Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.
Disclaimer: This work is a college theatre assignment. For those who think that this is the most unrealistic thing ever, it is. Read it, and don't expect there to be logic. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you.
Spring in New Jersey, USA, and fall in Sydney, Australia have two things in common: the months that fall under the seasons, being March to early June, and how much it rains. The location differences create the tension.
On January 25, 1990, a pair of boys is born, but it’s not the happiest of days. The day to the brothers are supposed to meet turns into a day the brothers would be separated for twenty-five years of their lives. Their divorcée mother, Beth Taylor, née Peters, forces her husband, Noah Taylor, to leave her life by returning to his home country, for she threatens to tell the nurses that he has been disloyal by protective promise. As the court has ordered months ago, the father leaves, but he takes the first born twin with him, naming him Xavier Taylor, a common boy’s name from Australia.
The only boy the mother could keep is Conner Peters, a name that doesn’t have much of a ring to it, but it would have to do. In order for Conner to keep a pure heart, she has made it her choice to never tell the son she has left about his other half. Throughout the boy’s whole life, Conner has only known that his father’s short temper has kept him away from doing his job. Furthermore, he hasn’t a male figure to teach him the ways of life…that is until Beth meets Jessie.
Conner’s life has been many things, but glamorous is not one of them. Imagine a strange man moving into your home with the wedding band on his left ring finger who has two moral jobs, to protect the woman, and to raise the child, but he neglects both of those jobs completely. Also imagine having to live in a room where the light barely shines, and when I mean barely, I mean only one lamp works, and that’s the one that hangs over the bed with the twin not working and nonexistent. Imagine having to go to sleep to strangers loitering outside your window every night, not knowing if they are going to break into your bedroom or not.
Throughout of Conner’s teen years, all he has learned in life, besides American history and how to solve statistics problems, is how to avoid the house when Jessie cannot control himself. He envies the sons who play with their loving fathers in the park. He envies the newlyweds who share milkshakes and sundaes at the local diner. Most of all, he envies the boys who often tease or protect their younger siblings from bullies at school. Envy boils down to anger pretty quickly. When one is angry, one might as well do things he will regret later.
To be fair, Xavier’s life in Australia hasn’t been much better. Ever since the return to his home country, Noah has been suffering the internal disease of being a workaholic. It isn’t much work as far as Xavier is concerned. It’s more trying to make enough cash by scamming people with false products. While the man of the house is away, the boy is stuck at a friend’s house until Noah comes back home. He even makes his own college funds by his lonesome. The last time he has ever seen his father is when Noah buys a one way ticket to South Africa for a chance to mine for diamonds. Conner is only sixteen when it happens.
He graduates a fine Chemistry major and has been hired to be a fine scientist at his home university. Xavier, though his home life isn’t as homey as everyone else’s, his popularity at the lab is second to none. The men are his friends, and the women are his admirers from a far. However, his closest companion is his mentor and former professor, Dr. Williams. Xavier dreams of creating cures to dangerous diseases. Still, his cohort has another plan in mind.
“I don’t see how fool’s gold is necessary for us when we work for a wealthy university, Dr. Williams,” mutters twenty-five-year-old Xavier, handing a vial to his older coworker.
“All in due time, mate,” replies the professor, “All in due time.”
“Besides, isn’t it lurk to be doing this?”
“Xavier, it’s only lurk to use it as moolah. We aren’t going to use it.”
His eyebrows lift. “We’re not? Then, why are we even doing this?”
The professor stops explaining and just goes back to his work. Once the fool’s gold is done cooking, Dr. Williams asks Xavier Taylor for a certain favor in order to complete their experiment. “I need you to drive me out to the desert, so we could rid this stuff.”
