} All is dark and silent at Oracle Headquarters. The Oracle
} Himself has gone home for the evening, the Priests have been
} locked in their cages, and the doors locked, the windows
} shuttered, the lights extinguished.
} All is dark, that is, except in one hallway, where a person
} clad in shapeless overalls mops the floor, whistling tunelessly,
} staring vacantly.
} All else is silent, until a terminal in a Priestly cubicle
} begins to beep. The Priest *should* have logged off and
} powered down, but you know how Priests are...
} Kinzler hears the beeping, and shambles towards its source.
} He's been told, time and time again, not to answer these
} calls, but you know how Sysadmins are...
} The keyrings affixed to his belt give off a fiendish clanking
} noise as he wends his weary way towards the terminal. The
} clanking of the keys, the tuneless whistling, and the
} beeping, are the music of this night.
} He arrives at the terminal, and reads:
} > ?
} "Golly!", he soliloquizes, "the Question ain't a-printin out!
} I'd best be fixin this here terminal afore the boys comes in
} fer the mornin shift!"
} He grabs a screwdriver from the back pocket of his overalls
} and reaches for the rear of the terminal. Moments later,
} there is a cacophany of coruscading sparks, and a charred
} figure falls inert to the floor.
} The tragedy is discovered the next morning, and all Oracular
} operations are suspended for a week.
} Millions of supplicants, deprived of their customary witty
} answers, despondently throw themselves beneath the wheels of
} speeding prams.
} Streetcleaners, disgusted at the mess, go on strike. All
} metropolitan streets become impassable, workers cannot
} commute to their jobs, and the wheels of industry grind to a
} halt. The Market crashes, brokers from their windows fall,
} and civilization comes to an end.
} No, supplicant, this hasn't happened, for now at least it's
} just a parable, a story that warns of what *could* happen if
} you're not more careful with your Questions.
} You owe the Oracle a thousand-line Question, written in
} heroic couplets, with no misspellings, but with at least
} three puns in every line.