The pub was located in one of the somewhat run down back streets in the old city centre, and the two old friends, who had just reunited for the first time in ten years, halted their step. “What do you think of this?” the tall, blonde one inquired. “Seems nice enough…” the shorter, stockier one replied. As they went in, they were greeted by the overwhelming scent of marihuana, and the two friends turned their faces towards each other almost in unison, smirks on their faces. “Theo,” the blonde friend uttered, “this is one of those pubs that allow smoking, it seems.” “Yeah, I guess you are right, man. Want to check for another place?” As he replied, Theo moved a bit to the side of the bar to take a look at the back of the pub, and saw a couple of middle-aged men playing billiards. He hesitated for a moment, then said: “Well… you know Allan… this being a reunion and all, let’s not act too much like old geezers while we discuss our youthful memories. I think we can have a drink here.” Allan chuckled. “Guess I’ll have some explaining to do to Mona tonight, but alright!” They ordered a couple of beers, and moved to the back, past the billiard table, meanwhile discussing smoking weed in high school.
While the two were talking in the back, a somewhat short, stocky man entered the pub, He had a black bomberjack on, and had the hoodie of his sweater pulled over his head. “What will it be, sir?” the barmaid asked, as he sat down. “I’ll have the same as the guy that just came in, the short one.” he replied. The barmaid frowned slightly at the strange request, a bit annoyed as well by the fact that it was hard to make out the face of the new patron, who kept his head slightly tilted forward, but she decided to not pay mind to the somewhat uncomfortable feeling that he gave her. She gave him his beer, and he moved to the far end of the bar. As he moved away, the feeling of unheimlichness seemed to disappear, and she paid him no more mind.
A couple of drinks later, the two friends didn’t notice the scent anymore, and were engrossed in their high school memories. The second hand smoke seemed to have some effect on Allan however, as his eyes were showing a bit of a red glaze, and his eyelids had started to hang a little. “You remember Joyce?” “Ah yeah man, she was hot… man if I knew then what I knew now, I would have totally smashed that… I mean, asked her out, haha!” “Yeah man, heh, definitely. She had a thing for you for sure!” “So you ever wish you could go back? I mean, do it over, those times?” “Well… not really, I’m okay with time moving forward, I guess. I’m quite happy that I got my life in order, running a thriving business and all. The road to get there was tough and I wouldn’t want to have to do it all over again, you know? Nah…“ He fell silent for a few seconds. “How about you?” “Well… I think I would… uh…” Allan stopped mid-sentence, and quickly tilted his head to the side a bit. He had been wrestling with a weird feeling for a while now, and it had something to do with the guy sitting at the far end of the bar, he thought. He had the feeling he knew this guy, but couldn’t make out his face quite right. The guy’s hoodie threw shade on it, and the few times that there had been enough light to reveal part of his face, he had just missed it. “Hey… that guy over there… it’s the weirdest thing…” “What, who?” Theo responded, as he turned around to look. “He… he kind of looks like you, that guy. Hey… do I look like I am stoned to you?” Theo smiled, amused by his friend’s apparent stonedness. Then his face turned semi-serious. “Ah, man, don’t worry about that asshole man! That’s just my doppelgänger. And yes, you look stoned. I guess you’ve been breathing in a bit too much of that weed smoke. Reminds me of that time we smuggled a joint to Paris on the school trip, you remember that? You almost passed out! Or was it space cake?” “Huh… what are you talking about?” “You remember the school trip right? we were in mrs. Schelde’s group. The trip to Paris… great times…” Allan sat up straight, his gaze alternating between Theo and the man at the bar. “No I mean… your double what? Who’s that?” “Oh… my doppelgänger! Never heard of that? It’s this guy who looks exactly like me, and every now and then he follows me around. It’s annoying, but harmless. Not sure I am going to accept this following around for much longer, though.” Allan looked at his friend in a bewildered manner. “Wh… where did he come from?” “Wouldn’t know man. I just bumped into him one day. It was like bumping into a mirror, except he had different clothes on. We talked for a bit, would you believe his voice even sounds like mine? But we didn’t really click on a personal level, you know, so yeah, I seem to have a doppelgänger and that’s it…” Both fell silent for a moment, then Allan said: “He seems to have a bit of a dark aura about him though, man, aren’t you freaked out that he came to the same cafe as you did right now?” “Aura? What are you talking about? I don’t feel anything. Well… I feel a slight annoyance because this is the third time this week I see him. You know what? I’m going to talk to him right now, tell him this isn’t cool. Be right back, ok?” Theo got up and walked towards his body double. Allan watched from his distance how the two conversed for a bit. A couple of minutes went by after which, Theo pointed at Allan and the argument seemed to get a bit more heated, and suddenly the double got up and left the pub.