Twenty-five-year-old Conner is more of a danger to himself more than to anyone else in his state. He has refused to get his high school degree, and without any money, he is forced to live with his mother and her husband of fourteen years. Out of all things to do, Conner has created an addiction no one could ever expect. He refuses cigarettes. He doesn’t dare to drink. Conner just walks into one store and comes out with something “free” in his pocket. Starting at thirteen, it is all about gum. Gum turns into Doritos. Doritos turns into magazines. Magazines lead to cars in valet parking. Due to his lack of experience and license, the total amount of cars crashed is four. The total amount of times caught is zero.
There is one night where things have gone from downhill to the pits of hell in just a few seconds. The clock has struck twelve, and it has technically become Sunday. Conner slowly unlocks the door, enters, closes it, and tosses his leather jacket onto a fallen chair. He kicks his shoes close to the wine-stained mat. The air is contaminated with cigar smoke, which Conner can’t stand even if his life depends on it. His enemy waits in the hall, and when Conner steps too close, the lights flicker on. Jessie questions the stepson’s whereabouts, but he refuses to answer. When he strictly asks again, Conner steps closer to the table. The moment Jessie clenches his fingers together and runs, Conner pulls out the gun from under the surface of the dining table and yanks the trigger so tightly that his finger cracks louder than the gun.
“How much further, Doc?” whines Xavier as he attempts to drive his car over the Australian Outback. “Crikey! It’s hot and bumpy out here. Since when did you visit the Outback?”
“Almost there, mate. And…stop!”
Xavier slams his foot on the brake, and they both can hear the rocks under the tires crunch like leaves in autumn. Well, more like autumn in the United States. The professor takes the fool’s gold bag from the backseat and hops out. “Well, Xavier, I never really got to thank you heaps for helping me out. So thank you heaps.”
“Where the hell are you going out here?”
“Stay here and guard our ship, mate. We don’t want our only van to get stolen, do we?”
“We are the only ones out here!” exclaims the lad as the doctor already starts running out into the desert. “Jesus, this is what I get for doing things on my own, huh?”
To pass the time, Xav leaves the radio playing as he looks down at his latest magazine subscription issue. He only purchases the National Geographic magazines to see what is going on with the world. The last thing he needs is to be given false information. By the time he finishes the whole thing, an hour has passed. “What the bloody hell? No one is gone out in the Outback for an hour.” Xavier kicks the door open and marches out into the desert. “That dipstick better not have done anything stupid, or else it’s all on me.” It would be easier to give the chap a call only if there is service. “This is why I actually don’t go out into the world for a change.” The more he walks, the more the sand blows into his face and hair. The more afraid he grows, too. “Dr. Williams! Dr. Williams! Where are you, mate? Mother Nature’s gettin’ cranky out here. Dr. Will…oof!” His mouth is full of sand once his face hits the ground. Xavier turns slowly to the lump behind him and spits the sand out in one cannon shot. His mentor, friend, and former professor lays there without moving an centimeter. The moment the young man checks his pulse, he knows Dr. Williams is not going to get back up. Next to the body lies a shovel on top of a bumpy pile of sand. “Maybe…on his behalf, we could use some of this after all.”
Conner runs away after the murder of his stepfather. His mother arrives in the dining room a tad too late. For a short period of time, she cries over the bloody corpse, and she calls the police soon after. “My husband is dead, and my son is missing,” she says, wailing. It doesn’t take long to find Conner searching for some scraps in the nearest alley from the police station. The young man’s eyes are bloodshot red as he confesses, “That bastard deserved to die after what he did to me.”
“Unfortunately, these cases of victim murdering the abuser are more common than you think, madam,” the judge informs Beth. “However, because this man is of legal age, you are not held responsible for it.”
Just the words, “You are not held responsible,” cause the woman to cringe. I am responsible! she says in her mind.
“We can give your son here two options though. He doesn’t look like a man of any other trouble other than trying to escape. He could stay with another relative on probation, or we could just send him to prison if that’s what he wants.”
“But I don’t know anybody else,” explains Conner. “Mom doesn’t have siblings, and my grandparents died a long time ago.”
“What about your father? I’m sure he’ll be more than understanding.”
“God knows where he is. Even if I do know, I don’t want to live with him. He’s a scumbag.”
