“What the hell are you doing?” Brady’s voice kicked into a higher register.
“Just kicking the ass out of this Space Alien’s brain,” Jared dropped the tree limb as the expression on his face turned from a manic fierceness into an impish grin. He pointed towards the remains of a massive mushroom which had once been the size of a forest gnome but now resembled a tangle heap of fettuccini noodles.
“You little pervert,” Brady shook his head. “That’s a cauliflower mushroom. Biggest fungus in the forest. Could have been a month’s worth of omelets. Man, what the hell’s wrong with you? Searching for blood stains around the Pit. Hammering mushrooms like they’re a punching bag.”
Stuart caught up with them and interceded, “And what is going on here?”
“Oh, Stu, I caught your son doing something horrible,” Brady couldn’t complete his sentence except to gesture with a sweep of his hand in Jared’s direction.
“Jared, were you masturbating out here in the woods?”
“Hey man, what are you thinking? I wasn’t whacking my thing,” he pointed at the remains of the giant fungus, “I was whacking that thing.”
“Well,” Stuart laughed. “Guess the youngster just got inspired by nature.”
“Hold on Stu,” Brady was incredulous. “Jared’s idea of communing with Mother Earth is just not normal.”
“Hey, give the kid a break, this is as normal as it gets.” Stuart put his arm over the boy’s shoulder. “We’ve put a lot of work in on Jared’s need for aggression. Now he’s on the right course. The doctor’s been stressing the difference between inanimate objects and those that can move. He gets to work things out and nobody gets hurt.”
“They say it’s good luck finding one of these cauliflowers,” Brady noted, “But hopefully there’s no bad luck that comes with demolishing one.”
“Damn thing probably weighed over five pounds. We’d have had a hard time hauling it back to the truck anyway,” Stuart pointed out. “Maybe Jared has spread the spores around a bit and there’ll be a slew of offspring next year.”
“Hey, our buckets are pretty much full,” Stuart observed. “How about let’s get out of here and head on home?”
Casey Bush is a Portland poet whose eighth collection Student of Hippocampus was published in 2018 by Last Word Press (Olympia, WA). His essay “Sisters Around the Cauldron: Mary Barnard and Her Sappho” was recently posted on the Berlin based website The Decadent Review. Casey is the poetic voice of Notes & Motes: The Vlatkovich Trio Plus One. He recommends Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center.