Don’t Ask Alice!

Photo by Shari Marshall

It was a gorgeous day, a magical day.  Larry was glad that he had disobeyed his mom and went to the park with his friends.  What could be better?

He stretched out on the grass, ignoring his friends as they played their guitars.

For a few minutes he closed his eyes and just enjoyed the warm sun and the sounds of the folk tunes.

“Puff the magic dragon, lived by the…”

Was that a faint whiff of pot?

After a bit, he grew bored and rolled onto his side.  He opened the eye closest to the ground.

For a moment nothing came into focus, just the raw light and strange shadows.  But then the world grew sharp as he looked through the grass.

There was some kind of mushroom growing there, right in front of him.  From the perspective of that one eye against the ground it seemed to tower above him.

Larry giggled, thinking of the phallic shape of the fungus.  But then a thought hit him.

“One side will make you grow taller.”

Isn’t that what the caterpillar said?

A magic mushroom.

He had heard some of his friends talk about doing ‘shrooms.

Could it be?

Jefferson Airplane began to play loud in his head.

“…And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low.”

Alice.  She knew, didn’t she?

“Feed your head.”

Larry reached over and grabbed the mushroom.

Sitting up, he studied the odd piece of fungus.  What would it do?  Would he shrink or grow tall?

It was dry and bitter going down.

He waited.

His stomach began to ache.

He felt odd.  It was not pleasant. Not how it was supposed to go  at all.

He dropped the half-eaten fungus.

The world went blurry.

Johnny’s voice came to him faint and echo-y, as if from a different world.

“Hey, Larry passed out!  Yuck, he’s barfing!”

*

“Hey, want to go to the park today?”

It was Johnny.

“Uhm…”

“All the guys will be there.”  There was a short pause. “I heard that Suzy and Anne will be there.”  Johnny used a sing-song voice, knowing full well that Larry had a crush on Susan Jones.

“Uhm…”

“Oh, come on, man, don’t be a chicken.  It was just you being silly that you had to go to the hospital last time.  Suzy was asking about you…”

“Well…”

“Young man, you are staying home and doing your home work!”

Larry hadn’t heard his mom walk up behind him.

“Sorry, Johnny, I got to stay home.  My mom won’t let me out of the house.”

“OK, your loss.”

Jefferson Airplane came back into his head as he hung up the phone.

“…And the ones that Mother gives you don’t do anything at all.”

It was for the best, wasn’t it? At least this once.

“Thanks, Mom.”

***

This was written for Week 3 of Shari Marshall’s 2020 Photo Prompt.  The photo at the top was provided by Shari and is this week’s prompt.

*

Try to imagine this taking place in 1969 and Larry being about 16…

36 thoughts on “Don’t Ask Alice!

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the 18th of January, 2020 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. joylennick

    Hi again, Puts me in mind of a joke my husband once told. (He’s great at jokes, limericks etc.,)
    Two men met at a bar. “Cheers!” said one, pleased to chat. After a pause: “You married?!” “Yes, twice.” the other man replied. “Divorced the first one?” “No, she died…” he said. “Sorry to hear that. What did she die from?'” “She ate some poisonous mushrooms…” “Oh, dear.How awful!, what about your second wife?.” “She died too.” “Oh, you poor man. How unlucky. How did she die?” “From a fractured skull…” the widower replied.”How did that happen?!” “She wouldn’t eat her mushrooms…” x

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  3. Pingback: Have a coffee, keep warm! – Brewing Coffee, Twisting Words & Breaking Pencils

  4. Marilyn Armstrong

    Are there really people who don’t know how lethal toadstools can be? I’m so paranoid about them I crush them lest the dogs try to eat them. You know the lady who wrote the book on hunting wild mushrooms died of eating the wrong one? True.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      As a kid I hunted morels, but I wouldn’t dare eat anything unless it was approved by my parents – yeah, I was always paranoid about mushrooms and toadstools. I would hope that nobody would be foolish enough to eat a random fungus, but it happens , and common sense and teen boys seem to be mutually exclusive ideas ;)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yep, I’ll eat something off of a cow patty. I actually did see psilocybin mushrooms once (I didn’t sample!), and can tell you that they are found not on cow patties but in little plastic baggies ;) I hear wonderful things come out of little plastic baggies… Thanks, Violet.

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              I just wrote in another comment that the words “common sense” and “teenage boys” do not belong in the same sentence, but here you are saying I should have kept gender out of it just left it at “teenagers” in general ;)

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              1. willowdot21

                Yes indeed I think teenagers are mad, I was probably aware that I get into trouble but I still played it in class, when we were invited to bring a favourite “piece of music” to class? I think the nuns were expecting Mozart or maybe the Batchelors? 😁

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      While it was a crazy theory about Puff the Magic Dragon, I don’t think anybody denied that Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit was 100% about drugs, not Alice in Wonderland. And no ‘shrooms for me!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! I’ve always wondered about falling down that rabbit hole and much of my fiction has grown out of that :) Yep, I’ll admit Alice in Wonderland was a big influence. Now about Jefferson Airplane and the drug culture… at least I never almost poisoned myself ;) (What I did as a kid,like Vegas, stays in “childhood”…)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I really love the song too, which may be why it was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw Shari’s photo. The drug culture fascinated me as a kid, but I didn’t go beyond the occasional joint, though I didn’t always enjoy it, so had quit by college.

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