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The Coachman and the Queen

A Glass Romance

Special to the Historical Bottlediggers of Indiana

By. Dr. R.V. Pierce

March 2000

 

I

From my vantage upon the top shelf behind the counter at the rear of Rowland’s General Merchandise Store, I studied the opaque pattern etched in the glass within the ornate walnut door that adorned the store’s façade. The monotony was interrupted by what I perceived to be movement outside, the "thud" of boots on steps, and suddenly the door was thrown open. With fixed and glassy gaze I stared into the rugged and bewhiskered face of the man as he stepped inside, slammed the door, and trudged to the front in Neanderthalic manner.

The merchant, Rowland, whistling behind the counter, stopped in mid-tune and turned toward the rough-looking character. He waved a gesture of greeting. Offering not so much as a nod in return, the heavily soiled man strode straightaway to the front of the store. There he halted, tossed a small, well-worn leather pouch onto the counter, and growled an angry order. "Two pounds beans. Van Dunck’s Genever,"

I shuddered at the tone of his voice, gruff and mean. He couldn’t have spoken fewer words. Had he said "Van Dunck’s?" I shuddered again.

In an effort to fend off this grim and menacing customer in the most expedient manner, Rowland immediately sprang into action. He swiftly measured out the beans on the dry goods scale, adding an extra ounce for good will, lifted the pan, and poured them into a small linen bag. With the dexterity of a practiced hand, he tied the bag and tossed it onto the countertop. Without hesitation, and in the manner of a toy top, he spun on one sure foot, paused, and reached up toward the shelf upon which I sat, arranged neatly in line with others of my kind. His hand momentarily blocked my view, and then I felt the tightening of fingers around my neck as, suddenly, my corpulent figure was hoisted from its prominent perch. He sat me squarely with a "thud" on the countertop, beside the bag of beans. Somewhat shaken, I stared straight ahead, adjusting to the new view.

"Good day at the claim?" he inquired of the crude man who stood hulking and expressionless on the opposite side of the counter. The man scoffed. Rowland always asked this question to those who paid in gold. After all, his own success was completely dependent on the fortune of those who worked the claims. Lately, it seemed, the myriad honeycomb of pits that pocked the hillside outside the northwestern boomtown, optimistically dubbed "Stoddard’s Promise," had yielded little. The promise had worn thin, and Rowland was feeling the economic pinch of a strike that had run its course.

With hands trembling perceptibly, Rowland reached for the leather pouch. It was much heavier than its size would suggest. He untied the drawstrings and cautiously shook out a few small nuggets. The heavy, dark-yellow metal "clinked" into the pan of the pay scale which sat next to the large one that he used to measure poundage. The man glared at Rowland, bent over eye-level with the scale. Sweat now beaded on the merchant’s brow, and he shook out yet another, somewhat smaller nugget. "Tink." The tension in the room grew unbearable. Glancing up and momentarily into the weary and angry eyes of the miner, then again down at the scale, Rowland quickly resolved that he’d better not push his luck. Clearing his throat, swallowing, he meekly affirmed the trade. "That will do fine."

He handed the leather pouch back to the frightful man and pushed the goods across the counter to the edge. "I greatly appreciate your business, Mr., uh, Mr.…?"

The miner’s identity would forever remain a mystery. Nodding once, he grabbed the pouch and thrust it into a pocket inside the chest of his heavily soiled coat. His large callous fingers wrapped themselves around my neck and face. With the other hand he grabbed the beans, turned, and tromped toward the door, slamming it behind him. I momentarily glimpsed the decrepit horse that stood tethered outside the front of the store, looking rather worse for the wear. Throwing open the saddlebag, he dropped me in alongside the beans.

We journeyed back to wherever the miner had come from. Along the route my insides churned and stirred as I was jolted and jostled within the saddlebag. An ordinary bottle might not have endured such a rough and tumble journey into the hills. Never the less, stout and sturdy, I survived the trip.

II

"Whoa there, you big, blind, blundering, brown bastard!" cursed the man as we jerked to a sudden stop. I felt him dismount and heard him muttering something to himself--or the horse--outside the saddlebag. In the next instant, the flap of the saddlebag was thrown open and his grimy hand groped inside and against me. Again, clenching my neck tightly, he pulled me out of the leather pocket and into the waning light of dusk. The beans followed. Thus with purchases in hand, he turned and stomped toward the crude, hewn-log cabin directly ahead.

