Mar 20, 2011

Things to be Found at the Bottom of a Bottle

Here is a small Sunday treat. Hopefully it tastes nicely for you. Below is a short story I wrote a month or so back that I'd like to share. It may be some time before the next issue of the comic comes out and it's important for me, for us, to let you know we haven't died and we appreciate your viewing of the blog. Feedback would be appreciated and I hope you enjoy the story as much as I love bad grammar and punctuation. This is a first draft and I don't know if or when I'll ever change it. Enjoy.

Edit: I have to apologize in advance for the story as it appears on the blog. A couple breaks happen that isn't intended, oh well. Not quite sure about blogger and I don't have the time to edit code because of my video game addiction.


             He cut her off mid sentence and gestured towards the ocean, and in a single fluid motion
they clasped hands while burying their feet deep beneath the sand in an almost ritualistic fashion.
Seven years have passed, and he still couldn't get enough of the smoothness of her touch and the
calmness of the sea, he sort of had no choice. There are moments in even the most visually depraved
parts of the universe where beauty is heard and seldom seen, but almost always taken for granted.
Unfortunately for this planet it's beauty is wasted on beings with eyes set to themselves, or the stars,
but never to the very ground that they stand on.

         “This is the last time or, should I say the last time again, right?” She asked, head in the clouds
taking in the ocean breeze and odors. “I appreciate you accepting my invitation, but no this isn't the last time and I fear tomorrow wont be either. I suppose the real question would be, will that change
anything?” The tone couldn't have been more dry, but anything less wouldn't be Nathan and anything
more would be too human. “You always sound so alien when you want to avoid my questions, so
thanks for your non answer-answer mister mystery.” He wanted to remark at the child like speech from his old friend, however his thoughts where broken by a sharp pain near his ankle. “OW!” Nathan
exclaimed, as he held his left foot tightly hoping around barefoot on the beach. “Oh, don't be such a
baby it's just a bottle you nunce and not only that, it didn't even come near you, it hit me!” Exclaimed
Lucy with very little concern to the matter. Nathan gave her a wild expression of curiosity and
bewilderment and couldn't decide if he wanted to continue jumping in pain or give her a thrashing for
being so rude. “Do you not see that gigantic prickly instrument of doom where my feet used to be?”
And Nathan walks towards the object of his physical pain, picks it up and holds it up to Lucy's nose so that she could take it all in. “Stop being so dramatic and take a look at this! It looks like a bottle but I
think there is something in it.” Lucy said casually dismissing Nathan's pain and the prickly instrument
that brings death to feet. He decided to brood a bit longer because that's what he did, he was more
concerned with his foot than Lucy was with her bottle and there was nothing wrong with that, he
thought. “ Of course it's a bottle, what else would it be? Actually I hate you right now because I'm
obviously in pain and you're more concerned with garbage on the beach. I could be dying for all you
know, what if it was one of those poisonous prickly feet death things and what if.... Nathan went on and Lucy went on ignoring him as per the usual, but not entirely. Her gaze was transfixed on her new found treasure. Jewels. It had to be she thought, I mean they were on a beach anyway and the only thing to be found in such a place was treasure and tiny rocks. She couldn't help but get the odd feeling like she was being watched from within the bottle by someone else, but that was nonsense.

Nathan just looked at her almost hypnotized gaze and before she even realized it she had begun
to open the bottle. He thought it was the natural thing to do for a romantic woman like Lucy. There
could be a long lost love note inside from a couple whose romance flourished and lasted a lifetime, or
maybe even money or tiny diamonds and other trivial things she would like. He thought on and as his
thoughts escaped him and ushered him into his own trance like state when suddenly Lucy shouted, “
What the hell is this!”. In the way a child would open a birthday card with no money or a wife would
find the wrong shade of lipstick her husband's collar. Nathan decided perhaps it was OK to give into his emotions and maybe ask Lucy out. Leaps are not something easily taken and if the fall doesn't kill you, the answer would. It was time to be rid of that attitude. Time to change  and, maybe it was even time to humor Lucy and find out why she's so fascinated with trash.  So Nathan took the bottle looked inside and thought someone was looking back at him as well, but that was nonsense.

            And as Lucy opened her new treasure to find someone's garbage, and as Nathan starred at Lucy wondering if he could ever see beauty in something so ordinary they way she did. Across the planet a boy is starring out into an ocean with wonder and puzzlement and across from him a girl is
looking into his eyes the way Nathan is to Lucy. And across from them a mom is yelling at her
daughter for a less than ideal report card while the father watches his hard earned dollars turn into
minutes on a phone bill. Further away in the world from all of this someone is contemplating buying a
yacht or, keeping the money invested where they know it'll be safe, or not. 

