“Yeah, I guess,” Mary said. She opened her own cookie and silently read the inscription.

“Well, what’s it say?”

“To doubt is human, but to believe is even more so.”

“See? See? What’d I tell you?” Emily said. “You doubted it, and the cookie knew it. Somehow, it knew it.”

Mary was quiet for a moment. “I’d like a second helping,” she said to Li, when he returned. “And bring us more cookies.

Li walked back into the kitchen and said a few words to the cook. Then he turned a corner and came upon his grandfather, seated on a small, low bed in front of a TV. The old man was looking through a peephole into the restaurant proper, and listening at a small speaker.

“The customers would like more cookies,” the younger Li said in Cantonese.

Grandfather Li dipped his hand into a bag of Wal-Mart brand fortune cookies—the treats were an American invention after all, not a Chinese one, something Li found endlessly amusing. He selected a cookie and deftly plucked the manufactured slogan out of it with a pair of steel tweezers.

Li wound a thin slice of rice paper into a typewriter that his grandson had modified. Delicately, he typed out a new message using only his pinkies: “One who expects miraculous things inevitably finds them.” He chuckled, remembering how his grandson would often add the phrase “in bed” to the end of cookie sayings when reading them aloud. The new message was tucked into the empty cookie, and added to the tray, which the younger Li took and served.

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