“I’m sorry Andrew, it’s not any thing you did. You’re just very unique.” She quickly turned her head away to avoid his eyes and then walked out.
“Unique” . It was a word many people used to describe him. Not just his last girlfriend. It’s not like he hated to be this way. He had always tried to fit in when he was young, even if that meant lowering his standards. This is why he wanted to become the gifted writer he tried to avoid being at school.
Andrew Jansen loved cinema. He had written reviews for the latest films at this local cinema for one year now and his reviews were often relied upon by the public wanting to know which film to spend money on.
One day he read in a local paper that a new film club had started up in a school hall near to his house. This seemed unusual, he was sure that he would have heard about it being planned. He’d found out the meeting times and was on his way to the venue in the middle of the suburb he lived in; Walton, a small but pleasant development. The centre of Walton was famous for it’s gardens.
The film club presented viewings of various classic films. He had one burning question he needed the answer to. As soon as he walked into his first meeting, he asked “Who set up this club?”
An elderly gentleman turned to him and said, “It was all started by Andrew Jansen, a local film critic.”
Andrew shook his head as if he had just been struck with a frying pan. He had no memory of starting up this club.
Two weeks later he was talking to a very attractive red-head at a bar in the city. She was fascinating, and beautiful. Would he throw the dice again and risk rejection? Why not? He invited Briony to meet him at a restaurant/bar in the city. He chose an Asian Fusion place, nice and middle of the road so he wouldn’t offend her tastes. It made really nice dishes without straying too far into the spicy flavours of the east.
The night before the date, he spent a long time pacing around his lounge. To take his mind off the upcoming meeting he took a book from his bookcase and, sitting on his sofa, began to read. It was a historical novel, set in medieval Scotland. It was not particularly well written and the beginning was certainly slow moving. Before long he fell asleep.
Andrew awoke with the shock of realising that it was now an hour past the time he had agreed to met Briony. Instead of panicking, he thought of all the reasons she would have been wrong for him. He had a good imagination so this activity was amusing. From the idea she was a Vampire to her being a blood-sucking alien.
The next day he had a very small tinge of regret which he got rid of with a trip to his favourite cafe in the CBD. Returning home, he checked his email and found a message from Briony. As he prepared himself for the worst, he opened the message.
To his amazement the message was all about what a great time she had with him last night. This was strange, first the film club he was meant to have set up, now a date he was not on. Was there another version of Andrew Jansen out there dong all the things he wished he had done himself? He needed to meet this version of himself and stop him from leading a better life than the real Andrew Jansen.
How do you do it? How do you meet yourself? You can’t just send out invitations. Or could you? This copy of himself was making the most of all the places He must have been. The bar where he talked to Briony. Logically, he could go back to the same bar with a beautiful woman and the copy would be there somewhere.
Briony’s friend Katie was also an old friend, so he would arrange to meet her at the Oasis bar in town where he had first talked to Briony. He arrived at the bar and before he entered took a look around. It was the usual sorts. Workers from local businesses and a larger group of men who worked for the City Council. Katie was at a table by herself, although there seemed to be one lone stranger trying to flirt with her.
“Huh”, thought Andrew, fat chance. Katie was sophisticated. She was only in this bar because Andrew asked her to be there. Andrew had one piece of information that made sure she would be here. Not many people knew of Katie’s secret life as a thief,
Katie met men in bars and was invariably invited back to their homes where she would make careful assessment of anything of value she that she could easily take away.
Katie always wore gloves. Her “getaway car” would conveniently be waiting outside at the exact time it was needed. The car was usually driven by Briony.
One night Briony was busy and asked Andrew to park his car outside a certain house at a certain time. Katie came out of the front door at the time he had been told and knocked desperately on the passenger door. “Let me in, please” she asked in a loud whisper. She was dressed in the kind of outfit that no man could say “no” to. Andrew opened the car door and drove her home.
“What were you doing there?” asked Andrew.
“Just cleaning a friends house”.
“ What’s in the bag?” asked Andrew.
“I can’t tell you or show you that.” she replied.
“Well, you can tell me the truth or you can walk home” said Andrew.
He didn’t trust her at all and on the way home he learnt exactly what this woman did for a job. He wasn’t surprised as Katie always seemed to own all the best jewelry and clothing.
At the moment she has listening to all the best come on lines of a stranger who had just introduced himself as Andrew Jansen.
“I’m sure I’ve met someone by that name before and you don’t look like him”.
Katie looked at the original Andrew and gave him their prearranged nod. Katie turned on her enviable charm looks ensuring the false Andrew Jansen stayed in his place while the real Andrew Jansen made his way quickly across the room.
Andrew Jansen He finally reached his double and was astounded at the similarity, This guy had gone a long way to perfect the illusion. He was remarkably calm as Andrew asked the obvious question,
“Are you Andrew Jansen?”
He looked him in the eyes and replied “Yes. You never knew you had a twin brother. Our mother was deemed unsuitable to raise two children, so I was brought up by our Grandmother. They gave me the name Elton which I hated. When I was twenty-one I changed it to Andrew. .American history at school. I took the first name of the seventh president Andrew Jackson , who had a notable career for good reasons”
The first Andrew Jansen was dumbstruck, life was about to become very different.
He looked at Katie who seemed very interested in his brother. He decided the details of her life could be ignored.
Nick Scott Nick Scott has a B.A from The University of Waikato where he studied film under Sam Edwards. Nick has retained a keen interest in cinema. He studied Te Reo Maori at Te Wananga O Aotearoa part-time for 3 years and then from 2014 to 2016 Nick collaborated in writing “The Traveller’s guide to Maori Place Names”. Nick is a regular Film Reviewer on ARTbop and has contributed an episodic novel “Temple’s Job”. Nick has a creative’s Q&A awaiting publication on ARTbop.
Here’s Nick’s Review of Dune: