I need a very long and funny joke?
2006-11-27 13:21:02 UTC
I am looking to tell a joke for speech class but it needs to take 3-8 minutes to tell...any ideas, please super funny only thanks
Thirteen answers:
2006-11-27 13:24:29 UTC
A young lady asks her boyfriend to come over one Friday night and have dinner with her parents.?

Since this is such a big event, the girl announced to her boyfriend that after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time. The boy is ecstatic as he has never had sex before, so he takes a trip to the chemist to get some advice and condoms. The pharmacist helps the boy for about an hour. He tells the boy everything there is to know about condoms and sex. At the counter, the pharmacist asks the boy how many condoms he'd like to buy: a three-pack, a ten-pack or a family pack. "I'm REALLY going to give it to this girl," the boy tells the pharmacist. "I intend to plug every orifice in her body at least twice!" The pharmacist, with a laugh, suggests the family pack, saying the boy will be rather busy, it being his first time and all. That night, the boy shows up at the girl's parents' house and meets his girlfriend at the door. "Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet my parents," she says. "Come on in!" The boy goes inside and is taken to the dinner table, where the girl's parents are seated. The boy quickly offers to say grace and bows his head. A minute passes, and the boy is still deep in prayer with his head down. Ten minutes pass and still no movement from the boy. Finally, after twenty minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leans over and whispers to the boyfriend,"I had no idea you were this religious." The boy turns, and whispers back, "I had no idea your father was a bloody pharmacist."

----------------------------------------- OR -------------------------------------

Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was visiting a school when a teacher asked him if he would care to lead the class discussion on semantics. Tony, having just escaped a mauling by the BBC's Jeremy 'Rotweiler' Paxman by the skin of his lying teeth, smugly chose the word ‘tragedy' and asked the class to give an example of its use.

One boy stood up and said, “If my girlfriend, Suzie, who lives on a farm, was playing near the cesspit, and fell in, and her dad stuck a fork through her chest and killed her, that would be a tragedy.”

“No,” said Blair, “that would be an accident.”

Then a pretty, dark haired girl called Keli, raised her hand and suggested shyly: “If there was, like, a nucla war dat killed all da blokes but left da girls alive and da last bloke on earth lost his testicles in a shaving accident, that would be like, a REAL tragedy.”

“I’m afraid not.” Said slimey Tone. “That’s what we would call a great loss.”

The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Blair searched the room in vain for an upraised hand. “Isn’t there anyone here who can give me a correct definition of the word 'tragedy?”

Finally, a scruffily dressed blonde right at the very back of the room raised her grubby hand. In an an uncertain voice she said: “If an aircraft carrying you, Mr. Blair, the cabinet and Mr Bush was struck by a ‘friendly’ missile fired by an American helicopter gunship and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.”

“Fantastic!” exclaimed Blair. “That’s right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”

“Well...” replied the girl, “it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn’t be a great loss and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either.”

----------------------------------------- OR -------------------------------------

Four men were bragging about how smart their dogs were. The first was a draftsman, the second an accountant, the third was a pharmacist and the fourth was an unemployed painter and decorater.

To show off, the draftsman called to his dog: “Tsquare, strut your stuff, boy!”

Tsquare jumped up on a drawing board, took out some paper and a pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle.

Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

The accountant said his dog could do better. He called his dog and said: “Spreadsheet, do your stuff.”

Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen biscuits and promptly divided them into four piles of three.

Everyone agreed that was bloody clever.

The pharmacist said his dog could do even better. He called his dog and said: “Testube, do your stuff.”

Testube got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a pint of milk, got a glass from the cupboard and filled it to the brim without spilling a drop.

Everyone agreed that was pretty good too.

Then the three men turned to the unemployed painter and decorater and said, “What can your mangy old mutt do?"

The jobless painter and decorater whistled up his dog cat and said, “TeaBreak, hit it, mate!”

TeaBreak jumped to his feet, ate the biscuits, drank the milk, crapped on the paper, humped the other three dogs, claimed he'd injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, applied for compensation and went home for the rest of the day on sick leave, after accepting the offer of counselling.

----------------------------------------- OR -------------------------------------

It was Christmas Eve and a man was about to throw himself off the roof of a ten-story building. His attractive wife had left him for a younger man, he’d lost his job and he owed thousands of pounds to the bank. Just as he was screwing himself up to jump, Father Christmas tapped him on the shoulder.

"Are you OK?" asked Santa solicitously.

The man explained why he was so miserable and prepared to jump.

"Stop!" shouted Santa. "It's Christmas — I'll grant you three wishes to solve your problems on the understanding that you will grant me a small favour in return!"

"Would you?" the man replied hopefully. "That would be wonderful! Thank you, thank you!"

Santa promised him:

"You shall go home in one hour and your wife will be dressed in her sexiest underwear, begging for forgiveness and longing for your return, and she will have forgotten all about her new lover."

"You'll go into work tomorrow, sit at your desk and still have your job. Your salary will have increased by 50% and nobody will have any recollection of your sacking."

"Then you'll go to your bank and discover you're ten thousand pounds in credit with no outstanding bills."

"Oh thank you, thank you!" said the man. "What do you want me to do in return?"

"Drop your pants and bend over!"

The man reluctantly complied. After quite a brutal rogering, which made the man’s eyes water, Santa zipped up his pants and asked the man how old he was.

"Thirty-six." replied the man.

"Ho, ho, ho! You're a bit too old to believe in Father Christmas aren't you?" chuckled the fat, gay bastard in fancy dress.
2016-05-23 18:34:44 UTC
- Two little boys, ages 8 and 10, were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew all about it. If any mischief occurred in their town, the two boys were probably involved. The boys' mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The preacher agreed, but he asked to see them individually. So the mother sent the 8 year old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon. The preacher, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, 'Do you know where God is, son?' The boy's mouth dropped open , but he made no response, sitting there wide-eyed with his mouth hanging open. So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, 'Where is God?' Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. The preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, 'Where is God?' The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, 'What happened?' The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied,'We are in BIG trouble this time,' 'GOD is missing, and they think we did it! - Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder This is how it manifests: I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my cheque book off the table, and see that there is only one cheque left. My extra cheques are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I'm going to look for my cheques, but first I need to move the Coke so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm and decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye - they need to be watered. I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but won't remember it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some mop to wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do. At the end of the day: * The car isn't washed, * The bills aren't paid, * There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, * The flowers don't have enough water, * There is still only 1 cheque in my checkbook, * I can't find the remote, * I can't find my glasses, * And I don't remember what I did with the car keys. Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired :D
2006-11-27 13:55:33 UTC
In the 50's, a Hollywood studio had a great idea for a film.

The only trouble was they needed an actor who could dance, sing, looked gorgeous, and could actually act.

They decided to audition people for the part as they knew the film would be a huge success.

So they put an advert in 'Stage' magazine, and started the auditions.

It was a disaster. People turned up who could sing, but not dance. Some looked OK, but had lisps. Some could act, but looked like Quasimodo.

Others were just dreadful.

The auditions went on for months, and the studio bosses were getting frustrated.

Then, one afternoon, a man walked into the audition room.

The studio bosses were delighted.

He looked handsome, tall and hunky, he recited Shakespeare like Olivier, sang like an angel, and could dance like Fred Astaire.

"You've got the part", they said, "what is your name?"

"Well, I have rather an unusual name", the auditionee said, "it's P*enis Von Le*sbian".

"I'm sorry", say the studio bosses, "did we hear you correctly?"

"Yes, my name is Peni*s Von Lesb*ian"

The studio bosses were stunned.

"We're sorry, Mr. Von L*esbian, but we can't use that as your name. People all over the world will take offence if they see those words on the poster"

"Well, that is my name. The one my mother gave me.

If you don't like my name, then you won't get me to be in the film!"

"But you're perfect for the part. This film will be a huge success, and we need someone who is handsome, who can sing, dance, and act. You will be rich and famous.

Could you maybe come back tomorrow and we could discuss this?"

Mr. Von L*esbian reluctantly agrees to meet them the next day.

He knocks on the door the next day.

"Ah, come in", say the studio bosses.

"We have had a discussion about the problem with your name.

