MY FAVORITE CLONE: A PERFECT STRANGERS FANFICTION

MY FAVORITE CLONE: A PERFECT STRANGERS FANFICTION
BY S. KRISTINE QUICK
MAY-JULY 2017

Larry Appleton sat on the couch, in the hour before heading off to work. The TV was on, and the
morning show was Daytime in Chicago with Cathy Egurt.
“Have you ever wanted to be a new you? Recent developments in cloning mean that day might be possible without therapy, a new diet or fitness regime. That’s right. We’re talking about human cloning! Recent scientific breakthroughs bring the possibility of curing genetic diseases, growing new organs and even making a carbon copy of human beings one step closer.”
“Human cloning What a bunch of baloney! It’ll never happen! Balki, are you ready? We’re going to be late!”
“Coming, cousin! Here I come!”
Larry put his empty coffee cup in the sink.
“You forgot something… Balki!”
Balki stared at the TV screen blankly as the newscaster spoke at great length about cellular technology.
“Balki!” Larry said more firmly, and pointed at his watch.
“Right! This is so fascinating, and I have no idea what she is talking about.”
“Don’t forget your coat, Balki!”
“Right, cousin,” he said, as he placed Dimitri on top of the TV gently.

 

A SECRET LAB SOMEWHERE IN OREGON, OR MAYBE NEVADA. BUT IF I TOLD YOU I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU.
“Sorry, Beverly. I can’t,” Bennett Rodgers said “i’m too racked up inside.”
“Oh, I’ll do it!” Sunset offered. He stopped his janitor’s cart and deftly plucked the camera from him.
“It’s not that hard, guys!” Beverly Marshall said, pushing her long blonde hair over her shoulder.
Striking a few different poses. “What’s better: Sultry? Alluring? Determined? Let’s go for determined!”
“In light of the memo both you and I got, I can’t recommend it. It’ll only cause you pain later.” Bennett told her.
Beverly ignored him, and went to the young girl standing at the window. “Over here, honey. Come on!”
She draped a slender arm over her shoulder and pulled her close.
“I really want to go outside!” she whined, as Beverly pulled her away from the window.

“Later!” Beverly whispered in her ear.
“Such nice hair,” the girl crooned, patting Beverly’s head softly.
“Oh, perfect! It’s a lovely shot, Bev… it’s so… ” Sunset fiddled absently with the Polaroid camera. “Ok,
I’m ready… no, wait!”
As Beverly wrapped her arms around the girl and turned her towards the camera. Sunset burst into unashamed and very dramatic tears. Bennett rolled his eyes and begin to stroll off. “Don’t forget it’s
date night, Beverly!” he called as he moved off.
“Sunset!” Beverly yelled.
“What?!” he demanded. He pulled out a teal-colored handkerchief and blew his nose loudly.
“Let’s get on with this!” Beverly said through gritted teeth.
The girl twisted slowly turned to Beverly. “Maybe we all need to go outside.” she smiled hopefully.
“Ok… smi… uhhh, say “I’m a champion!”
“I’m a champion!” Beverly cried out, but the girl just moaned slightly as the flash hit her eyes. “I hate it when that happens,” she mumbled.
***
Beverly cocked her head as she looked at herself in the mirror. She turned to him.
“Bennet I’m taking a leave.”
She said it in a soft way, but the statement hit him like a brick. “But… but… ”
“Bennett!”
“The project isn’t finished yet! I mean… it might have to be scrapped totally.”
Bennett Rodgers was young, a mere 25, but a real contender at Cyberclontronics, and had enough
youthful enthusiasm and cocky swagger as to validate his status as one of the leading engineers of “Project BEVSAI667”
And now Beverly was going to bail??
He sat on the edge of the cot, pants around his ankles and wearing a purple tank top. He was ready to
go, in all kinds of ways.
“Well Dr. Warner is not gonna be happy about that!” he grumbled, then stood up fast. He grabbed at his
pants and fell onto the floor.
“Shat!” he griped.
“I need a retreat, badly. Well not bad, you know what I mean!”
“Not really,” Bennet complained, as he commenced to stuffing his penis in his pants.
“You can relieve yourself in the bathroom if you want… ” Beverly drolled.
“Just leave me with my dignity, BEV!” he snapped, as he wobbled off. “Get down! Go down!” he
hissed to his hard organ. He wandered out of Beverly’s apartment unit, down the hall and leaned against
the window that faced the parking lot. He sighed hard, and absently zipped up his pants.
“Ow, holy shit!”
He trembled from the pain, his eyes watering. He leaned back on the window again.
“Oh, look… it’s raining, it’s pouring… my love life is so boring!”
However, Beverly wasn’t taking a leave of absence… not really… she was stealing company property though, ‘kidnapping’ was a better word.
Though Bennett and the others would just call it stealing.
“Steal-napping! Kid-ping?”
Beverly squealed in pain as the potential consequences of her choice hit her full force.
In the heart and in the stomach.
“Get with it, Beverly! She’s not a failed lab construct!”
Beverly Marshall took a sharp, deep breath, stared at her reflection in the mirror. She frowned, then
slowly and carefully, smiled.

She pressed on. She knew she was doing the right thing.

ATTENTION PERSONNEL: SAFE AT WORK IS UNDER MAINTENANCE FOR THE NEXT 12 HOURS. ANYONE CAUGHT STEALING STAPLERS, PENS, OR ANYTHING ELSE NOT BOLTED DOWN WILL BE PROSECUTED.
As she ran down a corridor and got into an elevator, Beverly thanked the gods for flats. As she ran down another corridor and got on the escalator. She passed by Bennett’s quarters, and after a peek
through the glass, she saw he had commenced drinking. She wished she could explain herself, maybe
even take him along. But she knew he wasn’t interested in all the things that the girl could be. In his mind, in Warner’s mind, she was just a failed lab construct.
In the mind and heart of Beverly Marshall, she was an amazing wonder of modern science who deserved the chance to live a rich and rewarding life of being an ordinary girl!
***
“Wake up, honey! BEVSAI-667, come with me if you want to live!!!”
Beverly brushed the girls’ hair from her sleepy eyes.
“Nappy time later, hun! We got to jet!”
“Jet… jet… we’re going on a plane ride?” she asked with excitement in her voice.
“Come on!”
“Ok, but I want the picture!”
Beverly embraced her. “I’m gonna hold onto it for now. When we get to Cleveland you can have it
back.”
“Well, ok!” the girl said glumly.
“Come on. Come with me. We are going outside.”
Beverly smiled with delight as this girl stood in the parking lot, looking around in awe.
“The atmosphere moves,” she sighed, wiggling her fingers in the air “it’s amazing!”
“Oh, the places you will go, and the things you will see!” Beverly stated, moving towards her.
“How long until the sunrise!? I want to see it but not on the tv. I wanna see it, real! To look right at it, and-”
The girl promptly fell forward. Beverly quickly put the Erasusnomensus into her backpack.
“Relax, little one,” Beverly whispered, scooping up the unconscious girl, then placing her in the trunk of her car, and closing it. “A fresh start for you! A new beginning, in the wonderful world of Cleveland,
Ohio!”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. THE NEXT MORNING.
“Balki, I saw it over there… no there!”
“Where, Mary Anne. Where!”
“Ohh, Balki! We rhymed! We are so close, we are repeating each others… um… ”
Balki Bartokomous squeezed Mary Ann’s hand gently. She was such a ditzy girl, but she was his girl.
Loved her he did, and she, him. They were a match made in America!
“Alright, just point to the place where you saw the car run off the road!”
She nodded and lifted her arm, and lifting his in the process. She pointed, and Balki kissed her cheek,
then ran off across the park, and crawled through the underbrush.

Then he crawled back.
“Mary Anne call an ambulance!”
Her eyes got wide. “Did someone die?” she whispered.
“Not yet!” he told her, then crawled back through the underbrush. He slid down into the ravine, and staggered to the car and leaned in the window.
“There was a young girl in the backseat, curled into a ball.
“Hey… hey… you’re not dead are you?”
Remember, remember, remember… Beverly spoke of the house shaded by a giant elm shoe, with a white
bookshelf in the funner parlor damn damn damn!

Language was intact, intellect was intact, but that precious thing called memories, was fading fast!

“I don’t think so,” she mumbled, then got into a sitting position.

Maybe it was a blue carjack???

“Be careful! You might have a injury!” he admonished fearfully. He gripped the car door and held his breath in anticipation, then breathed a trembling sigh of relief as she seemed ok.
She struggled with the seat belt, finally getting it off and moving to the window.
“Who are you?” he asked carefully.
I can’t remember… anything!
“I’m Balki!” he started.
She pushed her way out of the car.
She looked at him, confused. Nodding slowly, she said, “Hi, Balki.”
She turned back to the car and its crushed front end.
“That looks bad!”
“I guess you were in an accident… Ok your turn!” he grinned “what your name is?”
I must have a name… right?
“It’s… well… ”
Gone, all gone! Even… my name? Remember!!!!
“My friend is getting an ambulance! Did you hit your head? Are you injured in any way? You should sit
down… here!”
He stood back, admiring the girl with relief. He was so grateful she was not dead!
“Do you have a name? Have you lost your mind?” he queried.
“Mind… I… well if I didn’t have one I could hardly function, right?” she laughed nervously.
“Right! Of course!” he laughed along with her. Then he got serious. “So what your name is?”
If you love something, you set it free…

She frowned at the faded memory of the statement. Who said it to her? And why?
“Well… it… ”
She turned back to the car, studying it, hoping for some recollection.
There was a creak from above.
The girl’s eyes got wide with delight.
I… remember!
There was a loud snap.
“Agh!” went Balki.
She turned back to him. “My name is Beverly!”
She looked around, and then down. Balki was on the ground now, eyes closed, a tree branch next to his
head.
“You ok?” Beverly asked.
***
The ambulance finally arrived and the paramedics made their way down the slope.
“Beverly?” Balki called out, tried to push himself up, but fell back down.
“All the aspirin in America won’t get rid of this headache!” he muttered.
“That man needs help.” Beverly stated.
Balki finally rolled onto his back, saw several faces staring down at him.
“Ice pack?” he asked hopefully.
Then Beverly came into view, and that made Balki relieved. She was ok!
“He saved me,” she told the paramedics.
“Was nothing,” Balki muttered, as he lost the battle to stay awake.
***
“I’m ok. Really. Cousin Larry I’m fine!”
It was a good hospital bed he lay in, with warm blankets and a soft fluffy pillow. Mary Anne brought Dimitri and set him in the bed. Larry sat in a chair and Jennifer and Mary Anne stood by the bed. Larry
was, of course, a nervous wreck.
“We thought we were gonna lose you! You were out for three hours. Any longer and the doctors would
have declared you comatose!”
Larry frowned deeply. “I was really afraid.”
“I’m sorry I called you so late, Larry. I had to make sure Balki and the girl, Beverly were taken care of first,” Mary Anne explained.
“Well, you know me,” Larry explained “Sorry for screaming at you. You did good, Mary Anne.”
“Can I see her?” Balki asked his friends. He turned to Larry. “Did her family come for her?”
Larry shrugged. “She… doesn’t seem to have any… none that she will say. The police are talking to her and doing a check for missing persons.” Larry shrugged again. “No luck.”
“I need to see her!” Balki demanded. “I must see with my own eyeballs that she is ok.”
“She’s fine,” Larry insisted, smiling as he stood “really well for having been in that car crash. And just think when her parents arrive, they may give you a reward for saving her life.”
“Oh, no. Popo! I wont take a reward for saving her life. Knowing she is ok is the reward!”
“If you say so. But what if they think you rude for turning down a reward? Balki that’s worth considering!”

