Written for a general fanfiction challenge. Use the following paragraph as your opening:

They woke up in a windowless room. It was padded from floor to ceiling, like a room you'd find in an asylum. The only door had a single slot, big enough for a tray of food or one to peer in. How had they gotten here?



Jo Z. Pierce

They woke up in a windowless room. It was padded from floor to ceiling, like a room you'd find in an asylum. The only door had a single slot, big enough for a tray of food or one to peer in. How had they gotten here?

FBI Agent Bill Maxwell always feared that it would come to this. Ever since they were approached by that alien spaceship, he always feared that he would wind up in "the bug bin."

The Little Green Guys, as he liked to call them, selected Bill and schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley to help save the world. Their mission was to fight crime and save the Earth from almost certain doom. For that reason, they gave Ralph a special suit with unearthly powers. It was made of bright red material that looked like something out of a Marvel Comic. It even had a black cape and a big emblem right on the front of the chest. And when Ralph wore the suit (since it would only work on him), he acquired superhuman powers.

At first, it was all just too much to handle. Alien beings? Zombies? Magic jammies that gave a schoolteacher the ability to help save the world?

He didn't even want to accept the mission at first.

"Let them put YOU in the bug bin, NOT ME!" Bill remembered saying that night, as he fled the scene.

That was also the fateful night that Ralph lost the instruction manual to the suit.

Still, they always were able to figure things out. They'd been a team for over two years. They'd saved the world from nuclear war, communists, drug dealers, and every sort of bad guy imaginable. And they were a great team. Bill ran the scenarios, and by now was the top FBI agent in the country, thanks to Ralph. Ralph's wife, Pamela, was the best backup a team could ever hope for. Even for a skirt, Bill had to admit that Pam was "Good Troops."

But it was Ralph, his reluctant liberal teacher friend, who made it all possible. He was the superhero who wore the suit, and used his powers for the good of the planet, and for the benefit of all of humanity.

But all these fond memories didn't answer how they had gotten there, in that room with the rubber walls.

"Ralph… Ralph?" Bill finally said. He wanted to reach over to his friend and wake him up, but the straight jacket restrained him.

"What? …. Bill! Where are we?" Ralph asked, shaking his head, and struggling slightly with his own white wraparound jacket.

"Aw, gee, kid. It finally happened," Bill moaned. "They stuck us in the House of No Walls."

"Don't worry, Bill," Ralph said, looking around. "Pam will be able to get us out of here… I hope."

Bill sat there silently. He hated the idea of being in a mental institution, more than Ralph could imagine. After all, he might run into some of the guys he had busted. Many of them wound up institutionalized. Too many of them had the poor sense to talk about Ralph. They talked about a man in long red underwear and a cape. They insisted he flew, deflected bullets with his chest, and lifted cars with one hand. And they all usually wound up in The Nut House.

"Where did they grab you, Bill?"

"I went to bed last night. Then next thing I know, I wake up here. You?"

"Me too. So, where do you think we are?"

Bill shook his head, unsure.

"You wouldn't by any chance happen to have the Magic Jammies on underneath that straight jacket, would you?"

Ralph shook his head, wishing he did.

The two looked around, but neither said a word. Finally, after some time, the door opened. A man with a doctor's coat and two assistants walked in the room.

"Mr. Maxwell. Mr. Hinkley. Sorry for the long wait. I'm Doctor Raleigh."

"You mind telling us what we are doing here? Before I start taking some names?" Bill barked the words at the doctor.

"Maybe we should keep this one here," said one of the assistants, joking. The doctor sighed, in disapproval.

Ralph and Bill looked back and forth at each other, slightly confused.

"Um, I apologize, Doctor, for my friend's behavior," Ralph said politely.

"Don't apologize, Ralph!" Bill barked at his partner now.

"It's ok, gentlemen. I understand the confusion. When you were brought in last night, you were even more confused than now."

"Can you tell us what happened, Doctor?" Ralph asked. Bill rolled his eyes at his partner's diplomacy.

"We hoped you could tell us," the doctor responded.

