Setting: Earth, Alaska.
Disclaimer: None of it belongs to me, not even the story. . . Im just a sack of potatoes.
There you are. Thomas Riker opened the door and poked his head in. Where in the hell have you been? He smiled at Will as he walked into the small wooden building that was on his brothers property. Ive been looking all over for you.
Riker grunted a greeting without looking up as he picked up another log, refueling the ancient wood-burning stove that heated up the small building; slamming the iron door to the ancient heating unit, he dusted the wood chips off of his hands.
Whats with you? Thomas asked, noticing his brothers sour mood.
Shouldnt you be with the rest of the family, or out finding something to screw? William Riker asked sarcastically.
Thomas snapped to an erect position, clicked his heels together and saluted. Go to hell, Sir!
Riker rolled his eyes. Lets dispense with formalities and all of the nice little bullshit wise-cracks shall we Thomas, and if you have to know my fish died.
Yeah, well I killed another relationship. Thomas Riker grabbed a chair and flipped it around effortlessly, straddling it with his long legs. Elise and I decided to call it quits.
He died around seven hundred hours. I liked that fish. Will offered paying no attention to what Thomas had just said, he took a hefty swig of whiskey and offered the bottle to his brother. Hed been with me on the Enterprise for years. He stated remembering his fish fondly.
Elise informed me that our relationship wasnt working. Thomas said taking a swig of the whiskey; it burnt his throat going down. He swallowed hard, wiping his mouth off with the back of his hand. Sorry, about your fish.
Thanks. Riker said grabbing the bottle that was offered to him. What did Elise say?
Something about an emotional impediment, unable to commit to a relationship, unwilling to receive love, unwilling to look beyond my own selfish desires, unwilling to look beyond my own personal selfish goals . blah blah blah .
Nag nag nag Will said cutting in; he spoke as if her knew exactly what Thomas was talking about. Riker took the whiskey bottle and chugged a drink. He wiped off his mouth before he continued. Gods I hated when women did that to me, and as I recall a hell of a lot of them did.
Wasnt my fault. Thomas spoke as if Will wasnt even in the room. I told her Id never commit to anything or anyone from the beginning of our relationship. I was totally honest with her. I mean if she was stupid enough to fall in love with me wasnt my fault, right?
So, let me guess. Riker said, suddenly sitting up in his chair, his eyes sparkled with a new light. When she told you to get out, you couldnt do anything but stand there in awe, pretend to be upset, give the old famous Riker nod, turn and graciously make your exit, all the time your chest pounding with gratitude and thankfulness.
Yep, thats about it. Thomas agreed. Are you going to pass that bottle or not? he asked referring to the half empty whiskey bottle that his brother was holding.
I dont believe you two. Deanna Troi said as she entered the small building. Referring to some one as stupid, for falling in love.
You werent supposed to hear that. Tom stated looking up, and then he added with a slight smile. Some women just cant help themselves.
What do you want, anyway? Will asked, looking up at his wife.
I came to inform you that Im going into town to do some shopping. She informed her husband, You wouldnt want to go would you?
Riker shook his head. My fish died.
I know and Im sorry Will. She then directed her attention towards the duplicate brother. And Let me guess. Youve decided to come and speak to your brother to lift up his spirits.
If I may correct you, Counselor. Ive decided to come and speak to mybrother--- to get drunk. He said with a mischievous grin. Im feeling pretty depressed right now and hes the only one who can keep up with me, drink for drink.
Well--- brother--- Riker said with a nod. Im glad youre here. I need to get drunk, my fish died. And then he spoke as if her were thinking aloud. And I used to talk to that fish, I loved that fish, and now hes dead.
Will, why dont you get another fish? Deanna offered, as she placed her hand on top of his shoulder. He shot his wife a look, which stated that was the last thing he wanted to do. And then again she reconsidered with a crunch of her nose and a pat on his shoulder, Why dont I just leave the two of you alone to sort this out.
We didnt mean to run you off, Deanna. Thomas stated as he stood to his feet, You can stay.
Will looked up towards Deanna his voice sarcastic, and then he snapped, I dont want another fish, Counselor!
Thomas and Deanna gave each other a look.
Besides, I liked the fish I had. Riker sulked, not speaking to anyone in particular, as he stared at the half empty whiskey bottle.
Oh damn it Will, for crying out loud, just get another fish. Thomas attempted to referee.
Oh damn it Thomas, just get another girl-friend. Riker said, using the same tone of voice that Thomas had used with him.
Deanna turned towards Thomas. He gets cynical whenever someone suggests he get another fish.
No kidding. Thomas said as he slumped back down in the chair, his attention turned towards Will. Maybe we ought to go down to the local bar and get a bottle of whiskey and mourn the loss of your fish, and the celebration of my loss of Elise, what do you think?
Yeah, and maybe we should get a bottle of brandy too. Riker said, sitting up in his chair.