The rough wooden door creaked on rusty hinges as he escorted me into the cabin. Dragging his boots against the wooden floor, he lumbered toward the opposite wall. The late afternoon light filtered through a small, dirty window, illuminating the barren, dingy room. As I took in my new environs, fear welled up inside me as I pondered what horrible fate might belie me.

Near the window he stopped. I felt myself being lifted, plopped, and shoved forward onto a shelf. Then, turning about face, he paced back toward the door and out. As the door slammed, a great relief filled me.

I gazed directly across the room toward the only window on that wall. The sunlight streaming through the window next to the shelf upon which I sat cast a warm glow upon the occupants of the two shelves that hung on that wall. Then I saw her!

Tall and elegant in appearance, her golden, yellow-amber tone glistened brilliantly in the soft light of late afternoon. Clad in the sumptuously exotic dress befitting an Indian Queen, she was exquisitely ornamented in a many-colored coat of paint. Her shoulders formed a soft and graceful curve, and her ample breasts swelled, firm and prominently, somewhat above the forearm draped across her waist. The other arm extended down her side, accentuating the swell of her hips. Her face appeared finely-featured, her mouth smooth and delicate. Her form was of such exotic splendor, such unique magnificence, that I momentarily pondered the possibility that I was gazing upon the Bottle Goddess herself!

Alas, the cruel reality of my immobility upon my shelf opposite hers returned me to my senses. I sighed in the realization that I could do nothing but stare longingly at the ravishing beauty across the room.

And stare I did, for she was by far the most incredible piece of glass I’d ever laid eyes upon! As I devoured her with my eyes, the spark of my admiration offered kindle to a growing desire, and this in turn ignited the flame of passion within me. Now uncontrollable, my thoughts raced in a torrent of lust as I contemplated a possible future with this beauty.

The reverie of my fantasy was interrupted by the sudden realization that she was staring back! I blushed, turning three shades of puce. What thoughts of me, if any, might she be entertaining? Would she be revolted by my massive jowls, my corpulent appearance? Would she think my color offensive? How might she, this queen, regard me, a mere coachman of lowly station?

Whatever her thoughts of my peculiar appearance might be, I could not avoid her gaze; nor could I avoid gazing back upon her magnificent splendor. What was that? Did I perceive the hint of a sultry smile on this beauty’s face? Or was I imagining this? Oh, what cruel torment was this sudden love I felt!

III

I startled as the door slammed and grungy miner reentered the cabin. He swaggered over to the shelf upon which the glorious object of my growing desire stood. Reaching out, he grabbed her, and our mutual gaze was instantly broken. Pausing briefly to inspect her at arm’s length, he remover her cork, tipped her to his mouth, and swilled of her contents. A pang of jealousy flushed through me as their lips met.

Looking on, I glimpsed her bottom, smooth and round. As my hungry eyes drank in the sight, my passion soared anew. Was I melting? I’d not felt like this since I’d been blown.

My reverie was shattered as he tipped her back down and returned her to the shelf. Turning, with wild eyes he glared in my direction. Coughing, hacking, and wheezing, he rapidly approached and grabbed me, yanked the cork from my mouth and placed his lips upon mine. As he tipped me high I felt myself being drained against his foul and overpowering breath. Fear filled the growing void inside me.

"Mmph." He growled meanly, smacking his lips. His courage waxed as mine waned. I was now but only half a bottle of my former self. Clutching me in hand, he walked to the cabin door and stepped into the nascent darkness of early evening. His rough hand clenched my neck in a murderous grip, and I swung to and fro at his side as he proceeded around the front of the cabin and to its rear. There, he journeyed twenty-five paces or so along a narrow but well-worn path leading up to a small, ramshackle structure where he stopped.

He threw open the door, and a revolting stench, not unlike that of a thousand lion cages, was released into the night air. As the putrid odor billowed forth, he gagged and nearly dropped me in the shock of his own disgust.

We stepped inside. The small, stinking shack was a peculiar place, barren ‘cept for a single bench-like structure. The bench sported a crude-looking hole, as though it had been sawn into its center.

The miner tipped me and drank some more of my contents, then set me on the bench. He appeared to fumble at his belt. Suddenly he dropped his trousers. What strange ritual was this? Cringing at the acrid odor of the place, I watched in fascination as the man squatted and placed his buttocks directly over the hole in the bench.

