Evil Twin by Will Musgrove

I’ve known you since you were born, which was when I was born. I’m your evil twin. Everyone has one.  I was a part of you until I wasn’t. Then I watched you from the shadows—alleyways, unfurnished basements, etcetera—waiting to ruin your life.


Put evil in front of your name and see how it makes you feel. Not great, right? Figured you were going to blame me anyway. Figured I’d save you the trouble and prove you correct.

Funny thing is, I know a lot of evil twins who’re good people, people who still give hitchhikers lifts, people who volunteer without a court order, yet they’re labeled the bad half. You’re probably thinking life’s not fair, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be.

Anyway, I got back from a relaxing week of hiking and waterslide riding in the Poconos (yes, even evil twins take vacations) only to discover you did my job for me. I almost spat out my beer when your next-door neighbor’s evil twin told me Jessica dumped you, that she caught you in bed with that Starbucks barista, the one you told your name was Jack because you thought it sounded cool.

Then I ran into your boss’s evil twin, and she mentioned you were fired for embezzling an elderly couple’s retirement fund, that you got on your knees and begged her not to press charges, that you swore you didn’t do it.

You blamed me. Like always, you hoped I’d take the fall. A man who shares your face but nothing else. As much as I’d love to add ruined my jerk twin’s life to my resume, to take credit for your undoing, I can’t. I don’t want your charity. I was a little bummed it took you one week to accomplish something I’ve been working on for decades. But evil twins shouldn’t feel sorry for themselves. That’s not a luxury we have.

So today, like most days, I followed you and watched. I followed you in the hopes, if I couldn’t ruin your life, I could at least twist the knife a bit. I felt cheated, felt as if I sucked at my job, at my life’s purpose.

I watched you steal money from the Starbucks barista’s tip jar after she told you she didn’t want to see you anymore. I watched you park your Hummer across three spaces. I watched you threaten to sue the guy interviewing you when he brought up your embezzlement charge. I watched you chuck your wingtip at the tow truck driver just doing his job. I watched you ask God what you did to deserve this.

And now, seeing you sitting on the curb here crying, I no longer hate you. Maybe I never did. How could I? The way you blamed the curb for breaking your toe after you’d kicked it. The way you said God as if you were owed something for being the good twin. No, I feel sorry for you.

You believed you were the good twin so nothing bad could happen to you. All I could do was watch, stuck in this belief’s orbit. I stank at my job because it shouldn’t have ever been my job. I couldn’t ruin your life because, I realize now, that’s not the kind of person I am.


Will Musgrove is a writer and journalist from Northwest Iowa. He received an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Penn ReviewThe Florida ReviewPinchPassages NorthTampa Review, and elsewhere. Connect on Twitter at @Will_Musgrove or at williammusgrove.com.