The Robert Syndrome

You wake up in—wait this isn’t your room. Confused you step to the mirror and see that you’re famous actor Robert Downey Jr. How did you get here and what do you do?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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621 thoughts on “The Robert Syndrome

  1. Lexicomical

    “Goooooood morning San Diego! I’ll give you sleepy heads a few minutes to wake up before our honored Grammy award winning guest joins us for an exclusive interv-” *Bam* I abruptly slapped the top of my blaring retro 80’s alarm clock nearly sending it plummeting over the edge of my bedside nightstand. I follow this arduous routine every morning, apart from most Friday’s and Saturday’s, but this time it was peculiarly different. Something was slightly off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. That’s when it dawned on me. My radio clock had been tuned to some random hip-hop station instead of my usual new age rock alternative. Eh, no big deal. I must have changed it in my drunken stupor the night before. With my eyes tightly sealed by the crusty gunk blinding my vision, I quickly brushed it off and mustered up the energy to lift my drained body out of bed.
    I swung each leg, one after the other, through the tightly tucked covers and landed my feet gently into the comfort of my fluffy slippers on the floor below. The slippers hugged my feet so delicately and I lay hunched over the side of the bed to embrace the cloud-like feeling just a few seconds longer. Then another strange feeling fell over me as if the once fluffy clouds drifting gracefully in my mind slowly transformed into a grey, dense storm. Why were my slippers on the right side of my bed when I usually kept them on the left? Again, I let the thought fade away blaming it on the night before. After all, I could barely recall anything past eleven o’clock and there was no reason to fret, or so I thought. Finally pulling myself up to a posture many people wouldn’t even consider standing, I slumped sluggishly to the bathroom as I squinted my eyes for a less blurred view my path. The journey to the bathroom seemed to draw out longer than usual and looking through the slits below my eyelids made it nearly impossible to gauge where I was going. After wandering aimlessly like a zombie, my hand made contact with the bathroom door frame guiding me in the right direction. I flipped the light switch and my eyes were immediately seared shut by the intense brightness. Questioning thoughts started running through my head again while I waited patiently for my pupils to adjust. The ambiance in the room seemed a bit off almost as if the floor plan of my house had been entirely turned around. Then, as my eyes pried open to reveal the answers to so many perplexing questions, my heart stopped and my jaw dropped to the floor under the weight of disbelief. I stared into the mirror at the most anomalous sight any man could lay their eyes on as long as they live. Well, any man but one.

    The man I was staring at was not me, but the one and only entrepreneurial genius Tony Stark! Was this a dream? Was this heaven? The hip-hop station; the too good to be true glamorously cozy slippers; the unusually long trek to the bathroom: it all made sense! A huge smile painted my face, excuse me… Tony’s face, and I had but one thing on my mind. Disregarding everything piece of elegant furniture and ornamental art scattered throughout the house, I scurried out of the bathroom like a raging maniac on deadly amounts of speed and made my way to the foot of the massive stairs overlooking the grandest display of architecture and complimenting decor I had ever seen. And there it was. Standing gracefully in the corner right next to a monumental fireplace just opposite from where I was perched was the Iron Man suit in its entirety. It stared right back into my fervent gaze like a vigilant guard on duty. This Mexican standoff had lasted far too long, so I rushed down the steps like an ecstatic kid on Christmas morning to get a closer look at the living armor. I skated across the varnish glaze of the hardwood floors towards the comic book hero who had gotten me through my repressed childhood years and ground to a halt at the mannequin’s metallic feet.

    The figure towered over me like a statue of an Egyptian god overlooking his subjects, like the enlightening Buddha only a skinny version plated with titanium shingles enchanted with absolute truth and pure glee. This was my god. This was my Buddha. And I was ready to be enlightened by harnessing the power which lay before me. I grabbed the helmet ready to knight myself king of science and technological marvel. It was all mine for the taking and nothing could veer me away from my new found passion. The mask felt lighter than I expected, so it must have been forged from a mixture of the finest synthetic plastics and reinforced titanium. That was my best guess at the time. I was never scientifically savvy and always pulled off mischievous pranks in high school chemistry class instead of listening. Well, here goes nothing. I bowed before the almighty and slipped the helmet over my head ready to indulge in the identity of the most illustrious hero to hit Mach 1 and beyond. Then there was black. Complete and utter nothing. I stood stone still waiting for the bucket of bolts AI to welcome my presence with the instated greeting of, “Power online. Hello, Mr. Stark, how are you doing, Sir. Vitals are stable, but may I suggest taking a banana to-go to increase depleted potassium levels.” My heart sank to a bottomless void even darken than the dull interior staring back at me. I pulled up my shirt and reached for the pacemaker device supposedly keeping me alive. Instead my fingers met a landscape of grizzly curls and my heart felt like disintegrating into nonexistence. I could have honestly used a heart regulator at this point, because my mind was going haywire. That’s when the most petrifying epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t Tony Stark. I was Robert Downey, Jr in the flesh!!!

