} The Oracle grins to himself. This is an old joke, but he never gets
} tired of it. With an elegant handwave, he flicks on a screen. A
} beautiful view of static appears. Slightly annoyed, the Oracle hits
} the screen twice on the side, and an image appears. A subtitle reads
} 'Alternate Future 24-G-xvwm9302-0945fct'. The scene is the High Office
} of the Oracle, but something about it is completely wrong.
} Maybe it's the lifesize picture of a caribou against the setting sun
} that does it. Or the beer cap collection which, having covered most of
} the console already, has started its successful conquest of the
} floorspace. It could also be the lynchmob of sizzling priests that are
} surrounding something small and shivering, cowering under the desk.
} "Explain yourself!" exclaims one of them, a stately priest wearing a
} headband with 'Viva Zadoc!' on it. The figure under the desk mutter
} something. "What do you MEAN, warned us about the earthquake? Any
} idiot could do that!" The victim furiously mutters something more.
} "Listen, buster, we don't CARE about your correct predictions of wars,
} famines, lottery numbers, ear and neck disease, alien invasion, Bill
} Gates' death, the rise of Atlantis, the decrease of geeks, the return
} of..." he is suddenly stopped as a door comes open with a bang. Lisa,
} voluptous as ever in a tight leather outfit, gives them all a furious
} scowl. "I'm off, then," she says, turns around, and slams the door
} behind her again. Several of the priests faint, the rest acquire
} murderous glares one would previously have assumed them incapable of.
} "You can't hurt me! I have the Staff of Zot! I can Zot to ashes
} whoever tries to lay hand on me," squeals the person beneath the desk.
} "Zot all you like, impostor," the spokespriest replies. "We are many,
} and have been equipped for the occasion with the power of Toz. Someone
} open the window, please."
} As he soars through the air, the soon-to-be-pulp asks himself how he
} could have failed. He knew everything! He had learned all possible
} futures for the next hundred years. He had memorised the fates of
} everyone with more than a 10% chance of seeking him. He had repeated
} the word 'Zot' to himself 500 times every night. What, oh what, could
} he have done wrong?
} The picture freezes on this face from which so many thoughts can be
} read. The Oracle chuckles. "I'm afraid the deal is impossible,
} supplicant," he says good-humouredly to the screen. "You may be
} skillful, witty and wise. But only the truly omniscient knows the way
} to Lisa's G-spot."
} You owe the Oracle a magnified photo of that expression. But hold the
} bottle caps, please.