A Time When It All Went Wrong by Colin Kelly

They say everyone has a double, a doppelganger, someone who’s their mirror image. What if you just met your double? What if you were a thirteen-year-old kid who’s gay and you just met your double?

Chapter 13: Meeting the Relatives      Story Index >>

I heard a man’s voice behind me say, “Hi guys!”

I turned and couldn’t believe who I saw, and I grinned. “Dad? What are you doing here?”

Chaos erupted, and most of us talked at the same time, making it hard to understand anything. Thinking back, I’ve been able to come up with the sequence of what we said. It’s sort of like a play, or a documentary film:

Him, to me: “Todd?”

Me: “Dad, it’s me, Tony.”

Silence for a second. He turned and looked at Todd.

Him, to Todd: “Todd?”

Todd: “Yeah.” Todd turned and pointed at me. “That’s Tony. What the hell is going on with you, Tony?”

Me: “That’s my dad!” Then it struck me like an asteroid striking the earth. “I gotta sit down.” I felt flush, and like I might upchuck.

Mrs. Anderson: “Tony, come here and sit down.” She took my hand and led me to one of the kitchen chairs. I sat down. She continued to hold my hand. I looked up at her.

Me, to Mrs. Anderson: “You know, too, don’t you.”

Mrs. Anderson: “It’s impossible, and I don’t quite believe it, but yes, I know, too.”

Him, to Todd: “What kind of joke are you pulling?”

Me, to Him: “This isn’t a joke. You look exactly like my dad. His name is Robert McKinley.”

Him, shaking his head: “This is nonsense. What kind of joke are you two trying to pull? You shouldn’t be lying about something like this. It’s not funny.”

Mrs. Anderson, to Him: “Dennis, Tony isn’t lying.”

Him, to Mrs. Anderson: “I don’t understand.”

Todd, shouting: “What is going on?”

Mrs. Anderson: “Everyone, sit down. And keep quiet. Now.” Everyone sat, except Mrs. Anderson. She stood behind me with her hands on my shoulders. Todd sat across from me, glowering. “Tony, this is my husband and Todd’s father, Dennis Anderson. Dennis, this is Tony McKinley. You have to admit he looks exactly like Todd. I don’t think you’d be able to tell the two of them apart.” She took a deep breath. “Tony called you Dad when you came into the kitchen. That’s because you look like his father. Is that correct, Tony?”

Me: “Yes, except he looks exactly like my father. Except for the way he’s all dressed up in a suit and tie.”

Todd: “Oh, come on, Tony. That’s bullshit if I’ve ever heard it.”

Mrs. Anderson, to Todd: “Watch you language, mister!”

Todd: “Sorry. But, come on, I think Tony’s trying to pull a practical joke on us.”

Mrs. Anderson, to me: “Tony, do you have a picture of your folks on your phone?”

Me: “Yes! And I have one of my dad, too.” I pulled out my cell and opened up the picture gallery. I opened the picture of my dad and handed her my phone. “Here’s my dad. I took this when we went to Great America to ride roller coasters last summer. You can see the Flight Deck coaster in the background.” She passed my phone to Mr. Anderson. I now knew for sure that he was Todd’s dad.

Mr. Anderson: “I don’t believe it. This is too bizarre. If this was a court the case would be thrown out.” He handed my cell to Todd. Todd’s eyes bugged out.

Todd: “Shee-it. Uh, sorry, Mom.” He handed my cell to me. “You’re right. Sorry for what I said.”

Me: I pulled up a picture of the three of us, me, my mom, and my dad, a selfie I took this summer when we went to the water park in Concord. I handed my cell to Mrs. Anderson. “This is a picture of me with my mom and dad at Water World.” She handed my phone to Mr. Anderson.

Mr. Anderson started to laugh. When he finally stopped, he said, “If this story ever got out, the tabloids would have a field day. They’d be climbing all over us offering money for an exclusive.” He looked at me and then at Todd. “And remember, that is not going to happen.” He handed my phone to Todd.

“I still don’t understand it,” Mrs. Anderson said. “Dennis, is it true that you and Tony’s father are twins?”

“Yeah, Dad, what’s going on?” Todd asked. He returned my phone to me.

I wanted to ask both of those questions too, but it seemed silly since they’d already been asked.

Mr. Anderson took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “My father, Gavin Anderson, was a U.S. soldier assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm. My mother, Amelia, was an attaché with the British embassy. They met, fell in love, and were married in Stockholm 1974.

