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"Thunderation!" exclaimed Zeus, as he stormed into the sewing room: "What is going on, here? I just got a complaint from your Uncle Hades that you're bickering is waking the dead!"

"It's Lachesis, Papa!" replied Clotho, as she pointed an accusatory finger at her middle sister: "You won't believe what she's been doing. Or, should I say; what she _hasn't_ been doing?"

Zeus looked at the youngest sister: "Atropos, what is she talking about?"

Atropos looked up from the whetstone, where she had been honing her shears.

"Lachesis has been conducting unauthorized experiments."

"Greek translation?" her father demanded (with steadily decreasing patience).

"She's neglected to give a certain mortal any lots, whatsoever.


A dark cloud immediately appeared over Zeus' head, with miniature lightning bolts crashing in and out of it. From the top, bottom, and sides.

"Is this true?" he finally asked (once he had calmed down enough to let the cloud dissipate).

"Well, I..." she began.

"Wait a minute!" exclaimed Atropos: "Make her swear by the River Styx that we're lying."

"Yeah," added Clotho: I'll bet she can't."

Zeus looked at Lachesis: "Well? Can you?"

Lachesis glared at her smugly grinning siblings. Then, with the utmost reluctance, she shook her head. Causing Zeus to sadly do the same.

"Why off Earth would you do such a thing?" he wanted to know.

"I was bored!" she heatedly replied: "I mean; it's not like the Good Old Days, where everybody believed in us. These days, my allotments are restricted mostly to science fiction and mythology buffs! So, I decided to see what would happen if I gave a spectacular life to one man, who's not into that form of literature. And, almost nothing to his younger brother, who's crazy about that stuff!"

"And, what did happen?" demanded Zeus, who was mildly curious, himself, by this point (though he would not admit it).

"Nothing yet. I was just about to start the most interesting phase of the experiment, when these two caught me using the magni-scrying glass."

"Alright, then," said Zeus: "Let's _all_ see what happens. Then, I'll decide what your punishment will be."

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(JULY 20, 2012)

"I still don't believe it!" shouted Gabriel Bullfinch: "How can anybody be ineligible for a consolation prize?!"

His younger brother merely shrugged.

"That's the way my jinx has always worked, Gabe."

Robert "Bob" Bullfinch was not exaggerating. His first two years of high school, he had loyally attended every single one of the football team's home games. Primarily, because his older brother was their newest starting quarterback!

Unfortunately, the team had lost every single one of those games. And, miserably so.

That was when it had first occurred to him. He was a jinx! A bringer of bad luck to those around him. Of course, when he said as much to his parents, they instantly told him there was no such thing as a jinx. That the football team's miserable athletic record was strictly a coincidence. So, Bob decided to test that theory.

During the fall of his junior year, he attended only half the home games. And, sure enough; the football team did much better that year. Not only did they manage to make it all the way to the first round of post-season play-offs, before being knocked out of the running. But, Gabe had also graduated with an athletic scholarship to Auburn University!

To prove this was no coincidence, either, Bob boycotted _all_ the home games during the fall of his senior year. And, sure enough; the football team became state champs!!

That was twenty years ago, though. Since then, they had traveled down extremely different paths. Where Gabe was now a famous and widely read sports reporter, after retiring from the NFL, Bob worked as a junior accountant.

In the billing department of a funeral home.

They had recently reunited to celebrate Bob's thirty-fifth birthday by going to see THE PRICE IS RIGHT. And, for once, it looked like Bob's jinx might remain dormant. Or, even better, that it might have even faded away, completely. If for no other reason than his was the first name to be called to "come on down!"

Unfortunately, not only did he not win his way up on-stage. But, every contestant who did...failed to win their individual pricing game. With the culmination of these failures being a double over-bid on the two Showcases. Followed by the aforementioned declaration of ineligibility with regard to Bob's consolation prize (a fortieth anniversary commemorative edition of the Popeil Pocket Fisherman).

"That's bullshit, Bob!" Gabe now heatedly declared: "And, I'm gonna prove it to you, once and for all."

"How so?" his brother replied (defiantly crossing his arms)

Gabe grinned: "How'd you like to be my guest at the Olympic Games in London?"

Chapter End Notes:
Special note: according to most reference books on Greek mythology, the River Styx was the river of unbreakable oaths. Not even Zeus, himself, could break a promise sworn by that stream's name!
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