"Well, actually, sir… no. We can't. You see, we have no idea why we are here." Ralph was very diplomatic, so he took charge and did most of the talking.

"I see. It's worse than I thought." The doctor looked down at his clipboard and scribbled a few things down.

"The two of you were picked up last night, in the desert. We though you were both suffering from severe dehydration, especially when you began to speak. You were both delusional..."

The two men looked at each other, confused.

"Delusional?" Ralph asked, confused and hesitant. "What did we say, doctor?"

"The two of you were talking about alien spaceships in the desert. And something about… Magic Jammies? It had us all worried. So we decided to keep you here, for observation."

Bill looked at Ralph, worried. "What did we say last night?" he wondered. "And why were they out in the desert?"

Neither remembered anything.

"Um, has my wife been notified?" Ralph asked, hoping they could avoid the topic all together.

The doctor looked at his patient. Now he was confused.

"No, Mr. Hinkley. Your lawyer advised against that."

"My lawyer?" Ralph figured he meant Pam, but things were not adding up.

"Yes," the doctor responded. "Pamela Davidson."

"Davidson?" Ralph thought. He hadn't heard his wife referred to by her maiden name in almost a year.

"Yes, Mr. Hinkley. She said that you and your wife were undergoing a nasty divorce, and that it would be best to refrain from contacting your wife. She thought your wife would use it against you in …in a custody battle?"

Ralph and his first wife were divorced well over a year now. Ralph and Bill exchanged confused looks again. Something was not right.

"Aw, gee, Doc!" Bill chimed in, in a very nervous but loud voice. "We must have been out in the desert a real long time! What day is today?"

"March 19."

The two looked confused. It had been October just yesterday. They stared at the doctor, as if asking for more information.

"…1981…?" The doctor figured that was what they wanted to hear.

It wasn't.

The two men looked at each other. That was the day after they had gotten the Magic Jammies from the Little Green Guys. It was the day that their lives changed forever. It was a day two years ago.

"Oh! Yeah! Yeah! Now I remember!" Bill said, laughing awkwardly. He looked at his partner, as if to say "Play along, kid!"

"Yeah! The desert. I was looking for my partner. John Mackee…" the FBI tried to explain, as if he understood exactly what was going on.

"Oh, yes. About that, Mr. Maxwell…" The doctor's voice trailed off. He shook his head, as if to express his condolences.

"You mean…" Bill asked, concerned. "You mean they found him?"

The doctor nodded.

Bill was in shock. They found John? Dead? As far as he remembered, his partner had been brought back to life, like a zombie, then taken up by the alien space ship on that night back in 1981.

"Um, what about my class?" Ralph added, concerned as well.

"They are all fine, Mr. Hinkley. They were picked up not long after the highway patrol found the two of you."

If this was all true, it was as if the past two years of crime fighting scenarios had never happened at all.

Did the Little Green Guys decide to turn back the clock and change history? Did they decide that Ralph and Bill weren't a good team after all? Or had both men dreamed the whole thing?

Ralph wondered if he still had his suit. Then he wondered if he ever had been given the suit at all.

Bill wondered if the Green Guys had changed their minds, and given the suit to another team. Maybe he paired someone up with a creep from the CIA. He was angry at the thought.

The two men looked at each other, wondering if this was the end of their partnership. Still, as long as they had their memories of their time together, they would still have their friendship.

That much they were certain of.

"Well, gentlemen, we will need to keep you here a few more hours. For some more tests. Just to make sure." The doctor held out his hand. "Mr. Hinkley, let's start with you."

The doctor and two orderlies helped Ralph to his feet, then walked him to the exit. Just as he reached the door, Ralph looked over his shoulder at the FBI agent sitting in a straight jacket.

Ralph was worried, and quite frankly, a bit frightened. Not just for himself, but also for Bill.

Bill looked up, took a deep breath, and then smiled.

"Don't worry, kid," he said cheerfully to his best friend and partner, as the orderlies escorted him through the padded door.

"You'll be super!"

Ralph nodded, and smiled back, not as convinced.

"You too, partner. You too."