This is a work in progress. There are no romance novels about conjoined twins and thermonuclear annihilation. But why not? Everything is possible here.
From the back of her taxi Miranda Morgan took everything in. Her eyes recognized the verdant meadows and dark lines of pines towering over either side of the interstate as her hometown, and the image surfed a wave of electrochemical current down her optic nerve and into the occipital lobe of her brain where it sloshed around and presented itself for further inspection as the savory smell of biscuits and gravy. She always saw the world as scents and had given up trying to explain it. For instance, the cab driver looked like too-sweet iced tea and beef farts. But she also knew that if asked she would say, “He looks like a greasy, sun-burnt lizard named Darryl.” It was easier that way.
Her twin sister Amanda slept on her shoulder, her breath rhythmically pushing across her neck. She considered how comforting it was to always have her closest confidant at her ear. It was also annoying. The cab driver kept stealing glances in the rear view to look at the conjoined twins. Finally, he had the courage to speak. “Ya’ll are them Siamese twins went through Pleasant Grove a bunch of years ago aren’t you.” It was more an accusation than a question.
Miranda considered the worthiness of correcting him: No one has called us Siamese twins since we left this town. Think there might be a reason we never visit? Instead she was cool. “Yeah, we grew up here.”
“Yeah. Yeah! I knew it! My cousin graduated with y’all. You remember Jimbo Tucker?” He smiled the kind of smile that expected a cascade of irreverent memories to be recalled and shared. Miranda remembered a Skoal dipper with a rebel flag trucker hat. It could have been any number of the JimBobs, BillyBubbas, or Dewaynes she had known, or some nameless amalgamation of them all. “Sure,” she said.
“He’s in Bi-State right now. They got him on child support. He said he was gonna pay it, but–”
“Could we not talk?” she asked as politely as she could muster.
“Now that’s just rude,” he said.
“Just be glad my sister is asleep. You’d be bleeding by now.”
“Whatever, freakshow,” he said.
He fretted for a while in silence, but it was a long drive to the far end of nowhere. Finally his curiosity got the better of him. “Uhm, there’s something I’ve always kinda wondered…”
“We only have one vagina.” She glared.
“It’s just like all the other ones you’ll never see.” She thought, “Ooh, that was a pretty good one. Gonna tell Amanda about that.” Then she said, “Please don’t talk to me anymore.”
They sat in silence the rest of the drive out to the farm road that simply was Wamba, Texas. She slipped him 40 and told him to keep the change, wrestled their suitcase to the ground, and watched him pull away. Even the way he pulled away from the shoulder seemed stupid.
Amanda, asleep on her shoulder, stirred and moaned, but then drifted back to sleep. This was at odds with their usual arrangement. Miranda was the night owl, Amanda the early bird. The former would work evenings until the small hours, go out to a late bar and have drinks, and then go home as the sun rose, and fall asleep as the latter, her conjoined twin since age 12, would wake and ready herself for the day. They would exchange pleasantries, and sometimes a bite to eat at their breakfast table before Miranda conked out and Amanda hopped in the shower to wash off whatever her more adventurous twin had gotten into the night before. Fortunately, their shared body never seemed to tire, owing its constitution to a puzzling scientific curiosity that had vexed doctors and physicists alike for years until they had simply given up on it.
Conjoined twins are often misunderstood, as is love. This is a story of both, and a sentient robotic arm, and also of global thermonuclear devastation. But love is forever, as the fractional quantum Hall effect in a 2D double-layered system in a hypothetical variational Sobolev space in which multiple simultaneous vortices exist in a single plane. The “It’s complicated” relationship status would be applicable, but from the murkiest waters love rises to the surface. In fact, everything that rises must converge. It’s the law.