What do you think of the name Dick Van Dyke?"
2006-11-27 13:37:24 UTC
A priest and a nun crossing the Sahara on a camel. It's so hot the camel dies and the priest and the nun know it won't take long before they die too. The priest asks the nun:

Sister, we are going to die. Would you mind if I see your breast. I've never seen the breasts of a woman.

The nun answers:

Well... father, yes, but just because we are going to die.

The priest looks at her breast and asks if he is allowed to touch them, to which the nun replies: Yes, father, but once again only because we are going to die.

While the priest is touching her breasts, the nun asks:

Father, would you mind me seeing your penis?

And the priest lets her see his penis but ONLY because they are going to die. The nun then asks if she can play with it and once again she is allowed to do it because they are going to die.

All of a sudden, the priest gets an erection and the nun asks:

Father, what's that?

And the priest: It's something that can give life to something that has been dead, sister.

The sister suddenly looks very happy and says:

Oh father, I got an idea. Put it in the camel and let's get out of here.

I once told this joke to a friend of mine. We were in the beginning of dating and he said we should go out that evening and I was going to be the nun and he was going to be the priest. When I said I refused to be his nun, he said, alright, you be the camel and I am the priest.
2006-11-27 13:23:56 UTC
A beautiful young girl is about to undergo a minor operation. She's laid on a trolley bed by a lady in a white dress and brought to the corridor. Before they enter the room she leaves her behind the theatre door to go in and check whether everything is ready.

A young man wearing a white coat approaches, takes the sheet away and starts examining her naked body. He walks away and talks to another man in a white coat. The second man comes over and does the same examinations.

When the third man starts examining her body so closely, she grows impatient and says: "All these examinations are fine and appreciated, but when are you going to start the operation?"

The man in the white coat shrugged his shoulders: "I have no idea. We're just painting the corridor."
2006-11-27 13:42:50 UTC
Big bad wolf joke!?

The wolf, hiding behind a tree one day, spots Little Red Riding Hood skipping happily through the forrest.

As she got close, the wolf makes a mad dash further back into the forrest and hides behind another tree.

Again as she gets closer, the wolf again makes a mad dash further back into the forrest and hides behind another tree.

This happens a few time until eventually Little Red Ridind Hood gets to close and spots the wolf behind the tree.

In horror she drops her basket and screams.

The wolf emerges from behind the tree and snarls at Little Red Riding Hood,

Hey Kid, will ya ever f**k off i'm trying to have a piss here !
2006-11-27 13:34:26 UTC
The FBI are recruiting a new agent and they get down to their last 3 candidates. 2 Men & 1 Woman.

They call the first of the men down the corridor to the door of a room. They hand him a gun and tell him that inside the room he will find his wife sitting in a chair. They tell him to go inside and shoot & kill her.

He thinks about it for a few minutes and then hands them the gun back and tells them he cannot do it as he loves his wife very much.

They tell him he's not the one for the job and sends him on his way with his wife.

A few minutes later they get the second man to another door on the corridor and hand him a gun saying the same thing. he has to go in and kill his wife.

He takes the gun and goes into the room.

A few minutes later he comes out with tears in his eyes and hands them the gun back saying he cannot do it.

They send him on his way as he's not the one for the job.

Next they get the woman, they give her the gun and tell her that her husband is in the room and she has to kill him

She goes into the room and the men outside hear shot after shot followed by loud crashes and bangs, shouting and screaming.

After a few minutes she comes out of the room, with sweat dripping off her brow and tells them "some idiot loaded the gun with blanks, so I've had to beat him to death with the chair"

Ha, ha

Hope this may be of some help for you - good luck with your speech class. Try not to get too nervous. Hope it goes well.

2006-11-27 13:26:49 UTC
Kevin's joke's kinda funny - but it all depends if your class appreciates that sort of humour.
2006-11-27 13:25:11 UTC
hang on a min ile be back, WATCH THIS SPACE.

Three men stand before St. Peter awaiting admission into Heaven. However, St. Peter has been informed that Heaven will only admit 33% of applicants today. The admissions standard: Who died the worst death? So, St. Peter takes each of the three men aside in turn and asks them about how they died.

First man: "I'd been suspecting for a long time that my wife was cheating on me. I decided to come home early from work one afternoon and check to see if I could catch her in the act. When I got back to my apartment, I heard the water running. My wife was in the shower. I looked everywhere for the guy, but couldn't find anyone or any trace that he had been there. The last place I looked was out on the balcony.

I found the bastard hanging from the edge, trying to get back in! So I started jumping up and down on his hands, and he yelled, but he didn't fall. So I ran inside and got a hammer, and crushed his fingers with it until he fell twenty-five floors screaming in agony. But the fall didn't kill the asshole. He landed in some bushes! So I dragged the refirgerator from the kitchen (it weighed about a ton), pulled it to the balcony, and hurled it over the edge. It landed right on the guy and killed him. But then I felt so horrible about what I had done, I went back into the bedroom and shot myself."

St. Peter nodded slowly as the man recounted the story. Then, telling the first man to wait, he took the second aside.

Second man: "I lived on the twenty-seventh floor of this apartment building. I had just purchased this book on morning exercises and was practicing them on my balcony, enjoying the sunshine, when I lost my balance and fell off the edge. Luckily, I only fell about two floors before grabbing another balcony and holding on for dear life. I was trying to pull myself up when this guy came running onto what must have been his balcony and started jumping up and down on my hands. I screamed in pain, but he seemed really irate. When he finally stopped, I tried to pull myself up again, but he came out with a hammer and smashed my fingers to a pulp! I fell, and I thought I was dead, but I landed in some bushes. I couldn't believe my second stroke of luck, but it didn't last. The last thing I saw was this enormous refrigerator falling from the building down on top of me and crushing me."

St. Peter comforted the man, who seemed to have several broken bones. Then he told him to wait, and turned to the third man.

Third man: "Picture this. You're hiding, naked, in a refrigerator..
2006-11-27 13:23:48 UTC
Go into 'searach for questions', there are hundreds of them.
2006-11-27 13:27:07 UTC
LOL I just read both of those jokes on answers right before i read this one HAHA. but they are both unappropriate for what your gonna do.
2006-11-27 13:27:56 UTC
How about this one. You can add other bits to it and it can last as long as you like :-

A young chap was walking home from a club. It was a cold, wet, windy evening and he was tired and freezing. Most of the streetlights in the area were broken, and the silence was only broken by the occasional sound of a stray cat sifting through a dustbin. Then suddenly he heard a strange noise.......




Startled by this, he turned, and to his amazement, through the driving rain, he saw the faint outline of a large box turning into his road.




He froze to the spot, he couldn't believe his eyes, as the box approached from the shadows, he was able to make out its shape more clearly....It was a coffin.

Not wanting anything to do with this, he put his head down and started walking briskly home.




He could feel the coffin gaining on him, He started walking faster.........




The coffin was closing with his every step, he started to jog, but he heard the coffin speed up after him......




He started to sprint, but so did the coffin.




Eventually he made it to his front door, but he knew the coffin was only seconds behind. Fumbling around in his pocket, he pulled out his keys, His hand trembling; he managed to open the lock. He dived inside slamming the front door behind him. He shot into his front room, and slumped into his comfy chair. Suddenly there was a loud crash, as the coffin smashed its way through the front door. The force of the impact broke the lock off the coffin allowing the lid to swing freely on its rusty hinges as it continue its chase.....



In horror the young lad fled again, as fast as his shaking legs could take him he bolted upstairs to the bathroom and locked the door........



The coffin again gave chase up the stairs, across the landing and launched itself at the bathroom door. With an almighty smash, the bathroom door flew off its hinges. The coffin stood in the doorway, and then started to approach the young terrified lad.



In a last ditch attempt to save his skin, he reached for his bathroom cabinet. He grabbed a bar of Imperial Leather soap and threw it at the coffin….still it came……


He grabbed his can of Lynx deodorant and threw it… still it came…..


He grabbed his first aid kit and threw it...still it came......


He grabbed some Benilyn cough mixture and threw it........

The coffin stopped.
2006-11-27 20:44:07 UTC
So, there's a man crawling through the desert.