“Just after that my father was deployed to a base in Montana and he and my mother moved to Helena. I was born in Helena on October 17, 1975.”

I interrupted, “That’s my dad’s birthday too, October 17. He’ll be 39 this year.”

Mr. Anderson took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ll be 39 on my birthday this year, too.”

“Sounds like you and my dad are twins,” I said. “Maybe identical twins. So what happened? How come you and my dad got separated when you were babies?”

“My father — maybe that should be our father, mine and your dad’s, Tony — was deployed to Viet Nam and was killed in June 1975 trying to help Viet Nam citizens who’d worked for the U.S. Embassy escape. My mother wasn’t a U.S. citizen, so she asked my grandparents, my father’s parents, Lorrin and Paul Anderson, to be my guardians and raise me. So I was given to my grandparents and ended up in Chicago, which is where they lived. Remember, I was an infant, just a few months old, when that happened, so I don’t remember any of this.

“It was never clear why my mother didn’t take me with her, but the story I was told is that she was overwhelmed by my father’s death and decided to return to Sweden. My grandparents adopted me when I was two years old. I grew up and as far as I knew I was an only child.”

“I wonder why your mother took my dad with her instead of you,” I said.

“I think we’re going to find out the answer to that when we go to your home tonight and meet your parents. Tony, I suspect that the story about my — about our — mother being overwhelmed is at least partially true. She might have thought that she could raise one of us, and just picked your dad and not both of us. So I was raised by our grandparents on our father’s side, and my last name stayed the same as it was on my birth certificate, Anderson.

“I also suspect that your dad doesn’t know anything about me, just as I didn’t know anything about him.”

“You said your mother went to Sweden. We’re not Swedish, our last name is McKinley and we’re Scottish. I’ve met my grandparents, my dad’s parents, when they came here to visit us when I was ten. They are from somewhere near Glasgow, and they definitely have strong Scottish accents. So strong I had a hard time understanding them. So does that mean that my grandma in Glasgow is your mother?” I asked.

“That’s a possibility,” he replied. He smiled. “I’ve never met my mother. I was just a baby when she left me with my grandparents. They lost contact with her, so she lost contact with me. I’d love to meet her if she’s still alive.”

 “Where do your grandparents live?”

“Tony, they both passed away a few years ago, in 2010. They were in their late eighties.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

 “Wait a minute, wait a minute!” Todd said, raising his voice. “Dad, if it turns out that you and Tony’s dad are brothers, then does that means that Tony and I are cousins?”

“It appears that you would be cousins,” he replied.

“That’s too weird, and too bad,” Todd said.

“Wait, what, you don’t want to be related to me?” I asked him.

“No, no, the being related part is fine. What I wanted is for us to be twin brothers, not cousins.”

“I guess we’ll be what we’ll be, regardless. Right?”

“None of this explains why Todd and Tony look like identical twins,” Mrs. Anderson said.

“Our fathers have extra strong genes, maybe?” I suggested.

“Yeah, that makes it even weirder,” Todd said.

“We don’t have any answers about that, Todd,” Mr. Anderson said. “We don’t have any definitive answers whether Tony’s father and I are or just look like identical twins, much less why you and Tony look like identical twins. My presumption is that Tony’s father and I are twins, but I don’t have a clue about the two of you.”

“Amazing. Two identical sets of twins,” I said. “One set is me and Todd, and the other set is my dad and you.”

“Tony, I want to emphasize again that it’s if your dad and I are twins,” Mr. Anderson said. “There’s still a possibility that we might not be related.”

“You sure fooled me when you walked in the kitchen a little while ago,” I said.

“Another thing. Remember, there’s no possible way that the two of you could be twins. You might look like identical twins, but that’s all it is, you two look alike. You’re doppelgangers, remarkably similar doubles.”

“Except now we’re probably cousins,” I said.

“Well,” Mrs. Anderson interjected, “it’s almost six o’clock and in a few minutes we’re going to leave to go to the McKinley’s. Before we do that, there’s something we have to decide. Dennis, do we just walk up and have them open the door and see you? Or do we phone them first and tell them you look like Tony’s father?”

“I’d say give them a call in advance,” he replied. “Don’t give a lot of information, just say there’s apparently a resemblance between me and Mr. McKinley, and that it fooled Tony at first.”

“The way you look still fools me,” I told him. “There’s no ‘at first’ part.”

“Okay, that’s a little stronger than I’d like, but go ahead and drop the ‘at first’ part and just say that it fooled Tony.”

