Bottled Up

a Bocksbeutel style Bottle
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was chillin’ on the beach when a bottle washed up on the shore. It beckoned me with a wink of sunlight, and my curious nature bade me investigate. The stopper was cork, shiny and supple – I gathered that it’s ocean ride had it’s ups and downs, helping to keep that cork fresh. As I turned it over there was a light, rasping “clunk” from inside, and I saw that there was a rolled up piece of paper in there, just long enough to protrude into the bottom of the bottle’s neck when it was held upright, and the scroll was tied with what appeared to be a simple piece of hemp twine.

Curious.

So I opened the bottle, shook out the scroll, slipped the twine loop over the top and began to read the words scrawled on the paper in a quick, neat cursive:

Bobbing on a wave,
I bear a message, saying
“Don’t float like I did.
A life of playing catch-up’s
tough; you never get it back.”

A tanka – interesting. I barely had time to reflect on the meaning of the words before another wave-polished bottle lolled up onto the shore and came to rest against a stone – clink!

Curiouser and curiouser.

English: Pontiled soda or beer bottle excavate...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found that this bottle too was corked and contained a small scroll identical to the first. To say the least, I was compelled to read this one as well:

Inspired by unawarebutunderlined:

Said, but not spoken —
a heart crushed, but not broken;
phone’s a distance wall.

Said, but not spoken;
a heart poured out, unbroken —

Somehow I remembered the name at the top of the scrolling paper, but I could not remember why; I need to pay more attention, I sometimes think.

Clink! A third bottle. The paper inside contained just three words in that neat, cursive scrawl: “Hoi polloi converge”. Now that struck a bell, but I wasn’t sure why – nor why the heart began to thump heavy beats in my chest.

I looked out at the shore and was greeted by the foaming crest of a wave, upon which rode countless thousands of bottles to join the hundreds that had already washed up on the shore. A feeling of dread filled me as I realized that I was completely dumbfounded – not only as to the bottles’ origins, but to my own as well.

Where am I? How did I get here, to this beach? What the heck is going on?


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.

88 other responses have posted so far:

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  11. DP Daily Prompt: SOS | Sabethville
  12. Bound to the Shore | Exploratorius
  13. Daily Prompt: SOS | The Daily Post | L5GN
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  16. Emergency Measures | The Dragon Weyr
  17. TAKE A MOMENT TO ENVY ME | Standing Ovation, Seated
  18. Daily Prompt: SOS | Tommia’s Tablet
  19. “A hundred billion bottles” | Hope* the happy hugger
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  23. Water… | Ana Linden
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  28. Bean-O | Charron’s Chatter
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  31. Daily Prompt: SOS | Basically Beyond Basic
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  36. Daily Prompt: SOS | Iwannabealady
  37. Nisqually – A Short Story | Kilbo – Chris Kilbourn
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  53. Schrodinger’s Bottle | djgarcia94
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  58. Relaxing on the Beach | theauthorwhoknows
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  60. SOS – Did You Get The Message? | Deliberating Dave
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17 thoughts on “Bottled Up”

  1. I had never read of the tanka poetry form before. Interesting!

    And re: the Daily Prompt– I suggested to Cimmorene that she start incorporating them into her blog– she had some writing prompts (outside WP) before, and she was thinking of dropping them for ones of her own creation, but I said she might get more readership following the WP ones.

    1. That does work, especially if you copy wholesale the link list into the post, like I do – but I’ve been trapped doing them for a while and realize that once you belly up to the udder it can be a little hard to pull away to do your own work, so just so you’re both forearmed!

      1. Yeah, yet Cimmorene is trying to build readership, and doing your own prompts, per se, doesn’t seem to attract them too much.

        She’s been doing a lot of hard work and I’m hoping she’ll get a little more acknowledgment.

      1. Or even better, treat them like drink orders. ‘Suddenly across the waves a bottle appeared. When it arrived on the sandy beach, it turned out to be a tequila sunrise. Just the way I like it.’

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