Author: Nicholas Schroeder

Dr. Sellars set up the teleportation machine. He was done waiting. It was time to test it. He powered up and stepped inside. The system initiated and vibratrons filled the chamber. “Here we go.”

“Countdown: 5, 4, 3, 2, … System Error!” The machine aborted sending a powerful energy wave collapsing the ceiling.

Two identical bodies emerged from the rubble.

“My head.”

“My head.”

They pointed at each other. “A copy!”

“A copy!”

“What! I’m not a copy.”

Dr. Sellars (1) examined Dr. Sellars (2). “Yes you are.”

“No, I’m the one that stepped into the machine. I’m the original.”

Dr. Sellars (1) wiped the grime off his face. “I’m the original.”

“Well, who is closer to the machine?”

“I don’t know, the explosion flung us.”

Dr. Sellars (2) wiped the grime off his face. “Where we unconscious?”

“I believe so.”

Dr. Sellars (1) ran over to the machine. “It’s destroyed.”

“What the hell happened. Did it split us?”

“No, it didn’t work. You’re a byproduct,” Dr. Sellars (1) said.

Dr. Sellars (2) zipped up his coat. “There can’t be two of us.”

“Exactly, there’s only one of us that counts: the original.”

“How do we know?” Dr. Sellars (2) asked.

“A copy might have physical defects.” Dr. Sellars (1) walked over and tried to grab Dr. Sellars (2)’ face.

“Back off buddy! What makes you think you can touch me.”

Dr. Sellars (1) looked perplexed. “I just—“

“Let me examine your face. Was that mole always on your chin?”

“Of course. You know that.”

Dr. Sellars (2) brushed his hand through his hair. “Now you’re acknowledging we’re the same.” He took a few steps back. “But we’re not. You’re just some fluke.”

Dr. Sellars (1) walked toward him. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

“Stepping into the machine, the countdown.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s black after that.”

Dr. Sellars (2) fondled his keys. Let’s say we can’t decide who is the original, as a practical matter, who goes home to Amie?”

“You better not touch her you bastard!” Dr. Sellars (1) yelled.

“But it’s my wife too.”

Dr. Sellars (1) was frustrated. “Are you suggesting we share?”

“Maybe,” Dr. Sellars (2) said. “No, that’s ridiculous, I can’t do it.”

“Me either.”

“What about work, could we share that?” Dr. Sellars (2) asked.

“No. I work alone. You know that.”

“Do I,” Dr. Sellars (2) said. “What are we supposed to do?”

“I’m not giving you anything.”

“Yeah, I’m not giving you anything either.”

Dr. Sellars (2) looked intently at Dr. Sellars (1).

Dr. Sellars (1) smiled. “Go on. Blurt it out. You’re planning on killing me.”

“Well, it did cross my mind.”

Dr. Sellars (1) sighed. “Yeah, I’m planning on killing you too.”

“That’s a conundrum,” said Dr. Sellars (2), “who would win in a brawl?”

“Well I would just shoot you,” Dr. Sellars (1) said.

“I’d hire a hitman. I know a guy.”

“Yeah I know the guy too,” Dr. Sellars (1) mocked.

“You know we’ve killed before.”

“I know, we’re horrible people. What should we do?”

“You sure you can’t compromise?” Dr. Sellars (2) asked.

“No. Sorry.”

“Then we need to leave. Go to opposite sides of the globe. Start a new life.”

Dr. Sellars (1) fondled his keys. “I’ll go to Europe and you Asia—decide where later?”


Dr. Sellars (1) zipped up his coat. “If only we could teleport there.”

Dr. Sellars (2) walked over to the broken machine. “It should have worked.”

“Yeah, it should have…”

The two men shook hands and went their separate ways.