Louisa tried not to crave fortune cookies but couldn’t stop thinking about their sugary sweetness. The way they curved like warped clams. The way they cracked and crunched in her hands.

Most of all, she craved the tiny oracle inside. That all-knowing slip of thin-weight paper that could make her dreams come true or crumble them like the already broken shards of the fortune cookie itself.

And then, the reading of the fortune. Louisa always knew the next paper would say something profoundly prophetic that would shake her to her core. Her world would change in an instant, because the next cookie would guide her unerringly toward her true reason for being.

At least, she thought it would, but then was mystified by vagueness of the fortune. If she was to gain a friend in an unexpected place, would it be a best friend? A friend for a day? Next week? Next year? On her deathbed? Since she believed that each new fortune cancelled out the previous one, did she want to keep the one about the friend, or try for a better one?

The answer always seemed to be to try for a better one. Louisa became obsessed with getting the perfect fortune, so she ate in Chinese restaurants every day. Her afternoon mood hinged on what her latest fortune said. Eventually, one or two fortunes a day weren’t enough. She bought bags of fortune cookies and opened them one after another, each time expecting better, yet always disappointed. She finally knew she had gone over the edge when she stomped a whole bag of fortune cookies to crumbs just to read the fortunes.

She lifted a single fortune from the dusty fortune cookie remains, and discarded the rest. Even now, it sits on her kitchen counter, next to the battery-powered, tabletop, pebble meditation fountain. You will soon obtain the one thing you have always wanted. It’s a good fortune. For now.

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