This month’s post is based on a short story I wrote and first shared in August 2016, and for reasons not entirely clear to me it’s popped into my head more recently. So, I’ve decided to give it another airing.
A ‘Houseful of Clones‘, is about a busy professional, Juliette and her attempts to make her life a little easier……..
It was originally written as a ‘tongue firmly in cheek’, story, reflecting my interest in ‘futuristic’ technology, and ‘fairy tales’, what I now understand as magical realism. It demonstrates, still, I think what can happen, if you take your team for granted. Because unfortunately, Juliette, does make a few assumptions about her ‘team’, which contribute to things going so badly wrong:
- She assumes she can dump all her tedious tasks onto her ‘team’ and they will just get on with it indefinitely.
- She assumes her team members have no dreams, aspirations or goals of their own.
- She assumes that her team won’t observe and in turn ‘model’ what she does.
- She assumes, that they will just listen and do what she says.
- She assumes that because everything looks ‘okay’ on the surface, there is no need for her to ‘check in’ and dig a bit deeper.
- She assumes that her team need no further input or guidance from her.
One final thing, Juliette also refuses to really see and acknowledge what is going on, right under her own nose.
So, without further ado I give you:
‘A Houseful of Clones‘
“It is with great excitement and anticipation that Juliette, opens up the box that contains a rather special package. It has taken some months, but now it has finally arrived and all she needs to do is follow the instructions and she will be forever free of all household related chores.
This will provide her with all the help she needs to keep on top of running a home and a demanding full- time business.
All things considered, this, if it works will solve all her problems.
What else could you possibly need, if you are able to grow your own team of ‘specially cloned’ helpers all with the focus and desire to make your life easier?
Juliette has invested in a Beta version of ‘Grow You’, – a cloning system especially designed for ‘busy’ people. She had painstakingly reviewed the brochure, completed the online questionnaire and sent off payment and hair samples to the ‘Grow You’ Corporation.” –
Now with the arrival of the package she is all set to move to stage two, ‘growing’ her clones to full size and inducting them into her life so they will know what is required of them.
And because finances are a ‘little tight’, Juliette had opted for the three ‘Clone’ package: – reasoning that she can always enlarge her team later if things work out.
So, with infinite care, Juliette, follows the instructions and carefully stores her pots in her spare room. It’s the warmest in the house and will keep them out of the way and safe whilst they come to full size over the two- week growth period.
Two weeks later, Juliette has her three full sized clones and as part of their induction she names them, J1, J2, and J3 and allots each its own set of tasks.
J1, is responsible for all food preparation, buying, cooking and tidying up the kitchen
J2, is responsible for the garden and maintaining the outdoor space
J3, is responsible for cleaning and tidying up the house and Juliette’s pet hate, ironing.
All, starts well as each clone, diligently and methodically sets about their tasks leaving Juliette free to pursue her work and her interests. She finds that she can get so much more done, without the daily hassle as she sees it of cooking, cleaning, gardening all the stuff she has absolutely no interest in.
And, things continue, for three months……………….
However, during this time, J1, 2 and 3 become a bit more ‘self-aware’ and realise that they too are ‘bored’ by their tasks. So, unknown to Juliette, they decide to ‘outsource’ them. They reason that it won’t matter too much, as long as the tasks get done. Juliette will still get her meals prepared and house and garden tidied. Just not by them.
Strictly speaking this should not have been possible, but as the original kit was at Beta stage only, there was one small flaw. The clones are in fact able to clone themselves, which is exactly what J1, J2 and J3 do and conceal the presence of the three additional clones (K1, 2 and 3) and things continue in much the same way, but with K1, 2 and 3 doing all the work.
Juliette remains blissfully unaware of anything being amiss, she had taken the time to carefully induct J1, 2 and 3 into her routines, unfortunately they are not quite so careful in inducting the 3Ks.
For this and other reasons it isn’t too long before the 3Ks decided to create their own clones, they had observed the 3Js and felt that they too could also use their time to ‘follow their interests and passions’.
So, as you can probably guess by now, the 3Ks go ahead and create their own clones, following the example from the 3Js and name their clones L1, 2 and 3 and barely bother to induct them into Juliette’s routine at all. The three Ls do the same after only a matter of weeks.
Juliette remains largely unaware until one day she finally notices that her garden is looking particularly, unkempt and venturing into her garage to remonstrate with J2 she finds it is crammed with clones. All busy arguing and trying to conceal themselves in various ‘nooks and crannies’ as they become aware of Juliette’s presence.
In nine months, the original group of three has ‘grown’ to 18, and seeing this Juliette immediately contacts the ‘Grow You Corporation and arranges to have her garage ‘cleared’. She is assured that they will be well looked after and able to lead full and productive lives, but just not with her.
The ‘Corporation’ had as a gesture of good-will offered her the Alpha kit, but after a lot of thought, Juliette declines and decides that she will find another way of making her life a bit easier. She’d seen something about robots, maybe that is worth pursuing?
So, there you have it, until next time
The original story had first published her, as Shortstoriesblogger