It may have been the Liquid nicotine that set me going into premature labour, or the fact that I was pounding my stomach with clenched fists while watching Arsenal lose in overtime. But, I wasn’t about to lose this baby.
It was so hard for me to get to this point. Finding someone to clone me was no easy task. I did my research on the Internet and found a laboratory in Shanghai that would, for £100,000, clone your favourite pet. I spent the next six months accelerated my cyber-crime business, withdrawing money from unsuspecting account holders at Lloyds TSB. I made an extra £20,000 for the airfare to Shanghai and before you could say boo I was shaking hands with Dr Woo. He took a biopsy from my inner thigh and within minutes the Petrie dish was placed in liquid nitrogen and put into a cabinet to do it’s thing.
The next few days I killed time by eating chow mein on the back streets of Shanghai until Dr. Woo texted me and said that the zygote had multiplied and that a two week old clone of me was growing very nicely indeed in the back room of his laboratory. I bet she was cute.
As they specialised in pet reproduction, they only had Alsatians to act as surrogate hosts, so Dr Woo made the unprecedented and unethical decision to implant my clone into myself, so I could fuck off back to England and get on with my pregnancy. That is, after he got the balance of his 100 grand in Chinese Yuan Renminbi. Legs up in stirrups, he took a long syringe and blasted Me2 into my uterine wall.
I had to lay with my legs elevated for another two weeks in a rehab centre filled with barking, cloned dogs. Finally, Dr Woo popped in and gave me an ultrasound and informed me that Me2 had indeed adhered herself to my uterine wall.
I had to sit with his secretary at a greasy desk littered with dog biscuits and sign a series of release forms. The usual check list they give you for early pregnancy, don’t lift heavy weights, run a marathon, no whiskey, avoid spicy food. The usual hogwash they tell you when you are carrying your clone in utero.
On the plane back to London I had deep fried Sichuan shrimp and 14 double Jack Daniels. Neither me nor a clone of me was going to follow the orders of a man half my size, smeared with canine saliva. I didn’t get to the high place I’m in now by being a pathetic little sheep? I was at the top of my field. My identity theft start-up was growing leaps and bounds. One of the main reason I wanted a clone was to obtain staff without going through the recruitment process. This little bugger better come out of the gate running or the whole process would have been nothing more than a nine month inconvenience.
And inconvenience it was. Pregnancy didn’t suit me. I didn’t have a maternal bone in my body. Women going on about how they get broody nauseated me to the core. And, in all honesty, the thought of having someone as repulsive as me incubating twenty four inches below my boozing and drug inhaling mouth and four inches above my vagina was mortifying. Me2 was cramping my web-cam sex business. The pregnant, surrogate chat rooms with women carrying clones of themselves was still a niche market. But, there I am again, way ahead of my time.
By my third trimester, I was so fat I was having to wear grey jogger bottoms and Ugg boots. I made Kerry Katona at her biggest look like Karen Carpenter at the end. My belly was twice as big as it should have been because of all the beer I was downing and I seemed to have develop a deviated septum from all the crank I was snorting so I had a chronic nasal drip. Pregnancy is hell, let me tell you. Whatever they say about a women glowing is a dirty lie. They’re merely burning with rage that that they got knocked up. Me, having done this to myself, you can imagine the ferocity of my self-loathing.
I never went to a scan, had a blood test or went to a birthing class. Who was going to be my birthing partner, my online poker partner? My pot dealer? Seriously. Dr. Woo would occasionally write to me reminding me that my due date was approaching. He wanted pictures ASAP for his website. His first human clone, framed and centred on his wall full of Labradors and Poodles. He even had the gall to say he wanted to have a live SKYPE simulcast of the delivery. SMG Shanghai TV was ready to sign on. But I fucked them off. I didn’t feel particularly attractive at 340 lbs and my hair was falling out in chunks due to malnutrition. But, truth be known, I didn’t want this little me replacement to outshine me, myself. It really was a fact I overlooked, that another me, given a chance in life may be more popular or successful in their own right. No. Best keep her hidden in a cupboard than face that. She could drink out of one of Dr. Woo’s dog bowls for all I cared. But, how the hell was I going to get this “Thing,” which by now I was calling her out? I guess I would have to go to a hospital, because I didn’t have a wire coat hanger. But, it would have to be under the radar. At seven and a half months I had had quite enough of this and I ran out and threw myself in front of a Fiat approaching a pelican crossing. I did a tuck and roll, which I learned in gym class, and that lay the way for an emergency Caesarian.
