To Jekyll, from Hyde

November 3, 2008
By allyson paterek, South Plainfield, NJ

I am not a sinister man, Doctor, just simply misunderstood, a victim of my own clumsiness, if you will. Do you remember that black, winter morning when I came to the house with that silly lawyer friend of yours? Well, it’s a funny story. I was just going to the bank when I realized I had forgotten to turn off the coffee pot. I turned and began rushing home. At that moment, a little girl came around the corner and smashed right into me. I was so distracted that I hadn’t even seen her coming. She fell to the ground sobbing, the tears streaming down her cheeks. Well, the girl’s family, the lawyer, a medic, and everyone who witnessed the accident came running. It was so embarrassing. I gave her family a check for whatever damage I had caused their daughter. However, I had no money on me, so I had to make out the check under your name. So, if you see any extra expenses on you financial records, I’m just giving you the heads up.

If you have not already noticed, I am not a very attractive male specimen. Mom always said I got the brains and you got the brawns. I know my black hair’s unruly; my complexion is pale, but would it kill anyone to smile at me? I can’t help my dwarfish figure; it’s the scoliosis, and my harsh, husky voice is a result of the chronic bronchitis I suffer from in the cold weather. Believe me, Harry, if I could initiate a friendly smile, I would, but the palsy in my lips poses me difficulty.

Do you think I am odd, Harry? Perhaps, that is why you have moved away. There has been a multitude of rumors circling about me. Is it strange that I never dine with you? I would have if you made me, but you know how much I hate the food that your incompetent butler, Poole, serves. In your absence, I think he has gotten even worse at preparing meals. The other day I lay writhing on the floor in pain from what I reasoned to be food poisoning. Mr. Utterson was there. I think he thought I was going to die! I have lived with you for a while now. It is only logical that I, too, should have a key to the back door. People look at me as if I am a burglar, trying to squeeze through the side entrance. It’s ridiculous.

Now, I know we’ve had our differences, but you must remember, we are brothers. It pained my heart to hear you tell Mr. Utterson that you could care less what happens to me. If you could care less, then why, in your will, have you left all your earthly possessions to me? What purpose do they serve? I want you here, not your goods.

That Lanyon fellow is a real quack! The other day, he came in the house, broke into the laboratory, and tried to steal a draw full of whiskey. He expressed his concerns that the drink has had various detrimental effects on you, but I assured him that you only drink when you’re upset. Well, he went on and on about ‘God knows what’. He was so annoying and the more I tried to kick him out the door, the more he resisted leaving. He insisted that he speak to you, but I told him that you were not available. It was not until I threatened I would drink some of that whiskey myself and break his neck that he finally departed. The guy just shut his trap and walked out as if sacred for his own life. I’m all bark and no bite. I thought he would have been able to take a joke.

To be honest, Jekyll, it is kind of lonely living in this house on Soho Street without you. I find myself talking to myself more and more; People think I’m crazy. Sometimes they even mistake me for you, like the other day when I was standing by the window. Anyway, please come home, and if not, at least show a little courtesy to your friends here in Davenport. I don’t know why you just can’t tell them that you took a vacation to Florida. Seriously, they think I’ve killed you or something!

The author's comments:
This piece is a humorous anecdote in the style of Margaret Atwood's poem "Gertrude Speaks".

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