} Oracle: Dammit, still nothing. Loki, are you *sure* you got
} real virgin's blood? I mean, they're so rare these days...
} Loki: YES, I got real virgin's blood. I've done this before,
} you know.
} [A pentagram is inscribed on the floor, with a black candle
} burning with an eerie black flame at each vertex. Just outside
} the pentagram, by the candles, stand The Oracle, Loki, Anubis,
} Shiva, and Baal. Various animal parts, bodily fluids, and
} other unmentionables are scattered around the pentagram.]
} Oracle: But you remember the rules: it has to be a virgin who
} had the opportunity to not be a virgin, i.e. no young children
} or computer geeks.
} Loki: YES, I KNOW THE RULES!
} Baal: Well, we must be doing something wrong. Are you sure that's
} a *raven's* skull, Anubis? Looks a bit small to me. More like a
} Shiva: Yeah, he's the new one here. A-newbie! Ha ha ha ha!
} Oracle: Stop fighting everyone! We have to get this right.
} I mean, look. The Big Guy goes on a three-year vacation and leaves
} us in charge. And what happens? Clinton's the president. Newt's
} the speaker. I mean, we already screwed things up pretty bad.
} But now this.
} Anubis: California.
} Oracle: Yes. According to the "Disaster of the Month Club"
} California is supposed to get a new disaster every month. We
} started out OK--earthquake, fires, floods. But now we can't
} conjure up a simple minor demon to torment California.
} Loki: Hey! Aren't you the Usenet Oracle?
} Oracle: Yes. You owe the Oracle your point, and a better
} grovel than "Hey!"
} Shiva: Aw, come on. Grovelling is fine for your mortal
} supplicants, but we're all equal here, right?
} Oracle: I think that question is best answered by demonstration.
} I notice your question lacks a grovel entirely.
} [The black flame on the candle in front of Shiva begins to
} grow larger, darkening the entire room. When Shiva realizes
} what is happening, he starts to fight back. For an instant
} the flame grows a bit smaller, but then it leaps up and
} engulfs Shiva. After a few seconds and an almost inaudible
} "zot," the flame returns to its normal size. Nothing is
} left where Shiva stood.]
} Loki: Oh well. He was always a little too tame for me,
} anyway. My point was, if you're the Usenet Oracle...I
} mean, oh magnificent Oracle, whose wisdom outshines the
} twenty-four sages of Bombay, if you're the Usenet Oracle,
} doesn't that mean you're omniscient?
} Oracle: Yes. You owe the Oracle a medium pepperoni pizza.
} (The Oracle is getting hungry.)
} Loki: So, oh exceptional Oracle, who can quote lines from
} every episode of all four Star Trek series, don't you
} *know* why this summoning isn't working?
} Oracle: Yes. You owe the Oracle genetic analysis of
} the bird skull to determine whether it really is a raven
} or not.
} Loki: And so, most-taxing-to-my-patience Oracle, WHY DON'T YOU
} TELL US WHY IT ISN'T WORKING!
} Oracle: BECAUSE NONE OF YOU IDIOTS ASKED ME! You're such an
} expert on "the rules," you should know I can't impart my
} wisdom unless someone asks! You owe the Oracle your next question!
} Loki: Why isn't the summoning working?
} Oracle: It took you long enough to ask that! Since I was
} waiting so long, I'll ignore the lack of a grovel. The
} summoning isn't working because we're missing the wisdom
} tooth of a warlock. It needs to go at the third vertex,
} next to the scarab of a Pharaoh who was poisoned by his
} daughter-in-law. You owe the Oracle--get this--the wisdom
} tooth of a warlock.
} And *you* owe the Oracle a god to replace Shiva. One who
} doesn't make bad puns on "Anubis."