“Alright, I’ll phone Trish now. Dennis, why don’t you change and get ready to go. And you boys get your things together. Todd, remember that you’re staying over at the McKinley’s tonight, so be sure to pack everything you’ll need, including your books and other material to do your homework. We should leave in about twenty minutes.”

I followed Todd to his bedroom. I didn’t know what to say to him. He held the door open for me and after I walked in he closed the door. Then he looked at me and grinned, then laughed, grabbed me, and kissed me on the lips. Then he held me at arm’s length.

“Now we’re kissing cousins!” he said.

I just stood there, looking at him. Then I started laughing. I couldn’t stop. I grabbed Todd and pulled him close, then tried to kiss him on the lips. Have you ever tried kissing someone while you were having a laughing fit? It doesn’t work very well. It’s… bizarre. That’s the best way to describe it. I pulled away from him and flopped onto his bed, then stared at the ceiling and, after laughing some more, finally calmed down.

“Tony, are you okay?” Todd asked me.

“I don’t know. I’m really confused.”

“Come on, man. Just think about it. We’re twins. I guess we’re twin cousins, or cousin twins, or whatever we’d be called. I think you agree with that. And now our dads are twins too. How about that! It’s the coolest thing ever.”

“But we don’t really know if our dads are….” I stopped. “Forget that. You’re right, they have to be twins. They were both born in Helena, Montana and they’re both 39 years old and were born on the same date. Your dad said his mother moved to Sweden. That’s close to Scotland, I think. So maybe she took my dad and moved there.”

“Let’s look it up.”

Todd pulled me off his bed and we walked to his desk. He woke up his PC.

“What’s the capital of Sweden?” he asked.

“Stockholm,” I replied.

He entered the search, ‘how far from stockholm to glasgow’ and pressed Enter.

“Okay, that’s useless. It shows driving, not flying.”

“Yeah, it says it’s over fifteen hundred miles. Change it to flying.”

Todd changed it to read ‘how far to fly from stockholm to glasgow’ and pressed Enter.

“Shit, all it has are things about buying tickets to fly there,” he said.

“Scroll down. Maybe there’s something further down.”

He did that. “Okay, here’s one with a Glasgow to Stockholm travel distance calculator.” He clicked on that link. “That’s weird, is says it’s six hundred eighty miles. The other said it was over fifteen hundred miles.”

“Remember, that other one was for driving. This is for flying. So they’re not all that far apart. Sort of like flying from San Francisco to… to somewhere six hundred eighty miles away.” I laughed, then said, “That was pretty stupid, wasn’t it.”

“Not really. I have an idea. Maybe the distance from San Francisco to Portland would be about that far. Do you think?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Let’s look it up.”

He entered, ‘how far from san francisco to portland’ and pressed Enter.

“Bingo! Six hundred thirty-five miles,” Todd said. “That’s close enough, and now we can see about how far it would have been for my dad’s mom to move from Stockholm to Glasgow.”

“McKinley sounds Scottish, but Anderson doesn’t sound very Scottish to me,” I said.

“Let’s look up Anderson,” he said. He entered ‘what country for last name anderson’ and before he could press Enter I stopped him.

“Look, it’s recommending a better search, ‘what country does the last name anderson come from’ which is what we want. Just click on that one.”

He did, then pressed Enter. “Look, this sounds like what we’re looking for, ‘Anderson surname’ from Wikipedia. I’d trust Wikipedia before these other sites I’ve never heard of.” He clicked on that link.

What we read showed that Anderson came from Scotland, England, and Sweden. Usually it was spelled ‘Andersson’ in Sweden, but sometimes it was spelled ‘Anderson’ just like Todd’s last name. It meant ‘Anders son’ which explained the Swedish spelling with two s’s.

“Okay,” I said, “your dad’s mother could have moved from Sweden to Scotland. Or maybe what your dad was told was wrong, and she actually moved to Scotland and married someone named McKinley. That would explain my last name.”

Just then Todd’s mom knocked on his door, and called out, “Todd?”

“Come on in,” Todd said.

“Time to go,” she told us. “We’re going to leave in five minutes. Tony, I phoned your mother and at the end of the conversation she said ‘I hope we don’t have another pair of twins.’ I laughed because I thought that was funny, but I didn’t tell her that her guess was correct.”

I wondered if my folks had talked about Dad being a twin and never told me.

“Mom,” Todd said, “we looked up Anderson and that name’s both Swedish and Scottish. So Dad’s mother could have moved from Sweden to Scotland and married someone named McKinley. Or just went to Scotland and never went to Sweden.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Be sure to bring that up tonight. Now, are you ready to go?”

