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"Freddy Kozwalski, Dave Murchison, Dahlia O'Reilly and 'Skippy' Overshot Have an Identity Crisis
by Gabriel "Rosettastone" Dante

"Rosettastone" was the painter for the British newspaper Clysterpipes-upon-Munge Daily Trumpet. He was dedicated to improving the newspaper's tone by using oil paintings instead of the banal black-and-white wood engravings customary in those days for illustrations. 

Because he was such a fast painter he was the one chosen to illustrate the sensational scandal that broke in 1922, when a church picnic on a beautiful Sunday in June drew in the populations of a dozen surrounding townlets, villages and hamlets. The theme was Medievaliana!, and attendees were urged to dress up as members of that era.

Rosettastone was lucky to capture the very moment several members of different villages, coming together for the first time ever, discovered what appeared to be their identical twins during a stroll in the surrounding woods. Amazed, they hastened back to the larger gathering to find other picnickers beginning to discover their inter-village duplicates: a frenzied headcount revealed 58 of these strange duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates and more!

Pandemonium ensued and the theme of the picnic, Assessing Your Personal Identity, was forgotten. Finally one of the lookalikes made the connection: the mothers of the afflicted all had one obstetrician and fertility specialist, Dr Edward Stern Tooters. Everyone realized that yes, minus the beard, and compensating for the changes age brings, all their physiognomies were dead ringers for the nefarious MD. A hue and cry was raised and the enraged picnic crowd poured into downtown Clysterpipes-upon-Munge headed for the scandalous Dr Toots's surgery.

But the doctor, having heard about the approaching picnic, realized the jig was up and left town rather hurriedly on the midnight train just before the event. All his cleverness in never impregnating more than 8-10 patients from each of the surrounding villages came crashing down around him.

The doctor was never seen or heard from again, nor was any evidence of a medical license discovered. Many years later someone discovered that Ed Stern Toots was an anagram of Dr Testosterone, but by then, of course, it was too late.

This is the only painting known to have survived "Rosettastone" Dante's brief career as a journalistic artist. All the others were read once, then used to wrap fish and chips. Tragically, it also marked the premature end of the artist's life. Having painted the 875 copies of the Extra Edition required by the scandal, he perished of poisoning from the amounts of toxic chrome yellow and cadmium red he used that infamous night.


Historical notes:

In 1972 a stage musical was proposed to mark the 50th anniversary of the scandal, with numbers like, "Every Pete has his Re-Pete, Every Kate her Dupli-cate," but it closed after a week, as no one in the audiences remembered the event and consequently didn't understand the humor of the production.


There was also a 1952 book aimed at a younger male audience, The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Twin Machine. 

Not coincidentally, since the same author wrote both series, in 1955  there was The Bobbsey Twins Meet the Boxcar Children, the Rover Boys, the Campfire Girls, the Hardy Boys, the Babysitters' Club, the Sweet Valley High Twins and Get the Surprise of All Their Lives.

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