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Shell Shocked: A doppelganger in Sanibel

By Staff | May 4, 2016

Have you had your identity stolen as yet? Just wait. Your turn may be coming.

I had a dream last week that a doppelganger was making the rounds in Sanibel using my credit cards. The impostor even dropped in at one of the banks on the island I have an account at and began withdrawing sums of money.

In the dream, I was having dinner at Traders and presented my credit card after the meal. The waitress returned it saying that I had already used it for an earlier dinner. I told her that I hadn’t been at the restaurant earlier and that the credit card I was presenting to her was valid.

She got flustered and said that she needed to speak to the manager about this. After about five minutes the manager presented herself and told me that my card had already been used earlier and that I needed to present some additional ID. I pulled out some other ID including my handicap membership card at Sanibel Island Golf Club, my Sanibel Optimists Club discount card and my pizza addiction rehab card.

She excused herself and said she would check out my ID. Another five minutes passed and she returned with a grim face. She said, “The ID you gave me doesn’t check out. None of these cards are current. It appears you owe a great deal of money and they’ve all suspended your membership. I’m afraid we can’t accept your credit card.”

That’s when I woke up. I looked around me and was comforted by the fact that it was the dawn of a new day and I was in the bed of my own home. I took a sigh of relief. Thank God it was only a dream. I thought about people actually losing their identity in this era of hacking and stealing.

As circumstance would have it, I had dinner that evening at Traders. At the conclusion of dinner I presented my credit card. The waitress returned it saying I had already used it earlier in the evening. I pinched myself. Was I in the middle of that same dream? The pinch hurt sending electrons of pain up my arm. What was going on here?

I was short with the waitress. “No, I wasn’t here earlier tonight. I don’t usually have two dinners within a one-hour time span. You’re making a mistake.”

As in the dream she said that she needed to bring this matter to the attention of the manager. My dinner companions began to eye me suspiciously. I think they were wondering who I had dinner with an hour earlier and why my social calendar was so full that I needed to have dinner twice the same evening. The manager arrived, as in the dream and asked me for additional ID.

I said, “Look, I’m here all the time. You know who I am. I’m nobody else. I’m me.”

“But,” she said, “Someone with your name was here an hour ago and used the same credit card.”

I said: “But did that person look anything like me? Maybe someone stole my credit card number.”

“No,” she replied, “That person was you. You were here earlier. That’s what’s so confusing.”

Confusing? You think she was confused? How about me? First it was a dream and now it was reality. I stammered,” Are you saying that there’s a doppelganger in Sanibel who is also pretending to be me and using my credit cards? How did duplicate credit cards fall into his hands? Is this a ‘Mission Impossible’ movie?”

Just then my double entered the restaurant. He looked exactly like me. He approached our table and said: “I want you to know that I’m the real Art Stevens and that this person is an impostor. He stole my credit card and I’m here to collect it.”

We all looked at each other. What happened next is still a blur. But, I find myself sitting in the Sanibel police station waiting for my attorney that is if my attorney will believe me when I tell him I’m me. How could this happen to me?

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.