The two brothers sat opposite each other, there was no love lost between them, even though they were identical twins, they had an intense dislike for each other, well at least John had for Brian. Being the eldest by thirty six minutes, John always thought that Brian was their mothers favourite and he had grown up with this idea burning like a festering wound eating into his life. Brian knew different, although identical in looks, they were opposites in character.
Brian was a fair-minded man who always thought the best of others, he was kind and sometimes over generous. John was cunning, mean and only ever thought of himself. Their mother, Joyce Broscoe, had now passed away some ten years previously, but when alive, she could never understand how they could be so different. She knew of John’s jealous dislike for his brother, he had told her often enough that he thought ‘Brian was her favourite’ but she knew better.
John had been given everything he asked for, more to keep the peace than anything else. Brian, well, he never asked for much, he knew his mother had struggled to bring them up on her own, their father, and Joyce’s husband of two years, had walked out on them when they were first born and the boys had never met him, let alone got any financial help or moral standing from him.
Now they had attained the age of thirty seven, the brothers had mostly gone their separate ways. Brian was an English teacher at the local secondary school; he always worked hard to bring up his own family. He had married his childhood sweetheart, Brenda, but this had also made John’s feeling for his brother even worse. When Brenda was first brought home by Brian to meet Joyce, they were both but sixteen years old, John had immediately taken a fancy to Brenda and wanted her for himself, when his advanced towards her were shunned, he would turn on his brother in a jealous rage and start a fight, unfortunately a fight Brian would always lose, mainly because of his lack of wishing not to hurt his brother or the capacity to do hurt to any other human being. John had gone a different route, already convicted of aggravated assault, burglary, theft and other crimes he had spent sixteen of his thirty seven year behind bars.
John had fallen into crime at an early age, when only ten years old, he had been brought home by the Police after being caught stealing, of all things a tin of ‘Spam’ luncheon meat from a local Supermarket. From then on the Police seemed to be at their door at least once or twice a month, sometimes more. By the time he had attained the age of thirteen he had two convictions for theft and one of violence under his belt. At sixteen he served his first term in a youth detention centre for burglary, serving six months of an eight month sentence. But like many others, this time inside was more like ‘criminal education classes’ and ‘how to do crime and get away with it.’ It sent him in an ever spiral downhill journey to his own self-destruction.
John’s ‘best friend’ if you could call him that, was a ‘career criminal’ a young thug, thief and sexual predator, called Philip Archer. Archer was a years older than John and came from a very dysfunctional family, Archer’s father was also a ‘career criminal’ Serving fifteen years at the time of their first meeting, for armed robbery in which he had shot a security guards, “an accident”, he claimed in court, shot in both knees! John and Archer had met on John’s first ‘visit’ to the youth detention centre, from then on they spent most of their life together, inside and out.
Brian and Brenda lived in a modest three bedroom semi’. Although on a fair wage, life was still a financial struggle, with three young children too rise they were by no means rich, but thanks to Brenda’s ‘good housekeeping’ they were never in debt either. Brian had some savings in the bank, but even for them, holidays were in the static caravan which they had purchased, second hand, some five years previously. For them there was no holidays abroad, just the once or twice a year trip to Cornwall, but to them life was still good. Brenda was a full time mum, their children, Peter, Steven and Sophia were everything to them.
Brenda’s mother and father were perfect in-laws, Grace and Bill where now in their mid-sixties, Bill was a semi-retired accountant, only working when asked by his old firm to step into the breach. Grace was a part time shop assistant working in the local chemist shop three days a week. Also being keen caravaner’s, they would often accompany Brian, Brenda and the children on holiday, as much to take the strain off Brenda and Brian, as they would ‘baby-sit’ the children often, even whilst on holiday. Brian was very grateful for their kindness and often told them so.
John’s life was so different, not married, and definitely not the marrying kind, he would spend money where decent men would not. He didn’t even have a favourite, but all the working girls who knew him, did not like him, but business was business. He flitted from one rented accommodation to the next. In and out of prison he could not settle. His places to live were always ‘found’ for him by the prisons social workers, who often tried, but always failed to rehabilitate him. Brian often lost track of him when he was released from prison, as John would never contact his brother, it was always Brian who made contact with him first.
John’s last prison sentence, four years for wounding and theft, would have been over with good behaviour thirteen months previously had it not been for his inability to reform and whilst inside and causing Grievous Bodily Harm (G.B.H.) on a fellow prisoner, just because he looked at him the wrong way. It would have been an extra sentence added on, but the fellow prisoner he put in the prison hospital for two weeks refused to testify against him. John never took responsibility for his actions, he didn’t care, he never gave excuses for his criminal activities, to him he didn’t have to justify himself to anybody. Brian had a secret fear for his brother, ‘that one day he would go into prison and never come out again.’
