The Rachels by Rachel Karyo
My DNA: I want it back. The clones? I want them gone.
The Rachel 1000 working at The Sunshine Bakery is such a bitch. I can’t go in there anymore. I hope she catches her stubby little fingers in the bread slicer. I hope she develops a life-threatening allergy to gluten. What I miss most of all are the butterscotch biscotti.
I think they are not me exactly. I worry they are cutting corners over at Clone-Ability. I suspect they are mismanaging their profit margins. I know they splurge on the Christmas bonuses, the matching dental plans, the free canvas tote bag they throw in when you sign away your life code.
After all, I graduated cum laude from a Seven Sisters College. The Rachel 2000s are absolute idiots. Ask one her age. She’ll change the subject. She’s not being coy. She just doesn’t know.
My boss told me he bought his on markdown. Seventy percent off. I said, “What a deal.” He said that she always forgets to shut the “God damn garage door” and she mixes the plastic with the paper. She forgets to empty his pockets before doing the laundry. She forgets to remove her tampon before they have sex.
But the Rachel 3000s are the ones that really scare me. They never stop smiling. They never stop smiling. Mark my words: One of those clones is going to fucking kill somebody. With a car. Or a knife. Or a tainted buffalo wing. And a super friendly smile.
The Rachel 4000s are all addicted to bath salts. Not the type that get you clean. To support their drug habits they hook at the farmers market. You will find them selling themselves next to the stand selling bath salts. The bath salts that do get you clean.
Have you seen the Rachel 5000 hanging around the train station? She always carries a little doll that looks just like her. And the little doll is carrying a little doll that looks just like her. And the little doll the little doll is carrying...
My boyfriend is sleeping with two Rachel 6000s. Platinum Collection. He says it is not cheating because they are me. But they have bigger breasts than I do, and I know that he likes them.
Sometimes I pick the Rachels up and give them rides. To the library. The tattoo parlor. Skinny lattes. Tequila shots. I wouldn’t say the sex is good. The Rachel 7000s are extremely enthusiastic; the trouble is they lack technique. We have difficulty being honest with each other in bed. “That’s very nice,” we say. “Oh, yeah,” we say, “Awesome.”
Masturbating all by myself gets the job done so much more efficiently. Sometimes I think I am the only Rachel who really knows what I want.
I’ve always hated my voice. Now everywhere I go I hear helium echoes of humiliation. And also I’m really worried that my ass is not nearly as cute as I always thought that it was. What, you think I’m shallow? You have obviously never interfaced with a Rachel 8000. I know for a fact her hair is highly processed and her teeth artificially enhanced.
My mother says you must learn to love the Rachels. My mother says you are special and unique. My mother says her best friend’s daughter Jodi has developed the most wonderful friendships with the other Jodis, who were recently voted the most popular clones in the Tri-state area. The Jodis have a blog. It is called “Replicant.” You can follow them on Facebook. They have raised more than twenty thousand dollars for one of the cancers. They run all the bake sales, and they are very active at their temples.
My mother says the Jodi clones have helped Jodi learn to be a more generous and humble person, and to grow and mature in meaningful and lasting ways, and also to live more in the present. My mother says Jodi’s clones don’t go around hitting on Jodi’s younger brother, and could you please talk to your clones because your brother says it makes him feel really uncomfortable, and that he is no longer able to watch the Mets with his friends at Applebee’s.
My mother says, “You are such a good girl — there is no reason your clones should not be good girls too.”
I say, “I hate my life, I hate myself, I hate my clones, I hate fundraising, I hate the Sisterhood, I hate your friends, I hate their daughters, I hate their blogs, I hate the farmers market, I hate butterscotch biscotti, I hate bleeding edge technological innovations, I hate the new millennium, I hate the last millennium too, and the one before that, and the one before that and…”
© Rachel Karyo, 2016
Rachel Karyo was born and raised in Nesconset, New York. She has also lived in Massachusetts, Paris, California, and (currently) Indiana. Her short story “Beavers” has been published in the horror anthology Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace and Misery. Rachel is currently writing short stories and exploring the Midwest and beyond.
The Rachels was read by Kristen Calgaro, with music by Travis Tench, for the Brooklyn Book Festival on Wednesday, 13th September.