Author's Note: It is honestly and completely ironic that the release of this manifesto coincides with the recent release of the Farrelly Brothers' film, Stuck on You. This was in no way meant to mock their movie, nor was it meant to be a rip-off. Just an idea I had kicking around that floated to the surface. Purely coincidence that Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are playing conjoined twins at a theatre near you…
he parents couldn't ever decide whether or not to choose one name or two. They knew that they would be ridiculed and looked down upon no matter how many names they chose. So, they decided on one name for the two of them.
It really was a hard decision for Joseph and Mary Morgan. Should they choose two names because of the two heads; the two brains? Or one name because of the one torso and innards? Where did the soul originate from anyway? If they picked two names, would there be two distinct personalities in there? Or would they pick one name and name their only son Mackenzie?
They chose one name on the basis that, no matter how many heads there was, he was only one person. One heart. One soul.
This was how conjoined-twin Mackenzie Morgan's parents picked his name.
The doctor who consulted Joseph and Mary Morgan after the birth of their son introduced the couple to all kinds of new words. The most frequently used being dicephalus.
Dr. Arnold Ness had been practicing medicine for a great many years. He'd begun his first practice in Toronto, but upon reflection of his life, he decided he would rather finish his career in a small town setting and packed up his belongings for further adventure on the Ontario/Manitoba border.
"Dicephalus," Dr. Ness explained to the Morgans. "Is the medical term for Mackenzie's condition."
"What does that mean?" Mary asked.
"Look at him," Dr. Ness said, holding his hands outward, palms up. "What do you think it means?"
Dr. Ness, in his entire career spanning both Toronto and Dryden, was never known for his bedside manner.
Dicephalus meant that there were any number of possible combinations as to how the inner organs were dished out and there were two heads. There have been documented cases of conjoined twins born with two heads, two sets of arms, two legs and one set of inner organs. Other cases have two heads, two arms, two legs and two of everything inside.
There was almost an infinite amount of ways Mackenzie could have turned out.
Dryden wasn't used to seeing anything like Mackenzie when he started playing outside and riding his bike and going to school. This led to things like his father, who worked at the major factory plastics factory in town, moving the family to a 100-acre farm on the outskirts of town for privacy, and their mother quitting her job to home school the Morgan's only son.
Dryden was basically a strip mall, a factory and a overly large-for-it's-area Wal-Mart. So, seeing a conjoined twin trying feebly to ride a bicycle down the sidewalk wasn't something people were normal to seeing. It created a lot of gossip. Mostly about Mary and Joseph potentially being cousins and not knowing it and Joseph taking too many overtime shifts at the factory and the heat doing something to his "seeds" which created Mackenzie.
Mack, as his parents came to know him, grew up relatively normal considering he didn't have much outside contact. The only people he knew from the time he was born until the age of fifteen were his parents, grandparents and the mailman, Carl, who felt pity upon first seeing him. The two ended up becoming good friends, with Carl bringing books for Mack to read. He brought things that his own children enjoyed reading and that Mack's mother wouldn't allow him to read.
Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Wind in the Willows, when he was younger. Catcher in the Rye when he was older. Mack's favourite book Carl brought was a worn out paperback copy of Geek Love.
Geek Love was a touching story about carnival folks. Mack felt an immediate connection with the lives of the disfigured and deformed characters in the book.
It was after reading that book that Mack decided he wanted to stop his home schooling and attend a regular high school.
His parents both talked to him, trying to explain the outside world to him. He remembered everyone staring and laughing and pointing, but there was only so much teaching his mother could do.
"What will they say?" Joseph asked.
"What will they do?" Mary asked.
"What do I have to lose?" Mackenzie asked back.
The parents deliberated, deciding amongst themselves, that they would allow Mackenzie to attend the Dryden high school on a trial basis.
Mackenzie was excited beyond all belief. He went to bed the night before his first full day of real school with butterflies in his stomach.
It was while he was sleeping that his benign second head woke up.