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 The wave of heat that had stuck me as I left the plane had been replaced by the evening breeze off the Indian Ocean.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.


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

This Post Has 59 Comments

  1. neilmacdon

    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. Michael Humphris

      Neil, I learnt a lot on that holiday, I am sorry that the last sentence jarred, but it is a powerful health warning. –

  2. Clare Hempstead

    I have to disagree with Neil – sorry Neil. The last line made me laugh out loud!

    1. Michael Humphris

      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.

  3. jellico84

    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.

    1. Michael Humphris

      As someone who had the good fortune to experience growing up on a county fire station. I am saddened and angered by what happened in London.

      1. jellico84

        likewise, here.

        1. Michael Humphris

          Sometimes keeping to one hundred words has limits, with another ten words a different ending would have been possible …

  4. Alicia Jamtaas

    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….

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sadly we humans beings are fragile

  5. yarnspinnerr
    1. Michael Humphris

      Sadly we humans are fragile creatures

  6. Keith's Ramblings

    I hae to admit i too smiled when I read the last line! Sorry. Tut tut.

    My story is called ‘Someone’

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sometimes keeping to one hundred words has limits, with another ten words a different ending would have been possible …

  7. Sarah Potter Writes

    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. Michael Humphris

      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. Sarah Potter Writes

        I agree that it does make the best tasting apple sauce ever. Also, it’s great for crumbles. Perhaps we should keep the tree but buy tin helmets!

        1. Michael Humphris

          Tin hats sound useful, but not in todays heat. Yorkshire is 30c and rising, under a brilliant blue sky. I am leaving the gardening alone untill late evening.

          1. Sarah Potter Writes

            It’s sweltering here, too.

          2. Michael Humphris

            I hope that a breeze arrives soon,

          3. Sarah Potter Writes

            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?

          4. Michael Humphris

            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.

  8. Mrs. Completely

    I liked it, Michael. That last line made me giggle. Death comes suddenly sometimes and it’s not always dignified. Better to live your life to the fullest. :o)

    1. Michael Humphris

      True we are fragile beings…

  9. granonine

    I had to read some comments before I fully understood. Tragedy comes in many forms. Too often, these days, in the form of senseless murder.

    1. Michael Humphris

      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.

  10. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    ” 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. Michael Humphris

      Those images really unsettled me too, partly because I feel the severity of what happened was preventable.

      1. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

        Oh so true!

  11. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    Sad and funny at the same time. Well done.



    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Rochelle, Sometimes keeping to one hundred words limits, with another ten words a different ending might have been offered … perhaps wrongly

      1. Christine Goodnough

        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. Michael Humphris

          To be healthy and live long is what I wish for everyone, but fate is in our hands.

  12. draliman

    Ha, great last line! I’ve heard of people getting killed by falling coconuts, they are pretty heavy.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Until I saw a mature coconut fall I had no idea of their size and weight, Thank you

  13. Michael Wynn

    Well crafted, Michael. I know I shouldn’t but I laughed out loud at the end

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sometimes my writing causes me to laugh also.

  14. Sarah Ann

    This has such a beautiful lulling quality to it, until the last line. The first time I reached the end I smiled, but not the second.

    1. Michael Humphris

      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.

  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    I have read somewhere that death by coconut is not that unlikely… but so sad when it happens to a little girl.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I saw much to love in Goa, thank you for your feedback

  16. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    Sad..and good advice!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dawn

  17. Inside the Mind of Isadora

    I smiled as I read about the coconuts. I’ve seen them fall. The clunck to the ground is scary.
    Your story created a warning in a sad way but wise none-the-less.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Isadora

  18. Moon

    Really liked your story , Michael .

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Moon for the feedback it is appreciated. Mike

  19. wmqcolby

    Yeah, paradise on earth never is what we think it is.
    Good wisdom demonstrated, Mike. Thanks!

    1. Michael Humphris

      That is true; at times paradise may be a glass of water or a clean bed to sleep in. Your comments are appreciated. Thank you.

      1. wmqcolby

        Yeah, it DID appear three times. No problem. Hope you get it fixed soon.

        1. Michael Humphris

          Sorry, it is fixed now.

          1. wmqcolby

            Whew! Good! 🙂

    2. Michael Humphris

      Sometimes for some people paradise can be a glass of water or a clean bed. Your feedback is very much appreciated, thank you. Mike

    3. Michael Humphris

      True, paradise for some may be a glass of water or a clean bed. Your feedback is appreciated. If this message appears several times my apologies I am have a bad computer moment.

  20. patriciaruthsusan

    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

    1. Michael Humphris

      Coconuts can be hard and heavy things. My dad was also a fireman in the 1960s,

  21. Dale

    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.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was trying to staying within a hundred words limit, and sadly made a mess of the last line. I did not mean it to come across in the way it did.

      1. Dale

        No you didn’t make a mess at all!

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