Thursday, August 25, 2011

#FridayFlash--The Fortune Cookie

The Fortune Cookie

Charles set down his chopsticks and let out a sigh. He couldn't eat another bite. The Orange-Flavored Chicken at Lu's was the best money could buy, both taste and portion-wise. He'd barely touched the fried rice, but that would heat up just fine for lunch tomorrow. Of course, he still had room for the fortune cookie. It wouldn't be a Lu's meal without that.

He broke open the plastic wrapper, devoid of the usual advertising. Strange. For as long as he could remember, Lu's address and phone number adorned the wrapper. Mr. Lu must have decided to save a bit of money. Didn't really matter, as long as the cookie was still light and tasty.

It snapped in two, same as always, and the fortune fell into his palm. These were silly, but he still got a kick out of reading them. Lu's fortunes weren't really fortunes at all, but silly sayings or old proverbs. When they did predict the future, it was something mundane that didn't matter anyway. So when Charles read this one, he let out a gasp.

"Tomorrow at noon, duck." And not only that, there were five lucky numbers listed: 2, 17, 23, 38, 41.

"What in the world?" Definitely a new cookie company. Seemed a little too specific. Whoever wrote this one probably just wanted to get as many people to look silly at noon as possible. As Charles tossed his trash, for some reason he pocketed the fortune. Just for laughs. Or at least that's what he told himself.


At lunch the next day, Charles found himself alone on the company smoking porch. He popped a cigarette into his mouth and reached into his pocket for his lighter. His knuckles brushed against a scrap of paper, which he fished out. The fortune from yesterday. He'd forgotten he'd put that in with his change and keys this morning. Why, he didn't know, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.

He glanced at his cell phone. 11:58. Should he duck? No one was out here, so he wouldn't look goofy to anyone but himself. He lit the cigarette and looked out into the beautiful courtyard the company provided. Sure, the hours sucked and the work was repetitive and boring, but at least he got this view a few times each day.

Noon. He chuckled and bent down to tie his shoe, just in case anyone was watching from one of the windows. Why he was following the random advice from the cookie was beyond him, but why not? It wouldn't hurt anything. And he could share a goofy story with the cute counter girl at Lu's next time he was there.

Glass shattered behind him. He fell on his butt and looked up. A bullet hole spider webbed the thick window. He peeked inside and saw an upper-management-type slumped over dead, blood trickling out onto his desk from the hole in his chest. Charles figured if he could see the floor behind the dead man, there'd be a puddle of organs and gore.

He looked up near the top of the buildings forming the triangular courtyard. Nothing. At that moment, his bravery--or shock; he wasn't sure which--wore off, and he dashed away. Should he tell anyone, or simply hope there were no cameras out here to pick up his presence? Had the cookie really saved him? Somewhere in the back of his mind, those five lucky numbers danced. He'd have to hit a convenience store on the way home to play the lottery.