(remixed from Mixed Meat, originally published in TL;DR Magazine)
A cluster of mushrooms is pushing a shopping cart through the produce department.
The cluster of mushrooms encounters another cluster of mushrooms working there and says, “I’d like some mushrooms.”
The second mushroom cluster gestures toward the mushroom display. “What kind of mushrooms?”
The first cluster of mushrooms doesn’t know.
“Sad mushrooms?” suggests the second cluster of mushrooms. “Happy mushrooms?”
The first cluster of mushrooms stares at the mushroom display. There are button mushrooms and chanterelle mushrooms and morel mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms and oyster mushrooms and lobster mushrooms and hedgehog mushrooms and lion’s mane mushrooms and maitake mushrooms and enoke mushrooms and porcini mushrooms and portobello mushrooms.
“Are there any mushrooms that are just mushroom mushrooms?” says the first cluster of mushrooms. “I want mushroom mushrooms.”
The second cluster of mushrooms climbs into the shopping cart the first cluster of mushrooms is pushing.
The first cluster of mushrooms places the second cluster of mushrooms in a bag and buys them and takes them home.
At home the first cluster of mushrooms grabs handfuls of mushrooms off the second cluster of mushrooms and smooshes the mushrooms into itself.
The second cluster of mushrooms also takes handfuls of mushrooms off the first cluster of mushrooms.
A man wearing a safari uniform kicks down the mushroom’s front door. It’s raining outside. He enters. “Where are the mushrooms?” says the man.
“Here we are,” say the clusters of mushrooms. “Who are you?”
“I am the mushroom collector,” says the man in safari uniform. “Which one of you is the mushrooms?”
“Here we are,” say the clusters of mushrooms.
The mushroom collector gathers the mushrooms in his arms. “There you are,” he says. “There you are.”
The mushroom collector removes his safari uniform. Under the uniform, he is mushrooms.
He was mushrooms the whole time!
The mushroom mushrooms mix their mushrooms with the collector mushrooms. “Here we are,” they say in unison as they mash themselves together on the mushroom’s floor right there on the rain-soaked rug in front of the kicked-down door. “Here I am.”
Somewhere deep inside the mushroom cluster’s house, a telephone rings.
The mushrooms remain in the rain.
The phone rings again.
The mushrooms do not move.
Somewhere far away in a vast gray building, a mushroom inspector is calling the mushrooms.
The mushroom inspector leaves a message after the mushrooms’ beep:
“I’m calling about a mushroom recall,” says the mushroom inspector. “I’m calling to call back recalled mushrooms,” says the mushroom inspector. “Call me back.”
The mixed mushrooms never call back.
The mushroom inspector sends more mushroom collectors.
The mushroom collectors mix with the mushrooms.
The mixed mushrooms never call back.
The mushroom inspector keeps sending mushroom collectors.
The mushroom collectors keep mixing with the mushrooms.
Eventually the mushroom inspector expires.
Eventually the mixed mushrooms visit his grave.
Eventually they dig him up. They start to pry open his coffin. But before they can the lid bursts off. The coffin lid flies up out of the cemetery and into the sky and toward the stars.
The mixed mushrooms fall down backward. They land on their bums. They land in the moss. They land in the mud.
Enormous mushrooms are erupting from the coffin. They fill the hole the mushrooms dug.
Their stems tower over the tallest tombstones.
Their caps gape and yawn like fleshy parachutes.
Their purple spores pour down, a deluge of dust forming drifts and slush.
“There you are,” says the enormous cluster of mushrooms that erupted from the dead mushroom inspector.
“Here we are,” say the mixed mushrooms. “Here we are.”