(7:30 am Wed Nov 03, 2010)
(8:56 am Wed Nov 03, 2010)
OK, here we go. I hope you like what I have written so far this morning gentle reader... Ouch.
So, we are still on the beach back on Monday.
What's this you have here Baldy? This bottle looks very old. I wonder how long this has been floating around out there in the ocean?
"Open it up already Mary, please... I want to see what is in it."
"Hmmm, it looks like there is a note in there Baldy. Isn't that exciting? I wonder if it is a love letter. That would be so romantic."
"Love letter. Who wants a love letter. Let it be a treasure map. I could use some pirate treasure. Pay off my bills. Set myself up. Stop hanging out around the web shops. Yeah baby. Get to know a captain or two. That's what I'm talking."
"Calm down boy, stop making so much noise. You sure are excited."
"Hep Cooper, what do you say? A treasure map. Man, wouldn't that be cool."
"What's the big deal Baldy? Life is good man. Chill. Who needs treasure much less a treasure map?"
"Chill? That may be OK for you. Flying around all day. Up in the air. Enjoying life everyday at the shore and off shore. That's not my life though. Now, I'm not complaining too much mind you. I could have it a lot worse. Mary is good to me. But life is hard for her too. We could use a break."
"You think a gulls life is all sweetness and light? You know how many gulls have to live at the dump just to get by? Oh no mabeezo. Gulls are in a daily struggle too. But you gatta get yourself some perspective man. You are alive aren't you? Get some perspective."
(9:15 am Wed Nov 03, 2010) 4776
(2:23 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
(2:34 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
Mary used her knife to scrape a gummy waxy substance from the mouth of the bottle only to discover a cork further down in the neck. She took one of the hanger spits from the weenie roast and shoved it down in the cork to try and extract it. It took her a while, but she finally managed it by using two and pushing them in at an angle.
The next problem was to get the contents out without damaging it. She tried shaking. That didn't work. She tried using the hanger. That got her no where. She tried some more shaking. No go. She thought about just breaking the bottle one time. She decided not to. She liked how it looked and thought she might just keep it. It looked old too and she thought it might just be valuable and if it was, she could always sell it if things got tougher. Finally she had a bit of an idea. She took a rubber band out of her bag and joined two of the spits. She pushed them down in the bottle and managed to get one on each side of the thing and let the rubber band clamp it. The she used a third spit to keep things together as she twirled the joined spits. To cut a long story short, she managed to sort of wrap the thing around the joined spits and pulled everything out together.
A smile broke out on her face as she sat back, satisfied with herself.
(2:45 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010) 5051
(3:46 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
"Let's see what we have here Baldy. Wouldn't a love letter be romantic?"
"Enough with the love letter garbage Mary. Let it be a treasure map. Come on lady luck!"
"You are excited about this bottle aren't you Baldy. What has gotten into you?"
"Come on treasure map! What do you say Cooper?"
"Don't get too worked up Baldy. Treasure is not all it is cracked up to be you know. It is the simple things in life that are priceless."
"Oh, don't go all wisdom giver on me bird."
"Let's see here. Hmmm. It looks like it might be a map of some kind. And some strange writing."
"I knew it! A treasure map! What did I tell you gully! What did I tell you! Here let me see."
Baldy crowded in on Mary to take a good look at the map.
"Hey, hey. Take it easy Baldy. What has gotten you so excited?"
(3:53 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010) 5218
Yv yj'i jhuqikhu jxqj oek iuua.
Oek ckij qffbo q byjjbu xuqj.
Dej je cksx eh Y cqo rkhd.
Jxud oekh tuiyhui Y mybb ifkhd.
"What? What is that all about? And where is the big X? What kind of a treasure map is it without a big X?"
Mary looked at the strange writing. What could that mean?
"Great. We have a treasure map with no big X and writing that we can't read. What good is that going to do us? Think. Think, Baldy, think."
"What do you know about treasure maps Baldy? Surely you know something about them that can help us."
"I wish I knew Cooper. I know that are supposed to have an X that marks the spot, that's what I know and I don't see any X on this map."
(4:04 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
(5:50 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
(8:19 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
So what happened was they couldn't make head nor tails of the map until it escaped from Mary's hand and blew towards the fire. Baldy's heart lept into his mouth and he desperately tried to catch it before it blew in and burned. He was too slow but luckily it caught on a piece of driftwood that was too large to fit completely into the pit.
