the twin boys of texas
by Ella Gohari
High school seniors Calliope Galanis and Austin Langbridge definitely do not like each other… despite what everyone else thinks. Their mutual dislike started at the 2nd grade class spelling bee, where Calliope successfully spelled—or, as Austin would say, cheated—her way to victory, leaving Austin with a measly second place and a chip on his shoulder for the rest of his school years. Since that day, the two have been at odds, neck-and-neck no matter what subject they compete in. Their rivalry is known throughout the school, but their classmates and teachers alike suspect there’s something deeper behind the heated insults thrown across the math competition room. Determined to prove them wrong, Calliope begins dating Dallas, a theater kid with a heart of gold she knows next to nothing about. Little does she know that Dallas has his own ulterior motives, number one being to set up his twin brother with the girl of his dreams.
Calliope (Callie) Galanis: Competitive, passionate, and perpetually studying, Callie only likes one thing more than winning, and that’s getting to shove it in Austin’s smug face. She’s been top of her class since elementary school, with big dreams of studying physics amongst the greats.
Austin Langbridge: The older-by-two-minutes twin brother of Dallas, Austin’s as studious as they come with a massive ego to boot. He can’t stand anyone being better than him, but he can’t deny that the rivalry between himself and Callie is partly what keeps him so laser-focused on his studies, especially his favorite subject, biology.
Dallas Langbridge: The younger-by-two-minutes twin brother of Austin, Dallas’s heart has always belonged to the theater. He’s known around the school for his magnanimous stage presence and equally-as-lovely off-stage personality, but Callie hadn’t heard anything about him when they started dating. Tired of his brother’s constant ramblings about Callie, Dallas is determined to set them up once and for all.
INT. DALLAS LANGBRIDGE’s Honda Civic. DALLAS is at the wheel, while CALLIOPE GALANIS sits at the passenger seat, staring at her phone with a smile on her face. Every few seconds, a notification sound goes off. The car stops at a red light.
DALLAS [teasing inflection]: With the way you’re smiling at your phone, I think I should be worried someone else has caught your eye!
CALLIE: Ha, as if. It’s just this kid, Austin Langbridge. Do you know him?
DALLAS: You could say that.
CALLIE: Ugh, well then you must know how annoying he is.
DALLAS: I have an idea. [the light turns green and he begins driving]
CALLIE: Well anyways, we have this chem project together and he is determined to do it on thermodynamics, but I’m like, dude, that is SO overdone. Polar molecules are where it’s at. Of course, he won’t listen and… I’m rambling, aren’t I?
DALLAS: Ehh, a bit. It’s fine though!
CALLIE: Sorry, he just gets me so worked up sometimes! It’s like he knows how to push all the right buttons to get me raving. I really should put this away though, I mean I don’t want to be all pissy when I meet your brother for the first time. [a notification sound dings and she immediately checks her phone again.]
DALLAS: Oh, you’ve met him before. Y’all two basically share the exact same interests- aaaand you’re not listening to me. Cool, cool. Another similarity you share. [chuckles]
[The car turns into a driveway, where a large, Spanish-architecture house stands.]
DALLAS: Well, we’re here! [gets out of the car, CALLIE right behind him.]
CALLIE: This is your house?! What, are your parents millionaires or something?
[CALLIE and DALLAS walk toward the door.]
DALLAS: Both of them are surgeons. I’m sorta the black sheep of the family, the weird theater kid. Even my brother’s into biology.
CALLIE: Hey, there’s no shame in being a weird kid! I should know, I’ve been that all my life, the school’s crazy-competitive nerd, and honestly, I love that title.
DALLAS: Well, you and Austin Langbridge share it. [moves to open the door]
CALLIE: Ew, never group me with him again. Even hearing his name is giving me the heebie-jeebies. [walks inside. DALLAS swiftly follows with a smirk on his face.]
INT. LANGBRIDGE family home. AUSTIN LANGBRIDGE stands in the entry foyer, eyes on his phone. His head snaps up at the sound of the door opening.
AUSTIN: [briefly raises eyebrows in shock, but quickly schools expression into neutrality] Well well well, if it isn’t Calliope Galanis. Was texting not enough – you had to come see me too?
CALLIE: In your dreams, but also, what the hell are you doing here?!
DALLAS: Callie, meet Austin, my twin brother.
CALLIE: B- bu- but you look nothing alike!
AUSTIN: I assume you understand the concept of fraternal twins?
DALLAS [warningly]: Austin, be nice…
AUSTIN: I’m sorry, but this is too good. The “great” Calliope Galanis, my rival for years, didn’t know I had a twin brother! What kind of archenemy are you?! I’m disappointed, frankly, I thought you’d do your research.
