“Trust me. You don’t want to be awake for the procedure.”

“Oh, believe me, I do.”

“No, you really don’t. You don’t want to know what it feels like to have a katydid crawling down your throat. That, and without the proper anesthetic, it would almost certainly trigger your gag reflex.”

The doctor was talking about Sturtivant’s katydid, an unusual insect known to change color after prolonged exposure to other lifeforms. Its body contained luck-sensitive glands that allowed it to gauge the likelihood of a nearby predator being able to kill it so that it could act accordingly. The worse its odds of survival seemed to be, the more transparent its skin would become. I learned all of this in consultation thirty-minutes ago, when the physics of luck were explained to me in great detail. Most of the talk went over my head, especially the parts about probability waves and cloverons, but I felt like I at least understood the katydid’s plight. Despite its extraordinary senses, it had to tune itself out in order to maintain this level of sensitivity to its surroundings. As a result, it never knew when its own luck was about to run out until it was too late.

“If I’m running on empty, doc, I’m not really sure that I want to be out cold.”

He shrugged. “Well, if it indeed turns out that you’re out of luck, then there’s not much that you can really do about it, incapacitated or otherwise. The katydid coloration will allow us to make an objective diagnosis. If it crawls back out of your mouth transparent, we’ll chalk today’s incident up to being a fluke. If it crawls out red, though, we’ll want to intervene immediately to prevent complications. We have ways of making you just a little bit luckier, but there are no guarantees.”

“Wouldn’t operating under these conditions almost certainly result in complications?”

“Well, you never know. You might get l-“ he stopped himself. “Like I said, there are no guarantees.”

Not what I wanted to hear. “And, well, the katydid does eventually crawl out, right?”

“When it doesn’t, the results are considered inconclusive.”

Again, not what I wanted to hear. 

“Look, if you need to straighten things out first, this hospital has a chapel. If your luck is failing you, hell, maybe you’ll have better chances with God. It’s Sunday, so there’s usually a preacher in-house.”

I had nowhere else to go at this point. I took the elevator down to the first floor and followed a series of pastel-colored plaques to the mock sanctuary. It looked more like a stage set than a real church, and the preacher was a young man with a neck too thin for his robes, but for this, it’d have to do. “I need your help,” I told him. “But mostly, I need God’s help. Right now, I have nothing left to my name. All of it disappeared in bad trades overnight, and the doctor won’t say it, but he thinks I’m about to die. I haven’t been to church since I was in middle school, but right about now, there’s nowhere else I can turn. Do you think there’s any hope that God would help a man like me?”

“I’ll be honest with you,” the preacher told me. “I can’t speak for God. I can pray with you and perform any sacraments that you might need, but I make no claim to being able to judge sinners myself. However, if you really want to know what God thinks of you, I know someone who can tell you just that. These days, science can actually determine whether or not the Lord is on your side.”

“Really?” That was the first good news I’d heard all day. “Where? How? Who can tell me?”

“There’s a doctor on the third floor who can do it. He won’t mention Him directly, but he can tell you whether or not God will help you. The only catch is, well… the procedure is a bit bizarre.”

“Please. Right now, I’ll do just about anything. What do I have to do?”

“Well, from what I've heard, you have to let some sort of insect crawl down your throat.”

Insects have a complex relationship with probability, as evidenced by the compound eyes of a fly.

Occasionally, those who are about to run out of luck are blessed with a final moment of serendipity.

A draw from the Genetic Tarot cannot determine one's luck, though luck can determine one's draw.