Lower CoSMOS: A-CLONE with you

“Well, what did you think?” said Martin, his white lab coat distracted me because it was older than this clean white washroom we stood in.

Art Credit: Denes Kozma

Caution: Mild violence

“It is indescribable, Martin. Amazing,” I said.

            “Oh, everyone says the same, my blessed friend. But I can imagine it is the ultimate in future therapeutics, wouldn’t you agree?”

            “Doubtless, Martin,” I said.

            “What is better is the bonus feature.” He turned to a screen behind him, fantastic in a washroom, the advancements are sensational for today’s world. He stared at me waving his hand as if by remote to command something.

            “We will clean you up in a minute here, Jeffrey. You need to see this first. It will add to the special day exponentially and allow you the escape from your pent-up stress. We want you to leave here invigorated.”

            I started to sweat.

            On the screen there I was and there I was. Both of us. A young me, but slightly younger, too young would have been creepy, I think. Yes. I remember. What do you say to yourself with the aid of a mirror? It is an image that you cannot grab, but I am there in full replicated glory. Staring back at myself. My eyes blinked at me and it was alive! Like me. Alive.

            “Can you pause it, Martin?” I said. He did.

            “The thing, it felt pain?”

            “Oh, part of the features, Jeffrey. You added them,” he said.

            I did. I remember I did and the crying if it did cry. Oh, to be truthful it was the best part of the service. Like a feedback mechanism, feasting on the emotions.

            “You enjoyed that part of it. All lawful, which makes it even better,” Martin said. He continued the video. I was glad no one else was there to see it.

            “Martin?” He turned to me again and paused it.

            “It is paused. I was going to ask you to pause. You are certain this cannot leak out?” I said.

            “We went over this during the interview. It is all sanctioned. Perfectly legal,” he said.

            “I meant, socially. Does it affect your view of me?” I said.

            “My opinion of you doesn’t matter, I provide the service, Jeffrey. I’ll help you dispel my demeanor. My candor is simply to get you through this,” he said.

            His kindness wasn’t real. His smile became plastic. Why is it so hard to find authentic people though they too, at an older age, are still miserably phony.

            “Very well, Martin. I apologize,” I said.

            “No need. Enjoy,” he said.

            The video continued. I touched the other me, on the cheek, in his hair. He did not smile but blinked to allow me to believe he was a living breathing copy of myself.

            “Oh, it gets good here, Jeffrey. I will lower the volume,” Martin said.

            My mouth opened and I screamed. Yelling and yelling close to the facsimile’s face. He stayed on his ground but then covered his ears. I knocked down his arms as he covered them again; several times until he finally gave in, and I released a relentless diatribe upon him. He tried to cover his ears again and I swatted his wrists. Martin’s face glowed and he bit down on his bottom lip as if to enjoy the exchange. The other me grabbed his wrists as each time I knocked his arms down, the more it hurt him.

“Did you lose money?! And where was I hiding when you made the decisions you made? The conversation here is one-sided and it needs to remain that way because I want you to listen. You are a nag. I have asked for sensibility and when I look into the eyes of another person, particularly when they are smiling, the sense of who I am leaves and you take predominance over me. I am tired of it and I want you out of my life.”

            “Did you lose a loved one? Not by death but I mean by the sheer fact of neglect. Maybe a friend you had in youth, one you treated with disrespect, realizing years later that is what it was! I am here to tell you today you are leaving my house. I want you to leave, it is time for you to go, but why every time I do this and we have this horrid tedious, and repetitive discussion do you return? Years, months, weeks, or even days later you come back into my life again and I remember you. I allow you residence in my home. Are you listening to me?”

            “You are the shadow no one wanted, the best friend and enemy no one cared to feed and clothe or care for. We may have many dependents other than ourselves, but you are by far the worst anyone could live with. My you try to allow my body to do the worst things for me for the momentary gain of an escape from the utter cruelty life brings, but yet here I am allowing you. How many other people do you infest? Judging from the outside world people know you are. Do you have brothers and sisters with the same problems?”

            “Did you help me die? Why then do I eat things that I do not want to or listen to things I don’t desire because you pester me that I do not fit in somewhere or need to be like others to understand? Those choices allow me to be subservient to what you tell me to do. Are you listening? It is time you listened to me because today is the day that I want you out and to leave me alone. We are not married but you want to be. We are not having a relationship, but you want daily intercourse that I receive no benefit from other than the sometimes-recognized thought that it is bad for my health but I allow you here with me daily.”

            My arm flung back, and I backhanded myself to the ground. My hand hurt, but the cost was satisfactory when applying the result. To injure yourself without being the recipient of the pain was pleasurable. It stared up at me, both its arms out as if for mercy, making indecipherable noises with its mouth. I watched the replay as my leg drew back and kicked it across the chin.

            “Oh dear,” Martin said, still with a small grin.

            The second time around was not as edifying. The thing sat up and spit out blood, closed its eyes, and attempted to stand.

            “Go on! Get up. I will let you. I always let you! Why I do it, I don’t know but your ignorance allows it. Your ignorance keeps going and the worst part is, I allow you to keep making the same mistakes you should have learned from in youth. Why bother? Answer me!”

            Of course, it said nothing and continued to try to reach my eye level again.

            “How long are you going to keep that stupid look on your face? For all the things you have done to me, that is what you do is stare. Stare. Stare. When I brush my teeth, I can’t do that. I need the mirror, or I’d have broken it by now. But you!”

            I lunged at it. Grabbing its cheeks and tearing at its skin. My nails dug into his face and I pulled off a chunk of it, flinging it to the ground.

            “I am so glad you minimized the sound of his agony, Jeffrey,” said Martin, “You wouldn’t believe the number of clients I get that want to hear themselves scream. You’re fairly tame comparably so do not worry about anyone judging you, this is nothing.”

            Though misery showed on his face, and he attempted his best to protect himself, the likeness of me turned his face away but I wanted more and wanted his hair. I yanked at it. We both dropped to the ground, and I pulled until clumps came out. Tossing the strands behind me, I made my hand into a claw and scrapped down the side of his head to reach his eye. The softened sound of his hurt emitted an inkling of consciousness, but it did not stop me from pulling back and turning my hands into fists, pummeling it until it finally listened.

            “You can hear that, can’t you? Fool! Fool!”

            Lowering my head, I turned away from the scream but the audio in the room was at its peak in technology. We were immersed in the rage while I had my hands around his neck. I could not watch it anymore.

            “Oh dear, Jeffrey. You certainly enjoyed it, but now. Our job isn’t finished then, we cannot have you leaving in this state.” He paused the video. I didn’t notice when first greeting Martin again after the session, that my clothes were red but when I entered. I recalled wearing a blue dress shirt with beige khaki pants. I lifted my blood-stained hands staring at the lines from them wrinkled after these years and the blood finding its way to stay in the cracks. My eyes stayed away from staring at the screen.

            Martin walked to me and put his arm on my shoulder.

            “Jeffrey, don’t be so hard on yourself.”