Social Touchstone

Petri was giving a lecture at a university somewhere in the future:

“Good morning, class. Today, I am going to teach you about the interconnectedness of all things. In the space of thirty seconds, one person can reach into the Resplendent Receptacle of the Universe, touch 100,000 other people, and leave an unremarkable stamp on the timeline of human existence.

“It doesn’t matter whether this person probes the cornucopia with purpose and intent; or peppers the space with trite platitudes. The mark he leaves is no sharper than the emblematic design in bas-relief on a worn coin.

“Yet, for that brief moment, 100,000 souls perturbate like a plucked guitar string. Put your ear to the timeline and you will hear inspiration, annoyance, indifference, applause and a myriad of other murmurs.

“Did you know that myriad means 10,000? The Greeks used the word to mean countless. It is appropriate to note here that, during the thirty seconds one person is tapping the Universe, a myriad simultaneous contacts are made elsewhere.

“This sets up chain reactions, much like strumming 10,000 guitars at once. Is it cacophony? Symphony? Angels dancing on the head of a pin? It is all of these and more. It is the pilgrimage to one’s homeland, the ritual of breaking bread, the salute of Namaste, the sigh at the end of a glorious sensation.

“As overwhelming as the concept of myriad may be, I offer you a technique for exploring one single facet–a sample of the timeline–just to get a sense of the level of connectedness…”

Petri waved his wooden pointer ceiling-ward. The lights went out and the vast lecture hall went dark. He continued to speak:

“Beneath each seat is a gift. It does not belong to you. Only one of your classmates will appreciate this gift. Using your four senses, get the gift to the right person.”

The students all began scrambling about, murmuring confusedly and listening to the sounds of paper shredding. After a moment, one voice spoke up, “Rashad, I believe I have some chocolate-covered prunes for you!”

Everyone laughed. The spell was broken and, soon, each gift was sampled, sniffed and shaken on its way to an appreciative recipient.

Petri quietly left the room on the HyperDrive.

Copyright © 2016 by Mitchell Allen

Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #462.