“So I’m assuming prison is the option you’re willing to take.”
“What other choice do I have, sir?”
“There is someone else,” Beth interrupts.
Conner gives his mother the confused eyes. “What do you mean by that?”
The judge lets the two speak outside the courtroom for a private conversation to occur. It takes a moment or two for Beth to finally let out her painful secret. There is no reply from her son.
Conner storms back into the courtroom, smacks his hands on the defendant’s desk, and announces, “Your honor, send me to Australia!”
Out of both twins, Xavier is the only one who knows he has a brother somewhere. His father informed him as a child that his mother took away the other twin in spite of her ex-husband. He knows he lives in the United States somewhere, and to hear from his mother that Conner would be actually meeting him for the first time doesn’t bring him angry and confusion, but great joy.
When Conner first arrives in Australia, Xavier is the first person he meets. Xavier can’t stop smiling at the person who looks exactly like himself. “Conner, am I right?”
Never does Conner realize that his brother would have such a thick accent from the country he’s been sentenced to live in for two months. “Xavier?”
Damn, I’m never going to get used to this.
“Come on, brother. Let’s hitch a ride in my Venom. I have something to attend to.”
“Venom? What is that? A bike?” Conner questions.
“Even better.” The two step outside into the parking lot, and Xavier points to the black Hennessey Venom GT, sitting out under the gray clouds. “Say, “’Ello,” to my babe.”
The younger twin drops his luggage, and one of them unlocks by mistake. “A Hennessey Venom GT? That costs a fucking fortune!”
“Sure thing, it does. You get shotgun.”
By the time Xavier is driving Conner to his unit, it is already pouring. Whenever it rains in Sydney, the small plants that grow in the flower boxes just happen to get glossier than they would when morning dew covers them in the sun.
Though the sights do not interest the American twin in the slightest, there is one thing, more like one person, who lifts his spirits during the car ride. The vehicle halts at the traffic light and next to an Asian restaurant, meant for the tourists from the way up north. Sitting at the side, not minding the rain, is a studious woman dressed in blue. Conner’s eyes turn with the pages of the book in her hands. Her hair sparkles just as much as the wet garden plants.
“Isn’t she a beaut?” Xavier asks, chuckling.
Conner shakes his head and knocks himself back into reality. “What are you talking about?”
“I saw you staring at that bird over there. Her parents own that restaurant. Moved from Japan five years ago.”
“You seem to know people around here.”
“If you used to work at the biggest university in Sydney, you seem to know everybody.”
“Used to?” Before his older twin can go on, a light bulb flickers in the younger one’s head. “Ah, I see. After you got the car, you quit.”
“Not only that. My partner passed away recently. Heart attack doctor said.”
Conner purses his lips. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
“I try not to think about it.”
“Then, let’s not. How did you get this car?”
“Credit card online.”
“How the hell are you going to pay the credit card company?”
“I have ways. So I heard you got into some deep waters, did you, mate?”
The American brother jerks his head towards the window again. “I don’t care to talk about it.”
“Conner, come on. If I were you, I would’ve shot that prick, too.”
“You don’t know what he did to me as a kid. I wanted to get out of there, and I fucking lost it.”
Xavier heavily sighs. “Good thing I took you in. I don’t know what Mum would’ve done with you.”
Conner shoots a nasty glare. “None of this was her fault.”
“I didn’t say it was, Conner.”
“You make it sound like it is though. Why else are we be complete strangers instead of the brothers we were born to be?”
Xavier is about to answer the question until the car double parks in front of a unit complex. “Well, welcome to my humble abode, mate.”
The younger twin hisses, “Can you stop calling me that? I didn’t expect my brother to be a cowboy.”
As the brothers head upstairs, a sudden noise of club music rings in Conner’s ears. He questions Xavier want is going on when the older twin pushes the door open. No lamps are on, but the disco ball on the ceiling makes enough light for Conner to see the clumps of people everywhere.
