Norman Waksler ... Fiction

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Norman Waksler's short story, Ectomorphs appears here.


Paul Chace had been working at Randall's Used Books for a while when a customer he'd never seen before said, "Jeff! Are you working here too?"

"I'm sorry," said Paul in his dealing with customers tone, "I don't know who Jeff is, but my name is Paul."

"You're not Jeff from the library?"

"Not so far as I know."

"Wow. There's a guy at the Bellini Branch library who could be your twin. You look just like him."

Paul was a middle height, slender, twenty-nine year old with dark hair, an unemphatic black moustache and a narrow face that had taken on the lineaments of an underlying, easily stirred up irritation, He doubted that this Jeff from the library looked anything like him at all; maybe he had a moustache and was on the thin side, so this customer had decided this was twin-some.

But that customer was only the first. Over the next few weeks various individuals expressed surprise:

At Paul working at the library as well as at the bookstore.

At how Jeff and Paul could be two places at once, since having just left the library and arrived in some few minutes at Randall's, she'd seen Jeff and was now seeing him again.

At Jeff having given up the bookstore to work in the library when he'd seemed so comfortable at the other job.

Resulting, at Paul's increasingly terse denials that he was anyone but himself, in the inevitable comments that:

"You guys must be twins separated at birth."

"He looks just like you."

"You look just like him."

The first time Sam Randall heard one of these interchanges, he said, "If you're really doubled, maybe I could get twice the work for the price of one."

"Unless you end up with half the work from one," said Paul, "and have to chase down the other guy for the rest."

"There is that I suppose."

As the identity comments repeated, Randall said, "This gets rather tedious, doesn't it?" Short and wiry, with a close cut graying beard and a bookseller's bow tie, he also had the cranky contentiousness often found in independent small businessmen.

"Tell me about it," said Paul.

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