Message in a Bottle

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William is a serious, 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 things going.

William looked out of his office window. Despite the early hour, the sun was shining brightly, the skies 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 since he'd taken a day off?

What happened next was so unlike him. 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 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, laptop, or iPad. 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?
CALL ME RIGHT AWAY.
I NEED YOU TO CONTACT THE CLIENT
BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY!


Written for today's one-word prompt, "shimmer."

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16 thoughts on “Message in a Bottle”

  1. I thought your piece eloquent exciting and intriguing. That is exactly word for word how a day off would feel. Finding a bottle with these words, a far cry from what has been suggested in another. It definitely elicits curiosity….will there be more, will he continue to investigate if at all possible?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was an interesting piece. The ending had me cracking up.

    Out on the beach, away from work. Nice weather. Playing hooky was a good idea…

    …then a mysterious message comes along. It just so happens to be the boss with an order to get back to work! I died. My only question is this: does the boss have the gift of foresight or something? Because, if that’s so, the thought on any boss knowing when someone is going to skip out on work (and leaving a message ahead of time to remind them to get back to work) is utterly terrifying.

    Awesome job. Descriptions were beautiful, ending hilarious. A win-win!

    Like

    1. Thanks for your very kind words. Another blogger recently wrote a piece about employers embedding chips under the skin of their employees. So maybe William’s boss used the chip to find out that William was at the beach. Then he put a note in the bottle and sent a drone to the beach to drop it near where William was relaxing on the sand. Does that sound feasible?

      Like

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