FORTUNE BY AARON BURCH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 02
These fortune cookies never have actual, real fortunes any more, she said.
What are you talking about?
On the weekends, we went out for Chinese. We tried to mix it up, find new places. We drove all over town, neighboring towns, like being on the run, or a scavenger hunt.
You know, she said. They are always predictions now. Weird sayings. Cliches. And they overload you with info—lucky numbers, how to say words in Chinese, the name of the restaurant.
What’s the difference, I say. What would be an actual fortune?
We always ordered lots of food, more than we could ever eat, took our time. Her husband worked late, long hours in a restaurant. We sampled, compared, prolonged the moment until the check and, the best part, the fortune cookies.
I don’t know, she said. I can’t think of an example. It just seems like they used to be different, like when we were kids or whatever.
I think I know what you mean, I said, thinking I might.
I swiped at my forehead. She smiled. I always ordered my food too spicy. She’d told me once that it was cute how the food made me sweat, cute how I dabbed my forehead with my napkin. A part of me wanted her to reach across the table, napkin my sweat away herself.
Why don’t you just order it less spicy, she’d asked a few times.
I held out my hand and she dropped in her fortune. What do you do with these, she said.
I just like to collect them, I guess, I said. I used to collect old Bazooka Joe comics. That kind of thing.
At home, I glue-sticked each one to my photo album. Reading them from beginning to end, I tried to make them make sense, make them into something coherent, a story. It would all come together, at some point, in due time.
THE RIDE BY TEDDY TOTIMEH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 02
SIN INSURANCE BY MICHAEL P FERRARI 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 02