Palo Alto Weekly 23rd Annual Short Story Contest
Second Place Child


Short Story Contest

I wrote my story and entered it in the contest because I am an enthusiastic writer, and my teachers encourage me to keep writing.

My teachers have inspired me by making recycling a big deal. At first I wanted to write about a tree, but they are not portabl, so I came up with the coke bottle idea.

Aside from writing, I play many sports like tennis and basketball. I also love watching the dogs at the dog park. I don’t have a dog but I am hoping to get one soon.

-Ashil Korane


by Ashil Korane

Cling, cling. Ouch, there go my brain cells! Oh wait, I’m a coca-cola bottle, I don’t have any brain cells. I never thought I would finally be here. I have always wanted to be dispensed out of one of these high-tech vending machines. My life has been crazy so far, but I have already told you…what! I haven’t. You’re kidding me! Well I’d better get started!

It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Whoops! Wrong story. Let me start all over again. I was just a few scraps when all this started. There were many people working on me. Every day I would have all of these slimy, disgusting, greasy hands touching me all day. Not the most fun thing you would want to go through. However, I did make a new friend. He was a wood scrap who was properly disposed off by a construction worker. We talked, gossiped, and made fun of an old, deformed piece of scrap metal that was being worked on beside us.  Eventually, it was time to go on our separate ways. He was going to be a part of the base of a new house, and I was going to be dispensed out of a vending machine to provide someone with sixteen ounces of liquid enjoyment. I said my goodbyes to my friend and then I was put into a crate for shipping. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Wow! I said to myself. There were so many others just like me. I had just entered the shipping truck. Everywhere I looked there were Coca-Cola bottles. There were even Coke cans. Oh, how I admired their shiny, metal exterior. I heard from the bottle next to me that it was going to be a long ride. We were going to be making stops all over the country! I settled in and then fell asleep on the spot.
Cling, cling, thud, and out I would come. His eyes would widen with enjoyment
He would lunge for me, quickly unscrewing the cap. He would drink, savoring the ice cold coke in his mouth. He would praise me, and worship me. Suddenly, my train of thought failed and reality came flooding back into my world. Everybody was screaming. It took me a moment to realize what was happening. This was bad. The door of the truck was opening… and we were still moving. And with every bump, even the small ones; the door was opening more, and, more and more. I screamed, and then everything went black.

Whoosh! I felt like I was flying. Thud! Uggh. I got up dazed. I looked around to see many, many fast moving cars, and then realized that I wasn’t moving. Suddenly, I felt an extreme pain on the top of my cap, and then once again, everything went black.
I had no idea where I was or how I got there. I had just woken up a few minutes ago. The top of my cap was still throbbing like crazy, but the very cold environment I was in seemed to be helping. Then it hit me. I was in a refrigerator. I had heard about them in the truck. I had learned that they were used for storing partially eaten food or food that was to be eaten later. I was in a jam (not to mention next to one). I had to get out. However, all I could do was to wait. Then I heard it. “Mom, I am home”.
All my thoughts changed. They went from sad and worried to hopeful and relieved. Children most often throw bottles away into a recycling bin because their teachers are so effective in promoting the benefits of recycling. If that happened, I would be able to have a new start at life. Then I heard a squeaking noise, and saw the refrigerator door opening slowly. It was the boy. I was beginning to get excited. Maybe my dream of providing someone with sixteen ounces of liquid enjoyment would come true after all. I thought I was very close to my dream until I heard these next few words. “Mom, I am going to empty out this bottle and use it for my science project”. Not only was I worried again, I was terrified…for my life.

This is really scary for two reasons. One, all sixteen ounces of my liquid enjoyment would be fed to some plant or sink. It is a complete waste. Two, I will probably be forgotten once the project is finished. Second, I don’t want pins to be stuck through me or God-forbid, to be cracked open. If I’m forgotten, I would be thrown away with the other items. If this happened, I would be sent to the dump, which is probably the worst place a bottle like me could end up. All day and all night you would just sit there in a pile of dirty trash. The only movement there was the flies, garbage trucks and the occasional rodents. This also poses a serious threat to me and the animals. We would both die if they tried to eat me. So as you can see, this was a big problem.

The boy (he was tall with blonde hair) walked outside with me in his hands. It was night-time (around ten o’clock). The ground was lit by the moon and the star light. A raccoon was watching closely, hidden behind its mask. I started to cry, and the raccoon grinned. My sadness turned to anger. I wanted to wipe that grin off of his face. He would be sad too if he knew his life was going to be a wreck. I felt my cap being unscrewed (This still hurt because of the fall from the truck). It felt I was being tipped over. I cried again not caring what the raccoon thought, as the Coca-Cola within me was wastefully poured out onto the lawn.

So, another few boring sad days passed. I grew more worried, and not to mention, more hurt. I was dropped a number of times. I also had a string tied to my neck. I felt as if I were being continuously strangled. In my head I knew that every day, every hour and every minute, that passed, I was that much closer … to my doom.

Finally, after long days of waiting and stress, the day finally came. I went to school with the boy and his project. He displayed me to his class. I was dropped, turned, and even thrown up in the air. It was a grueling day. Then once the bell rang, school was over and we went back to the boy’s house. I wanted to beg the boy not to dispose me off along with the other items from his science project …but I couldn’t do a thing. After all I am just a Coke bottle. I don’t have a voice. I felt miserable, I didn’t want to die. I saw that we were headed towards a bin. This was it. I was let go. Thud! … It hit with a slam. Uggh! I looked around. Then my thoughts drifted. I thought about my dream that would never come true. I thought about my friend, the wood plank, my truck ride, and me never brining enjoyment to the world again. Once my thoughts drifted back, something dawned on me. It wasn’t smelly! It wasn’t dirty! The items in the bin were not garbage. They were tin cans, paper and glass bottles. These things were supposed to be RECYCLED!! I was in a recycling bin. Tears of joy came flooding out. I would have another chance of living my dream. I would have another chance … at a life.

So I went through the factory and on the truck again. I made new friends, and told them my story. In this life, my journey led me to this wonderful, high-tech vending machine. My friends and I have been here for 2 weeks, a long time for a coke bottle! Now my journey continues. Deja vu … I hope that I will be recycled again – if not for the environment, at least for the likes of us … the coke bottles … so we keep living our dream.


Judges' comment

Life as a bottle.  What an imagination!  This writer convincingly shows a bottle's life and sensibilities, explores some of the dreams and aspirations a bottle might have, and creates a pro-environment commentary for good measure.  Add it all up and you get a highly original story.

-Children's Judges


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