Content Note: This story features frank sexual themes. If you are sensitive to such material, this may be a good episode to skip or listen to with support.
TRANSCRIPT: This story is written by Cat McKay. Cat specializes in gays and sci-fi, both as an actor and as a writer. (If it’s not broke …) Favorite roles include Diana Barry in Anne and Diana Were Totally Doing It (FemSlash Fest at Otherworld), Bella in Valkyries: Badasses on Bikes, and Alien in Engage! A Choose Your Own Sci-Fight Adventure! Her play Plaid As Hell is the winner of Babes With Blades’ 2019 Joining Sword and Pen competition and the Margaret Martin Award, and will be produced as part of their 2020-2021 season. This is “Two’s Company”.
The glowing red button said “Push Me.” How could I resist?
Yes, I know from years of research as an archival librarian of Old Earth, watching ancient and predictable 2D movies as part of my thesis, that pressing the big red button is likely to get lots of lots of people killed. But. I’m a Gryfindor. Endangering other people’s lives because I’m curious is kind of my thing.
I pushed the button. Nothing happened. Bummer. I went back to fiddling with the microfilm reader. It needed a cleaning, but I was almost done for the day.
Someone strode into my cleanroom, slamming the door behind them.
“Well, that’s certainly an option.”
I whipped around to face an exact replica of myself. So that’s what that button does.
“Look, I have two rules when it comes to sex. No homewrecking, and I only fuck myself in the masturbatory sense.”
“How willing are you to bend that second one?”
“What is this, a Chuck Tingle story?!”
“How did you get here?”
“Fuck if I know. I opened my eyes a few seconds ago right outside that door and I spotted a familiar face.”
“Great. Can I send you back?”
“That’s rude. You could at least ask me if I want to grab a coffee or something.”
“Hard pass. I talk to myself enough as it is.”
“Well, I don’t know how to ‘go back where I came from.’ Why didn’t you think of that before you summoned me, genius?”
“I just wanted to push the button!”
“God, we are so predictable.”
“Hey, are you me from right now, or from the future?”
“I don’t think I’m you ‘from’ anywhere; I’ve got no memories other than walking through that door about fifteen seconds ago.”
“But you can walk, you can talk …”
“Beats me too, bitch, but here I am. Now, we might as well have some fun.”
“Jesus, you are horny. Are you are on your period?”
“Then I’m not either. Wait,” she/me looks up for a second. “No wait. Yes I am. Sorry I lied.”
“Strange code of ethics you have. You’re ok with us fucking, but lying, now that really crosses a line?”
“Honestly, who are we harming? What is the difference between that and touching yourself? We’re two consenting adults who just happen to be the same person.”
“We could create a singularity, for one, and two, THIS IS A CLEANROOM.”
“Christ. You are so uptight for me.”
“Get out of my cleanroom!”
“Fine. Take a walk with me.”
“Uh-uh. You need to go back to wherever you came from.”
“Channeling that mid-teens fascist circus peanut, are we?”
“How are you making cultural references right now?”
“I dunno. What you know, I know. I think. I can’t explain how else I’m doing any of this right now. But just think about the implications … ”
“Twice as much lab work done in the same amount of time …”
“… in bed.”
“Alright, that’s it.” I slam the button again. Nothing. Spectacular.
A rapid knocking on the door, and then she bursts into the cleanroom without waiting for a response. I hate myself.
“What’s up, bitches!”
“This is a cleanroom!”
“How was I supposed to know that?”
“It’s on the door.”
“Weird; must’ve missed that. Anywho, what’s happening, us? Mes? What is our plural now? Are we doing the collective ‘they’?”
“You are BOTH going back!”
“Well, we’re going to have to re-engineer that button, then. Seems to be a one-way street right now.” That’s the first extra me. Second me out of three. Whatever.
“Can you do that?” I ask.
“Why did you not mention that five minutes ago?!”
“It was fun to watch you struggle.” First replica turns her attention to the newcomer. “Hey, cutie. Do you want to get a coffee?”
“Well, I was thinking coffee, and then we could see where it goes from there.”
“Oh, there’s a lot of places it could go.”
First me raises her eyebrows at me, like ‘Was that so hard?’ and the two of them stride out of my cleanroom to wreak as-yet unknown quantities of havoc on my professional and personal life.
Kat Evans has been an actor in Chicago since 2006. In that time she has worked with City Lit, Black Button Eyes, Promethean, Savoyaires and the Hypocrites. You may also recognize her voice from a few podcasts including Our Fair City, Starlight Radio Dreams and Toxic Bag