The man on the bench strained. Reaching to the side he grabbed me and tipped me, then again, repeatedly imbibing my contents until he had managed to suck my insides quite dry. Pausing to stare into my face, he grinned. He stood, and his grin gave way to laughter. In the next instant, I found myself plunging down through the hole and into the hideous pit below. Were it not for the soft, vile brew at the bottom of the pit, I might have been shattered.

Alas, had I been smashed into a hundred shards it would have been a fate much kinder. Indeed, I had been cast into the very depths of bottle hell. Lying face up in the pit, I endured weeks of unspeakable humiliation. The incessant stench was unbearable. Worse yet, I was pummeled with clods of excrement and showered with urine on an almost daily basis. Were it not for the company of a few other bottles who shared my cruel fate, I certainly would have lost the will to remain whole.

Respite from this horrible fate finally came one day in the form of torrential rains. As the heavy runoff seeped into the pit, I was given rise and gradually came to float. I bobbed for some hours, perhaps days, atop the quagmire within the pit, gradually filling up with its foul substance. Then, suddenly, I filled completely and sank to the bottom. There I remained, ever lonely, whiling away the time in persistent wonder over what fate had befallen the Indian Queen.

Meaningless days and nights passed in endless succession, blending into each other, a monotonous river of time. Other, more welcome, debris occasionally punctuated the periodic torrent of human waste to which I became subject. Cans and bottles, beef and poultry bones, broken stoneware—all joined me and shared in my misery. One day—or was it night?—I was startled by the sudden presence of a small but strangely heavy leather pouch that had plummeted down through the soupy morass and come to rest on my face. As I lay there I was certain that I could hear the furious ranting of the miner somewhere above as he cursed, stirring and scooping the foul muck with a long-handled shovel for whatever he might have lost.

My mood alternated between one of fear and hope, the nature of my attitude dictated largely by the humiliation I periodically received from above. However, as time passed, hope faded, and I resigned myself to the fact that the next object thrown into the miner’s privy might smash me into a hundred amber shards. Ambivalent, I merely existed. I know not why fate allowed me to remain whole.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when, upon sensing a heavy "splash" above me, a large object began to sink into the awful human gruel. The object slowly approached me, but I could not fully discern its nature through the dark soup. It floated with an uncommon grace, however, and gradually its shape became apparent. As she came to rest next to me, our lips met somewhat suddenly, slightly bruising mine. But whatever pain I might have felt was overcome with bliss. The Indian Queen had joined me.

IV

"Hey, we got something here." Jason carefully probed the depression in the ground as Rikki stood watching his uncle.

Rikki had brought his uncle and dad to this spot up in the wooded hills outside Seattle to investigate the area surrounding what he believed were the remains of an old cabin. Rikki’s neighbor’s father owned the land upon which the potential privy site was located. When he was asked if they might be able to try to locate and dig a privy, he had graciously consented.

"Really? You think you feel something down there?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure, Rikki. It's deep, though. Definitely not loaded, but there's something down there, alright. I guarantee it." Jason pulled the probe out and carefully examined its tip, noting a few tiny splinters of glass that clung to the soil caked around it. He glanced over to where Rick was probing. "Hey Rick! Get your butt over here. Think we've got a pit here." Rick bounded over toward the spot. "Have a feel. See what you think. Be careful, though. There's glass down there."

Rick grabbed the handle of the probe and carefully sank the rod into the soil. It went in with ease. "I don't know…I don't feel much." Slowly, he pushed it deeper until it met resistance against something beneath the ground." Jason stood watching as Rick probed.

Rick looked over at Jason. "There ain't nothin' down there but rocks. You're dreaming. Again."

Jason sneered. "You're lame. You couldn't tell a pit if your life depended on it. Gimme that probe." Jason probed the spot again. "Tell you what, Rick. I'll bet you a case of Beck's that there's something here. Plus, if there is, I get first and second picks. If there isn't, I'll pay you two cases of Beck's, plus you get the first two picks from our next dig."

Rikki looked at his dad. "Careful, dad. Uncle J knows his pits."

Rick dismissed his son's remark. "You're on, Jason, and you better pay up. Rikki, you're the witness."

"Excellent!" Jason threw aside the probe and quickly took up the shovel. Rick and Rikki stood off to the side as Jason sank the shovel deep into the soil. "This pit's deep, so this might take awhile."

