Nobody Knows The Truffle I’ve Seen

by Howard Wilder © 2001

"Well, what do we do now? It’s dark and we’ve been up and down this damn logging road, but we still ain’t found it. I don’t know why they got to have it all the way back here in these nasty old woods. Are you sure that old man knew what he was talking about?”

"He swore it was out here. Damn! Will you look at all them toadstools? They’re all over the place.”

“Wait, Bill, slow down! Now, I’m telling you, that sign wasn’t there a minute ago; it’s like it just popped out of the damn ground. See? ‘Stone Circle Modular Homes Factory Outlet. Come See Our Display.' This is it! Pull in here and park.”

"Well, babe, maybe this is the place, but there ain’t nothing but moonlight to see by. They must’ve closed already. No, wait. Well, don’t that beat all. Now, that’s a neat trick, having them big old boulders glow like that in a great big circle! And look, they got the display right smack dab in the middle of it, like it was the circus or something. Now, that’s salesmanship.”

"Lord, Bill, it’s so quiet out here. You can't hear no traffic, no birds, no crickets, no nothing.”

“No, but these damn toadstools sure make a racket when you step on them. I mean, the sumbitches are about jumping out of the ground, there’s so many of them. Whoa, that display is sure nice.”

“Oh, Bill, it looks like one of those gingerbread houses in the fairy tales or something. Do you think it’s open?”

“Well, only one way to find out. One thing’s for sure; they keep up with the landscaping around here. There ain’t toadstool one inside of this circle. Now, hey, that's a door. A double wide door for a doublewide house. I guess that means you won't have to turn sideways with your double wide ass no more, now, huh, babe?" “You ain't got much room to talk with that big beer belly you got hanging over your belt, Bill Porter."

"Now be nice, Cheryl Lynn. Wow! It’s a ‘automatic’ doublewide door, to boot. Mmmm, smell that? Somebody's baking bread! They must be having some sort of welcome wagon party for us!”

"Oh, look how they decorated this place up, Bill. I love that red velvet wallpaper; that's exactly how I'd do it. What the? Hey, who turned out the lights? Damn! Now I can't see nothing. Ow! Oh, that's great, that's just great. I tripped over something and landed flat on my back, Bill!”

“Well, they just better have some real good goddamn insurance, that's all I got to say. Just sit tight, honey. Hello? Hey, you got a hurt person out here!”

“Whew! Damn! William Wayne Porter, why don't you warn somebody first? I’m already hurt, you don’t have to make me suffer."

"Me! Hell, I figured you must've shit your britches when you fell, Cheryl. Lord, you went and killed that baked bread smell all to hell, too.”

"Oh, gross! Now the floor's getting all slippery. Help me up before I get this shit all over my clothes."

"Man, they must've had a major sewer backup or something. I mean, that smell ain't (expletive) human! Where are you, Honey? Here, grab my hands. Damn! My (expletive) feet are burning up!"

"Bill! Help me up, it hurts! Oh, God, it hurts! Somebody help me! Help!"

"Oh, my God! The walls are falling in! Ahhh! Help, I'm burning up! Where's the (expletive) door? Where's the (expletive) door?"


"Miss? I take it you're from the Sheriff's Department? Hi, I'm Dave Yeager, from the college. I'm the one who called about the truck."

"Hello. I'm Candy Parker, the Deputy on call. Is that it?"

"Yeah. We’re doing a research project on that stone circle over there, and I figured that the truck might be stolen. I don’t know who’d want it, though. I mean, I've seen better pickups being used for flower planters or artificial reefs."

"Oh, it was probably just some kids taking it for a joyride, then ditching it in the woods. Happens all the time. Well, I think I’ve got everything. Will you be somewhere you can be reached, if need be?"

"Sure, here's my card. You can always reach me at one of these numbers.”

"Okay, good. So, you're a professor of biology."

"Yes, ma'am. I'm what you call a mycologist."

"What's that in English?"

"I study fungi in general, but my specialty is the study of mycolatry, or mushroom worship.”

“Mushroom worship? I didn’t know that we had any of that in Missouri.”

“Well, with the possible exception of the old guy who told me about this site, I’d say that it’s pretty rare these days.”

“A real character, huh?”

“Yeah, dirty, smelly and a bubble off of level, if you know what I mean. But I have to admit, he really knew his mushrooms.”

“So, you’re saying that there were mushroom worshipers here in the past?”

“Right. There’s evidence that during the Cahokia, or mound-building period, this stone circle was used by shamans who centered their religion around the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms. As a matter of fact, there’s strong speculation that they even engaged in human sacrifice to an unnamed mushroom god.”

“Well, it looks innocent enough in the daylight; just a big empty circle of stones.”

“Yeah, that’s why a group of us will be camping out here tonight. We want to be on hand when the mushrooms sprout. Preliminary tests indicate that there’s a very large fungal mass just below the surface of the circle. It’ll be very interesting to see what pops out of the ground when it starts getting dark.”

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