***
She came into the room slowly. Though her memories of life at Cyberclontronics, was all but gone, she
was still unaccustomed to strange people. When Balki waved her over, she relaxed and welcomed his hug.
“Look, cousin! Look!” He pivoted her around, pointed to her, as he smiled at his friends. “She’s ok!”
“That, she is,” Larry agreed, hoping Balki wouldn’t get too attached to the girl.
“This my cousin Larry App-le-ton, and cousin Larry’s girlfriend, Jennifer Lyons!”
“Neat!” she walked up to Larry first, and he shot out his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Beverly!”
“You too, cousin Larry!” she gushed, pumping his arm up and down, and making him wince. Then she turned to Jennifer, and awed.
“Jennifer… oooh, pretty!” she said as she reached out for her hair.
“Oh, well thanks!” Jennifer said, pulling her hand down and shaking it carefully.
“Aw that’s cute!” Balki noted.

Larry frowned. He’s getting attached!
Mary Anne returned with lunch for her and Balki, and Beverly was overjoyed when Mary Anne hugged
her on her own.

***
The police and Child Services were trying to find her some place to stay while they searched for any
relatives, when Mary Anne came up with an idea:
“Do you have to? Those places are not warm and cozy like a real home. Why can’t you stay with us?
Yeh, you can stay with me and Jennifer!” Mary Anne said excitedly.
Balki nodded enthusiastically. “What a wonderful idea, Mary Anne.”
“We have a bed and food and everything. I even have a dog!” Mary Anne chirped. “But you can’t eat
the dog, just the food!”

BACK AT CYBERCLONTRONICS AND I STILL CANT TELL YOU WHERE!
“Gone! Escaped! And she took the project!!”
Dr. Warner looked around the room carefully. It was a tiny apartment with a bed, a computer station, a desk with various art supplies, and a pad of paper. It was a soundproof room with shatter-proof
windows. On the other side of the windows was an observation room with 5 computers and assorted video cameras. A closed circuit psa and video surveillance system connected the rooms.
The bed was empty, the covers and pillow on the floor.
“You checked Ms. Marshall’s quarters?” Warner asked the guard, who nodded affirmatively. “Took her
purse, her card keys, and two of her coats.”
“Uh huh. Two coats.”
“We checked, her bank account was cleared out yesterday. She’s running around with a ton of cash. We’ll have a hard time tracing that.”
Dr. Warner looked at the empty bed. He turned and walked to the door. “Have her partner brought to
my office immediately.”

Spanky: For old time’s sake, I’m gonna give you another chance. Now, how’d you like to work for me
again?
Porky: O-tay!
Spanky: How about you, Alfalfa?
Darla: Oh, c’mon Alfalfa; croon just one song, an’ you’ll make hundreds an’ thousands of dollars!
Alfalfa: I will NOT croon.
Spanky: Do you mean to tell me that you haven’t given up opera yet?
Alfalfa: I’m a slave to my art!

“What?!” Bennet called as someone banged hard on his apartment door. He turned down the tv. “I’m
unavailable, please leave!”
He picked up his phone, and left Beverly a message for the third time in the last 2 hours.
The electronic locks on the door were engaged.

“Invasion of privacy-HEY LET GO!” he cried out as two guards dragged him to his feet, and out of the
room. “come on, I got the stomach flu! Fine if I throw up on you, I’m not cleaning it up!”
“Where’s your lady friend, Bennet? She took off you know. Under cover of darkness. She left here with
the BEVSAI667 as well.”
Wha… what!?” Bennet exclaimed, a look of horror on his face.
“Don’t act so surprised you punk! I should fire you! Have you sent to prison! “You and her conspired against Cyberclontronics from the beginning!”
“I had no idea she’d go and do this!”
Warner sat down at his computer. “I knew it was a horrible idea to continue with human subjects. “We
should have grown the blasted thing in a sheep. Those animals hold promise!” Warner stood up
suddenly. “What the hell, man?! That’s disgusting!”
“Sir, sir, I… have the stomach flu!” He choked out, as he set the wastebasket on the floor.
“Get up!”
Bennet stood. Warner handed him some papers. “Her car was seen headed East. Find her. You are to
escort Beverly Marshall and the BEVSAI667 back here!”
Bennet looked at the papers. “I doubt she will be feeling cooperative. Granted she got too attached, from conception to one year later. But I did nothing to encourage that.”
“I know! However, you were her working partner. You may be the only one who can convince her to do the right thing.”
“So I won’t go to prison?”
“Bring her and the clone back here. We’ll see.”

MEANWHILE BACK AT APPLETON RANCH
“I can’t believe we’re doing this! Why are we doing this? We’re taking in a teenager under our roof…
under MY roof? She’s a teenager. Teenagers are messy… well I wasn’t a messy teenager, but still… why
are we taking her under my roof again?!” Larry moaned.
“Larry, relax! We’ve been over this. she’ll be staying with me and Mary Anne… except for when we are
out of town… then she’ll be staying with you,” Jennifer smiled.
“Great,” said Larry, with no enthusiasm at all.
“Cousin it will be perfect! The social butterfly said all we have to do is enroll her in school, and give
her food and a bed and she can be a good friend of our family!”

“It’s social worker!” Larry sighed “well you know, now that I think of it, she could be a friend to little
Tess… yes, Tess… hey maybe she could babysit Tess! Instead of us!”
Balki gasped in delight. “Oh, cousin, that’s a perfect idea. They will get along famously I know it!”
“Yeh… I just bet… just… don’t spoil her like you did, Tess.” Larry begged.
“Hi, Larry, Jennifer, sweetheart!” Mary Anne ran to Balki, as Beverly stood in the doorway, hands firmly clenched together, looking around the apartment carefully. “Come on in!” Jennifer encouraged.
Make yourself at home.”
“Really?” Beverly asked carefully.
“Our home is your home,” Larry told in a flat tone.
“Thank you!” she said, dashed into the apartment and made herself at home by sitting on the counter.

OK, THEY’RE IN IOWA!
Bennett got everything in order, and by that evening he was ready to start the search and recovery.
“Alright, gentlemen. Get in the car. I’ve mapped out a few routes Beverly might have taken. She has a
sister in Maryland, and I’ve sent her a message via Western Union.”
“Such a bad Beverly Marshall! Stealing company property! What’s she gonna do with it? Her taxes??”
Davey laughed, but it turned into a horrifying snort, and that wasn’t funny at all.
“Put a sock in it!” Bennet grumbled.
Davey looked puzzled. “Um… my sock?”
“No his sock!” Bennett pointed to his other associate, Jones, who just shrugged helplessly.
I’m stuck with idiots, Bennet thought sadly. However it was in the interest of protecting the secrecy of
the project. If the mission to retrieve the BEVSAI-667 was compromised, then “Tweedle dumb and
Tweedle dumber” would be left to take the fall, and there was no way they would ever reveal too much
information.
At least not information that anyone would take seriously, coming from them.
Davey and Jones didn’t even know there was such a thing as Eugenics, nor did they understand the true purpose of Cyberclontronics.
The BEVSAI-667 was a big part of it. She was the “final” results of an amazing experiment in cloning
and Eugenics.
She was BEVSAI-667 to the infinite power!
Davey and Jones got in the back seat, and Davey turned to Jones.
“I don’t have an extra sock!” he moaned.
***
As she was dropped off at her new school the next day, Beverly decided to keep the news of… well,
nothing… to herself. She was having strange dreams of emerging from a dark place, and into the light,
but they faded quickly among awakening, and she was left empty-handed again.
The thought of school excited her. Of course she had no memory of prior schooling, she figured it must
have been exciting for her.
“Here, honey, I packed you a lunch. It’s a cheese sandwich with some Ding Ding Mach Mud on the
side! Balki made it just for you… it’s great to have you as part of our family, even if it’s only for a little while!” Mary Anne told her as she dropped her off.
And Beverly smiled at that. “You people are really splendid! Do you know that? Has anyone ever told
you that?” she looked up at the huge building “I will be able to come back out, right?”
“Sure, after your schoolwork. And maybe later you can help me with a new hairstyle… again!”
“Anytime!” Beverly exclaimed.
So she went to school that day, and it was there she got caught up in a game of basketball, in which she
excelled. Then she took a test in math class, and excelled there too. In fact her skills were off the charts.
The school wanted her for the basketball team, and the math teacher wanted her for the regional math
Olympics.
“A smart child. We’ll update that in our missing person’s report. She was probably in her school honors
program!” The social worker said with delight.
“Can I… get your help with my taxes?” Larry asked kindly.
“Popo, cousin! That is just taking advantage of Beverly’s brain. In the name of hoomanity, you should
apologize!”
“There’s nothing wrong with that, if she wants too. And it more than makes up for her thinking the
kitchen counter is a good place to sit!”
“We should have pizza for dinner!” Mary Anne suggested.
And Beverly was lost in thought… hoomanity… human… there was something important about that
word… but it was impossible to put her finger on it.
And there was an even bigger question she had.
“What is pizza?” she queried.
***
Now Larry was nervous. Beverly made him nervous!
She was extremely intelligent, friendly, and Mary Anne and Balki adored her. She had become fast friends with Tess, and she even did Larry’s taxes!
But her mannerisms, and her questions about everything from indoor plumbing to pizza, made Larry
feel he was talking to an alien from another planet. She could tell anyone what the square root of Pi was, but she didn’t know what a microwave oven was!
Balki and Mary Anne merely figured her for being from another country, as he was, but that didn’t make sense. Her American-english skill was too perfect. She wasn’t even like Balki. Mary Anne’s dog
scared her.
The dog just wasn’t that big or that loud!
“What is going on with this kid? Jennifer, she’s smart, but she doesn’t know anything! It’s like she’s
been locked in a room for most of her life! The square root of 74296.667 non withstanding, she’s
intimidated by a toy poodle!”
“It’s something I’ve thought about,” Jennifer agreed. “Not everyone takes to sitting on the counter like
she does. Larry she could be from another country where they speak good English, but it’s more like
Mypos. It’s something to consider… ”
“I highly doubt that, and I’m past, considering! I’m going to do some undercover work. I’m going to
find out who ‘Beverly’ is!”
“Well, what if you find out she is an alien?” Jennifer jokingly said.

