He lived a perfect life. Every morning a stunningly handsome and vernal adolescent, rolled from out of his bed, just seconds before his alarm clock sounded, as if being given a head start on life, from a universe going out of its way to help him succeed. Bounding from beneath luxurious satin sheets, he stretched, and couldn't resist looking at his glorious physique in one of the many mirrors strategically placed around his bedroom. Momentary disappointment washed over him though as he realized it such a shame there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to express his satisfaction and contentment with his lot in life. Even with a world chaotically spinning at speeds over seven hundred miles per hour, he still felt as though all that volatility was happening around him and never to him.
Light shot down from the sky causing an aura of light and possibilities sent to kiss his skin. It shone like a reminder of his parents' wisdom in naming him and assuming his role in all things. Being named Beam would have been a curse for any other, but for him it was a simple fact. Beam was the first born of twins, which doctors claimed were Mirror Image Twins, but he never saw any similarities in his younger brother. His true twin was the one looking back at him in the mirror, darkened window, sunglasses, shiny metal or even a still pool of water. That handsome young man and Beam shared so much in common it was scary. As for his so called twin brother, he was rarely ever on Beam's thoughts. Where Beam could not be more ready to take over the world with his looks and charm his younger brother, by a chasm spanning thirteen hours, was not a loser but instead he was just an unmemorable and immaterial shadow of what could have been had he been firstborn instead.
Beam shone so brightly, the idea of no one awestruck and paralyzed by his radiance was more terrifying than anything else he could imagine. There are some people able to go about life without adoration, but Beam could never be one of them. He never remembered anything his brother had succeeded at doing, except maybe being humble and had to admit that he excelled at that, but humility seemed a complete waste of valuable face-time to Beam. Even when participating in the same activities, his brother was always in a support role, which no one could recall, though anyone helping Beam to look even better couldn’t be all-bad.
Family and friends worshiped him for so long he just assumed that the world must be his by some unwritten divine proclamation. Even strangers appeared to bow at his feet making offerings and obeisances as if he were their savior returned, but with better hair. Even his car was gifted unto him by the kindness of chance. The car was christened, Beam’s Laser, a masterfully restored 70’ GTO Judge. After staring at himself for a little while longer, Beam got into the shower making his reflection frustrated by pulling the shower curtain closed.
Skipping breakfast at home and giving his mother a ‘day off’ from her morning servitude, Beam grabbed his stuff and slid into the molded leather seats of BL, at least that was how he referred to the Ebony GTO, for short because three letters wasted too much precious time. BL came to him at a charity event held yearly at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars grange. The routine event gimmick was set up so the revered warriors turned classic car buffs of Brookemont, PA could display their project cars at show quality in front of the whole town and then “auction” them off for better additional medical and housing services through the Veterans’ Administration. However, it was all a deceptive, illusory and very clever ploy, since after driving the car around the block the winner would hand the keys back to the old timer and make some comment about how it still needed a tad more work. They would tell them that once it was all up to their satisfaction, to let them know and the “owner” would return to take it off their hands.
The ‘mocktion’ as participants lovingly referred to it, was a time-honored tradition in the township of Brookemont, PA and his father, being someone of import in the community always made time to parade out the entire Smith family. It just so happened, Beam’s father won the drawing the previous year. Due to the rules, he could not perform in the mocktion charade again, so given the circumstance and the coincidental fact Beam had just received his license; his wise father offered the honorary drive and expected subsequent rejection to his prized son in honor of his progeny's accomplishments and contributions to the world.
Since both fortune and fate absolutely adored Beam, it just so happened that as he completed his leisurely circuit around the block in his prize, he pulled up to a host of emergency lights accompanied by the offending ambulance and his thoughts were disturbed by an instance of concern. The owner, whose name Beam could not recall, as it didn’t pertain to him, was lying dead on the sidewalk. Without a single recorded health problem, the EMT concluded it was apparently, ‘just his time’ and with keys to the beautiful car grasped firmly by Beam’s ego, he assumed that they must have been referring to ‘his’ time, and not that of the unfortunate victim.
An announcement boomed over a loudspeaker relating the events to those not standing next to the not yet cold corpse. The unexpected enthusiast must have known that if he were to die then he must bequeath the car as it was finally ‘ready’ for its new owner to take possession. Everyone celebrated and Beam was positive he saw the body give him a quick, thumbs up from beneath the shroud of sterile white. It of course it could quite possibly just have been a nerve spasm in one last electrical display of defiant function or an unpleasant pooling of blood causing various body parts to stiffen unashamedly.
The midnight black, beast of a muscle car, roared to life chewing the asphalt as it carried its prince forth to the ‘CaffieNation’ coffee kiosk drive-thru. He received a hot chocolate and a freshly made breakfast sandwich, ‘on the house’ of course as Beam was rarely asked to pay for anything. A friendly, yet physically bland junior from his high school was manager of the modest establishment. She always gave him free food and drinks as an offering, just so he would return and allow her stare at him, while fanaticizing about what would never be. He thought that this may be making his reflection jealous, but it always forgave him in the end smiling back at him anytime his true twin and he locked eyes.
