Twenty Is Not a Prime Number

A blonde from afar has something interesting for you.

This is the fortune I get from the cookie at the end of the meal I am sharing with Parker, a few blocks from my house.

“Do you know any blondes from afar?” he asks. “Any of them disturbingly wealthy and willing to share?”

I turn the fortune over to check that more information hasn’t been appended on the back side, but there’s nothing there but what the fortune lists as my lucky numbers: 5, 13, 19, 29, 37 and 43. “All of my lucky numbers are prime,” I say.

“What?”

I turned the paper around for him to see. “Look. They’re all prime numbers. What are the odds of that?”

“Does that mean anything?”

“I don’t know. It could be magic. Maybe it really is a fortune in a cookie.”

“In that case,” he says, “be on the lookout for a blonde from afar.”

“Mathematics is the purest way of knowing the shape of the universe,” I say. “If any fortune is going to come true, it will be the one with nothing but prime numbers on it. All of these numbers are keys, and they each unlock a different door in reality.”

“It’s all random,” he says. “A computer makes those and puts them onto the fortunes. I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

“Which makes it even more likely that there’s something up, since the whole process was removed from the hand of any man. It’s all mystical, especially once you start breaking it down. All of them are significant to me. When I was five, I nearly drowned in a lake on a family vacation. My father pulled me out and I wasn’t breathing, but he managed to push the water out of me and put air back into my lungs after a few minutes. I couldn’t see any colors for a week after that.”

“What? You only saw in black and white?”

“That’s what I said.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” he says.

“Many things happen that don’t make sense, that doesn’t make them not true.” I look back at the fortune, at the numbers. “I lost my virginity when I was thirteen, so that’s an important number, I think. Nineteen was when I was asked to get married, but you know how that turned out.”

“No,” he says. “I don’t.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Twenty-nine was when my father died. That’s significant, right?”

“It’s coincidence is what it is,” Parker says. “Besides, you’re thirty-five years old, so the last two numbers don’t fit in.”

“Oh, I’m older than that,” I say. “Once, when I was twenty, I fell asleep for five years in the back seat of an abandoned ’47 Chevy, and spiders came out of the air vents and wrapped me inside a cocoon of spider silk. They’d never seen a human inside the car within their lifetimes and they had no idea what I was, but they all agreed that it was a rare and precious event and that I should be preserved like a work of art for future generations of spiders to look upon and rejoice in the majesty of the universe. The silk kept me protected from time and entropy, and when I woke and tore myself free, I was as young as I had been on the day I’d fallen asleep.”

“Okay,” Parker says. “That definitely should be one of the significant events that you’re talking about.”

“It can’t be,” I say. “Twenty isn’t a prime number.”

“Of course it isn’t,” he says. “So anyway, we can add five pretend years to your age, which only puts you at forty. You’re three years off from that last number.”

“You forget that spacetime is curved, and that it’s possible for the future to influence the past. When I was supposed to get married and I didn’t, it was because my forty-three year old self did something in the future that affected what my nineteen year old self was going to do, which saved both of us from a bad marriage.”

“Now that’s just silly.”

“It’s general relativity,” I say. “Look it up.”

“It’s not general relativity,” he says. “It’s Back to the Future.”

I shrug. “Six of one… hey, you haven’t opened your cookie yet. Don’t you want your fortune?”

He shakes his head. “I think one crazy fortune a day is enough, and yours is crazy enough for the both of us.”

I grab the cookie and put it into my purse. “I’ll save it for tomorrow then. I like knowing that my fate will already be decided for me, at least a little bit.”

“I think maybe that when you were half-drowned in a lake that not all of your brain kick-started itself back into gear when you woke up.”

I nodded. “I know. That’s exactly what the spiders thought, too.”

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8 Comments

  1. This makes me wish I were a blonde.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  January 7, 2012

      I hear that they have more fun, but I don’t know. I doubt that they hold a monopoly on it.

      Reply
  2. I like that all the fortune numbers together reduce to the number 1. It all comes back to the Self…true Prime.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  January 7, 2012

      It’s all about numbers really, which is funny, since I’m a writer and not a mathematician. Perhaps I’m in the wrong line of work…

      Reply
  3. No, Kameko. You’re a writer. 🙂 Take it from someone who majored in accounting when she should’ve been writing. There’s no creativity in numbers – at least, not the legal kind. 🙂

    These numbers were great teases. One never knows what might come along and cause a reveal.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  January 7, 2012

      I don’t make nearly enough money to have any need of creative accounting, sadly. Seriously though, I’ve never been very good with numbers. Give me words and grammar over digits and sums any day!

      Reply
  4. This made me so happy! It was that good. 🙂

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 22, 2014

      I can’t believe it’s been two years since I posted this, and two years since you started reading me!

      Where in the world does the time go?

      Reply

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