  2. Lexicomical

    “Goooooood morning San Diego! I’ll give you sleepy heads a few minutes to wake up before our honored Grammy award winning guest joins us for an exclusive interv-” *Bam* I abruptly slapped the top of my blaring retro 80’s alarm clock nearly sending it plummeting over the edge of my bedside nightstand. I follow this arduous routine every morning, apart from most Friday’s and Saturday’s, but this time it was peculiarly different. Something was slightly off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. That’s when it dawned on me. My radio clock had been tuned to some random hip-hop station instead of my usual new age rock alternative. Eh, no big deal. I must have changed it in my drunken stupor the night before. With my eyes tightly sealed by the crusty gunk blinding my vision, I quickly brushed it off and mustered up the energy to lift my drained body out of bed.
    I swung each leg, one after the other, through the tightly tucked covers and landed my feet gently into the comfort of my fluffy slippers on the floor below. The slippers hugged my feet so delicately and I lay hunched over the side of the bed to embrace the cloud-like feeling just a few seconds longer. Then another strange feeling fell over me as if the once fluffy clouds drifting gracefully in my mind slowly transformed into a grey, dense storm. Why were my slippers on the right side of my bed when I usually kept them on the left? Again, I let the thought fade away blaming it on the night before. After all, I could barely recall anything past eleven o’clock and there was no reason to fret, or so I thought. Finally pulling myself up to a posture many people wouldn’t even consider standing, I slumped sluggishly to the bathroom as I squinted my eyes for a less blurred view my path. The journey to the bathroom seemed to draw out longer than usual and looking through the slits below my eyelids made it nearly impossible to gauge where I was going. After wandering aimlessly like a zombie, my hand made contact with the bathroom door frame guiding me in the right direction. I flipped the light switch and my eyes were immediately seared shut by the intense brightness. Questioning thoughts started running through my head again while I waited patiently for my pupils to adjust. The ambiance in the room seemed a bit off almost as if the floor plan of my house had been entirely turned around. Then, as my eyes pried open to reveal the answers to so many perplexing questions, my heart stopped and my jaw dropped to the floor under the weight of disbelief. I stared into the mirror at the most anomalous sight any man could lay their eyes on as long as they live. Well, any man but one.

    The man I was staring at was not me, but the one and only entrepreneurial genius Tony Stark! Was this a dream? Was this heaven? The hip-hop station; the too good to be true glamorously cozy slippers; the unusually long trek to the bathroom: it all made sense! A huge smile painted my face, excuse me… Tony’s face, and I had but one thing on my mind. Disregarding everything piece of elegant furniture and ornamental art scattered throughout the house, I scurried out of the bathroom like a raging maniac on deadly amounts of speed and made my way to the foot of the massive stairs overlooking the grandest display of architecture and complimenting decor I had ever seen. And there it was. Standing gracefully in the corner right next to a monumental fireplace just opposite from where I was perched was the Iron Man suit in its entirety. It stared right back into my fervent gaze like a vigilant guard on duty. This Mexican standoff had lasted far too long, so I rushed down the steps like an ecstatic kid on Christmas morning to get a closer look at the living armor. I skated across the varnish glaze of the hardwood floors towards the comic book hero who had gotten me through my repressed childhood years and ground to a halt at the mannequin’s metallic feet.

    The figure towered over me like a statue of an Egyptian god overlooking his subjects, like the enlightening Buddha only a skinny version plated with titanium shingles enchanted with absolute truth and pure glee. This was my god. This was my Buddha. And I was ready to be enlightened by harnessing the power which lay before me. I grabbed the helmet ready to knight myself king of science and technological marvel. It was all mine for the taking and nothing could veer me away from my new found passion. The mask felt lighter than I expected, so it must have been forged from a mixture of the finest synthetic plastics and reinforced titanium. That was my best guess at the time. I was never scientifically savvy and always pulled off mischievous pranks in high school chemistry class instead of listening. Well, here goes nothing. I bowed before the almighty and slipped the helmet over my head ready to indulge in the identity of the most illustrious hero to hit Mach 1 and beyond. Then there was black. Complete and utter nothing. I stood stone still waiting for the bucket of bolts AI to welcome my presence with the instated greeting of, “Power online. Hello, Mr. Stark, how are you doing, Sir. Vitals are stable, but may I suggest taking a banana to-go to increase depleted potassium levels.” My heart sank to a bottomless void even darken than the dull interior staring back at me. I pulled up my shirt and reached for the pacemaker device supposedly keeping me alive. Instead my fingers met a landscape of grizzly curls and my heart felt like disintegrating into nonexistence. I could have honestly used a heart regulator at this point, because my mind was going haywire. That’s when the most petrifying epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks for it still haunts me to this day. I wasn’t Tony Stark… I was Robert Downey, Jr in the flesh!!!

