The Maine Mushroom Menace
By the time I noticed the thing growing under my front porch, it was bigger than a basketball. It had sort of a sickly yellow color in daylight, but at night it pulsated with a blue-green glow. A couple of days later, it ate a squirrel. Then, it absorbed most of the neighbor’s kid and one of those Smart Cars. It sometimes sent out strange waves that interfered with satellite TV reception and the navigational systems of passing airplanes. Most alarming, at night, it sent tendrils under the front door, down the hallway and into the liquor cabinet. I woke up one morning to find forty bucks worth of fine Kentucky bourbon gone.
Also, my wife.
I called a guy in town who knows about mushrooms. He came over and poked the blob with a stick. A steaming liquid poured from the wound and began dissolving the foundation of my house.
“I’m not certain what kind it is,” he said, “but I’m sure it’s not poisonous. You can go ahead and eat it.”
Did I mention that this guy hates me?
It was some comfort to discover that I wasn’t alone in confronting the fungi invasion. In New Sharon, a pastor unearthed a ‘shroom the size of a cannonball from under his barn. The Rev. John Tolman said it was called a “devil’s purse.” It was later seen rolling down a rural road leading a group of glassy-eyed villagers toward a huge pit in the ground.
The Maine Mycological Association promised to investigate, but a spokesperson said such occurrences are not uncommon in wet seasons and that it was unwise to interfere with “Satan’s plans.”
This was followed by reports of a fungal outbreak in Auburn, with most of the species, identified by an expert named “Amanita Vaginata from the planet Mycosis,” as edible “if you wish to cast off your weak and foolish human form and become one with the mighty mushroom race.”
Otherwise, they’re sort of poisonous.
In the mid-coast, unusual honking and tooting noises were found to be caused not by an epidemic of flatulence, but by an infestation of mushrooms identified as black trumpets. According to mushroom experts with an ear for jazz, they were attempting to play Miles Davis tunes from the mid-1970s, in an apparent effort to signal passing flying saucers. Black trumpets are said to be quite tasty – if you happen to be a space alien – but I’ve never really cared for them. Sort of like mid-1970s Miles Davis.
As if all this weren’t bad enough, Maine has also been invaded by fleas. According to the Bangor Daily News, the state has seen a “dramatic uptick” in such infestations.
Uptick? What a lousy joke. Really bugs me.
Anyway, as with mushrooms, fleas thrive when it’s hot and humid, so this past summer produced perfect weather for fleas to have lots of sex. Which they have to do, because a healthy female flea lays thirty-six eggs a day, making the Octo-Mom look like a model of restraint.
What this past summer wasn’t good for was pumpkins. In much of the nation’s “pumpkin belt,” the weather was too wet, too dry, too filled with tornadoes or just too flea-bitten to raise a decent crop. As a result many pumpkin stands have bare shelves, just as prime jack o’lantern season approaches. To deal with that drastic shortage, dealers in other states have recruited mushrooms from outer space to steal Maine’s abundant pumpkin harvest.
Come to think of it, that thing under my porch might make a good pumpkin substitute. If no costumed kiddies make it to my door alive, I can eat all the Halloween candy myself.
Not that I don’t usually do that, anyway.
Also, there’d be no chance of my house getting TP’d again.
This prompted outrage from not only potato farmers in her home state, but students who feared the cafeteria would soon be denying them French fries to go with their mystery meat.
It’s always tricky to read too much into tweets, but there is some indication Hebert’s anti-spud screed is the result of a misunderstanding. She may be laboring under the misconception that potatoes are a form of poisonous mushroom. Hebert could not be reached for comment. Her publicist said she was unavailable because she was suffering from flea bites.
In more welcome news, the city of Portland is considering a rule change that would allow the sale of hard cider at its weekly farmers’ markets. The reason for the shift in policy is simple: There are altogether too many sober people wandering around downtown at lunchtime. Also, a healthy slug of fermented apple juice is just the thing for making a long, dreary afternoon in the cubicle glide by like the thoughts of a minor-league TV star on Twitter.
I only have one concern about this change: Are apples actually a form of mushroom? And if so, will drinking hard cider cause people to fall into a coma, allowing ‘shroomsters from space to suck out their brains? (Not all their brains, of course. They’d probably skip Ashley Hebert’s.)
To be safe, we need to prepare. And by coincidence just the preparation we need is readily available. The federal government is auctioning off 1,500 acres in Moscow (the one in Maine, not the one in Russia) that used to be used to house the super-secret Over-The-Horizon-Backscatter radar system to detect incoming Soviet missiles.
(Please don’t tell anyone. After all, it’s super-secret.)
This property could easily be turned into a command center to give us early warning when the mushroom people’s saucers enter our solar system. The land seems perfect for the purpose … except … well, it’s probably nothing … but there do seem to be a lot of little puffballs on the ground … probably harmless … nothing to worry about … arrraghhh …
Al? Al? Aren’t you going to finish this posting? Well, Diamon doesn’t seem to be around, so I’ll just leave him an email at email@example.com. Hey, are those mushrooms? Think I’ll try one. Arrraghhh!