Short story: Clone’s Revenge, by Richard Gallimore

SIR David, or just plain Dave to his diminishing number of friends, was all that is wrong in a city-led, market-driven society – he was selfish, grasping and lacking in charity yet he got his knighthood through over-generous donations to various influential opinion-formers.

Monday, 26th September 2011, 2:52 pm

The less he worked the more his network of companies earned through the hard work and dedication of others.

During a routine medical examination in London’s Harley Street he heard about human cloning. Dave was only half listening but quickly caught the gist of what the doctor said. The medic had just returned from China where he’d heard about new developments in cloning: it was now possible for humans to be cloned.

The more he listened to his doctor the more enthusiastic he became as he realised the advantages of being duplicated. Why, he could be in two places at once and his clone would always provide the perfect alibi! As he mused on the idea, he realised he could even take his mistress away yet appear to all intents and purposes to be giving an afternoon talk to the city financiers.

Even being interviewed by some of those mind-numbingly boring city editors would be breeze. His clone would do the hard work. And all of this while the real Sir David was lazing aboard his luxury yacht or sunning himself in the Caribbean and enjoying female company thousands of miles from the City of London.

It was simply too good an opportunity to ignore he thought to himself as the practitioner declared him in good shape for a man of his age, while making a mental note to triple his consultant’s fee as he wrote down the Chinese professor’s name and contact number.

Dave’s influence and money soon saw him taking his private aeroplane to Beijing where he was met by a team of distinguished medics.

The professor explained that while the operation was not 100 per cent perfect he could reassure him he and his team were 99 per cent sure he could be suitably cloned. The procedure was quite simple and non-invasive. Dave wasn’t too bothered with the briefing other than he was told he would have to lie alongside his clone for the medics to tap into his brain processes and duplicate them into his new companion.

The cost, even by Dave’s extravagant standards, was staggering and payment had both to be in advance and in gold bullion.

Six weeks later Dave and an identical facial companion in all respects, including, height, weight, speech and mannerisms, bade each other farewell at Beijing airport for Dave to return in his private jet.

The clone, along with members of the medical team, made a separate journey back to Switzerland. Under the cover of darkness and the Chinese professor’s supervision, the pair reunited in Dave’s villa where the clone received further intensive briefings on Dave’s future movements, activities and work patterns.

It was agreed a first test should be within the villa. While Dave kept out of sight his clone appeared one Sunday morning as some of the household members were preparing breakfast. In true Dave style the clone sauntered in and helped himself to a coffee even before one of the maids rushed to assist, only to be rebuffed in the same manner Dave would have done had it been him. Whispered conversations soon revealed the clone had passed his first test – the staff really believed it was Dave himself.

The second test was for the clone to give an interview with one of the city editors. There was none tougher than one from either the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph, and why not both at the same time over lunch? Dave suggested.

Both editors were convinced they had actually met Dave and who else but he would have been able to give out so much information about further impending takeovers?

‘It’s time for the real and final test,’ said the professor as he sipped his coffee in the presence of Dave and the clone.

‘You mean...’ began Dave.

‘Yes, Dave, your wife. If we can fool her then we can fool anyone. I know you’re barely on speaking terms and I’m aware she knows about your…ah… how shall we put it…

‘My extra-maritals’ put in Dave.

‘Precisely,’ went on the professor with typical Chinese diplomacy. ‘I know you haven’t seen her for a while but find a pretext to meet and discuss some financial arrangement.’

‘Fine. The clone can ring and fix to see her this afternoon about a policy which is about to mature. If she can be fooled then your whole concept of cloning will be worth millions and something I’d like to invest in.’

They watched as the clone rang Dave’s wife and agreed to an afternoon’s meeting.

“Like for like murder of tycoon,” screamed the following day’s tabloid headlines as police found Dave’s body in his London flat and no obvious sign of a break-in.

It was months later the Chinese began to leak background facts to Dave’s demise.

After the clone had made his appointment with Dave’s wife, he went to see her and it was here that the professor and his team’s guarantee of success let them down. While they were 99 per cent sure of success it was that one remaining per cent they had not allowed for. The clone, it seemed, had taken pity on Dave’s wife and felt she’d been wronged under the rules of Confucius that, ‘No man treats a woman like another man.’

While the clone had fooled the wife into thinking she was dealing with her husband and seemingly began to find him full of redeeming good points, the clone had already made a decision to right a wrong which meant there was no further need for the original Dave who succumbed to the clone’s revenge.