Lady Disdain (apocalypse2012) wrote in candid_critics,
Lady Disdain

Mushroom, mushroom! (SNAKE!!)

    This is just some weird little story I wrote. It's not anything to be taken seriously, but I thought I'd post it anyways. It's a sort of fucked-up attempt at an allegory, I guess.

The Fanciful Tale of Jacques the Mushroom Gnome

    Once upon a time there was a mushroom gnome named Jacques. Jacques lived in Mushroom Village with all the other mushroom gnomes. Everyone was always joyous and gay because they had plenty of mushrooms to eat. The mushrooms were grown in lush mushroom fields on mushroom farms by happy, joyful mushroom farmers who sang happy mushroom songs while they did whatever it is one does in order to cultivate mushrooms. They would drink mushroom-based beverages and sing happy songs as they ate more of the delicious, red-and-white mushrooms. They danced and sang and made merry, and all of the mushroom gnomes were very, very happy... except for Jcaques. Jacques would sit with his mushrooms, chewing solemnly as he sat on a mushroom stool in a mushroom bar. Mushroom gnomes always ate mushrooms, because when they didn't, they weren't happy. The glorious mushrooms made Jacques happy, just as they made all of the gnomes happy. But somehow, the emptiness felt empty to him. He often declined to join in the traditional Mushroom Dances, and he didn't sing Mushroom Carols or play the ceremonial Mushroom Rondo on the reed flute or lyre. He just sat in his corner, nibbling his mushroom, taking in the colors and sounds, the laughter and song, which to him were somehow tinged with a vague, intangible melancholy.
    The other gnomes thought he was rather strange. The lady gnomes were taken aback and sometimes offended when he sulllenly brushed off their offers of dancing.
    "Why won't you dance with us?" they asked.
    To which Jacques replied, after a pause, "Why is it that you dance?"
    The lady would often consider the question for a moment, and answer something along the lines of "To celebrate," or "Because it makes us happy," or "Because we are happy!".
    "But why?" Jacques would continue. "Why are you happy? Why do you celebrate? Why is it that we strum lyres every night and join in song and dance? I do not understand it."
    At this point, the lady would usually shake her head and walk away.

    The world of the mushroom gnomes was a whirl of sound and color. Constant celebration, constant song and dance, the strumming of lyres and the blowing of flutes, and always, always the eating of more mushrooms. Care was taken to ensure that there were always more mushrooms. The entire village was made of mushrooms, and they ate mushrooms, and children played with toys carved out of mushrooms. The lady gnomes wore bright flowers in their hair, and little dresses made of the brightest blossoms. It seemed as if everything moved, as if every stone and flower and segment of sky had an anima of its own. The movement and swirls of color, the strains of joyus music, and the constant flow of mushrooms and mushroom milk and mushroom liquor, streamed steadily on day in and day out. It never ended, or even so much as slowed down. At night, the bright candlelight that illuminated every street and house in the village was so strong and prevalent as to imitate the very sun. It was as if there was no night. The mushrooms made it so that the gnomes had no need of sleep. They danced and sang and caroled and frolicked through an endless day, and there was no night or death or disease. Gnomes did not seem to die so much as to fade away into the swirling blur of the celebration. There were always new gnome children, and there were elder gnomes as well, but no one saw or spoke of death, even in song. There was no death in song. The songths of the gnomes exuded joy and light.
    Jaques listened at his counter, silently, to the low, loud buzz of voices, the occasional trickle of laughter, and the strains of pleasant, cheerful music. The minstrels were singing the traditional Ballad of Shroom.
    Oh the sun, he is bright
    And he gives us his light
    As the grass and the trees rejoice
    For mushrooms are sprouting
    This calls for an outing!
    The sun will shine on and on.
    Oh mushroom, what joy!
    You are life's greatest toy,
    You fix us with your spell.
    Oh mushroom, oh glee!
    Oh how fortunate, we,
    That you grace us with thy joy eternal
    If there is a god, it is you, oh shroom,
    Your cap and your stem, they erase the gloom
    Of a life where the sun goes down each night
    And the joy and the merriment end.
    All life comes from you,
    All movement too
    All joy and all light
    The defeat of the night
    All song and all dance
    Come from thee, oh Shroom,
    To thou do we kneel,
    For thou art our meal,
    And forever we live in your spell.

    The gnomes whirled and danced and twirled and cavorted in wild, hypnotic rhythm to the quasi-holy song. Bright floral dresses spun wildly about as their wearers spun with abandon. It was like this every day, every night if indeed there really was a night. Night seemed more a figment of hearsay than a true phenomenon. Jacques listened intently to the words of the Ballad of Shroom; he strained to pull some sort of meaning out of it. To him, it sounded just like the scene around him looked; an orgiastic paian to that God of all Gods, the Mushroom. Jaques was tired of mushrooms. He was tired of colors, and song, and dancing. He was tired of the undying ecstasy. He did not know what he wanted of life, if it was not to be happy. But happiness did not seem to have satisfied him much.
    One day he decided he would no longer partake of the mushrooms. No more did he nibble mushrooms in his corner, he simply sipped spring water. The bartenders were surprised and a bit bewildered when he asked them for it, but they complied. They had it in stock, as it was a vital ingredient in mushroom liquor.

