“Step on up! Get your CO-incidence Plan, OR: your FOR-tay’un MYS-ter-ies! A ONCE in a lifetime OP-portunity!”
Miranda’s friends had taken off: no bialys or bracelets here. But the silver-haired man, his musical voice, his conjuring hands – this electric air had captured Miranda.
“Invest in your OWN beliefs, LAY-dies and Gentle-MEN!”
Suddenly it’s her turn. The silver-haired man and his partner rush her: Birthday? Right-handed; left? Favorite color? Now, THE question.
“My mom says there are no coincidences.”
“And your dad says – nothing but.” Miranda frowns. “Lucky guess,” he shrugs.
“Still, I don’t know what ‘fortayun’ means!”
“Sure y’ do, hon, otherwise you wouldn’ta come. Your Fortean Mystery is exactly the opposite of coincidence, see? How much you got?” Man Two talks fast.
Coincidence: one quarter; Fortean: five bucks. Miranda shifts foot to foot.
Man One sighs. “Coincidence is cheap. Popular. Makes people comfortable. But you seem a young woman of… ? Ah, you get what you pay for. Then, Fortean is… complex.”
“No guarantees!” interrupts Two. “You got the opportunity to make life easy.”
Miranda studies the piggy-bank money cupped in her hands. “One of each?”
“Noooo,” they chime. “Gotta be one way or the other,” Two adds, arms folded.
She starts– but they shush: “Whisper into my ear,” says One.
Pocketing her money, they flourish a fancy certificate: gold seal and all.
“Keep it to yourself,” they say, rolling it up.
Miranda hurries through the crowd, past cotton-candy vapors, clutching her prize – eyes wild with worry and wonder.