The flashbulbs were a bit too much for Alfred Bimsley, whose mild-mannered vacation had been interrupted by the arrival of a message. He cleared his throat and the microphones were thrust even closer. "Erm," he squirmed, unused to such attentions. "It was a bottle."He was not the stuff of film and fortune and the reporters all worked to get him to stop leaving them and their respective audiences hanging with his breathless silences that did nothing to fill dead air. "And tell us, Mr. Bimsley, about the bottle," one such pomaded and painted personality pressed. "How did it come to be in your possession? Did you swim out to retrieve it or did it come to you? When did you realize there was something in it?"Each question propelled Alfred backwards a step but the ever-pressing microphones kept pace. "I was just mindin' my own and it floated over to me and bumped me. I picked it up, opened the top, and peeped in. There was a paper inside. I fished it out," he stopped to chuckle at his own water joke, "and read it."The pregnant pause was enough to cause a calamity; three reporters shoved their respective microphones closer and clamored to have their question heard. "What did it say?" screeched the lone female in the group."Well," the pause was much shorter this time, "it gave a brief history of the problem of erosion on this beach and its effects on the various bivalves that inhabit these waters." The crowd of audio-visual spin doctors gasped at his proper use of terminology. "It said after that, simply: 'Help'. And I decided to try."
I was glad to see that the Daily Post pixies still have a sense of whimsy, and it was a joy to answer their clarion call:
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?