The attendant held out the distinctive yellow and orange envelope.
“Thank you Mr. Su” he said cheerfully as Kam took the envelope. “Have a nice day, Sir.”
Kam stepped out of the arcade into the Pacific Avenue rush. He squinted against the low October afternoon sun. Damn, no sunglasses.
He crossed the street to the new two-story Starbucks and stood in line behind the usual collection of black clad teenagers, under-employed hipsters, and multi-level marketers in cheap sports coats. Kam stared at the logo on his envelope. A laughably cheap image of crossed fingers on a background of the initials LD and the motto “Only Time Will Tell.” He flipped the envelope over and fingered the flap. Turned it back over and stared at the crossed fingers again. His brother had told him that the initials LD stood for Lucky Dayz and that the company that produced the AnswerMachine™ had originally been in the business of manufacturing claw crane games and bar-top slot machines. In fact the machine itself was originally designed as a fortune telling game called “How Shall I Die?” The designer had had the brilliant idea of getting cryptic sounding answers by taking random phrases from a live connection to Wikipedia. Marketing had loved the fortune cookie vibe of the answers but had nixed the name in favor of the less definite AnswerMachine™. Still ‘everyone’ knew that the machine only answered one question — How am I going to die? And ‘everyone’ knew that the machine was never wrong.
“Lucky Dayz. That’s rich.” he said aloud and then remembered he wasn’t alone.
He turned the envelope back over and slid his finger under the flap. There were two pieces of paper. A closely printed double-sided “Guide to your Answer”. He ignored this and looked at the 3x5 card with it’s happy orange border and the LD logo in the corner.
“Leonard Cohen?” it read. “What the fuck, they’ve given me someone else’s results.”
He shoved the papers back into the envelope and stuffed it back into his messenger bag, elbowing the man behind him in the process.
“Oh, sorry.” He apologized as he stepped up to the counter.
Americano in hand Kam walked to the condiments bar to get half-n-half. Waiting behind the goth girl adding four Splendas to her soy latte, his curiosity got the better of him and he dug the envelope out of his messenger bag. As he pulled out the card the Guide fell to the floor. An older woman with lots of precise spikes and angles in her gray hair stopped to pick it up for him. Handing it over she stiffened when she saw the envelope in Kam’s hand.
“Superstitious nonsense.” she muttered [Read more…]