It was now late spring and John had been out of his latest prison spell for the past three months. Brian knew of his release within days, as he always tied to keep in touch and even visited him once a month, but the authorities would and could not, divulge where he had moved too, as John had left instructions that his whereabouts were not to be given to anyone. This was not necessary so Brian could not locate him, but the Police, but little did he know the Police where always informed of his whereabouts regardless of his request.
It took Brian ten weeks to track John down, he was in a bed-sit in the dingiest part of town, handy for the working girls but a deplorable life for John, Brian thought to himself. Upon seeing each other, all Brian could feel was love for his twin brother, but John, well he didn’t care! Although he wasn’t immediately nasty to his brother, it was only in hope that Brian would give him money more than anything else, as he always did, but you couldn’t say John was over friendly towards Brian.
Brian asked John to come for a drink, as he knew he would not refuse, but his motive was to get a hot meal into him rather than to top him up with alcohol. Looking around the bed-sit it was obvious there was a lack of a cooker or microwave. There was a kettle and the flat was full of empty ‘pot-noodles’ tubs which were scattered about the place with empty wrappers of bread and beer cans. Not only wishing to get out of the area where John lived, Brian drove him to ‘The Ship Inn’ but also because; One, it was not his local. Two, it was not John’s local, but three, because he had been there before with Brenda and knew they served decent square meals.
By the time Brian had finished his first and only pint, John had drank four. When the meal had been ordered John overheard Brian asking the bar tender to ‘open a table tab’. Not one to miss an opportunity and always taking advantage, John had started drinking fast, although it was refused he always asked Brian if he ‘wanted another,’ before he would go up to the bar and order another one for himself and always asked the bar tender too; ‘place it on the tab’. Brian knew of course, that was the idea, as he never wanted John to feel embarrassed, not that he would of course, but as usual Brian always thought people had the same feelings as he.
After the meal, which consisted of hot soup with crusty bread, steak, chips, peas, mushrooms, onion rings, with extra bread and butter, then topped with apple pie and custard, John felt satisfied: Well there was an additional seven pints of larger also, but Brian didn’t mind, he knew it would be another few months before he saw his brother again, it was not for the lack of trying, but John was a lost spirit and Brian knew it. No matter how many times he called on John, he would only be in on the rare occasions, and within the year, Brian knew John would be back inside. Although asked numerous times to visit them at Brian’s home, John never did, but this didn’t stop Brian asking him to come and see them, this time was no different.
“Yer, I will, once I get settled.” Was John’s standard reply.
Prior to leaving, Brian went to the bar to pay the bill, he had the cash but did not want to break into it as he was keeping it for John, so he paid it by his debit card on the hand held machine handed to him by the waiter, entering his four digit security code. John waited with him but said nothing and made no effort to help Brian pay the bill. Brian never expected him too, but just the offer would have been nice, Brian thought.
Brian drove John back to the bed-sit, John did not ask Brian in, his parting words were,
“See yer ‘round, our kid.”
But he remained in the passenger seat until Brian offered him the usual hand out. It didn’t take long.
“Here John, take this, just as a loan, until you get a job.”
Brian said, as he handed his brother two crisp fifty pound notes he had kept in a different pocket, knowing at the end of the visit he would give it to his brother regardless.
“Thanks ‘our kid’ I’ll give it yer back.”
John replied before getting out of the car, knowing he never had any intention of return it, as he never did. ‘If Brenda knew of my generosity,’ Brian would often think, in trepidation that one day she would find out. This was the only thing he never told her that he did, he had a secret stash, putting a few pounds in here and there, just for John, but secretly Brenda knew all along, but out of her love and respect for her husband, she never once mentioned it or complained.
Brian tried several times to contact John before summer came, but as usual John was not in, well that’s not exactly true, on one occasion Brian had spotted John through the window but when he knocked on the door it was not answered, at first Brian thought that his brother might think he was the authorities, so he shouted through the letterbox,
“John, its Brian, come on, answer the door.”
But he never did, but on this occasion knowing John was inside, Brian pushed another two fifty pound notes through the letter box for him, together with a scribbled note he had made on the only piece paper he had on him, an old bank statement, the note read;
‘Hi John, called but you were out, hope this helps, consider it a loan, call me 07791846630733.
PS Brenda and the kids also send their love.
