“Now what?” asked Sancho.
“I don’t know, but we probably don’t have much time. He could be back any minute.” I said.
The entity we had come to know as Scooter had retreated into the house after cryptically warning that we were about to “do it the hard way”. After several minutes of snickering at his phrasing, which I will not recount here, we were still no closer to a plan than before, and I felt that we were running out of time.
“Wait a minute, I got it!” exclaimed my brother.
Sancho and I turned to face him, expectantly. I don’t think either of us really believed he had a viable plan, but I was certain it would be entertaining.
“Ok, get this. First we all jump him at once. He doesn't look that strong. I’ll hold his legs, Sancho you hold his arms, and then you read passages of Twilight until begs for mercy.”
“You idiot”, I said. “Where are we going to get a copy of Twilight at this hour?”
“You’re both idiots,” said Sancho. “Is that what you focused on, really? Twilight? How about we just jump him, like he said. Why haven’t we tried that yet?”
“I don’t know. He’s kind of creepy. I don’t want to touch him.”
“Well you might have to anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look, this thing wants to basically absorb you, right? He wants to take over your body, god knows why. But you’re basically the same person, see? So, why can’t you just absorb him?”
“You really think I haven’t thought about that?”
“Well you haven’t said anything. What’s the problem with that?”
“The problem is, he might be right, OK? I’m not sure I wouldn't just welcome oblivion.”
My brother looked up from his spell-books. “What are you talking about? You’re still depressed? Just get over it already.”
“Sure,” I said. “”Cause its that easy.”
“Look, the fact is, I’m just not sure how much I care. This has already gone on way too long and I’m beginning to lose interest. “
“Well that doesn't mean you have to let yourself be taken over by the handless wonder over there.”
“Why not? I’m tired, OK? Tired of waking up and doing the same thing every day. Forcing a smile on my face like a cheap mask so that people will think I’m normal. I dislike or outright hate almost everyone and everything seems stupid to me. The best part of my day is going to sleep and the worst part is waking up.”
There was silence for a moment. Sancho and my brother shared a glance, neither one of them daring to look me in the eye. I had to think that they both knew how I felt. I may not broadcast my feelings, but surely they must have picked up on it from time to time, which would account for their reticence to speak. It was a shared shame.
Not being able to admit my depression was my shame. Theirs was not saying something when they knew that must be a problem.
Not that I could blame them. Not when I wasn't ready to talk about it myself. In fact, I don’t want to talk about it now. It’s all that doppelgangers fault.
“You know what?” I said. “Fuck that guy.”
My brother and my friend looked up in confusion.
“Yeah,” agreed Sancho, “fuck that guy. You’re not gonna let that guy win are you?”
“No. I’m not” I said with sudden conviction. “I may be every bit as pathetic as he says I am, but if I have to go, it’s gonna be when I decide to go.”
“Alright then!” said a grinning Buster. “So we jump him and then fuck his shit up! Right?”
“No, that’s not the way” said Sancho.
Buster said, “what do you mean? Lets kick his ass! I’ll get the butter knife.”
I turned to the house, where Scooter was just making his way out the back door. He was carrying something, but I couldn't quite make it out at this distance. No doubt a prop in his plan to “do it the hard way”. I wondered what it was.
“You don’t understand”, said Sancho. “Scooter is everything that’s missing from your brother. The desire, the motivation, the ability to see color in the world instead of viewing it in black and white. Scooter wants to merge to become the dominant personality, and bury him somewhere deep. But what if it’s the other way around?”
“He means,” I said, turning to look at my brother, “What if I can merge with him and take back all that I've been missing?”
“All these years, I've always felt so empty. Whatever dark recesses of my mind he emerged from, he brought back what could possibly make me whole again.”
With new determination, I called out to Scooter, “Come get some.”
To be continued..