SHIOCTON, WI—The banking and portable beverage communities were thrown into an uproar Sunday with the discovery of a plastic sports bottle mysteriously bearing the corporate logo of a local financial institution.
The bottle, measuring over nine inches in height not counting the attached plastic straw, appears to be a perfectly normal beverage container crafted by human means. Inexplicable by science, however, is the miraculous logo of FirsTrust Federal Security Bank, embossed twice upon opposite sides of the bottle.
"I don't know what to make of this. I'm still shaking," said city groundskeeper Ed Rundell, who discovered the uncanny bottle at Veteran's Park during his evening rounds. "I believe a higher power has led me to this bottle, that we may all learn from its uniqueness."
Rundell's shift was proceeding as usual when he first eyed the object under a playground slide at approximately 7:15 p.m. "I thought, 'Oh, somebody left a sports bottle here,'" Rundell said at a packed press conference Monday. "I picked it up, figuring I'd take it to the lost and found. But then it caught my eye, something on the side of the bottle."
What he saw, Rundell said, changed his life forever. "It was the FirsTrust bank logo. On a sports bottle! FirsTrust doesn't make bottles! They don't make sports drinks! It launched my brain into a whirling paroxysm of contradictions that I have not recovered from, nor do I ever expect to."
Since the announcement of the bottle's discovery, the earth's citizens have been struggling to cope with the find, manifesting reactions ranging from exultation to panic. Veteran's Park and the surrounding countryside has become a sea of people extending for miles, ever pushing toward the central point where the bottle was discovered.
"I am rethinking my understanding of the cosmos and my place within it," said Des Moines, IA, realtor Ted Unger, one of millions who have made a pilgrimage to Shiocton this week to view the miraculous artifact. "I am also seriously considering banking at FirsTrust from now on."
A bearded, glassy-eyed man wearing what appeared to be a cardboard UFO costume said, "The sports-bottle-Atlanteans will make everything come through Alpha Centauri and Financial-Jesus-refreshment is gonna fix everything when the secret fiduciary planets align up at the blowing of the Gatorade-horn."
Scientists, meanwhile, are at a loss for an explanation. "One expects it to be an optical illusion, a trick of the light, or some kind of mass hallucination," said Cal Tech Professor Edwin Carver. "Yet there it is, plainly screened onto the bottle. There are forces at work here that humankind cannot yet comprehend and may not be ready to confront. Pandora's box has been shattered; may God help us all."
President Clinton, in his weekly radio address Monday, urged calm. "We must be strong, and let events take their rightful course. This bottle is a mystery the world has yet to solve, and solve it we will, in due time. Meanwhile, let us be considerate to our neighbors, trust in God, and believe that the answer will be with us, when it is time." Rumors that Clinton has transferred all his personal funds to FirsTrust could not be confirmed at press time.
The sports bottle is now in the Shiocton Parks Department lost and found, in a cardboard box with two baseball caps and a dog leash. If no alien or metaphysical entity claims the bottle in 30 days, it will officially become city property.