    Things changed after a few days of abstinence from the constant nibbling of mushrooms.
    It seemed to happen at once suddenly and gradually. The colors faded and, eventually, died. The music of the gnome minstrels ceased to sound as sweet, and then ceased to exist. Jaques took a good look around him with mushroom-free, undilated eyes.
    The world was not a swirl of movement and color. The room was not warmly lit and red bright; it was dull with the grey light of early sunrise trickling in through windows that Jaques had never noticed before. The inside of the mushroom bar looked rather dilapidated and grey. The walls were the off-beige color of white mushrooms. The people did not dance, but lay upon the ground, unmoving, as if they had not moved in years, all of them with mushrooms in their mouths. The bartenders stood behind the counter, their eyes wide, occasionally muttering something to themselves. Someone entered the room; it was a mushroom farmer gnome, with a basket of fresh mushrooms. He was well-dressed, in a little acorn cap and sharp leaf blazer. He approached the counter; catching sight of Jaques, he paused. The farmer looked at Jacques, and Jacques looked at him. The farmer blinked.
    "Top of the morning."
    "Morning..." Jacques' voice trailed off. It had been so long since he'd seen a true morning. "Good morning to you as well. A very good morning indeed."
    "Are you... do you..." The farmer searched for words. "Are you from these parts?"
    "Born and raised," replied Jaques.
    "And yet you.... you...."
    "I suppose you could say that I lost my taste for mushrooms," said Jacques coolly.
    "That... I have never... you..." The farmer composed himself, standing straight as he could and brushing off his blazer. He set the basket down on the counter. "One half bushel of the finest Fly Agaric, good sir," he said to one of the bartenders. The bartender turned to him, trance-like, and muttered something along the lines of "Yes... good... payment... mushrooms..." The bartender reached under the counter and pulled out a small bag that jingled, and handed it silently to the farmer. The farmer took it and nodded. "Good doing business with you, sir." He stuck the bag into a pocket.
    "You grow these?" asked Jaques.
    "Yes," said the farmer. "We grow them just outside the village. They're hard to grow, you know, these mushrooms. But they can't get enough of them."
    "Do you eat them?" asked Jacques.
    "Occasionally," said the farmer. "They have mystical properties. It's said that they transport you to another world, and I believe it myself."
    "I believe it more than anything else in the world," said Jacques.
    "I worry sometimes, you know," the farmer said, "about these gnomes. It seems none of them ever stop eating mushrooms. They prefer to stay in that other world, I suppose. Still, they will run out of gold someday. This town is deserted outside of these mushroom bars. It's eerie."
    "I do not remember the last time I wasn't eating a mushroom," said Jacques quietly. "I forgot that the mushroom world wasn't real."
    "But it is pleasant, isn't it?" said the farmer. "So much color and entertainment everywhere. It's been a while since I've been there."
    "It's like a masquerade ball, a giant eternal masquerade ball," says Jacques. "Minstrels and dancing, and everyone's happy. It's a masque, you see, because no one is themselves, for they have lost themselves."
    "Tsk," said the farmer, "I've always been a more practical type. Besides, seeing all this-" He motioned to the room full of dazed, unbathed gnomes. "I think you were wise to leave the Mushroom World."
    "I think so too," said Jaques.
    "I must be on my way," said the farmer. "I have more mushrooms to deliver."
    "I think I'll be going, too," said Jacques. "You don't know how long I've been here."
    They left together through the aged, rickety door of the mushroom bar. Once outside, Jacques took a deep, deep breath of fresh air.
    "It is spring, isn't it?" asked Jacques.
    "Yes," said the farmer.
    "The lilies are blooming."
    "Indeed. I must be on my way, good sir, but if you ever are in need of anything, I'm in town every day." He bowed, tipped his hat, and headed down the road that led into town. Jacques looked around him. He heard the gentle song of a bluebird in one of the treetops. It was an overcast day, and the sky was a cool, calm shade of grey. The world did not seem painfully bright, as the Mushroom World had been.. It was soft color and light. A second bluebird joined the other in song as a few raindrops began to fall. They were frigid to the touch. A cold breeze blew, and a bit of thunder rumbled in the distance. A thick cloud further obscured what could be seen of the sun, casting a shadow over Jacques. As the cold rain began to pick up, Jacques looked upon a dried, dead flower lying on the edge of the pathway, and he felt a sense of deep cosmic satisfaction.

The End.
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