Cakepan Manuscript – Chapter Two: Playing Games

This is a creative writing experiment, shamelessly stolen from the Chopin Manuscript: a serialized story where each author writes a different chapter. The members of this blog are each writing their own chapter, and we’re calling ours the “Cakepan Manuscript”.

You can start reading at Chapter One, which began with the premise: “An unemployed teacher, in a wine store, runs into a former student.” Each week we will post a new chapter until we reach the thrilling conclusion!

We hope you enjoy!

Chapter Two: Playing Games

Moravian Stars in the Strietzelmarkt in Dresden

Image via Wikipedia

“Mr. Holfinger?” the gunman asked. “From… from art class?”

My stomach quickly knotted into a boy scout’s clove hitch at the sound of his voice. So had hoped it wasn’t him. My mind kept racing.  I wanted to respond faster but the words just were not there.  Cooperation trumps combative was circling over and  over in my head.

Finally in a moment of rapid teeth chattering, the words escaped and I mumbled a response, “Zack, dude, wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“Maybe I should have said something different,”  I thought as that sounded kinda ill placed for the situation.

“Don’t try and talk hip to me Mr. H as if I’m back in your stupid class,” he said in a stern yet desperate sounding voice I’d  never heard before.  “Shut up and don’t say another word to me or I will pack a round of bullets in here and light this  whole store up like Christmas.”

The surveyor belt was continuing to hum with grocery from the tall guy just behind me.  Baby wipes, chocolate chip cookies, and a pack of rib-eyes started to pile up by at the base of a case of Miller Light that had everything log jammed; stuck just before reaching the spot where the cashier would normally begin to scan the items.

Zack was wearing a grey leather jacket, unbuttoned without a shirt, exposing a Moravian star perfectly positioned in the middle of his chest surrounded by a tapestry of colors including a scroll banner with the word, ” hope,”  inscribed nicely above the start of his six pack.  The star was flowing geometrically with a perfect split between black and red cone shaped points that would catch the eye of any art teacher. It was centered precisely in his chest as if he had merged the Delphi glass and symmetry lessons together in a perfect combination.

He clutched the handle of the gun marrying his left and right hand so intimately that all you could see were fingers tightly closed without interruption. It hit me. That was the exact tattoo, motif, and leather jacket of Artem, the main character of Grand Crimezone.   Zack beat our butt in this game week after week; it was the most popular after school program for student retention. It also was the catalyst of my termination; my being here tonight.

I snapped back hearing an even more elevated tone,  “Miss, give me all the freaking cash out of the drawer now or your family will not see you this evening.”

The young lady was a wreck. Rarely has she been able to open the cash register without it being a point of sale. This was frowned upon by management and required a certain code. With tears in her eyes, she was praying she remembered the manager’s code.  She pressed 0, 9, 1, and the third digit was 2 but her shaking index finger landed in between the 2 and 3 and she quickly pressed the “no sale” button.

The register didn’t open.   It was a frozen moment in time with a deep red floral smell permeating from the Merlot.  Zack was furious and at the end of his patience.

 (continued in Chapter Three)

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About Barbara McAllister

Barbara McAllister has a passion for writing that was dormant for a while but receiving her "pink papers" from a major corporation kicked her writing into gear. She currently works her day job as a Foundation Program Officer. When she isn't working, she spends time in Rocky Point Mexico taking in the smooth sounds of the Sea of Cortez.


  1. Eric Bahle says

    I knew those violent video games lead to crime. That’s why I do not play Angry Birds.
    Nice work Barb!

  2. Eric, the question remains, will Mr. H and the cashier survive? Can’t wait to see. I’m not a big video gamer either but I’m hearing gaming is gaining traction as an intervention in many schools. Like salt, not bad in and of itself; depends on how it is used.

  3. Barbara – your last two lines were a perfect opening for me to slip into Zack’s point of view.