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Agony or Paradise

Photo copyright:
Photo copyright: Dale Rogerson.

As a brigade of ants marched towards me I found myself wondering what sort of place I had come to. The wave of heat that had stuck me as I left the plane had been replaced by the evening breeze off the Indian Ocean. However I was still surrounded by a riot of colour and noise. In time I would come to love this place and its people, but today the death of a girl who had stood talking to me, shocked me to the core. I had a lot to learn about this place, not least never stand under a coconut tree.

Michael-Humphris-04

My thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Grenfell Tower Block – and the London Fire Service.

This Post Has 59 Comments
  1. I liked this, Michael, but the last line jerked me out of the mood. The flippancy of “never stand under a coconut tree” jarred with being shocked to the core

    1. Thank you Clare – we all read stories in differing lights. I saw one coconuts fall, it cracked a concrete flag then bounced sideways and smashed a window. Since I have never stood under a loaded coconut palm.

  2. My thoughts and prayers with Londoners as well. Beautiful story, and yes, you do have to watch out for those coconut trees. When they fall, it’s dangerous. Just like (forgive the analogy) parts, pieces, and sadly people falling from the burning inferno. I watched on tv and it brought tears to my eyes.

  3. How sad to know the girl was killed by a coconut. When we were touring a botanical garden in Hawaii, a sign read “Don’t stand here, Falling mangoes.” Probably not as harsh as a coconut but….

  4. That last line made me laugh, too, although I’m always wary of the fact that my patio table and chairs are under an old Bramley apple tree that occasionally looses vast fruits with abandon. I’d never worried about this, until my husband told me that someone had got brain-damaged by an apple falling on his head. Every year we talk about cutting down the tree, and every year we don’t have the heart to carry out the death sentence. Now, having read your story, I’m feeling somewhat more resolved that it should go.

    1. Those bramley apple can really grown big. Sometimes keeping to one hundred words has limits, with another ten words a different ending would have occurred … I love Bramley apple sauce, for myself I would keep the tree

          1. Heavens, there’s still no breeze today down on the South Coast and it’s 38 C (90 F). The English Channel looks like a millpond and there’s a heat haze over the South Downs. …Torrential rain on the way, though, and thunderstorms, which are meant to arrive in your part of the country before mine! Then we’ll want the sunshine back again 😉 Don’t the British just love talking about the weather?

          2. All my ‘old’ friends are struggling with the heat. I have always loved rain, no rain no life. Then again no sun no life. If only we people could move with the type of weather that we need.

    1. Sometimes keeping to one hundred words has limits, with another ten words a different ending would have been possible … I think that I would write a differing ending now if I could.

  5. ” In time I would come to love this place and its people” for some reason I find this line very sad. I enjoyed this story with the twisted end. I like you offer prayers for those of affected by the horrible Grenfell Tower Block fire. The images of the tower engulfed in flames haunt me.

      1. Even though the post was serious enough, the ending did make me smile. If I had to pick a way to go, getting bonked on the head with a coconut would be preferable to many other Sad, lingering, or frightful deaths. I’ve always said “Everybody wants to die healthy, suddenly, preferably in their sleep.”

    1. Hi Sarah, when I visited Goa it was rather like that, so much to love and enjoy. But there was also a sad side. — I read and very much enjoyed your post of ‘Holiday Romance’ but could not find a link to comment on it.

  6. It’s no joke about coconut trees. Coconuts also fall on cars. It is really tragic if someone dies. My dad was a fireman in the U.S. God bless them and I feel such sorrow for those occupants of the building who lost their lives. Good writing, Mike. —- Suzanne

  7. I admit to having let out a little “Oh!” at the last line. It did feel flippant for a bit and I know it is a serious thing. Those suckers are hard and can fall from a great height.

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