The heat from the fire brought out more on the map. Quite a bit more.
"Whoa, look at that. Now we may get somewhere," yelped Baldy.
"What is it?" asked Mary, "Where did that come from?"
"Wow, I was just about to suggest the application of heat to bring out any hidden writing and the wind took care of it before I could speak," put in Cooper.
"Yeah, right, like we are supposed to but that gully."
"But it or take it for free if you like, but it's true."
"What are you two jabbering at each other about? Isn't this exciting? A map in a bottle with hidden writing. Isn't that romantic?"
"Here we go with the romance again. What is it with females Cooper?"
(8:31 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
"Don't get side tracked on that eternal question Baldy, we have an interesting map here before us. Let's see what it says!"
"What happened to those priceless simple things in life gully?"
"This could prove to be an interesting intellectual exercise my friend. The game is on. Again I say, let's see what it says."
"Right, well here it is."
But Mary had picked up the paper and the heat was off and the writing had faded.
"Come on Mary, heat it back up again. Quick."
"Well Baldy, that is a shame. It has faded. But I don't think we should risk it by the fire again. We can take it home and look at it there with some safer heat."
(8:45 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010) 5699
(9:12 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
Baldy wasn't happy about it but Mary knew how to be hard headed when she was ready and no amount of reasoning or persuasion would move her on this. So he helped her clean up the remaining wood pile, bury the ashes and do a general cleanup. Then they packed up their stuff and Mary called Franky on her cell to see if he could give them a lift home.
While they waited, Mary read a book under her umbrella and Baldy ranged up and down the beach, too excited by the possibilities of the map to sit still with her. Cooper hopped down off of the umbrella and Mary fed him bits of bun from her lunch. Baldy had taken the rest of the octopus down to the eastern end of the beach and left it for gully's kin. They made short work of it.
"So Buster, you gonna come home with me and Baldy? We'll see if we can get you healed up so you can get back to your normal life soon."
"I heard that, Mary, you sure you want some smelly bird hanging around the place?"
"What, who says a smelly bird is going to be hanging around anywhere?"
"It's Mary, she wants you to come hang out with us for a while until you wing heals. What do you say? She's cool."
"Yeah, OK, I guess I could handle it for a while at least. Plus, you are going to need my brain and skills to help you solve the map mysteries."
Franky eventually came by and everyone piled into his truck. Cooper in the front with Mary on her lap and Baldy in the back, head hanging out the side all the way home. He loved it when the wind blew his mouth open and flapped his tongue around. He had a strong jester streak in him somewhere. Could he have ancient blood lines?
(10:23 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010) 6032
Franky pulled over in front of Mary's house and before the truck stopped moving Baldy had jumped out of the back and over the front gate. He dashed around back and jumped up onto the roof of his little house and from there to the roof of the box over the gas tank and then up to the back porch roof. In a flash he was up and over the main roof and up to his dilly limb, barking excitedly. It was good to be home.
"Baldy, where are you manners? It is one thing to leave me to bring in everything by myself but you leave our new house guest alone too. That really is not nice. Come down here now and help."
Well, Baldy was having none of that. He guessed he should have helped Mary out with the toting but her was already up his tree and ready for a little nap before dinner. Let that gull look out for his own self. He was having second thoughts about sharing the yard and more importantly Mary with a bird any how.
(10:47 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010)
No way José. Baldy could be hard headed when he was ready too. Perhaps that was why hea and Mary got along so well. In any case, he could be hard headed when he was ready and he was ready now. No way was he coming down before he had a nice long nap.
Well let me tell you. Mary could be hard headed, sure. But that was not the end of her many talents. She could jump slick too and that's what she did.
"Come Buster, let me show you the house and get you settled in. I think I can find something to make a temporary perch for you and then let's take a look at that map and see what we can figure out."
"Oh no she didn't! That gal is too slick Cooper, you see what see is doing to me? I just want a little nap for myself. I have been on that beach all day. Gathering fire wood, rescuing birds, rescuing fish, catching an octopus, discovering a treasure map and all I want is a little nap but will she let me get my beauty sleep? No, she has to pull this on me. Can you believe this?"
Cooper burst out laughing.
"What are you laughing at gully. You keep that up and I will fix you soon tareckley."
"Here he comes now," laughed Mary, "I knew he couldn't resist. I wonder why he is so interested in this piece of paper."
(11:12 pm Wed Nov 03, 2010) 6478
Woot. Past quota gentle reader. Good night.