And there he stood. His arm pulled back like a catapult.
He launched a shot at a tree that was all of three feet in front of him.
At times, it was obvious that the boy's aim had missed the target. But, without fail, every shot was followed by a two-arms-above-the-head celebratory dance.
From a distance, the little guy's ammunition looked to be of a heavy variety which weighed down his arm and required the use of his entire torso to launch. But, with a few steps, it became apparent that his ammunition was little stones. And a few more steps revealed that they were not stones at all. And, with just one more step (Not too close, of course. Allister did not want to startle the boy.), came the realization that the little boy had absolutely nothing clutched in his tiny palms.
And, still, he flung shots at and all around the tree. Still, he danced his two-armed celebratory dances.
What was the point, though? What was he throwing? Air? Molecules? Tiny ninja stars? Could it be nothing at all? Why the tree? Why, pug-nosed-knee-high-red-capped-beige-corduroyed boy? Why?
The act was on the cusp of maddening, Allister thought. Stack on twenty years and psychologists would put that child in a strait-jacket. (Of course, there was also the possibility that, after twenty years, the child would have long outgrown the game along with his childhood.)
Still, Allister admired the boy. Whatever the hell he was doing and wherever the hell he was throwing those electrons, he apparently hit his desired target (whatever that was (other protons, perhaps?)) each and every time.
And Allister thought about himself, how he would sometimes look around him at the bustling city and see all the paved streets and sidewalks and want to tear it all up, pull the concrete up from the ground by its iron roots and destroy it all for reasons simple and complex. And how he just wanted to sit on the sand where the water meets the land and breathe new air.
And he looked at the boy and thought, "If you'd just key me in on what possesses you, I could help. And we could destroy all the quazillion molecules in and around that tree. And we could start from a clean palate."
And the boy drew back his catapulting arm again. No ammunition. Aim completely off.
And he launched the nothing and it hit another bullseye, which was followed by another two-arms-raised victory dance.
And Allister shrugged and said, with a smile and a randomly acquired sense of pride, "But, it looks like you've got it under control."