The following story was written as part of a microfiction contest. The story was required to be a comedy with someone being buried and to include the word “bribe.”
“Wanna try it out for yourself?” Brayten asked salesmanly.
“It appears to be a hole in the ground,” said the Inspector. “Doesn’t seem like much to try out.”
Brayten had misunderstood the Inspector’s stated intention of checking out his newly opened Escape Room. Brayten scanned the faces of the people meandering around the Farragut Pond Galleria hoping they hadn’t heard the Inspector’s denigration.
“You see,” the Inspector continued, “I am from the Hawai’i Escape Room and Seasonal Attraction Governing Agency. We have no record of your Escape Room permit or attempted bribe.”
“Why don’t we step over here and keep our voices down?” Brayten said.
The two moved near the center of the open plot between Jamba Juice and Heaven Scent, the religious perfumery. Next to them was, indeed, a hole covered with plywood.
“Sir, HERSAGA takes escape rooms quite seriously. You must have a permit.”
“We’re more of a pop-up. You can check with the Galleria management. I’m allowed to be here.”
“That may be,” said the Inspector in clipped tones, “However, you do not have the proper authorization to operate an escape room, or to refer to your hole as an escape room.”
Brayten lifted the plywood. “Please, try it yourself, I think you’ll feel differently.”
A struggle, not unlike most customer service interactions, ensued. Despite their protestations, the inspector ended up in the Escape Hole with Brayten atop the plank. Shouts of “This is not a room!” drew the attention of other potential customers.