Twice the fun 1.

I was working on the final chapters of my latest book when I heard the
moving van come to a stop outside. My former neighbors (a very nice
elderly couple who had lived next door to me for several years) had
retired to Florida a few weeks ago. I lived in a four unit, condo style
town home. In fact, that’s what the whole neighborhood was, and I was sorry
to see them go. They were one of the few neighbors I had gotten to know,
always having the bachelor writer over for dinner and telling me how much
their granddaughter enjoyed my books. I met her once, a very cute eight
year old who had me autograph the books she owned that were written by me.
I got up from my computer and looked out the front window, watching the
movers open up their truck and begin carrying boxes and furniture into the
unit next door. I didn’t see any signs of the owners of these belongings
however, so I went back to my desk figuring I’d meet them when they got
settled in.

I hadn’t been working very long when I heard someone knocking lightly on
my door. When I opened it I was momentarily speechless, for there on my
doorstep were a pair of identical twin girls, smiling shyly at me. They
were about nine or ten years old, each with long brown hair and dressed in
shorts and tank tops, revealing well tanned, shapely limbs.

“Hi!” said the one on the left.

“We’re your new neighbors!” piped the one on the right.

I silently thanked my guardian angel for delivering these two pretty young
things into my life, into a neighborhood sorrowfully short of young
girls…into the unit next door!

The girl on the right was looking up at me rather curiously, her head
cocked to one side, almost as if she knew what I was thinking. I realized
I had been staring. I held out a finger and made a show of bringing it
closer to my nose, following it with my eyes until they crossed. “I seem
to have been sitting at my computer too long,” I teased. “I’m seeing

They giggled at my small joke and the left one said, grinning, “You’re not
seeing double, we’re twins! I’m Terri and that’s my baby sister, Tammy.”

Tammy gave her twin a withering look and said, “Will you STOP calling me
that? You’re only five minutes older than I am!”

Hoping to head off a sisterly battle I intervened. “I’m pleased to meet
you,” I said quite honestly. “I’m Tom.”

Tammy, the girl on the right, looked at me strangely again. “I know,” she
said, as if I were stating the obvious. As soon as she said it her sister
looked sharply at her and elbowed her in the ribs. Tammy’s face
immediately became worried, as if she’d been caught doing something she
wasn’t supposed to do.

“How do you know my name already?” I asked, wondering what was going on.
Terri’s eyes darted quickly around until they landed on my door, still
standing open.

“There,” she said, looking relieved, “your name’s on the door: ‘Tom

Of course, I thought, it’s right there for all to see. “You girls are
pretty quick. You’d make good detectives,” I said, smiling at them. “Are
you all through moving in already?” I could see the movers starting to
clean up.

“Almost,” said Terri. “Mom’s inside unpacking, but she said to ‘get out of
her hair’ for awhile.”

“We were only trying to help,” Tammy informed me, sounding slightly hurt
that their efforts hadn’t been appreciated.

“Is your Dad still at work or something?” I asked, wondering why he hadn’t
been mentioned.

“No…” said Terri, hesitantly. “He doesn’t live with us anymore.”

“He doesn’t even want to SEE us anymore,” said Tammy, looking dejected.

I could tell this was a sore topic, and knew they probably blamed
themselves for their parents’ separation. Young kids almost always do. I
changed the subject. “Would you like to come in for a drink or something
or shall we carry on our conversation in the doorway?” They looked at each
other and finally Tammy nodded, as if to tell her sister it was okay to go
in. I ushered them into the kitchen, noticing how they stared at the
‘Prince’ poster on the wall of my living room, the one with a young,
barely covered girl with her hands on her head, standing over Prince. As I
got some glasses and ice they sat at the table and began their own

“Are you married?” asked one.


“You live here alone?” asked the other.


“Any girlfriends?”


“How old are you?”


“Don’t you work?” They were obviously wondering why I was home in the
afternoon on a weekday.

“Yes.” I felt like I was playing twenty questions, being grilled by
identical inquisitors.

“Well, what do you do?”

“I write books.” I gave them their sodas and sat down. “Thanks,” they said simultaneously, then they looked at each other and
giggled at their stereo effect. I looked at them closely and could see
that if I got to know them better I would probably be able to tell them
apart. There were subtle differences in their expressions and appearances,
the way they smiled and carried themselves. I hoped I WOULD get to know
them better! They were certainly very cute, and definitely sexy, both with
dark brown eyes and expressive faces, and sexy, nymphette bodies full of
girlish energy. I found myself staring at their slender frames, wondering
how long it would be before they began developing tits beneath that
tempting skin covered by their tanktops.

