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The Mystery of Zollie's Doppelganger

BY DON CHILDERS

By

This true story is more like a Twilight Zone experience. It took place in Ventura California.

In 1989, my wife , her friend, and I decided to have an evening meal at Yolanda's Mexican restaurant in downtown Ventura. It was a summer evening and we entered the restaurant around 5:30 p.m. The maitre d' at the entrance directed us into the dining room.

Before I entered the dining room, however, I noticed a football game being shown on a TV in the bar area. I told my wife I wanted to watch the game for awhile, and to go ahead and order my favorite dish, then come and get me when the food was served. I sat down and watched the game.

About five minutes later, a man entered the bar area from a far entrance to the dining area, walking along the wall in my direction. When he got within about five feet, I looked up and, to my surprise, it was my old friend, Zoltan Kiss. I had not seen Zollie in several years.

"Zollie!" I said, "How ya been? Haven't seen you in years!" He looked down at me with a puzzled expression, as if he had never seen me before. He totally ignored me. There was salsa and chips on a nearby table from which he filled the bowl he was carrying. As he walked passed me toward the doorway he came from, I repeated , "Zollie, it's me! Don Childers!" He again paid no attention to me.

Why did he act like he never knew me? I thought, Well, so much for that friendship.

Another ten minutes or so went by when he again came out of the same doorway, passed behind me, and left through the restaurant's front door. He never looked at me, as if I didn't exist.

Then my wife came to tell me the food was ready. She said, "Guess who is sitting next to us!"

"Who?" I asked.

"Zollie Kiss and his girlfriend," she replied.

"No way," I said. "He left the restaurant a few minutes ago!"

"No," she said, "He is sitting in the dining room near us."

I thought, This is crazy! How could this be?

As we approached our table in the dining room, there was Zollie, sitting with his girlfriend at a nearby table. He jumped up, hugged me, and said, "Don! I haven't seen you in years! How ya been?"

"Zollie," I said in a nervous voice , "didn't you see me in the bar area watching the football game? Did you not fill your bowl with chips?"

"No," he answered. "I have been sitting here for thirty minutes with my girlfriend. I have not left the table."

My wife verified what Zollie said. After I told them of my strange encounter, they all looked at me as if I had lost my mind. The strange thing about this is that Zollie was wearing the same clothes as the other Zollie who ignored me. Who was that other Zollie?

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