As most of you know, I have a Blog Prompt site, The Blog Propellant. One of the prompts has turned into a “crowd writing” story, and because I love crowd writing projects, I decided to contribute:
Ying Lee, her husband Gui, brother Junjie and sister-in-law Jeanette found the small neighborhood on the edge of Belfast city limits where they opened Mei Garden Take-Away more welcoming than they were lead to believe. Chinese people had been long established as a predominant immigrant group in Belfast, so maybe that had something to do with it. Whatever the reason, the animosity their friends and family told them to expect was nowhere to be found. It was just as well. The four of them had work to do, and time was running out.
The first time Jeanette saw Nigel, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“You should see him!” she exclaimed at the dinner table that night. “He’s a common…I don’t know….guy! He’s just a…guy!”
Ying, Gui and Junjie did not reply to Jeanette’s protest.
“I did not expect he’d be such a nobody,” she said, and let out a sigh.
Gui said, “None of us knew anything about him.”
“I know,” Jeanette conceded, “it’s just that … it’s just that I thought he’d be something…more. Different.”
Nigel gave Ying a wave as he left Mei Garden with his double order of Kung Pao Chicken. Gui and Junjie had been furtively watching him from the moment he walked in the door, and moved forward from the kitchen when he left to where Ying stood behind the cash register.
“You gave him just the one cookie?” Gui asked his wife.
“Of course!” Ying snapped.
Junjie took in a long breath and let it out slowly. “And, so,” he paused. “Now, we wait.”
The three of them stared out the window of the restaurant at the people walking past. They snapped to and returned to their jobs when Nigel’s sister Mary walked in the door with three of her friends.
Gui hissed at his wife, “You have NOT seen him, yes, if she asks…?” Ying waved him off.
Back in the kitchen, anticipating at least one order for Chow Mein, Gui got to work on the vegetables in the wok.
Junjie stopped his prep work and turned to Gui. “So, I know what I’m supposed to do when the time comes, but I have to ask…what was in the cookie?”
Gui tossed the vegetables several times before deciding to answer the question. “I tell you, you cannot, I mean, CANNOT tell Jeanette.”
“It simply says,” Gui said, “Things go wrong. The odds catch up. And probability is like gravity. You cannot negotiate with gravity.”
Ginny opened the fortune cookie straightaway, studied the small slip of paper for a moment, smiled, folded it in half, and slipped it into her brassiere. She winked at Nigel, William and Paul, and turned back to the bar.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Ginny, what’s it say?” they all asked.
Ginny just looked back at them over her shoulder, smiled, popped half of the cookie into her mouth, and kept walking. She waved to Mr. Skipworth as he came through the door. Amazingly, it looked like the fortune was already coming to pass.
“You seen that clown’s out there again, yes?” Skipworth said with a big smile, as the loveliest girl he’d ever known approached him with an equally happy smile.
“Oh, aye, he’s been seen,” Ginny said.