“Consider the life of a plastic bottle and write about some aspect of it.”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
“Ladies, we have another potential savior approaching!” – Amanda Sheer explained.
“Which one of us will be the lucky one and win a trip to the stunningly breathtaking outside world?” – she carried on as per usual, whenever a customer approached the bottled drinks aisle.
“Woah! Looks like it might be me this time!” – Laura Pellucid cried out.
But it was not her. The blond haired lady, wearing gym clothes and sneakers picked up Bree Limpid.
“Good luck! Don’t forget us!” – the water bottles left behind shouted in unison.
Bree could not hear them, since she was cozily resting in a shopping cart, daydreaming of her upcoming adventures. So far she has been through a lot, but has barely been able to see the light of day.
Shortly after she was born, she received a shower, naturally.
“I wonder what the next stop is going to be.” – Bree thought to herself, while gently rocking to the music coming from up above.
She was wiped clean and dried out. Back then, she thought the conveyor’s belt, the assembly line, and the warehouse were the WHOLE world. After washing and drying, it was time to get dressed and Bree got a tightly fitting, strapless, blue mini dress, which highlighted her natural curves. She felt pretty, but she could not shake the feeling of emptiness. It was as if something was missing. Soon enough, she was filled with spring water from some far away mountains.
“Mountains?” – she wondered quite audibly.
“Yes, there’s more to this world than this room” – the forklift truck uttered, right as she rode past him.
From this point forward, seeing that spring in the mountains became Bree’s goal.
“Ouch!” – she garbled out, surprised by the sudden capping.
Bree was loaded onto another forklift truck (who wasn’t very talkative), then onto a truck, which would take her to the store. It was during the loading and unloading onto and from the truck that she caught glimpses of something very shiny, which blinded her. She would later learn that it was the sun.
While at the store, she got to know a lot of other bottles of water, as well as other products being sold at the same store, such as chips, toys and produce. Everyone had their origin story, and everyone knew something else about the outside world. At night, they would all gather and tell each other what they knew and what they thought life would be like if they got to go (back) outside. And now, Bree was about to leave the store and go play with the fun and energetic kids Teddy Bear told her about, see all the animals Beet Root mentioned, and of course, climb those mountains in a far away land.
Bree’s daydreaming was interrupted by the cashier twisting and turning her around, trying to scan the bar-code on Bree’s dress, and then unceremoniously tossing her into a plastic bag. Not even a minute later, she was walking out the door, so she shut one of her eyes, expecting the blinding sun. But there was no blinding. It was dark, and the sky looked as if it was going to cry. They got into a car, and five minutes later, they were home. Oh, how shocked Bree was, when Sarah – the Savior, brought her home and placed her yet on another shelf. Only this one was even worse than the one at the store; it was cold, and small, and there were not many companions for Bree to talk to. She shivered for a little while, but then managed to close her eyes and fall asleep. What woke her up was a bright light switching on, when Sarah opened the fridge.
“How long was I out for?” – Bree thought to herself.
“Well, hello there, Miss” – she heard, while still trying to adjust her eyes to the light.
“Who is that?” – she asked, while rubbing her eyes.
“I’m Coke. Coke Acola.”
And then she saw him. Tall, wide shoulders, muscular, dark and handsome.
“And what is your name?” – asked the handsome stranger.
“I’m Bree Limpid. I’m a water bottle.” – she said nervously.
“I see” – Coke chuckled.
He was older than her. It was quite apparent that he was more mature, too. It was a crush at first sight. They got to know one another while cuddling to stay warm in that cold place Coke called a fridge. He told her what he has seen on the outside and how it felt to have a fizzy liquid inside him. He even told her that one of his friends at the store told him that if he jumps around a lot, and someone opens the bottle, all its contents will explode like a volcano. Neither one of them knew what a volcano was, but they started rolling around the rack and doing jumping jacks, while waiting to be opened. They became rather close, rather quickly. Bree told him about her dreams of seeing the mountain springs and everything else there was in the world. Ever since then, Coke grew grim. As if he knew something, but did not want to tell her.
“He must be jealous of my dreams” – Bree thought to herself while lying awake at night.
