The longboat pulled across the finish line almost a mile ahead of the nearest competitor. Grif, sitting with his drums just in front of the prow, kept up his steady beat as the rowers brought the boat to the shore. It bumped against the pier and the crew jumped ashore, elated from the victory. Grif clambered out of the boat to see his friend, Weeib, waiting for him, a smug grin joining his ears.
“It worked!” cried Weeib. “With your new drumming patterns the crew worked like a fast, well-oiled machine!”
Grif smiled. “The world is ours,” he said.
They started in the factories. To Grif’s beat, clothes were stitched at unprecedented speeds, toys were assembled. Then crops were harvested, armies marched. Raw material was dug from the ground, shipped and processed and shipped and packaged and shipped. The whole world began to march to an unrelenting new rhythm.
Decades later, Grif and Weeib knelt before the World King to accept a large golden medal. Thanks to them, the world had produced more things this year than any other in history. They turned to face the adulation of the assembly.
Thousands of people, overly-dressed in ill-fitting, mass-produced clothes and weighed down by trinkets, sat exhausted in their seats. Even in this auditorium their feet were lost in familiar piles of rubbish. Soft, polite applause floated gently from tired hands.
“You call that clapping?!” yelled Grif, walking over to his drums. “You can do better! One…two…three…four!”