Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mr. Scruff and the new mushroom

Mr. Scruff, the chipmunk, popped out of his hole. The late morning sun shone hot on his black back stripes. A breeze ruffled the prairie grasses and the fur on his tail. The deafening din of the cicadas' song reverberated through the air, a strange white noise.

From the pit of his stomach, Mr. Scruff felt a deep craving for the smoky, earthy button mushrooms that grew at the base of the Great Oak, so off he dashed into the forest. He plowed through the soft carpet of dead leaves, occasionally stopping to eat a fallen cicada, carefully unwrapping the wings to reveal a nutty treat with a juicy center.

Mr. Scruff pummeled the Great Oak's trunk with his paws, his black and beady eyes reflecting the sun falling through the leaves. Some jerk had eaten the caps off all the button mushrooms, completely ignoring the stems' perfect complementary flavor.

"Squirrels did this," he muttered. "Fucking sexy-tailed rats."

Mr. Scruff looked around for another suitable snack. About a quarter of the way up the Great Oak's trunk grew a new mushroom. Mr. Scruff recalled the childhood rhyme:

John found a mushroom on the Oak.
He took a bite and rose alight
Into the sun, John had his fun
And fried his mind, a brainless joke.

"Bullshit," thought Mr. Scruff and climbed the tree towards the labia-shaped delicacy.

Some time later, Mr. Scruff found himself under the shady bush, nauseous, paranoid, and euphoric. The cicadas' song seemed to be foaming, no, forming, no, foaming words.

"MUSHROOM, WE LOVE, MUSHROOM, WE LOVE," they sang. A drop of water fell from one of the shady bush's leaves, slowly, so slowly, glitter in the afternoon sun, a million colors and no color, a million shapes and no shape...splash.

"Eee!" Mr. Scruff squeaked.

"YOU DIE, TODAY, YOU DIE, TODAY," the cicadas sang. Mr. Scruff felt like he had eaten pine needles. He pulled one of the great, broad leaves down with his tiny paws and hid under it. He squeezed his eyes shut. Dark crimson spirals twirled against a black sea, forming hideous rodent faces. He opened his eyes. Dark green worms crawled all over his leaf blanket.

"Eee!" Mr. Scruff squeaked.

He scampered towards his hole: a long, long, intolerably long scamper. He dove through the entrance.

"I am the one," he thought. Then, "It's filthy in here."

He lay down on his leaf-bed and tried for several hours to sleep.

Up next: Mr. Scruff and the lady in heat

Check out Mr. Scruff in image form at: Pat Guy

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