The journey of a bottle

Wild Giant Otter plays with plastic bottle in the Pantanal.  Photo via  flickr  used under creative commons. 

Wild Giant Otter plays with plastic bottle in the Pantanal.  Photo via flickr used under creative commons. 

I float, pirouetting on the seas, my body half-submerged in sickly green. Still, I'm not drowning. Ha! What a wonderful idea. To drown, to die, to linger half-alive in this tender state, to choke yet not be choked, to wonder at the skies but wish to burrow deeper into the waves. This is the kind of life I live.

A curious animal with a speckled, sharp beak pecks me, then flaps its wings—once, twice, and darts away. A moment later, she descends once more and cocks her head to the side. Her beady eyes appraise me, then she uses her beak to peel my clothes off- leaving me bruised, battered, and horribly embarrassed.

 Hey! Just because I can't talk, doesn't mean I can be treated like a bug! Then I pause, realizing the situation. I'm less than a bug, not even worth half a piece of a bug. I'm just a bottle in a wide and vast ocean.

 Days pass, I'm floating, my head bobbing up and down as I head into deeper waters. I know I’m propelled further away from shore, because the fish stop looking friendly, and they don’t swim away when I bump into them. They just stare at me intently and open their jaws, like they’re about to swallow me. I hope not: I don't think I'm very tasty.

 Then, one day as I'm lying on my back, basking in the stunning warmth of the sunlight, it happens! Some mammoth, blubbery mouth scoops me out and I spiral into a pit full of reeking garbage and decaying food.

Blub, blub, blub. Somehow I’m still alive, even though I’m plunging into this cavernous vortex. A glimpse of something… clear. White? Hey! It’s my cousin! Plastic bag! Hello, hello. How’re you doing this fine evening?

 Oh, so we’re in a whale. Interesting, I suppose, but how do we get out?

 Wait, is that… grandpa? Grandpa! Wow, long time no see. Where did your cap go? Well, your clothes don’t look much better. How’d you get them to be so yellow… and tattered?

 You’ve been here a long time, haven’t you? But you’ve never managed to get out? Why are you just sitting here, year after year? Don’t you miss us, Grandpa? What? That’s crazy—we have to wait until this giant beast dies?

 Poor whale, we’re not good for its digestive system. We don’t break down here, we just get in its way. Especially Great-Aunt Bertha over there. She’d probably block the digestive tract… she’s so large, there’s no way she’d just slide right through. And all of us here just take up space. We’re all responsible for slowly killing Moby.

 Why do we have to make this creature feel so much pain? I mean, can’t we just be used for more renewable purposes? For instance, by melting us into pellets and using us to make clothes? At least we’d be more useful, and we won’t be forced to watch another suffer. And why did we have to end up here? What could’ve prevented this from happening?

 As I float in the muck, my thoughts turn over and over, until everything before me becomes a blur. When will this poor whale die? Will I eventually wash up to a place even more obscure and foul than this? Will I end up like the others—rotting in the great garbage island? Is this the fate of all of us, to be used as a weapon against innocents?