“John. Come and look at this.”

“Oh yeah. A bottle.”

“Look at it closely. It’s not just a bottle. There’s something… I don’t know… different; maybe even special about it.”

“How can you say that, Janet? There’s no proper label on it or anything to suggest what it held.”

“I don’t think that’s relevant. What was in it probably isn’t all that interesting.”

“What then?”

“That marking on it. What does it say to you?”

“Somebody can’t spell?”

“No. That’s a deliberate literary device called a tautogram.”

“Don’t you mean alliteration?”

“No, I don’t. Technically, the difference between a tautogram and alliteration is that tautograms are written and visual, while alliterations are phonetic. Most alliterations are also tautograms; not necessarily all since different letters can often take on the same sound. Most tautograms are alliterations, too.”

“Where’d you get that from?”


“Oh, it must be right, then.”

“I choose to believe so.”

“Well. If it’s a tautogram—”

“Which it is.”

“Why did the author not use an alliteration? The C of creates has the K sound so it’d still work, but he wouldn’t have to debase himself by committing a spelling error of almost puerile proportions.”

“You have no eye for design, John. Using the K allowed him to produce something visually pleasing as well as getting his message across. Branding, we call it.”

“Stupid, is what I’d call it.”

“Any way, even that isn’t why I wanted you to look at it. Don’t the shape, colour, material and design say anything to you?”

“Oh, Janet; you genius. I see what you mean. This isn’t just any bottle, is it?”

“No, it isn’t. So what’s your interpretation of it?”

“It’s… let me see; how best to put this? It’s a green, screw-top bottle.”

“You have no soul, do you? No poetry, no appreciation of the finer things in life.”

“Okay, smarty-pants; what’s your interpretation of the damned thing?”

“It’s very old – probably dating from the Roman occupation. I call it ampulla.”

“Ampulla? What’s that?”

“Duh. You reckon you had a proper education? Ampulla is Latin for bottle.”

“And you know that how?”

“Google Translate.”

“Okay, whatever. So what’s your assertion that it’s a Roman relic actually based on?”

“Where it is.”

“What – in the soil?”


“And can you see any other Roman artefacts around it?”

“Not yet, but we’ll find some if we start digging.”

“And you don’t think that it could have ended up there at any other time in the last two millennia?”

“I grant you that possibility, but my instincts say otherwise.”

“What instincts?”

“As an archaeologist.”

“You aren’t an archaeologist.”

“Am so. At least, I’m learning.”

“Since when?”

“Since yesterday, if you must know. I got the link to the first online lesson this morning.”

“So you haven’t actually started yet.”

“Not as such, no.”

“And yet you have instincts.”

“Yeah. Spooky, isn’t it?”

“Okay, Jan. Based on my instincts—”

“As what?”

“Oh, I don’t know: sceptic, realist, rational human being – take your pick.”

“And what do your instincts tell you, oh wise one?”

“What is the nearest evidence of human habitation?”

“What do you mean?”

“Within, say a half a mile, what evidence do you see of human activity?”

“The theme park next door, obviously.”

“And what is the major feature of this theme park?”

“Without a doubt, the scariest roller-coaster this side of the pond.”

“That’s it. That’s my theory.”


“Somebody lost their bottle!”

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 327 published on this site.


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