“Well… then… I’ll cross that alien probe when I get to it!”
***
Bennett sat in the diner, his breakfast untouched. A pile of local newspapers from all over Chicago
placed to the side, and the stack was a foot high.
“She plays basketball?”
Bennet threw down the school newspaper.
“And she calls herself Beverly?!”
“Beverly is a pretty name. If I was a female, I think I’d call myself that!” Davey nodded.
“I can make ya one if you like!” Bennet drolled.
Davey’s eyes got bright, then narrowed.
“Need to think about it,” he mumbled.
“Look, I got funny ink stains on my hands! It’s like Rorschach!” Jones yelped.
“Alright, let’s go then! Hurry, school’s out!” Bennet grumbled angrily.
“But I’m not done with my funny face pancake!” Jones begged.
Bennet glared at him.

***
Beverly carried Tess on her back, all the way home from school.
“So, when? When?! Beverly I’ve seen Larry and Balki do the “Dance of Joy” enough I know we can do it too. Maybe even better than them! Haha! Larry might get jealous!”
She turned her head, and noticed a pink Ford Mustang cruising in the streets behind them.
“I don’t think I’ve danced before. I don’t know. Maybe I did. There’s something when I sleep. I’m seeing things and hearing things, but then I regain consciousness, and it’s gone! I can’t recall dancing or
anything else!””
“Dreams!” Tess told her.
“Huh?”
“That’s what you see and hear when you sleep!”
“Oh.”
She looked back and saw a pink Ford Mustang cruise past them.
“Something scary in… um… the dreams.” she whispered, watching the car move off.

MEANWHILE AT GORPLEY RANCH
It had been two weeks, and Beverly’s family were nowhere to be found; they were as lost as her
memories. She was getting along with everyone, even if Larry was stand-offish at times, inquisitive at
other times.
“I’m concerned. I asked about the car accident. Apparently the car wasn’t even registered! The driver
will remain unknown… ok… but isn’t anyone looking for Beverly… Beverly… ”
She merely shrugged, a helpless smile on her face.
“Beverly, come with me!”
“Uh… I was gonna balance your checkbook again.”

“And I thank you for that. But I have something a little more educational in mind.”
“You’re a teacher, too?”
“Look, Beverly, I’m trying to help you. All I want, is to see you reunited with your family… whomever
and wherever they are. And I think I can make it happen!”
“Oook,” she said, a little uncertainly.

So Larry took her to work, specifically to the archives wing.
“It’s a repository of knowledge, Beverly! Somewhere in here, may be the answer we seek! We have newspapers from all over the country. It’s occurred to me, that perhaps, somewhere in these
newspapers, is the key to your identity.”
“That’s an awful lot of newspapers,” Beverly mused.
“I may need to hire a few people to go through all of them.” he sighed.
“No, I want to do it!”
“Would you? Oh, well… it’s a big task.”
“Well it’s my family… whoever they are. I can do it.”
“I have no doubt,” he smiled. He got her settled in and showed her where everything was, and
reminded her about the company picnic.
***
“There’s nothing here, Cousin Larry,” she told him three hours later.
Damn I wish she wouldn’t call me that. It’s bad enough Tess calls me that!
“Come on, Beverly, you’re not even trying. You can’t have gone through all those papers.”
“I did. There’s a lot of missing teenagers. None of them bear any resemblance to me, or have my
name!”
Then he saw the evidence she had gone through all the papers, and he felt anxious again.
Beverly was almost too smart for his own good!
I have to get to the bottom of this. There’s something here. Why can’t I see it?!
Shaking off the thought, he looked to see Beverly showing a missing person’s file to the hated Sam Gorpley, who looked annoyed and agitated and being put out in such a way.
“Nothing at all. Hey Appleton, did you ever stop to think, this might be deliberate?!”
A clue!
“How do you mean, Mr. Gorpley?”
“I mean, if my kid became friends with the Mypiot, I wouldn’t I’d report her missing, either,” he replied
sardonically and walked off.
A jerk!
***
Beverly took a moment to herself at the picnic. Then she took a few more moments, and her friends got
concerned. Balki and Mary Anne finally found her at the Aycontbelifirowt Thyschit memorial statue,
sitting on the edge, her hands on her knees and her head bowed.
“Hey, we’ve been looking for you everywhere. I was just about ready to look in the men’s room!” Mary
Anne scolded.
“I did that already. Twice!” Balki told her, then sat down next to Beverly. She looked up at him

“Beverly, what happened! Why are you crying? We want you happy when you meet your parents again.”
“You mean the parents that don’t want me?!”
Mary Anne blinked. “No, your parents.”
Beverly leaned on her friend.
“Balki, I went through hundreds of missing person reports. They go from Chicago to California. No
one is looking for Beverly-whatever who is my age, height and weight! My own family abandoned
me… ”
Popo!” He sat beside her and gave her a comforting hug.” “That is negative talk and I won’t hear it!”
“You shouldn’t listen to Sam Gorpley about anything,” Larry agreed “he’s a jerk who likes hurting
people!” Larry told her “don’t worry. I’m a reporter, with connections! We’ll find them, I’m sure of it!”

Beverly continued to sulk “I bet. I mean I’m sure. Thanks. I mean… aw forget it! Balki can I get money a hot dog??”
***
“Relish! More Relish! Mustard, ketchup, onion! With a side of relish! This is so amazing!” Then she
saw Larry pass by, and she thanked the vendor heartily and ran after him. “Cousin Larry!”
He turned fast. “Larry. It’s just Larry! I mean, just call me by my first name. Larry!”
“Alright, Larry. Here!” she held out the hot dog.
“No thanks. I can’t eat like that. I don’t know how anyone can eat like that!”
“I just want to be nice,” she insisted.
“Alright, you’re nice.”
“Balki thinks so. Mary Anne thinks so. Jennifer, Tess… but I make you nervous!”
“OK, since you brought it up, I have to ask! Why do you overload your food with salt when it already
has more than enough?”
“Well, I… got a sodium deficiency.”
“Oh, really! You know nothing about yourself but you know you got a sodium deficiency?”
“I just… feel it… ” she mumbled.
“And Jennifer’s hair! Why do you like to touch Jennifer’s hair?!”
“I haven’t done that in a week!”
She looked down at the hot dog.
“Sorry I made your life difficult.”
He shook his head. “I just want to know what’s going on! I want to know who you are.”
“I wish I could help! Especially because I’m the one missing two parents!”
“Ah, touche,” Larry replied, feeling a little guilty for confronting her.

She didn’t want to tell anyone, especially Larry, about her latest dream. Something about not actually
having any parents, but it made no sense to her, and surely wouldn’t to anyone else.

Then Lydia came along, followed by Balki and Mary Anne.
“I heard someone is in need of cheering up, especially after someone had an encounter with Sam
Gorpley! Oh, Beverly! You can’t let that man get to you. He’s a jerk who likes hurting people! Now for
you, I have the perfect remedy. We’ll go shopping! Larry, let me take her for the rest of the day. Beverly
I guarantee you, nothing will cure your depression like shopping will!”

Larry breathed a sigh of relief as Mary Anne and Jennifer, her primary guardians, gave their approval.
Then, he got excited as one of his fellow reporters ran up to him, looking wide-eyed and thrilled.
“The cops found something you might be interested in. REALLY interested in.”
Larry grabbed the man’s collar.
“Tell me!”
“Um, easier for you to see for yourself… she’s in the morgue… ”

I LIED. THEY WEREN’T FROM IOWA. GOT YOU!
Indeed, it was a most fun day at the mall for Beverly. Lydia could only watch in awe as the girl
looked down at the shiny floor. “I can see myself!” she gushed.
And the cologne samples. What a delight!
“No! Beverly, that’s not how you do it. Wearing 50 scents at one time is just a bad idea!”
“But they all smell so nice… oooooookay!”
Other than that, Beverly had the most wonderful afternoon she ever experienced. She tried on clothes,
and Lydia used the money Jennifer had given her to buy the girl a new outfit; they went to the cafe but
Lydia was really, really firm that Beverly abstain from using salt.
While that was bad, what happened next was far worse. Davey and Jones found her, and had
followed her to the women’s room, even following her inside, straight to the stall, and waiting outside the door.
“You must come with us now! Not later, and not tomorrow!” Davey yelled through the door.
“Time’s a wasting! Don’t make us come in there, BEVSAI620!” Jones said firmly.
“It’s BEVSAI666!”
Beverly slid under the stalls, as the two argued between BEVSAI222 and 507 or whatever the hell it
was! Between two strange guys trying to break into the women’s room and some argument about a
word that sounded eerily like her name, she was officially scared nearly to death. She tried to make it
back to Lydia but the two weirdos cut her off, sending her fleeing to the parking garage. Maybe she
could hide in Lydia’s car!
***
Across town, Larry Appleton straightened his tie and twisted his hands nervously, as the attendant went
through the files.
“Chester Park, right?” the attendant asked.
He nodded emphatically. “Was near car! Well not! I mean my friend wrecked the car! No wait. He, ah,
found this girl there, ah, ahh.” Larry stammered.
“Take a deep breath!”
“Sorry!” He coughed, continued wringing his hand till it felt like his skin would come off. “I’m trying
to find out the identity of this girl… I have reason to believe she’s not who she claims to be… she was in
the crashed car but there was no driver, apparently.”
“The deceased has injuries consistent with being in an automobile crash,” the attendant nodded.
“Ah! Good! I mean bad! I’m sorry, I’m just not used to dead people… well, ah, what do you know?!”
The attendant nodded and looked at the notes. “Was a female driver. Her id says her name is Beverly
Marshall-”
“Beverly! Did you say her name is Beverly?!” Larry gasped his eyes getting wide

