Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

My name is Control V. My boss calls me Paste. I am a clone.

I work for the government. I am a secret agent.

There are a few of me kicking around. I don’t know how many. I am given orders that I can’t disobey. I get through metal detectors. I smile and shake hands. When I’m close to my mission’s objective I carry out my orders. Maybe murder. Maybe courier service.

This is the life of an expendable snowflake. This is the life of a genocopy.

The real me is fetal in a bunker, kept like a baby in a high-security specimen jar that might as well be a museum. I don’t have his memories but I am told that he was the best secret agent available and that he volunteered for this.

This was his reward for being the best.

They shattered him into splinters and now we roam around the world like Styrofoam coffee cups in human form. Shadows of the master. Rainbows thrown by the prism. We are given whatever fraction of his abilities that will help us most.

His talent for disguise, for instance, or his quick reflexes. Some of us are amped up romantically for ‘seduce and destroy’ missions.

Every time the phone rings and I see that it is my boss, I feel a little tingling of fear that he’ll say the word that will cause all of my synapses to fire at once, wiping my mind clean of anything in a tiny supernova of death inside my skull.

I can no more throw away my phone that I can tear off my own arm. I am conditioned.

I am an extension of policy. Technically alive but not human.

I’ve been stationed here in the Frankfurt airport for a year and a half. High numbers of undercover agents from other countries come through here. I am on standby to intercept them if necessary. Most of my time is downtime. I am a mole.

I get the feeling that most of my brothers are not given this long to roam. I handle baggage and try to keep from talking to my co-workers. I’m friendly but I reveal nothing. I don’t attend their poker games or parties.

I tell them I’m busy then I go to my pre-furnished apartment and stare at the wall until I get tired. I sleep until my alarm clock tells me it’s time to get up and go to work again. Once every month or two, I get a call with details about a mission.

I stare out the airport window on my lunch hour and wonder why I’m afraid of the call that will kill me.

That’s not supposed to happen. I think it’s because I’ve been alive too long and am starting to value it. That in turn makes me fearful that my boss knows that I’ve been alive too long and that makes me even more afraid that the next phone call will be my last. It’s a cycle gathering volume in my head.

I look at the planes landing and taking off against the blue sky and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful in my life.


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