Over the next hour, the three took turns removing the soil from the area, gradually opening up a four by four pit to a depth of four feet deep. Despite having worked down to that depth, the typical signs of a privy pit were absent--no cap of sand or lime, no ash, no artifacts of any type. As it appeared that the bet was going Rick's way, his ego began to swell in certainty.

"Looks like you better start thinking 'bout paying up, buddy boy."

Undeterred, Jason grabbed the probe and, positioning it squarely in the test pit, gently applied downward pressure. Slowly, but with great ease it sank into the soil.

Rikki stood over the test pit, watching intently. "Feel anything Uncle J?"

Jason withdrew the probe and sank it into a corner of the test pit. As it butted up against something, he smiled. "Oh yeah, ohhhh yeah…this is it. We’ve definitely got a pit here."

Grabbing the shovel again, he carefully began to excavate down toward whatever it was that he had felt. Within moments, a few plain, white shards of Ironstone china came to light, followed by some aqua glass.

"Dude! Sweet!" He held up a large piece of the china. Rick stood, mute but open-mouthed, a look of defeat written on his face. "Okay, Ricky-boy, grab that shovel and dig me out some bitters. I can taste that Beck’s already." Rick stood motionless, staring at the china shard. "C’mon! Get your worthless carcass down in here and dig, man. You get clearing duty."

Jason clambered up and out of the pit. With an audible sigh, Rick grabbed the shovel and reluctantly took his brother’s place.

"And be careful. There’s stuff down there. And don’t forget—I get first and second picks, dude." Jason laughed as Rick began to dig.

Rick proceeded to open the hole wider and cleared another foot from the pit. To his dismay, there was a fair amount of glass coming to light. As he dug, he wondered what might lie below. The sun beat relentlessly upon him as he toiled over the shovel, and upon pausing for a gasp of breath and it suddenly occurred to him that this—very likely an 1880s gold miner’s privy—might possibly be considered a site of potential historical and archaeological significance.

"Jase—hey, maybe we shouldn’t dig this pit." Rick had stopped digging, his arms propped against the shovel’s handle. He was dripping sweat, and appeared as though he might wither and succumb to the heat at any moment.

"What? Are you nuts, dude?"

"No. This might be a historically significant pit. Maybe we should contact Tim Scarlett or somebody like that who could do a proper excavation under scientific procedures. After all, the context of these objects might reveal something about the life of a miner in an 1880s Washington State boomtown. You know—like what they had and did. Plus, soil analysis might yield insights into their diets and the kinds of diseases they might have suffered from. Even the position of a chicken bone relative to a china shard might provide valuable information."

Momentarily pondering the issue, Jason looked at the large, gaping hole in the earth in which Rick stood. Shards of vitreous china lay amid fragments of aqua, amber, and an occasional piece of green glass on the mound of dirt above the pit.

"Well, Rick, let’s just make sure we don’t dig all the pits. Be careful, and we’ll make sure we record everything we find. We’ll keep the bottles, if we find any, but send everything else to Tim. And let’s make sure we take some good soil samples of the seed layers, too. Along with the list of bottles and the artifacts we send him, that should provide enough data to enable him to make some important interpretations. Now get busy and dig, man."

Rick sighed anew, bent over, and returned to the task of digging. As more shards of glass turned up, he threw aside the shovel in favor of the plastic handrake. The handrake was a critical tool at this point in the dig.

"Got seed here," Rick casually noted. Normally, his voice would be filled with excitement and anticipation. Clear that he had lost the bet, however, his tone now hinted of resentment and the moral despair that accompanies extreme drudgery.

"Okay, that’s enough. Let me in there." Jason moved to the edge of the pit and extended an arm down to Rick. Helping him up and out, he himself jumped into the pit and began to dig. Rikki moved in for a closer look. "Rikki, you could dig, but this ain’t no time for a greenhorn. Understand?" Rikki nodded. "Good. Why don’t you start gathering up all the shards and other stuff and put them in that sack so we can send them to Tim. At a distance off to the side and beneath the shade of a tree, Rick stretched out and guzzled from the water jug.

"Hey—finally treed one here!" Rick was too exhausted to care; Jason was always so lucky.

Rikki paused and watched his uncle work the handrake around the object. "Man, what is this?" Jason uttered aloud. "This is strange." Pausing, he stood up and shouted toward Rick. "Hey, Rick, come take a look at this. Looks like it might be a figural. Whatever it is, it’s mighty weird." Excited, Jason went back to work with the handrake.