“No one has even bothered to claim the body yet, can you believe it? Do you want to see the body?”
Larry paled “Not really,” he said weakly.
The attendant stared at the neurotic man and smiled comfortingly. “Here I can help you out, and you
don’t have to look.” He pulled out some items and set them on the counter. “Her handbag. And in here,
we have a Polaroid picture. See?”
Larry began to tremble as he took it and stared at it.
“That’s the same woman in drawer number 86. The other one, I don’t know… do you?”
Larry continued to stare, both hands trembling now.
“Oh my Lord!!!”
***
“Oh my Lord-OW!” Beverly screamed as she burst through the emergency exit of the parking garage,
crashing into a street vendor, and watching in horror as Davey and Jones quickly followed after her.
She got up again, and ran… straight off the sidewalk at 8th avenue and Randolph Street, barreling
across the intersection and three cars narrowly avoided hitting her. There was the honking of car horns,
angry shouts, and some other whining-type sound, but she was too frightened by this turn of events to
notice the chaos she left in her wake.
***
Night fell and having lost her pursuers about an hour before, and spending her last hour trying to figure
out WHY, she returned to the apartment.
“Well, there you are!” Lydia said, sharply, a tight smile on her face. “Did we have fun on our little
adventure in Chicago?!”
“No… actually… I got chased out of the mall!”
Lydia quickly crossed her arms over her chest, narrowed her eyes. “By whom?!”
“I don’t know.”
Lydia rolled her eyes “Dear God What a pretty little liar, you are!!”
“I’m not lying!”
Then Jennifer and Mary Anne came out.
“Beverly!” they said at once.
“Well, now that she’s back, my work is done!” and she turned to Beverly “I returned the clothes I was
going to buy for you. Seems you have a hard time keeping yours clean!”
“I jumped in the water to escape! Oh, well something tells me you’re just mad about the sodium!”
“Beverly! Up here, now!” Jennifer encouraged firmly.
She stood there. “There were the two guys-”
“Now!” said Mary Anne who was standing close to her friend.
“Am I in trouble?” Beverly asked.
“Oh, yeh!”
“Popo!” she grumbled.
***
“Last time!” Larry had demanded. “What is your name?”
“Beverly, please… cousin Larry needs an answer.”
“Not her name!”
Balki ignored his angry, and frantic cousin. He put a hand on her shoulder.
“You must be honest with me, and with cousin Larry and Mary Anne and Jennifer, even with little
Tess.”

She nodded, looking from Balki to Larry and back again. “I’m being honest. Balki, I’d never lie to you.”
“You’re lying!” Larry accused, shoving the Polaroid in her face.
“Let me see that!” Balki demanded, grabbing it from Larry.
“That was the driver of the car where you found her, Balki. They found her body in the lake. Would you
like to know her name?” he asked with a smug grin.
Beverly peered over Balki’s shoulder. “My sister… I… I don’t know I really don’t!”
Balki held out the Polaroid to Beverly. “What this?” he asked softly, the hurt in his eyes was evident.
Beverly slowly reached for the picture, only to have Larry snap it away again.
“This… Balki, is the real Beverly. Beverly Marshall from New Mexico! That!”
“Eyes!” she screamed and covered her face, as Larry’s accusing index finger nearly nailed her.
“That, I’m not so sure about. Killer, maybe?!”
“I’d like to know!” Beverly agreed. Then she realized what he said. “Wait, what?!
“Oh, Popo! That is just not possible! Beverly Tell cousin Larry the truth…. and tell me the truth!”
“I’ll give it a go!” she said earnestly, but then Larry’s hand swung around again and she cried “Ahfugeabouttit!”
And while the two argued about her, she took a frustrated walk.
***
Tess was upstairs, and crying her eyes out. She knew what was going on, and was devastated at the
thought of losing her friend. It was all she could do, to stand at the window, her back to her mom, and
silently fume. That’s when she witnessed the whole thing.
“Beverly!” she whispered with longing, as she stood in the alley, and watched a car pull up. “no!” she
whispered, as three men got out and chased her.
There was no way those creeps could be social workers.
“Help! Mom call the police! MOM COUSIN BALKI UNCLE COUSIN LARRY JENNIFER MARY
ANNE BEVERLY IS GETTING KIDNAPPED!!”

YES WE’VE GOT A MYSTERY ON OUR HANDS!
“She will not eat. Cousin Larry, Tess is on a hunger strike! She will not eat for me, she will not eat for
her mama!””
No one was listening. Beverly had many issues in the days, before she ‘ran off’, and the truth be told, no
one except for Balki and Tess really missed her. The word from the social worker was, she had been
found 2 days later, and so had her parents. They took her off and that was that. Larry and Balki had
made a simple request for an update but were told that was classified information.
“They grabbed her and then they did something to her and it made her fall on the ground and then they
took her away!” Tess insisted.
After a day of telling anyone who would listen, and nobody listening, she decided to protest.
“I know what I saw! I’m not lying! She got attacked and tried to fight them off with her coat but they
made her fall down and they kidnapped her!”
“Cousin, I don’t know what to do, her mama don’t know what to do! But she can’t be lying… can she?”
She knows how I feel about lying. But I don’t know what to think… except try and get Tess to eat…
anything.”

“She’ll eat when she’s hungry,” Larry insisted.
Then he retreated to his room and pulled out the Polaroid.
He studied it carefully over the last couple days, but there was nothing identifiable, save for the late
Beverly Marshall and the girl everyone thought was Beverly. The picture had been taken while the two
of them stood against a white wall.
“The girl has been reunited with her family. We thank you for your help, and the check is in the mail. If
the family wants to contact you, they will. Please consider this, case closed.”
So Larry he took a walk, down the alley that Tess saw her kidnapped from.
“Ew,” he sighed, squeezing his nose shut, as he walked slowly through the alley and out to the street.
He looked quickly from left to right, and as he made his way back, he looked more carefully.
There was nothing here!
Except some fat homeless guy, drinking from a paper bag and next to him was a crumpled, pink jacket.
He passed on by, then ran back.
“I’ll take that,” he carefully reached down and with two outstretched fingers he tried to pluck the coat
off the ground.
“Keep your filthy hands to yourself!” the homeless guy said, slapping at him and making him jerk
away.
“I just want that coat!” Larry pointed.
The homeless guy looked him up and down. “It won’t fit you.”
Larry reached into his pocket. “Ten dollars!” he offered.
The homeless guy raised an eyebrow. “It’s really not your color.”
Larry stepped away, chewing on his fingernails nervously. That looked like a coat that Mary Anne gave
to the fake-Beverly.
Or was she Beverly Junior?
Either way, he had to get that coat!
He wiped his hand on his pants and stepped back.
“Please may I have the coat?”
The homeless guy chuckled. “Sure, for thirty dollars.”
Larry was offended. “That coat is not worth thirty dollars!”
The homeless guy stared at him. “Obviously it is! You just offered me ten dollars for it. Your attitude tells me it’s worth a lot more than thirty. So you can take me up on my generous offer or you can get lost. The choice is yours!”
Grumbling under his breath, he dug into his pockets.
“Coat first!” Larry demanded.
As he took it with two outstretched fingers, holding it away from his body, he peered closely at the
man, who became very annoyed. “Look pal, you got what you wanted, now beat it!”
“But… you… ”
“But I, what?!” the homeless guy shot back.
“Oh… nothing!” he said with an edge of delight in his voice.

***
Larry knew he had stumbled onto something huge, like a front-page news story. Just what was fake-
Beverly involved in, anyway!? By the time he got back to the apartment, he was trembling with excitement.
“Balki?!”
There was no answer, so he set to work. He laid out the coat on a newspaper, and then washed his hands. Balki returned then, slumping into the apartment. “She won’t even eat a daing dong, cousin!”
Larry just stood there, smiling proudly.
“What that?” Balki asked, pointing to the coat.
“I found this in the alley. Balki this is the coat Mary Anne gave to Beverly!”
He got closer, looking down at it. “Well, I’ll be snookered! It is!” He looked back to Larry, grinning.
“Tess wasn’t lying!”
“You’re darn right it is! Balki, Tess wasn’t lying!”
“Well… yes, that’s right cousin…oh! Well I better tell her then!”
“No, Balki, wait!”
“She needs to eat cousin! Maybe this make her start eating again!”
“That’s a good point. But… erm, Balki. I don’t want this news to get far… ah… you see… Beverly is still
kidnapped, and we don’t know where she is… ”
He stepped away and turned away, pondering and puzzling how to handle this.
“Balki… I was so wrong. She could be in real trouble!(me on the front page!)and we may be the only
ones who can help!(me, bestselling novelist of the book based on the story as only Larry Appleton
could tell it!)
“And help, we will!” Balki agreed, wrapping up the coat carefully, and hoping Beverly would forgive him for thinking she was a liar.
Neither Balki or Larry noticed the sound of footsteps running away from their apartment.

