Author : Trevor Doyle

Sex droids don’t do it for me, but I’ve never had a problem with clones.

My most recent Romeo, for instance. The last time I saw him, he was standing on my gold plated balcony, his back to the city that worships at my feet. He looked like a pop star in the clothes that I’d dressed him in.

It’s a thorny problem, of course, getting them to forget everything I’ve done for them without making them tame. The first one forgot too much; the second one, not enough. This one had found his footing somehow on his own.

Memory implants and hypnosis can only do so much, after all. Put a shirt on your clone’s back, and he resents it; teach him to be civil, and he becomes soft, a sorry putty you abhor. I’ve learned the hard way that virility and duplicity are inextricably linked; the noblest man alive will spin incredible yarns in obedience to his first master, that metamorphic creature that he keeps hidden in his pants.

This one was different though. His desire to please was genuine; he was gracious but never fawning, capable of maintaining his self-respect even though he had no place in the world aside from the one I’d made for him. And yet he wasn’t docile or subservient; he could be unpredictable, which I liked, and he was forceful when my mood called for it.

Only last week, the psychiatrists who’d supervised his training and conditioning told me that he’d passed his total personality test. We’d succeeded where others had failed, which meant that we had the complete package, a clone who would be the perfect companion for any woman who could afford him. They showed me the numbers, the graphs that always bore me, and assured me that I was going to be a thousand times wealthier than I already am. But I wasn’t convinced, not entirely. There was one more test he had to pass.

Because it isn’t enough for a man (or a clone) to say that he loves you, is it? This is a fundamental truth, and that’s why I had to ask that all important question while he was standing there on my balcony with the wind roiling his perfect hair.

“So you love me. What would you do to prove it?”

He nodded to show that he understood, and then he turned around. He swung one meaty thigh over the railing, then the other, and he looked at me one last time.

“This,” he said.

And he jumped.

I had to smile. I couldn’t help myself, because it was the ultimate answer, the only answer that could expel my final doubts.

So he was perfect, a little too perfect. But I’ve learned my lesson; true love is overrated anyway.

We’ll do better with Romeo-4.