There are those rare events in human history so extraordinary, they must be recorded for future generations.
Stories that must be told and retold.
Sometimes exaggerated, but mostly not.
The Great Mushroom Fiasco was such an event.
Brenda: Would you like to try some of the pasta sauce I just made?
Dan (with uncertainty): I don’t know.
Kirby (with certainty): Absolutely not.
Brenda (taken aback): Why not?
Dan: Sometimes your culinary creations (pausing to select his words judicially) don’t turn out quite right.
Kirby: The phrase “catastrophic failures” springs to mind.
Brenda: Maybe I’ve had a few minor set-backs.
Kirby: You’ve had minor set-backs, the way the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a minor set-back.
Brenda: Yes, I’ve had a few little accidents.
Kirby: You’ve had a few little accidents, the way Chernobyl was a little accident.
Brenda: Not all the things I make turn out badly.
Kirby: Not all of the Hindenburg’s flights turned out badly, but when things do go wrong–oh the humanity.
Brenda: Now you’re just being ridiculous.
Kirby: Remember the time you boiled eggs and forgot to put the water in?
Kirby: The eggs exploded all over the kitchen, and set off all the smoke alarms.
Brenda (grudgingly): I remember.
Kirby: You can’t boil things without the water; it’s the water that actually does the boiling.
Brenda: I understand how things boil.
Kirby: The evidence would suggest otherwise.
Dan (remembering): There were bits of egg on the ceiling.
Kirby: Do you recall the time you made the lasagna and forgot the noodles?
Brenda (defensively): It happens to people.
Kirby: But it doesn’t happen to people. The process of making a lasagna, requires that you construct it in layers, several of which are noodles.
Brenda: I know how to make a lasagna.
Kirby: Again, the evidence would suggest otherwise.
Dan (sighing): It was just a big pan of meat sauce and cheese.
Brenda: (glaring at Dan with disapproval.)
Kirby: Or the time you made potato salad and it made everyone’s tongue itch. I didn’t even know that was a thing that could happen.
Dan: The potato salad was weird.
Brenda: I don’t know why that happened.
Dan: What about the brownies? (Dan excitedly jumps into the fun.)
Kirby: That’s right. You made brownies and they fused to the pan. You broke a spatula and bent several forks before you finally threw the entire thing into the backyard.
Dan: Don’t forget, she also beat on it with a meat tenderizer.
Kirby (laughing): Yes she did. Even the raccoons wouldn’t touch those brownies.
Dan: Those brownies were like carbon steel; you could’ve patched asphalt…
Brenda (interrupting Dan): Enough! Are you going to try some or not?
Brenda: And what about you? (looking at Dan in a manner that indicated that he didn’t have a choice.)
Dan: Yes please.
Kirby: And that’s why I don’t have a girlfriend.
Brenda: I’m sure the reasons you don’t have a girlfriend are numerous.
Kirby: That hurts a little.
Brenda (turning to Dan): I promise you’re going to like this.
(Brenda serves up the pasta with a healthy helping of sauce. Dan spears some with his fork and carefully studies it.)
Kirby: It’s like taking off a bandage: you have to just go for it.
(Dan pokes the morsel into his mouth, chewing cautiously at first. A look of surprise spreads over his face as his chewing gains momentum.)
Dan: This is really good.
Brenda (addressing Kirby): See. Would you like to try some now?
Kirby: No thanks. I’ll just stand here and wait for the other shoe.
Brenda: What other shoe?
Kirby: The one that’s certain to drop.
Dan (innocently): What kind of mushrooms are these?
Brenda: They’re wild mushrooms. I know how much you like wild mushrooms; when I saw them, I immediately thought of you.
Dan (slight concern): I didn’t know you knew anything about wild mushrooms.
Brenda: Oh, I don’t know anything about wild mushrooms.
Dan (more than slight concern): Then…how did you know that these mushrooms weren’t poisonous?
Brenda: Because they were growing in a field.
Dan (very concerned): So?
Brenda: Mushrooms that grow in a field are never poisonous…right?
Dan (sarcastically): Absolutely you’re right. And if you find mushrooms in a field, and a crow flies overhead at noon and caws three times, the mushrooms aren’t poisonous either.
Dan: No you idiot! There are a lot of poisonous mushrooms that grow in fields.
Kirby: And there it is.
