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An Elegy for My Doppelgänger


ISSUE:  Winter 2016

Turner, a celebrity chef, wrote Brian Turner’s
Favourite British Recipes: Classic Dishes
from Yorkshire Pudding to Spotted Dick. He played 
drums for the horror-punk band Schoolyard Heroes,
played hockey for New Zealand in the sixties, lifted
the impossible as the eighth-strongest man in the world.

On weekends, he usually gets thrown in jail
with a DUI, runs a political campaign for House 116
out of North Carolina, or coaches high-school football
at the local stadium. He dies throughout the week,
though mostly on Tuesdays—if he’s not already
eulogizing the dead in small towns across America,
where he’s often quoted in the Tribune at length.
He’s died from heart failure, kidney disease,
car wrecks, suicides, and just plain old age.
He’s even been killed running across the street
in Phenix City, Alabama, on his way
to tell the kids about Jesus.

Brian turns sixty on Thursday, and he’ll be twenty-seven
on Monday. He’s a civil engineer in South Africa, 
a Vermont state trooper, a photographer
in Kansas City. Turner was once a five-star
film reviewer in London, a porn star 
in Escapade Amoureuse, and he played
first base for the Hardware City Rock Cats.

It’s true that he killed a woman in Flint, and
he was wanted for bad checks, forgery, thefts,
and drug possession in Utah. In Texas,
he was a VA whistleblower, and in New York
he specializes in gastroenterology, though sometimes
he moonlights with a construction company 
in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Tampa.

In photographs, he’s clean-shaven or has a goatee,
though sometimes he’s bald, wears a baseball hat,
goes shirtless, stands against a tree or a brick wall,
holds a fish by its tail, staring off into the distance
or looking directly into the camera’s eye. Sometimes
it’s a mug shot, sometimes an old family photo.
Mostly he just stands with a group of friends, smiling.

He met Jessica on Tinder and they plan to get married
in July. He was married to Wendy Lynn for thirty years,
before she passed away in Pennsylvania, although
he also lost Myrtle in June and Katherine Ann in February.
He married Amy in Tennessee, who gave birth to Noah 
sometime in April. Katrina isn’t pregnant yet, though
Tracey just gave birth to little Liv Tracey back in January,
and his son Simeon had another grandchild with Michelle,
while Brian has also reunited with his high-school sweetheart
back in West Virginia. It’s been thirty years on—so who knows
if they’re even able to have kids at this point.

He was born in 1941, in 1901, in 1953, and in 1837.
He was born in Harlan County, Graves County, and 
in Victoria, Australia, though that was a rare one—
as he’s most often born somewhere in Ohio, 
with his mother’s maiden name appearing in records
as Kaczmarck, Mortimor, Hendrix, Ragland, and Rose.

At eighty-two, he died peacefully with his family by his side.
He was known as a hardworking man, a great man
loved by all, and he touched a lot of people’s lives.
He died in De Leon Springs, in Fayetteville, Asheville,
and was laid to rest at the Thompson Funeral Chapel
in Litchfield Park. He worked at the Family Dollar 
in Prosperity. He was a loving father, a gentle soul,
and he participated in a church ministry in Guatemala,
as well as taking part in the US Mission 
to the United Nations in Geneva.

No one has recorded a memory in his Memory Book,
or left an audio message for the bereaved, or lit a candle,
and the Guest Book for Brian Turner is no longer
available. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made 
to the local Veterans Affairs, to the National Alliance
on Mental Illness, or to the Home for Friendless Animals.
Brian was a golfer, a hunting enthusiast, a good son.
He will be remembered for his laugh, his great love
of memorabilia, his care for things big and small.
Internment will be later in the spring.

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