Manual for Bureaucracy – Friday Fictioneers

Manual for Bureaucracy

1. File in, collect a number, determine destination.
2. Sit down, complete paperwork, wait to be called.
3. Talk to the hole in the glass, return paperwork.
4. Wait.
5. Talk to the glass; learn you need a Specialist.
6. Repeat Step 2, add paperwork.
7. Walk through long, white corridor. Hint: Turn left, left, right, no left. Just follow the red tape.
8. Repeat Steps 1 and 4.
9. Talk to the Assistant who talks to the Specialist.
10 Repeat Step 2.
11. Learn it is the wrong Specialist.
12. Repeat 2, 4, and 9.
13. Take multiple flights of stairs. Hint: Follow the red tape if you’re lost.
14. Read the sign: Sorry. We’re closed. Come back tomorrow.


Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her dedication and leadership to this group. If you would like to give it a try, visit her Addicted to Purple blog for instructions. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo today. I like this one a lot.

I tried a little something new today. I’m not sure it qualifies as a story. Tell me how you feel at the end of this. Thanks for reading.

Click here for more stories from the talented Fictioneers.

Genre: Humor (99 words)

Copyright – Sandra Crook

65 thoughts on “Manual for Bureaucracy – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Amy, this is great and as someone who likes to experiment with form in the FF, I think it’s brilliant. I just wish it was fiction. πŸ™‚ I think we’ve all had experiences like this, in fluorescent-lit concrete-block halls in hospitals and government institutions. You have used the photo well.


  2. Dear Amy, I think this is awesome and perfect! I think I have been there many, many times and at the end, usually something happens, as in your submission, “they are closed, come back tomorrow!” Hilarious! And, I usually do follow the red tape! GREAT! Nan πŸ™‚


    1. Nan, thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate it! Your comments made me smile. I know, I follow it too. There seems to be no choice in the matter. πŸ™‚


  3. Love this. I used to get these collections of short short fiction (2-3) pages when I was in high school and college. And they made me want to write, like really write. This piece reminded me of those surprising works.
    Although I don’t get the direct connection with the photo. But do I need to? And it could always be the “Lego cake” I was decorating at 3 am this morning. It’s thrown off my ability to understand even the most normal and obvsious things…


    1. Thanks, Jen. That’s such a nice compliment you paid me. I appreciate that very much. I’m going with the herd mentality, i.e. following orders even if they make no sense!


  4. Seems like a story to me. A story which anyone can relate. School, military service, corporate employment, getting a driver’s license, air travel, doctor visit. Take your pick, you described all of these activities in your story. Well done.


  5. I think I stopped at #6 because I can’t continue from laughing hard! This is a treasure. Well-done! πŸ™‚

    – Matthew


  6. Dear Amy,

    Sounds just like what was written on the sign above the gate to Hades in Dante’s Inferno.

    I like how you stretched your wings. The story works fine.




    1. Dear Doug,
      This sign would belong above the gate to Hades. I’ll have to reference Dante’s Inferno. It’s been awhile since I’ve read that one.
      Thanks so much!


  7. In addition to dealing with the government, this reminds me of some doctor visits I’ve experienced. The format was a perfect way to present the information. I say go with what works, and this definitely was the right choice. Well done.


    1. That’s funny. After you left you comment, I got another comment from a blogger who had just that…an experience a doctor’s office. And it follows my instructions almost perfectly! It’s both funny and haunting. Thanks so much, Russell.


  8. This is brilliant, Amy! It reminds me of taking my parents-in-law to an appointment at oncologist last week. It was a nightmare, my mother-in-law is in the early stages of dementia and father-in-law has bowel cancer. We arrived at the hospital and had to follow the red lines to the oncology ward where we found a sign ‘take a ticket’. Mother-in-law pressed the thing she thought was for the ticket and it was the hand-sanitizer. It took me about 10 minutes to find out what we actually had to do (which wasn’t take a ticket – that was an old sign they forgot to take down). We needed to scan all the papers at the front desk (and that didn’t work). I finally got to talk to someone and we were told to sit and wait. Two hours later the doctor comes out and gets father-in-law. Ten minutes later father-in-law comes out and says there was a mix up with the appointments and we were to come back in a week. ARGH! Lucky I’m a patient person (and I was with them!) πŸ˜‰


    1. Oh wow!! Dianne, first let me say how sorry I am that you endured this at the doctor’s office. How positively awful. Your experience fits my instructions quite nicely (with slight variations). He was even told to go home and come back! Ha ha. I couldn’t help but laugh as I read your account. OMG!! Are you okay? You are patient and they are quite lucky you were there. People must feel worse off after a visit there. I hope they can get it right next time. Thanks! πŸ™‚


      1. I’m okay πŸ˜‰ I’ve been their chauffeur for a couple of months now, mainly it’s okay but it can be a bit stressful at times (like yesterday there was another docs appointment in the city and they weren’t sure where it was, but my mother-in-law kept saying ‘it’s near a big tree’ – LOL, I eventually found the place and there was no big tree) πŸ˜€

        I’d love to write about these things on my blog but I’m worried family might see it and not get the humour of the situation πŸ˜€


      2. That’s funny about the tree! Oh, I would love to hear it all. I am my dad’s chauffeur right now. He seems pretty disoriented when he can’t drive, and is never sure where anything is. I understand how you might not put it all in a blog post. I struggle with that sometimes. Like it would fun to lay it all there, but others might not be so amused. Hang in there! Thanks for sharing with me. πŸ™‚


  9. Dear Amy,

    I’m late to comment and it seems all my words have been stolen. πŸ˜‰ Your experiment is a definite success. In my book it counts as a story, one that most of us could’ve written from experience at one time or another. Bravo!




  10. πŸ™‚ This reminded me of applying for a temporary residency visa whilst in Johannesburg. Except the greater part of the wait was conducted out in the blazing sun. You always come up with something different Amy, well done.!


    1. Oh voicemail, don’t get me started, Bjorn. I could write a separate piece on that one. That one really tests my patience. Thanks for your comments. πŸ™‚


  11. Amy, You got it right, red tape literally and figuratively. It took me almost three months to get an Indian visa here and my passport didn’t even have to leave the building. After several trips waiting and sitting, my husband went there and told the Chief of Police upstairs. She phoned downstairs to that department and my husband got the visa a few minutes later. No money changed hands then but you often have to bribe people here to get any results. It’s expected.


    1. Susan, I just had a visitor who mentioned India as being difficult. Your situation with your visa is a perfect red tape example. See now, these things don’t need to be so complicated and inefficient. I’m glad you finally got it! Thanks for your comments.


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