MEANWHILE BACK AT CYBERCLONTRONICS, A FEW DAYS LATER.
Angliká sto ellinikó nkroup! Stamáta na me koitás! Den eímai skýlos í fylakisménos sou! Me afíste éxo
apó edó! Ékanes tous fílous mou ?! Eípa na me afísei éxo tóra!
(Forgotten greek translation. You son of a whore or something like that)

Dr. Warner, Bennet, and a few others, watched from the control room, as BEVSAI667 stomped around
her room, banging on the glass and continuing to yell.
“Er… anyone here speak Italian?” a technician asked.
“That’s not Italian. Rather, it’s hybrid-Greek. Myposian to be exact. Fluent too. That might not be so fascinating if she was a linguist but that wasn’t part of the programming.”
“She learned it in the field,” Bennet explained. “One of her caretakers was Myposian! She learned it from him!”
“Well that explains it. You haven’t been in contact since the retrieval have you?”
“No but I really wish you had given me more time. There’s so much lost opportunity here.” Bennet
replied sadly.
“I’m scheduling a de-briefing at 1500 hours.” Dr. Warner said, clamping Bennet hard on the shoulder as
he shut off the two-way audio.
Bennet rubbed his shoulder. “I’ll clear my schedule.”
“Your input is not needed. Just me and her.”
“What-ever!” Then Bennet left and used his security codes to enter her simple living quarters.

She was sitting on the floor, her legs crossed and her head down. Bennet slowly approached her.
He knelt down in front of her.
“The drugs should have restored your memory in full.” he told her.
“Pigaínete fuck ton eaftó sas!”
(russian: go fuck yourself)
He was amazed. “You learned the whole language in a day?”
He sat down beside her. She got up and moved across the room. “I don’t care to talk to you!”
“If Beverly was here, would you talk to her?”
“What do you think? She tried to save me from you heartless bastards!”
He worked his mouth and looked away. “I wish I could talk to her,” he said softly.
She paced around the room quickly “She’d think you were a first-class asshole for making me come back here! You say you loved her? You got a funny way of showing it!”
She sat down again, and pulled her knees to her chest.
“Dammit, Bennett, I’m less than a year old!” she wailed. “But that’s not right! I don’t age normally. I’m
gonna be an old woman in a week!”
“That wouldn’t happen. You were given special treatment to slow your aging process. Real slow. You’d
live 20 years longer than ‘your age group’. ”
“Ooooh, science… hey, what happen to your kidnapping goons?”
“They’re in Cancun. Honestly I wanted to leave you there a bit longer. They jumped the gun and forced me to move quickly, bastards. They’re in Cancun without a map. Hopefully they’ll get lost.”
“You took me away from people who cared about me! You left them thinking that I was the dirty, lying
cheat!” And with that she punched him in the arm.
“Ow!”
“Did anyone see what you did?”
Bennet remembered the little girl, Tess, who chased the car for one block.
“When we picked you up?”
She gave him a dirty look.
“No, no one saw.”
“Ok, but you’re still an asshole.”
“Noted… Dr. Warner wants to interview you about your time with the foster family.”
“I got nothing to say. That was a… um… a family-type thing… and personal… I’m not saying anything to Dr. Warner.”
“He won’t be happy with that. Dammit, BEVSAI667 you were the most perfect of all. Too many genetic defects in the other clones. Everything was perfect, but you had this nasty habit of exerting
your own will.”
“I’m fond of the name Beverly!”
“No! Please… I loved that woman I really did, and I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that a
random hit and run ended her life… her injuries were severe, and when she went for help, she fell in the
lake and drowned.”
Noticing the hurt look in his eyes, made her back off a little.
“Well… you wanna call me Mary Anne?”
“No… Beverly would have been honored for you to take on her name… I’d suggest you not insist on it
in front of anyone else… you’re on thin ice.”
“Sent to my room with no Ding Ding Machmud. I’m heartbroken.”
Then she turned to him.

“Why are you talking to me, like I’m in the past-tense?”
“Because… they plan for you to go the way of the other clones.”
She looked at him.
He looked at her, tears in his eyes.
“Yeh… extermination.”

THE TRADITIONAL STORY OF WHO SAVES WHOM…
“Camera, check! Recorder… Balki, I forgot the recorder!”
“No, it’s right here, see?”
As Larry reached for it, Balki pulled back.
“Question!!”
Larry reached for it again, and Balki pulled back further, pressing himself into the car door. “Well, there’s something I don’t understand. Beverly kidnapped herself, and then these two guys come along-”
“No! Beverly was taken… and Tess saw it. She identified the car. It was the same car that nearly ran me
down, then went in the same direction that Lydia took when she brought Beverly to the mall.
Remember? Well fake-Beverly… Balki that wasn’t her real name… you with me so far?”
“Sure,” Balki mumbled, shaking his head.
“This is big, Balki!”
He pointed to the large cluster of building across the parking lot.
“Cyberclontronics. “It’s the largest Technological Repository in the mid-western United States. Some of
the best engineers employed at Yale and Harvard and even Berkeley begin their internships here! This
isn’t public knowledge. You only learn it when you’re an investigative reporter,” Larry said proudly.
“And his trustworthy resistant!”
“Assistant! Right… can I have the recorder back now?”
“No!” Balki said with a huge smile.
“Well… just… try not to lose it.” Larry mumbled, then opened the car door, then both got out and sneaked
across the nearly empty parking lot. They stumbled around for a fem minutes before finally finding a
door that took them into the employees auto workshop.
“Is this right, cousin? Is… is Beverly an auto repair-person.”
“No, we came in the less secure door. It’s easier to get into the complex through the door with the least
guards.”
Then as they got to the door on the other end of the warehouse, and Balki pointed. “I think we go that
way.”
Larry’s eyes darted back and forth, momentarily confused at the maze of corridors. He nodded
uncertainly. “Nnno, I’m sure it’s this way. Follow me.”
Balki followed, even as he shook his head and said a silent prayer.
***
Alfalfa, will you swing me before we have lunch?
Sure, Darla
say, Romeo, what about your promise to the He Man Women Haters Club?
I’m sorry, Spanky. I have to live my own life.
Three hours after Balki and Larry began their search, Beverly turned the tv volume down, and went
back to the computer. She had decided to write her memoirs, and hoped Bennet would protect it from
Dr. Warner, as he had promised.
“Larry Appleton, age 26, from Madison, Wisconsin… aside from assisting him on his taxes, his checkbook, his earnings estimates for the next 15 years, my presence made him agitated. A 99%
neurotic mess of a human. That is not to say he is all bad. If one looked hard enough, or if the right
people entered his life, his loyalty, his morals, his upstanding character was evident.
That person would have to be his cousin, Balki Bartokamous. Honest, good-natured and optimistic to a
fault. If it wasn’t for Balki, Larry would have self-destructed long ago. Balki is a wonderful human
being! A very tender soul, but with enough fortitude and strength of character, as to be one of the few
who was capable of winning a battle of ethics with his cousin Larry. Even with no memory and
nothing to compare it to, I knew Balki was someone I could trust. I felt safe with all of them, actually. I
felt like an ordinary girl Truly it was the kind of life Beverly Marshall wanted for me.”
Frustrated now, she slammed her hands on the keyboard, and hastily shut off the computer.
“I don’t want to die!” she whispered.
She slumped down on the keyboard, sobbing.
Then she sat up fast, the tears disappearing quickly.
In the reflection of the monitor, she noticed the silhouettes of two people in the room behind her. She
turned quickly.
“Balki… and Larry… “.
She rushed to the soundproof window. Larry was pointing to the left and shrugging and pointing to the
left and shrugging some more.
She gave them a thumbs up, only to watch Balki return the gesture and then high five the glass. Larry,
however looked up, and ran to the control board.
She mounted herself on the thin window jamb and tried to wave Balki out of her view, then she saw
Larry shouting and he quickly moved aside. She slid into site of Larry, as his hands carefully brushed
over the dials and switches, and she shook her head “NO”.
It seemed to be taking forever, so when he finally reached the correct one, she nodded frantically. Balki
nodded too, clapped his hands and then stumbled back, grabbing his head.
“Can you hear me now?! Balki, are you hurt?!”
“Of course not, don’t be redeec… ok that hurt!”
“Ok you need a code for the door… 5456et543. That should work.”
Then Larry ran for the door, punched in the code and he and Balki scooted into the secondary room,
that was also soundproof.
“Dammit!” she hissed, watching Larry fumble with the keypad to her room. She pointed them back to
the main room, and both tripped and stumbled their way back.
She collapsed against the glass, sobbing now
“Second code?” Larry asked, quietly but desperately.
“How did you find me?!”
“Well I’d be happy to tell you that but I need the second code!”
“865f… f… I can’t believe you found me!”
“Beverly, I need you to concentrate!”
“Yeh… 865fgd467!!” she sobbed.
When Larry got the door open, Beverly rushed into their arms, clinging to them, and weeping. “I didn’t
think I’d ever see you again… is Jennifer and Mary Anne here I want to see them too!”
“Waiting at home!” Larry replied, pulling away as Balki hung on.
“Beverly… was my mother… well my surrogate… it’s complicated,” she wiped the tears from her face
“Balki I’d never lie to you. I just didn’t know… ”
“Ak! It’s alright. Beverly… I believe you!” Then he pulled back too, his hands still resting on her
shoulders. “Tess made me believe you! She’s waiting at her mamas home.”
“Tess… ” Beverly wondered.

