Fandango’s my One-Word Challenge today is “bottle.” As I was contemplating what to write for the prompt, it occurred to me that I’d already written a post about a bottle in August last year. So, being that it’s a lazy Sunday, I decided to recycle that post. I hope you don’t mind.
William is a diligent, responsible individual who takes his job seriously. And he’s very good at it, too. He works from home, and that morning, like every weekday morning, he got up, brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and sat down in front of his computer.
He read the few dozen emails that had come in overnight. He checked his calendar and saw a handful of phone calls and a few web meetings scheduled throughout the day. He poured a cup of coffee and prepared to get to work.
William looked out of his home office window. Despite the early hour, the sun was shining brightly and the skies were already a deep blue with nary a cloud to be seen. Although still a little nippy out, the day’s forecast called for a gradual warm up by early afternoon. How long had it been, he wondered, since he’d taken a day off?
What happened next was so unlike William. He made a conscious decision to play hooky that afternoon. He’d be as productive as possible in the morning so he wouldn’t feel too guilty when he stepped away from his computer later in the day.
Shortly after 1 p.m., armed with a large beach towel, William hopped on his bike and rode the 3-mile trail through the park to the beach. He secured his bike to a bike rack, removed his shoes, and stepped onto the fine sand, already warmed by the bright, early afternoon sun.
William found a nice, quiet, semi-isolated spot, spread out the towel, and sat down. For the first time in a very, very long time, he was disconnected from the world. No iPhone or laptop. Just nature.
He watched people frolicking on the beach with their dogs, throwing tennis balls or Frisbees. A few surfers in wetsuits were attempting to catch some waves, but the waves on that day, with only the slightest of breezes, were rather small.
As William was glancing around, enjoying his untethered, relaxing afternoon, something in the water caught his eye. Whatever it was, the afternoon sun, which was slowly working its way across the cloudless sky towards the far horizon of the Pacific, shimmered off of it.
The object was bobbing in the shallow surf. William rubbed his eyes, wondering if the shimmering object would still be there when he looked again. It was.
He stood up and gazed in the direction of the flashes of light. Something was definitely floating in the shallow water. He looked around to see if anyone else had seen it, too. But either no one had, or it wasn’t anything they felt worth investigating.
He walked to that point on the beach where the surf kissed the sand and stepped into the shallow, cold water. He is reached out and grabbed the bottle. It was clear glass, a wine bottle, although the bottle’s label had long ago washed away. A cork was pushed into the bottle’s mouth and inside the bottle was a rolled-up note. Seriously, a note in a bottle!
Maybe he was being pranked. He looked around to see if someone had a camera or a smartphone and was creating a video to post on YouTube, but he didn’t see anyone paying attention to him.
He ran back to his towel, and, with unbridled excitement, yanked the cork from the bottle top. He tapped the bottom of the bottle and the note fell into his lap. Who wrote it? When was it written? From what distant shore was it sent? What would the message say?
With mounting anticipation and shaking hands, William unrolled the note. Shock overcame excitement when he read the message printed in all caps and bold italics from a laser or inkjet printer. It read:
WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU WILLIAM?
CALL ME RIGHT AWAY.
I NEED YOU TO CONTACT THE CLIENT
BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY!