Modern life has become twin-friendly – there’s no longer any fear of
people meeting themselves. Oddly, it’s an offshoot of the cult of the
individual. Few twins are defriended. Some pranksters post a single photo
twice with spot-the-differences. Monozygotic double dating, covering all
the bases, has gone viral. Twins’ twins are happily awaited.
1st – The Twins in the Light of Day
Dee came first in the amniotic sac race, sharing a placenta with Dum.
The sonographer frowned: ‘Have you heard of twin-to-twin transfusion
syndrome?’ The Tweedles were fine in the end. They agreed to have a
battle but never had one. When the monstrous crow swooped, they fled.
2nd – The Twins’ Private Language
In the Idioglossia Club both life members talk pipsqueak. A linguist, like a
tutor in a country house garden, strolls among blooms of sound. Ordinary
siblings miss lovely chords in the den of clucks and yawns. But soon it will
be catch-up time – perfect English calls to each alone in the mornings.
3rd – The Twins Making Mischief
Weight training is raw in the genes or cooked in a mythic life – either way,
strident clothes are bought in stereo in identical sizes. Devilment hatches
out of confidence, two to one against the suitor, borrowed as a string phone
for tactless whispers, testing how Chinese they might turn out to be.
4th – The Twins in the Cavern of Dreams
Seeing double already? – a connoisseur’s pint is a half-pull from each.
Victorian six-way mirrors further split the zygote. In a painter’s utopia in
three dimensions, a maze of reflections, a sober, separate self steers us to
our table by the elbow. Lookalikes in the beer cellar wink in unison.
5th – The Conjoined Twins
It’s hurtful to be treated as one person – no monetary compensation could
ever be enough. In any case, a meagre royalty travels twin-ward from the
manager, then halves. (Discovery – while swimming one day in a Lake
Geneva lido – is deemed origination in circus circles, as in scientific.)
6th – The Twins in Disguise
At carnival they glow. Rowing across the bay towards the floats, they
are a species in themselves, adaptable. They are far from dimorphic: he’s
borrowed a patch, she a five o’clock shadow. Gender is fluid, Venetian.
They’ve gone as Marie Antoinette’s tea servants, licensed to flirt.
All six – The Twins in Penury
Down on her uppers, she absents herself from personal need, giving her
all to the supply side, going three or four days without food. Each twin
decants a third of their meal onto a ghost plate, which holds her stare for
a minute as if it were a third fatherless child materialised on her doorstep.