Jack loves mushrooms. I don’t mind them one way or the other. Recently our friend Sonja got a BOGO (that’s buy one get one free) deal on an oyster mushroom kit, and offered us one.
We know several groups of mushroom hunters. When I mentioned kit mushrooms to our friend Shawn, he said, “That is definitely safest for you and Jack.” Uh, thanks, I think? But fair. Shawn was right when he said, “there are old mushroom hunters, and there are daring mushroom hunters, but there are no old and daring mushroom hunters.”
Sure, but that doesn’t factor in world domination plans. I have read that Ray Bradbury short story about mushrooms, y’all.
The mushroom kit box was blue and about the size of a cinderblock, but not near as heavy. Not at first. I wasn’t eager to get started, but my friend Laura messaged, “You have to let them out. They want out right away.”
Not exactly anxiety-reduction, but perhaps if I treated them kindly, when world domination came, they would be nice to me. Cut an x in the plastic window and water log the brick of spore dust and wait, said the instructions.
Do mushrooms eat your brain first? When would we know?
After three days of watering the spore dust block, tiny little pin-like things appeared. I called then tentacles. Jack called them brainsuckers. We kept watering (perhaps against our better judgment).
Three days of watering was also when we discovered that putting the directions underneath the block was a bad idea. Nothing left but soggy bits of turquoise paper. We were on our own. Fortunately, the Internet is full of advice on kit mushrooms. None of it includes what to do once they take up arms.
Day five, the pins definitely looked like mushrooms, tiny ones with dark brown caps, like a child’s drawing. I looked for faces. When I fired up my laptop, someone had been surfing weapons manufacturers and made a call to a deli.
Day seven, the mushroom hats (okay, caps, they’re officially called) were going from tan to grey, and they looked a lot like sea coral to me–except, grey with white stems and on my kitchen counter.
This is when my friend Shannon said I should the novel Mexican Gothic. I read the synopsis on Goodreads, and yeah, no. Shirley Jackson with mushrooms for Merricat kinda thing going on there.
We planned to harvest some mushrooms on day eight. That morning, I found a waterlogged copy of The Art of War hidden in the box, and one of the mushrooms snagged my finger. We harvested that afternoon, and ate the first round in full view of the rest of the box. Afterward I said, “That’ll show ’em!”
Jack belched and asked, “What if that was the plan all along? We eat them and they eat us from the inside out?”
If there’s gonna be war, shrooms, bring it. We have forks, frying pans, and garlic. And I’m locking my laptop up at night so you can’t order any more flame throwers.