CALLIE: How would I know? I didn’t even know Dallas existed until this week.
DALLAS: Hey, I’m still here, guys.
AUSTIN [speaking over DALLAS]: Our names go together. Austin and Dallas.
CALLIE [sarcastically]: What, is your sister named Houston too? A Texas Rangers family?
AUSTIN: Yes, actually. We are proud Texans.
CALLIE: Really? [Austin nods somberly] Wait, I’ve met your parents! They’re from Boston.
DALLAS [resigned]: You’re right, and he’s joking. Sorry that he’s like this, but I think you know his personality already.
CALLIE: How can someone so awful be related to someone so nice?
AUSTIN: Aw, Callie, I’m flattered. I didn’t know you thought of me as nice.
CALLIE: You know what I-
DALLAS: [interrupting] Okay, okay, that’s enough. Austin, if you’ve finished tormenting my girlfriend-
AUSTIN: [cutting DALLAS off] Girlfriend?! You guys are- no, you- GIRLFRIEND?! [mouth open, staring dumbfounded]
CALLIE: Is it really that surprising that someone would be into me?
AUSTIN: N- no, of course not, I- just- what? You can’t date him!
CALLIE: And why not?
AUSTIN: Because- because… [stammers]
DALLAS [grinning]: Go on.
AUSTIN: You just can’t!
CALLIE: Last time I checked, you weren’t the boss of me. So, actually, I can.
AUSTIN: Fine, date him. See if I care.
CALLIE: You clearly do.
AUSTIN: No, I- I… never mind. [exits upstairs]
CALLIE: What was that about? He was acting so weird.
DALLAS: Seemed normal to me.
CALLIE: No, no. There was something off about him. [stares up at the staircase] Maybe I should go check on him. Ya know. Just to make sure he’s okay.
DALLAS: Why would you care, though? Aren’t you guys enemies?
CALLIE: Well, yeah, but… he seemed weird. And not his normal weird. You know?
DALLAS: Can’t say I do. Sounds to me you care more than you think, which isn’t a problem-
CALLIE [interrupting]: I don’t care about him! It’s the total opposite. [pause. Stares back at the staircase] I’m going to check on him. [leaves upstairs]
DALLAS [bemused, to himself]: Those two are hopeless. [waits a minute, then walks upstairs. Callie is knocking violently on his door.]
CALLIE: What do you mean you don’t want to talk?! You’re constantly talking my ear off 24/7! C’mon, what is it? You’re sooooo obsessed with me you can’t deal with someone else having my attention?
AUSTIN [muffled, behind the door]: Who’s the obsessed one now?
CALLIE: You little- ugh. Fine. Don’t talk to me. [softer, to DALLAS] Why won’t he talk to me?
DALLAS: Because you’re… enemies?
DALLAS: Let’s just go back downstairs.
[CALLIE huffily follows DALLAS back down.]
CALLIE: Sorry about that. Your brother always manages to get me so angry, I sometimes just lose myself in him- I mean, in it. I didn’t mean to ruin our date, though.
DALLAS: You didn’t. In fact, I’d say you confirmed something I’ve always known.
CALLIE: What, that Austin and I are sworn enemies destined to hate each other for all eternity?
DALLAS: Quite the opposite. I think you two love each other.
CALLIE: Whaaaaaaat? Love? No. No! Gross! Why does everyone always say that?
DALLAS: Okay, okay. Maybe not love. But you definitely don’t hate him, or you wouldn’t spend so many hours talking to him, or, better yet, talking about him.
CALLIE: Trust me, I do.
DALLAS: You literally are up to 3 am every night passionately debating the merits of Star Trek versus Star Wars… which, might I add, keeps me up every night too. I mean seriously, just give it up already.
CALLIE: And the key word there is debating. We don’t get along. We simply do not agree. [somberly] The task of proving him wrong in our arguments is a burden I unfortunately must bear for the greater good of society.
DALLAS: Okay, first off, your so-called “arguments” are less vicious than two arguing toddlers. Your arguments are like a weird form of flirting, or something – honestly, I do not want to hear that stuff from my brother.
CALLIE: That last comment aside, have you ever seen tantruming toddlers? They’re crazy.
DALLAS: Fair. Still, I have a feeling that your “arguments” give both of you more joy than either of you are willing to admit, if my brother’s goofy smile at the end of a call with you says anything.
CALLIE: Please. Just because he’s in love with me doesn’t mean the feeling is mutual.