  3. cyndaquils

    It was bright. The sun was shining through the window, and my head began to hurt badly. I pulled myself out of bed and stumbled blindly towards the bathroom. Only, there was no bathroom. I looked around curiously, confused as to where I was. It wasn’t my room. When I realized this, I began to panic. Where was I? I tried to rack my brain for memories – for anything, but I couldn’t think.

    I ran around the room crying for help. There was no one, and the door was locked. Upon discovering that no rescue would come, I decided to use the dingy toilet in the corner. After washing my face, and clearing my head up, I took a look in the mirror and screamed.

    I stared at myself in the mirror. My hands touched my face and slapped it, telling myself that if I slapped it hard enough, I would wake up. That this had to be a dream. After several attempts to get myself to wake up, including one very painful punch to the wall, I decided that this was in fact real life. I just couldn’t believe it. I placed my hands against my cheeks once more, rubbing my fingers over the scruff.

    I had become Robert Downey, Jr.

    “Do you remember now?” A voice burst through the loudspeaker loudspeaker in the corner.

    “Do you remember what happened?” Asked the voice. I knew I had heard that voice somewhere. My brain was working too hard this morning, and I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. I then recognized it as mine.

    “No! And who are you? Why am I Robert Downey, Jr.? What is going on?” I began to sob, realizing that my voice was Robert Downey, Jr.’s as well.

    “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s me, the real Robert Downey Jr. Our bodies switched last night. I think it had to do with that purple drink, Guy offered me. People always do tell me to read the labels, I guess now I will.” He chuckled quietly at this. “Are you sure you don’t remember anything?”

    It was here my head began to hurt so badly, I couldn’t breathe. After seconds of this torture, my brain began to be filled with memories. I stood up, suddenly remembering.

    “It was a party, a kind of special Christmas party. My great aunt invited me. Guy Pearce was there! He offered me a green drink, said it was for good health, I drank it, and I went numb. I remember he said it’s an early April Fool’s prank, and here I am, stuck in your body.”

    “What do you mean, stuck? It’s a gift! And you better treat my body right, or I swear I will tickle you to death when this is all over.”

    And he did. Because the next day, I was back in my body, he was back in his. Robert Downey Jr. hunted me down, and tickled me to death.

  4. jmcody

    EDWIN’S REVENGE

    “Edwin, when you’re done tracking down that sick kid and checking up on those deviants on Writer’s Digest, could you get me a latte?”

    “Yes, Mr. Downey Sir.”

    “Why so formal, Edwin? Just call me Sir.”

    “Yes, Sir, Mr. Downey… Sir.”

    And throw in a biscotti – one of those crunchy almond ones. And for God’s sake, no cranberries.”

    “The usual Sir.”

    “And don’t forget to check my Twitter feed. Tweet something supportive and loving about Indio, will you?”

    “I’m on it, Sir.”

    “And while you’re out, could you swing by the rehab and bring Indio something nice? Tell him we’re all pulling for him. And Edwin?

    “Yes?”

    “Close the door on your way out.”

    Edwin sighed as he closed the office door behind him. Robert wasn’t a bad boss really – not since they had gotten past that nasty “breaking in” period. Of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was forever ruined, but that’s the price you pay to rub elbows with the stars.

    Who am I kidding, Edwin thought. This isn’t elbow-rubbing. It’s boot-licking.

    This wasn’t what Edwin had in mind when he struggled and sacrificed to get his M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and when he stayed up night after night polishing his masterpiece. Mr. Downey had promised to read his screenplay, but so far the manuscript had lain untouched on the credenza for months. Each day, Edwin surreptitiously moved it back to the top of the pile, but to no avail.

    Edwin was tired. Tired of waiting. Tired of fetching coffee and biscotti with no cranberries, and running errands and dutifully polishing Downey’s gleaming star while his own dimmed a little more each day. Soon there would be a new baby in the house, and all hope of ever getting the attention he deserved would be lost.

    The time to act was now.

    Edwin felt for the tiny vial in his pocket. The priestess had warned there could be grave consequences if the spell were to be cast in revenge. No, it had to be for higher, more honorable motives.

