It all starts like this, mushrooms aren't like LSD and I once set the
record on Highway 231 of hitting seventeen road signs in a row with
those little Miller beer bottles. We were not a pretty site but then, we
were too wasted to see ourselves, so what did it matter?
We were headed for Panama City Beach Florida, the redneck Riviera. Back
in the days when it was still fun, back before the Real Estate
developers got a hold of it and paved it over with condominiums and
shopping malls. In the early1970's it was a near endless chain of little
mom and pop hotels broken only by the Snakatorium, the go cart tracks
and the bars. The small white brick hotels had names like "The Breeze
Inn" or the "The Breakers" complete with those yellow bug lights by the
door and buzzing neon "Vacancy" signs.
I'm getting ahead of myself, mushrooms must be picked, LSD must be
purchased. With LSD you must know who to ask, but with mushrooms you
must know where to look and when to look as well. mushroom spores are
very particular individuals in that they won't just sprout anywhere.
First you need a good Alabama afternoon thunderstorm then you need to
haul your ass down to the nearest cow pasture where those black and
white cows like the ones in the Chic Fillet commercials hang out.
If you wait until morning the shrooms will all be gone, I guess the wildlife partake of them and rightfully earn the name wildlife. As I said, the
shrooms are particular and will not wait. So we city boys would hurry
down to the cow pastures armed with our lame excuses, a paper bag and
track shoes. Let's face it; it is pretty damned hard to come up with a
reasonable explanation of why three hippie-looking boys were out
searching in cow pastures. Crop circles perhaps? Not yet, but maybe
So Jimmy, Wade and myself hadn't had much luck even though Wade had
promised us that this was a dependable shroom field. Wade was sometimes
full of sh*t that way, maybe he had gotten some shrooms from there one
time and so this was the most dependable field in all the world. Hell,
good shroom fields were rated for all sorts of reasons. Location, can
you be seen from the road? Can you be seen by the farmer? Can you be
seen by the cows? And of course the most obvious reason, is there plenty
of fresh cow sh*t?
We three had looked for almost and hour and the sun was about to dip
behind the trees when Jimmy, the quietest of the three of us starts
yelling, "Holy sh*t, y'all come look at this!" For our efforts we had
picked maybe a dozen mushrooms most of them the small silver dollar
variety with one or two of a little more respectable caliber, but still,
not by much. Jimmy had discovered the mother lode; he had found the
single biggest shroom that any of us had ever seen. It was the size of a
45 record, or for those of you who aren't old enough to remember 45
records or back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth it was the size of a
small salad plate.
We just stood there in awe and amazement, looking at it like an art
treasure. Jimmy said that we needed to measure it. "He's right," I
answered, "no one will believe us when we tell them how big it was."
Wade took a drag off of his Camel cigarette and cut his eyes at us
through his round John Lennon glasses as he exhaled. "f*ck a bunch of my
mushrooms bigger than yours. You guys can play that game if you want
but that f*ckers got a date with pan of boiling water!"
Wade was more the minimalist among us, car, beer, weed, cigarettes and everything else was details baby. "Wash the car? Why, does it run better that way?"
"Wade, you shouldn't leave your keys in the car."
"I do that so I won't lose them baby."
"But Wade someone might steal your car!"
"That filthy thing? Now you see why I don't wash it man. I got a system!"
Wade's circular logic endeared him to us. It was dependable and he never discriminated with it. Teachers, administrators, policeman and cashiers
all fell victim to it. Wade was seventeen when we went to the local
convenience store. He puts two six packs of beer on the counter. The
cashier gives us the eye, "That's $4.60; you got an ID for the beer?"
Wade mumbles through his cigarette in his lips, "Hell yeah, I got an ID man."
"Then let's see it pal."