} she demanded in a brittle voice, whirling around to nail me to the wall
} with her fiery glare.
} "You doubt me?" I asked, careful to keep my voice low and even.
} "Oh, I don't know what to think anymore!" she cried, and paced the room
} like a caged woodchuck. "Three weeks ago, when I met you at Olivia's
} party, I thought I was the happiest woman in the world. You and I shut
} everyone else out at Trivial Pursuit, you knew how to mix every drink
} that anyone at the party wanted, and when we were ready to go, you
} found my keys for me even though I dropped them behind the couch before
} you got there. Something seemed a little odd about you, but you were so
} sweet and nurturing, I just couldn't keep you out of my thoughts."
} "You're never out of my thoughts," I said. "Of course, nothing is ever
} out of my thoughts." As soon as I said it, I regretted it.
} "That's it exactly!" she howled. "I can't take this anymore! You're
} unlike anyone I've ever met in my life, and I've come to think you're
} unlike everyone else entirely. Strange things keep happening. My three
} hundred pound neighbor who insisted on sunbathing nude on the front
} porch vanished, leaving only a glowing pile of dust behind, and now the
} X-Files screenwriters are crawling all over the place, gathering
} material for an episode on spontaneous human combustion."
} "Look," I said in my best soothing tone of voice, "there's a perfectly
} natural explanation for that --"
} "And every time I call and leave a message on your answering machine,
} one of those twenty-six weirdos who live in your house calls me back
} and says 'The Or -- erm, Frank has pondered your question deeply ... '"
} She collapsed into a chair and her face crumpled. "That's just not
} I didn't know what to say. She looked up pleadingly at me. "What we've
} got is good. I want it to go on. I want you in my life, and me in
} yours. But you've got to tell me the truth. The whole truth."
} I rubbed the back of my neck. "I usually need something in return for
} telling the truth."
} She tilted her head and her eyes narrowed, then her face cleared.
} "Well, that's kind of an unhealthy fixation, but no man is perfect, I
} guess. We can work on that one. What do you 'need'?"
} I took a deep breath. "My name isn't Frank. It's Oracle. I see all,
} know all, and when I get mad, I can reduce solid matter to vapor with a
} word. Those twenty-six 'weirdos' are my priests. They help me manage
} the stream of questions that I get all night and all day. People all
} over the world grovel before me and plead for my wisdom." I paused,
} gathering my strength for the last part. "And Lisa, you're the most
} beautiful woman I've ever seen. Your glance flies straight to my heart
} like an arrow, and your smile makes my head swim and my knees go all
} Her face relaxed into a delighted glow, and she flowed into my arms.
} After an eternal moment's silence, she led me upstairs to her bedroom.
} As the door closed behind us, I mumbled, "You owe the Oracle, erm ... "