She started having mood swings due to the constant darkness and only brief, unpredictable bursts of light when Sarah reached for a yogurt or juice. Coke tried to entertain her, but she could easily detect his somber mood. One day, Sarah reached for Coke, opened up the bottle and half of its contents spilled out.
“Fuck!” – Sarah said angrily.
But Coke and Bree laughed hysterically. They now they knew what a volcano did – pushed its liquid contents out with great strength and pressure, causing an explosion. Unfortunately, just like that – Coke was gone. Sarah closed the door, leaving Bree in the dark. Alone again…
“Oooooh, yeah!” – Bree shouted out when the next light came on and Sarah reached for her.
“One, two, three, four… we are approaching the door to the outside” – murmured Bree to herself, retracing the steps they took when coming in from the store.
And in another four steps, Bree was outside. Blinded by the light. But oh, so warm now. Bree got so excited about all of the adventures they were going to have together that she slipped from Sarah’s grip and landed hard on the ground. Sarah picked her up quickly, squeezed her tightly and started running.
“Ugh, stop! You’re making me nauseous!” – Bree cried out to no avail.
Sarah just kept on running as if there was someone chasing her. Thankfully, when they got to the gym, Sarah placed Bree in a cozy cup holder clipped to her treadmill, allowing Bree to relax and regain her composure. The outside stimuli have overwhelmed her. The birds singing, the cars honking, the children crying… She also could not understand why people would willingly come to this place called gym, where all they did was sweat, moan and get tired.
During her workout, Sarah kept sipping on the spring water. Sip by sip. And Bree started feeling lightheaded. However, the thoughts of emptiness did not bother her as much, because she was so hungry for adventure. This time, Sarah picked her up and slowly walked out the gym and across the street.
“Maybe we are finally going to the mountains?!” – Bree wondered curiously.
She was hopeful, since Sarah seemed to have been taking a different route than she was when coming to the gym. All of a sudden, Sarah stopped.
“We just crossed the street. What is she stopping for, now?”
Sarah unscrewed Bree’s cap to take another swig, and that was when Bree saw it – a sporting goods store. Right there, on the display, they had the tiniest person Bree has ever seen climbing a tall mountain. Unlike the mountains on Bree’s dress, this one had more than two dimensions. It must have been the real deal, but to Bree’s disappointment, there was no spring. No water coming out of it. Before she could investigate any further, she was up in the air flying. The air carried her for a few seconds, and then she landed in what seemed like a prison. She could see the mountain through the spaces between steel bars. The mountain climber has not moved an inch.
“That must be a fake mountain” – Bree uttered, still unaware of her surroundings.
She lay among a banana peel, a slice of pickle, and a half eaten candy bar. The smell was not that appealing either. All she could hear were the flies buzzing around, trying to feed on the food and drink remains.
“Oh, what happened to me? I was supposed to see the WHOLE world!” – Bree sobbed quietly, thinking of all her friends from the store’s shelf, thinking of Cola, thinking of Sarah the Savior, who just threw her out the moment she was empty. It was like the spring water was more important. As if she was just a temporary holder for something worthy of human needs and wants, as if she was nothing but trash…
When she woke up, she was being loaded onto a truck full of more smelly remains. In the place of the mountain, there was a gravel road with a man riding a bicycle.
“Surely, a real mountain cannot be moved overnight” – Bree told herself confidently.
Before she could figure out what was really going on, she found herself being dumped from the truck onto a huge pile of other empty water bottles. They looked like a mountain, but it was a mountain made of plastic, nothing like she expected a real mountain to be.
“Can someone tell me what the hell is going on here?” – she asked quite loudly, being at her wit’s end.
“Welcome to the recycling plant” – said an empty bottle at the top of the pile.
But before she could find the answer, she was squeezed. Together with the other bottles, they formed a cube, prepared for recycling. Bree knew this was the end. As she was closing her eyes, she understood what Coke meant when he said that life was not all that Bree expected it to be. Somehow, he knew that the life of a plastic bottle was limited. He knew that their short life was going to come to a brutal end. He knew they would be reduced to a pulp before they were turned into new bottles. Or maybe they would become something else?
Bree was no more, but what would become of her was yet to be determined.