Genre: Young Adult & Youth
Co-written with Priya Dugad.
So there's this stupid machine on Coney Island. You know, the amusement park way the hell out in Brooklyn. Rickety rides, cotton candy, and fortune tellers. Nobody goes to the actual, living, breathing, lie-brokering fortune tellers. They go to the machine, put in a quarter, get a slip of paper. And here's the thing. It's spookily accurate.
But everyone knows the machine is vague. It's called Madame Zamoka, and is a giant mechanical lady wearing a turban behind a thick pane of plexiglass. Yeah, she's creepy, but she's vague. She's almost worse than the Oracle at Delphi, if you think about it. I mean, at least that Oracle spoke in riddles. This thing just squeaks her little gears and jerks around inside her weirdo cage and then spits out a little slip of paper like the kind you find inside a fortune cookie at Ollie's in Times Square. You know, once, at that place, I got a fortune that said "You are eating at a fine establishment." It was a lie, because a) I was not even at the restaurant, having ordered take-out and b) the food, as usual for Ollie's, was sub-par.
“You’ve got a quarter, right, Eileen?” Donna asks. “I know money’s, like, tight or whatever at your Mom’s”
“I’ve got a fucking quarter, Donna,” I say. I pull out my purse. It’s a genuine Gucci from back before Daddy lost all his money in frigging stocks and the IRS came and he just up and went to God knows where, I don’t know, the Camen Islands or something? It’s a little worse for wear, but it’s fucking mine. One of the inner pockets has all my change and I fumble past a couple of lipsticks and a tampon and find a quarter. Shiny, metal, cold.
“Here you go, Madame Zamoka,” I say. “Tell me how I’m going do die.”