"Mushroom Run" Part 3

Entheogen related fiction and non-fiction.
Joined:Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:11 pm
"Mushroom Run" Part 3

Post by Slava » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:26 pm

At midday they pull over at a gas station in Daytona.

Sky, "Excuse me. Can you direct us to the college town?"

Attendant, "The what?"

Sky, "An area around the college campus where college students go to bars and so forth."

Attendant, "I guess that would be around Mason Blvd.

Take the 95 until you see signs for Mason Blvd. and

get off. Look around."

Sky, "Thank you." To Nate who's just gotten out of the restroom, "He wasn't much help, but I think I know where to head."

They drive off.

At a red light they notice a biker with long flowing grey pony-tail.

Sky, "Roll down your window and ask him if he knows where the hippie district is."

Nate rolls down the window. Nate: "Pardon me. Pardon

ME! Hey, could you tell us where the hippie part of town is?"

Biker, "Hey, I wouldn't know. I just let my hair grow and grow after I got out of the Navy."

Nate, "Oh."

They find themselves driving down a street with restaurants and bars and head shops. They park the car and get out to walk. Soon they are standing outside of a head shop.

They go in. The interior of a head shop. Nate looks at the writing on the wall – T-shirts and posters.

The lady behind the counter is middle aged, wearing a patchwork dress.

Lady, "You boys look like you just came from a Rainbow Gathering. You smell like it too. Go ahead and put on some patchouli. Go ahead."

Sky does so.

Sky, "Yeah, I have some experience with the Rainbow Family."

Nate looks over and walks to the counter. He starts putting on patchouli.

Lady, "I don't get to as many as I'd like, but I made the Ocala National this year. Where you'all from?"

Sky, "New York. We've done some Gatherings up there."

Lady, "What are you doing down here."

Sky: "We're looking for mushrooms. Looking for fields of them."

Lady, "Well, I don't think there are too many around Daytona. Maybe out in the country. I haven't picked in years. Ask some kids. You can hang out here or there's a restaurant down the street that's pretty popular."

They wait a few moments. Various items in the store would captivate their attention under different circumstances.

Sky, "Do you want to check out the restaurant?"

Nate, "Sure."

To the Lady, "Thank you." She smiles and resumes weaving hemp threads.

They spot two hippies, a boy and a girl.

Sky, "Hey, what goes on?"

Boy, "Hi."

They proceed past.

Sky, "Could we talk to you for a moment?"

They stop.

Sky, "I'm Aaron. This is Jeff. We just drove down from New York last night. We're looking to find mushrooms. Do you know where any grow?"

Boy, "There are some fields, but picking's dangerous.

The last time I went out my buddy got shot in the ass with rocksalt from a shotgun. I haven't been out since. That was two years ago; I can't really even remember where it was."

Nate, "Shite."

Boy, Considers for a moment in silence "But I do know of someone who may know. I don't know if he's around. I see him sometimes. I can't just give you his name…"

Nate, "Would it happen to be the Mushroom Magician?"

Boy, "What do you know. That's what old Jim calls himself. If you know him, why are you asking me?"

Sky, "Well, we met him on the internet, we weren't sure if he was kosher."

Boy, "Oh, old Jim, he's a pretty cool dude. You won't have any troubles with him. He's a big time pot activist. I've smoked with him plenty of times. He loves mushrooms. Yeah, he calls himself the Mushroom


Sky, "Let's call him."

Nate, "Thank you so much, you've put our minds at ease. Blessed be."

Girl, "Blessed be. Buzz buzz buzz."

They spot a payphone.

Nate takes his phonebook out of his knapsack and dials the number.

Mushroom Magician (Jim), "Hello."

Nate, "This is Ernest. I'm in Daytona with my friend. What's going on?"

Jim, "Just relaxing. I'll bet you tried some of the sites off the Shroom Guide. Not shit, huh?"

Nate, "No, not shit. Are you busy right now. Can we come visit you?"

Jim, "Why don't we meet some place. Where are you now?"

Nate, "Mason Blvd. There's a restaurant called the Pegasus."

Jim, "No, that place is for fags. Go down Mason to Comstock. Turn left. There's a Waffle House up a ways. Meet me there. I'll leave now. I'm not far. See you in about twenty minutes. I'm grey haired – it's shoulder length; I'm bearded."

