} First of all, congratulations on being selected for the Oracularities
} Digest! As you are no doubt aware, this is no mean feat, and does
} in fact usually require large sums of money and a small sacrifice or
} two. (That will come later, as you get hooked and become more
} desperate to be published. For further discussion of this topic, see
} the chapter entitled, "Graduate School.")
} As for your question, I am concerned that Steve feels the need to be
} involved at all. Let's go see him.
} [Scene fades out, then back in again, the Oracle now standing before an
} immense doorway to a large mansion in southern California.
} The Oracle knocks.
} After some time, Steve Kinzler appears at the door. He is dressed in
} a scarlet bathrobe with matching slippers and is smoking a pipe, a
} smug grin on his face. Several scantily clad women are lounging on
} a divan in the background.]
} Kinzler: Oracle! So glad to see you! Sorry it took me a minute to
} answer the door, but I was just getting ready to head to the
} Jungle Room. Come - we'll talk along the way.
} [The Oracle follows Steve through a maze of oaken doorways, the smell
} of incense mingling with the squeals of delight which emanate from
} every closed door along the way.]
} Oracle: I really like what you've done to the place! The last time I
} was here, everything was covered in fur.
} Kinzler: Hmmm, well, I decided to go post-modern. Besides, the
} cleaning bills were astronomical. That, and the new
} synthetics just didn't have that certain "look and feel."
} Oracle: Yeah, I know what you mean.
} [Steve opens an otherwise non-descript door and bids the Oracle to
} enter. Inside is the largest Jacuzzi that the Oracle has ever seen,
} surrounded by dozens of potted palms, birds-of-paradise, ferns, and
} other various forms of underbrush. The sounds of tropical wildlife
} ooze from several well-camouflaged all-weather speakers, while cleverly
} arranged mirrors make the room look many times larger than it actually
} is. Six minbogglingly beautiful bikini-clad women are sipping
} margaritas in and around the hot tub. Steve removes his bathrobe,
} revealing a pair of red swim trunks liberally sprinkled with the IU
} logo. A puff of smoke momentarily enshrouds the Oracle, then clears,
} revealing the Oracle in trunks which read, "Open Late This Holiday
} Season For Your Enjoyment." Both enter the frothy water and relax.]
} Kinzler: So what brings you here, anyway?
} Oracle: A supplicant of mine mentioned that you had a hand in
} selecting a question for the Oracularities Digest. I was
} worried that you were feeling a little left out or something.
} Kinzler: (chuckles) Not at all. It's just that whenever a
} particilarly good question gets selected for the Digest - I
} *do* read the Digest, you know - I make it a point to invite
} the Priest involved to visit here for a while as a "thank
} you." (It also allows me a certain tax break for this place.)
} If it happens to be an Oracular PriestESS, she's invited to
} stay in the East Wing with the Chippendale's Volunteer
} Entertainment Squad.
} Anyway, things have been going so well lately that there
} aren't that many priests available right now. I lend a hand
} whenever the booze starts to run out and I can't afford to
} have any more visitors.
} Oracle: Well, that's a relief! I was afraid that you'd finally
} snapped from all this "living."
} Kinzler: Not to worry. Besides, if *I* pick the Digest entry, the
} supplicant has to pay me a lot of money and maybe make a
} sacrifice or two. That's how I afford more of this "living,"
} as you say.
} Oracle: Nice setup! I still miss the fur, though. Well, I'd better
} get back to Olympus and answer some more questions -
} Kinzler: No need to leave just yet! Jennifer?
} [A black-haired, blue-eyed nymphette smiles devilishly at the Oracle
} and holds out a waterproofed laptop with a cellular modem...]
} You owe the Oracle a damn good question.