Message in a Bottle: Condi Saves the Night

10 Dec

[While I figure out some picture transfer issues on my camera, here’s a tall tale. It was written as a Children’s Day present for WJ‘s Imp. With some simplification, it works decently with 3-5 year olds.]

You may remember the story of Sascha and her jostling bathroom friends who bumped off poor Hair Oil into the toilet bowl. Not much has changed since, and the bottles continue to live bickeringly and gossipingly on the window ledge, still a little resentful of Hair Oil for enjoying a plum position on Sascha’s dressing table. All except for Condi. Ever since he played a part in pushing Hair Oil off the ledge, Condi had been feeling rather ashamed. He had a kind heart and was, in retrospect, truly sorry that his action had caused his neighbor so much fear and worry. But he was afraid the other bottles would laugh at him if he shared his regrets and so he held his tongue and said nothing.

One day, the house was in a great bustle. Bags were brought out from closets, clothes and toys packed into them, and Nanny came into the bathroom, clicking her heels busily. A brisk scan later, she picked up all the bottles from the ledge and carried them off to the vanity case, leaving only Condi behind because he was too tall to fit. They were all going on a holiday! “To the beach!” said Baby Powder, sneaking a peek into the mirror (for she was as vain as ever). “Or maybe to the water park,” hoped Shampoo, knowing he’d have to work extra hard at cleaning sand from Sascha’s hair. “On a train, a real train!” shouted Soap, sliding around in excitement. “The hills would be pleasant too,” yawned Suntan Lotion, who was hoping to get a little rest himself. In all their chatter and anticipation, the bottles quite forgot poor Condi, who was left standing alone, feeling bereft and miserable. Windows were shut, doors slammed, keys turned in locks and Sascha’s family was off, off, off! Condi leaned against a corner, trying to get used to the silence and let slip an occasional sigh. Pigeons cooed in the alcove outside, the tap dripped out a watery tune, and Sheroo the neighborhood dog barked indignantly at the postman. With the ledge all to himself, Condi sprawled in a cool, sunless spot and decided to take a little nap.

When he awoke, it was dark. The sun had set some hours earlier and he shivered a little in the night breeze. Cricket and his family were crackling outside, saying grace before their evening meal. The birds had flown home, all the cars were parked for the night and the sounds and lights of television shows filtered through the louvres of Condi’s bathroom window. His eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness and he found himself enjoying his newfound solitude. “Quite the lord and master of the house,” he thought smugly to himself, strutting down the length of the sill and striking a pose. He amused himself for a while by peering into the cabinet and rifling through the contents of the first-aid box. “The scissors look so shiny and sharp,” he thought, and reached out for them, when suddenly he heard a low click and then the sound of the heavy front door creaking open. Frozen into place, still clutching the first aid box, Condi heard stealthy footsteps echoing down the hallway, coming closer….and closer…. and closer.

A man in scruffy clothes and an old sack tread carefully past the open bathroom door, onward to the dining room. It was a burglar, Condi realized, and tried not to scream in panic. His plastic heart was thumping against his tall, slender frame and he was certain the man could hear it. From his perch by the cabinet, he could see the burglar filling his sack with Sascha’s mummy’s precious china plates. Oh no! She would be so very upset when she returned! Looking around wildly, Condi hit upon an idea. With all the strength he could muster, he pushed the first aid box off its shelf. Crash-landing on the tiles below, its contents shattered noisily. The thief started and hurried out of the apartment, leaving the sack and its contents behind. But the force of the momentum had been too great. Condi went flying into the air after the box and had a wet landing in the pot below. Splash! Thankfully, he was a tall bottle and the toilet bowl was rather shallow, so there was no real fear of drowning. There he lay, soaked but thrilled at having scared away the nasty thief.

Sascha’s family returned the next morning. Oh what a to-do there was when they found the front door open and the sack with the plates lying on the floor! Condi was fished out of the water, cleaned and pushed to the back of the ledge, where he proudly recounted his tale of heroism to his open-mouthed friends and pointed to the wreckage on the floor as proof. Bai cleaned the mess grumblingly, but was thankful the house was safe. Sascha’s parents had stronger locks put into the front door and Sascha herself was just glad that her beloved computer wasn’t stolen. How else would she read OJ’s blog everyday?

And so ends the story of tall, brave Condi, who risked life and plastic limb to save the day. Nobody but the bottles knows about the part he played, but he doesn’t mind. He’s just glad he could do something good for a change.