Nate, "Cool, thanks. I'm dirty-blonde with a long-ass beard. My friend's 6'3" with long brown hair; he's wearing an orange tank top. I'm wearing a red t-shirt."

Jim, "O.K."

Nate, "Right. Bye."


Sky is looking around territorially.

Nate, "He wants to meet us at a Waffle House on Comstock, down that way. He'll be there in twenty minutes to check us out."

Sky, "Let's go."

The waffle house is a busy place. Cars fill the parking lot.

Sky, "Alright. Let's put on our war faces. I'm Aaron.

You're Jeff?"

Nate, "Sure."

Sky, "Think we should wait out here for him, or go


Nate, "I think he may be in there already."

They walk to the door. They spot the character they're looking for

in a corner booth. Nate raises his head. The man waves to them. They walk over and sit down.

Nate, "Hi, it's really nice to meet you. I'm Jeff and this is Aaron."

Sky, "Hiya!"

Nate, "It's so cool that you do this."

Jim, "Well somebody's got to spread the information. The mushrooms are an integral part of my spiritual experience, as I know they are for many good people. They have to come from somewhere. I'm a conduit for

something larger than myself. I enjoy doing it and I get to meet a lot of interesting people from around the world. Just last week I had a feller in from England who wanted to go where the best mushrooms in

the world grow wild. This was his second time over."

Nate, "Nice, I'd like to do something like what you do. Turn people on. I'd like to introduce mushroom populations to parks around the country and make maps for all my friends. Psilocybe azurenscens will grow in

our New York climate. I'd like to be a Johnny Appleseed. And introduce Amanita muscarias as well."

Jim, "I don't much care for Amanitas. Beautiful to behold, but not as magical in the system. And they upset my stomach. No, Psilocybe cubensis are the finest mushrooms nature ever produced for man to eat.

Truly a flesh of the gods."

The waitress approaches.

Jim, "I'll have a lemonade."

Sky, "Two eggs over easy and rye toast."

Waitress, "Anything to drink?"

Sky, "Water."

Nate, "I'll also have two eggs over easy with rye, and an orange juice – large."

She leaves.

Jim, "Yeah, rye. That's good to grow mushrooms on. You ever grown them?"

Sky, "No. Na..Naw. …I once got a kit, but it only

produced three mushrooms and then the cakes turned black."

Jim, "They're easy enough to grow. You can make fifty cakes for under twenty dollars. The rest is easy."

Nate, "Yeah, I've made my own cakes and grown a few fish tank loads; I used rice."

Jim, "That works. Yeah. I'm very involved with marijuana legalization activism. I figure we'll have pot legalized in Florida within two years."

Sky, "That would be great. How are you going to do that?"

Jim, "We're going to get it on the ballots and have a popular vote. We had over 300,000 people at our last pot rally in June. You guys get good herb up north?"

Sky, "Oh yeah. Northern Lights, B.C., a local specialty, Buffalo Cough."

Jim, "Got any on you?"

Nate, "No, we didn't want to travel with any."

Jim, "Hmm."

The waitress arrives with their orders.

Waitress, "Separate bills?"

Sky, "No, all on one."

They eat.

Jim, "Buffalo Cough. I sure do like trying different varieties of the good herb."

Nate, "We'll send you some."

Sky, "Yeah. We almost brought some, but then pretty much just didn't. We're on a fairly tight budget, actually. Um, how come you don't charge for your services?"

Jim, "Oh, it just wouldn't feel right. And I realize a lot of people are in your boat – they are just starting out and need to make a little something first… later down the line…karma gets you back. But, what kind of music do you guys like most?"

Sky, "Oh, a wide variety. Dub reggae, acid jazz, techno, Phish, folk."

Nate, "I'm fairly partial to the Grateful Dead."

Jim, "I never got much into their scene. I respect them, but musically they're a little far out for my tastes. I liked The Doors, Leonard Skynard. I'm glad you didn't say rap, 'cause I might just have left you

here on the spot…"

Sky, "Heh. No, rap is crap to mine ears – it doesn't really qualify as music to me."

They've finished eating.

Sky, "I heard from some kids that mushroom picking can be dangerous – shotguns full of rock salt, angry farmers, all that."