Ill leave the two of you alone now. Deanna said squeezing Wills shoulder and giving Thomas a smile.
Deanna? Riker stated looking up at his wife. She stood there in silence and patiently waited for him to speak, Thanks. He said with a smile, knowing that she knew he needed this time alone to just simply unwind.
Shes pretty remarkable. Thomas said as he watched Deanna exit out of the small building and head towards the house.
Yeah--- she is.
Wait till dad, hears about this? Thomas said, under his breath, he was referring to his recent break-up and then added in a normal tone. Oh, I guess I should be glad to be free, and single again.
Dont tell him.
I dont intend on telling him, but he finds out everything. Hell, he probably already knows about your fish. Thomas said with a smug grin. What has he been doing lately, anyway? Do you ever hear from him?
He sent a communiqué and said that mother Cecelia wanted us to come over for dinner, to get back with him. I never called him back.
Dad got married.
Who in the hell would marry ? I mean, whos our new mommy? Thomas asked, with a curious grin.
You dont want to know, she hates me and anyone that looks like me, which would include you. Riker said standing to his feet, getting ready to retrieve another bottle.
Thomas laughed as he poured the whiskey down his throat. Maybe Elise is right, I am incapable of loving.
Youre incapable of passing the bottle I know that. Riker stated, breaking the seal on a fresh bottle of whiskey. Although, I wouldnt pass it either, this is pretty good whiskey.
Yeah, it is want to go to my place?
What the hell would I want to do that?
Because, youre depressed.
Oh yeah, I forgot.
You dont think I can do it do you? Thomas challenged.
Find another woman.
I dont give a damn whether you find another woman or not, Tom.
Women dont like me anyway.
My fish died. Riker shrugged.
Will you quit talking about that god-damn fish?! Thomas snapped.
Okay, I wont talk about my fish anymore. Riker concluded quickly. Lets talk about Elise.
No, because that would depress me---I think.
Oh yeah and we are here to have a mournful celebration right?
You got it. Thomas stated as he held up his own bottle of whiskey, and the two brotherss clinked the bottles together. Lets get out of here, go pick up some women and go to my place.
Hell no. Riker chuckled at the thought. Im married, I may be depressed but Im not stupid.
Damn, why does she have to be taken? Thomas asked.
Because I asked her to marry me Thomas. Riker answered thinking his brother was referring to his wife.
Not Deanna, you dim-wit .
Whats the matter, okay so now youre feeling rotten because youre thinking about Elise, right?
No, not that. Its the fact that I really dont think women like me anymore.
Youre pathetic. Riker chuckled taking a swig of whiskey.
Dont you wish you knew how women thought? Youve been around Deanna enough to know how women think, right.
Wrong, and if I could figure them out in which case, I really wouldnt want to. Ive got enough bull shit banging around in my head as it is.
They both drank in silence.
Okay, say something humorous, lift my spirits. Riker said.
Lets pick up some women.
It doesnt take much to amuse you does it? Thomas asked.
Not when Im this drunk it doesnt. Riker answered as he stood to his feet and began to stagger through the door. He stopped suddenly confused, holding one finger up in the air he asked himself. Where was I going? Oh yeah. Looking towards his brother who was sitting Indian style on the floor, Lets go to the pond and check things out.
Riker noticed how Thomas was concentrating on something on the old wooden floor, an insect? A speck of dust? Finally Riker asked, bewildered. What the hell are you doing?
Thomas slowly raised his head and looked at his brother through squinted eyes, as if he had just had a brilliant thought. I think. . . he began speaking very slyly, Elise might have murdered your fish, she did have fish last night for dinner.
Quit talking about my fish. Riker warned. And my fish wasnt filleted.
Thomas staggered to his feet, Do you want to hear something I heard?
Riker said nothing; and took a hefty drink of whiskey, as he stood in the archway of the door.
I heard this story about a dog once. Thomas continued, his eyes never leaving his brother.
If the god-damn dog died I dont want to hear it.
Thats depressing, youre here to lift my spirits and you tell me dead animal stories.
No, I havent told you any dead animal stories. I was thinking about dear old mom Cecilia, how long have they been married?
Two long months. Riker said as he walked through the doorway.
Damn. Imagine dad being married. Thomas stated as he walked alongside of his brother.
I cant. My imagination is dead, I think it happened with that last swig of bourbon.
Well, if you drink too much, and see a damn fish swimming in the stream and get depressed, Im going to be mad. He warned his twin. Did you try to get along with mommy Cecilia? Thomas asked, as he snatched the bottle out of Wills hand, and giving him a raise of his eyebrows.
I dont care if you get mad, Thomas, in all actuality you can kiss my bourbon soaked ass, and yes, I tried to get along with her.
So what happened?
Deanna and I spent a few days with them after their honeymoon.
