So you’ve got a clone! Congratulations! Whether you created them on purpose, made a horrible mistake with a cursed talisman, or woke up next to your duplicate with no recollection of how you even got to the verdant island where you both seem to be stranded with no hope of rescue, your life is about to change forever.
Figuring out what kind of relationship to develop with a person who is identical to you in every superficial way might feel overwhelming, but never fear! No matter what kind of relationship you and your clone end up having—and no matter how long the two of you survive existing in the same world—remember to cherish every moment. It’s not every person out there who gets to meet an exact replica of themself!
For every dilemma you might face in life, there’s a listicle, and this is no exception. You and your new clone could be in for a long and fruitful future of…
Friendship! Sure, it can be unnerving to have a sudden new friend who is identical to you but has no past to speak of, but nothing can stop the power of friendship, especially when that friendship involves genetic mirroring. Borrow each other’s clothes, enjoy a perfectly-balanced tandem bike ride, and examine the true relationship between nature and nurture as you discover the deep, immutable differences between your personalities!
Crime! Nobody can provide a better alibi than your true double! You can always count on your clone to grab the attention of eyewitnesses. Even the increasing omnipresence of advanced facial recognition software won’t be able to incontrivertibly place you at the scene of a jewel heist—not when your clone was busy causing a scene at the local farmer’s market by getting into a loud fight with a mushroom vendor about whether oysters are superior to lion’s manes!
Rivalry! Are you losing motivation at work? Are you struggling to keep your marriage alive? Are you at risk of losing the big MMA tournament because your complacency is preventing you from giving it your all? Thank goodness all your problems can be solved now that you have a clone! Just drop a few hints about your great life and open the door for your clone to start trying to replace you. You’ll have no choice but to start fighting for that big promotion, your happy home life, and the title belt—unless, that is, you want to disappear forever, unbeknownst to those who know and love you best!
Intimacy! …it isn’t a good idea, but I can’t stop you two.
Bloodsport! Even the most dangerous game gets boring after a while. After all, you can only lure so many unsuspecting young upstarts to the secluded peninsula where you hunt them for sport, and soon, you’ve learned all their tricks! But of course, in all your years of pursuing human trophies for the bloodstained walls of your trophy room, you’ve never really taken the time to get to know the wiliest prey of all: yourself. Hunting your clone for sport couldn’t possibly go wrong, unless your clone decided to turn the tables and start hunting you. And that would never happen… right?
You might wind up developing a lifelong friendship with your clone, or you might find yourself killing them and devouring their flesh in a ritualistic fervor, you can be sure that life will never be the same! Meeting your double can be destabilizing and even scary, but just remember: everything will be fine. You’re the same person you were before you met this new, familiar person! You’re the original. That’s indisputable. You’re definitely the original. No doubt about it, no reason to double-check.
Now get out there and have a great time getting to know the other you!
Hugo award winner Sarah Gailey lives and works in California. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe, and their fiction has been published internationally. Their novel, Magic for Liars, was an LA Times bestseller. You can find links to their work at their website. They tweet @gaileyfrey.