“She witnessed you being taken against your will!” Larry grumbled, wandering around the small room
and its bare surroundings, and at the television and the sole computer. “The Little Rascals… not my
favorite, but… ” he cocked his head and looked at the keyboard then tapped it a few times.
“She… what… Tess… saw… huh?!”
“Chased the car for two blocks. high-spirited, that Tess! At first we didn’t believe her.”
Balki nodded. “We thought she was making a fable. But then we looked and looked everywhere!
Poof! You were just gone just like that!” Balki snapped his fingers, making Beverly jump. “The social
person refused to say anything!” Balki replied sadly.
“I did some digging… a neurotic mess?!” Larry said, as he looked at the computer. “What is going on
here!!?? Beverly… I was under the impression you worked here… a child prodigy intern maybe… but
you seem more like a prisoner!”
Beverly shook her head, fresh tears coursing down her cheeks. How could Bennett lie to her like that?
“I want some answers. Let’s start with your real name?” Larry asked.
“You don’t wanna know.”
“I want to know,” Balki said, giving her a reassuring hug.
“Try me!” Larry begged.
“I wasn’t given a name… ” she straightened up, sliding away from Balki. “I’m a year old. My id is
BEVSAI667… and I’m a clone!” The rest of the story spilled out in an angry tone and she brought them
up to date and Balki and Larry were left completely stunned.
“Oh… my… Lord!” Larry gasped.
“You’re a clone? You don’t look like a clone. I never had to answer you, when you rang? Come to think
of it… I have never heard you ring.”
“Well, that only happens when I sit on a counter and Larry told me not to sit on the counter!” Beverly
stated.
Larry cursed himself silently. He was so distracted by her amazing tale he forgot to turn on the
recorder!
“No… Balki. A clone is like… a photocopy…. but with… three dimensions Like a… do you wanna
explain this to him?”
“There were four others. All like me, all female, all raised here… Beverly wanted to set me free. She
took away my memory with drugs so I’d never remember my life here… so I could be an ordinary girl.”
“A clone! Like a reproduction of another Beverly… or… ” Balki drifted off, in deep thought.
“I don’t know who she is… or was… they used hair to copy her genetic structure and Beverly Marshall
carried me like mothers do.”
“Aww,” Balki sighed. “cousin, wouldn’t it be spectacular if they could make a clone from Dimitri?” he
smiled with glee.
Larry couldn’t help but be amused at his idealistic cousin and best friend. He decided not to mention
that scientists like these wouldn’t waste the resources to clone a sheep!
The intercom on the computer, sounded an alarm, and Beverly rushed over to it. “Ok, be quiet! Not a
sound from either of you, please!”
Balki made a zipping motion across his lips, and Larry sat down close beside him. “Mums the word!”
he agreed with a grin.
Beverly initiated the call. “Hi, daddy!” she said in a glum tone.
CLICK!

The sound startled her. In the corner of her eye she saw Larry shift fast in the chair.
“Hey… Beverly… no, go with Mary Anne… it’s you!”
“What do you want?!”
“I wanted to know if you would like company. Hey, it’s your last night. We could even have a drink to
your almost-success.”
She could see torment and agony in his face. He was trying to stay aloof and snarky about the whole
thing, but it wasn’t working. Still, she hated him. She carefully averted her gaze to see Larry appearing
shocked and Balki looking confused.
“Right. Get rid of an inferior project and start on the next one… do I get a funeral at least?!”
“Come on, don’t be a smart ass, ‘Mary Anne’, don’t think this hasn’t been hard for me! Dr. Warner is the
boss I only work here!”
She averted her gaze again, then looked back at the screen. The look of disgust on Larry’s face, the
horrified look in Balki’s eyes, with both his hands clamped over his mouth, and Bennett the liar. It was
fast becoming overwhelming. Tears began to spill down her cheeks.
“I gotta go! Enjoy your drink, you earned it.”
She disconnected, and broke down.
“You are dying!” Balki gasped.
“I have to. They didn’t want a clone that could think… love, be afraid, I don’t know! They’ll get rid of
me, like they did the other four! Beverly was trying to save me from that. But she’s dead too, so… ”
“Nuh! No!” Larry cried out “are you saying they plan to kill you?!”
“Why did you record that?” she asked him, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Balki patted his pockets,
huffed angrily, and went to Beverly.
“Well, cousin Larry thought he was interviewing a famous scientist. Instead he come here to explore
your misery, didn’t he?!” Balki demanded, shooting him an angry glance.
“That’s exploit! I was exploiting, not exploring. No that isn’t what I meant! Look, look, look! Beverly-”
“Mary Anne!” she wept, leaning on Balki.
“No… you can be Beverly as long as you like!”
“It’s a pretty name!” Balki agreed, wiping away his own tears. “and we already have a Mary Anne!”
“But I have a plan!”
“Oh, zip it, cousin!!”
Larry rushed over to her. “Ok… I did come for a story… what I didn’t know was… I didn’t know about the killing-part! Beverly you don’t have to die!”
“It’s phenol-barbitol with a fentanyl-chaser. It’s painless.” she replied softly.
He grabbed her shoulders. “Beverly, come with us if you want to live!”
He held his hands up. “Ok, here’s the plan… and it’s a good one!” he shot Balki a proud look “the plan
is, I put you on the front page, and after that, they can’t touch you. They wouldn’t dare touch you!”
Balki shook his head. “That’s my cousin Larry, ever the cartoonist!”
“That’s opportunist and that is not what I meant! But it will work!”
“Everyone would know,” Beverly realized “couldn’t really be an ordinary girl after that… ”
“No… you couldn’t. You’d be famous, and you’d be untouchable!”
“Can I stay with you? Would Jennifer and Mary Anne mind if I come back?”
“Never!” Balki said “and Tess will be so happy to see you again! And I’m so happy to see you again!”

Larry pulled out the recorder, clenching it for a moment, before handing it to her, a big frown on his face.
“Much as I want to, I couldn’t do this story. I’m too close to it. It would be given to another reporter.
But this… is yours. You can erase it… give it some pheno-barbitol or something… Beverly it wasn’t your

fault. You didn’t deserve this! Ah… ” he looked away. “Damn something in my eye!”
“I think what cousin Larry is trying to say is, he… wants to help… and… well it’s a good plan cousin. A
real good plan!”

***
“Ok… do you remember which entrance you used? I heard they were upgrading the security system… ”
“That way!” they said in unison, each pointing in the opposite direction.
“It… took us a long time to get in here,” Larry admitted.
“We couldn’t find a map… well that and we got mixed up cos of the security guards.”
Beverly nodded, smiling in gratitude. “First we need to take care of the security cameras. They’ve been
off and on, but we gotta keep them off.”
***
All three of them went off to the security offices. The guard was fortunately on patrol around the
complex’s labyrinthine layout. Beverly sat behind the terminals, and typed away. “Manual coding! I’m
programming the footage from a week ago. Hey grab the map I just printed out!” she pointed. Balki
nodded and ran to the printer. Larry just sat in the chair, watching, amazed as she worked.
He put a hand up while staring at the computer.
“I’ll take it.”
“No, Beverly give it to me.”
“Balki!” Larry looked up, grinned knowingly “how many mad scientists labs have you found your way
out of?”
“Thank you… ” Beverly whispered.
“Popo! Not this again.”
“How many, Balki?!”
“Thank you!” she said, louder this time. Then she impulsively hugged them both. “Thank you for
coming for me!”
“It was nothiiiing,” Balki said, returning the hug.
Larry pulled back a little. “Aw, well, Beverly don’t thank us. It’s Tess you need to thank, not us.”
“It’s Tess! Tess saved the day!” Balki clapped, running around to the other side of the terminal. “She’ll
be so happy!”
“Credit where it’s due, we need to thank that photographer as well. Who was that photographer. Do you
remember?” Larry asked.
“Ooooh!” Balki cried out in a high-pitched voice. There was a blur of motion, and Beverly and Larry
went after it.
“Wait! Not a lot of noise!” Beverly warned.
“Take your hands off that Mypiot!” Larry ordered.
There was no need to be alarmed. It wasn’t security, it was just
“Sunset!” Beverly cried out, then ran into his arms.
“Well, oh my God and you can quote me! I thought you were gone from us.” he put his hands on his
hips “girl you should have heard the rumors about what Beverly did, not to mention the shoddy security
system being to blame for her being able to get you out! But that’s all taken care of now. They
upgraded. It’s even a bit scary… and who are you two?”
“Hi! I’m Balki, and this is my cousin Larry!” then he hugged Sunset.
“Aw, cute just cute. You’re adorable, aren’t you?” then Sunset turned to Larry, and gave him a small
smile. “You are welcome anytime, sugar!” he winked.

“I… I… ” Larry stammered. “Huh!” He shot out his arm, stiff as a board, for a handshake. A visibly
disappointed Sunset returned the gesture.
“Oh, no!” Beverly gasped, running back to the computer terminal.
“What happened, what happened?!” Larry demanded, expecting the worst. Of course, he was right.
“It’s… a sensitive system. I stopped my inputs, and that triggered the fail-safe mechanism. They know
you’re here and that I escaped… again.”
Balki cocked his head. “That… doesn’t sound good.”
Larry just glared at him.
“Who is this?” a strange voice came over the intercom “you’re performing unauthorized reprogramming
of some VERY expensive security software and you will answer to “Safe At Work”
security systems, which is brought to you by “Safe at Home” security systems and who is licensed to
operate unfettered and without interference in every mid-western state now get off this computer!”
“Can’t you do something? Reprogram it again. Beverly you’re a genius, this is not beyond your
capabilities,” Larry encouraged.
“I’m sorry,” Beverly shrugged, even though they would all “walk” and she was the one who would die.
“Fine be that way!” the voice came again.
The scene on the monitor changed, from that of an empty hallway, to the four of them, all with stupid
looks on their faces.
***
“Look at that! They’re on the run with no escape! Haha! Uh, ok, what now?”
The security guard stood next to Larry’s car in the parking lot. Bennet leaned on the hood sighing sadly,
and Dr. Warner arrived in his Audi.
“You let it happen again!” Dr. Warner shouted, as he got out. “You let the project escape for the second
time!”
He was a tall, slim uptight British man. He was in his 60s, and he was in charge, while Beverly and
Bennett developed the perfect experiment in cloning and eugenics. The latter, of course, was the only
part they got right.
“Sir, for the final time, it was Beverly Marshall’s job to initiate a field test, and a lot was learned.
BEVSAI667 was under supervision the entire time.” Bennett struggled to think up a good excuse in the
hopes of buying more time for the BEVSAI667. “ah, those two guys were in on it. That was part of the
ex-”
“Oh, be quiet!” Dr. Warner said, and he and the security guard stepped up to Larry’s car and reached for
the door handles.

***
“Well, thankfully my card key still works! I simply dread the day when technology makes everything
go at lightning speed. Not that I have to worry about that now. After tonight, not even Taco Bell will
hire me!”
Sunset opened the double doors to the exclusive employees lounge, and ushered the three of them
inside.
“Please don’t trip. Let me help you,” he said to Larry, reaching out a hand to him, even though Larry
was maneuvering quite nicely on his own.