    Art. He would do it for his art.

    ***
    “Here you go, Mr. Downey.” Edwin handed Robert his latte.

    “Edwin, what did I tell you about that Mr. Downey stuff?” Robert flashed his famous rugged grin.

    “Here you go, Sir!” Edwin returned the grin. Robert raised the cup to his lips.

    “Wait!” said Edwin. Robert stopped, the cup grazing his lip as he looked expectantly at Edwin.

    “Did you have a chance to read my screenplay yet?”

    “Well… er… I’ve been so busy, you know, with Susan and the baby coming and this business with Indio, but I promise I’ll get to it soon.”

    “Okay, then. Enjoy your latte,” said Edwin as he left office and closed the door behind him. All he had to do now was wait.

    ***
    “Hello, Steve?” Edwin said in Robert’s voice, as he paced the floor with Robert’s feet and fingered Spielberg’s card with Robert’s fingers. “You have got to read this screenplay my P.A. wrote… Yeah, seriously…Turns out the kid is a freaking genius!”

    Edwin didn’t know when – or if — the spell would wear off, and what Downey would do to him when it did. There were no guarantees with this sort of thing. The priestess had warned him that it all depended on the purity of his motives, and that it could all go horribly wrong. But he knew his intentions were of the highest and purest order, and that everything would work out somehow.

    Now, if he could just get his six figure advance before the potion wore off…

      1. jmcody

        Thanks, Marie. It occurs to me that certain parts won’t make much sense unless you’ve read flaboba’s and O. Tim’s latest (and my earlier one).

        Glad you enjoyed! :)

    1. Bilbo Baggins

      Dearest Eddy Boy,

      I am writing to you from my blast-proof bunker. Your Ides of March is quickly approaching, and I will have my due revenge when I descend upon *your* mansion in my new XTL7000, heat-seekers blasting. I have hired Tim’s alien helpers as mercenaries, and we’ve formed a new base in the Sovereign Palatinate of Calgary. We’re aiming to uncover your plot, one checkmate at a time. I’m sure you’ve already grudgingly read in the papers about the unfortunate accident with your priestess. Was the body found in the river or the landfill? I’ve forgotten already.

      But I digress. I’ve also enlisted the man in the tinfoil fedora, much to your consternation. He’s got a lawsuit in the works, so convoluted even he doesn’t know what it really says (something about a wombat-carrying license and cactus farms), and we’re shelling out money to get it all the way to the Supreme Court.

      So, hold on to your latte while it’s still in your hand. It might be the last sip you ever take.
      Muahahahaaha…………………….

      Cheers!
      Slightly Deluded RDj

      P.S. Guess who boycotted your screenplay at the Oscars? :-D :-D

    2. Observer Tim

      Purest of motives, eh Edwin? Like most of Hollywood, his appear to be pure as the driven soot.

      I love the way it pulls together some key elements of the earlier prompts (especially since some of those elements came from me).

      LOL ;)

        1. jmcody

          Sorry my writing had that effect on you Kerry…. I’m hoping the next prompt is slightly more conducive to rational thought and less cramp-inducing.

  5. Suzanne

    “Mmm…”
    I wake up to a very dark room. I must have left the curtains closed for my room is entirely devoid of light . I wonder why I didn’t keep one open the previous night, as was my custom. The darkness of the room prevented me from feeling energetic as usual in the morning and I grunted at the thought of waking up late. With my eyes closed I reached out to grab my pillbox on my bedside table for some headache relief pills, but instead grabbed what felt like a rounded hat. A rounded hat? With brows furrowed I opened my eyes and found that I was holding a black bowler hat.
    I quickly get out of bed and fling the bed sheet to the floor. I look at my body and let out a low cry; am I suddenly flat chested or… no… but it can’t be…
    I have a chest of a man. I look through my shirt and find a jungle of hair and some defined abs in place of my rounded breasts and flat stomach. I suddenly look at the room and it dawns to me that I’m in a nineteenth century bedroom. A heavily decorated standing mirror is in the corner of the small room and I get up to inspect myself in the mirror. I see the wide eyed, shocked expression of Robert Downey Jr., wearing nineteenth century British clothes.
    I vigorously storm to the bathroom to look at another mirror and still find that actor’s face instead of mine. I touch myself everywhere to check that I’m not hallucinating, but I’m not. I really am in Robert’s body. In a nineteenth century looking bedroom. It’s Robert being Sherlock. If there was something more peculiar than the fact that I’m in actor’s body, it’s the fact that that actor is not himself but a fictional character he acts.
    Opening the bedroom door I find the familiar staircase to the short hallway and then to the living room. I find Jude Law… er… Dr. Watson sitting on the vintage armchair of the small living room, and Ms. Hudson standing right next to him.
    “Are you sure you’re alright, Dr. Watson, dear? You seem quite… bitter.”
    “I am perfectly fine. Thank you, Ms. Hudson.”
    “Alright, then. Good Morning, Sherlock. Let me get you some tea.”
    Ms. Hudson leaves the room while I look at her in amazement. I am Sherlock. I look back at Watson and I see a sly smile on his face.
    “What… How… What’s ha..” I stutter.
    “Oh, it’s elementary, my dear Watson.” he says, “A simple new scientific discovery.”
    I couldn’t think of something to say. So I just looked out the window at the misty old London sky, thinking more of how completely weird everything is.
    Then I said, ” Wh… Why?”
    “You can not be tied in matrimony, Watson,” he said, solemnly.
    After a small amount of time of staring at him, his face went blank. He got up from his chair and faced me.
    “You’re not Watson, are you?” he said.
    I thought about what to say. I decided to go with, “I.. I don’t think so.”
    He stared wide eyed. Then, out of no where, plunged a syringe filled with a translucent liquid into my arm. I wailed and felt the room spin.

