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Excerpt for Triple Jeopardy by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Triple Jeopardy

By

Mario V. Farina



Copyright 2019 Mario V. Farina

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,

Electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information

Storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

Correspondence may be directed to:

Mario V. Farina

Email: mario@mariofarina.com



It's been over six months since this story actually began. I'm not sure, now, that it has ended. The story has to do with whether I was a victim of triple jeopardy. I've been told that I wasn't, but I'm not too sure of it even now. Perhaps, after you have read my story, you'll be able to make a decision of your own. Tell me what you think!

I met Abigail Curtis when I was in a writing group last year. As beginning authors, we would read our stories to the others. The members of the group would give their opinions. They were not always flattering. However, Abigail seemed to like everything I wrote. I began talking to her after class and we became fond of each other. We would have coffee at a local diner before going to our respective homes.

My name is Jerry Finnegan. I'm 26, college-educated, working as an editor at Mayberry Publishing. At the time of this story, I had dated a bit, but not seriously. Abigail was about my age. She was also an editor, but at the local newspaper. Both of us felt we could improve our editing skills by being in this group.

One day, I invited Abigail to join me for dinner at a nice local restaurant. We enjoyed being out together, and it wasn't long before we began discussing marriage. Abigail invited me to her home for a nice home-cooked meal and I accepted. Dinner was good. She told me it was a sort of quiche. I enjoyed the food. I told Abigail I had especially enjoyed the large pieces of ham in it. That's when we began seeing each other almost every day.

One day, as we were chatting over dinner at McGregor's steakhouse, I said, "Abigail, tell me more about your interest in history. I remember you telling me you have enjoyed studying history throughout your life."

"Dear, you must have heard me wrong," she responded. "I hated history in school. I was more interested in the art classes!" I was surprised at what she said. I thought I had heard her clearly when she told me about her interest. It wasn't important. Not hardly even worth mentioning. But, we talked about art, and it was clear she knew a great deal about the subject. I wasn't particularly interested, but listened attentively, and I think she enjoyed that.

A few days later, she invited me to her home for another home-cooked meal. She was wearing a pretty red dress, and I commented that this might be a change from blue, which was her favorite color. "Oh no, darling," she exclaimed. "I don't care much for blue. Red is definitely my favorite color!"

"Oh," I said. "I didn't know that. I'll try to remember."

"Yes," she said. "That would be nice. You might be wanting to buy me a surprise gift sometime, and it would be good to know my favorite color."

"Of course," I said. "The more one knows about the likes and dislikes of the other person, the better decisions they can make about things like gifts." Again, I was perplexed. I was sure she had once told me that blue was her favorite color, but now, she was telling me something different. I began wondering whether Abigail's mind was getting flighty. But it wasn't important. A girl has a right to change your mind from time to time!

The very next day, we were taking a walk through Victoria Park. It was a nice sunny day, and she had on yellow shorts. I thought I would try an experiment. "Abigail," I began, "If I bought you a nice pair of red shorts for your birthday, would you like them better or worse than the pretty yellow ones you're wearing today."

"Oh, much worse!" she said. "Yellow is my favorite color! Please remember that! I'm glad you asked!"

Now, I was beginning to get truly confused. What could I possibly learn about Abigail without thinking it was going to be incorrect the next day? Could there be something wrong with her mind? This might be something I needed to worry about before asking her to marry me.

I'm ashamed to admit that during the next several days when we saw each other, I would make a written note of things she had indicated she liked or didn't like — what were her favorite foods, what colors did she like best, which political party did she favor, how she felt about children, and many other things. As I had suspected, there were discrepancies. One day her favorite hobby would be creating greeting cards, the next, it was writing poems; yet another day, collecting small clocks. At times, she favored the members of one political party, the next, it was different. And so it went, I found I could not depend on anything she might tell me.

What was worse, at first, she said she loved cats, later, she favored dogs, next she was back to cats. On the following day, she said she didn't care for cats or dogs much, but would rather have a ferret as a pet. There came a time when I was no longer questioning what she said, just accepting without comment, but wondering, and wondering!

Once, we were having dinner at what I thought was one of her favorite restaurants. After a while, she told me she didn't like the place. I couldn't hold it back any longer. "Abigail," I blurted. "I need to ask you something that has become very important to me. I don't know who you really are! There have been so many times when I've asked you things, and you've given me answers at one time, but different ones at another. I just can't think of an explanation for this that makes sense. Are you aware that you have been doing this?"