“I’m good, I’m good!” Larry replied, the nervousness evident in his voice.
ATTENTION ONE AND ALL. SAFE AT WORK ANNOUNCES AN ERROR IN SECTION 5!
PLEASE STAND BY. ANYONE CAUGHT STEALING GARBAGE BAGS WILL BE
PROSECUTED. ERROR NUMBER 927.
“Wwwow! Cousin, look at this place! This is an employees lounge?! It looks more like the Southwest
side of Mypos! You know with it’s lagoon and the biiiiiiiiiiiig trees that touch the sky!”
“They’re with me, Frankie! All is well!” Sunset told the sole security guard, as he took some towels off
the rack.
“Oh!” Balki scampered over to him, and held out his hands. May I have a towel, I want to swim in the
lagoon!”
“Of course, of course!” Sunset replied. He held out a towel to Larry.
“Suits are optional,” he grinned.
“I… just ate!” he excused. “Besides,” he grabbed the towel from Balki “we’re supposed to be hiding,
remember?!”
“I thought we were supposed to be escaping?” Balki queried, feeling glum now.
“Dreams are nice,” Sunset told them “but reality is a cruel mistress!”
“Well I suggest you break up with her now and not tomorrow!” Balki huffed, even more glum.
“Ok… ” Larry began to walk around the faux lagoon. “Where’d she go?”
He began to walk through the fake foliage, along the fake dirt path, and was amazed at the detail.
“Cousin,” Balki sidled up beside him, and nudged him gently “this is not right.”
Larry’s eyes flashed with anger and he looked away.
“Cousin! Did you hear me?”
“Loud and clear!”
“Back on Mypos, I would put down sheep or other animals, but only if they had fallen ill or… but she is
just a girl.”
“Clone girl.”
“Well, no a regular girl!! She speak like us, and she look like us. And they… want to put her down?”
“She’s an inferior product, Balki! She’s a failed lab construct who didn’t meet their expectations! That’s
what they think! They’re in charge so that’s what matters!” he replied in an angry tone.
“I… can’t allow that,” Balki insisted. “Cousin, I won’t allow that!”
ATTENTION ONE AND ALL. SAFE AT WORK ANNOUNCES AN ERROR IN SECTION 3.
PLEASE STAND BY. ANYONE CAUGHT STEALING PAPER CLIPS OR OTHER OFFICE
SUPPLIES WILL BE PROSECUTED. ERROR NUMBER 567.
Balki turned on his heels, and went off. He found Beverly who was sitting on a fake rock that sat on the
edge of the fake lagoon. Larry followed him.
“Beverly… ” He took her hand and tugged gently. “Come with me!”
She looked up at him. “I’m so sorry,” she wept.
“No no! I will not accept an apology from you!” He knelt down in front of her. “I won’t let them put
you down!”
“I didn’t want it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be put down, and I don’t want them to put you
in prison for trying to help me!”
Larry’s mouth fell open. “Puh! Puh! Puh!”
“Cousin! You are sounding like a broken record!” Balki got Beverly to her feet.
“Prison!” he finally spit out, making Balki wipe the side of his face “Balki we’re going to prison!” he realized.
Balki ignored him. “Which way? Beverly where can we hide?”
She looked up, “The roof?” then she frowned.
“They couldn’t grow me with wings?!” she wailed.
ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION! SAFE AT WORK IS FULLY OPERATIONAL. TO THE
PERSONNEL IN SECTION 5 YES WE SAW YOU TRYING TO STUFF A ‘MR COFFEE’ INTO
YOUR GYM BAG. PLEASE TURN IN YOUR CARD KEYS AT THE GATE AND THE GUARDS
WILL ESCORT YOU OFF THE PROPERTY.
“Hey… hey you guys!” Sunset called out frantically. “The systems are slow but not that slow! I might
need some help!”
“Balki! There is nothing we can do here!” Larry insisted. “And as much as I want it to be different,
there’s nothing we can do for Beverly!”
Balki responded by pulling Beverly close to him. “I’m not leaving her.”
“What… Balki try and see reason. We can’t do anything for her!”
“No! I’m not going! You go, I stay. Beverly needs me.”
“Wh… what about Mary Anne? Jennifer? me… Tess what about Tess! Don’t we need you?”
“I… I have my honor, cousin! They… will understand why I cannot leave her. They would think me less
if I leave her!”
Balki said it while his voice was trembling, while his eyes got misty. Larry frowned, inwardly and
outwardly.
“You’re a better man than me… have I ever told you that?” Larry admired, also choking up.
There was shuffling sounds from the lounge’s security guard room, then there was the sound of flesh
hitting flesh. Then Sunset screamed.
“The jig is up! We have been caught! The security guard knew we didn’t belong here! I got him,
though!” Sunset yelped. “Right on the back of his head and he went down like a brick!”
Sunset reached for his back pocket. “I did relieve him of his sidearm.” He held it up proudly.
ATTENTION! YOU IN THE LOUNGE. IT’S REQUESTED THAT YOU DON’T MAKE THIS ANY
HARDER FOR YOURSELF, AND COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP. BESIDES HOW FAR
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL GET WITH A REVOLVER? A REVOLVER, FOR GOD’S SAKE!! I
HAVE A 9MM. I HAVE TWO ACTUALLY! AND I GOT A FEELING YOU COULDN’T COMPETE
WITH THAT!
“No guns! No violence!” Balki insisted.
“Yeh, people go to prison for that,” Larry replied sarcastically. Balki was already moving away fast,
deeper into the fake foliage, dragging Beverly behind him. Larry turned to Sunset. “Unload that! I have
a plan!”
Balki and Beverly had reached the back exit but found the door sealed from the outside.
“There’s no way out,” Beverly said with resignation. I thought as much… but I wanted more time… ”
She looked up at him, tears streaming down her face. She leaned on him and began bawling.

“Balki! Wait!” Larry cried as he caught up to them I’ve… ” he stopped, his mouth twisting a little “I’ve
got an idea!” Larry tried, as Sunset caught up to him.
He stopped, humbled by the sight of Beverly cowering in Balki’s arms
“Put the gun down, cousin!” Balki demanded.
“Not loaded. See? Look, we can pretend it’s loaded. We can ‘take a hostage’ and escape!” Larry said, his
eyes wide with excitement and mixed with panic.
“We’ll take her!” Larry pointed.
Balki rolled his eyes. “Cousin, they already want her dead. Don’t you think that’s just a little bit
pointless?!”
Larry slumped. “I was so sure!” he moaned.
“Might I volunteer? Oh, please. It’s for a good cause!” Sunset offered.
The doors on the other end of the lounge opened wide, and the bright lights came up.
Dr. Warner came in, followed by Bennett.
“You haven’t met my dad yet,” Beverly sniffed “Bennet, don’t do anything to cousin Larry. He scares
easily!”
“Not today, I don’t. But you scared a little girl half to death. You nearly ran her down with your car!”
“You, should be greatly ashamed for this awful thing you have done!” Balki agreed.
“He’s ashamed and most deeply! Aren’t you Bennett?” Dr. Warner asked.
“Don’t even start, old man,” Bennett warned.
Dr. Warner strolled up to Balki and Larry. “It was never our intent to scare that little girl… Tess? No,
that’s not our way at all,” Warner soothed. Balki pulled Beverly behind him.
“Touching. Really,” Warner drolled.
He waved a hand behind him, and two more security guards came in, a little girl stretched out between
them. The guards had scratch marks on their faces and their clothing was torn.
“We took the liberty of removing her from your back seat, Mr Appleton. The guards had a rough go of
it. We’ll have to send you the bill.”
“Let her go. She didn’t do anything.” Larry begged.
“Will she go to prison too?” Beverly whispered.
“If you will!” Warner ordered, pointing at Balki.
“Give us Tess, first!” Balki ordered. He turned to Larry and Beverly. “I got a better plan!” he whispered
with a smile.
“It’s ok! It’s ok!” Beverly pulled away, stumbled, and begin to move forward. “Let me have her. I’ll go.”
“Five minutes!” Larry begged, grabbing Balki’s arm “Balki they have loaded guns! Listen… ah, Dr.
Warner, just give us five minutes… and I’ll buy you all new uniforms!”
“That was five minutes ago,” Warner sighed, motioning to the guards to let Tess down.
“Bastard!” Larry hissed, making Balki jump. “sorry Balki.”
“I forgive you. It stung just a little,” he rubbed his ear. Beverly came back with Tess but was finding it
hard to remove the child’s hands from her shoulders. as Balki took Tess into his arms.
“I had to come!” Tess bawled “I had to see for myself. Uncle cousin Larry, I’m sorry for going through your mail and your briefcase, but I’m not sorry too!”
“Oh, Tess!” Larry sighed, finding it hard to be angry at her.
“Wait! Stop! What’s happening! You get back here!”
“Run, Beverly!” Balki shouted.
“She’ll get away and be safe… ok, let’s go while no one is looking!” Larry whispered to Balki, as they
saw Beverly shove two security guards into each other and run down another hallway.
Balki put Tess into Sunset’s arms carefully. “Watch her! Tess you stay with the nice man and I get
Beverly, ok?”
She nodded slowly, he kissed her forehead, and was off and running after Beverly.
“I don’t wanna go to prison!” Larry whined. But they were already in too deep and he knew it. He
pointed affirmatively at Sunset, and with a smile patted Tess on her head then ran after his best friend.
***
“I just wanna live! Please let me go! I won’t tell anyone. I’ll make sure cousin Larry never tells either,”
Beverly begged at Dr. Warner backed her into one of the containment chambers.
“Oh, no, BEVSAI667, you see you’re time has come to an end. But of course we’re in the perfect place
for it now. The containment chamber is solid fiber-plexy-faux-glass with a vacuum seal on the exit
doors. No way in, No way out. Once the fail-safe is engaged, then it’s bye-bye-BEVSAI667.”
“Beverly!” she growled “you’re a 100% jerk, you know that?”
“The opinion of a clone means nothing to me,” Warner stated, as he began to punch numbers into the
keypad on the wall.
“No!” Beverly demanded. Then she tackled him. It was a short fight. Chairs and cabinets were
overturned, thrown and in the end Warner was rendered unconscious.
“Aw hell!” Beverly muttered as he fell on her, and a heavy cabinet fell on him.
***
“Don’t follow us! Bennett, you’ve done enough damage!” Larry ordered.
“I’m not what you think. This was NOT my idea… at least not now!”
“Not now?!” Larry raged “You people are sick!”
“This way cousin!” Balki yell, heading down a corridor on the left.
An alarm sounded throughout the complex. A voice came over the psa.
ATTENTION CYCLONTRONICS EMPLOYEES AND ITS UNINVITED GUESTS. SAFE AT
WORK ANNOUNCES A SERIOUS ERROR IN CONTAINMENT 19. UNLESS THIS ERROR IS
CORRECTED THE RELEASE OF METHACIDE WILL COMMENCE IN 3 MINUTES.
“Holy hell! Hey we need to find her and go!” Bennett said.
“Why are you still here?!” Larry demanded.
“Because I’m a changed man. Look if it had been up to me, she would have stayed with you. It’s what
my dead girlfriend wanted!”
Balki was running back to them. He grabbed Larry’s arms, and held them firmly. His face was white
with fear.
“Cousin Larry! I found her! She’s locked herself in a room! It’s not a big room but it’s got those

