Bobby and Jimmy were destined to be bosom friends. They were born on the same day from families living on the same street. Bobby arrived seven hours earlier than Jimmy by stint of a delivery in which he popped out as easily as an orange pip being squeezed between thumb and forefinger. Whereas, Jimmy led to first contraction but made heavy weather of it in the final straight to the exit or finish line. Both had healthy lungs as demonstrated after receiving a hefty smack on the arse from an old-fashioned doctor. The doctor in question thought this needed to be done regardless of whether or no cries had already issued forth from the newly-borns.
Jimmy and Bobby’s mothers became firm friends. Initially, from the need for assurance as to how to behave with their first new-borns, and later because they had much in common.
The pair of boys met up every day to embrace the fresh air as that is what was advised by medical authorities was the healthiest for their children. The first words uttered by them was the other boy’s name before Mamma and Dadda.
The personalities of the two boys were in stark contrast. Bobby, outgoing, whereas Jimmy was much more thoughtful. In spite of this difference in temperament, they remained best friends.
Bobby was physically brave, sometimes to the point of foolhardiness. Jimmy was intellectually brave but eschewed any invitations to climb cliff-faces, but would invest his money in projects he deemed had merit in furnishing a good return on the expenditure.
However, a modicum of influence seeped through to the other and Jimmy became bolder on his skateboard and Bobby willing to investigate the modus operandi of businesses. Both benefited by way of wealth and fitness even in their younger years.
By agreement they left formal education at the age of sixteen. Thereafter, they invested twenty hours a week without requiring pay in an engineering business and twenty hours in a financial establishment; also without pay.
During the time of their ‘apprenticeship’ they made full use of what they learned and developed a simple battery operated device that enabled people who liked gardening but had particularly incapacitating arthritic conditions to weed and plant with much greater ease. Successfully selling this device for a handsome reward they started a finance company where far more money was made without requiring as much physical expenditure.
Although they were both robust and healthy heterosexuals they kept their heads in their encounters with the many women in their lives. But it was on a skiing trip in Switzerland that they both lost their hearts to twin sisters who were as vibrant and intelligent as they were themselves.
The sisters had their own successful business in the solar and alternative energy industry. They had engineering degrees and competence in being able to raise capital to support their larger projects.
In spite of all parties being very attracted to each other, they purposely kept their passions bridled and didn’t consummate during this first holiday, but made arrangements to meet again the next month when they had time to review their attachment.
The twins, Lucille and Amelie were French and spoke perfect English and were enchanted that both Jimmy and Bobby also spoke perfect conversational French. The very passions that the four felt persuaded them that it would be unwise to unleash them until a measure of loving sobriety had elapsed before making commitments.
Business activity languished as Bobby and Jimmy contemplated how they would have to wait until they could get their hands upon their respective twin. Almost as if by magic the pairing had been effortless with neither party doubting the wisdom of their choice.
Although they stuck to their agreement to not meet until the following month, telephone calls in both French and English went on for hours each day. By the time of their next meeting, no time was lost in consummating what had been restrained from previously. They each had no regrets.
Southern France was chosen to be their primary homes, with further places in different parts of the world as whimsy took them. Each was enraptured with their chosen partner and in all the time until their eventual deaths, no hint of extra-curricular desire ever invaded their besottedness.
The twins, unlike Jimmy, had few restraints upon their own derring do. They would ski at great speed and even go off the ski-jumps to Jimmy’s consternation. However, the twins were able in time to get him to be more adventurous than Bobby ever had.
The only real bone of contention between them was as to the nature of physicality and spirituality in respect to humanity. The girls were absolutely convinced that there was life after physical death, whereas the boys scoffed at the idea. Two weeks, one year was spent visiting haunted houses without any evidence except for a few bumps in the night of a ghost. Nothing was resolved and the girls said they would convince them somehow.
After much research, a graveyard dating back to antiquity was said to have the most ghosts of all that would emerge on Halloween night at midnight. It was resolved by the boys that they would for once and for all to lay this ridiculous nonsense to rest. Bobby and Jimmy agreed to not rub the girl’s noses in it after vanquishing their fantasy, but be benign and very solicitous, which they knew would really piss them off.
They travelled by fast train from their homes in France to the backwater church and cemetery. The hotel nearby was ancient and purposely kept that way to fit into the ambience of the so-called haunted district, but it was comfortable enough. Covid 19 restrictions, although not absolute, had kept the usual ghost-hunters at home.
The graveyard was huge and no doubt many had been buried on top of each other over the ages, but finally the night of Halloween was here. Although the girls wanted very much to validate their claim of afterlife, their fear couldn’t be allayed on this particular night. Jimmy and Bobby would go on their own promising to keep recording devices going all of the time.
They arrived at the graveyard two hours before midnight and sought with the use of flashlights to find the most decrepit part of the cemetery. Having found an old tombstone that seemed anciently suitable, they settled down to wait.
Precisely, by their own timepieces the clock started to chime midnight with the twelve strokes of the big bell. Then they heard a rustling sound coming from the gravestone and an apparition appeared making a horrible sound. Bobby gave a scream of terror and ran; whilst Jimmy stood quite still.
“Oh brave one” the apparition said very calmly, “You have courage, you didn’t even move upon seeing me.”
“No,” said Jimmy, “but my bowels did.”