Friday, April 13, 2012


“I hate mushrooms,” Francis said, and dropped his fork on the table. “Why’d you put mushrooms in it?”

He pushed his chair back from the table, walked across the kitchen, and scraped the omelette into the garbage. He reached for a box of Raisin Bran.

“They were going bad, and I wanted to use them up,” Janine said. “I’m sorry.”

“Just warn me next time.” Francis sat back down at the table. He had just brought the first bite of cereal to his lips when he jumped and spilled the spoonful down the front of his sweatshirt.

“What the ...”

A tornado siren slowly but forcefully rolled 120 decibels of panic high and then low through the morning air.

Francis looked out the window. It was cloudless. The morning sun threw long shadows from the suburban trees. Some children drawing with chalk on the sidewalk across the street stopped and looked up at the sky. They ran into the house.

“What the hell?”

Janine went to the living room and turned on the TV. “Honey! Come here. Oh my God! Can you hear what they’re saying?”

Francis turned just as the sky lit up in a bright, brief blast of white. Then another, dimmer, but still brilliant.

He looked back out the window, just above the horizon.

“Mushrooms,” he whispered. “I hate mushrooms.”

This was a writing assignment for a workshop I took recently. Write 200 words or more about the end of the world. The first and last line must be the same.


  1. oooh I assume the great mushroom in the sky was an atomic bomb detonation rather than a tornado. Very sinisterly nice!

  2. Mushroom cloud, I presume, and not some attack of the titanic toadstools? Nice wrap-around for a phobia.

  3. What an ass. He desrves to go up in a mushroom cloud. :)

  4. Oh well, I think these may be the very last mushrooms that Francis is going to moan about. :)

  5. Yeah, I hate mushrooms, too. Both kinds. I hope I never have to face the big ones in the sky. Good story!

  6. I love mushrooms, the edible ones at least, but only if they're fried. Great story Matt. I liked the conversational tone and how his hate for mushrooms seemed more important than the end of the world.

  7. Way to trivialise the end of the world :p! I, too, used to hate mushrooms, now I've grown to accept them and enjoy their earthy flavour (if not their slug-like texture).

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