“Charles, a moderately successful vaudeville ventriloquist, was fortunate, yet miserable.
Fortunate, because he was handsome, witty, clever, and moderately successful.
Miserable, because, well, his dummy was with him, 24/7. Had been, since birth, too.

His dummy, Waldo (“Wally”)– the grotesque thing upon his lap in the photograph, was not at all, an ordinary prop-side-kick. Wally was Charles’ twin. Partially absorbed twin.

Charles was born a “freak”…the term now is frowned upon, but back in his day, it wasn’t always used to injure or put-down another. Charles and Wally came into the world as one, not unlike Eng and Chang Bunker, perhaps the most famous of all Siamese Twins. But Charles and Wally were not like the Bunker brothers. Wally was a hideous protrusion with a head, one full arm and hand, and a single, deformed right-leg, jutting out from the otherwise perfectly formed Charles. Wally, unlike Eng or Chang Bunker, did not have mostly independent body parts. Charles and Wally shared everything. Way-too much of everything.

Charles’ parents, aristocrats not given to shrinking from challenges, educated Charles with creative ideas to ‘deal with’ Wally, his kinda-sorta-there brother. Everything was about Charles. Wally was merely something that had to be dealt with. From an early age, it was determined that Wally would make Charles as normal as possible.

A stroke of genius turned Wally into a stage-prop, as if Wally were only that.
Since Wally didn’t have much say in the matter, he went along with it.

But a man can only take so much.
If Charles thought he was miserable and unfortunate because of Wally, it would have done him well to consider Wally’s position in all of this.

Imagine the shock, the headlines, when Charles was found dead–and Wally, too!

Wally swallowed a bottle of pills Charles’ lady ‘acquaintance’ left on the nightstand. He did not want to exist any longer.

Of course, since Wally died, so too, did Charles.

Fate can be cruel.

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