The devil hands you the crusty black suitcase lined with hundred dollar bills, totalling one billion dollars.\n\n~end~
After checking your bank account one rainy morning, you phone up the devil. <<set $billion = true>>\n\n"Okay," you say. "I've acquired the billion dollars -- now, at last... I believe you owe me whatever I want."\n\nThe devil acknowledges you slyly and moments later appears at your door.\n\nYou, eyebrow perked with anticipation, hastily hand over your crusty black suitcase lined with hundreds, totalling one billion dollars, to the devil.\n\nHe accepts it by the handle and, without a word, touches your shoulder. The world wobbles around you and then suddenly seems [[very distantly familiar|time travel]].
"On a whim, as I'm bored with the lack of chance as to the fate of my riches," says the devil, "I'd like to offer you one of the following:\n(a) [[a billion dollars|no choice]], or\n(b) [[anything you want, provided you give me a billion dollars|no choice]]."
<<silently>>\n<<set $billion = false>>\n<<endsilently>>[[A story about classical logic]], with credit due to <html><a href="">Phil Wadler</a></html>.
The devil laughs.\n\n"I'm sorry. Did I give you the impression the choice was yours? Of course that's preposterous -- I'm the devil! And today, I select <<if $billion eq false>>the second choice -- I'll give you [[anything you want, provided you give me a billion dollars]]."<<else>>the first choice -- [[a billion dollars]]."<<endif>>
You find yourself, and the devil, back on the street corner by the library where you first met.\n\n"Now," says the Devil, "where were we? Ah yes..."\n\nThe memories of your life of crime and sin fade, and you find yourself displaced, then suddenly replaced as this once-distant-memory becomes your present self.\n\n<<display "choice">>\n\n
One ordinary day on a street corner by the library, the devil appears and offers you a [[choice]].
The Devil of the Excluded Middle
You scoff at the Devil's presumptousness -- of course this what he'd select, and it's hardly any favor. But as years wear on, the offer gnaws at you, and you imagine the possibilities of being granted that wish.\n\nWith new resolve, you do everything you can - beg, steal, lie, cheat, lead a life of crime and then con your way into the control of major corporations, whittling your entire life away with the devil's voice at your back, ultimately doing his service. You hurt many people. You grow old.\n\nBut, after all that time, [[you raise the billion]].