My mother was in the kitchen as I had expected. I was a bit weary of talking to her but not much surprised that she was preparing pancakes again, pouring the dough out of the ladle just as I entered the kitchen as if she had been waiting for me to start her act. Again she poured the dough very carefully, so that each cake had exactly the same size. I wondered briefly whether yesterday’s pancakes were still in the fridge. “Hi, honey,” my mother greeted me with a surprisingly warm, unstudied voice. They were getting better at it, I thought, but why always pancakes? Most mothers try for some nutritional diversity let alone my mother who was not all that happy about our enthusiasm for waffles and pancakes which she called “empty carbs”. She normally tried to entice us to start the day with her own frog-slime-green home-made wheat grass juices instead or some unidentified grain and would only occasionally yield to our pleading for sweets for breakfast. I returned her greeting cautiously. “Morning, mom (I had to overcome a bit of reluctance to call the impostor “mom”). Pancakes again?” “But you love pancakes,” the mother impostor answered, very much like she had the day before. Again she also offered me a bowl of fruit salad that I accepted after some hesitation. I did not want to eat anything that had been prepared by a stand-in for my mother but I was ravenously hungry by now. I did not have much money left for my trip to the city and would not last the day without food. Spring grass green, orchid red and a lovely glowing pale orange mixed to an enticing advertisement of a fruit salad but the fruit tasted stale at best. Actually, I reconsidered, it tasted like nothing, not stale, not fresh, not like apple, not like orange, not like grapes. A dreamless nothing of a fruit salad. I finished it off none-the-less, staying hungry and craving more food. The stand-in-mother served the pancakes next, perfect, buttery light brown pancakes with a small lake of amber syrup on the side. I finished those off too, almost curious as to whether they would satisfy my hunger. They did not. The pancakes despite their delicious perfection dipped in dripping syrup were melting in my mouth without leaving the acid sugary taste I was craving. I also noticed that they had no temperature, they were not warm, they were not cold either. At best, they did not exist. After eating three pancakes I had been served I got up from the table just as hungry as before. This time however I walked over to the fruit bowl and took an apple. My mother looked at me dreamingly as if she didn’t know what to do next. The spatula in her right hand was raised as if she wanted to make a point and it remained like that. She was waiting. The program had a glitch. I waited a bit longer just to see how long it would last, it seemed that she was stuck, spatula extended. Finally I took pity on us both. It was almost fun to experiment with this creepy otherworld, but only almost. I had to find some humor in it or else I would have been lost with fright. “Bye now’” I addressed her finally, “got to rush.” “Bye, sweetheart,” she responded automatically, the spatula still raised. I turned away. I hoped she’d be released out of that pose or she’d be sure to have sore muscles later and she needed her arm for painting. I realized how ridiculous that thought was. I needed to stop thinking of her as a faulty program. But it was hard to. At least I felt pity rather than fear. Fear is paralyzing. I walked off towards school then changed direction to the train station.