Author : Travis Gregg
The two men sat in silence across from each other in their usual booth at the diner. Thomas was brooding, clearly upset about something and Stan had known him long enough to just let him stew. The two men had been friends since college and still tried to get together semi regularly despite jobs and wives and kids. Although nearly the same age, Thomas looked noticeably older. His hair was mostly gray and his shoulders sagged significantly.
“I always had a fantasy,” Thomas started, breaking the silence, “or at least a day dream I would indulge in, where I had a couple more copies of myself. Imagine the productivity, the things at work I could get done. I used to really enjoy owning a small business, but more times than I can count I have wished for a couple copies of myself. No more calling in sick for bullshit reasons, no more saying the wrong thing at the wrong time in front of the customer. With at least a couple more copies of myself things would really get done.”
Stan knew where Thomas was going with this. He’d heard bits and pieces from mutual friends but hadn’t gotten the full story.
Thomas continued, more talking to himself than anything. “When I saw the advertisement, the one that everyone saw, the one where you could get yourself or a loved one cloned, I knew it was for me. The company that was making the clones had never had a request for a 32 year old clone. Most of the time people wanted kids who couldn’t have them. Maybe an accident happened and they’d want someone a little older. The company had also never had an order for eight. I had to negotiate for weeks but a couple months later they showed up. I was only going to get two at first but why not go big. Got a quantity discount too.”
“The day the clones showed up I fired my entire staff. Every role, the warehouse guys, the accountant, the two sales guys. Everyone. Didn’t need them, I already knew how to do their jobs, and if I knew then my clones would too. For the first couple hours it was kind of awkward but we all got over it pretty quick. They were me after all, and then we got to work.”
“That seems pretty extreme. Some of those guys worked for you from the beginning,” Stan replied.
“The first month was the best we ever had,” Thomas continued, as if he hadn’t heard Stan. “Sales were up, complaints were down, and I didn’t have to worry about someone screwing up. A couple mistakes were made but I literally couldn’t have done any better personally so I couldn’t get too upset.”
“After that first month though, things slowed down a bit. A little less enthusiasm in the office, especially form the warehouse guys, was the start of it. We all agreed to shuffle the roles a bit. Obviously some positions were better than others and we were all capable. Spread it around a little bit.”
“A couple months after that, clones Four and Five started embezzling and clone Two stopped coming in entirely. Could I fire myself? That’s a pretty complicated question it turns out.”
“Six months after my brilliant idea we had a literal coup and for a time I was ousted. I got Six and Seven on my side, convinced Two to come back, and Three after some tense negotiations to form a majority but it’s tenuous at best. The next step is going to be litigation for sure and I’ll be suing myself for the next couple years if I’m lucky.”
“It turns out I make a terrible employee, in fact I’m the worst employee I’ve ever had.”