Lychee: four and a half stars for what is usually a four and a half star fruit. As the stewards of science, we often wish that we could create a superfruit – a sort of fruit salad fruit that exhibited the most desirable qualities of a wide range of fruits. The design of such a fruit would be subject to long debates and arguments on the nature of the ideal fruit. One contender for the ideal texture, flavour, odour and juiciness would be the lychee. On the other hand, if we were to create an anti-fruit which exhibited only the negative aspects of each original fruit, the somewhat orchic aesthetics of the lychee would certainly deserve consideration. For those who would like to experience the pleasure of lychee in a more appealing container, I would suggest eating a rambutan instead.

We had decided to walk through the forest, rather than around it. Twilight soon came upon us, and was gone sooner than we expected. It began to rain. We decided to make camp. I unwrapped my items from the large oilcloth, and tied the oilcloth between three nearby trees. There was little wind, and we were relatively well sheltered from the rain. I tried to sleep.

I recalled our last summer in Gingrich Grove. For some time, Gingrich Grove had been a major producer of lychees, back when our family was a major import/export dynasty. That was before the great uncertainty, and before the war. The war had now settled down somewhat, and it was our first opportunity to safely assess any damage to the estate. The three of us – my eldest nephew, my batman, and I – sailed to the mainland, while my brother stayed to give surety on the exit visa.

When we arrived at Gingrich Grove, we found the house covered in passionfruit vines. The vines had forced their way into the house, finding preexisting cracks and slowly widening them over the course of a few years. The caretaker of the estate had long since fled, but – whether out of negligence or foresight – had allowed a single goat to remain and continue to tend to the lawn. The goat had done a surprisingly good job collecting and redistributing the lychee seeds all over the estate. We returned to a bumper crop, which we used to pay for the repairs to the manor.