View Full Version : Riot at Shady Oak (2700 words)

April 7th, 2014, 12:20 AM
My first offering to the boards.

The disturbance at the nursing home could not technically be called a riot, but that was how the planners referred to it. It took the residents of Shady Oak Nursing and Rehab Center the better part of six months to plan the“riot,” what with naps and all.

Mrs. Leeta Reynolds(age 83) hatched the idea over Bingo and quickly brought Robert “Bob”Houndshel (age 69) and Ethel Bowler (age 71) in on the plot during dinner.

Where Leeta led,others followed. In her Before Nursing Home Life (BNHL), she had raised twelve children of her own, nine of them boys, and fostered twenty-three other kids. She had held the positions of Den Motherfor the local Boy Scout Troop, President of the Mother's Club (a predecessor to the PTA), and a Girl Scout Leader.

When the problem of leadership came up, Leeta listed her experience wrangling her unruly mob as the reason why she should be named the Person In Charge or PIC. At one point, five of her sons had been teenagers at the same time. The fact that she also knew how to tie knots, twist ears and make something edible of the slop from the kitchen didn't hurt either. Without having to resort to any badgering, threatening or ear twisting, Leeta was unanimously appointed PIC and immediately took control of the proceedings.

Bob Houndshel's BNHL was a cantankerous old fart and a well decorated Army veteran who had seen action on more than one battlefield. His children had moved him to the nursing home shortly after the Sheriff had removed his weapons from his home. According to said Sheriff, it was not legal to shoot at the neighbor's coy fish collection while the neighbor was at work, or at any other time for that matter.
Bob initially agreed with Leeta's plan to get her to shut up. The more he thought about his own complaints though, the more he realized the staff needed a wake up call.

Ethel Bower's BNHL was a taker. She would take care of her home, take care of her husband and take care of her three sons. She would also take anything not glued down and sometimes even those items were taken. It wasn't until she was arrested by a mall cop at age sixty-eight that her desperate need for excitement became known. Ethel was akleptomaniac and had a knack for it. She had dreamt of being a cat burglar and the staff quickly realized that if anything came up missing Ethel's room should be searched.

The nursing staff had no idea what nefarious plans were being made by the founders of the Federation to Liberate Old People or FLOP. Honestly, the staff would have smiled indulgently and patted the arm of any of the residents who might have warned them. That was one of the complaints. Not taking complaints seriously.

The slop coming outof the kitchen was another issue and a huge one.

That is all I have at this time, I'm just putting it out there. My novel is my primary focus but I wanted to post something.

April 7th, 2014, 01:21 AM
I'm no expert, but I think your word count is a little off? Anyway, to business. Lovely story. Humorous characterization, the narrative tone fits the story very well.

"Coy fish" amused me, perhaps too much. Coy: (especially with reference to a woman) making a pretence of shyness or modesty which is intended to be alluring.

Should be koi fish (or Koi fish? Dunno if it's capitalized).

This reminded me of the retirement home in Cloud Atlas. Love your sense of humour, and I can only imagine how entertaining this will be when complete. There are a few rough patches, I'd suggest another read through to ensure it flows properly, but other than that, great story (or start to such).

April 7th, 2014, 07:03 AM
You are right about the count, I looked at the number of characters, not the number of words.

I should have known better with the fish. Silly overlook.

Can you be specific with the rough patches. The last paragraph got added to as I was cleaning it up to post. So if that is one, I get it.

I am not familiar with Cloud Atlas. What is that?

April 7th, 2014, 11:34 AM
Actually, on rereading I'm going to be annoying and go back on that.The flow is good, the reason I thought otherwise was just my getting distracted by trying to decide if it was intended as some sort of report by the staff/police or just an interesting narrative. And also the abrupt switches between the characters being referred to, but that's not dodgy writing, I'm just reading it weirdly. Sorry :p

And I quite liked the last paragraph. Last sentence might benefit from a comma before the and, or a slight rephrase, but that's all.

Cloud Atlas is a very strange movie, at some times hilarious and at others, heartbreaking. It's split between different times and characters and shows how much people can influence one another's lives even without meeting. Part of it is a group of old people trying to escape a retirement home (led by the bloke who plays Horace Slughorn in HP). I'd definitely recommend it if you're bored/need inspiration.

April 8th, 2014, 02:15 AM
Word count had me flummoxed when the rather abrupt ending appeared, but other than that this is a nifty piece of writing. I look forward to seeing what these youngsters (I'm 73) will get up to.

