Cakepan II: Chapter One – No Way Home

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”. This is our second story.

For this story we used a random plot generator, which gave us: “The story starts when your protagonist gets lost. Another character is an anesthesist who is researching something terrible.” Each week we will post a new chapter until we reach the thrilling conclusion!

We hope you enjoy!

Chapter One: No Way Home

Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film.

Image via Wikipedia

The hospital smell churned his stomach as he swung his legs to the floor and yanked needles from both arms. Tubes dangled and the medicine inside sloshed. Another wave of nausea was hitting; he had to get out of the room. He needed air. He needed it now.

Russ Winston ambled down the hall, feet bare and saggy tush exposed. He ducked behind a vending machine just in time to miss two nurses padding down the hall in squeaky shoes. At least he could hear them coming. The newly waxed floor and white sneaker tread made sure of that. He felt a chill. No wonder. His hands wrapped behind him as he attempted to close the vent that is the bane of all hospital patients.

He wasn’t sure where he was. A hospital obviously, but that was all he remembered about his location. The ambulance trip was a blur and the medicine they had given him earlier in the day made his mind foggy. He didn’t like the feeling. At seventy-three years old his mind was already showing signs of slowing down. The medicine didn’t help. All he knew was that he had to escape. He had to leave. He wasn’t even sure why they had brought him here or what they planned on doing to him. That scared him more than anything. It was time for him to move on. If only he could find the damn exit.

He continued to wander what he thought might be the sixth floor, occasionally dodging a nurse or a visitor or two. “Don’t any damn doctors work here?” He wondered. “I can’t believe that I haven’t seen a doctor yet. So much for quality care! Maybe I have. Maybe he did come to visit me. Maybe I just don’t remember. Getting old stinks.” He continued to try and organize his thoughts as he moved about an empty hallway. Looking up he saw the door to the stairwell. Just at that moment a familiar face rounded the corner. So caught up in his own thoughts he hadn’t heard the approach of what turned out to be the nurse assigned to him. “Mr. Winston, what are you doing out of bed? And look at your arms! Did you tear out the IV? Let’s get you back to your room.” Russ considered making a run for it but opted instead to grab the flaps of his gown so as not to expose himself anymore to Nurse Ratched, as he called her.

His eyes darted to and fro as he desperately looked for a means of escape. He didn’t know exactly where he was, but if he could get outside he might have a chance to make it home. The door to the stairwell got further and further away. The nurse talked on and on in what she thought was a soothing tone. It grated on his nerves.

A couple of turned corners led them back to his room, his nauseatingly sterile and stark room. No one had sent him flowers. No one even knew he was in the hospital. Hell, no one cared. Suddenly, as Nurse Ratched settled him back in his bed, alarm bells sounded in the hall. A pale, red-haired man poked his head into the room, “All hands on deck, Leslie! Trauma Team is bringing in fifteen to twenty severely injured. They are pulling up to the ER doors now. We are short-staffed today so we need you downstairs pronto.” Leslie tucked the covers tightly around Russ, “Now stay put, Russ. I’m going to go get one of the medical assistants to hook up your IV again. Be a good guy for me and don’t wander again!” She patted his arm and left the room, quickly following behind the red-haired man.

Russ was still for a moment taking it all in. “Alone again,” he thought. “Wish I knew the way home.” He wiggled out of the swaddle of blankets in which Leslie had bound him and went to the curtained window. A peek outside told him he was not on the sixth floor, but much higher up. “Damn. What do they want with me? How do I get the hell out of here?” Russ pressed his head to the window and let out a sob.

(Continued in Chapter Two)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Our thoughts (and yours!) on the first Cakepan Manuscript

Prepared pans

Image by Bill HR via Flickr

Most of the writers on this blog belong to a writing group that meets twice a month in the Phoenix area. Several weeks ago we decided to try a little project and each write a chapter of a new story as a collaboration. We thought it would be an education for us, and interesting for people reading the blog. We really had no idea how it would go, but there was one way to find out.

Everyone in the group has wildly different styles and backgrounds, and we all work on different types of writing. Some work on screenplays, others on poetry. We have both a pulp fiction western and a female centered romance novel currently underway. Trying to work together on a single project would be like making a salad from every item in your refrigerator: a little scary.

This is our thoughts on how it went. If you haven’t read it yet, go to the first chapter and catch up. Here is our thoughts, in the order we wrote.

We would love your input on what you liked and where we could improve next time around.

What Worked

Jeff Moriarty (Chapter One)
I loved the different styles and what they brought.
I liked that I had no idea where the story was going, even though I helped start it off.
Our different views added ideas I never would have come up with on my own.

