Coming Back to Kim
"Coming Back to Kim" is a short story that explores the potential consequences of plastic in our oceans. Inspired by images of the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, it follows a plastic bottle's journey back to the woman who discarded it long ago. More
"Coming Back to Kim" is a short story that explores the potential consequences of plastic in our oceans. Inspired by images of the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, it follows a plastic bottle's journey back to the woman who discarded it long ago.
Topic: Ocean Soup
Word Count: 1496
This story participated in Future Problem Solving Program International's 2013 International Conference.
SAMPLE: (341 words of 1496)
Kim felt a rising sense of elation as her autonomous jet ski jumped out of the crisp, sparkling blue water. She was going so fast. Wind hounded on her AeroSki suit, pressing her against her seat like a giant hand— as if it were concerned she might fall off. It was the first day of spring break, and Kim, a college freshman, was out riding the surf with her friends. The sun beat joyfully on their necks as I watched them frolic innocently in nature’s waterpark.
The jet ski slowed in the water, sending a cascade of turbulent water behind it, before coming to a stop. Beside Kim, several other jet skis drew parallel with her own as her friends appeared, whooping and cheering and exclaiming how great it was to be out on the bay.
“Which ride next?” I heard Kim ask. The jet skis used Android Satellites to direct a number of autonomous rides users could select via smartphone. The autonomous rides had been specifically designed to deliver a maximum sense of thrill and satisfaction.
“I don’t know, but I’m so thirsty I’d drink the ocean” Ted said.
Kim unstrapped the backpack she was wearing and removed its contents. Sweet Kim, always so prepared. She had stored me, along with many other bottles of Sunkist, in it for the day’s adventures. Kim tossed the other bottles away to her friends, keeping only one—one she cradled in her tender hands. That bottle was me.
Kim unscrewed my lid and sighed with satisfaction as she drank the sweet nectar I held. She was the one whose soft fingers wrapped around me, embracing me in a thankful hug. And then she was the one to end that moment, for whatever reason. When she and her friends were refreshed and ready to continue their adventure, they moved on. They left me and the other empty bottles floating longingly in the surf, waiting... Waiting for a reprieve we knew would never come.
A ceaseless journey awaited us. Drifting endlessly in the forever sea.
Summary: (Warning! May contain spoilers!)
Kim and her friends are jet skiing during a college vacation. During the day's adventure, after drinking a beverage, Kim discards the empty bottle into the water. Over the next forty years, the bottle melancholy drifts and dissolves into trillions of plastic nanoparticles. Throughout this time, the bottle wonders why Kim, the bottle's love, deserted it. Slowly, some of the nanoparticles are eaten by fish which are preying on the zooplankton around the particles. These particles become more and more concentrated as they slowly move up the food chain. Eventually, some of the bottle’s nanoparticles are brought inland and reunite with Kim, however, not without an unforeseen consequence.