Richard Robard Hughes-Playing Doubles

Uday on left,Latif Yahia right

Uday on left,Latif Yahia right

I can’t remember exactly when it was that Richard introduced me to the concept that he had a double.    “His name is Jim.  He got picked because he had my basic bone structure.  The doctors did work on him and he is so close in looks to me, he really is.  It’s hard to tell us apart”. “They pay Jim quite a lot”, he chuckled. Like everything else he told me along the way, I took it with a grain of salt.  It was all so utterly fantastic, my young Long Island brain really could not successfully process it.

Richard’s favorite sandwich was the Monte Cristo and he especially liked the one they made at the MGM Grand coffee shop.  I had never heard of a Monte Cristo sandwich before the day he met me for lunch and he ordered one.  When it arrived, he started eating it with a knife and fork.  “Why don’t you pick it up like a sandwich?” I inquired.   He smiled a little “you bumpkin” smile and explained that it is hot, fresh from being deep fried, and it is properly consumed with cutlery.  Point made.

Several weeks later, I was summoned once again to meet Richard in the MGM coffee shop where he once again ordered the Monte Cristo.  The conversation that day was decidedly different, dull and perfunctory.  He seemed very guarded, distracted and measured which he never had before.  He had always been open and eager to flood me with information, but this day was different.  His answers were brief, strained and he looked down a lot.  His complexion seemed off to me but I fought the idea that this might be the double….that there really WAS a double.  I shook the thought away and carried on with the mundane chit chat.  The sandwich finally arrived and he shocked me by picking it up with his hands.  I blurted out “Aren’t you going to use your knife and fork?”  He paused and looked at me with a genuine look of being perplexed.   I started to really study his face and it didn’t quite look like him, but then again it did.  I found myself  wondering, my disbelief wavering.

The next day, one of Richard’s insiders named Charley came by and chided Richard that he had run into his double, Jim, at the airport the previous morning.  “I kept saying hello but you didn’t seem to recognize me so it had to be Jim that I saw.  He looks just like you!”  I found myself wondering about the Monte Cristo sandwich all over again.

Richard told me that Howard had doubles as well.  I had read that somewhere about Howard.  Maybe it was in the Gemstone Files.  But one never knows what to make of such things.  There is always a strong tendency toward skepticism.  But then, just a couple of months ago, I saw the movie “Devil’s Double”, a true story of a man who closely resembled Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday and was forced to serve as his double after receiving some plastic surgery.  Saddam was portrayed as having a double as well.   I am thinking that the guy in the coffee shop really didn’t know how to eat a Monte Cristo after all.  And I am wondering about Bin Laden, Khaddafi….without the insider’s playbook, who knows who is who… and who is where.

To be continued…