He stared into the bar room mirror, saw himself sitting at his left. At least the two of them were still alive. Who could tell them apart! With a killer out there, he knew damned well, if the contract had a priority clause, he'd be written in it: "Take down Greg Wasser." Gregs 1, 2, 3, 4? Who the hell was counting! Truth was, as far as Greg Wassers went, the only targets left amounted to just himself...the real Greg Wasser...and Greg 4, the only clone to survive whatever psycho was out there murdering him an ego at a time.
"It's a woman," Greg 4 whispered, lips barely moving around the cigarette dangling from the corner of a handsome mouth. "So help me! A woman!" he repeated.
Wasser wished he looked as good as his clone. So this is what I would've been if somebody had done a pre-natal spring cleanup, he thought to himself. The same wavy black hair I had till I was forty; dark brown eyes sparkling without the hassle of contacts or these glass-glare specs of mine; skin without wrinkles; full set of good strong teeth; not to mention, at the rusty age of sixty, a sex life...
"She's alone. No outfit. No agency. No lab. No strings. I got to Greg 3 just in time to catch his dying words: 'She wants Wasser's ass,' he mumbled. "Wasser's brass? Wasser's stash? Wasser's... I kept asking. Just before he went flat-line, he repeated it slowly, as clearly as dying permits: "She...wants...his...ass."
A woman! How ludicrous! Greg Wasser laughed. Here he had it all figured: he'd broken the law. Clone Excess. Big-shot billionaire notwithstanding, nobody, not even President Rodham, could opt for two clones. Wasser had four! Republicrats got wise and were out to fry him. That made sense, even though he'd kept the illegal clones undercover at Wasser Ozone Layer Inc. Even though he had single-handedly saved the whole frigging planet back in 2013 patching up ultraviolet poopholes in the sun net, which incidentally put a stop to further cancer outbreaks. Better than this? thought Greg Wasser. Four clones. Rodham's pissed. The AARP wants me dead. Walt Disney's rolling in his cryo-capsule. Okay. All the jealous, yellow-bellied, law-abiding scuzzbags in Washington and Tokyo. But a woman?
"Who is she?" he finally asked, then caught her reflection approaching.
When the gun exploded, Wasser knew what came out of it had ripped him apart.
His glasses fogged up. He could hardly make her out. Then her face appeared and with it came the best he could speak: "You!"
"I couldn't resist, hubby mine. Look at those shoulders. That face! You outdid yourself, Gregor. You got careless. Should've quit with Greg 2. But Greg 4, now here's a hunk to kill for! A switch, Mr. Wasser Face. You go... without your billions!...and your clone stays."
Greg nodded yes to dying.
The above story “Two” is one of 164 flashes in Flashing My Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci, published by All Things That Matter Press, and available at Amazon.com in book, Kindle, and audio book editions. Flashing My Shorts, the perfect smorgasbord of tasty treats for everyone! http://www.amazon.com/Flashing-My-Shorts-ebook/dp/B004FN1V8S/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
Salvatore Buttaci is an obsessive-compulsive writer whose work has appeared widely. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times,
U. S. A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Adventure and Learning, and Red Room.
His latest collection of short-short fiction, 200 Shorts, is available in book and Kindle editions at
A great seller since 1998, his book A Family of Sicilians… is available at
He lives happily ever after with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.