I sat in my 4th floor office at the Taft Building on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. The day was sweltering and the 1927 building felt like a sweat box. Through the western wall, I heard the Singer sewing machines from the Mother Plucker Feather Company as seamstresses made pillows and angel costumes. Through the opposite wall, salesmen from the chocolate-covered potato chip company pitched their dreck to local markets.
I worked as a phone salesman for a vinyl record pressing plant. My job was to contact record companies to procure their vinyl pressing business. I committed myself to fifty phone pitches a day. This meant another hour of calls before I could go home. Sweat dripped from my brow into my eyes. I reached for a bottle of Fiji Water on my desk and took a long cool sip.
I resumed my calls, staring into the Fiji bottle. That’s when I noticed several squiggly objects floating in the water. They were small, clear and gelatinous and appeared to be moving. I looked closer. They resembled sea monkeys like the kind you see in a child’s novelty aquarium kit.
I removed the bottle cap and took a deep whiff. There was no discernible smell, just a slight odor of polycarbonate. I positioned the bottle in the sunlight. The squigglies were everywhere. I read the contents on the back label. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and 93.4 milligrams of silica. I googled “silica in bottled water” and learned that silica is a mineral remnant found in granite pits holding spring water. It’s supposedly harmless with health benefits like replenishing skin cells.
This seemed feasible but the squigglies appeared to be moving on their own as if swimming. Some flowed upwards, others sideways. They looked as if they had little tails propelling them through the water like brine shrimp.
I found a toll-free number and called the Fiji corporate offices. Hawaiian-style hold music played as I waited for a human to come on the line. The Fiji website claimed the company was founded by a man named David Gilmour. Was this the same guy from Pink Floyd? If so, shouldn’t Roger Waters be involved?
I rummaged through my desk drawer and found the receipt from Trader Joe’s where I’d purchased the water. It was only a few weeks old so it couldn’t have gone bad. (Does bottled water go bad?)…