And life as everyone would see it will come together in a bottle, and be ripped apart by the drunkenness of love and curiosity. Together the peoples across the world open the bottle hoping to find a note from a person who had love and wanted to share their romance like in the movies or perhaps a treasure map leading them to riches and in turn to expensive things and in turn happiness. And somewhere far off someone is starring back at them through a bottle of their own.

    The bottle contained a note from a place that doesn't exist in a language no one could read or
make sound of on material that felt like a tangible dream, but that is nonsense. Gifts come in different
forms and are often followed by a desire of something to be reciprocated, never are they given without such demands. People are often given gifts without viewing them as such because gifts are beautiful
and as the Earth can tell you, beauty is often over looked. Gifts have their price.

          It wasn't until she could no longer feel the sand beneath her feet that Lucy figured out they
she was no longer at the beach, at least not the same one she had been. “ I...I feel like I'm going to
die, I told you that stupid prickly thing would kill me! “ Nathan's shrill complaining voice was so
incredibly comforting to hear she thought, the beach could change but Nathan never would. She
decided this time to walk over and help him up, she put two fingers to his neck to check his pulse not
that she thought anything was wrong, because she knew it made him feel better. As she leaned over
to a Nathan lying on the ground in agony she looked into his eyes and saw them fill with black, there
was no longer color, and as their eyes met Nathan saw the same in hers. They both turned to see their
beautiful calm blue ocean replaced with an emerald green and black color you might see at the bottom
of a dirty dish pan. Their blue sky replaced with a reflection of the dark ocean in this place where
just moments ago they had been sharing a moment together with each other and their beach. And
across the world that person is no longer wondering if they should buy a yacht or keep their money
in stocks because who would want to sail an ocean of black? And across from him a father is no
longer in agony of seeing his money turn to minutes of a phone bill but, just because the world has
changed in the blink of an eye doesn't mean the daughters grades should get away from the mother.
And across from them the young couple on the beach didn't flinch at the change of the world, for they
had hoped for it all along. A world for them to shape, a world their mothers and fathers hadn't
polluted and ruined with buildings and stocks and yachts and grades. A world where they could
explore new things with each other and with this world and live the way people do in movies and
some stories.

          Their entire world changed to a dark place where once a blue ocean was there to be looked
at and forgotten, now stood a dark violent ocean filled with the unknown. At the same time across
this new world one thought gripped the people nearly at the same time, there is beauty in darkness.
It is often feared but it's simply the other side of the coin, you cannot have light and matter without
dark. There is beauty in darkness and there was nothing wrong with that.

           And Nathan saw the darkness in her eyes and the green and black color of the ocean and knew
this was his moment to take charge. The Lucy he knew for 7 years, the Lucy he would take to the ocean to share the sounds and smells with, to keep to himself for minutes, hours if he was lucky, never
looked so beautiful. He wanted to tell her that it was indeed the last time as she asked earlier, the last
time he would feel fear. Nathan stood at the edge of this dark beach and looked into the sky of this new world and was struck with a sudden vigor he hadn't felt since the first time he looked at the ocean. He once again felt curiosity, bewilderment, youth and remembered what it was like to be a real
human. He chuckled at Lucy's earlier remark of him acting alien and it took a dark ocean to show him
the reflection he missed in the clearest of blue water. He stood thinking and looked to Lucy who
seemed to be an entire world away. He chuckled at the as well, for obvious reasons.

          It was the way a child would respond if they got sent to a different school or the way someone
would transfer to a different company location. It was the way humans behaved once they had drained
their natural and social resources and wished they could just find a new place and start over but gifts
have their price. In this new place anything was possible and he decided to take advantage of this new
vigor and to the gifts he had decided to no longer ignore. He walked up to her and embraced her the
way he had always wanted, never wanting to let go. Lucy didn't fight his sudden grasp but didn't
hesitate to ask, “Why did it take the world to change for you to notice me?” Lucy's soft voice was
the most comforting thing Nathan could have asked for and at that moment he thought, the world
could change, but Lucy never would.

       And in a far off place that someone who was once starring back at Lucy and Nathan, and at
the daughter with bad grades and at the young couple on the beach, writes their story down not
on paper but on dreams. And once their dreams are done, he will put them in a bottle, top it with
a cork and send them sailing to be taken by the tides of the universe.

-Johnnie Wright

© 2011 Johnnie Wright All Rights Reserved

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