He'd decided to try his SUV in a little bit of cross-country travel, had

great fun zooming over the badlands and through the sand, got lost, hit a

big rock, and then he couldn't get it started again.

There were no cell

phone towers anywhere near, so his cell phone was useless. He had no family,

his parents had died a few years before in an auto accident, and his few

friends had no idea he was out here.

He stayed with the car for a day or so, but his one bottle of water ran out

and he was getting thirsty. He thought maybe he knew the direction back, now

that he'd paid attention to the sun and thought he'd figured out which way

was north, so he decided to start walking. He figured he only had to go

about 30 miles or so and he'd be back to the small town he'd gotten gas in


He thinks about walking at night to avoid the heat and sun, but based upon

how dark it actually was the night before, and given that he has no

flashlight, he's afraid that he'll break a leg or step on a rattlesnake. So,

he puts on some sun block, puts the rest in his pocket for reapplication

later, brings an umbrella he'd had in the back of the SUV with him to give

him a little shade, pours the windshield wiper fluid into his water bottle

in case he gets that desperate, brings his pocket knife in case he finds a

cactus that looks like it might have water in it, and heads out in the

direction he thinks is right.

He walks for the entire day. By the end of the day he's really thirsty. He's

been sweating all day, and his lips are starting to crack. He's reapplied

the sunblock twice, and tried to stay under the umbrella, but he still feels

sunburned. The windshield wiper fluid sloshing in the bottle in his pocket

is really getting tempting now. He knows that it's mainly water and some

ethanol and coloring, but he also knows that they add some kind of poison to

it to keep people from drinking it. He wonders what the poison is, and

whether the poison would be worse than dying of thirst.

He pushes on, trying to get to that small town before dark.

By the end of the day he starts getting worried. He figures he's been

walking at least 3 miles an hour, according to his watch for over 10 hours.

That means that if his estimate was right that he should be close to the

town. But he doesn't recognize any of this. He had to cross a dry creek bed

a mile or two back, and he doesn't remember coming through it in the SUV. He

figures that maybe he got his direction off just a little and that the dry

creek bed was just off to one side of his path. He tells himself that he's

close, and that after dark he'll start seeing the town lights over one of

these hills, and that'll be all he needs.

As it gets dim enough that he starts stumbling over small rocks and things,

he finds a spot and sits down to wait for full dark and the town lights.

Full dark comes before he knows it. He must have dozed off. He stands back

up and turns all the way around. He sees nothing but stars.

He wakes up the next morning feeling absolutely lousy. His eyes are gummy

and his mouth and nose feel like they're full of sand. He so thirsty that he

can't even swallow. He barely got any sleep because it was so cold. He'd

forgotten how cold it got at night in the desert and hadn't noticed it the

night before because he'd been in his car.

He knows the Rule of Threes - three minutes without air, three days without

water, three weeks without food - then you die. Some people can make it a

little longer, in the best situations. But the desert heat and having to

walk and sweat isn't the best situation to be without water. He figures,

unless he finds water, this is his last day.

He rinses his mouth out with a little of the windshield wiper fluid. He

waits a while after spitting that little bit out, to see if his mouth goes

numb, or he feels dizzy or something. Has his mouth gone numb? Is it just in

his mind? He's not sure. He'll go a little farther, and if he still doesn't

find water, he'll try drinking some of the fluid.

Then he has to face his next, harder question - which way does he go from

here? Does he keep walking the same way he was yesterday (assuming that he

still knows which way that is), or does he try a new direction? He has no

idea what to do.

Looking at the hills and dunes around him, he thinks he knows the direction

he was heading before. Just going by a feeling, he points himself somewhat

to the left of that, and starts walking.

As he walks, the day starts heating up. The desert, too cold just a couple

of hours before, soon becomes an oven again. He sweats a little at first,

and then stops. He starts getting worried at that - when you stop sweating

he knows that means you're in trouble - usually right before heat stroke.

He decides that it's time to try the windshield wiper fluid. He can't wait

any longer - if he passes out, he's dead. He stops in the shade of a large

rock, takes the bottle out, opens it, and takes a mouthful. He slowly

swallows it, making it last as long as he can. It feels so good in his dry

and cracked throat that he doesn't even care about the nasty taste. He takes

another mouthful, and makes it last too. Slowly, he drinks half the bottle.

He figures that since he's drinking it, he might as well drink enough to

make some difference and keep himself from passing out.

He's quit worrying about the denaturing of the wiper fluid. If it kills him,

it kills him - if he didn't drink it, he'd die anyway. Besides, he's pretty

sure that whatever substance they denature the fluid with is just designed

to make you sick - their way of keeping winos from buying cheap wiper fluid

for the ethanol content. He can handle throwing up, if it comes to that.

He walks. He walks in the hot, dry, windless desert. Sand, rocks, hills,

dunes, the occasional scrawny cactus or dried bush. No sign of water.

Sometimes he'll see a little movement to one side or the other, but whatever

moved is usually gone before he can focus his eyes on it. Probably birds,

lizards, or mice. Maybe snakes, though they usually move more at night. He's

careful to stay away from the movements.

After a while, he begins to stagger. He's not sure if it's fatigue, heat

stroke finally catching him, or maybe he was wrong and the denaturing of the

wiper fluid was worse than he thought. He tries to steady himself, and keep


After more walking, he comes to a large stretch of sand. This is good! He

knows he passed over a stretch of sand in the SUV - he remembers doing

donuts in it. Or at least he thinks he remembers it - he's getting woozy

enough and tired enough that he's not sure what he remembers any more or if

he's hallucinating. But he thinks he remembers it. So he heads off into it,

trying to get to the other side, hoping that it gets him closer to the town.

He was heading for a town, wasn't he? He thinks he was. He isn't sure any

more. He's not even sure how long he's been walking any more. Is it still

morning? Or has it moved into afternoon and the sun is going down again? It

must be afternoon - it seems like it's been too long since he started out.

He walks through the sand.

After a while, he comes to a big dune in the sand. This is bad. He doesn't

remember any dunes when driving over the sand in his SUV. Or at least he

doesn't think he remembers any. This is bad.

But, he has no other direction to go. Too late to turn back now. He figures

that he'll get to the top of the dune and see if he can see anything from

there that helps him find the town. He keeps going up the dune.

Halfway up, he slips in the bad footing of the sand for the second or third

time, and falls to his knees. He doesn't feel like getting back up - he'll

just fall down again. So, he keeps going up the dune on his hand and knees.

While crawling, if his throat weren't so dry, he'd laugh. He's finally

gotten to the hackneyed image of a man lost in the desert - crawling through

the sand on his hands and knees. If would be the perfect image, he imagines,

if only his clothes were more ragged. The people crawling through the desert

in the cartoons always had ragged clothes. But his have lasted without any

rips so far. Somebody will probably find his dessicated corpse half buried

in the sand years from now, and his clothes will still be in fine shape -

shake the sand out, and a good wash, and they'd be wearable again. He wishes

his throat were wet enough to laugh. He coughs a little instead, and it


He finally makes it to the top of the sand dune. Now that he's at the top,

he struggles a little, but manages to stand up and look around. All he sees

is sand. Sand, and more sand. Behind him, about a mile away, he thinks he

sees the rocky ground he left to head into this sand. Ahead of him, more

dunes, more sand. This isn't where he drove his SUV. This is Hell. Or close


Again, he doesn't know what to do. He decides to drink the rest of the wiper

fluid while figuring it out. He takes out the bottle, and is removing the

cap, when he glances to the side and sees something. Something in the sand.

At the bottom of the dune, off to the side, he sees something strange. It's

a flat area, in the sand. He stops taking the cap of the bottle off, and

tries to look closer. The area seems to be circular. And it's dark - darker

than the sand. And, there seems to be something in the middle of it, but he

can't tell what it is. He looks as hard as he can, and still can tell from

here. He's going to have to go down there and look.

He puts the bottle back in his pocket, and starts to stumble down the dune.

