What is my deal with leather jacket-wearing bad boys named Warren???
A stupid crush. That’s what it was. A stupid
crush on the head cheerleader. He didn’t stand a chance. She was a goody-two
shoes, a preppy pink princess, and Warren was…well, Warren. Surely she didn’t
want to date some hothead like him.
Working at the Paper Lantern had some perks.
Free Chinese food and fortune cookies whenever he wanted it. But another perk
was that it was her favorite restaurant. He’d watch many of her dates go south,
sometimes helping her escape through the back door. It was the little things he
did that made her smile. He would slip an extra fortune cookie in her bag or
even just smile, and it made her feel like she would melt into a puddle.
You were sitting in your favorite booth by
the corner, stirring your straw around in your drink, waiting for your date to
get here. You had been waiting for three hours, but, you didn’t want to give up
on him. One more hour. Then you would leave.
“Hey.” Warren sat across from you.
“Hey.” you sighed, shoulders slumped.
“Yeah. I guess.”
“Date stood me up.” you told him. He nodded.
“I thought so. Here.” he pressed a fortune
cookie into your hand. You offered a small smile. Warren just now noticed the
red in your eyes from crying.
“You’re too good for him, you know. Whoever
he was. If he doesn’t put forth the effort to treat you like the princess you
are, he doesn’t deserve you.”
“Thanks, Warren.” you sniffled, wiping your
tears on a napkin.
“Don’t mention it.” Warren snapped, the tip
of his finger producing a small flame, and lit the lone candle sitting on the
“Do you, uh, could you keep me company? If it’s
not too much trouble…”
He took a glance around the nearly-empty
restaurant. It didn’t seem like his help was going to be needed any time soon.
When you decided to leave, Warren insisted on
clocking you out and walking you home to make sure you made it there safely. You
faced him on the front porch. Out of nowhere, you hugged him.
“Thank you. For tonight. You turned a
disaster date into a nice night.” you told him. He chuckled, wrapping his arms
“How about next time I take you somewhere
other than my workplace?”
“Are you asking me out, Mr. Peace?”
“Um, yeah. I guess. If you want or whatever.”
he shrugged, cheeks burning bright red. You stood on your toes, pressing a kiss
to his cheek. You swear you saw steam rise from it.
“See you at school, Warren.” you sauntered
into the house. “I don’t have any plans this Friday night.”
“I’ll pick you up at 8,” he smirked, trying
to shake off the giddy feeling inside of him, but you could see right through
his tough-guy act.
“I never saw any fortune cookie in my life until I was a teenager,” said Yiying Lu, a San Francisco-based artist who was born in Shanghai. Lu encountered her first fortune cookie when she left China and moved to Sydney, Australia.
Now, the fortune cookie she designed for the Unicode Consortium will be one of dozens of new emoji that are part of a June update. Lu also created the new emoji depicting a takeout box, chopsticks, and a dumpling.
The irony, she says, is that two of the four new Chinese-themed emoji—the fortune cookie and the takeout box—are not Chinese Chinese, but instead reflect Westernized elements of Chinese culture. “It’s kind of like Häagen-Dazs,” Lu told me. “People think its Scandinavian just because of the two dots in the name, but it’s American. It’s the same thing with the takeout box. The Chinese takeout box is completely invented in the West. And the fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese person, but it was popularized in America.”
“The people who fight the hardest for certain emoji are usually trying to fight for representation for themselves in some way,” Lee told me. “Most linguists say emoji are not currently a language—they’re paralinguistic, the equivalent of hand gestures or voice tone. But for people who use them, it’s almost like fighting for a word that [shows] you exist. When you come up with a word to describe your population, it’s a very powerful thing.”
4 egg whites
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
Zest of an orange or 1/2 t extract
1 c flour sifted
½ c sugar
¼ c water
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Print out self-made fortunes, write them, copy someone else’s, whatever. Cut them out.
Beat egg whites until foamy but NOT to a peak. Just nice and bubbly. Add sugar and beat. Add sifted flour and whisk. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. You want a runny batter that spreads very easily.
On a silpat on a half sheet pan, drop 6 to 8 dollops of batter about 2 inches apart. Whatever you are comfortable with because you have to move fast. If you don’t, the cookies won’t form because they will harden. Smooth out with the back of a spoon and make as even as possible. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until edges start browning.
Pull out immediately, put in fortune and fold like a taco pressing the open end. Fold closed end over the edge of a cup and pull the corners down. Put in a muffin tin to keep to form. Repeat. This recipe should make 24-30 fortune cookies.
You can use multiple pans or use one. However, if you’re only using one, be sure to let it cool first. Putting batter on a hot pan will start cooking them before you want them to be cooked.
If you don’t have a silpat, get one. It’s amazing what you can use them for.
Last but not least, turn the oven down to 200 F. Once the oven reaches 200 F place the muffin tin with the cookies in the oven. Bake about 25 minutes until partially hardened. It should harden more when cooling down. If you don’t do this, you will have soft seemingly stale cookies.
To be a wandering magician is to court
danger, sometimes even without realizing it. A magician survives by
knowing more than others do, more even than by magic or because of
the talents that make one a magician. I’m always wary of what
happens because of Jay: he’s eleven from far Outside the universe
and his desire for adventures possibly eclipses his talent for making
bindings. Which is why I’m always caution when he suggests thing,
waiting to see how the universe shapes itself away from them or how
Jay bends everything toward himself without even realizing it.
Charlie is human, a god-eater with a
god inside her, but still human. We have both spent so long being and
dealing with Jay that sometimes I forget how dangerous she can be,
also unknowing. She suggests Chinese, which includes fortune cookies.
