I wasn't sore that the sales pitch had gone so badly, only that she
hadn't shown her face the whole time.

I hung out at the Sunset Grand for the next week. Him showing up
was a long shot, but it was the only shot I had.

I couldn't believe it when he walked into the bar with old Mr.
Walsh-the-second trailing behind him like a good little clone. It
was a sight; the two of them were dressed immaculately, they were
both burley and, well, they were both identical. The real one
carried what looked like a gold cane, and the fake one carried a
couple of old-fashioned-looking luggage. Everyone in the place took
a moment to check them out.

Mr. Walsh plopped himself down on the bar-stool next to me and
ordered rye whiskey for himself and a water for his clone.

"Got to keep these fellas hydrated."

"I'm surprised you recognised me. I'm even more surprised you

"Yes, well, I never forget a face. Especially one which intrudes
upon ones abode without the slightest regard for custom."

I took a gulp of my drink. It annoyed me that we had the same
order. Rye whiskey, neat.

"Really, Mr. Jules -"

"Just plain old 'Jules' is fine."

"Mr. Jules, you really have to work on your salesmanship. It used
to be an art-form where you come from."

"You mean Earth?"

"I mean America."

"Yeah, well, not much need for salesmanship these days. Everything
is so god damn convenient now. It's more a matter of having the
best product than the best sales pitch. Anyway, my sales pitch got
you here, didn't it?"

"Yes, well, you can thank my wife for that. She's a bit more
superstitious than me and convinced me to hear you out. You have
five minutes to tell me exactly what the hell you wanted, then I
have somewhere to be."

"Okay, I'll make it snappy. I'm just on vacation here, but back on
Earth I'm considered a bit of an expert on clone insurance policy."
I glanced anxiously at Mr. Walsh-the-second. He wasn't paying
attention to us, or to anything in particular.

"I heard from a few people around here that you got yourself a
mighty-fine clone butler. I just thought I'd call on you to see if
you needed any help with that."

"Heard from what people?", he asked, his eyebrow raised.

"That doesn't matter. What matters is what I can offer you. All the
latest and greatest. Every clone protection under the sun. I'm
partnered with the leading clone manufacturers in Singapore. If
anything ever happens to the big guy - physical harm, psychological
harm, hell, even if you just get tired of him and need a change -
I'll have it set up so that you get a replacement made up as fast
as you can twirl that gold cane of yours. I can tell your a man who
likes the best, I can take care of everything you need. You know,
I'll even throw in some air-tight triple indemnity protection into
your life insurance."

At this last remark he raised his eyebrow even further, and I
started to worry that I'd laid it on too thick.

"Well, Mr. Jules, I have to say that clone-replacement insurance
isn't worth much all the way out here on Europa, 800 million
kilometers from the factories where they make them. I usually just
replace old Walshy here every five years when I return to Earth.
That system has worked out well for me so far."

I finished off my whiskey and made as if I was about to leave.

"I'm sorry to have bothered you Mr. Walsh. I should have known that
a man such as yourself would have his affairs in perfect order."

"Just a minute. You did mention about the Triple Indemnity clause.
Well, to be honest, I used to have one of those set up. After a
while it seemed pretty pointless to keep it. They really are the
most harmless creatures you know. But my wife...I mentioned all
ready that she's the superstitious type, didn't I? Well, she's been
bugging me recently to put it back in."

I sat back down.

"I see."

"And, well, I do enjoy giving her what she wants. So, I will
require your services after all."

"Oh, well that's fantastic."

"Just send me over a contract in a couple of weeks. I'll look it
over after my trip."

"Your trip?"

"Yes, not that it's any of your business, but I'll be travelling
away from Europa later today. Anyway, good day to you."

"Yes, thank you so much, Mr. Walsh."

Just then, she entered the room. I could sense it instantly. My
eyes went right to the door, where she was standing in a white
dress, patterned with honeysuckles. His eyes noticed her too.

"Oh, there's my wife now," he murmured, half to himself.