The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cryptic, flash and malign.
I’m walking on the beach, the setting sun a Fiestaware plate of brilliant orange.
When I stumble on a bottle caught in a rocky breaker, protected by rotting seagrass. The bottle is dark green, indicating a former life as a vessel of fine wine, a Bordeaux maybe. It’s new use is that of messenger.
The corked bottle has a note in it.
I squat over the sand, dust debris from the pitted glass, shake the bottle. The parchment inside bounces silently.
I dig out the cork.
And uncurl the crinkled paper and flatten it by rubbing it gently across my thigh.
The note is cryptic in its message, written in a man’s heavy penmanship. Three sets of numbers, two of which I guess are longitude and latitude lines. The third a string of 15 digits in no discernable pattern.
A very personal note to a former lover, an apology, a pledge of undying love.
It ends with:
“God bless the finder of this communiqué.”
A fit of mischief fills my heart. I scan the empty surf, drum my fingers across the glass, break into a grin. What this note needs is an addendum, a twisted modification - the editor's touch.
I take a pencil out of my pocket, sharpen the lead with a penknife, scribble the back with the most horrid of details. Malign the writer’s family, question his manhood, imply his deep love of barnyard animals.
I roll the paper up, re-cork the bottle, return it into the surf with a loopy overhand toss.
And sit in the sand, watching the bottle bob in the water, watch as it casts a sunset shadow across a sea transitioning from turquoise to azure.
The tide’s in, and the bottle languishes. It gains no purchase in a sea current and slowly comes back to the beach.
I watch the surf try to crush the glass with pounding percussion.
A pang of guilt fills my heart. I sigh, retrieve the bottle. Uncork the note.
And with my mobile, punch in the 15 digits.
A woman answers, her voice accented, pleasant, but with a hint of melancholy.