November 25, 2008

I See A Financial Transaction In Your Future

Just a sideshow mage, maybe a little too proud of his gifts considering his present station. Lodged in the little booth behind the round cloth-covered table in an obscure part of the arcade.

Here's one, you see, here's a good one now. All I ask is a quarter, the fourth part of a dollar, and for your trouble you can have a thousand dollars for it. You see? You see the attraction? A thousand dollars for a quarter: Yours! Oh, and but all you have to do is tell me what's under the hat…

You see? You see the potential of it now, the negligible loss balanced against the considerable gain? Eh? Eh?

Your wondering what might fit under the hat, whether there might be a hole in the table making room for a much larger object than you might at first suspect, whether between the tassles there you might get glimpse of whatever it might be. And it's only a quarter to guess.

And it's a secret, you see. And the mage, you understand, this is what I do, this is the thing handed down to me, for an additional quarter the mage will reply with utter truth to any question put to him by the seeker, and for a dollar answers a fifth question for free.

Time was it was a dime, and before that a penny. It was a dime when I was coming up, always a dime, but I was told about the penny I'm old but not that old, heh heh.

Yes, yes, it was always ten dollars to buy the answer from the mage, decline the chance to gain a thousand dollars with an independent guess but instead pay up and have the thing straightforwardly revealed by the simple offices of an ageless business proposition cloaked in the mysterium of initiation into the ancient ways of the mage.

Yes, yes, it's always been ten dollars to be a mage. The secret revealed, yes. It kept the number of new mages down back when guesses were a penny each, yes. Ten dollars was a lot then. Nowadays it's not so much, but nowadays who wants to be a mage? Who wants sit in a booth all day long giving true but necessarily unhelpful answers to the straggle of seekers happening by? They want their thousand dollars but they can't find it in themselves, you see? Still, a quarter here, a quarter there. It's a living.

Oh, but yes. Your ten. You've paid to join now, you'll have your secret revealed now, you're fit to use it or pass it on yourself, oh yes. All rights and privileges, just as promised.

It's my head, you see. It's my head that's under the hat.

Go on now.

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