Individually Wrapped Green Mushrooms

Very late night work in a snazzy red velvet upholstered movie theater. Ren and Stimpy clips. “I got to go home and get some sleep,” I tell the girls whose discussion of popular animation has kept me after hours. I flee despite their protests.

I am trying to unlock my bike and get home before I fall unconcscious when a latino guy I have met somewhere before appears from the shadow and offers to sell me individually-wrapped green-capped hallucinogenic mushrooms out of his apartment, which is in one of those truck-unloading stops at the back of the theater. I buy them, mostly to be rid of him. I ride my bike home, and who should I meet along the way but Damian, who is of course not going to allow me to get any sleep. Shrug. Well, it’s already five or six in the morning.

By the time we get home the dark is looking green around the gills, the lights are on inside, and my dad is standing in the kitchen getting ready for work. I stand in the breezeway, which is still the breezeway, and knock on the window. Dad jumps a foot in the air, stares out at us for a while with that critical disapproval disguised as innocent confusion that he does so well, and then finally opens the door and lets us in. We make excuses. He is unconvinced, but does not say so. We go upstairs to my room, which is still my room, and discuss green mushrooms and video games until 9 AM. No point in going to sleep now.

And then suddenly I am very paranoiacally boarding an airplane, carrying a sealed green plastic bag within my coat which contains something that I suspect is an assortment of individually-wrapped green fungus which will get me in an immense amount of trouble. Naturally I make it through security without a problem and take my seat believing myself in the clear, only to be asked by a flight attendant to stand up and remove my coat. He takes the plastic bag, unknots it, and withdraws a demented-looking slice of grapefruit the size of a watermelon quarter, splits it open, and removes from the hollowed-out inside several bags of contraband: not narcotics, but rather expensive snacks. Cherries. Porcini mushrooms. Crabmeat.

“I hope you brought enough for everybody,” says the attendant mockingly. My family, with whom I am flying, look happy and dig in.

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