Let's have more.

April 23rd, 2014, 04:40 AM
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I realize now, I just wanted to get something on the forum and have not fully developed the story.

When I do a scene, I start by writing the general story line, like the piece above, then add in the details. This looks like it's going to be a book and probably a funny one, but I am currently working on another book and it will be a while before I get back to this.

Thanks again for the interest.

May 31st, 2014, 11:21 PM
Love the humor you've got going here, it reminds me of my Grandma and the others at Cottonwood (her 'independent living' centre). I've just got a few comments about things that confused me (maybe it's just me, but you could have some readers that feel the same).
The use of abbreviations is very creative, reads like these kids are going black ops, but with BNHL, you define it as 'before nursing home life' but then later describe Bob's as who he was before, rather that what his life was like, so I had to go back and re-check the abbreviation. I think you mean "In his BNHL, Bob was..." rather than "[his] BNHL was..."
Also, I think you have to be really careful with parentheses to make them work, not sure they're doing as much as they could for you here.

In her Before Nursing Home Life (BNHL),
I might try "In her BNHL (for the un-initiated, that's her Before Nursing Home Life),"
or, in the last bit, try "...the plans being made by the founders of FLOP: the Federation to Liberate Old People." You get a bit of alliteration there with founders/Flop, and there's just a hint of suspense like, ooh, what hilarious thing is this one going to mean?

[Edit: whoops. didn't mean to bother you and resurrect an old thread, but the title really caught my eye!]

June 2nd, 2014, 04:53 PM
I enjoyed the premise and thought instantly of Sophia from The Golden Girls!

I found the repeated explaining of the abbreviations (R.E.A) really interfered with my enjoyment of the story (R.I.W.M.E.) I lost my concentration, the explanations did not work, I had to revisit to remind myself of what they meant.

I like the idea and hope you continue writing. I would like to read more and get to know the characters.

W M Gardner
June 3rd, 2014, 06:07 AM
I would suggest you tell us the character's age using a different method. The way you have it now just doesn't read right in your story. Maybe through dialogue?

June 3rd, 2014, 01:34 PM
I missed this post earlier. While I don't have a ton to add on top of the suggestions above, I wanted to jump in to say that I like the concept. I can think of umpteen different ways this could go, all of them amusing and at least a few of them potentially enlightening.

June 25th, 2014, 06:17 PM
I like this with the old people. As I'm old myself.:)

July 30th, 2014, 05:11 AM
Love the tone - very humorous! The Koi fish part made me laugh.
One sentence was confusing: "She had held the positions of Den Motherfor the local Boy Scout Troop, President of the Mother's Club (a predecessor to the PTA), and a Girl Scout Leader." - The "and a girl Scout Leader" doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the sentence...?
Anyway, keep up the good work.
And as others have said, check out Cloud Atlas if you haven't already. Similar premise (to a section of the book).

Mr. Beanhead
September 22nd, 2014, 11:14 PM
Comments of previous reviewers (or whatever we call ourselves) are on the mark, particularly regarding grammar and usage. Like the others, I was taken with the tone...breezy, offhand, fun. Particularly liked the second sentence...with naps and all. A real hoot! LOL!

September 25th, 2014, 12:32 AM
Enjoyable read, I definitely want to know what happens next.

WMG mentioned a different method for telling us the ages of the conspirators. I didn't see a big problem with it, but perhaps it interrupted the flow just a tad. Maybe with the exception of the FLOP's PIC, the ages aren't that important to know up front. I, for one, didn't bother to process the information that high up the page when I still didn't have a clue what was happening. They're old. Got it. Mention the age later on, when that character was enjoying his or her fifteen minutes of fame. The only time I'd put any emphasis on the age is if the character was the oldest resident, the youngest resident, etc.

It's funny the little things that jump out at us. Spelling errors, typos, incorrect punctuation, etc. Getting facts wrong. For me, it was a reference to being Den Mother for a Boy Scout Troop. I could be wrong, but I think it's the Cub Scouts that have Den Mothers. In some cases (not this one, given the nature of the story) - getting a fact wrong can can call into question (or completely ruin) the credibility of the author. (I think it was somewhere in these forums someone mentioned seeing a reference to Grant's siege of Vicksburg, Tennessee, and decided not to sign up for whatever they were selling.)

Other than the above mentioned things and a little housecleaning to fix the typos and it'll be time to start pressuring you for the next installment.