Clone with beans

These were posted by Jake Katz (aka Mephistoff Ellis) on alt.callahans. Thanks.

The nameless man held his cans of Hearty Beans with Bacon and glanced nervously at the automated checkout counter. He’d managed to cross untold miles of devastation. He’d discovered and then entered the miraculously intact super-super-market (the door sensors had identified him as a clone, but since the war, who wasn’t?). He’d found cans of food, and — he knew he’d need one — a can opener. Now he had to get past the ominous red glow of the checkout.

He licked his lips, then made a move to dash past the counter, but its motion sensors noticed him. In an instant, a flutter of thin red tracery shot out, located and converged on the cans he held, and disappeared. The checkout’s display lit up:

$49.97 Hearty Beans with Bacon – qty 3
16.47 Tax
$1266.61 TOTAL

The clone licked his lips.

+++ PAY NOW! +++ blinked the display, in big yellow letters.

He ran past. The red light stabbed out again, stronger and brighter this time. The beams converged on his chest, and pulsed momentarily. The nameless man flopped forward with only a small *whoosh*ing sound and collapsed onto the checkout’s automatic conveyor belt. It actuated at the pressure, and rolled him forward. His last sight was the checkout display:


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