“So that’s what you meant by something to attend to, Xavier,” he says, arching his eyebrows.
The older twin takes a deep breathe in and shouts, “’Ey, everyone! My brother is home!” over the music.
Most people turn towards the door and some greet Conner while others go back to minding their own business. For the first few minutes of the party, Xavier goes around the room and introduces his twin brother to his old and new friends. The majority of those friends just raise eyebrows and almost say the same thing. “Welcome to Australia, foreigner.” The last thing Conner expects from the people close to his brother is to hear the word, “foreigner,” come out of their traps. First, he’s known as a murderer. Now, he’s known as an outsider.
To avoid having something go down negative, Xavier takes Conner to his bedroom, for he says that he has something to show him.
“And you think this is going to lift my spirits, Xavier?” the younger twin asks.
The older twin grins with giddy and nods. He goes under his bed and pulls out a dusty, almost torn bag. He loosens the top, and the shine makes Conner blind for a split second.
“You have gold? Where the fucking hell did you find all of this?”
“Found it in the desert one day.”
Conner shakes his head in shocking disbelief. “No wonder you’re sticking rich. The car. This apartment.”
“Still convert it into cash and pay everything off in the end. Trust me, Con. I know exactly what I’m doing.”
The next few weeks turn out to be Conner’s greatest. The day after the party, he approaches the restaurant to find the girl. There she is, waiting tables that day, apron and all. The moment she asks for how many in Conner’s party, he’s love struck. Her jet black hair, golden brown eyes, and pale pink lips collide together to create a beautiful face.
“Unless you want to join me at lunch hour.”
Sadako Fujioka is her name, and Conner Peters can’t stop thinking and saying it. He comes to the restaurant everyday just to ease a step closer in getting the girl to see that he wants something more than Japanese food and common conversation. In the next few weeks, it isn’t easy, but with the gold at Xavier’s apartment, it’s easy just to enter and afford the place. In between putting the gold into the bank to repay the car place in the United Kingdom and everyone else, it’s good to get some nice hibachi with Sadako at the end of the day.
After speaking to Sadako for the last time one night, he receives a voicemail from the bank at last. He regrets not leaving the phone on ring, but what could Conner do. Expecting great news, the voicemail shrinks Conner’s lungs to the point where he can’t breathe. “’Ello, Mr. Peters, this is Geoff Parker from earlier today, and I have come to find some bad news. I’m sorry to inform you, Mr. Peters, that this gold you have here is fool’s gold. It’s useless in other words. If there’s anything else we can do for you, we’ll be more than happy to help. Have a nice day.”
“Xavier, you idiot!” the younger twin snaps the minute the older brother opens the apartment door. The punching of the door only lasts for twenty rounds.
“What? Your date with Sadako didn’t go well?”
“Oh, more than it didn’t go well. I can’t afford it!” Conner holds his phone in his death grasp. “Got a call from the bank during it, and we’re screwed. Everyone knows that the gold is fake. That means no car, no more parties, and most of all, no more living in this place you call a unit. What the hell is a unit? It’s an apartment for god’s sake.”
There’s a pregnant pause in between the brother. Xavier’s sweating begins at the face and ends behind his knees. “Calm down, Con. It’s only a minor setback.”
“You knew of this, did you? You knew it was fake!”
“Of course, I did!” Xavier suddenly booms, “It was my professor who made it! That’s why I quit.”
“And you killed him, too?”
“No, I did not. The heart attack was actually real. Ask anybody who works at the damn university.”
“Oh god.” Conner falls onto the couch and covers his face. “I don't think I can take much more of this,” Conner cries. “I’ve been arrested once already. How are people going to react when they find out we have been scamming them with fake gold that you helped a psycho scientist make and bury in the middle of fucking nowhere. Because of you, I lost the chance of a lifetime!”
“Conner, quit the earbashing, will you? Everything is going to be fine.”
“Oh, really? How? We’re fucking dead because we have no money.”
For the first time in Xavier’s life, he doesn’t know how to respond.
