Cakepan Manuscript – Chapter Three: Pay to Play

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 Three: Pay to Play

Internal mechanics of a Cash register

Image via Wikipedia

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 but he couldn’t pull the trigger.  Holfinger had given him away and he couldn’t shoot pretty little green-eyes at the cash register anyway.  His plan had been simple — grab the cash and deliver Victor Tomasso’s message.   The message was simple too.  If you want to run a business in his neighborhood, you have to pay to play or suffer the consequences.

The Merlot was beginning to smell like blood, and Zack needed to do something so he yelled, “Everybody out!” waving his gun to and fro at the line of customers behind Holfucker.  That’s what the students called him, Dickface Holfucker, because the dude was a loser, one of those teachers who thought he could hang with the home boys, a failure, wannabe artist, all talk and no walk, getting himself fired and Zack kicked out of school at the same time, all over that freakin’ game.

He should have shot the dumbass, put the sucka out of his misery but Zach couldn’t — the gun wasn’t loaded.   Instead he shouted, “Except you,” and aimed the gun at Holfinger when he started to move.  A pool of pee formed between the older man’s feet.

Zack jerked his head side to side, directing a straggler out the front door, and then spun his gaze to green-eyes who he could see desperately  wanted to join the departing crowd.  He’d never seen her before, and realized she must have started working at the neighborhood bodega in the last few weeks, in the time since his father had tossed him from the apartment for getting expelled, in the period when he’d realized he either earned a spot on Tomasso’s team or he’d starve on the street or maybe become something worse than dead.

“Who’s in the back?” he asked her.


Zack moved to the front door,turning the lock, never taking his gaze off the young girl.

“Where is Mr. Nyguen?”

She shook her head side to side, mumbling, “He didn’t say.”

Zack edged around the two of them and ducked into the back room where he quickly found the rear door,
unlocked and ajar.

(Continued in Chapter Four)

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About Rose Gonsoulin

Rose Gonsoulin lives in the Sonoran desert with Chloe, Lucy and The Weasel. Like the poet, Wallace Stevens, she has spent the better part of her career in the Surety industry. Her first novel, Outside The Men’s Room, is available from Amazon. She is currently working on her second novel and a collection of short stories.


  1. Eric Bahle says

    Well that’s one way to pare down the cast of characters. The other way would have required the pistol to be loaded.

  2. In hindsight I should have emphasized Zach’s regret because he couldn’t at least fire a shot near Holfinger. That would have been more fun.
    I never got “gun-fever” so I guess I’m biased against their influence in a story and was a little too quick to dismiss it.

    I’m curious to see what happens next with Zach at the back door. Does he leave or stay? Only Scott knows now.

  3. Scott Shields says

    Of course, there could be all sorts of things happening outside now that Nyguen has left the building.

  4. Everyone is still alive. That’s the good news. Pee is on the scene..oh oh. I almost had the green eyes pee in her pants so seeing it come up in your chapter was interesting. Can’t wait to read Chapter 4.

  5. Interesting chapter, Rose. I’m curious, why did you switch perspective like you did?

  6. The last sentence in Chapter 2 was actually the point of view change and so I stayed with it. It was an easier entry to pick a different perspective and show another reaction for the same events. I’m hoping someone gives us Cashier Girl’s point of view before the story ends.

    • I really liked the change in perspective. It was interesting to get Zach’s take on the situation. Funny the difference in how we perceive ourselves versus how others see us. I think this aspect works here. With bullets in the gun and a man miterating in the aisle, I wonder what will come next. Methinks someone in the story is going to die? Who will it be?

      • I am totally expecting some bloodshed. I’ve already wondered who you will kill off when you have your shot. It was nice to be in control for a short time and then hand it off.

  7. I am totally stoked to take my turn in the rotation. Can’t wait to see what additional elements Scott brings to the tapestry that y’all have started.

    • Knowing who’s up in the line up, I suspect there will be quite a few more surprises. It was fun to take control for a short time and then hand it off to others.