The Mushroom (Turboencabulator)

The Mushroom

Part of the album trade writing prompt:

By: Turboencabulator
Album: Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood

Springtime in the Wabash valley was an affair of color, the whole palette of nature returning
from the dead, dull grey and brown of winter. Flowers bloomed, buds burst into fresh green
leaves, and the birds began to return, singing their calls and foraging for their nests. In a
tight bend of Sugar Creek just outside Crawfordsville, the passage of the river had carved out
a rock wall, only marred by an old rusting-out freight container, long abandoned.

Here was home to a modest herd, a group of fluffies that had found their place together. Humans
would come by frequently, usually the youth of the towns nearby, looking for a place to drink
and get laid. The fluffies would poke around and usually return with some decent food, and
sometimes with beer in their bellies. They knew which teenagers to avoid, they could almost
smell the hunger of violence, or see the twitch as fingertips itched to flick out a

By and large, the fluffies were in a peaceful, quiet existence with people. Fluffs would come
and go sometimes, when the freight container didn’t suit their tastes. Spoiled brats were
usually encouraged to move on, and hard workers were made to feel a bit more welcome. The best days were when Dale would meander past, in his big metal canoe.

Dale was an ecologist, studying the river, and since fluffies were part of the river life, he
would stop in on his trips downriver, and when he paddled away the next morning, the fluffies
would have learned something. Sometimes it was things like not to poop in the river, because
making the water poopy wasn’t nice, was it? Sometimes, though, it was stories. The fluffies
learned what constellations were, or the tales of Heracles. They learned about the Battle of
Tippecanoe, and the Shawnee, and the stories of the Hardy Boys, read from old, yellowed
paperback books.

It was getting on into the afternoon, a cool breeze casting ripples on the river, when one of
the toughies out for a drink spotted the silver flash of the steel canoe. Within a few minutes
the smarty, Apple, was out and getting a scritch from Dale.

He was a big, bearded, barrel-chested man, well worn and tanned from working outside most of
his life. The fluffies waited patiently as he took his water and plant samples, then gathered
together as he set up his camp chair and relaxed with a soft groan.

“So. Winter seems to be past.” He said, rumbling quietly to the fluffies gathered.

“Huu, da cowd-times su meanie. Speciaw fwien get su cowdies babbies go fowebba-sweepies in hew tummy.” One stallion said, looking down, sniffling a little. His special friend hugged him with
vigor, and they overbalanced, tumbling over with two synced giggles.

Dale nodded with a sigh. “Sometimes, bad things like that can happen.” After a moment, he looks
around, counting the fluffies. “Huh, there’s not many young’uns here.”

Apple perked up. “Da big-babbies an new stawwions an mawes out wit da nummie-findews and sum tuffies, to wearn da nummies out hewe.”

With a chuckle, Dale nodded. “Good idea, I suppose your food stashes are running a bit low.”

He got up and went to the canoe, pulling out four big plastic bags of timothy and alfalfa hay,
and carefully went in the fluffy’s container, refilling their food stores. The fluffies
cheered, and Dale leaned down to Apple. “Could you help me gather wood for the fire tonight?”

Within a few minutes, toughies and finders went out to gather tinder, while Dale set up a rock
fire ring near the shore and started taking down dead wood.

The line of fluffies tromped through the woods, on the way back from their lessons. A stallion,
just grown out of being a colt, trailed behind, and bumped one of the toughies on the haunch.

“Big Gwey, Weaf need make gud poopies, wiww catch up?”

Big Grey nodded and sat down. “Wiww wait fow Weaf. Nee’ be safe.”

Leaf wandered off the trail and found a divot in the ground, making a carefully aimed squat,
and relieving himself. On the way back, something caught his eye. A pretty red thing, nestled
in the roots of a tree. He sniffed it, and took a bite.

Chewing thoughtfully, he came to the conclusion that it was not very good nummies, and so he
rejoined Big Grey and they continued on the trail, catching up with the lesson group ahead.

Partway through the explanation of how to avoid being poked when eating the black vine berries,
Leaf began to feel his tummy grow upset, and looked around, confused. The world seemed too
bright, and it grew brighter and brighter the longer he looked.

Big Grey noticed the little stallion looking strained and confused, and wandered over,
watching. The green fluffy was swaying a little, looking around, eyes a bit bloodshot, and
after a minute he fell over in a pile, gurgling and foaming a little.

Grey turned to one of the far-runners. “Git da Smawty.” He said, and the runner bolted for the
herd’s den. Grey nuzzled Leaf out flat, making sure the foam was running out of the fluff’s

Leaf found himself standing on a black, reflective ground, inlaid with a glowing teal grid. He
pawed lightly at his own reflection, the glossy ground making soft, bell-like tones with every
tap. He looked around the landscape, utterly confused.

Tall, narrow pyramids, completely smooth, reaching high into the sky stretched randomly in
front of him, each one a different color. Faint purple beams connected golden and silver
spheres on their peaks, bundles of sparkling energy shooting along the beams, sometimes idling
and then moving on, other times dropping into the pyramid, saturating angular traceries with
light, trickling down the sides.

Cubic clouds rolled lazily overhead, and Leaf began to wander, his tapping trots eliciting
little tones as he went along. The smells here were strange, very clean and dry.

“Hewwo?” He asked.

The word came out of his mouth printed on a long tape, and was blown away into the sky on an
unfelt wind. A streak of sound like a metal clarinet playing a random run of notes flickered

Leaf wandered a bit further, until the ground opened up beneath him, and he tumbled down a
long, twisting tunnel.

