What Keeps Them Coming Back

Posted: February 18, 2017 in What Pegman Saw
Tags: , , , ,

The idea for this submission came from Lori Nelson-Clonts, one of the wonderful women in my writing critique group. I love the concept of her yet-unpublished novel – “The Good Luck Fortune Cookie” and wanted to share it with all of you. I chopped her story line down to 150-words.


Sitting at the crossroad of this way and that in her life, Akiri pondered her significance in the family business.
Her brother made Okonomiyaki from a two-hundred-year-old recipe.
Her sister played the Binzasara, music men drove miles to enjoy while eating her brother’s creations and staring at Makiko’s hands.
Mother ran the kitchen. Father counted yen.
For other members of the family, customer interaction was essential.
Meanwhile, Akiri was cloistered in an upstairs room, listening to private conversations piped through microphones hidden beneath tables in the restaurant. Beside her desk, a box held a thousand slips of paper on which she wrote “special” fortunes gleaned from conversations between diners.
Akiri turned declarations of love, admissions of fear, anything, and everything into “fortune.” Nothing was sacred. She often felt like a spy.
Still, before each customer parted Akiri managed to slip hope inside homemade fortune cookies – served free at the end of every meal.

(150 words)


  1. That’s a great story, and very Japanese in its mixture of duty and obscure hope. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Balaka says:

    Good story with a Japanese feel


  3. Iain Kelly says:

    Great concept, I can see the novel having lots of different stories from the family and the customers. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DebraB says:

    What a great idea! I love the concept of a fortune cookie “spy.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great concept and vert well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Lish,

    I love this. I can imagine what customers found in those fortune cookies. Great idea. Thank you for sharing this!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rochelle. A great idea, yes? Lori and I both entered our current pieces in a writing competition this spring. I got 22nd place out of 122 submissions, Lori got 16th place. Not bad, me thinks. PLUS her story got voted the favorite out of all the submissions, although it didn’t take her any closer to publication. She’s still trying, as am I.


  7. jellico84 says:

    Still my favorite part of the meal! 🙂 I have a jar full of little fortunes kept from such cookies.


  8. k rawson says:

    I think I may have eaten there–I’ve had a few uncanny fortunes myself. Fabulous concept and a concise little tale that hints and all sorts of story lines.


  9. David K says:

    A lovely story. I like the way that anything can be turned into fortune — and why not, if the future is not written or promised yet? But imagine the reaction of some of them when they literally, almost have to eat their own words. 🙂


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