Jim, "Well, if you don't know where to go, it sure can be. I've been doing this for close to thirty years. The fields I take people to are very safe. You can't even see the farmer's house from where we go. At the one I'm going to take you to tomorrow, I've never even

seen the farmer's house. If you ever see a farmer, just start walking."

Sky, "You've never been busted?"

Jim, "Never once. Only one time did a cop ever talk to me. I returned to my car with my son Justin and an officer was waiting at my car. He asked me what I was doing. I told him I was picking mushrooms for dinner. He said, 'Mushrooms, eh. That your son? I think you're a bad influence on him.' And then he left. They know the courts ruling – Fiske vs. the State of Florida established that there are so many varieties of mushrooms growing that you can't be arrested for

picking any fresh wild mushrooms." Jim pauses "And if a cop ever pulled me over I'd never let him search me. Come on, let's go back to my place. Follow me."

Nate and Sky get into their car. Jim pulls out onto Comstock in his phatty Caddy. Sky is driving and the follows.

Nate, "Well, we're in."

Sky, "Well, he probably wants to smoke with us first, just to be positive, so yeah, we're in."

Driving down one residential street, they turn left onto another residential street. Jim pulls into a driveway. There is a space on the street and Sky parks.

Jim waits outside of a side door to a large Victorian house. Jim opens the door and goes in. Sky and Nate follow.

Sky, "Greetings."

Justin sits on a papazan, sifting buds of marijuana on a plate. He is in his late twenties.

Justin, "Welcome. So, you're down from New York. You find us alright?"

Jim, "They stopped at some of the Shroom Guide spots and didn't find shit."

Sky, "Yeah, we're so glad to know you and your dad."

The room is 18' X 10'. Nearly every item is of the mushroom motif: mushroom pictures, mushroom statues, mushroom incense holders, mushroom lamps, mushroom tapestries. Mushroom books line the shelves.

Justin packs a bowl and hands it to his father. Jim lights it and pulls. He hands the bowl to Nate. Nate inhales DEEPLY, holding the smoke a bit. Sky takes an ordinary puff.

Nate notices an ornamental glass pipe on a shelf.

Justin, "A feller we helped out sent us that."

The smoking pipe circulates.

Nate, "We'll send you something nice too. We brought a bottle of Bully Hill wine, a local New York specialty."

Jim, "We don't drink."

Justin, "Not at all."

Nate, "Oh."

Jim, "Justin went out picking today – to where we're taking you tomorrow. How much did you get?"

Justin, "About ten pounds."

Sky, "Ten pounds!"

Nate, "Ten pounds!"

Justin, "Fresh weight. That dries to about two or maybe three, depending on how dry they are when you pick them."

Sky, "Will there be mushrooms tomorrow?"

Justin, "I didn't pick the whole field."

Jim, "And the mycelium regenerates fruiting bodies within twelve hours."

Justin, "I got four orders for spores of the Ecuadorian strain cubensis today."

Sky, "Oh, you guys sell spores, too?"

Jim, "Yeah, we grow a few strains. Here, take a look."

Sky and Nate follow Jim through a beaded doorway into a small room. Boxes are stacked with myceliated jars of grain. Also there are boxes of jars with dried mushrooms. Jim lifts the lid on a plastic cargo

container, revealing growing mushrooms. Jim smiles.

Pointing to the jars of dried mushrooms, Jim says, "That's what we ship them in to folks who want more when they get back home…"

Sky, "Right on."

Nate, "What do you get an ounce?"

Jim, "A hundred dollars, plus shipping, which is anywhere from $5 up."

A knock at the door. Sky looks a little startled.

Jim, "Who is it?"

Voice, "It's Pete."

Jim, "Come on in."

Pete enters. He is in his mid-late twenties.

Jim, "You goin' out with us tomorrow?"

Pete, "Yeah, what time."

Jim, "Oh, not too early. Be here by ten."

Pete, "What're ya'all doin' tonight?"

Jim, "There's a poker game down at Red's. I might want to go pay a visit to Jennifer."

Pete, "You still chasin' her around."

Jim, "No, she's chasin' me around. But I don't know, I've got to check her out. I've heard she fucks niggers." To Nate and Sky, who's eyes have suddenly become a little wide, "Don't get me wrong, I'm not racist, but I'm not following a black man up any hole."

