One day, when the clouds were racing and the greens and browns of the plantation were flickering in the changing light, a change came. The day had started normally enough, with whispers of Is she still big? fluttering from sister to sister, none of whom realised how horrible they sounded. And then, other voices were heard.
“Yes sir,” said one, submissively.
Two men came by. The second of them they had seen before, since he was the plantation manager and an important person in his own way. But the man who preceded him was much different. He was foreign – white – tall and solemn-faced beneath his white hat. His name was Paul O’Connor. Mr O’Connor worked for the Irish government and was inspecting the plantation – one of many in Belize from where the Republic of Ireland imported bananas into the European Union. Mr O’Connor had three other locations to visit that morning before meeting with the Irish consul, but his eye for detail never left him because of mere busyness. He came to a stop beneath a tree. About seven feet above his head, the unbent banana hung helplessly.
“You’ve got a bit of a giant here,” he noted in an understated voice.
“Stands right out from the rest. Very large.”
“Yes sir. Very large.”
“Too large for the EU though.”
“Yes – too large – too long – probably too straight as well, knowing them. Make a note of it.”
You can imagine the effect that these words were having. Several of the bundle were barely able to contain their glee, and the sound of tittering fell from the tree. Others – the more thoughtful of the bunch – now began to feel sorry for their sister, who would now be left to rot alone; unpicked, unbought, uneaten.
“Could I use your phone?” was all Mr O’Connor said. The two men turned to leave the way that they had come, and in their absence, the titters overflowed in a torrent of laughter and gossip and spiteful song. No one had heard anything like this before. And one banana stayed still and silent, sizable and straight, wondering how things could get any worse.
[to be concluded!]