Melancholy scene in the park today. The singed hull of a boat hit by rocket in the night was bumping against the river wall. It emitted burnt smells and scraping noises in equally odious concert. A runner had begun to make a circuit of the park. The runner himself had succumbed to a stroke or heart attack while running, but the frame kept ambulating the body back and forth. The corpse was already decaying. Ones in the past had become skeletons before the frames broke down or were removed. This and a light drizzle.
There had been two checkpoints on the way from the office, only one had taken credit from him. Mika wasn’t sure if it was the local security force, drug gangs, or the army that had ran the check point, the equipment and uniforms were the same. He could check his mobile to see which of the three decided to scam him but he felt bored by the idea before he did it.
One of the local dogs had moved into the central area of the park and sat still, the army had set a security perimeter around it, so no one approached the dog. Its presence was a mysterious feature and constant buzz on the area’s newsfeeds.
Mika looked for Excena. Or maybe it was Excena’s clone. Or one of many clones. His head hurt a little thinking about it. Hopefully she was in a spot with a little shelter. He spotted her under a tree. He looked at the river past the burnt boat; a massive fallen bridge dominated the landscape, low flung clouds scudding through its girders.
Excena was dressed in a somber suit. There didn’t appear to be any cooler or basket for the picnic. Mika’s stomach growled, he only had a packet of awful crackers that he taken from work. Her face looked serious when she saw him approach. This was going to be a fun picnic he thought. He felt guilty having talked to the other Excena. Did this version somehow know?
Hi Mika. We usually do this by mobile, but you have been a steady client…
Where is the picnic? I can’t really afford to eat lunch. Wait what are you talking about?
We are reporting a negative balance in your account, so this contract will have to be cancelled until you can make further arrangements.
Mika paused, confused, and the again caught sight of the park’s dog, stock still and unmoving in its mystery.
I’m confused. First there is no picnic. Next we are treating this like a business arrangement, which in the back of my head I realize it is, and now you are saying that I have no credit even though I was just paid.
See I knew you were a reasonable man that would get all of this, thank you for your understanding.
Wait, I’m not being understanding at all, this is all nonsense.
I assure you this is correct. We at the House of Dreams cloning service would welcome you back when you are not at a negative balance. We provided your last request as per your order, but cannot proceed with the usual contract until you can make the proper arrangements.
Okay that has to be wrong. What request? Okay checking my mobile.
I paid you guys how much and for what?
A son, you bought yourself a son Mika.
I did what? I don’t even have money for food or to get back through the checkpoints. This day is not working as I imagined it.
Good luck Mika. Your son awaits you at home. Any complaints contact us as usual. Hopefully we will see each other again. If not, maybe some other model. Goodbye.
Mika sat down under the tree and tried to finished his crackers. They were stale and hard to swallow. He watched Excena walk away without another word. As he ate he listened to the boat thump against the shore and watched the low gusty clouds continue to filter through the bridge’s broken girders. He had a son and no money for food or maybe to even get back to work. The crackers tasted so awful and were so unsatisfying that Mika pushed them back into his pocket, breathed in , and then stood up to make the walk back from the park.