“How old are you two?” My turn for questions.

“Nine,” answered the one I thought was Tammy.

“Almost ten,” added her twin.

“Are you from around Chicago, or did you move here from somewhere else?”

“We used to live right in the city,” explained Terri, taking a drink, “but
we moved to here in Glenwood ’cause Mom got transferred.”

“What’s your mom do?”

“She’s a nurse at the hospital,” said Tammy proudly. Having a conversation
with these two was like watching a tennis match. Tammy looked at me and
smiled, as if to say she knew it, it’s just the way they were.

“Hey!” exclaimed Terri, looking at me as if she’d suddenly realized
something. “Are you the same Tom Jannings that wrote all those books we

“Well, I don’t know what books you have but I’m the only Tom Jannings that
I know of.” I grinned at her slyly. I really did love being recognized by
my young fans. My books were written mainly for (and about) young girls,
full of stories that showed them to be just as adventurous and daring as
their male counterparts, not like other stories which often showed little
girls as shy and sissy, only interested in sewing or dolls. My stories
also were about everyday stuff like new siblings, school, divorce, even
one about death. I always answered every letter I got from a reader, and
also from appreciative parents who were grateful that my books had turned
their kids onto reading.

Tammy was looking at me again. “It IS you,” she said, sounding sure of
herself. “We’ve got every book you wrote! I think they’re really good,
too,” she told me candidly.

“Thank you!” I said, my ego always glad of praise from a young admirer.
She had said that they had ALL of my books and I tried to remember how
many there were.

“Eleven,” said Tammy.


“That’s how many books we have that you wrote.” I heard Terri kick her
sister under the table and she quickly said, biting her lip, “Um, I mean,
you looked like you couldn’t remember how many there were.”

“You’re right, I didn’t.” I couldn’t help thinking that this girl seemed
to be able to read me as well as she could read my books. Strange.

“We better go now,” said Terri, giving her sister a look I couldn’t
understand. “Mom’s probably wondering where we are.”

“Tell her to stop by later on for a cup of coffee, and let me know if she
needs any help with anything. Feel free to come by yourselves anytime
too,” I added sincerely.

“OK, Tom,” said Terri, politely putting her glass and her sister’s in the
sink. “See ya later!” I was glad she hadn’t called me ‘Mr.Jannings’.
Neighbors should always be on a firstname basis.

As they left I found myself looking at their tight little buns and the
smooth backs of their legs. Tammy turned around just then and smiled at
me, before running to catch her sister. It seemed my life had taken an
interesting turn, and there was definitely something strange about my new
friends that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Later in the day, I hadn’t gotten very far with my book. My thoughts kept
returning to Terri and Tammy, and it was hard to keep them separate from
the girl I was writing about. I got up and started a pot of coffee brewing
and was about to watch the news on TV when someone knocked on the door.

The girls were back with their mother in tow, a nice looking woman with
brown, wavy hair like her daughters’, about my age or maybe a little
older. “Hi,” she said, smiling and holding out her hand, “I’m Susan
Gibson, your new neighbor. The twins said we had a celebrity living next
door so we came for your autograph.” She looked at the box the girls were
carrying between them as I shook her hand.

“Nice to meet you Susan, I’m Tom Jannings but I guess they already told
you that. Come on in, I just started some coffee a few minutes ago.” I led
the way to the living room and the girls dropped their box on the floor,
flopping down on either side of me on the couch while Susan took a chair.

“Did you bring me a gift or are you moving in with me?” I asked the girls

They smiled and one of them said, “No, these are all your books.”

“Well, just because my name is on them doesn’t mean you have to give them
back to me,” I said, playing dumb.

“No, silly,” said the other one (Terri?), “we want you to autograph ’em.”

“You’re supposed to ASK him, Terri,” said her mother reprovingly.

“She would have,” I said, coming to her defense, “if I wasn’t having such
fun teasing her.” I grabbed her bare leg just above the knee and lightly
squeezed, making her laugh and squirm. That’s always been one of my
favorite places to tickle a girl. “Why don’t you kids come to the kitchen
with me and we’ll get something to drink while your mom rests her bones?
You take anything in your coffee, Susan?”

“Black, please. Are you sure I can’t help?”

“Positive. You just take it easy,” I said, getting up. The girls followed
me into the kitchen and I showed them where the glasses were, telling them
to make themselves at home and help themselves to ice and pop while I got
the coffee.

