Sal Buttaci clones another entry, again

Literati! Talk about altered egos! Here Sal becomes frank(enstein) with us. Sal, or whoever you think you are, don’t forget in the comment box to post a link to your website and book offerings. Copy?

 IF AT FIRST AND SECOND YOU DON’T SUCCEED

by Sal Buttaci

 

Ezra Tucker Number 3’s a charm. At least that’s what he told both camps –– the butt-bussing sycophants who bowed and curtsied when he passed by and the diehard despisers of scientific novelties like cloning which they judged immoral. Duplicating a life so that every cell repeated itself in a new but identical body the latter judged immoral, more regress than progress, a Frankenstein travesty that begged nightly prayers for Ezra Tucker’s swift demise. Not only his death but that of his lab-generated look-the-same protégés that currently numbered three.

 

In Tucker’s defense his genius was unparalleled anywhere. The first to invent dream reading, human hover transport, and this recent discovery of cloning that for several centuries had been written about by the prophetic sci-fi writers who admitted their imaginative wordplay into the far-off future was more tongue in cheek than serious science.

 

“I had to put Ezra Number 1 to sleep,” Tucker confided in the only true friend he ever had. “Jake, while I was busy in the lab, Number 1 spent his time grooming a place for himself in my love life. Had I not gotten wind of their plan, he would’ve run off with her, but Lena talks in her sleep and I’ve always been a good listener. When I finally approached her, she claimed Number 1 was very clonely, that he needed fulfillment, and besides, he had a sparkle in his hazel eyes that I had lost years ago. So I zapped Number 1 with a shot of sodium hypochlorite and then cremated him. Lena I booted out of my life.

 

“And Ezra Number 2?” asked Jake.

 

“Brain damaged,” Tucker explained. “A clone defect. I cremated him too. But Number 3’s a charm.”

 

There was something about Tucker, thought Jake. His swagger? His subtle lisp? When it finally dawned on him, he shuddered to think Number 3 had murdered Ezra, then tossed him into the oven flames.

 

Like flashing neon lights, the truth gave Jake away. He knew too much. Number 3 hated secrets.

 

He stood watching the flames burn Jake away.

Seen here Sal and his Moiness waiting for Godot

 

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12 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Mr. Buttaci brings us a futuristic trilema which reminded me of a scene from “Blade Runner” which in turn was inspired by Philip K. Dick’s, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. There is a dark decisiveness with lingerings fears of the consequences of android-cloning to the creator much as Frankenstein was to Dr. Frankenstein in the Mary Shelley classic.

    I believe that there is easily room backward and forward in this story, it kept my attention while flinging my focus about to keep me engaged and is intricate in phrasing. Ezra Tucker Number 3 the android who invented clones left me wondering if Jake was a human clone or human. Regardless, we have a futuristic monster who was destroyed both Number 1 and Number 2 before burning his only friend, Jake, to death.

    I recommend reading it at least three times before forming a conclusion, because of the thick and complex phrasing, but fans of Dick and Asimov will treasure this story especially.

    “If at First and Second You Don’t Suceed”, in my opinion is as successful as it is grizzly.

  2. Diane Cresswell says:

    So very excellent Sal. Good twist and gore. Are all clones bad? Seems Tucker had a naughty streak that transferred over into the clone. Like this one a lot.

  3. Kenneth Weene

    With the line, “she claimed Number 1 was very clonely, that he needed fulfillment,” Sal has evoked in me a fascination with a new word. Meanwhile, the entire story is fine scifi in the best of traditions, starting with a new possibility and leading us onward to the inevitable bittersweet of that possibilities conclusion.

  4. Debi says:

    Sal, Right down my alley. I am a scifi fan. I’ve read several books about cloning and loved your story and twist on the subject.

  5. I never liked horror stories, but is it still horror if the first two clones are imperfect specimens? (I’d say yes but others may disagree.) This short story shows clearly that Sal can write exceptionally well in most any genre. Sal, will you now turn it into another story where Number 3, with the exceptional intellectual capacity derived from his maker, (and in spite of his homicidal trait) becomes the salvation of our solar system??

  6. Micki Peluso says:

    This is one of the best flash fiction sci-fi I’ve read in a while. It paced softly and smoothly with a great twist that I never saw coming. Now, someone else’s comment has me wondering if Tucker and/Jake were both clones. This is a fascinating story from an inventive writer.

  7. Monica Brinkman

    I may be missing it bu think again is not there in the story, again which may be part of Sal’s clever wit and imagination. He writes so very well and is quite diverse in subject.
    This was a delightful sci-fi and captured so much story in the few words. I adored it as I do all of Sal’s writings. I always look forward to the next tale he will tell. Great job Mr. Buttaci.

  8. Jake is not a clone. He was a close (not clone) friend of the real Tucker whose swagger and hardly noticeable lisp he remembers. For this Tucker #3 cannot trust Jake and in order to survive his only option is to treat Jake to the same fiery demise as he treated #1 and #2, and of course, the real Ezra Tucker. With all these Ezras running around, how was charming #3 to be himself? No one, not even clones, are so magnanimous as to want to compete with anyclone else?

  9. Tiffany V says:

    Tardis, District 9, and others like it take me to a new world, totally possible, already built. Sal did the same with this tale, all too brief. “Clonely” was a classic little detail, and the way the tides shifted at the end… I felt a bit like Ariel, wanting to be “part of your world”, but then I figured it would be dangerous…

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