Scott felt different.
He looked down from the cave and saw that the beach party had devolved into a sort of distorted paradise. Some were buying up Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry purses for more money than they cost in the real world. Others lay crying in the moondust, their tears drifting into outer space because the site crashed while they were trying to buy avatars from The Matrix. Even Melania Trump was trying to sell one of her eyes as an NFT.
Hordes of people were scrambling to get their hands on Coca-Cola snow globes, some spending the price of a new home for a virtual Coca-Cola puffer jacket. Pepsi tried to get in on the craze and but their site crashed, and mobs of tech founders pressed to get their caffeine fix, ensuring that Pepsi stock would go up and keep them all rich.
But Scott had had the coffee bean. He was separate from them now. He felt out of place—like an outsider. He didn’t want to drink soda anymore. He didn’t even want to fit in. For the moment, all he wanted was to be himself. He clicked his heels together three times, “There’s no place like YouTube, there’s no place like YouTube,” he said to himself.
Suddenly SafeMoon was melting like Dali’s clocks, dripping moondust into the sky. Green fog smudged the galaxy, dappling the stars in pink as Scott found himself floating through the northern lights and hovering over an endless icy expanse. Just when Scott thought he might fall into the outer darkness, the dust sucked him into another dimension and he was tucked safely away in an app on someone’s phone.
He looked around. He was in Life With Scott—the YouTube channel he called home—but this phone was familiar. Yes, it was his daughter’s phone—he could even see her through the screen. She was looking down at her phone but she wasn’t looking at YouTube. In fact, she appeared to be playing Fortnite. That can’t be right, Scott thought to himself, his eldest would never play Fortnite. And yet… was that Tom Holland?
That’s when Scott realized that there was great power in the metaverse. There might even be a greater power than existed in the real world. For this was a place where the entire world gathered. This was a place where everyone could be themselves—or Tom Holland if they wanted to be. This was a place where influence was more powerful than money.
Yes, this was the place.
Scott put on a new wig, this one with long brunette locks, and he secured his robes about him. He knew what he had to do. He had to go to Fortnite.
Somewhere in the real world, a very old man was praying, when suddenly his eyes opened. There was a shift to the balance of the universe—he could feel it. The scales had been tipped.
Another soul had taken the coffee bean, and this one was more powerful than the others. Because this prophet had the power to preach—and not just that limited church kind of preaching, not the kind of power that came from God—but an even greater power: The almighty powers of YouTube.
The old man knew he would never be able to compete with such an adversary. Not when his constituents spent 2,000 hours on YouTube each week and only two hours at church. So the old man issued a proclamation: From now on his congregation would be known as The Totally True Church That Must Not Be Called Mormon And Is Not To Be Confused With The Church Made Fun Of In That Broadway Play—except on Twitter where @notmormons would have to suffice.
Flustered, members tried to shorten it to “the TTCTMNBCMAINTBCWTCMFOITBP church.” But even that wouldn’t stand. They must be taken seriously, the old man said, and thus the full name must be used henceforth so as to avoid confusion and ensure that no one could ever make fun of them or take their social media handles again.
This was only the beginning, the old man thought, the battle for influence was not yet won. This was a battle for the very soul of humanity and he would have to meet them where they are. He too would have to go to Fortnite, he vowed. Only then, would they stand a chance against the allures of the metaverse.