Writing Prompt #128 — The Age Old Question

Prompt: I manufacture clones for a living. It’s a fun job, and some of my own help me out here. I find it a funny how they all call me “dad” despite “being” me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t consider them my own. B76 is having some trouble after the “Where did I come from?” talk, though.

“Where did you come from?” I parrot, as though I didn’t hear him correctly.

“Yeah, dad,” he says, staring at me with my own eyes. “Where did I come from?”

I run my hand through my hair, mumble something, turn away. The framed photo of us — not him and I, but all of us — together at the park, standing in front of a huge wisteria tree. It took some convincing for the photographer to understand that they were my children, that they were me in a way, but their own person.

“Dad?” B76 says.

“Yeah, sorry.” I shake my head. “You came from me, and your mother, like everyone else.”

“But how?”

I knew this talk would come eventually. This many clones, it was only a matter of time. Free-thought was something I prided myself on. My clones weren’t like the mindless drones other places made.

“Well, you see…” I cough into my hand. “A piece of me is put inside your mother, and fourteen days later, you’re born. Not as you are now, but close.”

“Fourteen days?” he asks, scratching his chin. “Is that long?”

“Yes and no.”

“What do you mean?”

I keep from groaning. Shouldn’t have mentioned normal pregnancy. “Never mind. Anything else B76?”

He stares off into space, then shakes his head. “Nope.”

“Good.” I nod. “Then can you get back to splicing? We’ll need that shipment out by tomorrow.”

“Will do,” he says, waving, and goes down the hall.

I sigh, wiping my forehead. Glad he didn’t ask how exactly he came from: the DNA, the splicing, the insemination of the artificial womb that was his mother, the incubation period, his “birth” which is him, walking out of a egg-shaped container covered in transparent slime, dumbfounded. I considered postnatally installing a gene that would disrupt any thoughts of existentialism or self-awareness, but they would become what I sought them not to be: mindless.

B90 comes into the living room, sits down next to me. “Dad?”

“Yeah, son?”

“Is there a God?”

Damnit.

Read my previous prompt, “Some Say Upgrade, Some Say Downgrade

Read more of my writing prompts here.

Check out my bibliography for more of my work.

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