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Double or Nothing

Alter S. Reiss lives in Jerusalem with his wife Naomi and their son Uriel in an apartment that might someday not be under construction. His fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Nature, F&SF, and elsewhere, and he has published a short novel, Sunset Mantle, with the Tor.com imprint. He is very occasionally on Twitter, as @asreiss.
When my copy walked into my bathroom with a pistol drawn, I wasn't even surprised.
For one thing, while it'd been disturbing to see an exact copy of me walking around and doing things at first, I'd gotten used to it. That was why I'd had an android made to those specifications, after all. And while it wasn't great that it had gotten a weapon from somewhere and was planning on killing me, that wasn't too surprising. I'd been sending my copy into work as me ever since I'd got him, and one of the things I'd been doing with my new free time was catching up on my reading. So I knew how those stories went.
"So you've got bleach and stuff?" I said. "I mean, it's probably the easiest room to clean up, but Janet's coming over on Tuesday, so you don't want to leave spatter anywhere."
The android gave me one of my puzzled looks. "You're not going to try to stop me?" he said.
I shrugged. "I'm naked and in a bath," I said. "You've got a gun. Doesn't seem worthwhile. And, honestly. You had to go sort out that address thing at the DMV like five times. So, fair enough."
The android raised the gun, and then lowered it, his shoulders slumping. "Honestly," he said, "It'd be easier if you were trying to fight me on this one."
I gave a soapy shrug. "People who'd try to fight their robot doubles against all odds aren't the sort of people who get robot doubles to go to parent teacher conferences."
The gun came back up. "They made us sit in second-grader chairs!" he said. "And we had to wait twenty minutes after our scheduled meeting, and Lisa was being snippy about Janet the whole fucking time."
I winced. "Sorry," I said. "Honestly, once you replace me, there's going to be more of that, but at that point, none of it is going to be my problem."
He gave a gusty sigh. "Yeah," he said. "You're right. I mean, I'd have to take off Tuesday for the plumber, who probably isn't going to show up."
"So...."
"So you have to start going to work some of the time," he said. "And you're the one getting the passport done."
"No deal."
His expression hardened, and his grip tightened.
"But," I said. "Tell you what. I've got some money saved up. We could buy a robot to do things neither of us want to deal with."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018


A little while back, I was in a conversation about what we'd do with a robot that could be configured however we wanted. Something that'd handle various social obligations that I didn't want to deal with sounded like a good idea, but then I figured that if it was a good enough copy of me to handle those obligations, it wouldn't want to do them either. So here we are.

- Alter S. Reiss

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