Jack Davis walked down the wide sidewalk. It wasn’t unusual to see people bent over their smart phones as they walked. It was unusual to see more people than average doing it.
The ages ranged from kids to adults. Two kids nearby shouted and had smiles on their faces. A group clustered together, facing in different direction. A young man jumped and his eyes lit up as he did a fist pump.
“I don’t get it,” Jack shook his head. “I have one of those things and never found anything close to interesting on it.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw a kid walk across the grass, then the sidewalk. The kid’s feet touched the curb. Jack’s eyes darted towards the mini-van rolling through the intersection.
“Dammit,” Jack spat. Screwing up his eyes, Jack pictured a wall in front of the kid. The kid stopped moving, his arms folded to his chest, and a hollow thump sounded.
The mini-van zoomed inches in front of the kid, grabbing his attention. In his surprise, the kid jumped back. He looked at his phone, then the mini-van. The kid’s eyes went wide, and his mouth went small. Reaching a hand towards the street, the kid felt the resistance that stopped him.
“Whoops,” Jack muttered and turned his power off.
The kid stumbled and looked around. After checking that traffic eased, he crossed the street. Once across the street, the kid assumed his previous posture of hunched shoulders and thumbs on phone. He brushed against a vending machine and kept going.
“Hmmm,” Jack said. “You would think that would have sparked change.”
Jack walked a few more paces, then heard screeching tires. Turning, Jack saw two kids, a compact car, and two phones smashed on the asphalt.
“Well, there you have it,” Jack said with a head shake.
Seeing a bench, Jack moved for it and sat down. With a few sideway glances, Jack erected a wall on the same path he did before. Next, he pictured another wall extending from the first. Jack repeated this in his head until a complete square formed around the open park. Once the walls were up, he focused on making the walls thicker and taller. When he had this pictured in his head, five minutes had passed.
The test came within seconds of Jack finishing it. Three people approached one wall while five approached another. All eight people had the same posture and the same actions.
First one bumped into the wall, then another. The sudden stop pulled heads up from their phones. It wasn’t long before a few more people approached the walls and were stopped. With ten people stymied, more people looked up from their phones to see what happened.
Several minutes later more people put their phones to their ears and talked. They waved their arms at the street and looked at street signs. Some approached the walls though they could not see them. Their hands showed them where it was.
The whoop of a police siren caused traffic to stop and pedestrians to cluster. Two police officers stepped from their cruiser and approached.
“What do we have here,” questioned the older officer.
Several people waved arms and others shouted to be let out of the prison. One or two even pounded on the invisible wall.
Jack Davis removed the wall in his mind and the invisible wall vanished.
“Look here,” the cop said. “I sat here and watched several of ya nearly kill yourself by walking out into traffic. You got your heads buried so far into your phones you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”
The people in the open park quieted and looked around. People backed away from the curbs and most put their phone in their pocket.
The cop spoke up, “Now, it looks like whatever that was saved a lot of lives, if not injuries. Be thankful. More important, be mindful of what you’re doing.”
The cop then turned and sat in his cruiser. As the other cop drove past Jack, the older cop nodded at him. Jack smiled and waved back.