The Fortune Cookie

by Matt Burlingame

The Fortune Cookie - Matt Burlingame
Editions:Kindle - 3.03
ISBN: 1635331641
Pages: 49

Thirty-three-year-old technical writer Laurence Hart is a modern-day Scrooge when it comes to the holiday season—and the rest of the year too. He doesn’t like most people, they don’t like him, and he’s happy to keep it that way. Over lunch with his best friend, he receives a fortune cookie promising him true love. The next day, forced to work on a holiday charity committee or lose his job, he meets Nick, a jolly ginger giant who loves all things Christmas. Together they face numerous obstacles to put together a holiday fair to raise money for children in foster care in only four days. While Laurence has to mend his curmudgeonly ways to make the event a success, Nick’s holiday magic might mend Laurence’s heart.

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LAURENCE HART was a man of average height and weight, with short dark hair and bright blue, almond-shaped eyes. He was the type of man people enjoyed being around. He was kind, easygoing, hardworking, and a good listener. He had a handful of close friends, was well liked by his coworkers, and though he was not what some might call traditionally handsome, he had no shortage of potential suitors.

That was the type of man Laurence was… in his twenties. Now, at age thirty-three, Laurence was… well….

“Hi, Larry,” Millie Sparks, the office intern, said as she entered his work cubicle. She reached into the box she was holding, removed a cardboard cutout of a decorated Christmas tree, and pinned it to a small cork message board, just as she had in all the other office cubicles. “Just spreading a little holiday cheer.”


He stopped his work, swiveled his chair to face the Christmas decoration, and in a low, controlled voice said, “My name is Laurence.” He then pulled the tree from the board and fed it through the shredder sitting to the right of his desk. He turned back to his computer and resumed his work without bothering to look up at her expression.

Millie started to say something but found herself being ushered away by Amanda, a very large woman in her late forties who sat in the cubicle to the left of Laurence.

“That’s right, dear,” Amanda said to her. “Lots more trees to hang up.”

“I only have Santas left.”

“Okay, on you go.” She gave Millie a little shove down the aisle before turning to glare at Laurence.

He knew she was there—he could feel it—but he refused to look up.

“You could have at least waited until she was on the next aisle,” Amanda scolded.

He sighed loudly. “It’s bad enough it’s been all over the building since the day after Halloween. I don’t want it in my personal space.”

As much as she wanted to tell him what a jackass he was, she knew it would do no good. He acted the same way every year. She took a look at her watch, saw it was lunchtime, and logged out of her computer.

“All right, Scrooge, I’m heading to the mall for lunch. You coming?”

Laurence logged off, grabbed his jacket, and walked beside Amanda as they made their way out of the building.

Half an hour later they sat in the second-floor food court eating Chinese food and discussing the latest office gossip. While Amanda found herself occasionally humming along with the blaring Christmas music coming from the holiday display just below them on the first floor, Laurence did his best to block it out.

Reviews:Book Fanatic on Bayou Book Junkie wrote:

Five Stars

Laurence Hart is a veritable Scrooge. Disgusted by Christmas and the cheer it brings, he pretty much has his coworkers scurrying at the sight of him walking through the halls. When his bad attitude lands him on the Christmas Charity planning committee, he is forced to participate or risk losing his job. He has no idea that Nick, a lover of all things Christmas, will help him to realize that he just needs to find the true meaning of the holiday spirit. Maybe his fortune from earlier that week will come true and "True love has come".

This is right up my alley. Funny, cute, sweet. It truly was like a holiday movie.

"For one clear moment he saw himself and realized he was a bottle of wine and a cosmic misunderstanding away from being a Kellie Martin character in a Lifetime movie."

It doesn't matter that Laurence was an grouch. He's undeniably charming and funny and even when he's being a pain, he's kind of lovable. That's why he and Nick worked so well together. It was a definite case of opposites attract but it's endearing for sure.

“He’s very touchy,” Amanda observed.

“I know. And he’s so… emotional about everything too. If anything goes wrong tomorrow, I’m expecting a full Sally Field in Steel Magnolias meltdown.”
“He’s completely opposite of anyone I ever pictured you with.”

“Unless I missed a memo, he and I are not together. Besides, I’ve only known him three days.”
“Three days ago you made an intern cry over a holiday decoration in your cubicle,” she said. “Today you bought Christmas stockings for orphans. You hate orphans.”

This is a quirky fun treat and I definitely recommend it!

About the Author

Matt Burlingame is an award-winning journalist and playwright, living in Northern California. After 20 years of working for for various LGBT newspapers, websites, and even cohosting a late-night radio show, he has retired from his aspirations of being the gay Murphy Brown to pursue his love of fiction writing.His first book, the self-published dark comedy Sorry Charley, was released in 2012.

He has written and cowritten over ten critically acclaimed plays including Recovery Mode, Poughkeepsie Porn Co., Countess Dracula, and the controversial Paperclip Messiah. His plays have been produced nationally, most notably in New York, and St. Louis.

He has been a well known LGBT podcaster for over 10 years and produced and cohosted shows focusing on comedy writing, world events, comedy, theater, gay sex education and positive body image. With the support and encouragement of his gay cat, and lifelong friend Nephi, he has now immersed himself into the wonderful world of M/M romance.