Justin smiles.

Sky, "Yeah, I know what you mean. I can't stand Samoans, I won't touch anything they've dealt with."

Nate looks at Sky pityingly. The others have no idea what to make of that remark.

Nate yawns, rather loudly.

Justin, "You guys tired? Did you drive down in one night?"

Nate, "Yeah, we did."

Jim, "Well, the floor space in here is what we've got. If you want to lay out your bedding…it's only about 8 o'clock.."

Sky, "You know, I'm still hungry. Do you guys want to grab a bite to eat?"

Jim, "No, I want to take a shower and go play some poker."

Pete, "Well, I'm going to take off. Hey, I'm Pete, nice to meet you. You'all are guests of Jim?"

Nate, "Yes. I'm Jeff."

Sky, "Pete, I'm Aaron."

Pete leaves

Jim, "I guess I better give you boys an extra key. There's a diner just at the end of my street if you go straight in the direction your car's facing now. We're going to be out till about one. When you come back to

sleep, just situate yourselves away from the door so we don't step on you. And don't eat any of my mushrooms. You'll be up all night and spent tomorrow.

I want to leave by 10 am."

Sky, "Oh, we wouldn't think of taking anything…"

Justin, "He knows, he was only kidding. I'll leave some pot out on this tray for you."

Sky, "Thanks."

Jim hands Nate a key.

Nate, "Thank you so much. Sorry to miss the poker game, but in an hour we're going to be so dog tired we wouldn't be any fun."

Jim, "Not a problem. See you tomorrow morning."

Sky, "Thank you."

They leave.

Nate drives.

Sky, "When this is over I will never think of that man again. You heard him, 'I ain't a racist, but she fucks niggers.' Oh my god I'm so glad they didn't want to go eat with us. I figured that they wouldn't. The man is white trash!"

Nate, "Oh, I don't think he's that. He's doing us a huge favor. Racism is way uncool, way uncool, but it doesn't make him total trash. He grew up in the South a long time ago. Maybe he doesn't know very many black people." A pause. "If I weren't so tired I might've busted a gut laughing at what you said about Samoans. Where'd that come from?"

Sky, "I dunno. A movie I think. Don't defend him."

Nate, "O.k. Well, we're at the end of this street. Oh, there's that Pegasus restaurant. Jim said on the phone it was for fags."

Sky, "More prejudice. Let's go there."

They park the car, get out and walk a bit then enter the restaurant.

Sky, "Wow, this is very nice. This is how the Spot Coffee back home should be. Look, they have big movie screens in the back, and couches."

Nate, "Ugh, not that it bothers me, but I'm pretty sure a gay man does own this place. Check out the sculptures."

Sky, "Hmm, yeth I do think so."

In normal speech, Sky, "Let's get turkey at least."

Nate, "Meat?"

Sky, "We're going to need protein. If heard you say once that turkeys are nasty trolls who'd eat us given the chance."

Nate walks up to the counter. "I'd like lox on a plain bagel with lettuce and tomato and spread some hummus on that too. A large tomato juice to drink."

He waits to pay.

Sky, "I'll have turkey with swiss and mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, onion, hummus – on a sesame bagel. Also tomato juice to drink – large."

They pay and take their food to a table.

Eating in silence, Nate notices Sky's slight indication of his head and takes the cue to look over. Three questionably gay teenaged boys are at a near table. One is checking Nate out.

Sky, "He wants you."

Nate, "You think?" – said in a dead pan voice deepened by tiredness.

Sky, "Well he can't have you because you're mine!"

Nate, In exactly the same tone: "You think?"

Sky, "No, actually I want Theresa."

Nate, "So do I. So does every straight man who's ever met her."

Sky, "And isn't too scared of her wildness."

Nate, "Yes. That girl rages a scene like few I've ever met. 'She can dance a Cajun rhythm, jump like a Willy's in four wheel drive, she's my summer lover in the spring, fall and winter…"

Sky, "'She can make happy any man alive.' She obviously digs you. You should have a go at something with her when we get back. She's done with Jack, you fill the knack."

Nate, "That's a nice thought. We'll see. Right now I just want to lie down and sleep."

Sky, "OH! You'd better not start masturbating next to me!"