    I woke up suddenly in my bedroom, sweating.

  6. girl-in-progress


    ________

    “Stay away from that window!” Suzy yelled.

    But it was too late. Cameras started flashing in all directions and reporters began throwing questions.

    “Mr. Downey, Mr. Downey,” shouted one of the reporters as the camera zoomed right in my tired face. “Over here!”

    “Mr. Downey, why are you here?” asked another demanding brunette.

    I was startled. I didn’t know what to say so I just waved at them. The people down below cheered even more. It was like a scene where the Pope came out to greet his flock.

    I backed off from the sliding windows and turned my sorry gaze towards Suzy.

    “Honey, what are you doing?” Suzy said two brows furrowed in exasperation. “You know very well that these people cannot see you!”

    I just stared all the more at Suzy, expressionless. My lips quivered but no words poured out. Nil. Zilch. Zip. My throat seemed squeezed dry. Oh god, I never felt so stupid in my life.

    “Earth to Robbie,” Suzy snapped her pointy fingers at me.

    I still stood there stone-faced.

    “Mr. Downey?” Suzy whispered. “Listen, we have to get out of here before the paparazzi mangles us.”

    She called me Mr. Downey again. Robbie. Downey. Paparazzi. I was piecing out the things she told me.

    For I was a sure man, I needed another confirmation.

    “Robert Downey Jr., are you with me so far?”

    W-w-wait, what? Did she just call me Robert Downey Jr.? The Iron Man–Robert Downey Jr? Well, I couldn’t be him. Besides why would I smell like wet dog hair? Robert Downey Jr. wouldn’t smell like that—ever. He wouldn’t wake up in this filthy motel room either. Suzy was really out of her mind.

    I was about to head straight back into the window when my right eye caught something glistening at the ceiling.

    I slowly looked up and saw my reflection at a huge glass atrium above me. Whoa. I really looked like Robert Downey Junior. Pleased with my appearance, I started to run my hands all over my body. I caressed my neatly trimmed beard and mustache, my brown sexy eyes, my perfect nose…

    “Oh my gosh, son, your dad’s suffering from somnambulism again!” Suzy shrieked.

    “Somnambu-what?” I said finally waking up from my slumber.

    “Aw jeez,” Suzy said. “He’s sleep talking too!”

    ###

    1. Reaper

      Very funny last line, and interesting story telling leading up to it. Some amazing lines in here and some of them giving beautiful little clues to what is going on. Two of my favorites are like a scene where the Pope comes out to greet his flock, and you know these people cannot see you. The story just grabs and does not let go. Very good job.

    2. jmcody

      That was intriguing and very readable. In addition to the part about the papal audience, I also liked the MC’s thought that Robert Downey Jr. would never smell like a wet dog, and how the seedy motel room suddenly had a huge mirrored atrium ceiling. This was so surreal and imaginative, and your writing style is lively and fun.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is very clever, girl. Dreams are hard to write in a story these days (they were kind of overdone in the first half of the 20th century), but this was so quietly understated that it worked out perfectly.

      Both somnambulism (sleepwalking) and somniloquy (sleep-talking) are out there among my parents’ brothers and sisters; I wish it were fun like this. My mother used to chew out us kids in her sleep, though she’d have no memory of doing it in the morning.