Checking his phone, Beam sent a text to his evening’s enthusiastic distraction, though her name was completely eluding him at the time. A quick message saying he would not be there on time, but she should just wait outside for him as Beam hated to get out of his car unless it was to applause. In addition, chivalrously he mentioned, she should bring a jacket since heavy rain was in the forecast for later on. Beam did feel it paid to be considerate when dealing with others feelings at times, though what those times were was still a bit of a mystery.
Beam pulled off the road and ate his breakfast while savoring his beverage, knowing full well that once at school he wouldn’t have a moment to himself. This would be due to all of the undeserved high-fives from the guys, hoping what he had would rub off and desperate, supplicating embraces from the girls, praying for their shot at becoming his next momentary queen. Beam was blatantly aware of his status within the pantheon and as a Titan; even the Gods should fear his rise.
Per usual, all traffic lights were a uniform green when he pulled up to them, although Beam still slowed on occasion to flash both his and his cars’ grill at the girls which would soon vie for his attention. They could be like circling sharks encroaching upon a wounded seal. It was his undeniable duty to spread his grace unto those beneath him and give them at least a false hope in their simple and boring little lives. Beam knew that he had to be careful to not wink or nod in their general direction, as he didn’t want to give them too much and have them implode from the weight of his praise. Out of the kindness of his heart, he did send a look that said, ‘Thank you my subjects. Your adoration is accepted. Now kneel and kiss the ring before I grow too impatient and order your beheading!’
Somewhere out there was the girl of his dreams, but Beam truly hoped he wasn’t destined to meet her anytime soon. The hunt and kill were far more fun than raising captive livestock and so far in life Beam became a renowned trophy hunter of massive reputation and accolades. In fact, he held a kill count rivaling most mass murderers and East African warlords. Sometimes he ate the kill, but mostly he just stuffed and mounted them, sometimes two or three in a single day.
Pulling into the parking lot of his school, he saw his usual spot open, as it should be. The parking space was marked Vice Principal, but since his car was, so much nicer, Principal Hadler offered Beam the spot, relegating Vice Principal Mann to parking in the general lot and riding the shuttle over with the other lowly teaching staff. His morally oppressive sister Cimera had said that he should have refused the parking space because it was unjust to take it, but Beam figured that if he wasn’t meant to park there, then he wouldn’t have been offered the opportunity.
Two sophomore girls named Kim, nearly tore each other apart vying to be first to open the door for Beam. Finally compromising, each took a side of the double doors and opened them wide for his much-anticipated grand entrance. Beam breached the threshold giving a brief nod to his morning valets serving him. While many were nearly faint from the attention, he found that he was fleetingly concerned for their welfare should no one be there to catch them when they began fainting from the excitement. However, since that was already in the past it didn’t matter anymore and Beam proceeded on unhindered by such silly and trivial thoughts..
The young royal’s locker was actually twice the size of the other students’ lockers and Beam, as far as he were aware was the only one who did not have a locker partner. Entombed within the steel treasure chest, lay the countless notes and missives of devotion that awaited him every day; still never tiring of opening his locker to the cascade of praise which poured forth. Of course, he also never responded to them or even read them after his first week since he could not be bothered with such things. Beam would simply collect them once a week and leave them in a plastic bag outside his locker for the janitor to pick up for him. Although he did occasionally wish he had more time to devote to those who wished for his time; it still was not something he wanted bad enough to make happen by any means.
While pushing the scrap paper, presents and an occasional undergarment back into his cavernous scholastic vault, he caught a glimpse of an out of place adult walking his hallway as if he belonged. As the stranger approached looking like a collegiate Sr. advisor rather than general staff or a parent, his manner seemed off putting and arrogant, so Beam concluded he must be from a good school. He was probably here to tell Beam how University of Blah was the right choice for him. Ever since his junior year, Beam received a visit from every local school and institution and a few out of state colleges already, as with obtaining appointments for a few more within the month. Perhaps he was scheduled for one and merely forgot. Beam once more contemplated his need for a secretary.
Turning to face his locker and preparing himself for the endless flattery and praise thrown at him upon his staged spin move into greatness, one which Beam had performed a hundred times. On his locker door someone had written B + J = 4 Eva, leaving Beam to wonder who J was and why he wanted to ‘plus’ her and was he supposed to be doing it for someone named Eva or for all eternity, because none of these things seemed to be ringing any bells.
“Pardon me young man,” The regal looking man cleared his throat to gain attention. As Beam spun about casually, immediately noticing the sheer intensity that this man wielded so effortlessly. It was not just his look, but also his presence the bore down upon him. The man exuded charisma and was flushed with charm. It made Beam feel something unknown to him, but he assumed it was a sensation akin to what he had read about called ‘self-consciousness’ or perhaps even more ridiculously, ‘jealousy’. Though that could hardly be the case because Bean was all about self and how great that self was as well as a certainty that there was none above him to envy or admire. “…are you K-N Smith?” The man paused awaiting a reply as silence fell, enveloping the halls.
