When he arrived, my heart was wet and fast in my chest, as if soiling itself. Was he better looking than me? Funnier? Thankfully, he was a hairy, green pod, and the only cracks he made whiffed slightly of sulphur and exposed a matted pink interior which, unnervingly, reminded me of an inverted vulva.
On the first evening he was uncommunicative. I thought he could have made an effort, given we were letting him stay, but the wife said he had come a long way, and we left him in the spare bedroom.
That night I slept deeply, and dreamt of geraniums.
It wasn’t until the next morning – when he hatched – that I realised his game. Moustached, blue-eyed, slim- he had copied me. The bastard. We ate breakfast with the crackle of awkward chewing, my throat choking on Frosties, him sipping at porridge, and the Mrs attempting small talk while ingesting the table. Porridge! I hate porridge! He may have my looks, but he doesn’t have my personality, I thought. This left me at a distinct disadvantage, and I glanced uneasily at my wife. I was sure she was orientating herself toward him, playing with her bumps self-consciously, becoming a slightly deeper crimson. I admit I couldn’t stop thinking about them together. Pictures of her and him haunted my thoughts… Though, it could have been her and me; it was difficult to tell.
Truanting work, I would drive around town, looking for them together. They met often, over the next few days, on street corners and in deserted car parks. He would just stand there, holding a briefcase, and she would stand next to him. I never saw them speak, but she was beginning to look wetter than normal. She already looked flushed. She’s going to cheat, I thought, lights the same colour as her skin going off inside my brain.
Worse, our moments of intimacy were growing shorter. She was beginning to treat me like shit, often accidentally defecating me on the carpet. Our closeness had passed. There was something between us, now, where the closeness had been, something worse, something alien.
He didn’t even smirk about it. He certainly didn’t talk to me. When she wasn’t around, he would point at me and scream. It sounded like the Spice Girls had been given one note and told to hold it for a whole song. I peed myself slightly every time he did it. I began to wonder about the briefcase. Did it hold love letters from their time together? Dirty photos? Was he growing their baby like a portable plant-pot? Did it look like me, but the size of a ring-binder, and given to pointing and screaming at midgets? The questions played tag in my mind. Then tig.
I told my wife the real me had left home, last seen running wildly beneath an underpass. Sadly, she seems to prefer me now, but at least our love-life is back to normal. The sex is, perhaps, even better, and I get to wear fresh pants three times a day.