Kicking the man’s limp body aside, you step forward and clear your throat, gesturing for everyone to be seated. The policemen exchange glances and then settle obediently into the grass in front of you. You begin.
“I was out walking along a beach at low tide when I came across an old man who was picking up starfish from the sand and throwing them into the ocean.
“My old friend,” I said, “whyever are you throwing those starfish into the ocean?”
“Ah,” he replied sagely, “These poor starfish were stranded here in the sand when the tide rolled out. If I did not throw them back, surely they would dry out and perish!”
“But,” I protested, “There are thousands of starfish on this beach! One man can’t possibly throw enough back to make a difference!”
He stooped to pick up another starfish and smiled, “Makes a difference to this one.” He said, throwing it into the sea.
You finish your story, looking expectantly out over the silent crowd. Someone coughs.
“The old man was an idiot,” someone finally says, “He was upsetting the delicate balance of that ecosystem. Those dead starfish would’ve been food for other creatures, maybe seagulls or at the very least, microorganisms. It’s a perfectly normal thing. And anyway, I don’t even think starfish have nervous systems. Can’t that old man think of any THINKING creatures that might need help? Stray cats? Injured birds? What about the homeless? But starfish? He might as well go through an orchard gluing fallen apples back onto the trees, for all the good it does. It’s patently absurd.”
The crowd grows restless. Some begin to shout curses. A few people get up to leave.
“Ah, what do you people know anyway,” You scoff, spitting on the ground at your feet. “You all make me sick.”
A series of boos erupts from the crowd. Someone throws half-peeled orange and it strikes the wall behind you. You pick it up and toss it into the air a couple of times, glaring into the mob of cops. Then you draw your arm back and whip the orange into the audience as hard as you can, bouncing it off the head of one huge cop and then striking another the eye.
“Makes a difference to this one!” You scream, spreading your arms wide as the mass of angry cops surges over you.