It is a cold November night, just outside of Detroit. Rain falls from the sky heavily. The road ahead is dark until another lightning strikes. After a long day at Tech Corp, Ronald just wants to get home to his mother’s house before the storm gets any worse. Although Ronald fears the storm ahead, there is something calmingly depressing about the drive home. A long day at the office, being pushed around by his superiors, only to go home to his mother’s house where the remainder of his meat loaf dinner will be waiting for him. All things considered, there is a slight piece of Ronald that almost wishes something would go wrong.
Only seven minutes away from home, lightning strikes the telephone pole just seconds before Ronald passes it. The pole crashes in front of him, just inches from his car. He halts the car abruptly to see the wreckage ahead. The line is completely down with wires flying everywhere. Ronald quickly dials 911 to report this incident, when just as the operator asks what is wrong, lightning strikes him in the back, and he collapses on the ground. Ronald, face down on the concrete with nobody around. That something exciting he wished to happen certainly did come true.
It is a warm and sunny 83 degrees in Los Angeles. Ronald wakes up in absolute confusion, “Where am I? What is this place?” He thinks to himself. A framed picture of a tall, handsome, basketball player sits on the nightstand next to him. Ronald jumps out of bed in confusion and panic, only to fall face first on the ground. These legs aren’t his, these arms aren’t his, and these pecs certainly are not his. He scrambles around the room to find the closest mirror, until he finally sees his reflection for the first time. Blond hair, blue eyes, a little scruff around the chin, perfect vision, and no need for his bifocals. Ronald feels his face wondering how this could have happened. He glares back to the picture on the nightstand only to connect the dots. He is that basketball player, the same exact person head to toe. Ronald scrambles around his 5-million-dollar mansion looking for someone to help, his phone has no numbers he knows. There is nobody around to help.
Ronald thinks to himself, “There has to be somebody around, please help me, I don’t know who this is, this has to be some kind of mistake?” Ronald sits down on the leather couch trying to think of what to do or how this happened. Suddenly, the memories start to rush back into his head. He was driving home last night in the storm, and the lightning struck. The lightning strike. The gamma radiation must’ve sent him into another dimension! This is the kind of stuff kept top secret at Tech Corp that only few knew about. This stuff wasn’t actually supposed to happen to real people. He checks his phone for the date and time, same date, and same time it should be. Just the wrong person in the wrong body.
Ronald, troubled and confused, takes a second to look around. This house is a masterpiece, not a single thing out of place. New furniture and electronics scale the house, even a TV from Tech Corp that was only released a few weeks ago. Suddenly, he hears his phone ring.
From Davis, “Yo man, where the hell are you, coach is going to have your head if you don’t get here in 20, I sure as hell hope you got a good excuse this time Joey.”
Ronald reads the text in confusion, “Joey? Who the hell is Joey? Am I Joey?” Ronald scrambles around the house for help. He runs back into his room to see several awards and trophies made out to a Joey King. Each certificate reads something different, Rookie of the Year, three-point contest winner, first pick in the NBA draft. Ronald then puts the pieces together from his endless number of clues, he is Joey King, the starting point guard of the LA Lakers. Ronald quickly grabs the bag in front of the door and tracks the location of where the text was sent. He grabs the keys to a Range Rover that is most definitely not his, and heads to the LA Lakers practice facilities.
As he enters, the gym stinks of body order and nonexistent deodorant.
“Nice of you to show up King, you’re 30 minutes late” Coach Milton speaks to Ronald, or rather Joey. Ronald stands there in confusion, with a dazed look on his face.
“I… I… you have to help me please, this isn’t me, I’m from Detroit, my name is Ronald Bush I work at Tech Corp in Detroit, and I need your help please.”
“Cut the crap, King, what did you have too much to drink last night? You know the rules more than 15 minutes and you can’t play in practice. Take a seat and watch, you’re damn lucky you got moves, otherwise I’d send you packing.”
“Please, I need your help” Ronald pleads.
“King take a seat before I make your ass run til you puke, we need your legs for tomorrow, the championship game, remember, you better have your crap straight before then. You can stay an extra hour after to practice yourself. For now, take a seat.” Coach Milton says in his raspy voice.