To Brian’s amazement that afternoon John contacted him.
“All-right our kid!” John stated over the phone.
“Yes thank you John. What have you been up too?” Asked Brian.
“Not much, I’ve hardly left the flat since I last saw you.
“Can we meet?” Asked Brian.
“Sure,” replied John, “when?”
“It’ll have to be after I’ve finished work later today, say about six o’clock. I’ll meet you at The George on Weaver Street, I have to come into town anyway.” Stated Brian. It was agreed and at five fifty Brian was in The George public house waiting for his brother. He bought himself just half a bitter as he knew John would want him to have another drink when he got there and Brian would pay.
After half an hour waiting, John walked through the door, stopped, looked around for Brian. Brian, on spotting him raised his arm and gave a little wave, John soon spotted him and came over.
“What you havin’?” Asked John.
“I’ll get them.” Brian stated as he got up to go to the bar.
John didn’t argue or comment apart from…..
“Mine’s a point of larger then, and I’ll have a chaser too if you want, a ‘Jack Daniel’s’ will do.
“Tell you what John.”
“I need the loo, you get them in will you, there’s some cash in the side pocket.”
He pointed to his coat folded over the chair at the side of the table, Brian then walked off to use the toilet.
John just picked up Brian’s coat and reached for the pocket, in the right hand side there was a crumpled ten pound note, three pounds coins and some odd small change. After removing it he was about to place the coat back on the chair when he took a look around to see if anyone was watching him, he then felt in the inside pocket, there finding Brian’s brown leather wallet. He scanned quickly through it, there was only the usual two fifty pound notes, so he left them, knowing it would be missed if they had another drink. He then noticed in another pocket, within the wallet, a bankers debit cards for The Northern Bank and Brian’s drivers licence.
John put the wallet back and placed the coat neatly down again on the chair and went to the bar. He had placed the order and was waiting for the bar tender to finish serving when Brian returned and joined him.
“Need a hand?” Brian asked John.
“No it’s okay, sit down I’ll bring them over.” John responded.
As Brian made his way to the table, John walked over from the bar to join him, gripping three glasses between both hands, trying not to spill the liquid from within. Two pints of larger and a large whiskey at the front.
“Do you want to eat?” Asked Brian.
“No thanks, I’ve eaten.” John responded, he hadn’t but he knew if they had a meal Brian would have to break into the two fifty pound notes, he could not take the chance, if Brian’s does his usual he will give him the hundred pound, so why should he pay for his own meal. He could not take the chance.
“Where have you been hiding?” Asked Brian.
“Oh! Here and there,” was all John came forward with.
“Listen John,” started Brian, “I know you don’t care for me much, but you’re my twin brother and I want to help you, but you’ve got to stop getting into trouble.”
“Listen, muggings, you live your life mummy’s boy and I’ll live mine. I didn’t have a silver spoon like you when I was a kid, you where mum’s little boy and I dipped out okay!” John snapped back at Brian.
They then sat in silence, sipping their drinks. Brian said nothing, he hardly ever did, but before they left he told John he had asked to see him because he had bought him some new clothes, he knew the only ones that John had on, were the ones he walked out of prison in. Brian was right and as he pulled a shopping bag from under his chair, he said.
“There you go, I know they’ll fit as they’re our size, I can’t get that wrong.”
John accepted them, as even he knew he was starting to look like a tramp in the clothes that he had worn, other than a prison uniform, for the last fifteen years.
“I know they’re a bit loud,” said Brian, “but they are more you than me.”
He was right, a bright yellow and blue pock-a-dots shirt, a pair of blue denim jeans, an a pair of white trainers, they were definitely not Brian and as John suspected, ‘easy touch Brian’ handed him the hundred pounds before he left, so he accepted the clothes with little grace, and the money with even more grace.
The weekend then passed, and Brian was on half term break, Brenda was at work and he was sitting at home reading in the conservatory when the telephone rang.
“Hello, Mister Broscoe?” The caller asked.
“Yes.” Stated Brian.
“This is Julie Carruthers from the Northern Bank in Chapel Street. I just need to ask you some security questions, can you tell me your mother’s maiden name please…….”
Continued Julie. After clearing more security questions, Julie enquired as to why there was an unauthorised overdraft on his account.
“What do you mean?” Asked Brian in a disbelieving tone.
