The Allure of Tracy Station

Submitted into Contest #208 in response to: Write a story about someone living vicariously through someone else.... view prompt

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Fiction

Tessa had worked at The Whiskey Barrel for nearly four years now.  The town folk knew it for its cheeseburger and stake fries, cold domestic beers, and enough whiskey to drown a horse. If she wanted to stay in the small town of Frankville limited her choices of employment and the fear of leaving this place was nerve-racking.  The owner of the Whiskey Barrel coached her high school soccer team so it was an easy in.  Most people in this town worked at the local slaughterhouse, but the smell had caused Tessa to become a vegan early in life and so that did not seem like a possibility for her.  

Tessa wiped table four clean for the next customer who may walk through the door when she heard grumblings from the television hanging over the bar.  It was a Tuesday afternoon, right after the lunch rush, and so the restaurant was empty, except for Fred in the kitchen.  She took a seat at the booth, eyes transfixed on the television.  

The television chirped as Tessa listened carefully, “after only six months after their breakup Tom Smitton was seen cuddling with model, Fiona O’Neal leaving Tracy Station in tears.”  The television showed a split screen.  On one side the famous actor Tom Smitton cuddled up with a beautiful woman that Tessa had never seen before.  On the other Tessa saw the familiar face of Tracy Station with a frown on her face.  

“Oh come on.  That picture was taken six months before they even broke up,” Tessa said to herself, standing up from the booth as soon as the television focused on other celebrity news.

The door chimed and Tessa looked up to see a customer she knew very well, Mr. Finkle.  She took her place at the bar to pour him his usual Coors Light and place his order for the chicken sandwich.

Later that evening, after Tessa had showered and changed into a comfortable oversized t-shirt and pink and white striped men’s boxers she had purchased at WalMart when she was a teenager, she opened her phone to scroll through Instagram.  When she didn’t see what she was looking for, she clicked on the magnifying glass and typed “Tracy Station.” 

The first photo was of Tracy in a bikini.  The caption read, “against popular belief, I am doing just fine and I am living my best life.”  She had posted this the day after her breakup with Tom was made public.  It appeared as though she had not posted anything new.  

Tessa scrolled further, finding pictures she had looked at a million times before of Tracy with other beautiful people looking happy and living their best lives.  Tessa wished she could have this life.  It was all she ever wanted since she first spotted Tracy Station in a Quinton Terentino movie three years ago.  Since then, Tracy Station had became the biggest star in Hollywood.  

She opened the DMs and typed out a quick message, “I hope everything is going okay.  You can always talk to me if you need a shoulder to cry on.” 

Tessa put the phone down with hesitation and waltzed into the bathroom.  She looked at herself in the mirror, putting her hands on either side of her face and pulled up.  She then pushed out her lips.  She made this face a million times because that is now the only way she could see it:  Tracy Station’s face looking back at her.  

She relaxed her face, glancing into the hallway at the framed photo Tessa took from her parent’s house when she was a child of about five.  Sitting next to her was her older identical twin sister, Tracy.

The pair were thick as thieves growing up, never leaving each other's side.  But a fight over a boy the summer after their high school graduation gave Tracy the guts to escape Frankville.  It appeared Tracy denied her past, changing her name and never referring to Frankville or her life prior to the media.  It had been years since Tessa had spoken to her twin.  And although there was no way Tracy could still be upset about the boy, she felt as though if Tracy wanted to speak to her, she would have.  This was not the first DM she had sent Tracy, but she never received a response, a telling sign that her sister no longer wanted anything to do with her. 

Then a thought occurred to Tessa, what if there was a way to get into Tracy’s Instagram?  Instagram had been, up until recently, her only connection to her sister.  If she could get into Tracy’s instagram, perhaps she could find some personal information about her sister.  Perhaps, she met a man and gave him her number.  Perhaps, she met up with someone, providing a place near her home.  There must be a clue somewhere in there. 

She logged out of her own Instagram, landing her on the Instagram login page.  She entered Tracy’s handle, “TheRealTracy” and thought for a moment.  In the password field, she entered their birthday.  “Wrong password.” Tessa thought again, their mother’s birthday.  “Wrong password.”  She tried “Frankville” and was greeted with a picture of a beautiful man without an ounce of fat on his body standing on a paddleboard.  She was in.

Tessa navigated to the DMs and fingered through them.  They all appeared to be from adoring fans looking for a bit of Tracy’s attention.  It couldn’t possibly hurt to respond to them.  It would only give them hope, Tessa reasoned.