What is this? My long and blissful slumber at the side of the Indian Queen is suddenly, and quite rudely, interrupted by an odd scratching and scraping against my side. What is happening? As the blanket of soil is carefully removed from around me, the cold darkness of the ages gives way to a piercing light that, upon penetrating me, gradually spreads warmth through me.

Jason’s heart threatened to leap from his chest as the shape of the glass bottle revealed itself. "For god’s sake," he uttered to himself, "this is incredible. Wow, Rikki, I love you, man!" Rikki moved in for a closer look at what his uncle had found.

"RICK! Get over here—now! For god’s sake, I got a Van Dunck’s Coachman treed here!"

Still laboring from exhaustion, Rick fought off the effect of gravity and rose to his feet. Leave it to Jason to find a damn Van Dunck’s. "Well, that’s one pick for sure," Rick thought to himself as he sluggishly made his way over to the pit. Upon reaching the edge of the pit, he stopped and looked in, jealousy mounting. Jason had already freed the bottle from its resting-place in the soil and was on his knees in the pit, wiping the dirt from its face.

Jason glanced up toward Rick, grinning. As if to rub salt in Rick’s wounds, he held the bottle out at arm’s length, a few feet from Rick’s face. "Look at this baby, Rick." Rick glared at the dark amber figural. "He’s about mint, too, just a tiny bruise on the lip. SWEEEEEET!" Jason reminded Rick that he got first and second picks.

"Well, you’re not gonna get that one," Rick retorted, "because that thing’s going on Ebay. Ching-ching."

"No way bro. This baby—this artifact—is going right on my top shelf, next to my Wahoo Tonic. You ain’t got no say in this. After all, if I’d listened to you, I wouldn’t be holding this now, would I? By the way, need I remind you that you also owe me a case of Beck’s?"

Rick shook his head in disgust. Jason grabbed the rake again. "There’s something else down here too, Rick. Maybe I should have you dig it up for me. On second thought, you’d probably break it." Rick turned and stormed off toward the relief offered by the shade tree.

Rikki moved to the side of the pit. "Man, Dad’s pissed at you, Uncle Jase."

"He’ll get over it. I’ve seen him like this before, on other digs." Jason scraped away at the dirt around the glass object embedded in the soil. A sudden glint caught his eye, and he stopped.

"What’s this?" he asked aloud. "No way. Can’t be. Rikki, take a look at this." He handed the heavy, bean-sized nugget to Rikki, who turned it over in his palm.

"Uncle J! I…I think this is—"

"Gold, Rikki?"

"Yeah!" Rikki quickly stood and turned toward where his dad was having siesta. "Hey Dad, Uncle Jase struck gold!" Jason ducked into the pit and began to rake the area in earnest, while Rick exploded in laughter from his comfortable spot beneath the tree.

"Yeah, sure, right. By the way, Rikki, tell uncle J that that gets sent to Tim Scarlett for archaeological analysis."

"No kidding, really, dad. Uncle Jase found gold down here."

Busily working the handrake around the emerging bottle, Jason collected more and more of the dull gold metal. Within a minute, he’d collected a handful. By now, the bottle that had lain next to the Van Dunck’s Coachman was emerging clearly into view. He could hear Rick laughing in the distance as he lazed comfortably beneath the outspread branches of the shade tree.

"RICK! GET OVER HERE! You AIN’T gonna believe this!"

Reluctantly, Rick lifted his tired body from the ground and, sighing deeply, trudged toward the pit. He could hear Jason muttering excitedly to Rikki, and dirt was flying out of the pit. "What’s the big deal all about this time?" he asked, disinterestedly.

"Well, for one thing I found a handful of gold."

Rick scoffed, "Right. Tell me your next lie."

"Show him, Rikki." Rikki held his arm out and opened his hand. Rick glanced into his son’s palm, then bent over for a closer look. With forefinger and thumb, he lifted the largest, acorn-sized nugget from Rikki’s palm. As he held the nugget and felt its weight, his eyes grew the size of dinner plates and his jaw dropped open.

Jason laughed. "See? There’s another bottle here, too, and I think you should have a look at it." Jason moved aside so Rick could have an unobstructed view of the side of the bottle he’d unearthed. "Is this what I think it is?" he asked.