      1. girl-in-progress

        Appreciate your comments O. Tim! Yes, you are right about dreams. They are indeed hard to put into words especially with the proper flow, graphics, and timing. I’m sorry to hear about your mother and relatives.

  7. PeterW

    Woke up as a man in his 40s. Not feeling so great bout it. Then I made myself an incredible bloody mary. Not from a mix either; I ground that pepper myself. Didn’t have celery though, so I stuck in a green plastic straw. And I sucked up that bad, bad mary like a happy child

    Next went to my job. Not a real big deal, having one bloody before a day’s work. Not a big deal at all! Anyhow arrived 35 min late and stuck in the back door. Then I started swaddling these obnoxious 4 and 5 year olds, often blowing sweet tomato juice all over their faces. Honestly, I have no idea why a preschool would hire me. Irresponsible of them.

    To get through the day, I drink vodka from my water bottle and I treat the kids like really cute pets. Which seems to work okay. The kids like me which is actually horrible. And the parents who drop off their kids like me. I feel so fucking guilty.

    That day, the day I woke up as a 40 year old dude (didn’t check the mirror either; figured it wasn’t worth it) everything went to hell. It started good. I sort of collapsed onto the floor and told all the kids to climb over me and all the kids jumped on top of me, smelling like ammonia and juice boxes and baby lotion, and I jiggled around like I was having a seizure and they all laughed. Then some kid accidentally put his little foot into one of my eyes and I had to shake all the kids off and rush to the bathroom because I for sure though his little had smashed in my eye and it was very painful.

    My eye was actually fine, but it was then I realized I had woken up as Robert Downy Jr.. First thought was this is fucked up. Second thought was will Mindy take me back now that I look or am a famous person. Third thought was I should get back to the kids; the little tykes are probably destroying something. Fourth and ultimate thought was of course where is my side-flask of vodka.

    Then as I exited the bathroom, rubbing me poked eye with brown paper towel, I had a fifth thought: Did the kids realize I was Robert Downy Jr? wouldn’t the kids freak it their preschool supervisor was suddenly another person. I let this thought drop because it was way too complex.

    Then I sat all the kids down and read them the “Velveteen Rabbit” and “Good Night Moon” and some Clifford, and then they yawned and snuggled up on their floor mats and feel asleep. I made sure they were all asleep: I moved always thrashing Ben into the corner, I replaced Janie wrinkled thumb with a pacifier, I removed Dan’s head from his pants, and covered them all with blankets.

    When they were all well off on their content curled afternoon naps, I went into the staff area. I made myself a long island icetea from all the liquor, I had stashed there. Then like any man would do, I checked the size of my penis/ or perhaps Robert Downy Jr.’s penis. It was junior indeed. And it wasn’t circumcised. My penis was probably at least a quarter inch longer. I felt like stroking it, teasing it, felt like looking at porn on my iphone to see what happened when it was up. But that didn’t feel right; it (the penis) being another man’s. So I rebuttoned my pants and left the staff area.

    I drank my long island ice tea and watched the kids sleep peacefully or fitfully on their little mats. I wondered how each would turn out. Would they go to college? Would they be shy or outgoing? Would they life fulfilling lives. How would they deal with first loves, with their parents? How would they lose their virginities? How would they cope with the world that was huge and frighting and located somewhere beyond them: a world located not in a place, but in a time. A time which was down the road, somewhere in the future… grim or bright; well no one can really tell.

    I sat there as Robert Downy Jr and drank a long ice tea, which was no as incredible as that morning’s bloody mary. Then it occurred to me that I was sitting there as myself like a did every afternoon at nap time and it didn’t really matter that I looked like Robert Downy Jr.

    I am not him.

    I will never be him.

    I can never come close. I can’t even stand in his shoes… look at me, I’m drifting off, falling asleep like the kids, but here comes sweet George, poking me in the stomach, saying wake up, wake up, I wanna go play outside. I wanna play superheroes outside, wake up, wake up……………………………………

    1. Observer Tim

      Nice to see you back, PeterW, and in fine form. I love the juxtaposition of the drunken reprobate and the “devoted” caregiver. Good thing for him he only woke up in RDJ’s body; I doubt he could easily find the makings of a bloody mary in the actor’s house (recovering addicts are such party poopers that way).

      Or was this a sign that a certain main character is in desperate need of rehab?

      1. PeterW

        Thanks Mr. Tim. I was trying to be genuine this time. But I feel like I failed miserably, especially pertaining to the reprobate RDJ: his (RDJ’s) real life plays little part in this sorry tale.