After a few steps, he realizes that he's in trouble - he's not going to be

able to keep his balance. After a couple of more sliding, tottering steps,

he falls and starts to roll down the dune. The sand it so hot when his body

hits it that for a minute he thinks he's caught fire on the way down - like

a movie car wreck flashing into flames as it goes over the cliff, before it

ever even hits the ground. He closes his eyes and mouth, covers his face

with his hands, and waits to stop rolling.

He stops, at the bottom of the dune. After a minute or two, he finds enough

energy to try to sit up and get the sand out of his face and clothes. When

he clears his eyes enough, he looks around to make sure that the dark spot

in the sand it still there and he hadn't just imagined it.

So, seeing the large, flat, dark spot on the sand is still there, he begins

to crawl towards it. He'd get up and walk towards it, but he doesn't seem to

have the energy to get up and walk right now. He must be in the final stages

of dehydration he figures, as he crawls. If this place in the sand doesn't

have water, he'll likely never make it anywhere else. This is his last


He gets closer and closer, but still can't see what's in the middle of the

dark area. His eyes won't quite focus any more for some reason. And lifting

his head up to look takes so much effort that he gives up trying. He just

keeps crawling.

Finally, he reaches the area he'd seen from the dune. It takes him a minute

of crawling on it before he realizes that he's no longer on sand - he's now

crawling on some kind of dark stone. Stone with some kind of marking on it -

a pattern cut into the stone. He's too tired to stand up and try to see what

the pattern is - so he just keeps crawling. He crawls towards the center,

where his blurry eyes still see something in the middle of the dark stone


His mind, detached in a strange way, notes that either his hands and knees

are so burnt by the sand that they no longer feel pain, or that this dark

stone, in the middle of a burning desert with a pounding, punishing sun

overhead, doesn't seem to be hot. It almost feels cool. He considers lying

down on the nice cool surface.

Cool, dark stone. Not a good sign. He must be hallucinating this. He's

probably in the middle of a patch of sand, already lying face down and

dying, and just imagining this whole thing. A desert mirage. Soon the

beautiful women carrying pitchers of water will come up and start giving him

a drink. Then he'll know he's gone.

He decides against laying down on the cool stone. If he's going to die here

in the middle of this hallucination, he at least wants to see what's in the

center before he goes. He keeps crawling.

It's the third time that he hears the voice before he realizes what he's

hearing. He would swear that someone just said, "Greetings, traveler. You do

not look well. Do you hear me?"

He stops crawling. He tries to look up from where he is on his hands and

knees, but it's too much effort to lift his head. So he tries something

different - he leans back and tries to sit up on the stone. After a few

seconds, he catches his balance, avoids falling on his face, sits up, and

tries to focus his eyes. Blurry. He rubs his eyes with the back of his hands

and tries again. Better this time.

Yep. He can see. He's sitting in the middle of a large, flat, dark expanse

of stone. Directly next to him, about three feet away, is a white post or

pole about two inches in diameter and sticking up about four or five feet

out of the stone, at an angle.

And wrapped around this white rod, tail with rattle on it hovering and

seeming to be ready to start rattling, is what must be a fifteen foot long

desert diamondback rattlesnake, looking directly at him.

He stares at the snake in shock. He doesn't have the energy to get up and

run away. He doesn't even have the energy to crawl away. This is it, his

final resting place. No matter what happens, he's not going to be able to

move from this spot.

Well, at least dying of a bite from this monster should be quicker than

dying of thirst. He'll face his end like a man. He struggles to sit up a

little straighter. The snake keeps watching him. He lifts one hand and waves

it in the snake's direction, feebly. The snake watches the hand for a

moment, then goes back to watching the man, looking into his eyes.

Hmmm. Maybe the snake had no interest in biting him? It hadn't rattled yet -

that was a good sign. Maybe he wasn't going to die of snake bite after all.

He then remembers that he'd looked up when he'd reached the center here

because he thought he'd heard a voice. He was still very woozy - he was

likely to pass out soon, the sun still beat down on him even though he was

now on cool stone. He still didn't have anything to drink. But maybe he had

actually heard a voice. This stone didn't look natural. Nor did that white

post sticking up out of the stone. Someone had to have built this. Maybe

they were still nearby. Maybe that was who talked to him. Maybe this snake

was even their pet, and that's why it wasn't biting.

He tries to clear his throat to say, "Hello," but his throat is too dry. All

that comes out is a coughing or wheezing sound. There is no way he's going

to be able to talk without something to drink. He feels his pocket, and the

bottle with the wiper fluid is still there. He shakily pulls the bottle out,

almost losing his balance and falling on his back in the process. This isn't

good. He doesn't have much time left, by his reckoning, before he passes


He gets the lid off of the bottle, manages to get the bottle to his lips,

and pours some of the fluid into his mouth. He sloshes it around, and then

swallows it. He coughs a little. His throat feels better. Maybe he can talk


He tries again. Ignoring the snake, he turns to look around him, hoping to

spot the owner of this place, and croaks out, "Hello? Is there anyone here?"

He hears, from his side, "Greetings. What is it that you want?"

He turns his head, back towards the snake. That's where the sound had seemed

to come from. The only thing he can think of is that there must be a

speaker, hidden under the snake, or maybe built into that post. He decides

to try asking for help.

"Please," he croaks again, suddenly feeling dizzy, "I'd love to not be

thirsty any more. I've been a long time without water. Can you help me?"

Looking in the direction of the snake, hoping to see where the voice was

coming from this time, he is shocked to see the snake rear back, open its

mouth, and speak. He hears it say, as the dizziness overtakes him and he

falls forward, face first on the stone, "Very well. Coming up."

A piercing pain shoots through his shoulder. Suddenly he is awake. He sits

up and grabs his shoulder, wincing at the throbbing pain. He's momentarily

disoriented as he looks around, and then he remembers - the crawl across the

sand, the dark area of stone, the snake. He sees the snake, still wrapped

around the tilted white post, still looking at him.

He reaches up and feels his shoulder, where it hurts. It feels slightly wet.

He pulls his fingers away and looks at them - blood. He feels his shoulder

again - his shirt has what feels like two holes in it - two puncture holes -

they match up with the two aching spots of pain on his shoulder. He had been

bitten. By the snake.

"It'll feel better in a minute." He looks up - it's the snake talking. He

hadn't dreamed it. Suddenly he notices - he's not dizzy any more. And more

importantly, he's not thirsty any more - at all!

"Have I died? Is this the afterlife? Why are you biting me in the


"Sorry about that, but I had to bite you," says the snake. "That's the way I

work. It all comes through the bite. Think of it as natural medicine."

"You bit me to help me? Why aren't I thirsty any more? Did you give me a

drink before you bit me? How did I drink enough while unconscious to not be

thirsty any more? I haven't had a drink for over two days. Well, except for

the windshield wiper fluid... hold it, how in the world does a snake talk?

Are you real? Are you some sort of Disney animation?"

"No," says the snake, "I'm real. As real as you or anyone is, anyway. I

didn't give you a drink. I bit you. That's how it works - it's what I do. I

bite. I don't have hands to give you a drink, even if I had water just

sitting around here."

The man sat stunned for a minute. Here he was, sitting in the middle of the

desert on some strange stone that should be hot but wasn't, talking to a

snake that could talk back and had just bitten him. And he felt better. Not

great - he was still starving and exhausted, but much better - he was no

longer thirsty. He had started to sweat again, but only slightly. He felt

hot, in this sun, but it was starting to get lower in the sky, and the cool

stone beneath him was a relief he could notice now that he was no longer

dying of thirst.

"I might suggest that we take care of that methanol you now have in your

system with the next request," continued the snake. "I can guess why you

drank it, but I'm not sure how much you drank, or how much methanol was left

in the wiper fluid. That stuff is nasty. It'll make you go blind in a day or

two, if you drank enough of it."

"Ummm, n-next request?" said the man. He put his hand back on his hurting

shoulder and backed away from the snake a little.

"That's the way it works. If you like, that is," explained the snake. "You

get three requests. Call them wishes, if you wish." The snake grinned at his

own joke, and the man drew back a little further from the show of fangs.

"But there are rules," the snake continued. "The first request is free. The

second requires an agreement of secrecy. The third requires the binding of

responsibility." The snake looks at the man seriously.

