The first time I ever ingested a psilocybin mushroom was at the North Hall Auditorium in Memphis Tennessee during a Rick Wakeman concert. We were sitting in the balcony smoking some herb when we were offered a sandwich bag of mushroom caps in exchange for a joint. I remember it being the nastiest thing I had ever placed in my mouth, but that it was more of a textural objection rather than one of taste. Needless to say, there were plenty of other substances around worth abusing so that the slimy toadstools didn’t come back to the forefront of mind until some years later.
When Bill and I moved into the place on Potter Street, down by Boyle Park, it became what is now known as a “destination.” There were many people and many types of people that came in and out. Neighbors, friends, acquaintances, acquaintances of friends and total strangers. Some were passing through, others looking to crash.
One day Bill’s cousin, Nathan, came in with a grocery sack full of mushrooms. They had hit a cow pasture right after the previous night’s rain and cashed in. “Gonna borrow your stove,” he said as he headed back to the kitchen. I could hear pots and pans rattling. I turned the stereo up and lit another doob.
About thirty minutes later, Nathan came out and handed me a white Tupper-Ware tumbler half filled with purple Cool aid. Maybe thirty minutes after that I found myself plastered against the back of the sofa somewhat like that ride at the fair that spins and the floor drops out. I remember the buzzing sound and thinking, “is this where they get the term copping a buzz?”
The sounds from the stereo became very intense and I went into a trancelike stupor for what could have been hours or minutes. I really don’t know. I just remember feeling very calm and it still being daylight when I regained movement in my body. That’s when I heard the knock at the door.
Brother Bo was a forty-something black man that lived with his mother across the street from our house. He always wore an olive drab combat jacket and was probably a Viet Nam vet. We called him Brother Bo because that’s what he called himself. He had a habit of coming to the door, “Come’on man, give Brother Bo a joint.” Normally you would give Brother Bo that sad look that says, man I wish I had a joint myself, and shrug your shoulders, shaking your head as you closed the door. I’d usually light one up as I watched him stagger back across the street. He was always drunk. And, I couldn’t afford to support his habit and mine too.
On this particular day, the half gallon jug of grape cool aid in the kitchen tugged hard at the mean streak in me saying, “ooh wouldn’t this be fun!” and I said, “Bo, wait right here, I’ll be back.”
I dug through the cabinets and found the biggest container that looked like a glass that I could find and I filled it up with the semi-viscous fluid and returned to the door. “What’s this?” he asked.
“Shrooms,” I replied. “Drink it.”
Bo slowly gulped the purple drink as only an experienced 40 ounce drinker can do, and handed me back the empty glass. “See ya, Bo,” I said, “lemme know how ya like it.”
It was a couple of days before I ran into Bo again in the driveway after work.
“Next time you gets some of them shrooms,” he said, “be sure to let ole Brother Bo know about it.”