22 Responses to “Message in a Bottle: Condi Saves the Night”

  1. aneela z December 10, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    oh this is delicious!!
    love it, love it, love it…in the times that we are living, your story is the equivalent of the chocolate they munch on in Harry Potter to get over a trauma.
    No need to hunt under my bed for an Enid Blyton tonight.

  2. aneela z December 10, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    damn..i tried the “what sign do you look like” and it had me right…HOW DO THEY DO IT?

  3. Nino's Mum December 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    thank you for introducing us to the tales of Condi the courageous 🙂
    OJ, to put it quite simply, you’re totally adorable!

  4. wordjunkie December 10, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    Sigh, was hoarding this one for myself (er, ourselves) all this time ….

  5. Nitya December 10, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    Hey OJ, thanks a gr8 read… read the earlier one as well. will share it with Arjun…
    u were right about kids not crying once the parents leave… I took him bawling to school and his teacher literally had to pry him apart from me… when he came out two hours later, he announces he decided to stop crying because she told him a story of a crow… so simple, ain’t it? 🙂

  6. dipali December 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    Deliciously delightful!

  7. sukanya December 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    aww…that was just wonderful!!!

    you are a fantastic writer. i am so glad i found your blog!!!

  8. Orange Jammies December 10, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    aneela z: I figured we’re all in need of some back-to-babyhood comfort. What I still can’t figure is how they do that sign thing! 😕

    Nino’s Mum: Next up: Condi the Combat Commando! (I kid, I kid!)

    wordjunkie: You still can. Although, technically, it’s the Imp’s. 😛

    Nitya: These strands haven’t turned gray for want of experience. (Now shh! Not a word about the color of my hair!)

    dipali: Glad you enjoyed it. We need to catch up!

    sukanya: And this is where my resistance to compliments kicks in. 😳 Stoopith, stoopith OJ.

  9. Chips December 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    What a feel good story, OJ. Just lovely. I enjoyed it, as an adult!! You have a gift for painting a vivid picture.

  10. kbpm December 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    I printed out the prvs story for my monster. She thought it was hilarious! Especially the “Bump on the plastic bum”
    She is keen to read the next one now!

  11. Amrita December 11, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    Awww @ Condi the Courageous. Definitely a series worth reading.

  12. Orange Jammies December 11, 2008 at 10:39 pm #

    Chips: Thank your stars I use words to do it. 😉 I barely passed art in school.

    kbpm: I giggled at the vision of the plastic bumpy too. 🙂 Especially since Condi is such an angular bottle.

    Amrita: Thanks, girl. Coming from you, that means much.

  13. Aunty G December 12, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    Oh, so this Condi is not the Rice
    He seems to me really quite nice
    Since his last-story lack-lustre
    He sure has passed muster
    Now looking forward to the next Old Spice!

  14. Mish December 12, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    hey! nice story…i noticed ur reply to Aneela – the sun sign thing is easy to figure out coz generally (if you believe in zodiac signs) there are a few very distinctive qualities (even physical!) about each zodiac sign…its a generalizing thing and would apply for say 65% of the population…

  15. Orange Jammies December 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    Aunty G: 🙂 The idea was to not propagate ‘good guy-bad guy’ stereotypes and introduce the concept that people who do bad things can do good things as well, and vice-versa, of course.

    Mish: Haan, that’s the conclusion I came to as well. I wonder if anyone got it wrong. 🙂

  16. Mish December 15, 2008 at 7:28 am #

    I did! apparantly i look nothing like my sun-sign! Coz i tried tweaking the answers to the questions where i could fall in more than one category!


  17. Orange Jammies December 15, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    Mish: Maybe you’re a fabulous exception. 😉

  18. grimescene December 17, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    Pictures…this needs pictures….

  19. Orange Jammies December 19, 2008 at 1:37 am #

    grimescene: You’re asking me for visuals? 😕 When the inspiration is under your very nose?

  20. wordjunkie December 19, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    Hey Oj and Mish,
    I tried the site too, and look nothing like my sunsign either..but I apparently look like my daughter’s sunsign…except she doesn’t look much like me:)

  21. Orange Jammies December 21, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    wordjunkie: It would be very hard for anybody to look like your daughter…she’s completely gorgeous, that child.


  1. Message in a Bottle: Starchie Unbends « Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas - January 29, 2012

    […] strained to listen. There it was again, two muffled sobs this time, and a sigh. Emboldened by his last act of bravery, Condi spoke up. It couldn’t be a burglar again, he reasoned, and this sounded like someone in […]

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