Message in a Bottle — Redux

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.


IMG_2483William 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!

A Life In Ruins

0B2F934E-FA4D-49E2-BFB8-305EEE2EB749My life is in ruins, he thought.

His life, a life he’d worked so hard to make successful, was, indeed, in ruins. As he drove along the road that skirted the ocean, he couldn’t quite fathom what had led him to this place, this sense of desperation. He was tired. And angry. And, most of all, he was sorry. Sorry for all of those he loved. Sorry for the disappointment he knew they were feeling.

No, it wouldn’t be disappointment. It would be shock. No one could have predicted this. It would be like when they interviewed people on the news who have just found out that their neighbor is a serial killer. “I can’t believe that he could have done such a thing,” they’d say. “He seemed like such a pleasant person. I would never have imagined….”

We all have secrets, he told himself. Some bigger — and badder — than others. But what he did was truly unforgivable. He couldn’t stick around to face the shame and the humiliation. Those he left behind would be better off with him being out of the picture.

And so he got in his car and left, heading where even he did not know.

(200 words)


Written for Sue Spaulding’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: Anurag Bakhshi. Also written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, which is “ruins.”

Song Lyric Sunday — In Dreams

Helen Vahdati’s Song Lyric Sunday theme this week is “sleep,” something I probably should be doing right about now. But when I thought about the sleep theme, what came to mind was the Roy Orbison song, “In Dreams.”

Roy Orbison was an incredible singer whose voice could span a range of three octaves, a range that was beyond that of most rock ‘n roll singers at the time. “In Dreams,” composed and sung by Orbison, is an operatic ballad of lost love. The song was released as a single on Monument Records in February 1963, and was the title track on the album In Dreams, released in July of the same year. The single peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 charts at number 7 in 1963.

Typical of many Orbison songs, “In Dreams” is a heartbreaker. He’s asleep at night and that’s the only time he can be with the one he loves, and when he wakes up, she’s gone. Orbison claimed in interviews that the lyrics for this song came to him in a dream. He wrote the music once he woke up.

Here are the song’s lyrics.

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night
Just to sprinkle stardust and to whisper
“Go to sleep. Everything is all right.”

I close my eyes, Then I drift away
Into the magic night. I softly say
A silent prayer like dreamers do.
Then I fall asleep to dream My dreams of you.

In dreams I walk with you. In dreams I talk to you.
In dreams you’re mine. All of the time we’re together
In dreams, In dreams.

But just before the dawn, I awake and find you gone.
I can’t help it, I can’t help it, if I cry.
I remember that you said goodbye.

It’s too bad that all these things,
Can only happen in my dreams
Only in dreams In beautiful dreams.

FOWC with Fandango — Bottle

FOWCWelcome to September 23, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “bottle.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

The Roulette Table

3EA12377-CC5F-4D12-96CB-47A73F53E41A“You seem a bit anxious,” Jack said. “Is something bothering you?”

No, it’s just that I’ve never seen a casino as posh as this one,” Stephen said. “It’s beautiful.”

“Well, I don’t know that I’d call it posh and beautiful,” Jack said. “More like glitzy and tacky.”

“To me it’s amazing.” Stephen said. “It has a carnival-like atmosphere, doesn’t it?” Then pointing to a section on the other side of the casino floor, he said. “Hey look, a roulette table. Let’s go play.”

“Do you know how to play roulette?” Jack asked.

“I think you bet on a number and when the guy spins the wheel, if your number comes up, you win,” Stephen explained.

They headed to the roulette table and Stephen put his chips on number 18. “Why 18?” Jack asked.

“Because my birthday is January 8th, and so one and eight, or 18,” Stephen said.

“Let’s hope that that will be a fortuitous choice,” Jack said.

When the spinning roulette wheel came to a stop, the little ball had landed on 18, much to the surprise and delight of Jack and Stephen.

However, as is usually the case, the house ended up winning and, after a few hours, the two men left the casino with empty pockets, their brief victory short-lived.


Written for Daily Addictions (anxious), Ragtag Daily Prompt (posh), Word of the Day Challenge (carnival), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (number), Your Daily Word Prompt (fortuitous), and Scott’s Daily Prompt (victory).