We both said, “Yes,” gathered up our stuff, and followed her outside for the drive to my house.


When we got to my house my mom opened the door. Todd and I entered first, then Mrs. Anderson followed by Mr. Anderson. My mom’s reacted exactly how I expected.

“Oh, my god! Rob! Come here!”

We sort of pushed in and I reached back and shut the front door.

My dad joined us and he and my mom stood there looking at Mr. Anderson. No one said anything, until my dad finally shook his head.

“I guess she was right.”

I thought, ‘What the heck does that mean?’ After several more seconds, I said, “What about we all go into the family room and sit down.”

“Excuse us, this has been quite a shock,” Mom said. “Tony’s right. Let’s go into the family room and sit down. We can talk and figure out what this is all about.”

We sat down and my dad and Mr. Anderson just sat there looking at each other.

I was frustrated, and the way Todd was squirming on the couch next to me, I think he was as well.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I cleared my throat and said, “Somebody say something! Dad, I’ve got a couple questions. First, what did you mean when you said ‘she was right?’ Second, are you and Mr. Anderson twin brothers?”

My dad looked like someone had just made him wake up. That someone had been me, but he didn’t look upset about it.

“Maybe we are. We need to talk about our family histories and see if there’s a connection. Otherwise, we’re just doppelgangers like you two boys. And that’s something I can’t believe.”

“We’re not doppelgangers!” I growled. “We’re either twin brothers or twin cousins. I vote for brothers. Todd poked me in my side, and I turned to see what he wanted. He grinned, then he nodded and made a fist with his right hand with his thumb sticking up.

I turned back and said, “And Todd votes for brothers, too.”

“Well,” my mom said, “that’s not possible, is it, Nora.”

“You’re right, Trish,” Todd’s mom said, “it’s absolutely impossible. You two need to switch your votes to either cousins or unrelated. Neither I nor your mother, Tony, gave birth to twins. We would have known if we had. I gave birth to Todd in Chicago, and Trish gave birth to you in Glendale.”

Todd put his arm around my shoulders. “At least we’re cousins!”

“Yeah, yeah,” I grumbled. “Dad, you still haven’t answered my question about what you meant when you said ‘she was right?’ Who is this ‘she’ and what did she tell you?”

“A couple months ago one of my students said she saw me at Sun Valley Mall, and when she went up to say hello my — I guess I should say look-alike — acted like he didn’t know her. I told her I hadn’t been at Sun Valley Mall that day. She said then it must have been my twin brother that she saw, and that would explain why my look-alike didn’t recognize her.

“I thought she exagerated when she said that person looked like me. Now it seems probable that person she saw was you, Dennis.” Dad said. Mr. Anderson nodded his head agreeing that it had been him.

“I think you should start by telling us what you know about your background, Dennis. I’ll fill in with what I know from there.”

Mr. Anderson repeated what he’d told us at his house, about how his father died in Viet Nam, his mother left him with his grandparents and they raised him and adopted him, and she went to Sweden, and he lost contact with her.

“What was your mother’s name, Dennis?” Dad asked.

“Amelia Anderson.”

My dad’s eyes got big. “Was Anderson your father’s last name?”

“Yes. You’re going to ask me my mother’s maiden name. It was Lindgren.”

My dad grinned. “That’s my mother’s maiden name, and her name was Amelia.”

“Where does she live?” Mr. Anderson asked.

“Let me give the sequence of events that I know about or have heard rumors about and, based on what Dennis has told us, I think is true. Dennis, part of what I have to say will answer some of your questions.

“Dennis, you and I were both born on October 17, 1975 in Helena, Montana, and it seems certain that we are twins, probably identical twins. My birth certificate has that date and the names of my parents, Amelia and Gavin Anderson, but doesn’t say anything about me being a twin. I guess they didn’t put that on birth certificates in Montana. His name is marked ‘Dec’ and I never questioned that, but now I realize it means deceased.

“My father, our father, died in Viet Nam in June, 1975. Since she wasn’t a U.S. citizen, my mother moved with me to Paisley in December, 1975. That’s a town in Scotland just west of Glasgow. I was an infant, less than two months old at the time. I don’t know why she decided to move there, but she did.

“She met Charles McKinley, there, and they got married in January, 1976. He became my dad, the only dad I ever knew. He had graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in chemistry and a specialization in steel manufacturing. As a result, he was offered a job with Bay Union Steel Company at the Naval Shipyard in Concord. So they moved here in March, 1976 and bought a house in Clayton.