She opened a DM at random, “Hi Tracy.  I am your biggest fan.  But I really want to know, is Tom Smitton really as good in bed as he looks?” 

Tessa felt odd about responding for Tracy regarding her sister’s sex life, but Tessa was not Tessa at this moment, she was Tracy Station.  “He is even better **winky face emoji**” send. Tessa was not expecting to feel this good pretending to be Tracy.  So she went to the next one.

“Could you wish my mom a happy birthday?  Her handle is @KarenMommySmith.  It’s next Tuesday” 

Tessa clicked on the handle and typed out a quick message “Happy Birthday @KarenMommySmith.  Sorry I’m eight months late.” 

Tessa clicked on the next message, typing out a quick response and then another and another.  Then she saw a message that made her stop.  

A message from Blane York, the quarterback of the Tennessee Titans.  “Hey Tracy.  Had a great time last night.  Hope to see you again.” 

Was she really about to reply to a professional football player?  Was her sister so famous that she had this type of pull with other celebrities?  It never occurred to her that other celebrities would also be interested to get to know her sister.  

She thought for a second before typing out her response, “sorry for the delay.  I have been so busy.  Can we meet up?”  If this worked, Tessa would be meeting and possibly finding out where her sister was.

He responded almost immediately, “Your place or mine?” Tessa’s heart skipped a beat.  Her intention was to never bed the quarterback, but to speak with him.   By telling him he was speaking with the wrong sister she could deter him from meeting with her so she decided to follow along. 

She could not meet this man in Frankville, that would be a dead giveaway that she was not Tracy.  Her only hope was making her way out of this town and into Nashville.  

Tessa responded to the quarterback and after some back and forth, she packed a few day’s worth of clothes.  She was going to start her search in Nashville.

The next three months, Tessa felt like she was living in a dream.  At first she never intended to emulate her sister, but it was too easy, everyone assumed she was Tracy and showered her with admiration, which included a life of luxury.  She took out a credit card using Tracy’s real name and social security number, only a few digits off of her own.  Since she had had a modest life, it was difficult to say no. 

Each time she went out on the town with new friends, they urged her to post pictures on Instagram and tag them.  Not wanting to disappoint her new friends, she obliged.  It seemed to become a cycle of meeting new celebrities and partying at their penthouses or on their yachts.  

Tessa woke up, touching her fingers to her forehead to relieve the pounding in her head.  She glanced over to see a man with bleached blonde hair under her hotel bed covers.  Looking down, she could see tattoos covered his body.  They covered many of the celebrity men in tattoos these days.  She maneuvered herself to see the face of her companion.   The face looked vaguely familiar but she could not place it.

She shrugged and climbed out of the bed slowly to not wake her companion.  She found the bathroom of the suite and sat down on the toilet to relieve herself.  

Her phone buzzed, startling her.  She jumped, wiping herself clean before picking up the phone to see “Unknown” across the screen.  Everyone she had met in the past three months would purposely block their numbers, so this was no surprise to her.  She was unsure of which one was calling but answered, anyway.

“Are you using my identity?” The voice on the other end said.  Was this her sister?  Did her sister finally reappear to take back her fame?

“Who is this?” 

“You know who this is.”

“I…” Tessa started.

“Tessa, if you don’t stop, I will have you arrested for identity theft.” 

Tessa's heart sank.  All she wanted was to find her sister, she never intended to be her sister.  The realization that her deception had finally caught up with her hit her. The weight of guilt and shame descended upon her, as she understood the gravity of her actions.

"I'm so sorry, Tracy," Tessa whispered, tears welling up in her eyes. "I never meant for things to get this far. I was so desperate to find you."

“I didn’t want to be found.  I wanted to escape Frankville and never look back."

“You mean you wanted to escape me?” Tessa asked as Tracy’s heart sank. 

The sisters both knew that the other one was right. For Tessa, living a lie had only brought her temporary satisfaction, but it had cost her the trust and love of her twin which she desperately craved.

"I promise, Tracy, I'll stop," Tessa said with a heavy heart.  The only way to stop was to go back to Frankville and go back to The Whiskey Barrel.

“Wait, I have an idea.” 

Two weeks later, Mr. Finkle sat at the Whiskey Barrel watching the celebrity news the new bartender had put on the television.  He watches intently as a familiar face appears on the television.  It pipes out, “Tracy Station has came out of hiding and is appearing with a new love interest.  No, it’s not a man.  Tracy recently reunited with her long-lost twin sister Tessa Station…” 

July 28, 2023 00:24

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