Rick shook his head, rubbed his eyes, crouched down on hands and knees, and finally lowered himself to his stomach. Thus positioned, he hung his head over the edge and down into the pit for a closer look at the partially exposed bottle. Although inwardly he wished it weren’t so, his eyes told no lie.

"It is, isn’t it, Rick? A Brown’s Celebrated Indian Queen Herb Bitters?"

Rick managed a swallow, but nothing else, as he stared in mute disbelief at the shape of the bottle that was emerging in the bottom of the pit. Jason hunkered down and moved over the bottle, and began to excavate it with the patient skill of a practiced archaeologist. Carefully, he raked around the bottle, avoiding any contact with the glass. Then, with painstaking care he trowelled around and beneath the bottle. Gradually, he freed it from the earth. Reaching down, he lifted the bottle from the soil with great care and held it up to the light. The mid-afternoon rays caught the glass, instantly dispelling a century of darkness and revealing its stunning golden yellow-amber hue.

Still lying on his stomach, Rick stared at the coveted bottle as he fought off the tears that threatened to burst from his eyes. As he stared in transfixed admiration upon the Indian Queen Bitters, Jason gradually became aware of Rick’s agony. "Okay, man, your turn in the pit." He handed the bottle to Rick, adding "Careful with that," and clambered up and out of the pit.

Rick slid down into the pit, and started to scratch away at the soil. Jason gathered the bottles, clutching the Coachman in one hand and the Queen in the other and, as if in a daze, slowly wandered toward the shade tree and the promise of water from the jug that rested beneath it. There, he sat the bottles on the grass before him and fixed his gaze upon the treasures he’d just unearthed.

How long he sat there in his meditative state, he knew not. The jolt of reality returned in the form of a sudden tap on his shoulder and a voice that interrupted his trance. "Let’s go. Pit’s done, filled, and repaired. Gear’s loaded." Jason turned and looked up to see Rick standing next to him, staring at the Coachman and the Queen. Jason glanced toward the pit. The fill dirt around the pit was gone. Rikki waited in the distance, hands on his sides in a gesture of impatience. Slowly, Jason rose to his knees, then feet, bent down and clutched the bottles lovingly. He trailed in silence as Rick led the way to Rikki’s truck some distance down the hill.

Silence reigned as they drove several miles to the outskirts of Seattle. Rick remained grim-faced and corpse-like in the seat next to his brother. As they came into the city, Jason emerged from his bottle reverie. "Hey Rick, what else did you find in there?" Rick glanced down toward the floorboard of the truck, hung his head and slowly exhaled. Jason persisted, "Huh? What else came out of there?"

"Bromo Seltzer. Three-In-One Oil. Kilmer’s."

Sensing the disappointment in Rick’s voice, Jason struggled to fight off the pangs of guilt. How was it possible that he could have such incredible fortune as to find two rare figurals, but Rick had to settle for three common scrub bottles? For a moment he contemplated the possibility of sharing. Then he remembered.

"Hey! The gold! What about the gold?" Rikki, you have that gold, don’t you?"

"Yeah, it’s right here uncle J," he replied, patting the pocket next to his thigh, "wrapped in my handkerchief." Again, silence prevailed as Jason pondered what to do with the gold.

"Okay, we split the gold, dudes." Upon hearing that proclamation, Rikki and Rick straightened in their seats. "Rikki, you get first pick of the nuggets, since you took us to the spot. Rick, since you had such a poor day in the pit, you’re second. I’ll take third. We’ll pick until it’s gone."

What is this place and time? From my vantage upon the top shelf in a room filled with strange and wondrous devices, I marvel at surroundings unlike anything I could ever have imagined. At my side the Indian Queen shares my perch, and from the limited view which I am offered, she is ever-resplendent in her golden glory as the soft sunlight passes through her. Oh, how I long to look into her face again!

I stare with fixed and glassy gaze toward the table across the room in the distance. Then I see her—a specimen of such perfect symmetry and lustrous, green beauty! Does she see me? A familiar feeling stirs within me. My long dormant passion mounts anew as my eyes fasten on the graceful curves of her shoulders. Whether progeny of the Bottle God, or the Bottle Goddess herself, such exquisite perfection is unlike anything I’ve heretofore feasted my eyes upon. Her shape is tastefully adorned, wrapped in a colorful label. I strain for a better look, and as I ogle, the letters come into focus:

B E C K’ S

Comments, if kind in nature, may be directed to Dr. Pierce at the address below:

schaef@netins.net

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