Contributor: Nick Keller

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If ole J.C. could handle getting spiked to a tree, I guess I can handle sitting in this cell for a few years. They say he did it for us. Even for me. Sacrificed himself to save our dumb asses. I never really felt all the redemption I was supposed to feel from that day, though. Oh well, maybe it’ll be different for my brother. After all, I’m sitting in here for him. But that’s our little secret.

He was always the smart one. Real clean cut guy. Went to college, got a degree, snapped up a job making some heavy dough, got himself a little wifey. Hot piece of poon, too. Good for him. Now they got a big home and two little girls. Real slice of the American pie, my brother.

But me — shit, I’m the drop out. Rough around the edges. Tough as rust and don’t take no shit. A little stupid, I guess. Suffer from chronic unemployment, too. Growing up people called us identical. But today, hell, we ain’t nothing alike.

So when I saw Candy approach him at the bar my balls shriveled. That bitch was trouble. And we all knew it. But Ted was new to the place. High class guys like him don’t ever go to Barney’s. Only reason he was here was to meet his brother for a few pints. Why he left with her, I couldn’t tell you. It’s amazing what a little cleavage and micro-brew can do.

We all knew her reputation. Candy was one of those rough-riding types. She didn’t look it, but get her in the sack and she’ll hump like a gorilla. Serious. She liked being pinned and cuffed, too, or smacked around, even whipped with a belt. When she orgasmed she liked being choked out to the point of asphyxiation. Had a fetish for bruises, I guess. Made her feel like an animal. Damn, this end of the world burps up some real psycho-bitches, man. And Candy — she was one.

So after my brother’s tussle with her, all the evidence was there. At first it was just blackmail. But then came the threats. Ted did everything he could to cut it off with her. Changed his numbers. Had a P.I. track her in case she ever found out where he lived, which she did. He had to hustle home from work a time or two to intercept her. I watched his whole life become a series of lies. He was on the verge of losing it all. Shoot, it was his fault. Maybe he deserved it. But my brother was always one for learning his lessons. I knew my sacrifice would be worth something.

So I rented a suit with my last dollar, cut my hair, shaved my face; made myself look like an upstanding milk-toast A-hole, just like Ted. And I met her clean. She was happy to see me, even called me by his name. I told her I’d give her what she wanted. She was all-too-happy to oblige. And boy, I gave her what she wanted. When I strangled her, I strangled her.

I was charged with 1st degree murder. But everyone at Barney’s testified on my behalf. Hell, they all knew her. Painted her up to be a violent lover. Almost insane. A real sadomasochist. But me, I mournfully claimed it was an accidental death. I only wanted to love her the way she wanted me too, I said. Didn’t know it would kill her.

The charges got busted down to 2nd degree manslaughter. When my brother came to visit me in prison that first time, I had a gift for him. The Holy Bible. I told him to read it and give me the full report. Especially about ole J.C. I was curious.

Man, it’s a real bitch being the bad twin. Or maybe I’m the good one. Who knows? I will say this, though. I sure saved his dumb ass.

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Nick has been slinging short fiction for two years, though he's been dreaming about it for much longer. In that time he's nabbed a number of publications as well as several, "Hell no"s. He's a graduate of UNT's film school, has a son that's about to go to UNT's music school, plays the hell out of air hockey and loves a good cheeseburger. He lives in Dallas.
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