My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. My mind wouldn’t stop whirling. I would have done anything at that moment to fill the hunger rumbling against the walls of my stomach – well, anything that happened to be cheaper than the five dollar bill and miscellaneous change I had accumulated in my left jean pocket over the course of my two-day roller coaster ride through the depths of Isla Vista.

I hadn’t eaten in over 36 hours and this UCen oasis was my ticket to blissful sustenance. Too bad its so-called “express line” resembled the Great Wall of China as it meandered across the cheap blue carpet, otherwise my two-entree combo would have already been shoved into my echoing belly with Samurai swiftness.

I had to get my mind off the food, but that damn panda had to keep staring at me like I was a giant bamboo tree. Fuck him, I thought. I wanted to put the bastard back on the endangered species list, or at least smoke him out later, but my inclinations for fast service prevented any preemptive panda pouncing. Focus Jeff, it will all be over soon, I thought.

Thankfully, the young couple in line ahead of me had other things to worry about. From what I could pick up over the underground commotion was an aspect of Isla Vista and college life I’ll never forget.

“Do you think she’ll find out?” the tiny girl wrapped up in a punk rocker’s arms stammered.

“I hope not. She’d be pretty pissed,” he replied staring into her eyes.

“Well, what would you do?”

“I don’t know. Not her anymore, that’s for sure,” he laughed.

“I’d kick your ass if you ever cheated on me,” she scorned.

The dude glanced up in my direction. I looked away as quickly as possible, thankfully avoiding his stare, and any awkward moments I would have shared with the sinful fuck over the next few minutes.

I stared at the panda again. “Pretty ballsy of these two lovers,” I thought.

“You have no idea,” the panda replied.

“Fuck you, panda,” I thought. “All you do is sit on that bright red sign and pester students who just want a bite to eat. What would you know about the secrets lovers keep?”

“As much as you think you know, my boy,” the panda snickered. “I’ll even wager the rights to that joint stashed away in your pocket on it.”

My right hand plunged into my pocket until I ran my fingers across the tightly wrapped little fellow waiting for me to light up at the end of this wretched line. Either this panda had a nose for quality ganja, or he could see my blazed eyes desperately searching the menu for anything digestible.

If the panda wanted a bout in this extrasensory fight, then I was ready to rumble. In the last few months I had amassed enough experience on the subject to fill Storke Tower to the brim.

Okay, I thought. Where do I start? How about the sorority girl who slept with her ex-boyfriend a few days after she took me out to lunch on my birthday and let me spend the night at her house? Why not tell that egotistical panda about the chick that never told me she had a boyfriend until after the closing credits of “Donnie Darko”? Here’s my favorite: How about the girl I immediately fell in love with the first day of fall quarter? My heart stopped when she told me she had feelings for me, but then was stomped on the second I found out she fucked my roommate in our room one drunken night.

I would have gone on, but the panda stopped talking. It just stared at me again. Fuck you, panda.

I stood there in line, waiting to order. My stomach erupted again in a colossal rumble. I couldn’t go without food any longer. I ran up to the counter and grabbed the only fortune cookie facing me. At least this would quell the quake, I thought. I snapped the folded wafer and pulled out the fortune.

“Follow the advice of your heart,” it read.

I stared at the panda. A smile curled on its lips. I scarfed the cleverly folded wafer then stashed the fortune in my pocket. “Fuck you, panda,” I thought. “You wouldn’t know about love if it imprisoned you in a zoo.”

“But it’s all you need,” the panda replied.

Daily Nexus Opinion Editor Jeff Gibson once tried smoking out of a fortune cookie, but all he got out of it was a bunch of losing Lotto numbers.