Flash Fiction #11 – Roman Therapy (Flash! Friday)

This year, Flash! Friday is following a slightly different format with different themes each week.  This week, it’s a character theme.  Include the character provided and a photo prompt to base the story on.  They’ve also increased the limit to 200 words give or take 10.  So, for this week’s Flash! Friday, I have written this little story. The character is a janitor, while the photo prompt is the Colosseum in Rome. I think it’s a bit rough and could be improved, but there’s no time for that.  Read and let me know what you think in the comments below.

“Please come in and sit down,” said the therapist.

The elderly man sat on the couch and gazed into the therapist’s eyes. “Thank you, doctor,” he wheezed.

“May I have your name?”

“Yes. I’m Marcus Janitorus.”

“And what do you do, Mr. Janitorus?” he asked, positioning his stylus above the wax tablet.

“I clean at the Flavian Amphitheatre. You know, garbage, blood, things like that.” Marcus cast his eyes down, uncomfortable with eye contact.

The therapist scribbled down some notes and nodded. “I see, I see. What brings you here today?”

“I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t do it! Day in and day out, I see the fights, I see the lions tear apart the slaves. When the spectacle is finished, it’s my job to clean up the severed body parts. The gore is tremendous!” Marcus put his face into his hands, his body jerking with each sob.

“Do you have nightmares and flashbacks?”

Marcus nodded, unable to speak.

“I see. You may have posttraumatic stress disorder,” said the therapist, writing on the tablet.

“I can’t work for Domitian anymore!” Marcus shouted.

“Please go home and rest, Mr. Janitorus.” Marcus shuffled out of the room. The therapist looked at his notes. Treatment: Animal therapy with the lions.

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