        But yeah, for good or no, I’m back.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Hello Peter W. I’m doubling down on Tim’s thoughts, glad to have you back. You point out in your story, an undeniable truth about young children. They can see through to a soul of a person. And that’s what they judge by. The idea of Downey Jr, being famous doesn’t cut it with kids, even if they did know.
          Describing your MC’s thoughts about the future of the children he cares for, tells much more about him then the skill he uses in mixing a drink or two. You did a great job on on this Glad to see your word engine is running on all eights. Give us some more next week.

    2. snuzcook

      There is such a quietly pensive tone to this story, PeterW. The MC acts in ways that seem shallow, but comes across as such a person of depth–an old soul. It is almost as if it is a story of two transpositions: The MC is already living a life that does not reflect the person within, so it doesn’t matter what he sees in the mirror–his image of himself is already reflected elsewhere. Then this transformation which might be considered AMAZING really is just one more iteration of the same theme of not being who he is, but coping as best he can.
      I really like this story, the latest of the many different ways you amaze me.

        1. jmcody

          I should probably just say ditto to Reaper’s ditto of snuzcook. But I talk too much, so I’ll add that it was a touching and ironic portrait of a certain kind of futility that is part of the human condition. Your MC is both more and less than he appears to be. Aside from the fact that this is every parent’s worst nightmare, I actually really loved this one.

  8. usedname

    This is a bit dark just warning and i indulged a bit and went over the word limit.

    It was four in the morning when she first got the news. A giant meteor was confirmed to have just entered earth’s orbit. It was a congealed mass of space junk with an unstable rotation.

    A Russian terrorist group,K16, detonated thirty catastrophic bombs sending a luxury space resort into a tailspin straight towards earth. The resort was the work of billionaire mega star, Robert Downey Jr., the first of its kind inspired by his 8th Iron man sequel. Like waking from a nightmare, with cold sweat, she sat stiffly in awe. They all watched in horror as the screen filled with images of the fiery space rock.

    “Jane,” She swallowed a deep breath at the sound of her name. For years she had become accustomed to others calling out ‘Sergeant Lakowski’. Jane was not a name you associated with someone of her stature. With someone who had seen and done the things she did.

    “Jane,” he called out again, “take this.”

    She looked down at the pair of Tylenol in her hands warily, then gulped them down dry. Catching her hesitation, Dr. Windsor tried to console the shaken woman. “It’s going to hurt but we need you awake for the procedure. So suck it up.”, as much consoling as a veteran army physician could, anyways.

    The tension in the room was palpable. Crammed into the small space were large computers, wires, medical equipment and one TV stuck on CNN. Jane was immediately stuck with various cables and needles. Beside her, Jane saw some familiar and unfamiliar faces. Many of the army reserve, but others were some of surprising government officials . We were all part of the ‘rapture’. The appropriately named mission, aimed to send the minds of its agents back in time to possibly thwart the upcoming disaster. It was said the procedure had a 30% success rate.

    “I’m ready” She confirmed.

    Dr Windsor whispered to her, quiet and unashamedly as he flipped the switch, “Thank you, for your service.”

    A bolt of pain surged through her, ripping apart the muscles from her bone, like a current racing through. Then as quickly as it came it ended, leaving Jane huffing, short of breath.

    She awoke in the seat of a tinted car she could only assume was a limo. She paused taking in her new masculine face complete with rugged jaw line and thick eyebrows, in the windows reflection.

    She became hesitant as the limo drove onto a rock trail. Her eyes scanned the seats for any possible weapon only to find none.

    “Why are we stopping?” no reply

    “Where the fuck are we?”, again no reply.

    A middle aged man entered the limo holding a masked sleeping girl in his arms.

    “What is this!!” Jane yelled in a much deeper voice. The well dressed man revealed a 22 glock under the young girls chin.

    “Driver!” again she screamed out in anger unable to do anything. She didn’t know if the gun was loaded but she couldn’t take the chance and jump him, he reeked of military training.

    “Weighing your options are you, Mr.Downey?” the man joked readjusting the barrel of the gun under the girls chin. “ I’ve always wanted to meet a star you know.”

    “Cut the shit.” She said tersely in a man’s low voice.

    “Quite right Mr.Downey, or should I say Sergeant Lakowski ?” he jeered. She sat tense watching this mysterious man cautiously. “Its nice to see YOU again.” The man laughed bitterly playing with something in his pocket.

    “I could try to convince you to not go through with your plan Jane, but God you’re stubborn. I’ve tried telling you to agree to invest in the resort multiple times, but you bloody well wouldn’t listen! Anyways, I’m tired of chasing after your damn ass, so let’s just nip this in the bud. Yeah?”

    “Oh my God.” she thought.Without hesitation Jane launched herself at him, certain of what she saw under the girl’s slipping mask.

