WordPress’s prompt is called Freaky Friday, and says “Who would you like to have spend a day as you and what do you hope they’d learn from the experience?”
It was cold in the office that morning, colder than the heart of my ex-wife at my alimony hearing. The door opened and a guy walked in. I could tell just from looking at him that he was the sort of guy who was used to giving orders, by his expensive tie, his tailored suit, his shoes so shiny I could see up his trouser legs.
“Tinman?” he said.
“You’re lookin’ at him,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “You’ve been working here for seven years.”
That was probably another reason why I knew he was used to giving orders. It seems he was my boss.
At least he was today. I went to bed last night as just an ordinary private dick, and woke up this morning, as a blues singer would say, to find that I was someone else. Apparently it’s something called Freaky Friday, you get to be another person for a day. I’d been this Tinman guy for half the morning now, and I seemed to have a job more boring than a Jennifer Aniston movie, a mug that said “you don’t have to be crazy to work here – it’s just co-incidence that I am” and a desk drawer full of paper-clips instead of scotch.
It seems that I was still a dick.
“You gotta job for me?” I said.
“I need a report done,” he said.
I was a bit worried by this. My reports tend to be about cheating husbands, pilfering House-staff or people who claimed insurance because they were dead, while they were actually lap-dancing in Poland, or sometimes pole-dancing in Lapland. I didn’t think he’d be interested in any of these.
There was a second desk in the room. I nodded towards it.
“Couldn’t he do it?” I asked.
“Joe’s off,” he said. “Swimming with dolphins.”
That was enough. If people who messed with this guy ended up swimming with the fishes, then messing was not gonna be coming from me.
“You’ll have your report by lunchtime,” I said. “What’s it about?”
“I need to know the total expenses for the last quarter,” he said.
I brightened up quicker than a light-bulb in a, well, light-socket. If there’s one thing a private detective knows how to build a report about, it’s expenses.
I spent the morning putting down random figures for phone calls, for gas, for pills to cure gas. I put in flights to Dubrovnik, Dunedin and Dublin, even though we were in Dublin. I put in for meals for each employee, sometimes eleven in one day. I put in a bill for hiring a private detective (the real me) to vet new employees, and for a vet to vet the fish for the aquarium in the lobby. Finally I put in two hundred quid for the cost of printing the report (I actually just photocopied it) and left it on the boss’s desk.
I think he might shut the company down if he actually believes how expensive the report says it is to run.
As I left at lunchtime I walked out past the receptionist. She was a real doll. She had more curves than a Yankees pitcher in a game against the Red Sox, legs the length of the Lord Of The Rings box-set and a great pair of baps, which she was going to eat for her lunch.
“Hi, gorgeous,” I said.
“Get stuffed, Tinman,” she replied.
I got through an afternoon as dull as a sunny day in Tipperary, went to Tinman’s local on the way home, and drank something called Guinness. It doesn’t just beat scotch, it swings it round its head, throws it onto the ground and jumps on it. I’m never going to drink anything else.
And what did I learn from it all? Well, if you want to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes, try to make sure you both have the same size feet.
When I wake up tomorrow I’ll be back in my own life. I’ll be lied to by dames, beaten up by crooks, shot at by mistake.
I can’t wait.