I peered around the corner as the voices grew closer. What began as a miffed and nonthreatening few had grown to a sea of pumping fists and rhythmic shouts. They were nearly at the door and I knew I would only get one shot. I hadn't yet been seen, but I knew once I was they would descend upon me like seagulls to bread crumbs, each fighting the other for the chance to take a piece - or in this case to say their peace. To express the disappointment they felt. To say we were wrong. I slipped my hands into my pocket and grasped the can of mace I'd purchased just that morning. I knew there was a possibility that some crazed individual would be waiting, but I had no idea that he would be accompanied by a mass of unbridled dissidents amplifying each others emotions. All it would take was one thoughtless motion and the horde would pounce.
I saw my opening; some well-meaning bystander attempting to calm the crowd had become the focus of their fury for the moment. It was now or never. I was hidden, their backs turned, tormenting their sacrificial lamb, but in my haste I missed the curb with my foot. As if in slow-motion, my hands rose from my pockets to catch my fall and the mace flew from my grasp, pinging the concrete as it rolled out of reach. I caught the eye of one in the group. He paused, our gazes locked, and with sudden look of recognition he shouted, "There - there's one!"
I clambered to my feet, but it was too late. The mass had shifted almost at once; I stood defenseless, not knowing what would happen. They came closer and their shouts converged to form a single cry. And just as I thought I was to meet my end, their advance stopped. The shouts remained, but they came no closer. I stood as they berated me - the symbol of their frustration. Then it came to me, they didn't understand - it was them, the whole thing was about them. This mob of furrowed brows and gaping jaws chanting, "We expected more, we expected more!" They were it. We had, with one inspired choice turned the unsuspecting public into the very thing they raged against. It was brilliant, as if with each chilled cheek, each voice turned hoarse, each word hurled in anger they proved our point - over and over and over. I cracked a wry smile and entered the building and their chants became my victory song as they drew further away. And I marveled at our creation.
- An Editor of Time Magazine, upon the publication of Person of the Year 2011, The Protester
A Short Dramatization, in Jest.