Location, Location, Location

Originally published online August 2014

I’m not sure which is stranger: The story or the fact that it is based on an actual conversation.

“Dude, I thought you were supposed to be good with directions,”  the man said from the passenger seat of the small SUV as it sped down an access road somewhere in San Antonio.

The driver growled under his breath before speaking:  “I know it’s around here somewhere. It hasn’t been that long since we last went there.”  Or has it? He thought, now unsure of himself.  The driver let out a sigh and slowed down; the vehicle was approaching a signal light.

“Well, figure it out. I want pancakes,” the passenger insisted.

“I’m working on it. Hijole, the roads in this town drive me nuts sometimes,” the driver said.  The light turned green; the driver put the SUV in gear and they started moving again.

“Yeah, I know. You remind me every time we go somewhere,” the passenger replied.

“Ah-hah, funny guy,”  the driver said with just a hint of sarcasm.  “Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure we should have passed it by now.”  he continued, puzzled.

“Maybe it moved,” the passenger flatly said.

The driver quickly shook his head in disbelief:  “Okay, I’m not listening to you any more until we get there.”

“Just saying.”

The driver started to grumble again.  Suddenly, his face brightened.  “There it is! I knew we were close,” he exclaimed.

“Uh-huh.  Sure,”  came the reply.

“Quiet, you,”  the driver said while pulling into the parking lot.

“Hello, my name is Bev!  Table for two?” the chirpy hostess asked after the two friends entered the restaurant.  The two men did not immediately answer, but were in the middle of a debate.

“There’s just no way.  It’s impossible!” the driver insisted.

“There’s one way to find out,” the passenger said.  He turned to the hostess and asked: “Miss, has this restaurant moved lately?”

“Seriously?” the driver said in disbelief.

“Actually, it has, sir.” she replied.


“It moves all the time!”  the hostess continued.

The statement caught both men off guard.  “HUH?” they both said, confused.

The driver was particularly taken aback and asked:  “Wait, we were here barely a few weeks ago, how and why would y’all move?”

The hostess frowned, annoyed by the question at first, but her smile returned when she came to a realization.  “Oh, I’m so sorry, you must think we’re the other IHOP! That’s very understandable,” she happily answered.

“How many different IHOPs are there?”  the passenger asked.

“Well, sir, this is an Interdimensional House of Pancakes.”  she answered, as if giving a prepared speech from memory.  “When business gets slow in one dimension, the restaurant jumps to another one!  And because interdimensional travel is soo tricky, our location can shift ever-so slightly!  We apologize for the confusion, and your drinks will be free as a token of our appreciation for your continued patronage.  Table or booth?”

The two men stood stock still in disbelief.  After a few moments, the passenger turned to the driver and said:

“Told you so.”