Nate, "Don't worry, I never – almost never - masturbate. I won't."

Sky, "Alright, you ready?"

They get up to leave. Sky walks over to the counter.

Sky, "Hold on a sec. Hiya, are you playing any movies tonight?

Counter Waiter, "No, not tonight."

Sky, "What kinds do you play?"

Counter Waiter, "Art house films, foreign films."

Sky, "Thanks."

Sky and Nate approach the car. Nate tosses Sky the keys.

Nate, "Here, you drive back."

Sky, "Do you want to just go to a rest stop? We can call them before 10 am and just say we got lost and slept in the car."

They are already driving in the car.

Nate, "No, man, let's just go and crash there at their house. Aren't you tired?"

Sky, "Yeah."

They pull up into Jim's driveway, turn around and retake their former parking space. They heft sleeping bags and knapsacks in front of Jim's door. Nate opens it with the key, they go in, lay sleeping bags out and then take turns brushing teeth. Nate lies down and closes his eyes. Sky takes a mushroom book off the shelf and reads a little.

Sky is the first one up in the morning. He looks around and gets into the lotus position. In moments there are stirrings in another room. Sky leans over to Nate and shakes him by the shoulder.

He says, "They're waking up. Nate, arise."

Nates eyes open, he squints them as he nods.

Jim enters, wearing boxers.

Jim, "Good morning fellas, are you ready to go pick mushrooms?"

Sky, "OH YEAH!"

Nate, "I've been waiting a long time for this. I can hardly believe it's about to happen."

Jim, "That's why I'm the Magician."

Nate, "Are you going to eat some with us tonight?"

Jim, "Yeah, it's been a few days for me, I expect I will. We'll see. It's hot work out there in the fields, and I'm an old man."

Sky, "Oh, you're not old."

Jim, "Maybe not, but I'm getting there."

Nate, "How'd you do at poker last night?"

Jim, "Well, I lost more than I won, but I had fun. I didn't lose too much, maybe four dollars."

Sky, "Where are we going?"

Jim, "To outside of Tampa."

Nate, "Ooooohh, that's a long ways away."

Jim, "Not too far, a few hours. We'll take two cars. Justin and Pete'll ride in Pete's truck; you, me and Aaron'll ride in your car. We'll get some breakfast on the road. Now, Jeff, I don't want you wearing that red t-shirt. There are bulls in those fields after all. Wear earth tones, and wear socks and boots and long pants. There will be quite many ticks."

Sky, "Ticks? Oh shit. What if you don't get one in time?"

Jim, "Then you pull it off later in the car."

Nate, "What about Lyme disease?"

Jim, "That's something you have to worry about up north. These aren't deer ticks. They don't carry the Lyme disease."

Sky, "That's about the second most feared disease up north, second only to AIDS or cancer."

Nate, "I knew a kid who's Lyme disease went undetected for a while and he lost 50 points from his IQ."

Jim, "Well, I promise you, you don't have to worry about Lyme disease from Florida ticks. All they do is take a little of your blood. And we've got some bug spray, too."

Nate, "Oh, I won't use that."

Sky, "I think I will. What about spiders and other creepy things?"

Jim, "I'll show you what to watch out for."

Someone knocks at the door.

Knocker, "It's Brent."

Jim, "Now what the hell's he doing here? Come on in!"

Sky, "It's not open."

Sky moves to the door and unlocks it.

Brent is a twenty-something longhaired man wearing a


Brent, "I heard Jim had some Deadheads staying with him. Hi, I'm Brent."

Nate, "Good Morning. I'm Jeff."

Sky, "I'm Sk.. I'm Aaron."

Sky's near blunder goes totally unnoticed, except by Nate.

Nate, "I think I'll wear my brown Jerry shirt today."

Sky has already changed.

Nate, "Jim, o.k. if I use your bathroom to change?"

Jim, "You're my guest!"

Nate disappears through the beaded doorway. Pete knocks on the outside door and announces, "It's Pete." He walks in, looks around. Sky smiles and says, "Hey." Pete nods to him. Nate comes out wearing different


To Nate, Brent, "So what was the last show you caught?"

Nate, "RFK stadium, Washington D.C. 1995. And yourself?"

Brent, "Oakland Coliseum California, 1995. I was traveling out west and caught six shows."

