Home > Fiction > A Bureaucratic Mishap

A Bureaucratic Mishap

Hello, and welcome to my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted as always by Rochelle. The goal is to write roughly 100 words in response to a photo, which this week has been supplied by fellow Friday Fictioneerer Sandra Crook! It looks like the ruins of a Roman coliseum to me, so I’m going with that.

To view other entries to this week’s prompt, click here.


Copyright Sandra Crook

The roar of the crowd, until now muted and distant, hit Flavius like a slap in the face as the heavy wooden door opened. The long, dark tunnel stretched into the distance, where Flavius could see a square of light – the coliseum.

Flavius had never felt so excited. His life-long dream – to be a gladiator! He strode confidently towards the light, to meet his opponent and find glory.

The gate slammed shut behind him. He glanced around. Wait – where was his sword, his armour?

In front of him, the lions growled hungrily.

Surely there has been some sort of mistake?

  1. October 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Dear Draliman,

    Some days are better than other. I’m sure Flavius won’t have long to ponder the error. Nice one.




    • October 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

      No, I think poor Flavius has seconds at best, seconds which will probably be spent running rather than pondering!


  2. October 11, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Hey Mr. Draliman,

    One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh (II think it was Heinlein who wrote that.) And in this case one man’s mistake is just part of the plan for someone else.

    Loved your last line.




    • October 11, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Doug.
      I guess someone ticked the wrong box!


  3. October 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm



    • October 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Yep. Poor Flavius. I hope he’s a fast runner.


  4. October 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, I like this! Poor Flavius, didn’t he know to be a gladiator is killed or be killed? Best of luck to him!


    • October 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t think he read the small print 🙂


  5. October 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Not sure if this is stepping over a line – but you might want to watch the clichés. (slap in the face)


    • October 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I viewed it simply as a simile but I know what you mean. I could have been more creative, especially as I only have 100 words (101 in this case!).
      Thanks for the criticism and thanks for reading!


  6. October 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I do hope he at least remembered to put on a clean pair of underwear….


    • October 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      It certainly wouldn’t do to be ripped to pieces in yesterday’s underthings 🙂


  7. October 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Very funny. Poor Flavius, his lifelong dream devoured by lions. I wonder what he did to earn such a fate…


    • October 12, 2013 at 4:57 am

      Maybe nothing – I’m thinking that back in ancient Rome even a perceived insult by your master to someone else’s could earn you such a fate – a way to send a message. Like a strongly worded note wouldn’t have done just as well 😦


  8. October 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    You have to love the enthusiasm of Flavius but not his preparation. Shame he wouldn’t get the chance to correct his error. Well done.


    • October 12, 2013 at 5:05 am

      Yes, I have a feeling this is poor Flavius’ last stand 😦


  9. October 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Poor Flavius, clown of the gladiators.


    • October 12, 2013 at 5:06 am

      He’s probably the warm-up act, a bit of “comedy” before the serious gladiator business gets started. Poor chap.


  10. October 11, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Better run Flavius, lol 😉


    • October 12, 2013 at 5:07 am

      I have visions of the poor chap charging around in circles, getting more and more tired while the crowd cheers…


  11. October 12, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I was hoping that like my narrator, he was going to wake up at the end. Guess not. I think it might read slightly better if you used “he” for the second Flavius and maybe even for the third as there aren’t any other characters to cause confusion. Just an idea.



    • October 12, 2013 at 5:15 am

      Unfortunately for Flavius, this was no dream 😦
      I’ve re-read my story. While I think the third “Flavius” works at the start of the new paragraph, you’re absolutely right about the second one. No matter how many times I read it I didn’t spot it. This is one of the things I have a real blind spot for, so thanks for pointing it out!
      I need to get into the habit of reading things with both names and pronouns to see which sounds better 🙂


  12. October 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Ooh, I like the gladiator scene here. The roar of the crowd hit him like a slap of the face. I can just imagine the dark tunnel. Nice tone and set up. Poor Flavius!


    • October 13, 2013 at 4:30 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! After a couple of whimsical dialogues I’m back to killing people off with a twist 🙂


  13. October 14, 2013 at 7:41 am

    poor Flavius – better think twice what you wish, it may come true. But now I have in mind what you didn´t write: the bloody end. If it would be on TV, this would be the moment when I´d switch the program 🙂
    Liebe Grüße


    • October 14, 2013 at 7:58 am

      It’s probably lucky that I only had 100 words or it might have got a bit gory 🙂
      I think for a (very) short story it’s best left to the imagination anyway – I think it works better that way.


  14. October 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Never did trust those arena managers. Always looking for a cheap laugh. Great little story. Beautifully sketched.


    • October 15, 2013 at 6:38 am

      It’s probably written in the contract somewhere – “We reserve the right to substitute gladiators for lions without prior notification” 🙂
      Thanks for your kind comment!


  15. October 16, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Finally my dark Draliman is almost backkkk. Enjoyable read, thank you.


    • October 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      Yes, I felt it was time to start killing off my protagonists again.


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