You see them all the time in their fluorescent yellow jackets. You might think they’re from the gas company, but Derek knows what’s really going on.
Clones, he says. That’s what they’re up to. The geezers in the hi-vis are replacing people in our street with clones.
You’re kidding, I say. Why would anyone do that?
Think about it, mate, he says. Just think about it.
They don’t look any different, I say.
Derek sighs. Course not, he says. Clones. Do you expect them to look different?
I see what he’s getting at.
So how do you tell, I say.
Tell they’re clones. Do they smell different?
’Course not, says Derek. They smell exactly the same. Clones, see?
So do they talk different?
No, says Derek, and you can tell he’s getting a bit fed up with me ’cos he sighs a bit when he says this. They don’t talk different. Why would they talk different? They’re clones. C-L-O-
Okay, oaky. I think carefully about what I’m going to say next.
So what? says Derek.
So what’s the problem? I say.
What’s the problem? says Derek. What’s the problem? Clones, mate. That’s the problem.
I’m still not getting it.
The problem, says Derek, is that they’re clones.
He looks at me in that pitying sort of way. I hate it when he does that.
Mate, he says, how would you feel if you were a clone?
I think about this.
Much the same, I say. Probably.
Jesus, says Derek. You’re not thinking this through, are you? Mate, you’d be a clone. You might feel you were still you, but you wouldn’t be you, would you? You wouldn’t be you at all. You’d be a clone.
All right, I say, but how can I tell you’re not a clone then? Gotcha, I think.
Me? A clone? No chance, says Derek, laughing. As if I’d let that happen to me!
He’s right. Derek wouldn’t let it happen to him, because he’s clued up, is Derek. He knows what’s what. They’d never manage to clone him. Way too tricky, that’d be. Way too tricky.