“In 1977 when I was two years old my mother, Amelia, had an embolism and died. Unfortunately, because I was so young I don’t have any memories of her. My dad and I continued to live in Clayton.

“When I was five years old he married Emily Bailey, a Scottish girl he met at work, and she became my mom. I grew up in Clayton, went to Clayton Valley High School, and graduated in 1993. I went to UC Davis and got my Bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1996. I met Trish at Davis and we were married in 1997. In 1998 I finished my Master’s degree in mathematics. I was offered a teaching position at Sand Hills Community College and now I’m the head of the Mathematics Department there.

“Also in 1998 the Bay Union Steel plant in Concord closed down and with it my dad’s job. Since he and my mom were British citizens they decided to move back to Glasgow to be near their relatives.

“Tony was born in 2000. So as far as I know, we’re up to today.”

“That part about me is what’s most important,” I whispered to Todd. He laughed.

“The fried chicken is ready,” my mom said. “Let’s sit down and have dinner, and we can continue talking.”

As we got up to go to the dining room, I noticed Todd’s mom put a small spiral notebook in her purse.

“Mrs. Anderson, did you take notes about what my dad said?”

“Yes, I did. I also took notes at our home when Dennis was discussing what he remembered.”

“Cool. Maybe Todd and I can borrow your notebook and copy what you wrote down into Word and get them organized so we can print them out.”

“That’s an excellent idea,” she said.

Todd and I sat next to each other on one side of the table. He bumped me with his elbow.

“What were you and my mom talking about?”

I told him that she’d taken notes, and about my idea to enter them in Word and print copies for everyone.

“I love it. Let’s do that. After we finish eating, though.” He grinned.

We had a great dinner. Both Todd and I love fried chicken, and Mom served it with baked potatoes, zucchini, corn on the cob, and a green salad with tomatoes. Our dads talked about their jobs, our moms talked about stuff going on with all the construction downtown, and Todd and I ate. His dad noticed that we were eating and obviously enjoying it.

“You guys must have been hungry. It’s a good thing the tablecloth isn’t edible.”

“Hey,” I said, “eating is an important job and Todd and I are the most qualified to do it.” That made everyone laugh.

Todd and I cleaned up the table and the kitchen after we finished.

“What’s for dessert?” he asked me as we put the plates in the dishwasher.

“Apple pie and vanilla ice cream.”

“Gee,” he said, turning his head part-way to the left and looking up at the ceiling, “I wonder if I’m going to have room for dessert.” Then he busted up laughing.

“What you don’t eat tonight I’ll be able to eat tomorrow,” I told him.

“Hey, me too. Don’t forget I’m spending the night with you.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Is that a threat or a promise?”

“Ah, you’ll just have to wait until later.”

My mom walked into the kitchen and looked it over. “Very neat. Thank you for doing a great job cleaning up.”

“You’re welcome, Mrs. McKinley,” Todd said.

“You’re welcome, Mom,” I added. “When are we going to have dessert?”

“In about a half hour. You can go up to your room if you’d like, and I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

“Okay, that’s cool. Thanks, Mom.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you later.” She returned to the family room.

“Lemme get that notebook from my mom,” Todd said, “then we can go up to your room and figure out how to arrange her notes so it all makes sense.”

When he came back with the notebook he said, “She told them what we’re going to do, so I asked if it would be okay if we came down and asked questions if we needed something made clearer. Ya know, not her writing, which actually is pretty hard to read, but if we need more information about something. They said that’d be fine.”

“Okay, that’s good. Are you able to read her handwriting?”

“Yeah, no problem. I’m used to it.”

When we got upstairs we sat down at my computer.

“How do you want to do this? Put it in Word?”

“No, we need a way to organize it and show the sequence of what happened and when. Hmm… do you have Visio on your PC?”

“No, I have Office 2013. My dad’s able to get it for free for home and school use. But it’s only the programs in the Pro version, and that doesn’t include Visio. I could have him get it for me, if you think that’s what we should use.”

“Too much trouble and it wouldn’t happen tonight. You have Excel, right?”

“Uh huh.” I clicked on the link on my taskbar and Excel opened.

“Let’s figure out how to organize the information. Let’s look at my mom’s notes, and if you can’t read something just let me know and I’ll try to translate it.”

We went through her notes, which were actually clear and easy for me to read. Todd seemed surprised.