They are shadows to the city now. The rebels and the homeless all stroll along the streets as if they are always up to no good even after the bad deeds have punished them. Those who are fortunate to have shelter can’t see that. After dark, they fear those who control the sidewalks. The place the brothers know they are safe after having to leave their unit is on the curb in front of the bottle shop across from the nightclub on the other side of the street. Every one of Xavier’s friends chooses to leave the two outside. “No moolah, no stay,” they say, “Don’t dare to call me.” Xavier and Conner just sit on the sidewalk with their chins in their hands.
“I can’t believe it,” Conner mutters to himself, kicking durries into the road. “I’m back where I already started, but this time, I’m not handcuffed.”
“Quit the earbashing, Con,” Xavier growls. “You’re not the only one.”
“You’re right. I’m not the only one who has no place to go. The only difference between you and I is that I don’t belong here. I never belonged here!”
“Conner, stop it.”
“No, because it’s true.”
“No, because…Well, I would say we’re brothers, but it doesn’t feel that way, does it?”
“Just because we share the same mom, Xav, doesn’t mean that we’re cut from the same cloth.”
“I believe we are. We both got doped into a stupid situation.”
“All for what?”
Xavier shrugged. “To fill in the emptiness in our hearts.”
Conner responds with, “That sounds pretty much accurate,” after a five-second pause in between them.
Just as the two are about to continue with their conversation, a rental car comes rolling down the west side of the road and halts just right in front of them.
“Oh god, are we gonna get jumped again?” squeals Conner.
“If we do, I’m ready this time,” Xavier hisses.
The moment the car doors open, the twins settle at ease.
“Mom?” Conner asks, astonished and wide-eyed.
“Dad?” blurts out Xavier.
“Wait! Why are you here?” the both of them question in chorus since the parents appearance is the last thing that happened to be in their minds right then.
The reunion, supposedly bittersweet, begins confused with both of the boys in the arms of their parents. It progresses with questions and answers. Why are they here? Mostly, why are they here together? It so turns out that Noah has returned home about a day after the twins have been forced out of their unit. The reason for the return so late? Towards the end of the exploration, Noah’s team discovered a goldmine of diamonds just as he was starting to give up on the belief. The family is considered rich! When he arrives at the place, the landlord has explained that they do not live at the complex because they can’t pay the rent. Assumed missing, he dials his ex-wife and begs her to come to the country in search for them. In the midst of all the searching for their two only sons, they come to realize that they do have one thing in common after all, the greater love they have for their boys. In short, they plan to remarry in the fall back home in the United States, and both Noah and Beth plan to take Conner and Xavier with them to have a place to live until they can live on their own. The twins couldn’t be more relieved and giddy all at once.
Though things are happy now, there is still silence in the car with Noah at the wheel, Beth at shotgun, and their twin boys awkwardly staring at each other in the back. Each of the boys struggle to speak though they want to say something regarding how foolish the two have acted in the past few weeks.
Finally, Xavier heavily sighs. “Con, I do admit that I haven’t been the best brother in the world.”
“Neither have I, Xav,” murmurs Conner.
The first born twin takes his younger-by-one-minute brother by the head and pats it. “I am vowing that starting now, I will do whatever I am able to make sure we both get our heads twisted back on our necks. Most importantly, Con, I’m going to make sure that you have someone who teaches you how to do right.”
He chuckles. “Who would that be?”
Xavier pushes his shoulder. “Who else, wise guy?”
Conner grins, whips around in a one-eighty circle, and snags his brother in a bear hug. “I couldn’t have it any other way, brother.”
“Better than being gold struck any day, brother.”
As the two of them giggle to themselves, what’s left of Conner’s phone vibrates. It hasn’t done that in awhile. Again, who would call a broke bloke? “Please be well. I miss you really much. Call me if you read this.”
“Who is it, Con?”
To him, it slightly matters who it is. He turns off the device and gives his twin an astonished look. “She really does know I’m there, does she?”