"By the way," the snake says suddenly, "my name is Nathan. Old Nathan,

Samuel used to call me. He gave me the name. Before that, most of the Bound

used to just call me 'Snake'. But that got old, and Samuel wouldn't stand

for it. He said that anything that could talk needed a name. He was big into

names. You can call me Nate, if you wish." Again, the snake grinned. "Sorry

if I don't offer to shake, but I think you can understand - my shake sounds

somewhat threatening." The snake give his rattle a little shake.

"Umm, my name is Jack," said the man, trying to absorb all of this. "Jack


"Can I ask you a question?" Jack says suddenly. "What happened to the

poison...umm, in your bite. Why aren't I dying now? How did you do that?

What do you mean by that's how you work?"

"That's more than one question," grins Nate. "But I'll still try to answer

all of them. First, yes, you can ask me a question." The snake's grin gets

wider. "Second, the poison is in you. It changed you. You now no longer need

to drink. That's what you asked for. Or, well, technically, you asked to not

be thirsty any more - but 'any more' is such a vague term. I decided to make

it permanent - now, as long as you live, you shouldn't need to drink much at

all. Your body will conserve water very efficiently. You should be able to

get enough just from the food you eat - much like a creature of the desert.

You've been changed.

"For the third question," Nate continues, "you are still dying. Besides the

effects of that methanol in your system, you're a man - and men are mortal.

In your current state, I give you no more than about another 50 years.

Assuming you get out of this desert, alive, that is." Nate seemed vastly

amused at his own humor, and continued his wide grin.

"As for the fourth question," Nate said, looking more serious as far as Jack

could tell, as Jack was just now working on his ability to read

talking-snake emotions from snake facial features, "first you have to agree

to make a second request and become bound by the secrecy, or I can't tell


"Wait," joked Jack, "isn't this where you say you could tell me, but you'd

have to kill me?"

"I thought that was implied." Nate continued to look serious.

"Ummm...yeah." Jack leaned back a little as he remembered again that he was

talking to a fifteen foot poisonous reptile with a reputation for having a

nasty temper. "So, what is this 'Bound by Secrecy' stuff, and can you really

stop the effects of the methanol?" Jack thought for a second. "And, what do

you mean methanol, anyway? I thought these days they use ethanol in wiper

fluid, and just denature it?"

"They may, I don't really know," said Nate. "I haven't gotten out in a

while. Maybe they do. All I know is that I smell methanol on your breath and

on that bottle in your pocket. And the blue color of the liquid when you

pulled it out to drink some let me guess that it was wiper fluid. I assume

that they still color wiper fluid blue?"

"Yeah, they do," said Jack.

"I figured," replied Nate. "As for being bound by secrecy - with the

fulfillment of your next request, you will be bound to say nothing about me,

this place, or any of the information I will tell you after that, when you

decide to go back out to your kind. You won't be allowed to talk about me,

write about me, use sign language, charades, or even act in a way that will

lead someone to guess correctly about me. You'll be bound to secrecy. Of

course, I'll also ask you to promise not to give me away, and as I'm

guessing that you're a man of your word, you'll never test the binding

anyway, so you won't notice." Nate said the last part with utter confidence.

Jack, who had always prided himself on being a man of his word, felt a

little nervous at this. "Ummm, hey, Nate, who are you? How did you know

that? Are you, umm, omniscient, or something?"

Well, Jack," said Nate sadly, "I can't tell you that, unless you make the

second request." Nate looked away for a minute, then looked back.

"Umm, well, ok," said Jack, "what is this about a second request? What can I

ask for? Are you allowed to tell me that?"

"Sure!" said Nate, brightening. "You're allowed to ask for changes. Changes

to yourself. They're like wishes, but they can only affect you. Oh, and

before you ask, I can't give you immortality. Or omniscience. Or

omnipresence, for that matter. Though I might be able to make you gaseous

and yet remain alive, and then you could spread through the atmosphere and

sort of be omnipresent. But what good would that be - you still wouldn't be

omniscient and thus still could only focus on one thing at a time. Not very

useful, at least in my opinion." Nate stopped when he realized that Jack was

staring at him.

"Well, anyway," continued Nate, "I'd probably suggest giving you permanent

good health. It would negate the methanol now in your system, you'd be

immune to most poisons and diseases, and you'd tend to live a very long

time, barring accident, of course. And you'll even have a tendency to

recover from accidents well. It always seemed like a good choice for a

request to me."

"Cure the methanol poisoning, huh?" said Jack. "And keep me healthy for a

long time? Hmmm. It doesn't sound bad at that. And it has to be a request

about a change to me? I can't ask to be rich, right? Because that's not

really a change to me?"

"Right," nodded Nate.

"Could I ask to be a genius and permanently healthy?" Jack asked, hopefully.

"That takes two requests, Jack."

"Yeah, I figured so," said Jack. "But I could ask to be a genius? I could

become the smartest scientist in the world? Or the best athlete?"

"Well, I could make you very smart," admitted Nate, "but that wouldn't

necessarily make you the best scientist in the world. Or, I could make you

very athletic, but it wouldn't necessarily make you the best athlete either.

You've heard the saying that 99% of genius is hard work? Well, there's some

truth to that. I can give you the talent, but I can't make you work hard. It

all depends on what you decide to do with it."

"Hmmm," said Jack. "Ok, I think I understand. And I get a third request,

after this one?"

"Maybe," said Nate, "it depends on what you decide then. There are more

rules for the third request that I can only tell you about after the second

request. You know how it goes." Nate looked like he'd shrug, if he had


"Ok, well, since I'd rather not be blind in a day or two, and permanent

health doesn't sound bad, then consider that my second request. Officially.

Do I need to sign in blood or something?"

"No," said Nate. "Just hold out your hand. Or heel." Nate grinned. "Or

whatever part you want me to bite. I have to bite you again. Like I said,

that's how it works - the poison, you know," Nate said apologetically.

Jack winced a little and felt his shoulder, where the last bite was. Hey, it

didn't hurt any more. Just like Nate had said. That made Jack feel better

about the biting business. But still, standing still while a fifteen foot

snake sunk it's fangs into you. Jack stood up. Ignoring how good it felt to

be able to stand again, and the hunger starting to gnaw at his stomach, Jack

tried to decide where he wanted to get bitten. Despite knowing that it

wouldn't hurt for long, Jack knew that this wasn't going to be easy.

"Hey, Jack," Nate suddenly said, looking past Jack towards the dunes behind

him, "is that someone else coming up over there?"

Jack spun around and looked. Who else could be out here in the middle of

nowhere? And did they bring food?

Wait a minute, there was nobody over there. What was Nate...

Jack let out a bellow as he felt two fangs sink into his rear end, through

his jeans...

Jack sat down carefully, favoring his more tender buttock. "I would havedecided, eventually, Nate. I was just thinking about it. You didn't have tohoodwink me like that.""I've been doing this a long time, Jack," said Nate, confidently. "Youhumans have a hard time sitting still and letting a snake bite you -especially one my size. And besides, admit it - it's only been a couple ofminutes and it already doesn't hurt any more, does it? That's because of thehealth benefit with this one. I told you that you'd heal quickly now.""Yeah, well, still," said Jack, "it's the principle of the thing. And nobodylikes being bitten in the butt! Couldn't you have gotten my calf orsomething instead?"

"More meat in the typical human butt," replied Nate. "And less chance youaccidentally kick me or move at the last second." "Yeah, right. So, tell me all of these wonderful secrets that I now qualifyto hear," answered Jack."Ok," said Nate. "Do you want to ask questions first, or do you want me tojust start talking?" "Just talk," said Jack. "I'll sit here and try to not think about food." "We could go try to rustle up some food for you first, if you like,"answered Nate."Hey! You didn't tell me you had food around here, Nate!" Jack jumped up."What do we have? Am I in walking distance to town? Or can you magicallywhip up food along with your other powers?" Jack was almost shouting withexcitement.

