April 10, 2008 10:39 PM

This story begins with a hand, a drumstick, and a drum. As so frequently happens, the hand finds itself holding the drumstick, and immediately takes to hitting the drum. The hand very much likes hitting the drum with the drumstick, and gleefully bangs away at it for a while, pleased with its accomplishment of cacophony.

After some time, though, the cacophony on its own gets old. Out of boredom, the hand tries to recall what sort of sounds other hands have made on drums before, and attempts to mimic what it remembers from recordings. It's a bit of a struggle at first, because it never had to move with such speed or precision before, and it at first comes out rather raw. Nevertheless, the hand is quite intent on making it work, so it determinedly works to copy other hands. Whenever other hands perform, the hand takes notice as to how they go about their drum. It even tries to play together with other hands, which is quite thrilling for it.

Now the hand is able to competently play through what it hears. It understands how the other hands do it, on an experiential level, and enjoys the fact that it's now able to accomplish what the other hands are able to. But as time passes, the hand finds that mimicry, too, like cacophony, eventually loses its excitement. It had learned something from emulating others, but the newness of the experiences to the hand had dissipated. The hand begins to reexamine its relationship it took for granted about the drumstick it holds, and the drum it strikes. It decides to see what happens if it doesn't strike the drum, for a long time.

After a day, it rethinks its boycott on hitting the drum. The hand decides to wait a little longer, to see what happens.

After a week, the hand reconsiders its decision once again. It decides to press on.

On the second day of the second month of drumming abstinence, a bird flies over head and relieves itself above the drum, which ricochets about the drumhead with a delightful sizzle. The hand is dumbfoundedly astonished.

On the first day of the third month, the hand decides to pick up the drumstick again. It hardly recognizes what it feels like to hold the drumstick; it feels foreign and strange to be in such a position again. The hand patiently relishes the feeling.

After a day of holding the drumstick again, the hand decides to try play the drum like the bird had: with a light pitter-patter, like falling raindrops. In that moment, the hand recalls the excitement of cacophony, and the satisfaction of mimicry, simultaneously, with synesthetic vividness. The hand no longer wonders what to do next.