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