Lot’s of drugs and drugs and drugs. The little thing, all slimy and bloody was spanked and plopped onto my chest. I swore the little rat spit in my face and laughed when it hit me in the eye. When the doctor turned away I spit back at her. Gotcha! God, was I that ugly when I was born?
The few days were a drug-induced blur. The nurses tried their best to get me to bond with The baby, but I kept repeating to them, “You don’t get it, do you. I hate myself. Why should she be different?”
They threatened to call social services when I wouldn’t hold or feed her so I had to pretend I cared. I held Me2 on my lap and watched daytime TV, jamming the fatty ends of my overdone steak into her mouth. I was really growing to like her after all. I set up training right there in the hospital. I had her little hand press the remote control, to change channels. Soon, she would be doing this at home, with me in my slippers. Do this. Do that. Change the channel. Go pop me a beer. Microwave me a pot of noodles. Go out and fetch my weed from Vinnie. I hoped she walked early or she would have to crawl down the stairs, out across the high street, down the tube stations stairs, ride across town and back. If she had to crawl then so be it.
I did get her home and sat her on the sofa. She just stared at me with that hollow look, the look of, now what? My thoughts exactly, now what?
It didn’t take long to realise that she had indeed inherited my putrid personality and before you knew it, and without me even realising it, she was calling the shots. She screamed until I fed her or pooped on my OK Magazine. She yelled loudly over the Football, until we switched over to Celebrity Big Brother. She always wanted to go out so I was forever dragging her cross town on the bus, all four of our empty eyes staring into the pouring rain from the upper deck of the Boris bus.
Me2 did walk early, after all. At six months it was, which I understand is some sort of record. I had popped open a tin of Carling and she got up from sitting, flew across the room and grabbed the can, swilling down half the contents. I would find her rummaging through the ashtrays for roaches and there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t find white powder circling her nostrils.
But, she was cool. She was fun. She was me. I’m cool. I’m fun. It’s just that nobody knows it.
Me2 had an online poker account before her first birthday. She was a wizard at picking pockets on the tube and had a mean right hook.
We would sit at the computer for hours draining the life savings out of people’s investment portfolios. I would beam with pride when she would hit the return key and a wire transfer would fill up our account in Jersey. Now, I know how mother’s must feel when little Johnny hit a home run or pretty Nancy made honour role. Me2 was better than all of those straights.
For my fiftieth birthday, Me2 and I flew to Shanghai to meet secretly with Dr. Woo, so he could run a few tests for his research. Me2 had just turned ten. By then, Me2 and I had taken to dressing identically, so we went shopping for matching Kimonos and got shit-faced on opium and whiskey in some back alley den. The next morning we arrived at Dr. Woo’s office a little worse for the wear. Dr. Woo’s blood tests came back inconclusive, largely due to the high levels of alcohol and opium in the blood. He stared at his results and shook his head, holding his chin.
“I just don’t understand how this could have happened, I was so careful.” He said.
“How what happened? What’s going on, Doc?” A stood up and ran over to him, looking at the sheet.
It seems that the genetic makeup of your daughter, yourself or whatever you want to call her, is the exact match to a prize Shar Pei, Fen Whan Foo, that was being cloned at the same time you were here in January of 2005. I am sorry to say, Miss Murphey, but little Me2 is actually a champion dog that, for the first time in history, you have been a surrogate host for. Funny though, she looks a lot like you. The drooling, lifting of the leg to pee, the deep wrinkles and scruffy hair was so much like your behaviour. Fooled us all.
Sadly, this means that Me2 is not yours and we will have to contact the authorities to have her taken away.
Hearing this, I grabbed Me2 and started crying and screaming, “No, no. It can’t be true. This is me. I know it.”
Without waiting a beat, a deep growl came from the very depth of Me2’s chest. Her mouth started to foam and her teeth were bared to the gum. She barked and jumped at Mr. Woo, her two large canine teeth imbedding themselves into Mr. Woo’s jugular vein. We slid on his blood as we ran down the corridor.
A quick change of clothes and a scrub up at a petrol station and we were on the next flight back to London. A news agent in Heathrow had a magazine with Dr. Woo’s face on it. ‘Chinese Geneticist Found Dead After Gruesome Attack.’ Me2 and I looked at the paper and laughed and barked ’til we cried. We got home a little past midnight, curled up on the cushions on the floor and licked each other with the tender intimacy only known to people who knew each other inside out.