God is in the Pancakes: a novel by Robin Epstein community news and reviews about the author about the book

Chapter One – Continued …

“I appreciate that,” I said. And I meant it.

“You know, if this were a movie, this is when you’d roll me out of here and you and I would hit the road, conning people from coast to coast.”

“If this were a movie,” I replied, “I’d have better skin, a better wardrobe, and a cool getaway car… or at the very least, a driver’s license.”

“Details, honeybunch,” he responded with a chuckle. “Details.”

But that feeling, like we were characters in our own screwball comedy, remained. And from that day forward, whether we were playing cards or chatting, the conversation was always fast and fun between Mr. Sands and me. It just felt like I was a sharper version of myself around him.

I put my hands on my hips and look at Mr. Sands. “Okay, Colonel Sandsers,” I say, “if you’re seriously serious about this new hairdo, I’ve got some supplies in my bag. I’ll just go get it from the volunteers’ office.”

“Colonel Sandsers, I like that,” he replies. “And yes, march!”

“I will.” I turn for the door, assuming we’re both playing a game of chicken now.

“Good, and then hurry back, Gracie, I’m a decrepit old man and I have no time to waste.” As I walk out of his room, I hear Mr. Sands yell, “Give me the Tomahawk Chop or give me death!”

I stroll down the constant care ward back toward the main reception area and return the wave of Patty Ray, the official greeter of Hanover House and keeper of all H.H. gossip. Patty has these Swedish-fish-shaped eyes and a friendly smile that encourage you to tell her everything, which she later makes public for anyone interested. She’s always grilling me about what’s new in my social life, and I always answer the same way: “Nothing, Patty.” I’m a sophomore girl who’s never been kissed (or even asked on a date), so it’s more accurate to call what I have an “unsocial life.” Still, Patty just waves her hand at me dismissively and tells me my time will come. Suuuure.

No one’s around when I walk into the volunteers’ office to get my book bag, which is good because I’d rather not have to explain “Mission Mohawk” to anyone. Hanover House isn’t one of those high-security nursing homes where people watch your every move. They make an effort to let residents feel like they’re still independent, even though a lot of them feel like they’ve been stuck here against their wills. “Like a prisoner at Gitmo,” as Mr. Sands has said. “Like a sophomore in high school,” I added. Still, you can tell that the brochure for this place, prominently featuring the stately front of the building, was created to ease the minds of the people who dump their aging parents here. Seems to me old people are basically like teenagers: Nobody really wants to see or deal with them, and when you trot them out at family functions, you just have to pray that they don’t say anything too embarrassing or offensive.

“Okay,” I say as I reenter Mr. Sands’s room, “I have some good news for you. And then I have some really good news for you.”

“Good news first,” replies Mr. Sands.

“Turns out I have absolutely nothing that will effectively cut or shave your hair in my book bag.”

“Thank God,” he laughs.

“But,” I continue, raising my index finger, “here’s the really good news: hair gel. Hair gel I’ve got.” I unzip the front pocket of my bag and present the goop I keep in there for bang emergencies.

“Holy hell, honeybunch, you’re going to make me smell like a rose garden, aren’t you?”

“Yep, a very masculine rose garden. Now one final question before we begin.”


Continue reading …

  • Share/Bookmark