Barbara McAllister (Chapter Two)
I enjoyed building on the ideas of others while at the same time having the freedom to take the story in any direction of choice
I loved reading the different styles. Knowing the group for an extended period of time, it was natural to guess where each of us would take the story.

Rose (Chapter Three)
Taking on a different POV which allowed me to show the presumed protagonist in an entirely new light.
Seeing how the plot was developed after doing your part was interesting, because the subsequent writers can take a very minor point and move the story in a whole different direction that never would have occurred to me.

Scott Shields (Chapter Four)
I knew going into the project that all of the members of our writing group had distinct writing styles, but to see them side by side made me appreciate each writer’s unique voice that much more.
I also thought it was fun to see how the story evolved from chapter to chapter.

Tim Giron (Chapter Five)
The different styles made it interesting to read, both before and after my contribution.
The discussions around the process during the writing meetings.
Everyone stayed committed to the deadline.

M. Jaynes (Chapter Six)
I too liked the blend of different styles. Each chapter brought a new, fresh perspective.
I also liked that many used the last line of the chapter before to begin the next chapter.
I like that we didn’t lose the blind date storyline completely.

Eric Bahle (Chapter Seven)
Firstly it was just fun to try something new and it’s always interesting to see how different writers come at the same project.  It’s an interesting storytelling concept and I enjoyed wondering where this one would go.  Knowing you would contribute made reading the other chapters weirdly visceral.  Like different people taking turns driving without bothering to stop the car.

What Could Improve

Jeff Moriarty
It was so free-form that it lacked some cohesion and was tough to read all the way through.
Some items changed from person to person (wine store to grocery store to bodega) which was confusing.
Huge range in the size of chapters, from very small to pretty big.

Barbara McAllister
Establish a word count goal for consistency
Agree on just 2 or 3 things that must stay with the story

The change from 3rd person point of view to 1st person point of view was jarring for the readers.

Scott Shields
The chapter lengths could be more consistent.  Likewise, the POV should be either first or third person, but not both.

Tim Giron
A few more rules so that the expectation for each writer is better defined.

M. Jaynes
I think establishing some ground rules such as word count (ironic coming from me since I wrote the shortest chapter) and using the chapter’s last line as the first line in the next post will help with consistency. Maintaining a consistent voice was a struggle.

Eric Bahle
It seems obvious now but we needed way more rules.  The rapid POV changes, tone changes, and length differences made for some jarring chapter transitions.

What Surprised You

Jeff Moriarty
Where some of the characters went, and how others interpreted them from what I wrote.
The blend of all this being one story, but still having each chapter be incredibly different.

Barbara McAllister
Bringing in of new characters. For some reason, I thought we’d stick with just the few we started with.
The excitement around not knowing what would be next. Very engaging.

How much fun it was!
It was another example of how much a reader brings to a story.

Scott Shields
I was surprised to see what happened with the characters.  When Rose added the gangster element in Chapter 3, I envisioned the story progressing from a simple armed robbery to a “Gangs of New York” type finale.  And I certainly loved Eric’s twist ending.

Tim Giron
How much fun it was anticipating where things were going before I took my turn at the helm.
The twists, turns and jolts that each chapter added to the overall story.
That we immediately wanted to do another one!

M. Jaynes
What surprised me was how much fun it was! There was a sense of anticipation as each person posted their chapter. Each chapter was a bit of a jolt since the story often did not go where I expected it to, but I think that may have been a good thing. I am looking forward to doing it again to see what I learn about myself as a writer. It is a great creative exercise!

Eric Bahle
Every damn chapter including my own.  Actually I was surprised that depite the chapters being so different it ended up hanging together as a story.  I definitely think it’s worth a second attempt.

What’s Next…

We’re going to try it again. We have a few new rules to help us stay more consistent, like a word count, keeping the same perspective, and a few other things.

We hope you’ll keep reading!

Cakepan Manuscript – Final Chapter

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 7:  A Twist of Tomasso


Image by mrjoro via Flickr

Dietrich’s borrowed clothes were too constricting for cooking. He needed to keep his whisk moving in the saucepan. He thought the whole outfit was hideous, but agreeing with Terrence and putting it on was the quickest and easiest way to get him out of the apartment and start dinner. As it was he would probably still be cooking when his date arrived even if she was fashionably late.

Dietrich took off the jacket and threw it at the back of a chair, pushed up the sleeves of his shirt. That was better and he started to get into the rhythm of cooking, letting the familiar movements take his mind off the bodega debacle. He was disappointed in young Zach. Dietrich knew the kid faced challenges but he had expected better than what he’d seen in the store. Lesson learned.

