His own image stared up at him from the front page of the tabloid. “Security guards at the Red Triangle Gallery were forced to remove Pat Killpatrick from the premises on Sunday. Killpatrick, the brother of actor Matt Killpatrick, was attending a gala event honoring the works of Maria Rubio when he became verbally abusive toward the artist …”

Same song, different day. Pat had always been the black sheep of the family. While Matt had been a struggling actor who auditioned during the day and washed dishes at night, his brother had been flunking out of community college and mooching of their parents. He slept in until noon, hung out with a bad crowd, and couldn’t even be bothered to help out around the house.

When Matt finally got his big break, Pat was still living at home – a decade after finishing high school. Nearly overnight, Pat changed from being a lazy bum to being a guy who worked very hard. Worked very hard at being a jerk. With a famous brother, he now felt entitled to the trappings of the rich and famous.

At first, Pat’s transgressions were largely limited to pulling out the “Do you know who I am?” card when he found himself in awkward situations. He attempted to impress the state trooper who pulled him over for speeding and bully the restaurant employee who caught him trying to dine and dash.

Before long, Pat realized that he could make easy money from his very own image. Matt’s publicist nearly had a heart attack when she saw Matt’s face on a billboard promoting a strip club claiming to have “the youngest girls in town.” Matt was frustrated to find out that there was little he could do to stop Pat. Technically, Pat wasn’t selling the rights to Matt’s image, but rather the rights to his own image. The fact that Matt and Pat were identical twins was problematic for Matt, but was not a reason to bar Pat from appearing on billboards. Matt’s lawyer pointed out that the billboard had Pat’s name prominently displayed. It was obviously a ploy to ward off a lawsuit – but an effective ploy.

Pat then embarked upon his own acting career. He starred in two low budget porn films before it became apparent that his acting skills weren’t up to the level required by the industry.

Still after an easy buck, Pat was soon appearing on billboards once again. Not just strip clubs this time – be branched out into pawn shops and payday loans. His face was on dozens of billboards in the tri-sate area. As if this didn’t create enough embarrassment for Matt, he also began popping up in public at events such as the gallery gala – generally making an ass of himself and bringing shame down on the family.

A friend had once asked Matt why he didn’t “just kill that worthless bastard of a brother.”

“Ah,” he had replied, “but where would I hide the body?” The comment got the laugh that Matt had been hoping for.

Matt set down the newspaper and gazed out at his flower garden. For many years, it had been the envy of the neighborhood – the garden’s nutrient-rich soil produced a bountiful harvest of flowers that displayed incredibly vibrant colors.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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