I did not learn about Rex until Gary and I had been dating for a couple of months. It makes sense, really. If you have an evil twin, you certainly don't want the girl of your dreams to learn about him too soon. It might scare her off--especially if she isn't the sort who understands how much trouble an identical counterpart (especially an evil one) can get you in to.
This was the weekend I took a big risk and made an unannounced visit to the campus where he was attending college. In brief, he was delighted (whew!) which tells you a lot about the kind of guy he was.
After he'd taken me to dinner, we were sitting in the TV room watching a movie. One of his buddies strolled in and asked Gary if he still had the textbook he'd borrowed.
Gary assured him that if hadn't been returned, it certainly wasn't him that borrowed it. "That's funny," said his friend. "I'm pretty sure someone who looked just like you came into my dorm room and asked if he could used it."
"It must have been Rex," Gary replied.
The friend rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I need that book, Gary. Some of us are here to get an education. Not just to score chicks." He cast a grin in my direction.
Gary said he'd go see if he could get the book back from Rex--before it he sold it or something.
The friend sat down across from me and waited.
Of course I asked. "Who is Rex?"
"Gary's evil twin." This friend gave me a sidelong look that included another smile. "Be sure and ask him about it. You'll be glad you did."
Gary returned a moment later with the book reporting that he'd just caught Rex on his way out the door to Tahiti--and he was carrying the book so it was a good thing that he'd moved as quickly as he had.
After the friend left, I asked Gary about this "Rex fellow". He was a little reticent at first, but I reminded him that I'd told him all about the secret lives of my Mollies (After many hours of observation, I can assure you fish only look like they're just floating around in there.Most fish tanks are regular Peyton places).
Gary, my quiet, reserved, rule abiding almost to the point of being boring, boyfriend opened up. Yes, he had an evil twin and his name was--sigh--Rex and he'd been an albatross around Gary's neck since childhood. Rex stole cars, robbed banks, romanced women out of their money, ate the last piece of pizza, hung the toilet paper on the roll backwards, and put the milk carton back in the fridge empty. He was rich, but rotten to the core (he'd have to be to put that milk carton back like that, right?)
What a relief to finally meet someone who would understand, I said. Because I too, had an evil twin named Lola who'd been the bane of my existence as well. She was forever stealing famous artwork, robbing jewelry stores, and shutting off my alarm clock so I was late for class.
Naturally we introduced the two and it wasn't long before we could tell they were made for one another (they stole a cop car and went on a joy ride on their first date). After that, Lola regularly played Bonnie to Rex's Clyde and they lived out many adventures, which we frequently regaled our friends with.
Shortly before we got married we sent them off to live on a tropical island with the money they took from Sam Walton's secret vault--hidden in a mine shaft beneath Zinc, Arkansas--coincidentally (but only coincidentally) the small former mining town I grew up in. Life is much less complicated without outlaw twins hanging around, don't you think?
I guess it's no real wonder that Little surfaced when Jeremiah was about eighteen months old. Though at that point all we knew as that "Lil" had--broken the knob off the space heater, eaten Dad's last fig newton, and wanted to watch Sesame Street so much that she talked him into turning on the TV at six am. Imagine our surprise when we learned a few months later that Little was a girl with long brown hair and glasses.
Over the next four or five years we heard a lot about Little and her family--Bob,Rhonda, and her little brother, Boy (who arrived shortly after Daniel did). Daniel and Jeremiah played with Little and Boy for many hours in the front yard. Along the way the boys explained that they all lived in the tree near the front gate, that Bob was a Mariachi player, and that Rhonda wore dresses, baked cookies, and kept the tree clean. Though Boy seemed contented to just hang out with Daniel and build block towers, Little had many adventures--car chases and bank robberies and traveled to many foreign lands. Yet somehow she found the time to steal cookies, break things, and play with my jewelry. Her day-planner must have been packed.
I must confess was somewhat disappointed when she and her family decided not to join us in Shell Knob, but the boys explained that they didn't like any of the trees in our new yard and felt it was best to stay where they were happiest. Jeremiah did confide in me that Little was going to college to become a spy like her father, who wasn't really a Mariachi player after all.
If you want the truth (?), I suspect Bob and Rhonda weren't Little's parent's real names. I think they were Rex and Lola in disguise, looking out for their less exciting counterparts as they worked out how to be happy with their more mundane, but certainly rich lives. It was just luck and good fortune that their children became my children's playmates. When they determined that we didn't need them anymore, they packed up and went back to their tropical island where--the last we heard--they were living quietly off the interest of their invested stolen bounty. A fitting retirement for middle aged, former criminal, mariachi playing spies, don't you think?