Stephanie and the Spriggs

by Russ

‘So, will that be double or twin beds?’ Stephanie asked, making her twit of a manager’s mandatory joke for the twenty-seventh time that morning. Two people giggled politely and Stephanie handed over the key card while suppressing a shudder.

She hated the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Glenmore Hotel had been hosting the UK’s annual Identical Twin Convention since before Stephanie was born and every year it gave her the heebie-jeebies. She thought it was creepy when she was a child, she thought it was creepy when she was a teenager, and she thought it was creepy now she was the check-in clerk at Brigdon-on-Sea’s biggest hotel.

‘You picked a pair yet?’

The only thing creepier was Stephanie’s manager, who slurped the words into her ear from far too close causing droplets of spittle to land noticeably on her neck. He was referring to his idea the convention provided a free-for-all for to bag what he would refer to as a ‘romp’ with a pair of twins each year. He believed this despite it never happening for him. He believed this despite his proven lack of ability to attract even a single woman in the dying resort where alcohol and sex were the only forms of entertainment for the ten months of winter it endured each year. He believed this despite the fact it was absurd actual siblings would even remotely entertain the idea outside of the three-minute videos she could hear him watching in the office whenever she worked an evening shift; most of which he watched for less than three minutes.

Stephanie took a step away and looked back at him with the faux-amused expression she’d cultivated to keep life easy.

That’s when Stephanie spotted a pair of faces, or more accurately a single face on a pair of heads, and came up with a plan.

The Sprigg sisters had been attending the convention for as long as Stephanie could remember and they were the only pair of matching faces she could stand to look at for more than a few seconds. They’d broken her with kindness - they’d bought her a Chinese takeaway after finding her crying on the promenade when dumped by her first boyfriend at the age of 14 - and then reeled her in with mischief - they’d lured the dumper into the sea for skinnydipping before Holly had run off with his clothes while Ivy put seawater in the tank of his moped, the latter causing quite a manic visit to the local mechanic. The three had been getting drunk together each year since.

It took less than a minute for Stephanie to persuade the Sprigg’s to help with her plan.

Stephanie still found the Identical Twin Convention creepy the year after when she was the manager of Brigdon-on-Sea’s biggest hotel, but it was tempered by the framed front page of the Brigdon Bugle which hung in her office showing a grainy picture of a former hotel manager who had been found handcuffed to the banquet table in the ballroom when its doors were opened for the convention’s big welcome breakfast - naked aside from an identical lipstick mark on each cheek and a forlorn expression on his face.