DALLAS: Callie. I respect you, I do. But be real for a second. We’ve spent most of this “date” talking about your apparent enemy. Even now, I can tell you’re worrying about him [CALLIE opens her mouth to interrupt, but DALLAS continues] – your gaze is constantly flicking upward, don’t even try to deny it. Look, if you’re worried about my feelings, don’t be. I give you two my full approval; I mean, anything to get my brother out of the house, right? Besides, you’re not exactly my type.
CALLIE: Are you… breaking up with me?
DALLAS: Oh, Callie. You were never really mine to begin with. [points upward] He’s waiting in there for you. Seeing us together is just killing him inside; I bet his ear’s pressed to the door right now, desperately trying to hear how this is going. Why don’t you go up and tell him?
CALLIE [biting her lip]: Maybe… maybe I do like him. A bit. But what does that mean? We’ve been enemies for as long as I’ve known the definition of the word. That can’t just stop now.
DALLAS: I can’t tell you what your relationship holds. All I know is, if you don’t go up there and at the very least talk to him, you’re going to regret it.
CALLIE: …You’re right. God, Dallas, you’re so understanding. Maybe in another life, we-
DALLAS: Another life is not this one. And in this one, you want the other Langbridge brother. Now go get your man.
[CALLIE nods at him before traversing the stairs yet again. She reaches AUSTIN’s door and lightly taps on it.]
CALLIE: Austin? We need to talk.
AUSTIN [muffled]: Why are you here again? Go hang out with your boyfriend.
CALLIE: He’s… not my boyfriend anymore.
[The door flies open. AUSTIN looks at CALLIE with wild eyes.]
AUSTIN: Calliope Galanis, did you break my little brother’s heart? No matter how I may or may not feel about you, that’s absolutely unforgivable-
CALLIE [interrupting]: No, Austin. He broke up with me.
AUSTIN [expression softens]: Oh. Um… are you okay? [awkward silence] Sorry, I, uh, well… I normally gloat in your face whenever you’re sad, but it doesn’t seem like the right time to do that…
CALLIE: Actually, I’m fine. Better than fine. I didn’t like him, not like that, anyway.
AUSTIN: I’m all for roasting Dallas, but that’s a bit harsh, no?
CALLIE: Well, it’s the truth. I like someone else.
AUSTIN [lips form a disappointed line]: Oh…
CALLIE: You know, I’ve never seen you with a girlfriend before – or a boyfriend, if that’s what you’re into. Any reason for that? I mean, you are kinda good looking, in an Austin sort-of-way.
AUSTIN: Nice of you to say so, but I think most girls, upon getting to know me, would say my personality completely eviscerates any attraction they might have had.
CALLIE: I dunno. I still think you’re pretty cute, and I’ve dealt with your crap longer than anyone bar maybe Dallas himself.
AUSTIN [eyebrows raised]: But you just said you liked someone else!
CALLIE [rolls eyes]: And you call me dense.
AUSTIN: You like me?
CALLIE: Yes, you little birdbrain. Now, are you gonna continue being a birdbrain or actually do something about-
[AUSTIN cuts her off with a kiss. He grins at her.]
AUSTIN: Sorry, Callie. But you should know that, if you’re gonna be with me for real, I can’t ever let you have the last word.
CALLIE [smiling]: As if you’d ever beat me.
DALLAS [groaning in the background]: Oh god, I thought matchmaking you two would end these stupid debates, not make them worse!
AUSTIN: She started it!
CALLIE [simultaneously]: He started it! [devolve into bickering]
DALLAS [muttering to himself]: I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?
Ella Gohari (grade 11)
As co-editor-in-chief of the Patriot Post, fact-checker at MediaWise, and science researcher at the University of Miami, I write a lot. Science and writing, plus the intersection between them, has always been an interest of mine.
what is your main source of inspiration?
As I watched the midterm elections, I saw how yet again Texas and California are at complete opposites of the political spectrum. Despite their differing political opinions, they are two fairly similar states (ie they’re more similar to each other than, say, Texas would be to Wyoming.) About a week later, I wanted to write a play set in high school. I was trying to find names for these characters who were meant to be “enemies”. I thought of “Callie” and “Austin” since Cali is short for California and Austin is a city in Texas. I thought it’d be funny to do an enemies-to-lovers story with the secret meaning of these names.
what motivated you to write this piece?
I wrote this piece because I enjoyed scenewriting last year and I thought it’d be fun to see if I improved on my skill this year.
what was the most difficult part of your writing process for this work?
The most difficult part was completing it in time. It’s over 10 pages so I had to find a way to manage writing a complete story with the regular course load in school.