DAILY PROMPT: SOS
You’re at the beach, lounging on your towel, when a glistening object at the water’s edge catches your eye. It’s a bottle — and yes, it contains a message. What does it say?
Not to be a wet blanket here, but unless your bottle is almost indistinguishable from a rock – ie heavily colonised by barnacles, weed, and numerous creepy species that lurk (very sensibly) in salt-watery depths where their body-image will not be subject to cruel human judgement… If, in fact, your bottle is glistening at the water’s edge and is therefore a reasonably recent consignment, any message it contains is likely to be as rewarding as a floury apple in your lunch box.
Help! Run out of grog springs to mind. Or something schmalzy (probably in a champagne bottle) like May our love float on calm seas forever. (Bad luck, peeps, it just ran aground.) Or most thrilling of all, a spidery scribble signed by the kid down the road and dropped from his dad’s fishing boat yesterday.
You’re probably thinking, by now, that I don’t have an ounce of romance in my crotchety, withered soul. Not entirely true, although I’ll admit it’s a balancing act: age has reminded me that romance and butterflies have a lot more in common than you want to believe: the caterpillar does the hard work, the butterfly basks in the oohs and aahs for a day, and then it flits off and dies. Which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate butterflies. I just don’t rely on them for the legendary Happily Ever After.
The rock-like bottles, on the other hand – the ones that have been in the sea long enough to acquire mystery as well as barnacles – may prove to be more interesting. (Or not. They could still be pleas for more grog, in which case the senders will either have died of sobriety by now, or made landfall and stocked up with no help from you.) But you should still be wary of getting your hopes up regarding possible acts of newsworthy heroism. If, for example, someone stranded on a remote and uninhabited island has chucked a bottle into the sea, it’s because either…
1. There’s no water on the island, so they don’t need the bottle for collection of same, and by now their fate is sealed, one way or the other
2. They have two bottles, which makes the cynic in me question their foresight, or
Oh for goodness sake! I’m off for swim, where I won’t be looking for bottles, but doing what you’re supposed to do at the beach: floating about contemplating the joys of the universe and my own good fortune.