Ronald unwillingly takes a seat as his teammates hold back laughter. Ronald observes practice and goes over the pregame sheet his coach handed him. Ronald looks over the paper and realizes he is playing in the world championship game in less than twelve hours. He can’t do that he thinks, this life is not for him. Ronald peers to his left as over twenty girls stare into the practice facility all eyes on him. The gaze in their eyes of pure astonishment, just looking at him sit there. He gives a gracious smile and wave and they all burst into scream, and some tears. Ronald takes a seat back, perhaps the most relaxed he’s been, and thinks to himself, “Well, maybe this isn’t so bad?”
Practice finishes up and Coach Milton hands Ronald the ball.
“Get to work son, we need you for tomorrow, and take some Advil, should help with whatever the hell you’re going through.”
Ronald feels the ball, perhaps the first time he’s touched a basketball since the fifth grade. He gets up and dribbles quickly. It seems almost effortless for him, science used to be effortless to Ronald, now it’s bouncing this ball and putting in a hoop. Ronald begins playing, swish, swish, swish. Everything he shoots is going in. It seems like the objective to this game should be to miss, with how easy it is for him. Suddenly, Ronald is not so against this life
Ronald heads to his mansion and is welcomed by a woman, dressed in clothes covered in dirt. By this point Ronald can assume who she is, a maid. There’s no way he cleans this place himself. He lays in bed thinking about if he’ll ever go back to his old life, a part of him lays in bed, wishing he could be in his mother’s basement deciphering old codes, radiation, and the decay of atomic nuclei. However, he quickly doses to sleep after an exhausting day of being somebody he is not.
The alarm sounds and Ronald awakes. Almost excited and calm to lead his team to victory. He eats a breakfast prepared by his chef and heads out the door. After being flocked at the gym by reporters and girls he enters the locker room with his team.
“Here we go the man of the hour, we ready to get this chip baby” a tall man, probably Davis says to Ronald.
“For sure man, let’s do it” Ronald says in a confident tone the old him would never dare to speak in.
The team heads out of the locker room ready to play. The arena is nearly shaking as fans scream wild. The game begins, Ronald is doing something he’s never done before in his life; be the center of attention. Every play revolves around him, scoring every other minute. As time progresses, the championship game was a blow out thanks to “Joey King.” The crowd goes wild and the team hoists Ronald up above their shoulders, so Ronald meets the eyes of the crowd. Everyone staring at him, Ronald’s old self kicks in and he is overwhelmed by the amount of attention and excitement, he runs into the locker room to calm himself down.
Breathing heavily, Ronald takes a seat. The fame, the money, the glory, it’s amazing but it’s not him, this isn’t the life he was meant to take. He needs to figure out a way to get back to Detroit and become his old self. Ronald hops on the facilities computer and gets to work. Gamma radiation, this must have been gamma radiation, and the only way to time travel involves gamma radiation. Ronald realizes, it has to have something to do with quantum mechanics. And the only place producing such high scientific mechanics is Tech Corp. Ronald rushes out of the gym but stops for a second, thinking about if this is really what he wants. Millions of thoughts fly through Ronald’s head, but in the end, this wasn’t the life for him, it never was. Ronald catches the next flight to Detroit and finds his way back to Tech Corp through the back door only few know about.
Ronald knows he has to be quick, because if anybody ever saw Joey King walking around Tech Corp in downtown Detroit it would be sure to make front page news. He locates the uncertified tech particles that are still in the early stages of development, but they are his last chance at getting back. He will use these particles to shrink down to a small size and enter the realm in which they have been experimenting with only mice up to this point. Ronald knows what he must do, shrink down, start the machine, travel exactly back to before the lightning struck, and carry on without getting out of his car. Nothing else can change or else it will mess up the future forever. Ronald starts the machine using quantum mechanics and emits a large beam from Tech Corps quantum generator. He ingests the tech particles shrinking him in size and enters the date and time before the lighting strikes. Ronald prays this works or else himself and Joey King could be erased from time. Ronald jumps into the generator with a hope and prayer this works.
The rain is falling hard, and Ronald exhausted from his day at work continues to drive hoping he’ll make it home safe. Ronald shaky at the wheel, his bifocals fog, and he realizes (by the shape of his legs and posture) he is back in his old body. In 3, 2, 1, the telephone pole falls in front of him. Ronald puts his car in reverse, drives around it and heads home. He enters the door of his house, exactly how he left it in the “morning.” A Tupperware of meatloaf and mashed potatoes waits for him with a note from his mom with the oven instructions. Ronald gets his dinner, sits in his grandfather’s old chair from around the 60’s and turns on coverage for the Lakers vs. Warriors championship game on Saturday. Ronald lays back and thinks to himself, “I wonder if they’ll win?”