Sunday, July 02, 2006


By Meredith Fitzsimmons

Dan had been shipwrecked on the island for longer than he could remember. Each day, he had yearned for a sign that he was not completely alone in the world: a glimpse of a ship on the horizon, the contrails of a distant jet, an empathetic message in a bottle. Any of these things would have been indescribably welcome.

One morning, as he sat on the beach drawing a portrait of his former accountant in the sand, he saw something small and shiny bobbing in the gentle swells. Curious, he put down his stick and waded into the water, and soon the object drifted into his grasp. It was a clear glass bottle, and it made Dan tremble with excitement. For inside, he saw a small piece of paper, neatly rolled up like a scroll and secured by a rubber band.

Dan splashed his way back to the beach, where he smashed the bottle against a rock and unfurled the paper on a piece of driftwood. It was a sheet of stationary from a La Quinta Inn, and on it was written this, in big, shaky letters:

"I farted into this bottle and put the cap back on, and now you are smelling my farts, MR. FARTNOSE."

It was not much, but it was something.

Dan pondered this message all day and into the evening. Later that night, as he slumbered beneath a tropical sky lit by an infinite scattering of stars, he dreamt of a guest at a La Quinta Inn ― a vicious little sixth grader, whose nose is slowly crushed by a malfunctioning elevator door.

(For those who, inexplicably, can't get enough of Meredith Fitzsimmons, Electric Storytime's grand dame of maritime intrigue, we suggest her classic "Here Come the Clams.")

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