“Well, I’ve made enquires Mister Broscoe and the teller who served you yesterday states she knows you personally as a trusted customer and tells me you came in and withdrew all the money out of your account bringing it to a near nil balance and you told her you were going on holiday. Now unfortunately today, your mortgage payment, a standing order and two direct debits have been taken out of the account, leaving you nine hundred and forty seven pound overdrawn. Looking at your account Mister Broscoe, and as this is the first time you have gone overdrawn on your account, we are wondering if we can help you in any way?”
“But I haven’t been to the bank for over three weeks.” Brian stated.
“Well our teller states she served you personally yesterday at approximately ten forty five in the morning Sir.”
“Well it wasn’t me.” Stated Brian, “I’ll come down there now and sort it.”
Within thirty minutes Brian was at the bank, after a ten minute wait, the lady he had spoken to on the telephone came and invited him into an interview room.
“Hello Mister Broscoe, my name is Julie.”
“Yes I know, we have met before.” Replied Brian.
“I’m sorry I had to call you Mister Broscoe, but it’s the banks policy to contact our customers when there has been an unauthorised overdraft.” Julie continued.
“But I haven’t withdrawn anything, if fact I have not been into the bank for more than three weeks.” Brian insisted.
“Oh!” Replied Julie, as she listened to the sincerity in his voice. “Just wait here a moment please.”
She then left the room and as she did so asked.
“Can I get you a coffee or cup of tea Mister Broscoe?”
“No thank you.” Brian said, as he watched her leave the room.
Within a few minutes, Julie re-entered the interview room in company with Pamela Crossens, the bank clerk.
“Pamela,” asked Julie, “Are you sure Mister Broscoe came in and you served him yesterday?”
“Yes,” replied Pamela, looking directly at Brian, remembering the event clearly.
“You must remember, Mister Broscoe, you told me you were going on holiday and I asked you if it was anywhere nice. You told me you had booked a world cruise for a month as a surprise for Mrs Broscoe and the children and that it had to be paid in cash as you set sail today and they would only accept a cash payment at such a late stage. I then said to you, ‘lovely I’ve never been on cruise’ and you said, ‘well pack your bags and I’ll take you for the time of your life, but don’t tell the misses.” We both laughed and I asked you for identity you produced your driving licence, you then put your card in the machine, entered your security pin number and I gave you the cash, you asked for it in fifty pounds notes. I even called my line manager, Miss Robinson, to verify the transaction as it was so large and she then went and obtained the extra cash for you from the safe.”
“I assure you Miss Crossens, I never spoke to you yesterday, and I’m not happy with your accusation!”
“Okay, thank you Pamela.” Julie uttered as she showed Pamela out of the interview room.
“But he did.” Stated Pamela to Julie as she left the room and she appeared to be quite upset at the strong denial by Brian.
“There is one way we can clear this misunderstanding Mister Broscoe, excuse me for a few minutes please.” Stated Julie, as she left the room also.
Within five minutes she came back and asked.
“Could you come with me please Mister Broscoe?”
Led out of the room, Brian followed her into another room, in here was a security television screen with a picture of the front foyer frozen in the pause mode. Also in the room was a gentleman Brian had not met.
“Hello Mister Broscoe, I’m Jonathan Gates, the assistant manager. I’m sorry about this but we have to get it cleared up it’s a serious allegation as there was over ten thousand pounds in your account and I believe you are saying you did not make the withdrawal, is that correct?”
“Yes.” Stated Brian, “I have not been into this bank for over three weeks.”
“Well, can you explain this?” Mister Gates asked.
Jonathan Gates then nodded to Julie and she pointed a T.V. remote towards the screen and pressed ‘PLAY’
Brian watched as he witnessed ‘himself’ enter the banking hall and walk over to the tills in full view of the security cameras. After waiting just a few seconds at the queue barrier, ‘he’ approached Pamela Crossens, he witnessed them talking and laughing together, then a third person came over to the counter, obviously Miss Robinson, unheard words were obviously spoken and after a few minute wait Miss Robinson returned and handed Pamela a large bulging cloth bag, which obviously contained the bank notes requested. After a ten minute delay while Pamela and Miss Robinson recounted the money in front of ‘Brian’ they handed ‘him’ the empty bag and then handed ‘him’ the cash, a bundle at a time through the cash well under the security glass on the till. Then as he watched ‘himself’ walk out of the banking hall carrying the cash in the bag, ‘he’ looked up at the camera and smiled, ‘he’ was wearing a yellow and blue poke-a-dot shirt, jeans and white trainers.
“Well!” retorted Jonathan Gates.
“It’s not me!” Brian stated as he sat back down into the chair in ‘shock.’
“Well, we can all see it is clearly you Mister Broscoe and if you continue with this charade I will have no other option but to call the Police.”