When we returned to the living room, Susan was standing by my computer
desk, and I could see her looking at the bronze figurine of a nude girl
laying on her side, next to my terminal. “Inspiration?” she asked. I was
sure she had noticed the poster on the wall also.

“You could say that,” I answered. I gave her one of the cups of coffee and
took a pen from the desk before sitting back down between Terri and Tammy.
I opened the box the girls had brought in and groaned. “You girls want me
to sign ALL of these?”

“Please?” said the one on my left (Tammy?), giving me that pleading
puppy dog look that little girls are so talented at, and which I’m totally
defenseless to resist.

“We really do like ’em,” her sister cajoled me from the right. “They’re
our favorite books.”

“Ah, flattery will get you everywhere,” I said, digging into the box and
beginning my task. They must have read the books often; most were faded
and dog eared. I came across the first one I ever wrote (dedicated to my
parents) and noticed it was from the first printing, almost five years
ago. “You guys couldn’t have been more than five years old when this one
came out,” I observed.

“That’s the first book they ever read by themselves,” Susan told me
proudly. “They were reading Mark Twain, Moby Dick, Nancy Drew, all before
they were seven.”

“And you like my books best?” My books sold well but I wasn’t used to
being compared to Mark Twain.

“Yeah, we really do,” Tammy told me eagerly. “You write stories about
little girls but your characters aren’t just sissies playing with dolls.
It’s not like you’re a grownup talking to a kid, either, using simple
words and stuff. You know what I mean?” She wasn’t sure if she was getting
her point across.

“Yes, I do. That’s why I put a glossary in the back of each book, so a kid
can look up a word I used that she doesn’t know.”

“It’s your fault I had to go out and buy a college dictionary for them,”
said their mother, grinning. “I’ve read all your books myself,” she added,
“and I always imagined a man with such insights and understanding of girls
must have a dozen of them running around the house.” I saw her glance at
the poster. “Tammy and Terri said you weren’t married; I hope they weren’t
rude with all their questions.” She gave each girl a stern look, who, of
course, looked innocently back at her.

“No, they weren’t rude at all. In fact, I asked my own questions too, just
to get even.” I grabbed a girl in each arm and tickled their sides, their
giggling laughs like music in my ears.

Although I wanted to keep my arms around them in a hug I didn’t want to
risk being too forward in front of Susan, and returned to my task of book
signing. “As to my so called understanding of girls,” I told her,
searching for a quick answer, “I guess it helps that I did have a younger
sister when I was growing up. She was only nine years old when she was
killed by a drunk driver. I guess I never really got over that. I try to
look at the world through her eyes, wondering how things would have been
for her had she lived.” I could see that I was turning this meeting into a
funeral and I needed to change the mood quickly. “It also helps that I
don’t have a real job,” I added, giving her my best attempt at humor.

She laughed and said, “Yes, I suppose not having to go to work every day
would definitely help keep you young. I certainly envy you on that count,
but I’m also sorry to hear that you lost your sister at such an early age.
That must have been very hard on you so young.” She looked at me
sympathetically, and I hoped my composure, and my thoughts, were genuine.
“My father is buying our condo for us, but it’s still hard to make ends
meet. I hate to accept charity like that, but this place is a lot better
for the girls than in the city.”

Terri and Tammy had sat quietly while we talked, very well mannered for
nine year olds, I thought. I signed the last of their 11 books and held my
arm out, with my wrist limp. “I may be a writer but this is the first time
I’ve ever had ‘writer’s cramp’.”

They all laughed and the girls said ‘thanks’ in stereo, laughing again.

They asked about the neighborhood: where the stores were, where McDonalds
was. Terri wanted to know where the nearest soccer field was while Tammy
was interested in the library. They might be identical in appearance but
they had two separate and distinct personalities.

They were both interested in the swimming pool by the clubhouse however,
and eagerly asked their mom if they could go swimming tomorrow. She said
she would be too busy unpacking to be able to watch them. I saw their
faces fall in disappointment and seized the opportunity by the horns,
volunteering to take her place.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” she asked. “They can be quite a handful.”

Terri and Tammy gave her comical looks of indignation, as if such a
suggestion were ridiculous. I assured her it would be no problem at all,
and she gave her consent. Then she told the girls to pack up their books,
thanking me for the coffee and getting up to leave. The twins thanked me
again for signing all the books, telling me that they would keep them
forever and never ever sell them. I told them to come get me when they
wanted to go swimming, and told Susan to drop by anytime as they left. If
I hadn’t been the sort of man who was romantically inclined to younger
girls I suppose I would have been attracted to her, instead. Such was not
the case, however.