It’s One-Liner Wednesday, the series brought to us by Linda G. Hill, and many of you will be surprised by how close to one line I am going to come. That’s because I am joined today by Teagan R. Geneviene who will soon release her 1920’s novel. If you’re not familiar with Teagan and her three-things stories, you’re in for a treat. If you are familiar with Teagan’s work, you know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for.
My one-liner is all about a treat too. A few weeks ago, when I woke up in Florida with the task making, changing and cancelling flights on a day the airlines were struggling with a blizzard in the Northeast, I wasn’t eager to get out of bed. I talked myself into action with the following thought:
“When you know you’re going to have a bad day, make it better by starting with pancakes.”
Teagan told me that Pip could have some fun with pancakes, so let me get out of the way (after a few pictures for the foodies).
Now, while I finish my breakfast, please enjoy Teagan’s story. Try to imagine my best Ed McMahon voice, as I say:
Hi, everyone! I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, from the blog, Teagan’s Books. A big thank you to Dan, for agreeing to collaborate on a post with me. I told him to pick any of his themes because they’re all terrific. As I get ready for the takeoff of my next 1920s novel, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, I’m doing some collaborative posts with other bloggers. I’m delighted to be here at No Facilities.
This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.) Pip’s father and grandmother decided to “settle her down” by having her live with Granny for awhile. That’s where this tidbit picks up. Also, as you guessed, the prompt Dan gave me for this tale was pancakes. I hope you enjoy it.
Pip and Pancakes
“Horsefeathers! I think I sprained my wrist,” I complained as the iron skillet plopped back onto the stove with a loud clang.
Outside a crow made a cawing sound that might as well have been the bird’s laughter.
“Paisley Idelle Peabody, you will mind your language while you’re in my kitchen,” Granny Phanny warned me.
My grandmother hefted the heavy skillet with a quick motion. A perfectly round pancake sailed high into the air. It landed majestically, golden side up, in the pan. I heard the crow again. If it had a human voice, I was sure it would be saying “Ha! Let’s see you do that.”
Granny must have biceps made of steel under her shirtsleeves. She handled that heavy skillet like it weighed nothing.
The clear blue sky beyond the kitchen window distracted me. I imagined being back in Florida with my friends, watching the boats on Santa Rosa Sound. However, I was in Granny’s kitchen in Savannah, Georgia. Pops had not appreciated the fact that I was a modern woman, a flapper. It was an appalling sentence to be given, and it pos-i-lutely did not fit my transgression. Why it was just a little yachting adventure. Nonetheless, Pops and Granny contrived for me to stay with her and learn to cook!
Of course the crow chose that moment to caw some more. It really did seem to be laughing at my predicament. Or at least at the idea of me cooking. I was ready to stick my tongue out at the bird.
Honestly, I only looked away for a moment. Maybe it was my sigh that told Granny my attention had wandered. Her lips curled in, which meant she was impatient. I grimaced, knowing I wouldn’t get any sympathy there. However, Granny gave a sigh of her own, and moved the skillet away from the burner.
“Pip, do you already miss your friends? You’ve just gotten here. This was supposed to be something fun for us to do together,” my grandmother told me.
I blinked in surprise. Granny wanted to do something fun? Applesauce! If I had known it was meant to be fun, I might have put some effort into enjoying it. I cringed when I realized I had said as much out loud.
Granny Phanny gave a snort. “Maybe I’m not as old as I thought, because that actually made sense to me.”
“In that case, let me try again,” I told her with a grin.
I tried to imitate Granny’s motion and give the pancake a flip. It only came halfway out of the pan and landed in a folded messy lump. My grandmother gingerly picked up the half-cooked goo and set it to rights. She told me to try again and give it some body English.
A tight-lipped grimace settled on my face as I picked up the iron skillet. I heaved it just so. The sloppy remains of the pancake lifted into the air. It sailed up and flipped, and then flew even higher. It made a wet thwack when it hit the ceiling… and there it stayed.
With a gulp, I looked at Granny, wondering how mad she would be. Her expression was blank as she stared upward. She cast an evaluative gaze on me, making me wonder if she thought I’d done it on purpose.
“Pip… Well, that was right impressive,” she said, with the riotous squawking of the crow in the background.
Hurriedly I stirred the batter and poured a puddle of it into the skillet. I didn’t want to give her time to consider in what way a pancake on the previously spotless kitchen ceiling was impressive.
In my haste I had the heat too high, and the hotcake began to smoke. Granny moved toward the window. She told me to just get the spatula and turn it before it burned. I was more than simply nervous by then. I don’t know what possessed me, but I tried to do a combination, turn and toss, with the spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other.
Just then Granny shrieked. The crow cawed even louder. I whirled around. The bird was right outside the window.
My onehanded grip on the iron skillet was too loose. When I moved so suddenly, the skillet flew from my fingers. The shining black pan could have been the cousin to the cawing crow, the way it soared across the room.
I gazed in amazement at the flying frying pan. It spun as it sailed cleanly through the open window. The skillet crashed into the lilac bush just outside.
The crow’s clamorous cawing abruptly choked. I might have chuckled to have gotten the last word on the bird, even if by accident. However, the sound of Granny’s scream was still in my ears, so I didn’t savor that victory.
I spun back toward Granny Phanny to see what was wrong. She stood stock still. Her hands were in fists at her side. My magnificently tossed pancake no longer littered the ceiling. It draped and dripped over Granny’s forehead.
What’s that they say about the better part of valor? On pretext of retrieving the skillet, I ran from the kitchen. The crow alighted on the lilac bush and looked at me accusingly. It fluttered to the windowsill.
“You won’t go in there if you know what’s good for you,” I told the bird.
Granny appeared on the porch, picking batter from her hair. She gave me a look that I couldn’t define. The crow made a brazen cackle. After a moment Granny burst out laughing.
“Pip, go inside and let’s get cleaned up. You haven’t been to the Georgian Tea Room. I’ll treat us to brunch there. If we stay here we might be eating crow — literally,” she said with a meaningful glare at the bird.
With a last disgruntled caw, the crow flapped away.
Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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