Page 4 of 5
- Dustin Chambers
- PRINT MEDIA: On a Friday morning, the Twins have their first look at an issue of Vice magazine with their picture on the cover.
The career that the Twins are trying to build depends on the viability of themselves as characters. They're aware that the image of wanton debauchery and decadence they project is more interesting when juxtaposed against the darker narrative of their childhood. Whether you're writing a memoir or aspiring to be in a reality show, when the line between your work and your life starts to blur, you have to decide which version of the story you're trying to tell.
The Twins spent years trying to become professional skateboarders. Ask almost anyone involved with skateboarding in the Southeast and they will tell you they knew or knew of the Twins long before that Vice interview went viral. They went out of their way to party with visiting skateboarders, to always be heading to a new spot, to maintain the odd discipline of relaxed focus and fearlessness that's required to skateboard at a professional level. For whatever set of reasons, it never worked out. Ask the Twins about it and they'll brush it off and tell you that they've always skateboarded as a release, as a form of self-expression, and that going pro wasn't what it was about. They'll say it with the kind of terse directness of people who don't like to talk about failure.
Often in conversation, one of the Twins will absentmindedly but repeatedly flip and catch his phone, turning it the same way that a skateboard turns in a kick-flip. It is an oddly specific physical tic, one that only a skateboarder would have or recognize.
The Twins count only two incidents in memory when they were separated. One involved a trip to the hospital and the other a trip to jail. It's understandable that they would look for a nontraditional way to make money. Work can be hard to find if you refuse to be separated from your identical twin brother. They were able to find menial teenage jobs, bagging groceries or stuffing envelopes in a junk mail warehouse in Doraville.
At the encouragement of their former fiancée, the Twins backed off of skateboarding and focused on finding a career. They got jobs as couriers, which led to being hired as assistants for a personal injury attorney. As they explained it to me, their work now largely consists of delivering contracts for wrongful death or car accident claims and making sure that the paperwork gets signed.
The Twins were uncomfortable about letting me know which lawyer they work for, afraid that the image they've created could jeopardize their jobs. Eventually they gave me a name after I promised to leave it out of the story. I called and left a message trying to confirm their employment. The lawyer called back the next day. He did not sound happy. When I tried to confirm what duties they perform, he simply said that they are "legal assistants." He then asked if that was all and hung up. In the recent documentary Vice put together, the Twins told me that they faked the shots that appear to be them working in suits during the day.
I asked Thurman how much money they make working for the personal injury attorney and he responded, "Ain't no money like motherfucking insurance money."
At some point during that second night I spent hanging out with the Twins, drunk and head buzzing from the coke, I looked over at one of the Twins, I couldn't tell you which, and asked, "Do y'all ever fucking eat dinner?"
"Oh, yeah," he told me. "Most nights aren't really like this. We usually order Fresh to Go or Chinese food or some shit and watch a movie."
None of us were eating anything that night. We were standing in the bathroom doing coke when they demanded that I understand something.
"If he dies tonight," one Twin said, red-faced and pointing a bottle at his brother. "Like, if he doesn't wake up in the morning and I wake up and he's dead. The first thing I'd do is walk out to that balcony and jump off."
"Yeah," the other Twin said. "His life is my life. That's how it is."
It seemed spontaneous, the kind of drunken declaration that comes when you go off script. About a month later, I read that they said pretty much the same thing to Vice.