His stomach had been growling for hours."I was thinking more like I could flush something out of its hole and biteit for you, and you could skin it and eat it. Assuming you have a knife,that is," replied Nate, with the grin that Jack was starting to get used to. "Ugh," said Jack, sitting back down. "I think I'll pass. I can last a littlelonger before I get desperate enough to eat desert rat, or whatever else itis you find out here. And there's nothing to burn - I'd have to eat it raw.No thanks. Just talk.""Ok," replied Nate, still grinning. "But I'd better hurry, before you startlooking at me as food.Nate reared back a little, looked around for a second, and then continued.

"You, Jack, are sitting in the middle of the Garden of Eden."Jack looked around at the sand and dunes and then looked back at Natesceptically."Well, that's the best I can figure it, anyway, Jack," said Nate. "Stand upand look at the symbol on the rock here." Nate gestured around the darkstone they were both sitting on with his nose.Jack stood up and looked. Carved into the stone in a bas-relief was arepresentation of a large tree.

The angled-pole that Nate was wrapped aroundwas coming out of the trunk of the tree, right below where the main branchesleft the truck to reach out across the stone. It was very well done - itlooked more like a tree had been reduced to almost two dimensions andembedded in the stone than it did like a carving.Jack walked around and looked at the details in the fading light of thesetting sun. He wished he'd looked at it while the sun was higher in thesky.Wait! The sun was setting! That meant he was going to have to spend anothernight out here! Arrrgh!Jack looked out across the desert for a little bit, and then came back andstood next to Nate. "In all the excitement, I almost forgot, Nate," said Jack. "Which way is it back to town? And how far? I'm eventually going tohave to head back - I'm not sure I'll be able to survive by eating rawdesert critters for long. And even if I can, I'm not sure I'll want to.""It's about 30 miles that way." Nate pointed, with the rattle on his tailthis time.

As far as Jack could tell, it was a direction at right angles tothe way he'd been going when he was crawling here. "But that's 30 miles bythe way the crow flies. It's about 40 by the way a man walks. You should beable to do it in about half a day with your improved endurance, if you headout early tomorrow, Jack. "Jack looked out the way the snake had pointed for a few seconds more, andthen sat back down. It was getting dark. Not much he could do about headingout right now. And besides, Nate was just about to get to the interestingstuff. "Garden of Eden? As best as you can figure it?""Well, yeah, as best as I and Samuel could figure it anyway," said Nate. "Hefigured that the story just got a little mixed up. You know, snake, in a'tree', offering 'temptations', making bargains. That kind stuff. But hecould never quite figure out how the Hebrews found out about this spot fromacross the ocean.

He worried about that for a while.""Garden of Eden, hunh?" said Jack. "How long have you been here, Nate?""No idea, really," replied Nate. "A long time. It never occurred to me tocount years, until recently, and by then, of course, it was too late. But Ido remember when this whole place was green, so I figure it's been thousandsof years, at least.""So, are you the snake that tempted Eve?" said Jack."Beats me," said Nate. "Maybe. I can't remember if the first one of yourkind that I talked to was female or not, and I never got a name, but itcould have been. And I suppose she could have considered my offer to grantrequests a 'temptation', though I've rarely had refusals." "Well, umm, how did you get here then? And why is that white pole stuck outof the stone there?" asked Jack."Dad left me here. Or, I assume it was my dad. It was another snake - muchbigger than I was back then. I remember talking to him, but I don't rememberif it was in a language, or just kind of understanding what he wanted. Butone day, he brought me to this stone, told me about it, and asked me to dosomething for him.

I talked it over with him for a while, then agreed. I'vebeen here ever since."What is this place?" said Jack. "And what did he ask you to do?""Well, you see this pole here, sticking out of the stone?" Nate loosened hiscoils around the tilted white pole and showed Jack where it descended intothe stone. The pole was tilted at about a 45 degree angle and seemed toenter the stone in an eighteen inch slot cut into the stone. Jack leanedover and looked. The slot was dark and the pole went down into it as far asJack could see in the dim light. Jack reached out to touch the pole, butNate was suddenly there in the way."You can't touch that yet, Jack," said Nate."Why not?" asked Jack."I haven't explained it to you yet," replied Nate."Well, it kinda looks like a lever or something," said Jack. "You'd push itthat way, and it would move in the slot.""Yep, that's what it is," replied Nate."What does it do?" asked Jack. "End the world?""Oh, no," said Nate.

"Nothing that drastic. It just ends humanity. I call it'The Lever of Doom'." For the last few words Nate had used a deeper, ringingvoice. He tried to look serious for a few seconds, and then gave up andgrinned.Jack was initially startled by Nate's pronouncement, but when Nate grinnedJack laughed. "Ha! You almost had me fooled for a second there. What does itreally do?""Oh, it really ends humanity, like I said," smirked Nate. "I just thoughtthe voice I used was funny, didn't you?"Nate continued to grin."A lever to end humanity?" asked Jack. "What in the world is that for? Whywould anyone need to end humanity?""Well," replied Nate, "I get the idea that maybe humanity was an experiment.Or maybe the Big Guy just thought, that if humanity started going reallybad, there should be a way to end it. I'm not really sure. All I know arethe rules, and the guesses that Samuel and I had about why it's here. Ididn't think to ask back when I started here.""Rules? What rules?" asked Jack.

"The rules are that I can't tell anybody about it or let them touch itunless they agree to be bound to secrecy by a bite. And that only one humancan be bound in that way at a time. That's it." explained Nate.Jack looked somewhat shocked. "You mean that I could pull the lever now?You'd let me end humanity?""Yep," replied Nate, "if you want to." Nate looked at Jack carefully. "Doyou want to, Jack?""Umm, no." said Jack, stepping a little further back from the lever. "Why inthe world would anyone want to end humanity? It'd take a psychotic to wantthat! Or worse, a suicidal psychotic, because it would kill him too,wouldn't it?""Yep," replied Nate, "being as he'd be human too.""Has anyone ever seriously considered it?" asked Nate. "Any of those boundto secrecy, that is?""Well, of course, I think they've all seriously considered it at one time oranother. Being given that kind of responsibility makes you sit down andthink, or so I'm told. Samuel considered it several times. He'd often getdisgusted with humanity, come out here, and just hold the lever for a while.But he never pulled it. Or you wouldn't be here." Nate grinned some more.

Jack sat down, well back from the lever. He looked thoughtful and puzzled at

the same time. After a bit, he said, "So this makes me the Judge of

humanity? I get to decide whether they keep going or just end? Me?"

"That seems to be it," agreed Nate.

"What kind of criteria do I use to decide?" said Jack. "How do I make this

decision? Am I supposed to decide if they're good? Or too many of them are

bad? Or that they're going the wrong way? Is there a set of rules for that?"

"Nope," replied Nate. "You pretty much just have to decide on your own. It's

up to you, however you want to decide it. I guess that you're just supposed

to know."

"But what if I get mad at someone? Or some girl dumps me and I feel

horrible? Couldn't I make a mistake? How do I know that I won't screw up?"

protested Jack.

Nate gave his kind of snake-like shrug again. "You don't. You just have to

try your best, Jack."

Jack sat there for a while, staring off into the desert that was rapidly

getting dark, chewing on a fingernail.

Suddenly, Jack turned around and looked at the snake. "Nate, was Samuel the

one bound to this before me?"

"Yep," replied Nate. "He was a good guy. Talked to me a lot. Taught me to

read and brought me books. I think I still have a good pile of them buried

in the sand around here somewhere. I still miss him. He died a few months


"Sounds like a good guy," agreed Jack. "How did he handle this, when you

first told him. What did he do?"

"Well," said Nate, "he sat down for a while, thought about it for a bit, and

then asked me some questions, much like you're doing."

"What did he ask you, if you're allowed to tell me?" asked Jack.

"He asked me about the third request," replied Nate.

"Aha!" It was Jack's turn to grin. "And what did you tell him?"

"I told him the rules for the third request. That to get the third request

you have to agree to this whole thing. That if it ever comes to the point

that you really think that humanity should be ended, that you'll come here

and end it. You won't avoid it, and you won't wimp out." Nate looked serious

again. "And you'll be bound to do it too, Jack."

"Hmmm." Jack looked back out into the darkness for a while.

Nate watched him, waiting.

