While walking on the beach you stumble on a valuable object buried in the sand — say, a piece of jewelry or an envelope full of cash. What do you do with it? Under what circumstances would you keep it?
Castaway, I woke on the sand under a blazing sun. My lips were chapped, my mouth was dry. My skin felt tight and crawling from exposure. How long have I lain here? I raised myself to a sitting position and groaned when I saw the shade of red that my shoulders had become. I must find water. That should be the first order of business. Behind me the jungle was alive; a flash of motion, sensed rather than seen, in my periphery – perhaps a predator, lurking, stalking. I should take care.
I turned my attention to the sea, hunting for signs of the ship, perhaps wreckage on the reef, something useful that I could salvage. There was nothing. Not a trace. I surveyed the beach in both directions. To the east was a large granite outcropping. Perhaps 60 feet high it dropped straight into the sea. I would have to enter the jungle to climb it but the high ground would offer a fine perspective and allow me to glean a lay of the land. To the west the beach extended into eternity, gently curving northward and fading from sight. I stood and began trudging west.
After only a few steps I caught a shine from near the waterline, perhaps jetsam from the wreck that had washed ashore. It was a bottle. I could see it now. As I drew nearer I could see it was a soft drink bottle, thin plastic with a red label. God, I was thirsty and I could see the dark liquid contained therein. When I reached it I unscrewed the cap and drank, finder’s keeper’s right? It was nirvana but, it was only a half liter bottle. I looked further. If there was one bottle of Coke on the beach there might be more. Driven by my thirst I walked faster towards the west.
I came to a point on the beach where the trees reached almost all the way to the water. Unable to see around the point through the thick jungle I listened. I could hear the surf gently falling onto the sand. I could hear the seabirds and the wind stirring the fronds on the palms nearby. But, there was something else. A sound I could not identify. A low rumble or murmur that was almost musical. No longer sensing menace from the jungle I cut across the sand, near the treeline rounding the point. What I saw was magnificent. My heart soared. In front of me lay a small harbor or cove. The idyllic beach was dotted with umbrellas and sunbathers. The hotel behind them loomed several stories high and several bikini clad servers carried tropical drinks to the vacationers sitting on the beach.
I found this five star resort. I was going to keep it.
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