Dietrich laid aside the whisk and took up a sharp knife. He had fresh herbs from his window box and he laid them out on a cutting board. Before he could start chopping though the doorbell rang. He glanced at the clock but it was still a bit early for his date. Dietrich started for the door then stopped. He still had the knife in his hand. He didn’t think anyone had followed him from the bodega and he doubted the cops could track him at all let alone this quickly. Unless they got to Zach before Benny and his boys. He decided to use the peephole this time.

The person in the hall was a woman with her back turned to the door. All Dietrich could see was a mass of platinum blond hair. Terrence had said Kelly was a blond so he unlocked the door and opened it. She turned and Dietrich could tell she was scared even though her eyes were concealed by oversized sunglasses. The girl from the getaway car.


Dietrich started to close the door but a foot shot out and kicked it open. Zach had been hiding beside the door away from the peephole. Now he shoved Dietrich back and barged in with his gun pointed in Dietrich’s face.

“Yeah guess who motherfucker?” Zach was trying to sound triumphant but it came off as shrill. His face was still bloody from Benny’s boys.  “Drop the knife!”

“Zach,” Dietrich said. He did not drop the knife. “How did you get away from the mob?”

“When the cops showed everybody scattered. I ran and had my girl come get me.”

“Huh. Sounds like the only thing you got right today,” Dietrich said. “Why did you come here and more importantly, how did you find me?”

“Your phone dumbass!” Zach held it up and waved it. “It’s got Mapquest directions from here to Benny’s.”

“Wait,” said the girl, “you got that phone from Holfinger?”

“Yeah I took it from him in the store so the cops couldn’t trace mine.”

“Well you took one of my phones,” Dietrich said. He reached in his pocket and pulled out another one which he waved in mockery of Zach. “And you can leave it with me before you go.”

“We’re not going anywhere Holefucker.”

“Holefucker,” Dietrich said and laughed. “I like that one better than Dickface. And it’s more accurate. Of course your girl would know that better than you. Right Ashlee?”

“You recognized me?” Ashlee said and pulled off the sunglasses.

“Of course dear. The disguise was a good idea but you didn’t hide your talented mouth.”

“Babe,” Zach lowered the gun and phone and looked at the girl. “What’s he talking about?”

“Why do you think I got fired Zach? For letting you morons play video games?”

Zach looked back and forth from Dietrich to Ashlee. “Babe?” he said in a small voice and Ashlee just shrugged.

“Oh, you’re dead asshole,” Zach raised the gun again and Ashlee grabbed his arm.

“Zach no! You don’t know—” Zach shook her off.

“I’m gonna blow your head off!”

“I kinda doubt it,” Dietrich said and gestured with the knife at Zach’s tattooed chest. “For one thing this isn’t Grand Crimezone. For another I explicitly told Johnny V to give you an unloaded gun.”

“How the hell do you know Johnny V?”

“Zach let’s get out of here,” said Ashlee. “It’s his phone.”

“Who’s phone?”

“When you called me from the store the number came up as Victor Tomasso.”

“But I called you with Holefucker’s phone.”

Dietrich and Ashlee waited while Zach looked from one to the other, then from the empty gun to the cell phone in Dietrich’s hand to the one in his own. Finally it clicked and Dietrich was pleased at the look of fear when Zach met his eyes.

Dunh dunh duhhn!” Dietrich waved the knife with a theatrical flourish.

You’re Tomasso?” Zach stammered. “But how did…it’s not…why?”

“Oh, please,” Dietrich said. “Do you have any idea what an art teacher makes?”

“I’ll tell!” Zach screamed. “I’ll go to the cops!”

“And tell them what? Your art teacher is also a gangster?”

“Yeah but the store—”

“The store you tried to rob? Where you pointed a gun at the gangster and he pissed his pants? I don’t think they’ll buy it. Lucky thing I had to go.”

“Zach let’s go,” Ashlee was backing out the door.

“Yes Zach go,” Dietrich said and advanced with the knife. “Keep the gun but leave my phone.”

Zach did as instructed and Dietrich followed and stood in the hall. He watched them go down the hall toward the elevator.

“Take the stairs,” he called as Ashlee reached for the button. “I’m expecting a date and I wouldn’t want your appearance to upset her.”

Zach and Ashlee disappeared and Dietrich heard the door to the stairway open and shut. The elevator doors opened at the same instant and an attractive blond woman stepped out. She stopped when she saw Dietrich’s knife. Dietrich plastered on a bland smile.

