Hello. If you are reading this, please come help me. I am stuck inside of a giant bottle in the middle of a grassy field. I’m not sure exactly where I am – I was hiking around the Union Valley Reservoir and at some point I wandered off the trail. You’ll find my red Saturn in the parking lot. Walk on the trail starting from that parking lot for, I don’t know, twenty minutes, then turn LEFT and walk into the forest.
After a little while, you will emerge from the forest into a large grassy field. In the middle of the field, you should see a GIANT BOTTLE. That is where I am, inside of that bottle. Please come find me as soon as possible.
IF YOU ARE READING THIS, PLEASE COME HELP ME. I AM TRAPPED IN A GIANT BOTTLE. The piece of paper that you hold in your hand was thrown by me through the top of this giant bottle in which I am trapped. I am tossing these notes out in the hope that the wind will catch and carry them to someone who can help. I’m in the middle of a large grassy field outside the Union Valley Reservoir. Bring a ladder and some rope.
My name is Kyle Moreno and I am trapped in a field near the Union Valley Reservoir Hiking Trail. Please send help right away.
My name is Stacey Miller and I am being held against my will in a field near the Union Valley Reservoir Trail. Please come help me before my fiendish captors do something awful. I’m twenty-two years old and beautiful.
Kyle Moreno – Late September (?) 2009 – I am stuck inside a giant bottle in the middle of a grassy field. I said before I was hiking here. That was a lie, sort of. I left my wife. That was about two weeks before I got stuck inside here. I told myself that she was boxing me in, that if not for her I would be free. But after she left I just sat around the apartment, so in an effort to prove to myself my own freedom, I drove out to the reservoir and walked into the woods. And then found a giant bottle, and became trapped inside it. I’m near the Union Valley Reservoir. The bottle is green. Come get me.
I realized that when I started the first note I threw out of the neck of this bottle with “Hello.” Seems kind of funny now. But at the time it felt weird to just dive into things without some kind of greeting, especially because of the strangeness of my position. Anyway, my name is Kyle Moreno, and I’m stuck in a giant bottle near Union Valley Reservoir. It’s like a wine bottle, tipped over on its side. It looks like there was a label at one point, but it’s been peeled off so now there’s only sticky white backing left. I sit underneath its shadow at noon, when the inner temperature of the bottle peaks. Also, the bottle is filled with receipts and other scraps of paper. Hamburger wrappers and stuff. If you’ll turn this note over you’ll see it’s written on the back of a receipt for chewing gum from the Union 76 station on Redwood. The date on the receipt is worn off. But I have to assume this means someone knows about my bottle and will be along eventually. But you should come and help me now, anyway. Bring some tools and stuff.
Kyle Moreno here. Stuck-in-a-giant-bottle guy. I climbed into the bottle. I never said that before, because I was embarrassed, but that’s how I got in here, in case you were wondering. I was wandering around in the woods, and then found this giant bottle in a field. It’s lying on its side – did I say that already? It is – so if somewhere else you’ve found an upright giant bottle, that’s the wrong one, I’m in the tipped over giant bottle. I can see what looks like the stem of an upright giant bottle peeking over the tree line, but I think that it’s actually a water tower. Anyway, the neck of the bottle sits about eight feet above the ground, just low enough that you can jump up and grab it, hoist yourself and crawl down the stem. But the thing is, once you get inside the main part of the bottle, the sides are curved in such a way that you can’t climb back out. Your feet can’t get any traction because of the glass. So I realize my mistake, and trust me, I won’t make it again. Now please come get me.
If you found a note from Stacey Miller saying she had been kidnapped and brought to a field near the Union Valley Reservoir, that was actually from me. I thought people might respond faster if they thought a twenty-two-year-old girl was in trouble, instead of a middle-aged divorcé stuck in a bottle. Either way, send help.
Stuck in a giant bottle in a field,
Is it possible that there exists a race of giants among us, so big that we can’t even comprehend them, yet their giant wine bottles occasionally find their way on to our plane of being? Is my presence in this place some kind of test they are putting me through? Are all human endeavors merely responses to obstacles put in our paths by these giant drinkers? Or perhaps I overstate my own importance. More likely I am to them as a mouse is to a normal-sized human, a creature to be ignored except when it wanders into one of our human-sized wine bottles and becomes trapped and starves to death, or maybe dies of fright, only later to be picked up and pondered by some behemoth conservationist trying to rid his world of one more piece of litter. O strange mysteries of life.
