We've all (well...) seen one. The four-inch diameter black ball with the eight on it that looks a giant version of a pool ball. You ask it a question and then turn it over. Up from the indigo pool of infinite mystery arises the ghostly answer inscribed inside a triangle in some alien font. "Reply hazy. Try again."

From what strange abysm of inventorhood comes this taunting apparation? Who makes them? Who sells them? Why? We should not ask. It is a mystery.

Some crazy people have tried to take the thing apart (including me!). All I can say is avoid contact with the internal eight-ball juice like the plague. It pretty much stains anything it touches an ugly shade of blue permanently, except somehow the icosahedron (20 faced polygon) inside. I may end up taking another one apart, since it's been a few years since the last time I tried, I'd like to take the fluid down to the lab to do some sampling to determine just what that stuff is.

Anyway, besides the eight-ball juice, there are some interesting things about the eight-balls themselves. The fluid and icosahedron (what a cool word!) are located inside of a cylinder that only encompasses about 60% of the ball's volume. The rest is dedicated to bracing the cylinder in place. This means that it's quite possible to remove the cylinder, stash something small in the empty regions of the toroid, and reassemble (granted, with lots of krazy glue, as haphazardly taking one apart pretty much renders it useless) the eight-ball to a pale condition of it's former self.

As long as you don't cut into the cylinder, you're safe. But if you're gutsy and want to get the icosahedron out, just make sure to avoid contact with the blue fluid (at least until I get a sample analysis!). The icosahedron itself has, well, 20 sayings, although if I designed an eight-ball, at least one face would be blank, and another would say "I can't believe how stupid your question was!". Anyway, the real sayings are

I can't imagine if anyone's ever replace the internal icosahedron with their own, but I can see a possibility to make custom eight-balls. I'm sure the D&D crowd wouldn't mind having one to house their huge, funky die. Also, should the blue fluid ever be discerned, there exists the possibility to change it's color, or replace it with a different colored solution.

Questions for the next time one is dissected

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