“Have a banana!” said the owl, handing one to the monkey.
“Don’t mind if I do,” said the monkey, peeling it expertly and stuffing it into his mouth in one go.
“Lucky the wind’s dropped, eh?” said the owl.
“Mmhhrrwwffmm,” said the monkey, chewing then swallowing hard.
They were sitting in the shade of the tallest coconut tree in the district, in fact the only one for several miles around.
“Brought my tree down, it did,” said the owl, a tear coming to his eye.
“The wind?” asked the monkey, licking his lips after what had been a particularly delicious banana.
“Yes. Brought it right down. It was a good tree, that one—had some great holes in it. I’ve had to nick a squirrel’s nest for tonight, till I find something better.”
The monkey shook his head in sympathy.
“Course,” continued the owl, “I blame the day.”
“How so?” asked the monkey.
“Friday the 13th,” said the owl, sniffling.
The monkey tutted.
“Ah, I can’t be doing with all that nonsense.”
“Well, you see—”
“Tell you what,” the monkey interrupted. “Here.”
And he handed the owl a large chunk of the coconut he’d been snacking on before the owl arrived.
“Very good of you, I’m sure,” said the owl, grabbing the coconut in his talons and pecking at it hungrily. If the truth be told, he’d spotted the monkey with the coconut from afar, and the banana was offered as a tentative bartering tool. It had worked!
“Plenty lying around,” said the monkey, waving a hand about him. Sure enough, the owl counted half a dozen in close proximity.
“The wind?” he asked.
“Yep. They must’ve grown wings to get over here, though. Look … the tree’s … ooh, a long way away.”
“You’re right. How tall is it?” asked the owl.
“Around 60 of my feet,” said the monkey, who’d climbed it plenty of times. “Why do you ask?”
The owl looked up at the sun, considered the shadow the tree’s foliage was casting—exactly where they were sitting—took in the monkey’s feet and made a swift calculation.
“Well then, it’s around 60 of your feet away,” he stated.
“Really?” the monkey responded, feigning interest. “As I said, a long way for coconuts to be flying!”
“It was a very strong wind,” said the owl.
“Gone now, though,” said the monkey.
“Touch wood,” said the owl, scratching the shell of the coconut with a talon.
The monkey scoffed to himself and yawned.
“Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, Mr Owl …” he said, stretching out on the dry grass.
“Of course,” said the owl. “Better be getting back to the missus.”
The monkey sighed and closed his eyes, preparing for what he was sure would be a very pleasant nap.
The owl was about to take off when he hesitated.
“But remember, Mr Monkey,” he said.
A little irritated now, the monkey didn’t even open his eyes.
“Friday the 13th.”
The monkey opened one eye now to squint at the owl and shrugged where he lay.
“Well … take care then. Thanks for the coconut.”
And with that, the owl flew off into the distance.
“Thanks for the banana,” muttered the monkey, already feeling the pleasure of approaching sleep.
Within moments he was gone, dreaming of bananas, lady monkeys, and swinging through the trees with lady monkeys holding bananas.
Not long after he dropped off, a fresh gust of fierce wind ripped across the open ground out of nowhere.
Already deep in slumber, the monkey failed to hear the terrifying CRUNCH of splintering wood, and the whistling WHOOSH of falling timber. And thankfully, he was spared what would surely have been intense pain as the whole of the top of the coconut tree CRASHED into his supine body … along with the coconuts that were still attached.
All 13 of ‘em.
Always heed the words of the wise.
Ignore superstitions and basic geometry at your peril.
Oh, and coconuts are great … unless, of course, they fall on you from a great height.