Ernie had wanted to have chocolate cake on his 8th birthday, but Bernie and Journey had voted for vanilla. “We’re not getting more than one cake,” their father said, and that was the end of the discussion. Ernie hated when they won.
His brothers were inseparable. They played together constantly, to the point of having their own language. They watched the same shows. They emulated the same ninja turtle. Any toy that belonged to one in turn belonged to the other.
Ernie had tried to be their friend, but they knew each other so well that they only spoke half of what they said. He tried to understand, but without their telepathy, he was left behind.
The three of them were supposed to blow out the candles together, but Ernie held back. If he got his wish, he’d be blowing out the candles alone, and on a chocolate cake. “Never make a wish you don’t want to come true,” their mother had said, once.
His brothers fed each other cake, like a newlywed couple. He watched them from a distance. They licked the frosting off of each other’s mouths. “Come on over!” they waved to him. “We’re genetically identical!”