Garage-sale variety olive-green corduroy, elbow patches, hems too short. His jacket pocket produced answers one afternoon like strips of paper from cracked fortune cookies. The pocket on the right, to be exact. It had been an ordinary jacket, but then as he stood on the corner of Huisache and Market Streets, angled toward the vast parking lot and pausing to pinch the bridge of his nose, eyes closed, he was thinking,what the hell have I done? And the second he jammed his hands into his jacket pockets the right one answered with a small paper ribbon lapping at his knuckles. He thumbed it free. Unfolded it. You have made an ass of yourself, it read in the small, even print of capital letters. At first, he’d thought announcing a weight-loss competition for the women of his office had been a good idea. Now his pocket confirmed what the sick sprawl in his ribs and Annette Demarcolo’s middle finger had told him already. It was not.

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