Marinda’s Fortune

                                           … A Writing Prompt
By Jeff Salter

Okay, folks, in a typical writing prompt, the idea would be for you to state (briefly) how you might develop a story if you were to write it using this concept or situation.  Yeah, I do want you to tell us that.  But I ALSO have other specific questions I’ll reveal at the end of the prompt.

Marinda’s Fortune
            Marinda enjoyed most types of Oriental food, but particularly those restaurants and buffets which gave away a fortune cookie.
It was the sweet-but-bland taste of the cookie that appealed to her.  But Marinda did stop to read those tiny strips of paper inside.  Lottery numbers, some Oriental characters, maybe a wise ‘saying’ … but also a general fortune.
Usually those fortunes were as non-specific as you’d find in the newspaper’s horoscope.  But this one was different!  Marinda read it again.  Hmm.  Why so specific?
Oh well, she paid her check and started to leave.  Then went back to her table to retrieve her fortune.  It would be amusing to show to her boyfriend later.
A week later, Marinda was traveling through a nearby city and spotted a Chinese Buffet on the highway.  It was dinner time so she stopped.  Great food — ate too much.  Opened the fortune cookie … same message inside!  She gulped.  The exact message as before.  No, wait … couldn’t be.  So she dug in her change purse for the one from the previous week.  Side by side, they were different in other respects — the lottery numbers varied, for example — but the fortune was identical.
She tried to chuckle, but it came out more like a choke.  She tucked the slip into her change purse and went on her way.
Over two weeks later, on business in a different state, Marinda spotted an Oriental restaurant.  After that incident with the duplicate fortune cookie, she’d stayed away from her local favorite dining places.  But tonight, a long way from home, she thought maybe she’d forget that uneasy feeling and enjoy a nice meal.
When the server brought her check and the tiny wrapped package, Marinda stuck the cookie into her pocket and paid her bill.  Outside, she hurried to her rented car and sat inside … doors locked.
She reached into her pocket for the fortune cookie and cracked it open.  No effort to pick up the broken pieces from her lap — she wanted to read that fortune.  Turned on the dome light and then slowly unfolded the slip of paper.  The SAME FORTUNE!

            What is the very next sentence in this little story?
What would YOU write as the repetitive text on Marinda’s fortune cookie slips?
Why was Marinda dining alone?
What kind of job does Marinda have?

Pearl Harbor Day
            Tomorrow, Dec. 7th, is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  One of Denise’s uncles was in the Army Air Corps and stationed at nearby Hickam Field, also attacked during that raid.  I’ve spoken to the widow of a Navy man who was injured when his ship was struck by bombs or torpedoes.  Let’s not forget the nearly 3000 people killed … and many more injured.


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Holiday, Jeff Salter, Miscellaneous, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Marinda’s Fortune

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Hey folks, WordPress has just informed me that this is my 100th post … at 4F1H.
    Wow … time flies. Seems like only yesterday that Jillian was holding my hand — via long distance phone — as I uploaded my first post. Actually it was about Feb. 1 of 2011 … some 22 months ago.


  2. Lindsay says:

    Next sentence-She let her head flop back against the head rest.
    What was on the fortune cook- You will die.
    Dining alone- she’s running from a killer
    Job- She’s a reporter who uncovered a sinister plot


  3. Iris says:

    1 – She grabbed her handbag and searched her for her mobile.
    2 – Don’t trust anybody!
    3 – Business Trip
    4 – FBI/CIA … or one of your other secret services

    Hey …. BTW …. today is St Nikolaus Day 😉 …


  4. Meg Mims says:

    I like both Iris and Lindsay’s answers — but let’s twist it to a romantic outcome … YOU WILL SOON MEET THE MAN OF YOUR DREAMS — and after the third fortune cookie, she can’t start her rental car, and the guy who stops to help her is THE ONE. Hey, it’s FICTION!! 😉


  5. Sherry Gloag says:

    repetitive text: There’s nowhere to run
    Why was Marinda dining alone? She’s running from a vindictive ex
    What kind of job does Marinda have? None, she was a ‘trophy wife’


  6. Miranda slumped in her seat and sighed heavily. What had been weighing on her mind was now being presented before her. That little voice inside was now speaking from the outside. She was tired of working alone; she was tired of all the running around, both for her work, and by her boyfriend. She had suspected him of infidelity, was worried every time she was not with him. She knew her work suffered because of it. He had that charming smile which made her trust him when she saw it, but how many others were also pulled in by it? She knew in her heart that she had to leave her job and be available and watch him closely if she was going to keep him, and keep him she would! The fortune:
    “.What you suspect is true; you must not overlook what lies beneath.”
    Miranda quit her job and watched her boyfriend closely. Eventually, through their constant company and her doing everything to please him, they married, but not happily. She was suspicious and over-bearing. You see,the fortune was correct, but it was not about her boyfriend, who had never cheated on her and wanted her always in his life; it was about her work. Miranda had become so obsessed with her unfounded suspicions that she no longer did a thorough job as a bridge inspector.
    [And thanks, Jeff for reminding me of Pearl Harbor Day.I am so tied-up and behind,I wondered what to write as a prompt for tomorrow,with little time to think.I have a true story to pull into.]


  7. What is the very next sentence in this little story? She gasped, amazed.
    What would YOU write as the repetitive text on Marinda’s fortune cookie slips? Not yet, keep waiting.
    Why was Marinda dining alone? She lives far away from her family and has a hard time making friends.
    What kind of job does Marinda have? Something in the medical field.


    • jeff7salter says:

      I LIKE it, Jillian. The fortune’s text is suitably mysterious that the reader won’t know for sure what’s going on. And neither will Marinda.
      And Marinda’s isolation makes her more paranoid than she might be if she had some bosom buddies around.
      Great job.


  8. 1. Marinda puffed out her cheeks and considered the slip of paper. Obviously someone – or someTHING was trying to get her attention.
    2. It won’t be an accident. What will you do now?
    3. She dines alone often because she travels on business a lot.
    4. She’s a traveling sales rep for a pharmaceutical company.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s