Flash Friday 05/07/2013: Hand for the Stranded
Robert had always thought that these kinds of desert islands were only in comic books. Turns out, he was very much wrong, and he had irrefutable proof of his claim, mainly because he was stranded on it.
Just like in the comic books, however, a message in a bottle had floated towards his island.
Robert was excited. He hadn’t been on this island for longer than a day, but he was already certain that moving here was definitely not the best of moves that he had in his career. Not that he had much of a choice, with the main decider in the move being a faulty plane engine and a spare parachute. Now, he had the one thing that could help him off this infernal island.
He removed the paper from the neck. No, scratch that — several sheets of paper, all of which as bone dry as the day they were written on. Robert took hold of the top-most paper and read it.
‘Hello there,’ it read in black ink. ‘We noticed that you have recently moved into the neighbourhood. As such, we’ve decided that you might be interested in a free subscription to Stranded Weekly, the number one source of news and updates for all those in the same market as tyourself. As this is your introductory package, please find your complimentary pen floating on the same path as this message’.
Robert looked up. Sure enough, floating just next to the shore, was a pen. Grabbing hold of it, he read the colourful print on the side.
Stranded Weekly Digest.
You might be lost at sea,
But you’ll never be lost for words!
Robert shook his head, discarding the front page to read the digest proper. The main attraction seemed to be a story on how one islander managed to tame the ominous-looking sharks that circled her island, and how she’s now using them to make passive income from her own home. The article was marred a little by an advert dominating the right hand side, promising that there were single, lonely islanders in his area, and looking for someone just like him. Turning to the next page, it contained recipes for things you can do with coconuts, rocks, sand, and salt water. The recipe list contained only one. It read suspiciously like instructions on how to properly eat a coconut.
Turning the page, Robert laid eyes on the colourful cartoon font, declaring this page as ‘Fun and Games’. It contained a few comic strips, one of which was The Humorous Adventures of Adam and Stalk, a funny strip where the main characters were a stranded islander and his sentient coconut tree. There was another one about a cat who would hate Mondays if he wasn’t currently trying to get his flare gun to work. Robert didn’t find it very funny. The page also contained a cryptic crossword which, when all the squares marked in grey were filled out, would spell out the frequency and emergency code for the local coastguard. ‘Only one prize per week’, it boasted. ‘Hurry while stocks last!’.
Turning to the next page, he found the Personals section. ‘ISO male, 20YO, GSOH,’ the top one read. ‘LTR with 30YO female, WE. Likes reading, socialising, parties, surviving. ALAWP. All modes of water transport are sweeteners’. In fact, most of the adverts seemed to claim that any sort of relationship was possible as long as the partner had access to a speedboat. As saddening as it was, it was nothing compared to the Adverts section, which was full of people simply saying ‘S.O.S’ along with a list of coordinates or directions.
‘So there you have it’, the final page read. ‘I hope you enjoyed this week’s copy of Stranded Weekly. If you would like to cancel your subscription, please shoot out a flare, and we’ll stop it within 28 days of your signal. If you don’t have a flare gun, burning down your coconut tree will suffice.
And then a signature, which identified the writer as John Williams, Hobbyist Islander and CEO of Stranded Weekly.
Robert sighed, clicking the pen and turning the paper over to the blank side. At least he could get a note out there now.
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