“Hey, don’t forget my mom is a doctor, and she learned how to write prescriptions in med school. That’s a doctor joke, about them learning to write so nobody can understand it. She writes everything that way, and I learned how to read her writing. Your mom’s writing is perfectly clear compared to my mom’s.”

“Hmm, how should we organize this stuff,” Todd asked, more to himself than to me.

“Let’s put the years down the left side. We can put the year this all got started at the top of column A, then copy it down to today.”

That’s what we did. One or the other of us would go downstairs to clear up something we didn’t understand or to get more information. When Mom told us the pie was ready, I told her that we wanted to eat it in my room so we could keep working, and she said that was okay and dished it up and brought it back to my room.

“Great pie, Tony. I’ll tell your mom that later.”

We finally had everything organized. Well, let’s say we had a beta version of the spreadsheet. It needed something else, and some cleaning up.

“First, we have a lot of rows for years that didn’t have anything happen. Let’s just delete those rows,” I suggested. “Then, instead of having a bunch of rows that all have 1975 or 1976 and so on, let’s merge those fields in the date column and have the year there only once. I think those two things will make it a lot easier to understand.”

We did that, and put each person in their own column on the spreadsheet. It still needed something to group people and events together.

“How about we pick a unique background color in the cell where a person is listed the first time, then use that same background color for everything that person did.”

“Okay, but I see a problem,” Todd said. “We pick a color for the cell with our dads’ mother, Amelia Lindgren. Then we pick a different color for the cell next to her’s where we have their father, Gavin Armstrong. Then below it we have a cell that shows they got married and when. But right now that cell is only under her cell, it should be under both. Let’s merge those two cells.”

We did that.

“Okay, now which color do we choose for the merged married cells? It could be cool if we could have both, but unless we completely rearrange everything there’s no way to do that.”

“When these people got married they took the husband’s last name, let’s color those merged cells like the married one and make it the same color as the husband’s cell.”

“Hmm. I’m not sure, but let’s try it.”

We did try it, and mostly it worked. We kept going back and forth on things, and finally had it finished.

We sat back and looked at the whole spreadsheet, then at each other, and grinned.

“My god, that’s absolutely fantastic, Tony!”

“Todd, my man, I agree with you. We are amazing!”

“Let’s take it down and show the folks.”

“We have to print it first,” I reminded him.

“True. Let’s do that.”

It took a few tries to get everything on one page, to make the margin narrower, and to get some of the colors we used in the cells to look different than others. Finally six copies of our timeline spreadsheet were printed.

We went downstairs and handed our folks their copies, and sat down and talked about what we’d done.

“You can pick a person and read down,” I said, “then pick a year and read across to see relationships and things that happened like births and deaths.”

“The different colors are related to each person, so you can track things that involve different people.”

They seemed to catch on right away. “Guys, you’ve given us a good start on tracing our recent ancestors,” Mr. Anderson told us. “One of the legal assistants in our office has mentioned that she’s been tracing her ancestors. I’m going to talk to her on Monday and see what she thinks of this chart and how we can find more information given only the names and relationships. Too bad it won’t help us figure out why you two look like identical twins. It might be a problem trying to sort that out.”

“You know,” I said, “Scott said his dad, Dr. Sanderson, is interested in related and unrelated twins. He wrote a paper on it for some medical publication. Scott said he could come here tomorrow to meet me and Todd. Scott said he’ll call in the morning. After he meets our dads then sees me and Todd, I think he’ll be real interested. He might be able to help figure out what’s going on with me and Todd, and why we look like identical twins.”

“I’m available tomorrow,” my dad said.

“And so am I,” Mr. Anderson said. “I have some errands to run in the morning, so right after lunch would be best.”

Our moms also said they could be here in the afternoon.

“Okay, when he calls I’ll tell him the afternoon would be best. What if he wants to come on Sunday instead? How about Sunday afternoon?”

Everyone said that would be okay, too.

“Todd’s staying here tonight. How about if he stays here Saturday night too?”

“Yeah,” Todd added, “that way we’ll have more time to work together on our homework and study for the quiz in Biology on the bones. Mrs. McKinley, would you have time to help us memorize the major bones in the body on Sunday?”

“Yes, I could do that. Staying over Saturday night is up to your parents.” I saw her look at my dad, and he nodded. “It’s fine with me and Rob.”

“It’s fine with us, too,” Mrs. Anderson said.

I grinned. “That’s great. We can get a lot of things done that we need to work on.”


Thanks to Cole Parker for editing A Time When It All Went Wrong

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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don’t want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren’t supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!