“So what did you tell him?” Allan inquired. “Well, I asked him what he was doing here and what he wanted, but the guy’s a mess, to be honest. No personality at all. Can’t get a normal answer out of him either. Ah, who cares about him, man, let’s have a couple more drinks, talk about the things that matter. Don’t you agree?” Allan decided to let the issue rest, seeing as the guy had left, and he didn’t want to spoil the rare occasion of getting together with an old friend, especially in light of everybody being so busy these days. For the rest of the evening however, he couldn’t shake the feeling of discomfort that had taken hold of him, and he couldn’t really pinpoint the source of it either. He even had walked outside at one point, with the excuse of making an important phone call, to look around and see whether Theo’s doppelgänger was still hanging around somewhere, but this hadn’t been the case. The duo talked about business, females, school memories, and even some sports.
As the evening drew to a close, however, Allan, who was now full on stoned, reasonably drunk, but still felt out of it, decided that he wanted to know more about the double. When he brought up the subject again, Theo looked at him with what looked like a mix of annoyance and amusement. He was pretty drunk by now, too, so it could also have been that he felt a whole different set of emotions, but who knows. “I told you man,” said Theo, “who cares about the asshole! He’s just a literal nobody, and he probably found out that I’m a successful businessman, who also looks exactly like him… Probably thinks there is something in it for him! Well, he is wrong!” He laughed out loudly, but Allan didn’t think it was funny. He forced a smile. “If he ever tries something, I just take him out. I still go to the gym, I still do some boxing, I’m not afraid of any looney. And the world is full of looneys, man. Just gotta let them know what’s what, you know?” “I don’t know, Theo. I would be pretty freaked out. It all seems like some kind of horror movie or something. When I saw the guy, I just felt this feeling of… of trouble, you know that feeling?” Theo frowned. “Let me tell you something, my old friend. The world is full of people that see trouble everywhere, and I’m just not one of them. You shouldn’t be one of them either, mate. I force myself to see opportunities and leave trouble for the pessimists, and as such, my life is full of opportunities, and I seldom run into trouble. And if I do, even that is an opportunity for me to improve myself. You see?” As he drunkenly relayed his life philosophy, Theo extended his hand to his old friend. “Here, old buddy.” A feeling of fear suddenly took hold of Allan, as if his old friend had offered him a cup of poison. He didn’t want to take his friend’s hand, but realizing that it would be very rude, he begrudgingly took it, and Theo laid his other hand on top. “Listen, how is your marriage going?” “It’s doing well, I guess. I still love Mona.” “And your job?” He kept shaking his hand. “Just got a promotion, kind of moving up in the ranks.” “Oh, and the little ones?” “All good.” “See? What are you going on about man? You’re living the life! Who cares about doubles or triples, let them all go to hell!” He let out another loud burst of laughter. “You know what? Drinks are on me, old friend. I think life can only get better from here on out, for the both of us.” He let go of Allan’s hand, and although Allan agreed with his friend on some level, the friendly words and gesture that should have lifted his mood seemed to have made it worse. His uncomfortable feeling had by now changed into mild distress. He forced himself to act jovially, and laughed along with his friend, but it was a painful endeavor.
As they walked towards central station, Theo kept going on about his business and some kind of great investment opportunity which would possibly have interested him if it were not for the feeling of impending doom which had now taken hold of him. Since he was so immersed in his own thoughts, he hadn’t had the opportunity to notice the man that had been following them ever since they had left the pub, or maybe even from inside the pub. He had the exact same lanky posture as Allan, and if he would have taken off the hoodie covering his head, it would have revealed the same blonde, half long hair. Matter of fact, the man could have been his twin. After the friends parted ways at the station, the man got into the same train as him.
A week later, Allan died, but no one noticed. His doppelgänger hid the body and took his place, and resumed his life as normal. Friends and colleagues did, mostly subconsciously, notice that interacting with Allan had become a bit less pleasant, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on it whenever they would think on the subject. His wife didn’t at all notice as their marriage had been unraveling for a while already and she was happy with her secret lover. They divorced within a year, she took the kids, and the doppelgänger didn’t seem to mind.
Theo’s business grew even more that year, and all his investments on the side were successful, too. At the end of the year, a multinational made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and he sold his company for an enormous sum of money. He had a few more annoying run-ins with his doppelgänger after that, and at a certain point he told him to leave him alone and get a life, or he would punch his face in real proper. They never met again, and for the most part he lived happily ever after.