A rapid rustling sound made the fluffies freeze, until a purple fluffy charged out of the brush
and tumbled head over haunches, finally landing in a pile next to Apple and Dale. The
far-runner was out of breath, but after grabbing a drink trotted back over.

“Dewe pwobem, Smawty. Weaf gone aww funny an hab stwange sickies.”

Dale picked up the messenger fluff, who squeaked and wiggled happily. “Where?”

“Da black-pokey-bewwy vines.”

Dale turned and jogged into the brush, following the runner’s directions as they went. Apple
and toughies were barely keeping up with them, and after a minute they arrived at the
collection of vines.

Setting the messenger down, Dale knelt and examined Leaf, the fluffy twitching and making
little mumbled noises.

“When did this happen?” He asked, and turned as Grey tapped him on the shin.

“Big Gwey see, dis happen jus nao. Fink Weaf nummed a bad fing when he went to make poopies in da woods.”

Dale looked down at Leaf, thinking, then picked him up. “Ok.” He said, placing Leaf on the back
of one of the bigger toughies. “Take him back to the nest, let him lay in the grass, in the
shade. If he gets up and tries to wander, just gently keep him there.”

The toughy nods, and a pair of them carefully begin transporting Leaf back. Dale turned to
Grey. “Show me.”

The pair walked off, following the trail backwards, until Grey points to a faint gap, and Dale
made his way through. Finding the depression where Leaf made his business, he looked around
until he spotted a bright red flash, nestled in the roots of a tree.

After pulling on a pair of gloves, Dale picked out a large, white and red mushroom, with a
conspicuous bite taken out of the cap. Putting it in a baggie, he went back and rejoined Big

“We need to get the herd together.” Dale said, showing Grey the baggie. “Time for another
safety lesson.”

Everything was balls. Leaf was a ball. The river was a big ball, on a bigger ball that was the
everything. The sky was a ball, but the wrong way around. Tiny balls of sound floated past him,
blooping together and echoing, the voice of fluffies, or of a human. Leaf was fine with
this. He sat, enjoying his roundness, on the round shore looking around at the round trees and
the round metal-housie he lived in.

The roundness slowly changed, turning into squares, then things flowed together, their geometry
growing more complex, but bleeding into each other, flowing into a …

Leaf stood up, wobbled to the river, and promptly vomited, the world going all melty and
spinny. He leaned on a fluffy and made his way back to the grass, where he collapsed again,
curling up and giggling as he drifted off into dreaming again.

Dale wandered back into the nest area, the other fluffies gathered near the fire. Leaf was with
a toughy, curled up in the grass and making odd sounds.

Sitting on his camp chair, Dale held up the bag. “Everyone, I want you to look at this and
remember it.”

He set the bag down and the fluffies peered at it in turn, curious.

Apple of course, piped up first. “Wat dat? Is pwetty.”

Dale nodded. “It is a pretty thing. This is a mushroom called Amanita Muscaria, more usually
known as ‘Fly Agaric’. It’s very dangerous to eat. Leaf is lucky, he’ll probably survive and
just feel really bad for a while. These mushrooms have been known to even give humans
forever-sleepies if they eat too much of it.”

The fluffies backed away from the bagged mushroom a little bit. Apple turned and looked over at
Leaf. “Weaf otay though?”

“He’s probably having the weirdest night-stories a fluffy ever had but he’ll be fine in a few
days, I think.” Dale said, as he began to rummage through his bag. “If he’s able to move around
on his own and isn’t having any breathing problems through the night I expect him to be up in
the morning.”

Leaf let out a squeak, and then a bubbling giggle.

Apple seemed to relax, and as the light began to dim, Dale built a merry fire, and soon the
fluffies were enjoying fire-grilled vegetables and cornbread.

The sky was so big and full of lights. Leaf wandered amongst them, floating from planet to
planet, star to star. He drifted through stellar nurseries, following the current of the milky
way as it flowed through twists and turns in space, making colorful, vibrant knots of energy.

He tumbled slowly, drifting through fields of color and light as space gave way to pure energy,
the universe folding itself into new configurations, ignoring Leaf’s slow pilgrimage through.

Eventually, a long forever later, Leaf finally fell asleep, floating through the everything.

The next day Leaf woke up, sitting stiffly upright, snuggled into Dale’s side in his sleeping
bag. The little fluff rubbed his face, getting his gummed-shut eye to loosen up and work right

The next five minutes were spent sucking down massive amounts of water, and Leaf even took a
moment to lay down and roll in the water, a refreshing sensation. After a moment to shake to
some form of dryness, he wandered back to the embers of the fire, sitting near the warmth to
dry. He was unstable, leaning to one side, then the other, but slowly regaining control.

Dale poked the fluffy soft, making Leaf jump and squeak out a fear-fart.

“Sorry. You doing ok?” Dale asked, sitting with the little green stallion.

Leaf settled down again, nodding. “Yus, but finkie-pwace feew aww weiwd an fuww.”

“That’s normal. Don’t eat the red mushrooms again, they’re dangerous.”

Leaf nodded, and watched as Dale got up again and began to pack up his camp. The other fluffies
began to come out as well, and Leaf rejoined his group, more stable on his feet.

After saying his goodbyes, Dale got in his canoe and moved on down the river. Every fluff
watched him go, except one. Leaf looked up into the sky at the pale moon hanging low on the
horizon, squinting as the daylight grew, and he thought, far more than he thought in his life.


Leaf “am see dah thin’ daddeh nu can see”


I love the smartness of these truly feral fluffies


Leaf about to hit that shit again