I knew I was in the big time when he took his first breath.
I had finally saved up enough Knoephla Bran box tops to send in for the Pirate3D Swashbuckler printer/scanner/copier that I decided I just had to have; I wasn’t even sure if it would work properly or if it would end up being like those so-called “street-style headphones” I once got with Coke points: something that looks great on-screen, and feels like absolute rubbish in your hand. When I got it, I took i down to the basement and unboxed it carefully; I laid it out in pieces and assembled it according to the instructions. Then, following a video I’d found on YouTube, I modified the design of the device. . . just a bit.
The kid in the video said that the scanner was harmless, but I still couldn’t help but wonder if I was making a mistake when I let it scan me from head to toe; there was a slight tingling as I felt the ray penetrating my tissues. When it was finished I appeared to be unharmed, aside from the trauma of imagining myself having to undergo chemotherapy. The resulting file was uploaded with relative speed to the printer. It came to life, the carriage zipping back and forth over the custom six-foot table, depositing cells with a sound reminiscent of the dot-matrix printers of my youth. The video had warned me that this would take some time, so I went upstairs and made a pot of coffee and went about my business. Since it was a Saturday, I had a whole list of things to get done, although for some reason, my heart wasn’t in it. Probably just excitement over the machine, I decided.
The sound of the printer died almost six hours later, and I ran downstairs to see what had been wrought by the technical wizardry of others. Clicking the “OK” button in the dialog box on my computer’s screen sent the requisite defibrillating shock via the print head through the chest and returning through metal pads on the table’s surface; the body jolted, the chest hitched.
Yeah, I was in.
I looked into his eyes. It wasn’t like looking into a mirror, as I would’ve thought; when you look into your own eyes in the mirror, you might begin to get this creepy feeling, as though the person that you’re looking at is not really you. This was like looking at myself, and for what it’s worth it was very comforting. It was an exact duplicate of myself, right down to the last mole. There was no confusion on his waking up, as the last thing he remembered was scanning himself; the cloning was branded at this point a ripping success, and we discussed moving forward with our plans. He would go to work and bring home the paychecks, while I would stay home and become a world-class writer to rival the likes of Orson Scott Card, Ben Bova, or – dare I say it – Stephen King himself. We decided against taking turns because now that we were two, it would be more beneficial for each of us to specialize ourselves to our tasks. For some reason, he was really into it, and I even let him take the responsibility of blogging the Daily Post prompt responses off of my hands.
That, in retrospect, may have been the first knell of the bell that signaled my undoing. I started writing daily, at a feverish pace. I just had to get a rough draft of my book set, and then I could revise my heart out until it was right. I fueled these stints with pots and pots of coffee – I even switched to buying ground coffee to save time. As the days slipped by, however, I found something strange happening to me – to us, as it were. He was doing great – he was getting to work on time, posting to the blog, working fifty-plus hours a week without complaint; somehow he had even managed to get a promotion, moving into the fabrication lead position even though the job listing had closed and consideration for the position had been down to two of our co-workers; I nearly fell over when he told me they offered him a dollar raise to take the position.
To be continued…
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