"Nate," continued Jack, quietly, eventually. "What did Samuel ask for with

his third request?"

Nate sounded like he was grinning again as he replied, also quietly,

"Wisdom, Jack. He asked for wisdom. As much as I could give him."

"Ok," said Jack, suddenly, standing up and facing away from Nate, "give it

to me.

Nate looked at Jack's backside. "Give you what, Jack?"

"Give me that wisdom. The same stuff that Samuel asked for. If it helped

him, maybe it'll help me too." Jack turned his head to look back over his

shoulder at Nate. "It did help him, right?"

"He said it did," replied Nate. "But he seemed a little quieter afterward.

Like he had a lot to think about."

"Well, yeah, I can see that," said Jack. "So, give it to me." Jack turned to

face away from Nate again, bent over slightly and tensed up.

Nate watched Jack tense up with a little exasperation. If he bit Jack now,

Jack would likely jump out of his skin and maybe hurt them both.

"You remember that you'll be bound to destroy humanity if it ever looks like

it needs it, right Jack?" asked Nate, shifting position.

"Yeah, yeah, I got that," replied Jack, eyes squeezed tightly shut and body

tense, not noticing the change in direction of Nate's voice.

"And," continued Nate, from his new position, "do you remember that you'll

turn bright purple, and grow big horns and extra eyes?"

"Yeah, yeah...Hey, wait a minute!" said Jack, opening his eyes,

straightening up and turning around. "Purple?!" He didn't see Nate there.

With the moonlight Jack could see that the lever extended up from its slot

in the rock without the snake wrapped around it.

Jack heard, from behind him, Nate's "Just Kidding!" right before he felt the

now familiar piercing pain, this time in the other buttock.

Jack sat on the edge of the dark stone in the rapidly cooling air, his feet

extending out into the sand. He stared out into the darkness, listening to

the wind stir the sand, occasionally rubbing his butt where he'd been

recently bitten.

Nate had left for a little while, had come back with a desert-rodent-shaped

bulge somewhere in his middle, and was now wrapped back around the lever,

his tongue flicking out into the desert night's air the only sign that he

was still awake.

Occasionally Jack, with his toes absentmindedly digging in the sand while he

thought, would ask Nate a question without turning around.

"Nate, do accidents count?"

Nate lifted his head a little bit. "What do you mean, Jack?"

Jack tilted his head back like he was looking at the stars. "You know,

accidents. If I accidentally fall on the lever, without meaning to, does

that still wipe out humanity?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure it does, Jack. I'd suggest you be careful about that

if you start feeling wobbly," said Nate with some amusement.

A little later - "Does it have to be me that pulls the lever?" asked Jack.

"That's the rule, Jack. Nobody else can pull it," answered Nate.

"No," Jack shook his head, "I meant does it have to be my hand? Could I pull

the lever with a rope tied around it? Or push it with a stick? Or throw a


"Yes, those should work," replied Nate. "Though I'm not sure how complicated

you could get. Samuel thought about trying to build some kind of remote

control for it once, but gave it up. Everything he'd build would be gone by

the next sunrise, if it was touching the stone, or over it. I told him that

in the past others that had been bound had tried to bury the lever so they

wouldn't be tempted to pull it, but every time the stones or sand or

whatever had disappeared."

"Wow," said Jack, "Cool." Jack leaned back until only his elbows kept him

off of the stone and looked up into the sky.

"Nate, how long did Samuel live? One of his wishes was for health too,

right?" asked Jack.

"Yes," replied Nate, "it was. He lived 167 years, Jack."

"Wow, 167 years. That's almost 140 more years I'll live if I live as long.

Do you know what he died of, Nate?"

"He died of getting tired of living, Jack," Nate said, sounding somewhat


Jack turned his head to look at Nate in the starlight.

Nate looked back. "Samuel knew he wasn't going to be able to stay in

society. He figured that they'd eventually see him still alive and start

questioning it, so he decided that he'd have to disappear after a while. He

faked his death once, but changed his mind - he decided it was too early and

he could stay for a little longer. He wasn't very fond of mankind, but he

liked the attention. Most of the time, anyway.

"His daughter and then his wife dying almost did him in though. He didn't

stay in society much longer after that. He eventually came out here to spend

time talking to me and thinking about pulling the lever. A few months ago he

told me he'd had enough. It was his time."

"And then he just died?" asked Jack.

Nate shook his head a little. "He made his forth request, Jack. There's only

one thing you can ask for the fourth request. The last bite.

After a bit Nate continued, "He told me that he was tired, that it was his

time. He reassured me that someone new would show up soon, like they always


After another pause, Nate finished, "Samuel's body disappeared off the stone

with the sunrise."

Jack lay back down and looked at the sky, leaving Nate alone with his

memories. It was a long time until Jack's breathing evened out into sleep.

Jack woke with the sunrise the next morning. He was a little chilled with

the morning desert air, but overall was feeling pretty good. Well, except

that his stomach was grumbling and he wasn't willing to eat raw desert rat.

So, after getting directions to town from Nate, making sure he knew how to

get back, and reassuring Nate that he'd be back soon, Jack started the long

walk back to town. With his new health and Nate's good directions, he made

it back easily.

Jack caught a bus back to the city, and showed up for work the next day,

little worse for the wear and with a story about getting lost in the desert

and walking back out. Within a couple of days Jack had talked a friend with

a tow truck into going back out into the desert with him to fetch the SUV.

They found it after a couple of hours of searching and towed it back without

incident. Jack was careful not to even look in the direction of Nate's

lever, though their path back didn't come within sight of it.

Before the next weekend, Jack had gone to a couple of stores, including a

book store, and had gotten his SUV back from the mechanic, with a warning to

avoid any more joyriding in the desert. On Saturday, Jack headed back to see


Jack parked a little way out of the small town near Nate, loaded up his new

backpack with camping gear and the things he was bringing for Nate, and then

started walking. He figured that walking would leave the least trail, and he

knew that while not many people camped in the desert, it wasn't unheard of,

and shouldn't really raise suspicions.

Jack had brought more books for Nate - recent books, magazines, newspapers.

Some things that would catch Nate up with what was happening in the world,

others that were just good books to read. He spent the weekend with Nate,

and then headed out again, telling Nate that he'd be back again soon, but

that he had things to do first.

Over four months later Jack was back to see Nate again. This time he brought

a laptop with him - a specially modified laptop. It had a solar recharger,

special filters and seals to keep out the sand, a satellite link-up, and a

special keyboard and joystick that Jack hoped that a fifteen-foot

rattlesnake would be able to use. And, it had been hacked to not give out

its location to the satellite.

After that Jack could e-mail Nate to keep in touch, but still visited him

fairly regularly - at least once or twice a year.

After the first year, Jack quit his job. For some reason, with the wisdom he

'd been given, and the knowledge that he could live for over 150 years,

working in a nine to five job for someone else didn't seem that worthwhile

any more. Jack went back to school.

Eventually, Jack started writing. Perhaps because of the wisdom, or perhaps

because of his new perspective, he wrote well. People liked what he wrote,

and he became well known for it. After a time, Jack bought an RV and started

traveling around the country for book signings and readings.

But, he still remembered to drop by and visit Nate occasionally.

On one of the visits Nate seemed quieter than usual. Not that Nate had been

a fountain of joy lately. Jack's best guess was that Nate was still missing

Samuel, and though Jack had tried, he still hadn't been able to replace

Samuel in Nate's eyes. Nate had been getting quieter each visit. But on this

visit Nate didn't even speak when Jack walked up to the lever. He nodded at

Jack, and then went back to staring into the desert. Jack, respecting Nate's

silence, sat down and waited.

After a few minutes, Nate spoke. "Jack, I have someone to introduce you to."

Jack looked surprised. "Someone to introduce me to?" Jack looked around, and

then looked carefully back at Nate. "This something to do with the Big Guy?

"No, no," replied Nate. "This is more personal. I want you to meet my son."

Nate looked over at the nearest sand dune. "Sammy!"

Jack watched as a four foot long desert rattlesnake crawled from behind the

dune and up to the stone base of the lever.

"Yo, Jack," said the new, much smaller snake.

