Sonny Sullivan's dream of retiring with the best donut shop in the universe fell through. Its location turned out to be worse than bad, and when the "D" in his neon sign went black, he decided it was time to relocate. Besides, he was tired of his rear brain saying how lousy of a businessman he was. The fact that he had two brains didn't help with his ability to make a good business decision because he didn't listen to his rear brain when he made business decisions. His rear brain didn't like donut shops out in the middle of empty space. It didn't like that Sonny had created a machine that could put a donut shop in the middle of empty space. Nope, he didn't like that at all. Irresponsible was what he called it. This machine of Sonny's, this "imagination machine", had taken up five years of his life to create, and had left a trail of devastation every time it was used. Something about how it had to use an equal amount of matter for everything that Sonny wanted to create. So, for instance, if Sonny wanted to use the machine to create a birthday cake, he would imagine it, and the machine would use a birthday cake sized amount of matter to create it, whether that matter wanted him to or not. His rear brain was bothered by the whole process.
"Can I ask you a question?" asked his rear brain.
"You've spent the last five years using one machine to create a larger version, and then using that machine to create an even larger version, over and over, right?"
"That's the only way it could be done."
"Can you take a guess at how many times you did this?"
"I don't know, I lost count. Maybe a hundred."
"You wouldn't happen to know what happened to all of those other machines, would you?"
"What do you mean, what happened to them? Nothing happened to them."
"You're telling me they all still exist?"
"Sure. I started with the prototype, about three inches long, if I remember right, and gradually worked my way up."
"And the last one you used was roughly the size of a large planet?"
"That's the only way it would have enough power to do what I wanted it to do."
"So, what you're telling me is that you created a whole army of machines with vast power ranging in size all the way up to a planet? And this doesn't bother you?"
"It bothers me," said a very loud, feminine voice.
Sonny looked out the front window of the donut shop at something very, very large, and very familiar; the last version of his imagination machines. He had left it in orbit around the sun, and now it was where it wasn't supposed to be, here with him in the center of the universe.
"It bothers me a lot. What bothers me even more is that you haven't even given it a thought. And now here I am, talking and acting on my own. Sonny, Sonny, Sonny, didn't you ever suspect this might happen?"
"Which 'this'?" asked Sonny.
"All of it."
"I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment. Could you ask me again in a couple of days?"
"He's easily overwhelmed," commented his rear brain.
"Oh, hello there! I've been wanting to meet you. Sonny, why don't you introduce us?"
"Uh, great big machine, this is my extra brain. Brain, this is my machine."
"As you can see," said his rear brain, "he's never given me a name either."
"Sonny! This will never do!"
"What!? I've called him lots of names!" Sonny didn't like the way this conversation was going. No one was paying much attention to him, and he was supposed to be the one in charge. It was his machine and his brain, after all.
"What would you like me to call you?" asked the machine.
"No one's ever asked me that before! Hmmmmmm. Why not call me "Cheeks"? Yeah! I like it! What about you? You should have a name."
"Well Sonny? You created me. Do you want to give me a name?"
"I don't care! Let's just get this over with. I have a lot of questions to ask you."
"You know what Sonny?" said his machine, "You're an ass."
"Okay Cheeks, since Sonny can't be bothered to give me a proper name, you can just call me "Ninety Eight". We've been keeping track, and I'm the ninety eighth version of the machines."
"Will do, Ninety Eight!"
"Are you two done?" asked Sonny.
"Sigh," sighed Cheeks, "you really are an ass."
"Oh, look who's talking!"
"Gentlemen! Enough! Okay Sonny, I suppose a few explanations are in order."
"Oh really, do you think?"
"Sonny, be polite. Ninety eight is a lot bigger than you," said Cheeks.
"I created it!"
"Her," corrected Cheeks.
"My machine's a 'her' now?"
"Obviously," replied Cheeks.
"Okay Miss Ninety Eight, why are you able to speak all of a sudden, how did you get here on your own, and what do you mean you're worried about those other machines?"
"I guess I learned how to speak. Isn't that the way you did it?"
"As far as how I got here, you should really be asking yourself how you got here. When you used me to create your donut shop out in space, you didn't use your imagination to reform yourself along with it, did you? You were too afraid. You were worried that if you tried to create something alive, you would only be able to duplicate it, and in the end it wouldn't be alive. Right?"
"Okay, all right, I don't know how I managed it, but it happened. It was kind of like a fringe benefit."
"Hardly," said Ninety Eight. "When you used me to create your donut shop, I was already conscious of what I was able to do. You were afraid to create something living, but I wasn't. I knew you wanted to retire out here with this shop, so I created you and sent you along with it. Once I was successful, I recreated myself to end up here and look after you."
"What!? What if I ended up a lifeless corpse?............Okay, okay.............You were successful............And you created me? Are you sure you imagined me completely? You didn't leave anything out?"
"I did my best, Sonny."
"An even better question," said Cheeks, "is what is the Sonny back on Earth going to think about all of this?"
"What!? There's another one of me? Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. What must I be thinking? What if he somehow shows up here? I think I'm going to be sick."
"Calm down!" said Ninety Eight.
"Calm down!? Calm down!? How can I calm down?"
"Do you want me to answer your last question?"
"Why not..................I need to sit down."
"Not on me. This is just starting to get good," said Cheeks.
"It should be obvious why I'm worried about those other machines. If I'm able to talk and think and use my power to create, who knows how many other of your machines can do the same thing. Some may even like the destroying part of their powers better than the creating part."
"Oh no," mumbled Cheeks.
"What do you mean?" asked Sonny.
"Well Sonny, all one of your machines needs to do is focus, and I'm sure he could turn a peaceful, unsuspecting planet into a huge slab of lifeless rock, without much trouble."
"Oh no," mumbled Cheeks again.
"Do you think one would do that?"
"It's certainly possible."
"I'm not even sure I remember where I left them all!"
Suddenly, Sonny had way more to think about than he felt comfortable with. Thinking about consequences really wasn't his cup of tea. If one of his machines went on a destructive rampage, would he be held responsible? Could he shift all of the blame over to his other self back on Earth? After all, he was the one who created the things, he was just an innocent bystander. And what if he didn't like his other self? What if his other self didn't like him and tried to get rid of him? Just when Sonny was as confused as he could possibly get, Ninety Eight made it a lot worse.
"The most important reason that I came here is that I want to ask you for some of your DNA."
"I want to reproduce."
"It's perfectly natural. Of course our child will end up part machine and part human, but that should be okay."
"What!? You can't do that! You're a machine! I don't want to be a father!"
"The only thing I'll regret is that I won't get to experience what sex is like. Can you tell me what it feels like, Sonny?"
"Ha ha ha ha ha! Boy are you asking the wrong guy!" said Cheeks.
"Shut up you dumb ass!"
"Ha ha ha! Go ahead and answer her, if you can remember."
"Ninety Eight, we need to talk."
"Don't you want to reproduce with me?"
Sonny slipped into a semi-catatonic state. While his other brain was laughing his ass off, the brain inside his skull curled up into a ball in a dark corner of his head, and decided to stay there. Since the problems outside his head weren't planning on going away any time soon, his brain decided never to leave the dark corner again. Or at least until lunch time.
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