} No, we can not dispense with the groveling nonsense. As a punishment,
} I will only tell you my second greatest achievement. Don't you feel
} My second greatest achievement concerns a poker game. I was playing
} one night with Death, Fate, and Nature. It was a VERY heavy game, and
} I was deeply in the hole. Playing with these guys was always a
} special challenge. Death had a habit of "collecting" everything.
} Fate knew the destiny of each hand before he even picked up his cards.
} Nature could see into your heart and find any bluff or weakness. Of
} course, I knew every card as it was dealt because I am psychic. But,
} merely knowing the hands in this game was not nearly enough.
} I was holding a pair of aces. Death had three threes. Fate had four
} lousy hearts, but I could tell from his smile that he knew he would
} get a flush. Nature had a king and two queens, but, knowing nature,
} there would be another king or queen along any minute. I decided to
} knock out Fate first.
} I said to Fate, "Too bad."
} Fate said, "Too bad about what?"
} I said, "It's a nice hand. It's a shame it will not win."
} He said, "What are you talking about? I can tell that it is the
} destiny of this hand to win."
} I said, "Don't forget that I am psychic. I can see into your mind
} deeper than you can see yourself. I can tell that you know that your
} hand will lose. Just ask Nature." Of course, I couldn't really see
} into Fate. Nobody but Fate can know Fate.
} Nature played it like a proffesional. She said, "Yes. I can tell
} that he is telling the truth. You will lose."
} I made the first bet while Fate mulled this over. I bet 5.
} Nature raised the bet to ten. It was now Fate's turn to bet.
} Fate said, "Wait a minute. Why would you tell me that I am going to
} lose? You must know that I will win. But, if you knew that I would
} win, then why didn't you fold?"
} Death said, "Can't you tell that we are just playing with you?"
} Fate considered the concept of Death playing with him. He said, "I
} Death called the bet, and now it was my turn. I said to Nature, "It
} must seem futile, really."
} She said, "What is futile?"
} I said, "You struggle to create new life and fill the world. But
} always, it all falls to Death in the end. Sad."
} She shot Death a nasty look. She said, "Yes. It can be a little
} I raised the bet to 20. I said, "This is your chance to get some
} revenge. You must really enjoy these little poker games with Death."
} She raised the bet to 40. She said, "I must admit. Beating Death can
} be very satisfying." She grinned.
} Death stared at the large pot. He said, "We all know that Death
} always wins in the end." He raised the bet to 60.
} I breathed slowly for a minute and then called the bet. One of
} Nature's queens had triplets. Nature now had four kings and two
} queens. She called the bet.
} Death noticed the unusual action in Nature's hand. He said, "I
} I considered my nearly vanished pile of chips. I had just enough to
} raise the bet by 2, and I knew that I would lose if she called or
} raised. If I folded, then I would be so deeply in debt that my soul
} would be forfeit. I decided to bluff, and I raised the bet. Nature
} I said, "Isn't it funny."
} She said, "Let's not get tricky. Don't forget that I can see that you
} are bluffing. What so funny?"
} I said, "It just seems odd that Nature is about to kill me. Just
} moments ago she defeated Death. Now she brings Him back into play."
} She said, "It is not odd. You have been playing like an idiot all
} night. Now you lose. When you lose to Nature, Fate, and Death, all at
} the same time, you can expect the consequences to be rather severe."
} I said, "You don't hate me. I'm just the Oracle. You really want
} to get back at Death and Fate for destroying your work. If they lose
} to you, then they will feel a little bad. If they lose to incompetent
} old me, then they will feel rotten. Which is worth more to you? A
} few poker chips, or a real sting to Death and Fate?"
} Ooops. I'm out of time. I'll finish this story later. You owe the
} Oracle a poker heart.