“Believe me,” said a ‘stunned’ Brian in shock. “It is not me.”
“Then who else is it.” Demanded Mr Gates.
“John.” Brian said, “It is John, but how?”
“John who?” Requested Mr Gates.
After a long pause for thought, Brian had no other option but to ‘come clean.’ He explained about his identical twin brother, whilst still defending him he explained about his criminality. The meal they had at The Ship, ‘he must have seen me enter my pin code’ he told them. The very clothes he was wearing where the ones he had given him last Friday, the day he let him go through his coat in The George, whilst he went to the toilet. Brian suddenly stood up, reached into his coat, took out his wallet and checked, and checked again. No, they weren’t there.
“He’s stolen them, my banker’s card and driving licence. My own brother, after all I’ve done for him, he stole from his own brother.” Brian shouted in a panic.
“Okay Mister Broscoe, calm down, we’ll get this sorted for you. Go and telephone the Police Julie and get Mister Broscoe a cup of tea.” Jonathan Gates instructed Julie,
“Oh! And go to the staff room and tell Pamela to stop crying, it appears we’ve all been had, including Mister Broscoe.”
“I don’t believe he would do that to his own brother.” Brian stated again to Jonathan Gates, with ‘tears of distressed’ now in his eyes.
Within the hour, the Police had attended at the bank, they took full statements from all those involved and were on their way to John Broscoe’s bet-sit to make an arrest.
Although at first they could not get a reply the police kept intermittent watch on his flat and at seven thirty in the evening two days later they saw John Broscoe leaving and he was immediately arrested. He was still wearing the same clothes as seen on the security video at the bank.
As usual, whilst in custody during interview, John denied all knowledge of the offence, even when confronted with all the evidence, his brother statement, the video at the bank. The Detective in charge had dealt with John personally on several occasion and knew quite well what John Broscoe was capable off, and this was just ‘up his street’. They even found two fifty pounds notes from ‘the bank’ under his mattress back at the bed-sit but no more. John would not tell them where the ‘rest’ of the money was, so he was kept in custody due to his previous convictions, and the following morning he was place before the Magistrates, who, because the money had not been recovered and that he was still on licence from prison, they remanded him in custody to await trial.
Brian refused, this time, to visit John, even though for once John made the request, several times.
“Why should I?” Brian told Brenda, “He stole from the hand that fed him, my own twin brother, I can’t believe even he would stoop they low.”
Two months went by before the trial was heard at Crown Court. John pleaded, ‘NOT GUILTY’ as usual, so a few weeks later the trial commenced. Brian gave his evidence, explaining without faltering from his statement, how John, ‘had the opportunity’ to get the pin number whilst he paid the bill at The George. How John, had the opportunity to take his bankers card and driving licence from his wallet at The Ship Inn. How the man on the bank security video was not him, but his twin brother posing as him at the bank. “Anyway” Brian told the court, ‘he didn’t own or wouldn’t even dare wear such clothes as John was wearing even now.’
It took the jury just twenty minutes to find John guilty of theft by deception, and that included fifteen of the minutes having a cup of tea. The Judge, Mr Justice James QC, had no hesitation and sentenced John to ten years in prison, telling him. ‘His sentence was long because, not only was he was a nuisance to society but also he was still on parole and that the offence was even more deplorable as he had stolen from his own twin brother, who had only shown kindness towards him.
Although only one hundred pound had been recovered from John Broscoe’s bed-sit the Judge also ordered the Northern Bank to repay all the stolen money back into Brian Broscoe’s account, and as he put it. “With, he hoped, although he could not force the bank, they should pay Brian some suitable compensation for his distress, as he felt it was the responsibility the bank to checked the person receiving such a large sum of money, was who he said he was, and they were fools for handing over such a large sum of money. The Bank investigators, who were also in attendance at the trial, agreed and promised the Judge to learn by their mistakes. They apologised to Brian personally and offered him a further three thousand pounds in compensation. Brian not being a greedy man agreed.
A few weeks after the trial, thirteen thousand pounds was paid into Brian’s bank account. With the extra three thousand pounds compensation money from the bank. With the extra three thousand, Brian took Brenda the children and Grace and Bill with him on a holiday to the Costa-del-sol for a two weeks. The first evening at the resort, he took them all out to dinner, and of course being a warm Spanish summers evening, he wore his new, worn only once, bright yellow and blue poke-a-dot shirt, blue jeans and white trainers, which he had purchased two sets of, back home four months previously, one set for him and the other for John.
All names mentioned are fictitious and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.