"Yo, Sammy" replied Jack. Jack looked at Nate. "Named after Samuel, I


Nate nodded. "Jack, I've got a favor to ask you. Could you show Sammy around

for me?" Nate unwrapped himself from the lever and slithered over to the

edge of the stone and looked across the sands. "When Samuel first told me

about the world, and brought me books and pictures, I wished that I could go

see it. I wanted to see the great forests, the canyons, the cities, even the

other deserts, to see if they felt and smelled the same. I want my son to

have that chance - to see the world. Before he becomes bound here like I

have been.

"He's seen it in pictures, over the computer that you brought me. But I hear

that it's not the same. That being there is different. I want him to have

that. Think you can do that for me, Jack?"

Jack nodded. This was obviously very important to Nate, so Jack didn't even

joke about taking a talking rattlesnake out to see the world. "Yeah, I can

do that for you, Nate. Is that all you need?" Jack could sense that was

something more.

Nate looked at Sammy. Sammy looked back at Nate for a second and then said,

"Oh, yeah. Ummm, I've gotta go pack. Back in a little bit Jack. Nice to meet

ya!" Sammy slithered back over the dune and out of sight.

Nate watched Sammy disappear and then looked back at Jack. "Jack, this is my

first son. My first offspring through all the years. You don't even want to

know what it took for me to find a mate." Nate grinned to himself. "But

anyway, I had a son for a reason. I'm tired. I'm ready for it to be over. I

needed a replacement."

Jack considered this for a minute. "So, you're ready to come see the world,

and you wanted him to watch the lever while you were gone?"

Nate shook his head. "No, Jack - you're a better guesser than that. You've

already figured out - I'm bound here - there's only one way for me to leave

here. And I'm ready. It's my time to die."

Jack looked more closely at Nate. He could tell Nate had thought about

this - probably for quite a while. Jack had trouble imagining what it would

be like to be as old as Nate, but Jack could already tell that in another

hundred or two hundred years, he might be getting tired of life himself.

Jack could understand Samuel's decision, and now Nate's. So, all Jack said

was, "What do you want me to do?"

Nate nodded. "Thanks, Jack. I only want two things. One - show Sammy around

the world - let him get his fill of it, until he's ready to come back here

and take over. Two - give me the fourth request.

"I can't just decide to die, not any more than you can. I won't even die of

old age like you eventually will, even though it'll be a long time from now.

I need to be killed. Once Sammy is back here, ready to take over, I'll be

able to die. And I need you to kill me.

"I've even thought about how. Poisons and other drugs won't work on me. And

I've seen pictures of snakes that were shot - some of them live for days, so

that's out too. So, I want you to bring back a sword.

Nate turned away to look back to the dune that Sammy had gone behind. "I'd

say an axe, but that's somewhat undignified - putting my head on the ground

or a chopping block like that. No, I like a sword. A time-honored way of

going out. A dignified way to die. And, most importantly, it should work,

even on me.

"You willing to do that for me, Jack?" Nate turned back to look at Jack.

"Yeah, Nate," replied Jack solemnly, "I think I can handle that."

Nate nodded. "Good!" He turned back toward the dune and shouted, "Sammy!

Jack's about ready to leave!" Then quietly, "Thanks, Jack."

Jack didn't have anything to say to that, so he waited for Sammy to make it

back to the lever, nodded to him, nodded a final time to Nate, and then

headed into the desert with Sammy following.

Over the next several years Sammy and Jack kept in touch with Nate through

e-mail as they went about their adventures. They made a goal of visiting

every country in the world, and did a respectable job of it. Sammy had a

natural gift for languages, as Jack expected he would, and even ended up

acting as a translator for Jack in a few of the countries. Jack managed to

keep the talking rattlesnake hidden, even so, and by the time they were

nearing the end of their tour of countries, Sammy had only been spotted a

few times. While there were several people that had seen enough to startle

them greatly, nobody had enough evidence to prove anything, and while a few

wild rumors and storied followed Jack and Sammy around, nothing ever hit the

newspapers or the public in general.

When they finished the tour of countries, Jack suggested that they try some

undersea diving. They did. And spelunking. They did that too. Sammy finally

drew the line at visiting Antarctica. He'd come to realize that Jack was

stalling. After talking to his Dad about it over e-mail, he figured out that

Jack probably didn't want to have to kill Nate. Nate told Sammy that humans

could be squeamish about killing friends and acquaintances.

So, Sammy eventually put his tail down (as he didn't have a foot) and told

Jack that it was time - he was ready to go back and take up his duties from

his dad. Jack, delayed it a little more by insisting that they go back to

Japan and buy an appropriate sword. He even stretched it a little more by

getting lessons in how to use the sword. But, eventually, he'd learned as

much as he was likely to without dedicating his life to it, and was

definitely competent enough to take the head off of a snake. It was time to

head back and see Nate.

When they got back to the US, Jack got the old RV out of storage where he

and Sammy had left it after their tour of the fifty states, he loaded up

Sammy and the sword, and they headed for the desert.

When they got to the small town that Jack had been trying to find those

years ago when he'd met Nate, Jack was in a funk. He didn't really feel like

walking all of the way out there. Not only that, but he'd forgotten to

figure the travel time correctly, and it was late afternoon. They'd either

have to spend the night in town and walk out tomorrow, or walk in the dark.

As Jack was afraid that if he waited one more night he might lose his

resolve, he decided that he'd go ahead and drive the RV out there. It was

only going to be this once, and Jack would go back and cover the tracks

afterward. They ought to be able to make it out there by nightfall if they

drove, and then they could get it over tonight.

Jack told Sammy to e-mail Nate that they were coming as he drove out of

sight of the town on the road. They then pulled off the road and headed out

into the desert.

Everything went well, until they got to the sand dunes. Jack had been

nursing the RV along the whole time, over the rocks, through the creek beds,

revving the engine the few times they almost got stuck. When they came to

the dunes, Jack didn't really think about it, he just downshifted and headed

up the first one. By the third dune, Jack started to regret that he'd

decided to try driving on the sand. The RV was fishtailling and losing

traction. Jack was having to work it up each dune slowly and was trying to

keep from losing control each time they came over the top and slid down the

other side. Sammy had come up to sit in the passenger seat, coiled up and

laughing at Jack's driving.

As they came over the top of the fourth dune, the biggest one yet, Jack saw

that this was the final dune - the stone, the lever, and somewhere Nate,

waited below. Jack put on the brakes, but he'd gone a little too far. The RV

started slipping down the other side.

Jack tried turning the wheel, but he didn't have enough traction. He pumped

the brakes - no response. They started sliding down the hill, faster and


Jack felt a shock go through him as he suddenly realized that they were

heading for the lever. He looked down - the RV was directly on course for

it. If Jack didn't do something, the RV would hit it. He was about to end


Jack steered more frantically, trying to get traction. It still wasn't

working. The dune was too steep, and the sand too loose. In a split second,

Jack realized that his only chance would be once he hit the stone around the

lever - he should have traction on the stone for just a second before he hit

the lever - he wouldn't have time to stop, but he should be able to steer


Jack took a better grip on the steering wheel and tried to turn the RV a

little bit - every little bit would help. He'd have to time his turn just


The RV got to the bottom of the dune, sliding at an amazing speed in the

sand. Just before they reached the stone Jack looked across it to check that

they were still heading for the lever. They were. But Jack noticed something

else that he hadn't seen from the top of the dune. Nate wasn't wrapped

around the lever. He was off to the side of the lever, but still on the

stone, waiting for them. The problem was, he was waiting on the same side of

the lever that Jack had picked to steer towards to avoid the lever. The RV

was already starting to drift that way a little in its mad rush across the

sand and there was no way that Jack was going to be able to go around the

lever to the other side.

Jack had an instant of realization. He was either going to have to hit the

lever, or run over Nate. He glanced over at Sammy and saw that Sammy

realized the same thing.

Jack took a firmer grip on the steering wheel as the RV ran up on the stone.

Shouting to Sammy as he pulled the steering wheel, "BETTER NATE THAN LEVER!", he ran over the snake.

This content was originally posted on Y! Answers, a Q&A website that shut down in 2021.