Author: Sarah Klein

Paul put on some jazz music as he set up the Webcam. He was pumped. After weeks of boredom, the Doppelganger program had launched. It was a steep fee to be included, but they were essentially cloning you, with some proprietary software that was supposed to mimic your brain too. Plus, he and his friends were too wealthy for it to even be a second thought. The first week had been great, and it was his turn to host. He shimmied his hips to the music as he set out the cheese plate.

The doorbell rang. It was Cindy. “Hey baby!” He said, giving her a peck on the cheek, and running his hand down her tight red dress. She giggled. “Beer’s in the fridge, wine is on the counter, I’m just setting up the hors d’oeuvres.” He ran back into the kitchen while Cindy settled herself on the couch.

A minute later the door went again, and Cindy yelled “I got it!” Mike, Steve and Jenna piled in together raucously. After some hubbub, they finally all sat down, and Paul hit “Launch” on the program.

“This wine is fantastic,” Steve said, and Jenna made a noise to agree, her mouth full of crackers. They all took turns holding their thumbs to the biometric scanner and sat back to watch.

They were all at a big party, with a bunch of other doppelgangers. They took turns zooming in on each other and eagerly gossiped. “Wow, Jenna, your boss really does not want to leave you alone,” Mike observed. Jenna put her head in her hands. “God, I know! I put in my two weeks, Steve and I have more than enough so it’s fine, but what a creep!” Steve put his arm around her.

“Ooh, Steve and Cindy are going off somewhere together,” Paul crooned. Internally, though, his guts twisted. Cindy giggled and sipped her wine. They all craned their heads in and Mike hit commands to zoom and follow them.

The jeering continued as the couple entered the spare room. But silence struck abruptly as the Cindy and Steve doppelgangers began to passionately kiss. Paul coughed and tried to steady himself. The doppelgangers started to undress each other. They watched, rapt, until Steve went to caress Cindy’s naked body, and Paul yanked the webcam out of the computer. He looked up at Cindy. Her face was bright red. He looked over at Steve, who looked pale and uncomfortable.

“What the fuck,” Paul said. It came out too loud.

“We were watching that,” said Mike, but he was ignored.

Steve looked at Paul and shrugged, holding his hands palms up. “I don’t know, man, it’s just like, dolls. I’m not touching your girl, man. Not me.” He jammed his thumb into his chest for emphasis.

“You want to,” Paul said, and looked over at Cindy, who was silent and still. “Cindy? I’m not enough for you, huh, babe?” Cindy began to sniffle, and held her hands to her face.

“Cut it out,” Jenna yelled. Paul shot back, “it’s based on US, dummies! The behavior is based on us!”

“Come on man,” Mike said evenly, “it’s probably crap software and like, human desire translates to it weird, or like, we all wanna fuck everybody.” But Paul wasn’t listening.

“You piece of shit,” he screamed, as he lunged for Steve’s throat. Cindy wailed. Mike and Jenna tried to restrain Paul.

The phone rang at the police department. “I swear to God, if this is some doppelganger shit again, I’m not sending a car. Fucking ridiculous,” the sergeant said, picking up the phone.