The Janus Dichotomy

Romulus (named after one of the mythical founders of Rome) went about his normal morning routine still half asleep. He apparently had a restless night but didn't remember anything out of the ordinary that would have kept him awake. Rom shrugged it off, finished his breakfast, and headed for the door. As he stepped over the threshold, Rom almost tripped over a small package lying on the porch. He scooped it up and tore it open on the way to the car. The mystery package contained a pocket size notepad and a metal refillable pen. He took the package, tossed it on the passenger seat and headed for work.

As he approached a particularly dangerous intersection two cars collided in front of him. Rom was the only witness. Figuring the police would want to interview him, he reached for his phone to dictate notes about what he had just witnessed. The problem was the phone was nowhere to be found. He must have inadvertently left it at the house. Remembering the note pad and pen, Rom snatched them from the passenger seat and began jotting down notes.

When Rom arrived at work the following day he found a package waiting for him on his desk. None of his co-workers saw the package being delivered. He opened it tentatively and discovered a role of duct tape. "This stuff fixes everything" he mumbled to himself, "but what needs fixing around here?" A new carpet had been ordered for the office but wouldn't arrive for several more weeks. One well-worn section had developed a tear and people, especially ladies in heels, were always tripping on it. Rom put the tape to good use covering the tear and garnering the thanks of his fellow workers. At the end of the day he placed the roll of tape in a plastic crate he kept in the trunk. There's no such thing as having too much duct tape.

Day three started in a panic. The alarm failed to go off and Rom had only minutes to dress and leave for work. A third package greeted him on the porch. "I don't have time for this!" muttered Rom as he scooped up the package and raced to his car. He had almost made it when the latch on his briefcase broke, spilling the contents on the ground. Rom gathered the spilled items and stuffed everything back into the case. He thought about the tape in the trunk but, as he was already late anyway, decided to open the package first. Inside the padded envelope was a large wide rubber band perfect for holding the case together.

The fourth day's item was hanging from the knob on his front door. A lug nut wrench, or tire iron, was dangling from a length of twine. "This is handy." Thought Rom "I don't own one of these." As he drove toward the end of his street he saw a neighbor standing by her somewhat lopsided car. The right rear tire was as flat as the road surface. Rom pulled in behind her and, using his new wrench, had the tire changed in less than fifteen minutes. "Romulus to the rescue!" he thought. "I like the sound of that."

Day five was normal enough until a FEDEX truck pulled up to Rom's house early in the evening and delivered a special order package. Rom thanked the driver and brought the package into the kitchen to open it. He was pleasantly surprised when the contents was a special filleting knife. He had been invited to a B-B-Q the next day and, fancying himself somewhat of a chef, had volunteered to do the cooking. He knew he hadn't ordered the knife, but he would definitely make good use of it.

Rom was heading for the cookout on day six when he heard a terrible screeching and tearing of metal. He could feel the ground shudder even while sitting in his car. Approximately half a mile ahead was a railroad crossing with a derailed Amtrak train lying on its side. Rom arrived before the first responders and, because he had been trained by the Air Force as a medic, rushed to lend assistance. The first victim Rom found was pinned under a piece of train. Being a proactive person, he had grabbed the crate which contained all the items he had received along with other tools. Using his newly acquired tire iron, Rom levered the debris off the victim. After a quick field exam, he determined the man was suffering from a tension pneumothorax and was literally suffocating. Rom grabbed the fillet knife and carefully made an incision at the fifth intercostal space. He then disassembled the pen and pushed the pen's barrel into the opening, releasing a gush of air and fluid. Rom secured the pen in place with duct tape. He then used his large rubber band to hold a make shift splint in place on the man's broken arm. The emergency responders arrived. They inspected Rom's work and proclaimed his fast action had saved the man's life. Rom was too drained to continue to the cookout and went home.

The first place Rom went after arriving home was the kitchen for a glass of water. Sitting on the counter was a new bottle of Makers Mark Bourbon with a note attached. Drink up hero you deserve it! Both fear and anger alternately coursed through his body. "Time to get to the bottom of this!" Rom thought. He had just installed a new Ring security system and settled in to watch surveillance video. A man appeared in several segments who looked identical to Rom, but different in some undefinable way. Comprehension hit him like a heavyweight's right cross.

Rom had served in combat and suffered severe head trauma. Besides the physical wounds he had been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka split personality. As in mythology, Remus was his evil twin. After intensive therapy and some medication, Rom thought he had locked Remus deep in a dungeon located far in the recesses of his mind. Somehow Remus had escaped, and it was he who had removed the stop signs at the intersection where the accident occurred, sabotaged his neighbor's tire, and enlarged the tear in the office carpet. It was also Remus who, using Rom's skill as a coder, hacked into Amtrak's system and caused the derailment. All this was done to satisfy Remus's need to be a hero. Remus was back in the world, and the age old battle of Romulus and Remus has resumed.