PROOF by David Hammond

A boy adjusts the position of a box of tissues on his desk and sits cross-legged on his bed. It is a Sunday afternoon and he has nothing else to do. The door to his room is closed, and nobody will bother him before dinnertime. He has all afternoon to make the box of tissues move with his mind.

He has toyed with telekinesis before and has never been successful, but he suspects that either the level of concentration or amount of time or both have been lacking in past attempts. This time he will dig down to the very depths of his consciousness, dredge the silt of psychic energy that normally lies dormant. The tissue box will move. He believes it.

He does not examine what forces will come into play when it happens, whether magical or spiritual or natural. That is secondary to his belief that he will make it happen. He has the power. Even if everyone else in the world has tried and failed to do this, he will succeed.

Why he feels so special is not clear, but he believes strongly in the awesome grandeur of his own mind. He has applied it to the problem of perpetual motion, creating a contraption of cups, straws and paper towels in his grandfather’s sink. He didn’t quite get it, but he was so close. There are many other mysteries of the universe, such as time travel, that he feels he can solve if given the time and space to think them through properly.

It should be pointed out that his gifts are physical as well as mental. He feels sure that he can walk on his hands, despite having tried several times and failing. When he sees people on TV climbing sheer cliff faces he knows that he can do that quite easily too. Some day he will. For now, he will perform the more mundane task of lifting an object with his mind.

So he meditates on the box of tissues: the thin flower-patterned cardboard; the fibers of its serrated opening, softened by use; the diaphanous tissue emerging from the top; the soft, dense clot of tissues inside.

He visualizes the box rising from the desk…

He visualizes tendrils of mental energy emanating from his skull, wrapping around the box and pulling it up…

He visualizes a psychic tide rising from the floor and lifting the box like a toy boat…

But the box of tissues does not move.

He is perplexed. He has focused the full power of his brain on the box of tissues, and it has not budged even a hair. He wrestles with the implications of this. Does this mean that moving objects with one’s mind is impossible, or does it mean that his mind is just not powerful enough? He decides to give it one more try before coming to any conclusions.

He closes his eyes, keeping the idea of the box of tissues foremost in his mind. He zooms in on a protruding fiber of cardboard until it is a giant rocky promentory. He keeps zooming in until individual molecules can be discerned, and atoms, and the blur of electrons, the blob of the nucleus, and he zooms in further to find within a neutron another whole universe full of galaxies and nebulae and infinite expanses of space, and himself floating cross-legged like a buddha, rotating like a forgotten comet and smiling, and from his head a great dark and powerful emanation around which everything else revolves.

He stays in this space for an undefined length of time, until a call comes from outside his bedroom. Dinner is ready. He opens his eyes and the box of tissues sits on his desk unmoved.

So that’s settled.



DAVID HAMMOND lives in Northern Virginia with three females who are way more talented than he is. He’s still trying to move things with his mind. More of his writing can be found at


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