Brenda: There’s what?!
Kirby: The other shoe clunking to the floor.
Dan (ignoring Kirby): Where exactly did you find them growing.
Brenda: In a pasture on a…
Dan: On a what?
Brenda: On a big pile of cow poop.
Kirby: That is fantastic.
Dan: That is not fantastic. In fact, it’s not good at all. What did they look like?
Brenda: I don’t know, I’m not a mushroom expert.
Dan: And that is why you don’t go around all willy-nilly, picking wild mushrooms and dumping them into pasta sauce.
Brenda: But you use wild mushrooms all the time.
Dan: I AM AN EXPERT! Now what did they look like?
Brenda (flustered): I don’t know, Dan. I guess they looked like tiny penises.
Kirby: May I point out something very important?
Dan (impatiently): What?
Kirby: The alarming frequency with which your name seem to crop up in the midst of the words tiny and penis.
Dan: No it doesn’t.
Kirby: It just did twice. In fact, Brenda said she immediately thought of you when she saw the tiny penis-shaped mushrooms?
Brenda: Because he likes wild mushrooms.
Dan: Yeah. Because I like wild mushrooms.
Kirby: I’m just saying it’s a little peculiar.
Brenda: You’re not being helpful.
Kirby: It wasn’t my intention to be helpful. It seldom ever is.
Brenda: Then try to be helpful.
Kirby: Okay. Dan, have you given any thought to what you’d like on your gravestone?
Brenda: Really? That’s you being helpful?
Kirby: How is that not being helpful?
Brenda (turning back to Dan): You could have your stomach pumped.
Kirby: Ooh. Having your stomach pumped is really unpleasant.
Brenda: And how do you know That?
Kirby: It has to be.
Brenda: Have you ever had your stomach pumped?
Brenda: How can you say that something is unpleasant, if it’s never happened to you?
Kirby: I’ve never been hit in the face with a brick, but I can say with a relative degree of certainty, that the experience would not be pleasant.
Dan (agitated): Is having your stomach pumped more unpleasant than dying? Is it? Is it more unpleasant that dying?
Kirby: Calm down, you don’t need to have your stomach pumped. All you have to do is make yourself throw-up.
Dan: That’s a good idea.
Kirby (turning to Brenda): See. Helpful.
Brenda: You think you know everything.
Kirby: I know not to eat penis shaped poop mushrooms. (Quickly changing gears.) You know, you could wind-up in the Weird Stories section of the Sunday paper: Person Poisoned By Penis Shaped Poop Mushrooms. It has built-in alliteration.
Brenda: That isn’t funny.
Kirby: Not for you.
Brenda (dialing her phone): I’m going to call my friend Linda, she’s a nurse, she’ll know what to do. (Talking into her phone.) Linda. It’s Brenda. I think I just poisoned Dan. (Indistinct chatter from the phone.) No. Not on purpose. (More indistinct chatter.) I made pasta sauce with wild mushrooms (More chatter.) No. I didn’t forget the pasta again. (A lot of chatter.) It does happen to people. (Even more chatter.) They looked liked tiny penises. (laughter followed by indistinct chatter) His name does not crop up around the words tiny and penis all the time. (Chatter.) Well, after he ate it, he went to the bathroom to throw-up. (More laughter followed by more chatter.) What do mean, more than usual? (Final chatter.) Okay. Bye.
(Sounds of vomiting emanating from the bathroom.)
Brenda: She said if he throws-up he’ll be fine.
Kirby: Physically maybe, but the psychological scars: they’re going to linger.
(Dan emerges from the bathroom, covered in sweat, eyes bloodshot, and face ashen.)
Dan (hoarsely): It’s done. I need a drink to get this taste out of my mouth.
(Dan walks to the refrigerator, opens the door, pulls something out, and stares at it in silence for a moment.)
Dan (puzzled): What’s this?
Kirby: Wow. That appears to be to be a bowl full of tiny penis shaped mushrooms.
(Dan and Kirby look at Brenda for an explanation.)
Brenda (confused): I guess I didn’t use those after-all. I must have used regular mushrooms. That’s good news right?
Dan (agitated): It’s just freaking fantastic.
Kirby: This is like the gift that just keeps on giving.
Brenda: This better not wind-up in some blog post that makes me look like an idiot.
Kirby: Don’t worry–that would never happen.