Pat Gillick came up out of the subway and walked south on Vanick Street in Greenwich Village. He made a right onto King Street and stopped at the stone steps and black door with the sign that read:Madame Rue, and beneath the name it said:'Enter only if fate has your tomorrow.'

He rubbed the stubble on his face. Since taking the early morning Acela out of 30th Street at 7 a.m., he hadn't had his morning coffee or his croissant. She says to come on an empty stomach.'Eat or drink nothing to keep your spirit fresh and your soul empowered.'

Nervous, he climbed the five or six concrete steps and knocked on the door. A small metal plate two inches wide and three inches high at nose level opened briefly in the door, and after several seconds it slammed shut. The door opened."Patty,"she said,"it's so good to see you. The Great Spirit welcomes you. Won't you come in?"

Not much for small talk, Madame Rue wanted to get down to business. The room was dark and Gillick remembered the musty old smell from the incense Madame Rue uses to keep out evil. He took his seat at the table and she took hers directly across from him. On the table was what Madame Rue called the future. It was a large glass ball that appeared smoky and mysterious. It was the ball that sees.

All this made Gillick remember the last time he visited Madame Rue and she made what she called the Big Slammer Prediction. ""An African man with a large club will slam to the ground three times the string bean crazy-like jokester who is worn out from too much yakking and smacking in the final episode, and all this will cause the physical spirits to walk and make Patty happy-happy and much liquid will fall from the sky."

Translation: Joe Carter will hit a walk-off, three run homer off the worn out 'Wild Thing' in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series and the champagne will flow in the locker room.

But, Madame Rue warned,"Patty must not show too much joy when in the heavens or a body-like rupture will cause harm to the physical realm of things not yet decided by the knife."

Translation: If Gillick celebrates too much in his box at the SkyDome in the final episode, he will tear his achilles tendon and have minor surgery three weeks later. "Are you ready?"Madame Rue asked.

Still very nervous, Gillick told her he was. Madame Rue peered into the glass ball.

"Oh Patty, how could you? Madame Rue said. "How could you do so much harm to a new-born spirit and block the energy mastered from so much advancement and joy?"

Gillick leaned forward in his seat. "What?" he said. "Madame Rue, what is it? What did I do?"

"Patty, you did spirit-larceny. Your soul is now marked because you took advantage of such a nice young man, one who carries the biggest stick of all and has the biggest heart. You did a 900 when you should have did a 2 mil, and now the paper-deal-spirits are mad at you."

"Oh my God," Gillick said. "Madame Rue, tell me please, what does that mean?"

"Patty, we must end this sayonnance now. Your punishment will come late. Many men you have in the area where you keep the bull will be tarnished in your image. They will let floaters reach men with big sticks from New York, Chicago and Atlanta, and all those who oppose your turn in the stick box will let bullets fly. Patty, this is the curse of the Stingy Paper Promise."

"Oh no, say it isn't true Madame Rue."

"I'm afraid it is Patty. It's all true in the ball that sees. Patty, Patty, where are you going?"

"I'm gettin' out of here Madame Rue. I'm going back to Philly and I'm trading Rowand today."

"No Patty, don't do that. Patty listen to me, don't do that, Patty, PATTY..."

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