“You’re kidding, right?” It was not Beam’s ego asking so astounded, but Beam himself responding out of a genuine sense of confusion and disbelief.
“No, my young man, I am quite serious in all actuality. I am looking for K-N Smith as I have a proposition for him. I wanted to take the opportunity to lay eyes upon him before committing to making the offer. Size him up so to speak.” The words that came from his hypnotic lips were mercurial and double-edged with a soft exterior while jagged just below that velveteen surface. Words well chosen, but venom barely held in check behind their harmless appearance, like a stuffed bunny rabbit filled with razor blades, begging a child to squeeze it with all of their strength.
“I don’t know what to tell you, but your information must be wrong, I‘m Beam Smith. I’m sure it’s me that you want to speak with. Are you from State or from one of the big schools?” Beam’s brain worked as fast as it could, attempting to rationalize the events before him. Someone must have mixed up their names, a clerical error of some sort, as no one could ever confuse the two of them in the flesh. If Beam’s consultation on the matter was sought, the definition of ‘twins’ would not be as loose as it was in his case.
“No Beam, I know who you are and your specific gifts do not interest me at this time. I need to see your brother K-N. Now, please, so why don’t you be a polite obedient child and fetch him for me, or at the very least let me know where I might find him then remove yourself from my presence.” His words were now harsh and Beam could sense the rage he was suppressing within his eloquent façade.
“Yes sit, well if you’re sure its Kayen, then…” He felt scolded and uncertain, two sensations foreign to his ego completely. Scanning the halls, he would barely recognize his brother even if he tried he feared, but figured if he would just look for the loneliest place, devoid of all attention then that would be where his brother should be taking up space. Sure enough, in the center of the main hall in a perfectly formed and isolated antisocial bubble, Kayen leaned against a locker in an apparent attempt to hold up the walls, so that the hallway would not collapse on people that were more important. “There!” Beam pointed, thus ending the dullest game of hide ’n seek which anyone ever conceived.
“Excellent Beam, that’s a good lad.” The man said as he tousled Beam’s hair as if he were a common street urchin, begging for loose change for something to eat. “And allow me to thank you for your time.” The man bowed ever so slightly then spun about and began heading down the hall in the opposite direction of his sibling.
“Hey you,” The man spun about with disgust in his gaze, “I mean… excuse me sir, but aren’t you going to speak to him?” Beam was struggling with the entire interaction, but sensed a rare protective moment creeping into his tone and pressed on.
“Not at this time my impertinent little creature, but I believe I have gleaned what I required to assure myself of my plans. I am now certain as to what I need to do in order to attain my prize. Do not worry yourself; I am sure I can find uses for you and your family in the future as well. I am sure you would make a competent errand boy of some sort. Now ....” His eyes flashed like a nocturnal predator and a heat in his gaze set Beam’s skin afire followed by a nearly hypothermic cold. “Go to class!”
“Okay, yes sir, I better go to class.” He turned and began walking again, quickly gathering his things and heading off to class with an uncharacteristic and determined sense of urgency.
“Hey Beam, who was that?” Cimera was the nosey little sister that everyone seemed to love, but right now, he needed to get to class. She pushed against him thwarting his rushed attempt at ducking her inquiry.
“Who’s who? Look Cim, I’ve got to get to class.” He attempted to shake her, but she was a bulldog when she wanted to be.
“Who’s that?” She pointed down the hall at the regal retreating figure. Cimera’s steely gaze locked onto her brothers and she knew he was not acting like himself. Beam usually could not wait to talk about himself and his experiences.
“How the hell am I supposed to know? I’ve never seen him before in my life. Now get out of my way Cim, I’ve got to get to class.” Beam was highly irritated, which was typical when it came to his little sister, but even internally he knew he was being unusually harsh. The only thing certain was, questions about someone he had never met, by his meddlesome kid sister, was a waste of his precious time and without a doubt that he had to get to class immediately. A gnawing aching sensation scratched at the inside of his skull driving him towards his goal. With a forceful shove, he pushed Cimera against the locker and stepped around her so he could be on his way, the geas apparently urging him on.
Cimera sat confused and a little sore, wondering how Beam did not recognize a man with whom he just conversed at decent length, mere moments before. Beam was self-absorbed and oblivious, but even he should remember someone that touched him… especially his hair. Her shoulder hurt and her brain was nervously working overtime, but class would be starting soon and she needed to hand in her homework before too many people got there and took notice of her secretive academic success. Not only that, but one year of perfect attendance was nearly within her grasp, and simply too close to throw it all away over her obnoxious brother’s apparent spontaneous onset of Alzheimer’s.
Beam glanced back at Cimera, never straying a step from his path. He knew that he had to get to class, but inside he felt, there was no reason for pushing his kid sister like that, especially over a few questions about some stranger. Brushing the idea aside as nonsense he moved on mentally as well, it was a great day, he was a great person, and the world would just right itself in the end. He thought back to that retreating figure in the hallway and admitted to himself, there was something eerily familiar about him.