The PA guy’s voice boomed: “Markieff Morris, entering the game for Channing Frye.”
Markieff, still sitting on the bench, could hardly contain his laughter as he watched his brother go in his place. None of his teammates knew, nor his coaches. But they would know soon if he couldn’t get his giggling under control.
As “Markieff” drained a baseline jumper, Viacheslav Kravtsov gave the real Markieff a sidelong glance. “What so funny?” he asked.
Shaking his head, Markieff responded, “Nothing. I’m jus’ thinkin’ about how funny it would be if me and Marcus switched places.”
Viacheslav laughed. “Yeah, would be funny, yes. But you do never that, right? NBA suspend you for long time.”
That was something Markieff hadn’t considered. What would the NBA do if they were found out? In school teachers would just laugh it off, but in the world of professional sports, with so many millions of dollars invested, Markieff could see the punishments being much harsher. He began to panic a little bit.
At the next timeout, he approached his brother before they got to the huddle. “Dude, we gotta switch back. I’m freaking out.”
Marcus looked at him in surprise. “What, you feel your identity as an individual slipping away?”
“No, no, not that. But if somebody finds out, we’re toast, dude. You know how long Ron Artest got suspended for? That could be us!”
“First off,” Marcus started, “Artest punched a fan. Second, we can’t switch back, we’re already wearing each others’ jerseys.”
Markieff groaned. “This is like a crappy Disney movie. I can’t believe we thought this was a good idea. I’m gonna tell coach.”
Grabbing his brother’s shoulders, Marcus said sternly, “Dude. Don’t lose your cool. Everything will go smoothly if you don’t flip out. Nobody can tell us apart.”
Hardly listening to his brother, Markieff wrestled with the nature of his existence and the ramifications of their infraction. If him and his brother had the same DNA, weren’t they the same person? So what was the difference, if any? Why should anybody care? Shrugging off his brother, he walked up to coach Hornacek, who was sipping a cup of Gatorade. His brother followed, his pleas for “chilling out” going totally unheard.
“Coach, I got something to tell you.”
“What’s that, Markieff?”
Markieff was about to proceed normally with his question before pausing in realization. “Wait, you know I’m Markieff?”
Hornacek’s expression was confused as he replied, “Of course, who else would you be?”
“But I’m wearing Marcus’ jersey!”
Hornacek looked even more puzzled. “Who’s Marcus? Are you feeling okay?”
Markieff glanced over his shoulder were he expected his brother to be, but saw nobody. Eyes darting around the arena, he could not locate Marcus. Looking down at his chest, he saw his own number of 11, not the 15 he could swear he had been wearing just a minute prior. Now looking up at the scoreboard, there was only one Morris present. A Morris whose point total was the sum of both his own and his brother’s, scored under each other’s names.
Trying to remain calm, Markieff clarified, “My twin brother, Marcus. You know, number 15?”
“We don’t have a number 15 on this team, Markieff. You’re looking a little pale. Do you want one of the guys to look you over?”
The implications of this revelation were washing over Markieff in an unstoppable wave. 24 years of life with a twin – all a lie. A fantasy. All created by his own brain.
Just before he fainted to the ground, he saw a faint figure at the edge of his vision. It was his brother, waving one last goodbye. Markieff heard Marcus’ parting words echo through his head:
“It was cool being your brother, dude. But you’re going to have go at it alone now. I’m going to miss you.”