Role Reversal


Magnum heard the phone ringing, but it sounded different somehow. Groaning from the gin he'd had a little too much of the night before, he rolled over to pick up the receiver. The first thing he noticed was that it felt funny-lighter, and rectangular instead of curved. Still chalking it up to a mild hangover, he nevertheless put it next to his ear.

"Thomas?" A familiar voice on the other end of the line said. "Hey, pal, it's me. Listen, I got a line on that chick's grandfather you wanted me to check out. You were right-he made a lot of enemies on the islands, especially in the construction business. So, ya want to come down to the Club and see what I got? Oh yeah, and T.C. wants to know if we're still going to watch the Tigers game at your place next weekend."

"Tigers game?" Still groggy, Magnum opened his eyes. "Rick, we're in Hawaii. Detroit's on the other side of the Pacific and half a continent away."

"Huh?" Rick sounded confused. "Are you feeling okay, pal? You sound a little out of it today…anyway; you can come by the Club when you're ready. See ya later, buddy." Rick hung up before Magnum could ask him anything else. He expected to hear only silence, but got a strange buzzing sound in his ear instead. That was when he looked at the receiver-and realized that there was something very strange going on.

The receiver was yellow, and made of smoothly rounded plastic. It was connected to the phone by a coiled rubbery cord. Magnum put the receiver down and picked it back up, expecting to hear an operator ask, "Number, please," but when he picked it back up again all he heard was the buzzing tone.

"Higgins," Magnum growled. He climbed out of bed and looked around his room. Everything was different-his closet wasn't where it was supposed to be, and when he opened it all he saw were brightly colored shirts and only one oddly cut suit and tie. He looked down at the floor for his spats-but found only a pair of shoes like those that were worn on tennis courts.

Now he was getting upset. Magnum grabbed the shoes-noticing that he was wearing a pair of odd-looking shorts that weren't his own BVDs-and stormed into the living room-only to find that here, too, everything was different. The furniture, the lamps-and what was that large box with a silver grille and glass plating that sat where the radio was supposed to be?

He didn't have time to try and figure this out. Magnum walked out of the altered house with renewed determination, tennis shoes in hand.

"Higgins!" He saw the estate's caretaker with the lads out on the estate's lawn. "Higgins…what the hell did you do to my house?!?"

Jonathan Quail Higgins gave Magnum a bemused, slightly concerned look. "I say, Magnum, isn't running around in broad daylight in your underwear a tad tacky, even for you?"

"Never mind that!" Magnum shook the shoes in Higgins' face. "What the hell are these things? Where are my spats?"

"Spats?" Higgins laughed. "Good lord, I haven't heard that term in…see here, are you sure you're all right? I think you might have spent a little too much time partying at a discothèque last night."

Magnum shook his head to try and clear it. "Look, Higgins, I don't know what kind of a gag you're trying to play, but Rick called about a case, so I have to get to the club. Just let me have the keys to the Bugatti and have my stuff back where it belongs by the time I get back."

"Bugatti?" Higgins looked curiously at him. "I don't know what you're raving about, but if you need the Ferrari its right there in the driveway where you left it-outside, again, I might add."

Magnum turned to look where Higgins was pointing-and saw something that just didn't seem possible. It was a car of some sort, but it looked like something from out of a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon strip. It gleamed bright red in the mid-morning sunlight.

Somewhat dazed, Magnum went over to the car to get a closer look. He recognized all the familiar elements-a steering wheel, clutch, and so forth, although the gearshift looked strange.

"I'll figure this out later," Magnum growled. "Right now I've got to get dressed…if I can find some decent clothes…and then I'll take this Flash Gordon prop to the Club and hope I don't look like a laughing stock in the process." With what dignity he could muster, Magnum walked back to the guest house.

Higgins shook his head. "Let that be a lesson to you, lads…a combination of too much new wave music and tequila is never a good combination."