The old man’s hooded eyes focused on the photo of two teenaged girls smashing their faces into slices of birthday cake. He tapped the picture and said, “Snuck up on them for this one, but they heard me coming. Yep, last picture of the girls we have.”
The reporter glanced at the picture. “That’s the picture the FBI used?”
The old man sighed. “Lotta good it did them. Change their hair color. Use a different color of icing and all youse got is a headline—”
“The Icing Twins Strike Again!” the reporter said in the exaggerated tones of an anchorman announcing late-breaking news.
“Most successful bank robbers ever!" The old man raised his chin, proud and defiant. "Never been caught. Never heard from them once they began their life of crime.” He looked down at the picture again. His hand trembled. “My granddaughter broke her mother’s heart.”
The reporter consulted his notes. “Debbie and Ellie swore they were twins even though they had different parents?”
“They had a connection. It ran between them strong. You ever seen a dog and an electric fence?” He didn’t wait for the reporter to answer. “It was like that. A line of electricity between them that warned everyone away, like they might get shocked if they got too close. We figured it was just teenage lesbo stuff.”
“Yes, well, according to reports Debbie and Ellie finished each other’s sentences, had the same gestures and facial tics and made the same impulsive decisions.”
“They got tired of people saying, ‘But you don’t look anything alike.’ It made ‘em angry. ‘Nobody sees us,’ our Ellie said. It was then they decided to never have their pictures taken again."
“Why do you think they started their life of crime?”
“If I knew that, mister, I wouldn’t be sittin’ here in my pajamas talkin’ to you. Oh sure, maybe we shoulda told Ellie she was adopted, but how was we to know Debbie was adopted, too?” The old man set the picture down and twisted his arthritic hands together, agitated. “What are the chances of them endin’ up in the same neighborhood? Plenty of folks is adopted and they don’t rob banks!”
“Hmm, do you think Ellie and Debbie, um, became lovers?”
The old man struggled to his feet. “What kind of a sick sumbitch are you? That’d be incest!”
He showed the reporter to the door and went over to the mantle to raise a picture he’d lowered just before the man arrived. He smiled down at the latest photo of Debbie and Ellie. A new one arrived on their birthday every year. This one showed the sisters with their three children. All five of them had their faces smashed down in birthday cake.
Flash written in response to the photo above.