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At the Irish Writers Centre Workshop on Saturday we’d to “create a still-life in a room (e.g., an overturned chair, some balled-up pieces of paper) that implies a dramatic moment”, and describe what happened just before or after that moment…

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It looked like a jellyfish, or at least the way a jellyfish would look if had decided to play on a trampoline and hadn’t realised how low the ceiling was.

It was splayed across the ceiling, testament to man’s determination to show off, and to the adhesive qualities of a pancake. God knows what they must do to the inside of your stomach.

It was Pancake Tuesday and she had been making pancakes because he had asked her to, since he was a traditionalist at heart, and she had been flipping them because he had asked her to, since he was a big child at heart.

She had been tentatively flicking the pan upwards, like a person trying to bounce a ball on a tennis-racket. Her pancakes would jump slightly, like a magic-carpet with a faulty motor, and then flop onto the side of the pan like a towel left lying on a bath.  

He had said she was not much of a flipper, which had not improved her mood, and then made that dolphin noise that sounds like Woody Woodpecker with a peg on his nose, which had improved it even less, or disimproved it even more. She handed him the pan and asked him to show her how it was done, in order that they could actually eat some of the pancakes so that, as she put it, he would be even more full of crêpe than usual.

He took it, put one hand on his hip like the Dread Pirate Roberts fighting a duel, and vigorously flicked the pan.

In his defence the pancake did turn over in the air on its way to the ceiling. They watched it splat, they watched it sprawl. It was as though they were watching a murder-movie with their TV upside down.

And as they gazed upwards gravity went to work, and he ended up wearing the pancake like a Spider-Man mask.

It was the best Pancake Tuesday she’d had since she was a child.