In which your humble Monkey narrator once again tries to create fiction in a short period of time using a creative writing prompt. This one took about 30 minutes, based on the three words “Pursuit, Gladiator and Revivalist.” Your Monkey is trying to get the writing time down to ten minutes but he is not there yet. The point of the exercise is not to get intimidated by the assignment ,but to use the deadline as a way to get something done without second-guessing yourself.
It’s not easy to run through the streets of New York City in a toga.
Especially if there’s an angry woman in a gladiator’s outfit hot on your heels, swinging a plastic sword as if she’s hell bent on taking your head off.
“Baby, please,” I wheezed as I sprinted up the sidewalk, the leaves of my laurel wreath flapping in the breeze.
THWACK! The sword slammed across the small of my back and I yelped.
“Dirtbag!” she hissed.
“Listen, honey. Roman senators had lots of different lovers. They had notorious sexual appetites. I was just getting into the role.” The words came out in gasps as I weaved in an out of traffic along Canal Street.
The gladiator’s name was Rosalie, and she was my girlfriend. We were both Roman revivalists who—inspired by repeat viewings of Gladiator and Spartacus—had written an an off-off-off-off Broadway play about the romance between a female gladiator and a senator.
Whether there had actually been female gladiators in ancient Rome was something I had never bothered to look up. I wasn’t the most committed revivalist. But now I was regretting casting Rosalie in the role, because it came with the plastic sword that she was now using against me.
It seems that Rosalie was taking issue with the news that I had gotten drunk on wine after last night’s cast party and slept with Page, who played a sultry slave girl in the show and looked pretty good in a toga.
Rosalie had gone home early after feeling light headed, and I had taken the opportunity to talk up Page.
Talking had led to kissing, and kissing had led to full blown intercourse.
CRACK! A blow from the sword landed flat on my head as I stopped to let a cab pass in the street. I yelped again.
“Lair!” she snarled.
“Sweetheart!” I deftly sidestepped the next blow and heard the sword whistle as it sailed past my ear. “Last night wasn’t about romance. Or even about sex. It was about the dramatic arts. I wanted to feel like an actual Roman senator.”
Somehow Rosalie had managed to reload for another swing while I was explaining my case, and her next blow caught me directly in my….ummmmm….Roman jewels.
I shrieked and fell to the ground. Waves of sickening pain radiated from my groin up to my head.
Rosalie stood over me, triumphant. The sword was raised above her head, poised for another shot.
Battling back nausea, I glanced up and down the sidewalk.
Even in a city as jaded as New York, people weren’t used to seeing a Roman senator and gladiator battling in the street, and we were getting stares.
I caught the eye of the man closest to me, and motioned for him to come to my aid. “Brother!” I wheezed, reaching out my hand. “We’ve got to stick together.”
He reached his hand back towards me, and for a moment it looked like I was saved.
But then he stuck out his thumb and turned it down toward the ground. “Finish him,” he said and grinned at Rosalie.
And the plastic sword came crashing down.