“You must be Kelly,” he said. “I’m Dietrich. I’m just making dinner.”

“Hi,” said Kelly and came to meet him. She handed him a bottle. “I brought some wine.”

“Woodland Syrah,” Dietrich said and fingered the woodcut on the label. “It’s perfect.”

Enhanced by Zemanta~ The End ~

Cakepan Manuscript – Chapter Six: Chapped and Trapped

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 Six: Chapped and Trapped

The Thinker

Image by srice13 via Flickr

The insistent knocking continued. Dietrich looked at the door hesitantly, the dampness of his pants had irritated his thighs and though he had taken the wet pants off, the chapped skin glowed red under a fresh pair of boxers. No time to put on pants. The person at the door meant business.

If someone had somehow followed him from the store, he would rather deal with it sooner than later. As he moved toward the continuous knocking, he instinctively grabbed the small statue sitting on the table next to the door. Rodin’s “The Thinker” in miniature. Well, he would crack someone’s skull with it if necessary. Pee rash or no pee rash, Dietrich was a man fed up with being pushed around. He was NOT to be fucked with. Not anymore.

Without glancing through the peephole, Dietrich tore open the door brandishing the statue. He blindly took a swing and heard a meaty thud.

“Jesus D! What the hell!” Terrence stepped back grabbing his arm, a garment bag held up in front of his face in a defensive position. The Rodin statue plunged to the floor and shattered. Dietrich reeled back and shook his head. Adrenaline pumped in his veins making his breath come quickly and vision tunnel.

“My God, Terrence! I am so sorry. What are you doing here?” His brother continued to rub the spot on his arm where the statue had connected, “I brought some clothes by for your blind date. Thought you could use some hipster duds.” Terrence glanced down at his brother’s Van Gogh boxers and his chapped thighs, “I see I am just in time.”

(Read on to the thrilling conclusion…)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cakepan Manuscript – Chapter Five: Move It Or Lose It

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 Five: Move It Or Lose It

Professional baseball bats are typically made ...

Image via Wikipedia

Ashlee knew better than to keep Victor Tomasso waiting so she quickly hit the answer button, all of her internal chaos becoming laser focused as she meekly said “Hello?”.

“Ash, it’s me Zach,” he said, sounding more than a little out of breath.

“What the hell are you doing with Victor’s phone.  You scared the shit outta me!” she yelled, her laser focus now lost, the chaos returning with a vengeance.

“There’s no time for questions, baby. Keep that car runnin’ hot and I’ll be right out.”

“You better be, you’re about to say hello to about a half dozen of Benny Nyguen’s little friends, dumbass.”

Over the phone, she heard a loud crash and realized that Benny and his cohorts must have gone around the back.  Sure enough, Zach came barrelling out the front door, dragging some guy with him.  Zach pushed the guy toward the car, and just a few steps behind them came the Vietnamese mob causing Ashlee to begin cursing with renewed fervor, “What the fuck are you doing? let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.”

As they drew closer, she realized that “some guy” was that wacko art teacher from school, Dickhead Somethingorother.  He had a big wet spot on his pants and apparently he didn’t realize that Zach’s gun wasn’t loaded since he was doing what he was told, which, at the moment was to get in the car and shut the hell up.  Dietrich was roughly pushed into the backseat and the door slammed behind him.  Zach wasn’t so lucky.  Before he could get in the front seat, Benny and the rest of his boys caught up with him, a baseball bat to the back of a knee sending him straight to the sidewalk.

He screamed out, “Ash, get outta here,” as he went down.  She punched the gas, tires squealing, and in the rearview mirror she saw familiar red and blue lights as two squad cars pulled up.  The imminent gang beating appeared to draw their attention and she was able to slip away, despite her erratic driving.

She forgot all about Dietrich until he sat up in the backseat, causing her to swerve, almost hitting a fire hydrant.  “Hey, Miss, can you just let me out right here?  Pretty sure you don’t want to add kidnapping to the litany of charges you and Zach are facing at this point.”

“Wait, you recognized Zach?”

“Yeah, had him in my art class a while back… when I still had an art class that is.  My apartment is near here, I can just walk, really I don’t want any more trouble.”

Numbed by the morning’s events, she acquiesced, dropping him at the next corner and speeding off.  Dietrich quickly fished his keys from his pocket and made his way to his apartment.  He needed a change of clothes and he still needed to find the right bottle of wine before Kelly showed up.  While cleaning himself up and considering himself lucky to have only a few scratches and bruises, there came an insistent knock at the door.

(Continued in Chapter Six)

Enhanced by Zemanta