by Bonnie Weinstein Crowe

Ever since I saw the episode of The Twilight Zone, where William Shatner pops into some hick diner with his frowsy girlfriend only to find he’s seated next to a coin-op jukebox that accurately predicts his future for a nickel, I’ve wanted one.

Yes, I know all the arguments about how the future is what you make of it; free will and all that Descartes crap, but I want answers.

I’ve tried horoscopes. They're not bad, except I never know what to do when one magazine’s advice contradicts another; like when Cosmo tells me I’m up for some big social activity for the month that will make me ritch and famous, but Glamour warns not to go out of the house for fear of death by a large explosive device. It's a tough call.

I’ve had friends whip me up one of those nifty astro-charts, but with all the rising signs, ascending moons, trines and green clovers, I think I’d have an easier time understanding what’s in store by eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.

I don’t drink tea, so leaves are out and I don't think coffee grinds are an exceptable substitute. I don’t have the cash flow for a Soho psychic. And numerology? Are you kidding, I can’t even figure out how to balance my checkbook.

So that really only leaves one alternative -- fortune cookies.

Sure, laugh; but why not find the answers to life’s great mysteries in a fortune cookie? They’re as good a place as any AND you can eat them. So, in the interest of science, I proceeded to order up some cold sesame noodles and Lake Tung Ting shrimp (my favorite, I gotta find this lake one day, it would make a great pilgrimage. Never mind Israel or Mecca, I’ll bet Lake Tung Ting has some answers).

In each batch of illustrious, grease laden take-out, I received my reward: the key to my future. Like any true scientific experiment, I followed strict procedure. Open cookie only after the meal was consumed and only one cookie per evening, or else the order would be deemed null and void (after all, if proffered two fortunes, I could accidentally open the wrong one). Cookies that were cracked, opened or tampered with in any way would not be tolerated. Nor would soggy cookies, because the actual cookie had to be ingested and I really can’t stand a rubbery fortune cookie.

Read it and eat!----->