– Kyle “Stuck in a Giant Bottle” Moreno
A bird, today, flew into the mouth of the bottle! Whether by an act of God or a simple misjudgment like my own, this seagull soared through the neck with remarkable grace, but became panicked upon its emergence into the larger chamber and, in its alarm, crashed into the thick glass base, at which point I took advantage of its bewilderment and descended upon it. I must say that my system is unused to meat, subsisting as I have been on the moss that grows in the corner, and the occasional piece of chewing gum I find amongst the paper scraps that I now use for bedding. But gastronomic maladies aside, a new energy surges through me, and I recommit myself to my winter preparations. Seagull jerky will serve as a crucial addition to my stockpiles, and the rendered fat will be useful fuel for my stove, keeping warm my receipt hut. My name is Kyle Moreno and I am stuck inside a bottle!
I found a note today. I woke up and it was lying there near the entrance. At first I thought it was just another receipt, but then realized that was impossible –all available paper is incorporated into my winter shelter (and then occasionally picked off to write these missives). But on closer examination, I realized this was a note to me! It reads:
“Dear Kyle, I just want to say that I enjoy your writing very much. I once got my finger stuck inside the neck of a bottle, and boy was that a pickle! While I can’t imagine what you must be going through, every time I find one of your notes, blown up against my front steps, or one time on top of a leaf pile, I drop what I’m doing and read right away the latest installment. My only request would be that I think you should talk about the seasons more because I always think that area out there is so pretty when the seasons change. Otherwise, keep up the good work!
Yours truly, Leslie Wallace”
Well, Leslie, we’ve reached that time of year when every morning I wake to find a gentle frost blanketing the ochre grass, and the glass of the bottle becomes a milky white, fogged on the inside by my precious body heat. Hibernation seems to have come for the deer and the rabbits, but thankfully there are crows and the occasional quail to keep me company. Is that enough for one note? Also, did you come out here? If you come again, do you think you could bring help and get me out of this bottle? I’d appreciate it! Thanks for your comments, and keep on reading!
– Kyle Moreno
Greg Endresson writes:
“Hey Moreno. I was stuck in a bottle once, and I sure didn’t whine about it as much as you do! I made sure to buckle down and get myself out of there as quickly as I could. The fact that your still in that giant bottle is because you’re lazy. I’m tired of reading about it, and I think people are wrong when they say you’re a good writer.”
Well Greg, I would if it were so easy. I can’t speak to the size or location of your bottle, but believe me when I say that I would not remain here by choice even for a minute. Don’t think that I haven’t tried charging the mouth of the bottle, hoping to build the momentum required to then dive headfirst into the bottle’s neck, only instead to slide hopelessly back into this green glass tomb. And do not assume that I haven’t attempted weaving every receipt at my disposal into a rope, which I tie around the end of my shoe and heave out into the clear air in an attempt to grapple my way to freedom, but in actuality losing a good number of receipts and my left sneaker. I am glad to hear that you’re free from your own bottle, but please don’t assume that your situation is the same for all others.
Today I received at the mouth of the bottle this critical excerpt:
“Moreno’s ‘notes’ have unfortunately lost the terse wit and poignant observation they once carried, and now appear to be exclusively responses to his fan base and critics. It seems that Moreno may have embraced his newfound celebrity, and in the manner of so many college professors and lecturers (and several critics I could name), turned his back on the creative endeavors that led him to the top of the tower. While Moreno may have a future as a workshop instructor or magazine editor, it seems clear, to this critic, anyway, that the sun has begun to set on the Kyle Moreno school of writing.”
The rest is shallow name-dropping and general intellectual masturbation. I quote this only to note that this is the first mention I’ve heard of a school of thought associated with me. I can’t speak for those who emulate my work, but only to my own writing, which has never been intended to please critics, or even a readership, which has never had any other purpose than to relay the details of my physical condition and location, and which, rest assured, I will continue to do until that condition changes.
I am Kyle Moreno.
I am trapped in a giant bottle.
I will not be silenced.
This story first appeared in the Grammy Award winning Volume 6 of The Ampersand Review.
Kyle Moreno is a freelance photographer living in Los Angeles. His drivel has previously appeared in Pearl, Epicenter, and Surfline’s Water Magazine.