compooters in there. Dr. Warner he is on the floor and I think he is sleeping. Beverly locked the big
metal door and won’t open it! But cousin, the room, it says ‘containment 19!”
All three stood there, frozen, but only for a moment. Then they ran fast to Containment 19, and
commenced banging and tugging and pushing and pulling on the massive steel door.
Larry moved to the window, and banged on it. “Beverly! Open the door!”
She just sat in front of the computer, and he realized the room was soundproof. Balki and Bennet
moved to the window and began waving their arms. She looked up sadly and turned on the
microphone.
“I can’t open the door… the code… ”
He gaped at her. “Of course you can! Beverly you’re a genius! Keypad! Enter code!” he pointed
frantically.
“Beverly, Beverly. There is poison in the room. You need to get out of there.”
“I know that. I’ve gone over it 10 times. I can’t break this code. I can’t stop it.”
She shook her head as tears filled her eyes.
“Beverly,” Bennet questioned as he stood behind Larry, who turned around and pointed an angry finger
in his face.
“This is your fault, punk! You are the last person any of us want to hear from, Bennet. No, wait! If you
were the last person, you wouldn’t even be allowed in line!”
Cousin, please, this her papa!” he put his hands on the window. “Can you just… come out then?” he
encouraged.
“There’s nothing I can do!” She stepped over to the window, and looked at all of them. “Look, if I open
the door it will trigger the rest of the alarms. The entire complex would be flooded with Methacide.”
“1 MINUTE TO THE RELEASE OF METHACIDE. ERROR CONTAINED IN… CONTAINMENT
19. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BREACH. IF A BREACH HAPPENS THE… BREACHERS WILL BE
RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES, AS WELL AS A POTENTIAL DEATH.
“I’m almost out of time… you should go.”
Larry gasped, and bowed his head. “Balki… we need to leave… ”
Larry grabbed his arm and he pulled away, turned back to the window.
“Beverly… no… I promised not to leave.” He shook his head, and put his other hand on the window.
“Please go! Get him out of here, Larry!”
“I’m trying!” He said as he continued tugging at Balki’s arm, but Balki seemed rooted to the floor.
“Get outta here Balki!!!” she screamed.
Balki’s face contorted, and he turned away suddenly, clinging to Larry and nearly knocking him over in
the process.
“What do we tell the others?” Larry questioned helplessly, holding onto his cousin, his best friend, a
shattered man.
50 SECONDS TO RELEASE OF METHACIDE.
Beverly shook her head.
“I don’t know!” Beverly sobbed. That only made Balki cry louder.
“But thanks for taking me in… it was great… it was… wonderful!”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to help you… that we coudn’t-” Larry shook his head, patting his broken
friend on the back.
20 SECONDS…
“It’s ok. I know you tried.”

She ran back to the computer, and shut off the microphone. She hit another switch, and a security visor
began to descend and cover the window.
Larry stared at the covered window, all he could hear was Balki, crying. Bennet stepped up beside him.
Larry’s face twisted in anger.
“Show a little respect, and don’t say anything, ‘dad’. Not one word!” Larry ordered.
Bennet stared at the covered window.
And Larry stared at the covered window as he held his broken friend.
“We need to go now, Balki,” Larry encouraged. He kicked Bennet hard in the ankle.
“Ow! Come on, man, I’m a grieving father, here!”
“Can we go?! Without being arrested? We’d rather be the ones to shatter the hearts of our girlfriends
and the little girl you tried to kill!”
“Oh, please, I wasn’t even driving the car! Yeh! Yes! No interference. I’ll take care of it. Dr. Warner is
no longer in authority. No one has to know, and there won’t be any charges. And… ”
“And what!” Larry growled.
“Never mind,” he replied with a half-smile, turned and walked away.
***
some months later, in the new house
It was Balki who answered the front door at the new house where the two couples resided.
“Hello! Can I help you? Are you here to sell something? Is there a new religion I don’t know about?”
Then he frowned, a deep and sad frown.
“Hi, Mr. Bartokomous… you remember me?” the man at the door smiled.
Balki’s lip quivered. “I do… you are Beverly’s papa… ” he shut his eyes “were… ”
He struggled for control, to not burst into tears at the horrible memories so many months ago. He was
trying to move on, they all were. He gripped the knob and pushed forward.
“Now you… probably shouldn’t be here, really… please go…
Bennett shot out a hand. “Five minutes! I promise it will be worth it!”
Larry came down the stairs, then. “Balki have you seen my black tie?”
“You need to go!” Balki ordered, more desperately, as Larry crossed behind him. “We gave at the
office!” he said as he disappeared out of view.
Bennet turned away from Balki and waved.
“Cousin Larry will not be happy to find you here. For that matter, I am not happy to find you here! No!
Please just go!”
Larry crossed back into view.
“YOU! GET OUT!” he shouted.
“He said he has something important to tell us, cousin.”

Larry stomped to the door. “Our girlfriends will be home soon and this is the last place you want to be!
THEY will not be so nice about it!”
Balki gasped then. A sharp gasp of joy and elation… like when he first rode the log ride at the
amusement park. He barreled out the door fast, knocking Bennet into the frame, and then Larry was
next, knocking Bennet off the porch.
“It’s good to see you… so good to just be here… my best friends ever… ok choking me… ”
“I sorry! Balki sorry!” he pulled back, patting Beverly’s head. “Beverly! Beverly?!”
“Better!” she gasped. “Balki, it’s me!
“I just can’t believe you’re not dead!” he gushed.
“Yeh, she lived,” Bennett said, uncurling from the ball he tucked himself into.
“Unbelievable!” Larry awed. Bennet got up and dusted himself off.
“Simple case of an enhanced immune system. She did keel over but… went into a state of hibernation,
almost like a coma!” Bennett explained.
“Oh come on! How dumb do you think I am? we are?! Balki put her down!” Larry turned to Bennet
“you are a a highly disturbed individual! You made another clone and pretend it’s our Beverly!”
“Our Beverly! I like that! Wait a moment! What this about not being our Beverly? What that mean?!”
Balki demanded, as he set her down.
“You got serious trust issues, Larry Appleton,” Bennett told him.
Larry pointed a finger in his face. “Give me one good reason why we should believe this is our
Beverly?!” Larry demanded. Bennet raised a finger and used it to push away Larry’s finger.
“Because Cyberclontronics is out of business, that’s why! Because there’s no longer a surrogate parent,
that’s why!”
“Can we go in there? In the house” Beverly pointed.
“Let’s go. I will get you something to eat. You must be starving after being dead for so long!”
“Don’t forget this!” Bennett handed her a backpack.
Balki went up to Bennet, and hugged him. “Thank you,” he said, then turned and ran inside.
“Your girlfriend,” Larry concluded “Beverly Marshall?”
“It would have been easier for me had she just vanished into the night.” He kicked at a rock. “Ow!
Thing weighs a ton, don’t it!?”
Bennet turned to Larry. “You really didn’t know about the demise of Cyberclontronics??”
“I… didn’t bother too look after that,” Larry said honestly. “Listen, I’m… sorry about your girlfriend, I
really am. I can’t even imagine what I’d do if Jennifer… ”
His voice trailed off, and he brushed at his face.
“I had to save her,” Bennett thumbed towards the house. “I claimed ‘the body’, and we’ve been living in
New Jersey… laying low. She wanted to be with you guys so… company’s dismantled like I said, but
still… ”
“How long before someone ‘important’ finds out?” Larry asked carefully.
“None. I mean they really shouldn’t. They think she’s dead, remember?”
“Ok,” he told Bennet as well as himself. “So uh… when do we settle on the child support?” Larry joked.
Bennett got in the car, and pulled out a handbag. Larry recognized it and frowned

“There’s 2000$ in the lining.”
“I was joking,” he replied nervously.
“Hey, Bev would want you to have that money!”
Larry took the handbag carefully. “Well, thank you.”
Bennet nodded, slipping on his sunglasses and got into his car.”Take care of that girl, Larry Appleton.
Though she’ll probably end up taking care of you. She’s a genius, you know.”
Larry nodded, watched him drive off, then went into the house.
***
“This will be your room, if you want!”
Balki opened the door to the attic. He placed his hands on his hips. “It my room now, but I can sleep on
the couch.”
“Ok, she replied, clutching the backpack to her chest.
“What that is?” he pointed.
“Well it… it’s my file. Uh… tapes, notes… see Beverly kept extensive notes… I wouldn’t keep it at all if
it weren’t for her… she was good to me. You would have liked her.”
“She was your mama!” Balki agreed.
“She… was… ” but she couldn’t continue for all the tears.
“Come here,” Balki encouraged “now look; what you do is, you put her inside your heart, and you keep
her with you. She will be there inside of you, and she always be with you.”
The was the sound of a door slamming downstairs.
“Balki I can’t get rid of it but I have to hide it! Someplace where… where no one can ever ever find it!”
her eyes narrowed sharply. “You understand… Balki I thought about it a lot… I’m glad they think I’m
dead. I don’t want to be famous… I want to be an ordinary girl, and this is too dangerous if it fell into
the ‘wrong’ hands. You understand?”
Balki put his hand on his heart. “I do, Beverly. I absolutely do. Ok, for right now, we put it here. There
is no chance it will be found here.”
“Ok,” she said, relaxing. If there was anyone she could trust with her life, that would be Balki. “Ok,”
she repeated, now smiling.
“I’ll talk to the girls about the room arrangements. I’m sure they won’t mind!”
And with that, the two of them left the attic and headed downstairs to meet Larry.

 

~fin~

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Kristine

https://twitter.com/simmychick4636

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