And shes nuts. She gets up in the middle of the night and dances naked in the kitchen by the music of a mosquito singing jazz in her ear. At least she seemed to be dancing, I dont know I was so shocked at the sight of her, Deanna and I left the next morning. Deanna thinks she can help her though.
Help nuts? You got to be nuts, to help nuts.
What I cant figure out is why in the hell did he marry her? Maybe when mom died, it did something to him he looked at Thomas and smiled adding, and it just took thirty five years to register.
Maybe we can go back there together sometime and see her?
See what, Thomas? See nuts? You see her you see nuts. Pure cuckoos in the attic nuts. He said. I wonder if theres this huge stream up in heaven where fish go. Riker asked, totally unrelated to the subject of their stepmother.
Thomas snapped he was tired of hearing about the ill-fated fish. If you dont shut up about that god-damned fish, Im going to catch one out of this stream and shove the damn thing down your throat.
I dont want to fight with you, Thomas.
You not able to fight with me, you can barely stand. Thomas laughed at his intoxicated duplicate. Damn is that what I really look like drunk?
No, youre uglier. Riker smirked, What to know something?
Deanna proposed to me.
Is that something women do now a days?
They say it isnt an actual proposal unless theres a witness.
No really, we had a witness.
My fish. Riker bent down and picked up a rock, and skimmed it across the lake, But hes dead.
Dont think about your fish, youll get depressed.
Im already depressed. Riker answered, And for your information I was thinking about my fish, all the time while we were walking to the stream. And you know what I was thinking? Maybe, I should let the doctor do an autopsy, my fish might have been murdered. Some one might have murdered him.
Damn it, Will. No one murdered your fish.
Thomas . he was healthy yesterday. I just think that maybe he might have pissed someone off and they murdered him.
How does a gold fish piss someone off?
Will gave his brother a strange look and then stated sarcastically, Okay, smart ass, how did my fish die?
His heart gave out.
Yeah, it usually does when youre murdered. Riker stated sarcastically under his breath before taking a huge swig from the bottle. Shit. He was a noble fish. I wouldnt want to think that anyone murdered him.
If he was murdered, you wouldnt sleep until you found out who did it, and then youd get mad, and blow up and probably end up getting kicked out of Starfleet, losing your captaincy and Deanna, and your baby.
Okay, I wont think about my fish anymore.
Do me a favor?
What? Riker asked.
Lets call Mama Cecilia and see if shes dancing naked in the kitchen.
Riker stood frozen in the knee-deep stream and turned around looking at his duplicate as if he had grown a third head and then replied, Well thats about the sickest thing Ive ever heard.
Oh come on.
Damn, you dont do anything anymore do you? Thomas grumbled as he began to wade towards the shore.
What about a cat, what if theres a cat and the cat is the culprit? Maybe a cat murdered my fish. Will challenged, the alcohol was definitely having a very strong effect on him.
Will you quit thinking about that fish, youll depress yourself again.
I already am depressed. Riker stated, staring down at the bourbon bottle in his hand, wanting to take a drink and then making a sour face at the bottle.
So the two of you are going to have a baby, huh? Thomas said as he stood in the knee-deep stream. Wow. Im going to be an uncle, and youre going to be a father.
I guess so. Riker answered, Deannas really excited about the baby.
Being Deanna, I can imagine that Thomas began, You want the baby dont you?
Oh yeah of course I do. Im a little scared of being a father, I mean I cant even take care of a fish.
Will you shut up about that damn fish.
Speaking of which, I wonder how hard it is. Riker asked, as if he were pondering something.
What in the hell are you talking about, how hard what is? Thomas asked confused. You mean how hard is it to be a father.
No not fatherhood, Im talking about how hard it is to change shitty diapers. Riker answered.
Cant say as if Ive ever seen a shitty diaper, and I sure as hell cant see myself trying to change one.
There was a comfortable silence between the two brothers. They both stood in the middle of the stream, silently pondering what it would be like to change a soiled diaper, they both cringed at the thought of it.
Riker stood in the middle of the stream and took a hefty drink of whiskey, wiping the liquid from his mouth; he looked at his brother and smiled, Pretty shitty topic of conversation, wouldnt you say?
Thomas laughed heartedly in agreement.
I think Ill get another fish. Riker stated out of the blue.
Thomas lowed the bottle from his lips and made a sour face as he swallowed the brownish-gold liquid. Good.
Riker laughed out loud, as he staggered to the bank, attempting to wade through the knee-deep water, upon reaching land he turned to his duplicate, and began to speak in a slurred tongue, "Well, Tom thank you very much for your company. Ive totally forgotten why I was depressed. Riker stated offering an unsteady, intoxicated hand in a handshake, his body swaying back and forth, the suddenly he fell down face first flat on the ground, his body landing with a thud.
Thomas plopped down on the ground beside his brother on the riverbank. Youre welcome, and Ill remind you in the morning. Thomas said, falling on top of his brother.