Lisa nudged me with her elbow and hissed for me to shush, the grin on her face betraying her true feelings. “Hey, he’s about to talk. Come on, you don’t want to miss this.”
Dr. Shiny stepped forward, his gaze empty and indeterminate. His tongue snaked across his lips and he slowly raised his hands up towards the ceiling, his entire arms trembling as he did so.
“Jesus, he’s going to pass out,” I muttered. “My demented, palsied grandfather looked healthier than this guy.”
His lips opened, shut again. He wet them with his tongue. He stared at something above and beyond us. Finally, with a surge of energy, he straightened his arms and his entire body, and he called out, his voice booming so loud that all of us jumped in our chairs.
“Creativity will save the world!” he cried out. “Creativity will save the world. Creativity will save the world. Creativity will save the world. Creativity will save the world.”
Shiny’s arms dropped to his sides, his tremors worse than ever before. His outburst seemed to have taken all of the energy out of him. There was some uncertain applause from the front of the room, and a bit more that followed it. The longer people clapped, the more sincere it all seemed to sound. The corporate drones went from clapping out of obligation to clapping out of solidarity. Shiny, pulled back to Earth once more from whatever distant realms his brain had been inhabiting, raised a finger and admonished us once more that creativity would save the world, and this time his revelation was met with cheers and whistles.
I glanced around the room at my clapping coworkers and shook my head. I leaned over, ready to whisper into Lisa’s ear, but hesitated as I drew close. I’d expected her to be leaning towards me as well, smirking and rolling her eyes and ready to banter.
Instead, she was staring ahead with rapt attention, tears falling from her eyes, the fingers of her hands dug into her legs, too moved even to clap.