The teacher droned on about geography. The boy didn’t listen. An itch on his head was testing him, and that was more important. It was on the top of his head, waiting to be scratched. The boy could be aware of nothing else, but he refused to scratch it. It could be a test.

It was about genius. Whence genius? Inspiration. Whence inspiration? He was no sort of believer, but what if inspiration were a gift? For heaven to bestow genius on the worthy would require some test of worthiness. Perhaps a cosmic ray, cast from above, to strike the skin and cause an itch that, if resisted by an iron will, would indicate strength of character. After, an idea would take root, from which genius would blossom.

You can’t ignore genius. Brilliance does not go unnoticed. He wanted to believe. He felt the itch worm into his scalp. Was his effort unnecessary? The teacher droned on. He only wanted to manage this. Students murmured. No one saw his struggle.

He scratched his head. It was over before he realized what he was doing.

It was just an itch, thought the boy. But he knew it was also a test.