Nate, "Cool memories, I'm sure. I could've caught that whole last tour, but opted to work through the summer for an environmental organization and do Jerry Garcia Band tour in the fall. If only I had known. I've only seen them on the East coast and in the mid-west. It's really sad that those magical spaces will never exist again in space-time as we know it. It is that a beautiful part of the world has gone silent."

Brent, "I know what you mean. The world was a better place for smiling Jerry being in it."

Nate, "Yeah." As he says this he puts his left hand on Brent's right shoulder. "Future generations are going to look back on the era of the Grateful Dead with the nostalgia that people now look back to the old west or Renaissance time. Something really important happened, and the memories are still fresh for us. When I listen to old tapes now, it's very bittersweet – it'll always be great music, but it hurts to know I

lived a part of it and now never again will."

Brent, "I hear you. I'm looking back with nostalia already. I still get very blissed up listening to my Dead bootlegs, then suddenly saddened when I realize I will never again attend a Grateful Dead show."

Justin has a bowl packed and fires it up. It goes to Pete, Jim, Nate, Brent, Sky, back to Justin.

Pete asks Nate, "So you're from New York?"

Nate, "Yup."

Pete, "I have a cousin in New York City who's a police officer."

Nate, "Wow."

Pete, "He offered to get me a job on the NYPD, but I don't know. I'm trying to figure it out. New York's pretty intense, huh?"

Nate, "Oh yeah. I wouldn't want to be a cop there. The very first time I was in New York City I saw a man get killed. On the subway right next to me. I was with a bunch of friends who were from the City. The man was bum; he was laying down on some subway seats and his hand was hanging out into the aisle." Nate gestures. "A very angry man walked by and ran into his hand. The angry man turned around and punched the bum

ten times in the head with lethal force. The bum didn't move after that. My friends just huddled around me and told me 'Don't look him in the eyes. Keep your head turned away. Na.. NAw, don't look."

Pete, "Wow."

Brent, "Geesh. I've never been there."

Sky, "The cops in New York are pretty cool about herb and mushrooms. They have bigger things to worry about. One time a buddy and me went to the City to pick up a q.p. of kind nugs. We took the train back. We were puffing and huffing a good chunk of the way back. We were alone in the smoking car except for an older guy who was passed out with a bottle of Jim Beam on his lap. Eventually we stopped smoking. After a while he got up, looked around, looked at us and said, 'Hey, where are those skunk buds I've been smelling the last hundred miles?' We laughed and smiled. Then he said, 'Are they here' and he looked under his newspaper. 'Are they here?' And he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a NYPD badge. Well, my eyes opened as wide as saucers. Our faces went pale and m'friend Sasha told me later he considered bolting to the door and jumping off the moving train." Sky takes a hit of pot. "After a terrifying pause the cop smiled and chuckled, saying, 'Don't worry, I used to smoke like a motherfucker when I was your age. I can't now, because they test us. Most New York City cops couldn't care less about

herb. I mean, if you see a guy in uniform, put it out to show respect, but we know it's harmless. I'd love to smoke before a good meal.'"

Jim, "Cool. Good to know there are 'Peace Officers' up there, too. Well, are you coming with us Brent?"

Brent, "No, I just wanted to see the heads. It was nice meeting you two. I'll probably see you again."

Nate, "Yes, nice to have met you."

Sky, "Nice to have met you."

Carrying all essential gear, they make to their cars. Jim, Nate and Sky get in Susie's station wagon, Pete and Justin hop in a truck.

Inside of the station wagon. Nate rides in back, Sky drives. Jim smokes cigarettes.

Jim, "Oh, man, they're speeding. They want to get there first and get all the mushrooms. But don't worry, there'll be plenty for us. I never speed on the way back of course. I probably could, if Pete was with me."

Sky, "Why's that, Jim?"

Jim, "Oh, Pete's a cop."

Nate, "WHAT?! Wants to be a cop, in New York City, right?"

Jim, "No, he works for the Daytona Beach Police Department. Oh, he's cool. I've known him since he was a little kid. It's nothing to be alarmed about."

After a few moments Nate speaks.

Nate, "I need to pee. Let's stop at the next restaurant."

Sky, "Yeah, me too."

The car is parked. Sky's eyes are wide open when he looks at Nate.

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