    The last thing Jane saw before the flash of white was the face of her younger self 30 years ago splitting apart in peaceful sleep, second by slow second.

    Robert’s body slumped forward atop the bloody mess of the girl. Without remorse the man rolled the lifeless girl out of the car. He then secured a small device of his pocket and placed it around his neck. Instantly the gray haired man assumed the image of Robert Downey Jr.

    “So messy,” He sighed peeling off his blood splattered over coat and throwing it into the trunk.

    “What is it now, the 20th time sir?” the driver said in a thick Russian accent ,hauling the small body atop the coat. “Really, they don’t pay me enough for this. Next time you’re the driver.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This was a mindbending story, usedname, in more ways than one. Of course now I’m wondering if this is the 20th person the villain has impersonated or the 20th time he’s killed Jane.

      My red pencil says this needs another quick run-through to clean out some awkward grammar.

      1. usedname

        yeah, i had made a lot of changes so there’s bound to be mistakes. Thanks for the critique though, i hope to refine my story writing for easier reading in the future.

    2. Reaper

      That is a little dark, a lot twisted, and completely intriguing. This works both as a short and the start of something longer that focuses on this time battle.

  9. G.R.Blessing

    I awoke with a splitting headache. The morning sun a bain to my existance now attempts to sneek between my eylids to once again tell me it’s time to wake up.
    I sit up and look around and realize I am not in my bed. Again I find myself in a strange bed folling a night of partying.
    So calmly I get out of bed and make for the bathroom when I see a press pass of sorts. I pick it up and study it. To my suprise it’s for Avengers 2 and of all things Robert Downey Jr.’s name was on it.
    “Holy Shit” I shouted. It just dawned on me that I most possably partied with Robert Downey Jr.
    I continue on to the bathroom and walked past the mirror and gave a quick glance, and what I saw stopped me in my tracks.
    There looking right at me was none other than Robert Downey Jr. I smiled at my new refection and checked myself out a bit then shruged. “Meh, Weirder things has happend.”
    I finished my buisness in the toilet and hoped in the shower to get myself refreshed , I put on my/his best suit and grabed the pass.
    I headed out the door and shouted. “Look out Scarlett Johansson Daddy is comming!” I clicked my heels and headed out to what will be the best kssing scean ever. Regardless if it was on the script or not.

  10. jhowe

    I awoke to an unfamiliar stench that made my eyes water. I fluffed the covers and discovered the source. I had never passed gas this noxious in my entire life. Holy crap. I prepared myself for my ritual of the slow rising to avoid overtaxing myself, but to my surprise I sprung from the bed as if I were forty once again.

    I walked to the bathroom on strong legs. Masculine legs. What the hell? It seemed I was naked; my night gown must have fallen off during the night or I was still asleep. Whatever it was, it felt great. I felt a strong desire to urinate and felt for my catheter but it was missing. Wow, something strange was going on but I liked it.

    I passed the mirror and stopped in my tracks. Whoa, what have we got here? My saggy breasts had been replaced by a strong, hairy chest. A man’s chest. And what a chest it was. I recognized the face from somewhere. Quite the handsome face if I had to venture an opinion. A little scruffy, but in a good way. Nothing like my husband’s meek, paisley mug, may he rest in peace.

    But what is this morsel? I hadn’t seen one of these in thirty five years. I tried to recall the last time and I remembered a tiny, pink tube of flesh barely accessible through his thick gray pubic hair. My word, this was an interesting turn of events.

    I stood at the commode and marveled at the strong stream of urine that seemed to go on forever but I enjoyed every second of it. I went to the phone and called the nurses station. “Andrea, please cancel my hip therapy and tell the girls I won’t be playing Canasta today. Oh, and be a dear and please send up a bottle of baby oil and a box of tissues. I have something important to take care of.”

    1. snuzcook

      “My word, this was an interesting turn of events.”
      This is incredible fun, jhowe! I think what I like most of all is the wonderful way that the MC takes each revelation in stride, as if she is mildly amused by it all and ready to embrace the possibilities.
      Well done!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You’re dreamin’ again jhowe, but what a great dream it is And she’s so ready for it. I loved how the MC went with the whole thing and that she couldn’t wait to try out her new toy. You habe earned high marks in my book. YAA HAA!

    2. Reaper

      I am disturbed! Mostly because your description of thought process was so amazing and spot on that I could not help but envision your MC as my great grandmother when she was in a… what’s the acceptable word these days? Facility? She was that kind of old woman. She’d seen it all and just took life as it came and that’s the character you created. Amazing character driven story telling there.

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