Jay is naturally all about the buffet and cookies as part of that,
happily eating enough for six adults. I catch up on mundane things
with Charlie – she’s pestering me to watch more TV that is just
TV, to find outlets where I can just be me.
I remind her of what happened when she
got Jay to watch Star Wars, and get a middle finger in reply. I grin,
open my fortune cookie without even thinking. I have been a magician
for over ten years, which is why the grin holds when I reach the
Charlie has known me for five.
“Magician?” she says quietly.
“Nothing. I think.” I pocket
the fortune, ask if she can keep an eye on Jay, walk outside. ‘Who
are you when you’re alone?’ the
fortune asked. It is
at least not a weaponized koan. I
have no idea what fortune Charlie or Jay have, and odds are Jay would
notice if I tried to remove or change theirs. And have questions. I
leave them to their own fortunes and wander side roads of the town. A
broken drain here, a piece of missing pavement there, a lost ant
needing help over here. I reach out with the magic, gently push
things back in place as I walk. A house missing the owners is tagged
for Jay to visit, an argument in another gently lessened as I pull
some of the anger, giving it to another person who can never hold
anger as long as they should.
alone, and I and the magic both answer the fortune: I am the
wandering magician, no matter if I am alone or with others. Charlie
keeps wanting me to do normal things, but I don’t think I have that
normal in me anyone. The magic needs to be used as much as I need to
use it. For every great and terrible thing I have done – and there
have been too many of those by far – it is the small magics I
enjoy. The little miracles no one notices. The gentle touches to the
skin of the world to soothe things.
no longer certain I could stop doing that, stop being
even if I tried. It’s no longer merely duty, it was never honour.
Who am I when I’m alone? Always the same as I’ve ever been.
in the darkness, though never away from the sun. I carry the magic,
it carries me. It’s enough. Enough is more than most people get.
watch the magician walk outside, feel the distance between us.
Sometimes he has to do just – go, though not in ways that break
bindings with Jay. (Never that, not ever again.) Jay is getting more
food and people are staring but also not noticing on some level. He
hides that he’s not human, and it works even when he does things
humans don’t do. I tell him I’m going out for a walk and he just
nods. Trusting me, taking me at my word since that’s what Jay does.
The fortune cookie crumbles in my hand without my noticing the
fortune a single question: ‘Who are you when you’re alone?’
I haven’t been alone, not often. There’s the god inside me, but
it’s hard to know where it ends and I begin anymore. Mostly, I
don’t think about that. I’m not a magician, but I have some
power, and more skill than others like me do. I can drain gods of
energy to temper them, destroy those who try and be more than a god
can be. I’m
not bound anywhere, not beholden to any law. It makes me useful, and
useful seldom gets time to be alone before others seek you out.
Wanting things, needing even more than they want.
like to think I’m still the Charlie I was before I met the
magician. The goth girl who could pretend the world was normal, who
thought the darkness was safer than the light. Now I know that
different isn’t the same as safe. Nowhere is safe, not really. And
every week, every month, everything I learn and am takes me further
from the normal world. College? University? Even the wandering
magician has given up flat-out suggesting I consider that.
is from far Outside the universe, and he passes for human better than
I do some days. I try not to think about it. It’s too easy to get
angry. Even alone, I’m too quick to give into darkness. Where do I
end? Where do I begin? Even alone, I have no way of knowing. Even
alone, I’m never free from the choices I’ve made. I light a
cigarette. Sometimes it helps. On the bad days, I don’t think this
was my fate. On the bad days, I think the wandering magician made me
into a god eater and bound the god inside me to protect the world
never told him that. I have no idea what he’d say.
have no idea if I ever mean it.
Charlie and Honcho leave the buffet,
which means even more food for a Jay so I have third helpings of
sixth helping and maybe sneak a few more plates when no one is
looking cuz I’m kind of maybe hungry a lot! After, they lock the
kitchen up and I know Charlie and Honcho would be cross-face if I did
bindings to sneak into the back to get more food even if
I only got one fortune cookie and I have lots of jaysome fortunes. So
I open it, and read it and it’s pretty confusling for a Jay.
“Who are you when you’re alone?”
I scratch my head, and turn to find me
sitting across the table. Mostly, older-me doesn’t visit much and
I’m not allowed to think about why. There’s sadness in his eyes
jaysome doesn’t hide, part of him that’s so away from me I’m
not sure how to get there at all.
“I’m Jay,” I say happily.
“I know.” And I’m really good at
sounding dry like Honcho when I’m fifteen. Older me reaches out a
hand, reads the fortune as well. “I try and keep an eye on you,
just as you come into the future to visit me sometimes.”
“Uh-huh! I am pretty jaysome at that
but! it kinda means the fortune makes no sense cuz I’m not alone?!”
“You are sometimes. There are whole
days I never look back on, at any age. Sometimes out of a sense of
I stick my tongue out at me. “You
should come by more often, since Charlie and Honcho don’t see you
much and –.”
And things go funny. I think I learn
something, but older-me does a binding so I forget it. I think maybe
he has to do that a lot, which is why he doesn’t visit much?
He stands. He moves away from me like
I’m some kind of sun. “There are –.” He is silent. The
silence isn’t jaysome. “I should go. I just wanted you to know it
all turns out all right.”
“Oooh! That means I can sneak into
the kitchen and have a snack?”
“No. I meant, more in general. But
there are times you are alone, and you can think about that.”
And he’s gone, and no one noticed
him. I head outside. Sometimes future-me gets pretty weirdy. Who am I
when I’m alone? I’m a Jay who is jaysome and nothing changes