Eight years, five months, seventeen days.
That was how long Hersh had been trying to move a glass with his mind.
He sat each day for two hours in a small room in his home. The room had been emptied of everything save for a fold-up chair and an empty glass which rested on the floor. Hersh sat in the chair and tried to make a psychokinetic connection with the glass. He had dozens of books about the subject and studied everything he could find online. He knew it was possible, and so he practiced.
He firmly restrained himself from becoming frustrated with his lack of success; all the literature assured him that a positive, happy attitude was necessary. That, at least, boosted his general outlook on life. It made him quite popular at the high school where he taught math, and the slings and arrows of outrageous teenagers generally flowed over and around him without pausing to inflict harm.
Twenty-four minutes into this eighth year, fifth month, and seventeenth day of trying to move a glass with his mind, Hersh felt something new. His fingertips dimpled slightly as though he were actually holding the glass. He knew he’d made the connection, and he effortlessly brought the glass upward and across empty air to rest in his hand.
He breathed out and smiled a contented little smile. The masters had been right: it really was easy once you knew how. And to prove it, he used his new talent to replace the glass on the floor in front of him. He made the transit between his hand and the floor several times, treating the glass like a yo-yo, and his connection to his world deepened and broadened.
Hersh finally felt his oneness with the universe. He could almost see the lines and sheets of energy that bound him to everything and everything to him, and his cup of happiness overflowed.
He glanced at the door and it opened immediately. He stood up and walked into his living room. His possessions looked different to him, now. They were more vibrant, almost sentient with energy.
Some of the smaller ones, as he noticed them in turn, raced through the air to him. In rapid succession, Hersh caught a snow globe from New Mexico, a spatula, and the universal remote control.
Larger items began to vibrate noticeably.
Hersh realized that he had worked so long and so hard at being at one with everything that he no longer could think of himself as apart from anything. He had become a magnet for all matter in the vicinity — his own, personal black hole.
More things began to fly toward him and with greater rapidity. Hersh couldn’t keep up and a salt shaker hit his sternum with appalling force. He threw his hands up to protect his face as a bookshelf emptied itself in his specific direction.
He tried to isolate himself from the universe again but had no luck.
The huge mahogany armoire teetered and began to fall toward him.
Hersh never saw it hit, though: the television — an older 24-inch tube — flew over and pulped his head against the wall.
The armoire stopped briefly, as if confused, before gravity finished the job Hersh’s mind had begun. It came to rest atop Hersh’s torso and legs.
Six days later, after Hersh had been discovered dead and then buried, his sister, Frieda, and her teenage daughter, Sela, were going through his things.
“Mom, what are all these books on psychokinesis and levitation and stuff?”
“Oh, those,” Frieda sighed. “That was the one thing I never understood about your poor uncle. He really believed in that nonsense.”