights ago, as I was going home, a pretty rough looking guy came strolling up beside me. He stood and looked at me for a moment.
He: Hey man, you got that three bucks you owe me?
He: You got the three bucks you said you'd pay back?
Me: You've got the wrong guy.
He looks at me, scrutinizing me. You can see it hit him that he has approached the wrong guy.
He: Sorry man... you know, you got a twin.
Me: Yeah, I know. This twin got a name?
He: Rob. Man, he looks exactly like you, but he's living it pretty down end and dangerous, you know what I mean?
This is not the first time I have heard this name. I have told this to my friends before, but they do not believe me. Even when they say they do I can see they doubt in their eyes: he's gotta be making this up. After all, it is just too fantastical - I have a near perfect double, an "evil" twin if you will. Like an episode of classic Star Trek or like Bizarro and Superman, Bender and Flexo there is another me roaming the streets and he's up to no good.
Rob is like a bad penny that keeps turning up in my life since 1985 when I lived in Mission. I was at this thing with a bunch of Mennonite youth groups from Abbotsford and Mission. I was just finishing up Grade 9 and about to turn 15. There was a girl there who was pointing me out to her friends and they approached me soon after. She told me how much I looked like this guy, Rob, from Abby Senior. (they were just going into Grade 12) Rob apparently was physically like me in almost every way except his mode of dress, he was slightly taller and the fact that Rob wouldn't be caught dead at any sort of church function except maybe his own funeral.
There were a couple of times after that that I had been confused for Rob when I visited friends out in the Valley, but never anything bad. When I was 20 I had just come back for the summer from living in Saskatchewan. I had long hair a la the early 90's mop and drove a `72 Chevy Nova. I went downtown to hit the music shops. I picked up a couple of CDs and was just about to get into my car (at the now non-existent parkade on the corner of Dunsmuir and Howe) when a HUGE biker came storming up. He picked me up off the ground with one hand and held me up against a concrete post. There was a rather sleazy looking woman with him.
Biker: Where's my money?
Me: What money?
Biker: I know that car! I know your face and I know your voice! This is the guy right, baby?
Sleazy Woman: Yeah, that's the son of a bitch.
Biker: Give me my money!
Me: Whoa... look man, I'm not who think I am.
I reach into my pocket and show him my student ID from Saskatchewan and my BC drivers license. He looks them over, drops me and shows the ID to the woman. Hands me back the ID and looks at me a bit incredulously.
Biker: Sorry guy.
With that they leave, periodically looking back at me, and I get into my car after collecting myself together.
Later that summer, my Dad calls me from the road on his car phone. I had been working for him that day, running errands in the valley that he was unable to take care of. He tells me he thought he had just seen me walk away from the Nova and go into a sleazy strip club that used to be not too far away from the intersection of Kingsway and Boundary. He couldn't believe it was me and had to check to see if I was at home. Up to that point, I had no idea there was even a strip club in that area.
There were a few more case of mistaken identity up to about 1994, nothing major, and then nothing until early 1999. I was unemployed at the time and staying at my Dad's. There was night I was watching special on BSE and vCJD when I received a call from a woman I was crazy about and hanging out with quite a bit at the time. She was in Edmonton visiting a friend of hers from university. We talked a bit about BSE, sine she had watched the same special and then she told me about something that had happened to her the night before. She and her friend had gone dancing at a gay bar in Deadmonton. She met a guy there who was a dead ringer for me. Remember - I was in New Westminster, broke and don't make it a point to hang out in gay bars. I don't remember if she had a name for this double and I also seem to recall her saying that he was clean shaven. (I had a goatee as I do now)
The thing about my most recent encounter is that while I was talking with the guy about Rob, an eastbound train rolled into Surrey Central station. We both looked down to the opposite end and I see a guy about my size and dressed pretty similar to me (blue ball cap instead of a black toque) get on the train. The guy standing by me ID'd him as Rob. He was too far way for me to see his face clearly, but I might recognise him if I see him again.
Folklore states that to see one's doppelgänger is an omen of impending death. Attempting to communicate with a doppelgänger is bad luck. People who see their doppelgänger may also be haunted by visions of it from that point on. Rob has haunted me since 1985 but he is not a doppelgänger, he's flesh and blood. He's not a work of fiction, a sort "Mr. Hyde" upon which to lay my depravity on and preserve the dignity of my "Dr. Jeckyll". The Galactic Cowboys had a song with the line "... Blame it on my evil twin", this is certainly not the case. Somehow, though, his appearance has changed over two decades to match mine very closely. He's close enough to me that people are visibly shocked when they realise that I am not him.
Do any of you have a twin? If not, are you sure? If so, what are they like?