This follows "Emergence" below.
I hate double shifts. Don’t get me wrong; I love my job, but something about being on my feet for sixteen hours straight rubs me the wrong way. It’s nearly midnight before I get home, and I have to be back in the shop at seven.
As I walk up the seven flights of stairs to my apartment I notice that somebody has the TV on too loud. Hopefully they’ll shut it off soon; I need a bit of sleep at least. I don’t want to knock on the door because it could be as easily answered by a shotgun as by a neighbour.
When I reach my door I realize to my horror that it’s my TV blaring away. And I smell fresh coffee. This is bad: very bad. In my neighbourhood break-ins are common and the intruders are the type that would really ‘enjoy’ the sudden arrival of a young woman.
I’d call the police but they don’t come to this part of town. Instead I use my library card to open the latch. It’s quieter than the key. I step into the entry and take out the tire iron I keep in the umbrella stand, then creep toward the living room.
When I get a glimpse of the intruder my jaw drops. It’s me. She’s curled up in my favourite chair watching late-night porn wearing nothing but a cup of coffee. She looks up at me.
“Hi Emily. How was work?”
“Could you close the door? I don’t want anyone sneaking in.”
“Sheesh.” She walks past me and closes the door, setting two of the chains afterward. I can’t help but admire her –my– body. “How was work today, Emily? Anything I need to know?”
“Come on, Emily. I have to go to work in a few hours. Is there anything I need to know?”
I wasn’t sure about this, but if she was taking my shift for me I’d give her the scoop. Never turn down help. “Ted finally confessed that he relived a fantasy about me and a bathtub full of whipped cream. Bob has some new pics of Sarah and little Natalie on his iPhone, and Mary is still looking at me like I broke into her car.”
“What about Jack?”
“Still in jail, the sick bastard. The cops have found two bodies and a dozen skeletons in his back yard so far.”
“And Spicy Memory?”
“Sold two pots at ten bucks a demi. That’s four hundred bucks below the till after Jerry’s cut. Um, Emily, what’s going on here? Why are there two of me?”
“Because you’re a duplicate, Emily, formed from Cappuccino and Twin Blend spices. Another of my gran’s special coffees.” She kisses me, and as she licks her lips I disappear like the foam that I’m made from.