"Oh, Jerry, dear friend," she said, "I have a confession to make! We've been having fun! During our dates, you haven't always been seeing the same person! There have been…"

"Abigail!" I yelled across the table, not something one should ever do in a restaurant, "are you telling me you have been deceiving me by being someone else when I thought it was you?"

"Yes, dear, but…"

"Are you Abigail now?" I asked, as calmly as I could.

"No, I'm Beatrice," she admitted shamefacedly.

"I can't believe what you're telling me," I said, greatly aggravated . "Who's Beatrice?"

"I'm Abigail's identical sister," she began, "I know this must come as a shock! We've been having fun at your expense. It was a terrible idea!"

"You're a twin? You do look just like her! Who was it that I met at the writing group?"

"That was Abigail!" she responded. "You don't have to worry on that point!"

"And, who did I fall in love with?" I asked angrily. "Was it Abigail?"

"Yes, that was Abigail!" she said.

"And you're Beatrice? Can I be sure?"

"Yes!"

"Who's idea was it to trick me?" I asked.

"It was me. That happened the first time when you came over for dinner. Abigail had not made the quiche. It had been me. But this is the truth — there was nobody else at home when you came over, just you and Abigail!"

"I'm glad of that!" I said sarcastically. "That's sort of explains why the views of you two on a lot of things were different from day to day. Now, I'm going to have to begin all over again learning how Abigail feels about different things."

"We should have thought about that," Beatrice said. "We just wanted to have some fun, and we didn't realize what a mess we were making."

"One of you likes red, and the other, blue?"

"Yes, that's true."

"I won't ask which is which," I said. "I probably won't remember."

"We really got you confused!"

"Now, something that the two of you told me needs an explanation!"

Beatrice suddenly developed an apprehensive look on her countenance. "Yes?" she muttered.

"One of you told me she loves cats, the other dogs. Then, someone preferred ferrets. How could two people have three different favorite pets?"

"This might make you angry again!" Beatrice said, "I have another confession to make."

"Oh, no," I groaned "I can't wait to hear this!"

"We're identical triplets. There's also a Caroline!"

I didn't know how to react! I did love Abigail, and didn't think, that would ever change, but how could I be sure who I had fallen in love with? I had, apparently, dated all three of them. Is it possible that I had transferred my love from one to the other without knowing it as I met with them on dates!

I made no effort to show my annoyance. "Beatrice," I said, "a few minutes ago, you told me I had been deceived by two of you! Suddenly, I am to understand there were three. I suffered, not only a double jeopardy to my relationship with Abigail, the woman I thought I loved, but also, possibly, to a triple jeopardy! How many more of you are there? Are you really quintuplets?"

Beatrice bowed her head deeply into her chest. "All I can say, Jerry, is I'm sorry! No, we stopped being born when there were only three of us. Caroline and I did not try to change your love for Abigail. I feel deep sorrow for the harm we caused! I fervently promise, we'll try to redeem ourselves. Do not change your plans! Abigail has always loved you deeply! Neither I nor Caroline ever tried to change that in any way!"

I wanted to believe, but there were lingering doubts. I went home profoundly confused. I removed my suit coat and was preparing to hang it up in the closet. There were a few jackets already there. I pushed them to the side to make room for this one when I felt some paper in the pocket of one of them. It was the suit coat I had worn some months before when I had first gone to dinner with Abigail. The paper turned out to be an envelope with a note inside. In her handwriting, Abigail had written this:

Jerry dear, I feel we are embarking on a new adventure. I don't know where it will lead, but I want you to know something. I'm one in an identical triplet of three girls. My sisters names are Beatrice and Caroline. Sometimes we engage in pranks using our identical appearance to befuddle others. I may be talked into doing something I would prefer not to do. Please be warned that some of our dates may be puzzling to you. After the fun is over, we'll confess. During this time, you may become confused with the relationship you and I have established. Please understand, no matter what happens, nothing will change what it is now! Love, Abigail.

She must have slipped that note into my pocket when I wasn't looking. I wish I had seen it sooner. I felt better now than after I had had that conversation with Beatrice. I asked you a question at the beginning of this story Now that you have read it, what do you think?



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