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

Cakepan Manuscript – Chapter One: Broken Bottle

Our blog has been quiet of late, so we’ve decided to try something new. The Chopin Manuscript is a serialized story where each author writes a different chapter. We’re shamelessly stealing that idea for what we call the “Cakepan Manuscript”.

To help me write the first chapter of this impending masterpiece, the other members of my writing group gave me the premise “An unemployed teacher, in a wine store, runs into a former student.” Now each week one member will write another chapter and post it in the blog.

We hope you enjoy!

Chapter One: Broken Bottle

Wine Bottles

Image via Wikipedia

Dietrich rubbed the wine label with his thumb and frowned.

It was beautiful. A rich off-white paper, almost parchment, with the image of a medieval woodcut printed in deep maroon. The woodcut was fourteenth or fifteenth century if he had to guess, and showed a woodsman riding a mystical beast through a forest. The beast was part lion, part deer, and seemed unconcerned about the rider it carried. Matching the label color, the bottle glass was a deep maroon, helped in richness by the wine inside. The vineyard on the front was “Woodland”. A Merlot.

Or did he want a Syrah?

Dietrich sighed and picked up the next bottle on the shelf, trying to remember. The label on the Woodland Syrah label was identical to the Merlot except for the type of wine. Dietrich wondered where the woodcut was from. It looked original and not something cobbled together by a graphic designer for the label.

Flipping the bottle over, he saw the Syrah was even more expensive. He couldn’t afford both, not with what he spent on dinner. Setting the Syrah back on the shelf, he headed towards the front of the store with the Merlot cradled in his left arm. He knew he probably shouldn’t even buy the one bottle. Spending this much on dinner with a stranger would be silly even when he had a regular paycheck. Art teachers didn’t make much even by teacher standards. Now his income was scraps, and a new job was likely far away in time or geography. Possibly both.

Dietrich’s odd approach had cost him his job, and would make a new one tougher to get, but he was okay with that. He was fascinated by expression and creativity in all forms, whether a classical painting or a sculpture made of refuse. His bizarre projects infuriated the administration but delighted his students. More than once his class was the only one where a notoriously  “bad student” received an ‘A’. Not because he was an easy teacher, but because he actually got them curious and engaged. He heard some students attempted a Sit-In after he was fired.

Running his fingers from bottle to bottle on the shelf as he walked, Dietrich watched the labels go past. Bump, bump, bump. Every few steps the label changed but the bottles stayed the same. Or almost the same. Subtle differences, but each relied overwhelmingly on that small piece of paper to attract the eye and proclaim its individuality.

Dietrich turned at the end of the aisle and entered the checkout line behind a few people. Why had he agreed to this blind date? His brother could not have more incompatible taste in women, and he never understood Dietrich’s fascination with art, or why he would want to teach it to “smelly, stupid kids.” Dietrich would rather spend a year trapped with the smelliest and dumbest of his students than an hour with the bankers and fancy suits that filled his brother’s life. Yet in a staggering act of personal interest, Terrence had set him up with this woman, Kelly, and swore they would be a perfect fit. It would take his mind off things and get him back in the game, Terrence said. What game was that, Dietrich wondered.

The line shuffled forward as a customer finished paying.

Dietrich studied the bottle, turning it over in his hands. He wondered if winemakers were allowed to change the shape of the bottle at all. Sculpt it. Keep the same basic dimensions for packing but make the glass really flow with the label. Make a single presentation.

The line shuffled forward again.

He realized it was probably for an excuse to cook more than anything else. Cooking was an art, and an art form he was good at. Other things may escape him, but give him a canvas (or a pan) and tools (or ingredients) and he could work wonders. Maybe he should cancel with Kelly and just make dinner for himself. Then he could experiment more.

The line shuffled forward. Dietrich was at the front of the line. He placed the bottle on the stand and looked up at the cashier for the first time. She was a young girl, maybe twenty-two, with enormously green eyes. She smiled for a moment, about to speak, before she saw something over Dietrich’s shoulder and stumbled backwards in alarm.

Dietrich turned and saw a gunman rush in through the front doors, a pair of pantyhose over his face, his automatic pistol waving wildly. Dietrich backed into the cashier stand in alarm, knocking over his bottle of wine and sending it smashing to the floor.

“Empty out the registers! Now! Move it!” yelled the gunman in an oddly warbling voice. “Do it quick and nobody gets hurt!”

Dietrich blinked, confused. He knew that voice. He squinted at the face under the pantyhose.

“Zack?” he asked. “Zack Newberry?”

The gunman turned to him, the look of surprise clear even on his smooshed up features under the nylon.

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

(Continued in Chapter Two)

Enhanced by Zemanta