The Land cruiser was really comfortable on the trip back into the city, he thinks he may have nodded off. He forgets how high the, what is essentially a, truck is off the ground, when he gets out at Tim’s place in Brunswick, and he slides out in an ungainly fashion. He’s sure he was grabbing on for safety handles as it all gave way below him.
That’s funny, he thinks. Is he unsteady on his feet?
Tim leans into the back of the car to get the mushrooms. “Maate? You ate from both bags.”
“No I didn’t,” he says instinctively. What?
“Both bags are open,” says Tim sounding like mum.
“I couldn’t have.” Even he heard the quaver in his own voice.
It was as if Tim sniffed his admission in the air. “Maaate?”
"Okay, okay, I shouldn't have eaten those mushrooms," he says. He holds his stomach and wonders if he is turning green.
"Maate? Maate? You didn't eat the red cap ones, did ya?"
Red cap, gold cap, I ate them like I'd eat potato chips. "Dunno..."
"I don't reckon..." What the hell do mushrooms do to you?
"Nah, of course... I'm... I'm not sure." He was sure alright, he knew he'd eaten them, but he didn't want to look like a complete idiot, now did he.
"I told ya just to eat the ones from the first bag, the ones I'd picked..." Tim says. “And then only a few.”
A few? Now suddenly there is a number restriction? "Yeah, yeah, I listened to ya..."
"So, did ya?"
"Did I what?" He was having trouble keeping up by this point.
"Just eat them from the bag, eat the ones I picked?"
Don’t question me. "Yeah, yeah, I think so..." he didn’t, actually, remember eating any of the damn mushrooms, he just knew he had eaten them. One by one as he gazed out the window.
"You think so?" Tim’s voice squeaked ominously.
"Yeah, okay, I did. I did, okay." Why did his voice squeak?
"You don't wanna eat any of them red ones, or any of them gold ones, from the other bag, you really don't want to do that."
"Sweet." He didn’t look at the colour of them. WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT COLOUR?
There is silence for a minute.
That's all you are going to say? He thinks. Does he feel well? Is he beginning to feel sick? Is it psycomatic? "Like, why?" he asks.
"Like what will happen?"
"Oh maate, I couldn't say. Wouldn't like to say. Not really sure."
“Give it your best shot.” He was suddenly feeling desperate, and he didn’t entirely know why?
Tim makes sucking sounds.
"Don't say that." What the fuck does that mean? I don’t like the sound of that.
They hold each other’s gaze.
Tim’s mouth creases first. “So, I have one question for you.” Tim holds his hands out, flat in the air. “Then I’m done.”
“What is it?” You only have one question? This is my life we are talking about.
“Why were both bags open, when I got them from the middle of the back seat, next to where you were sitting?”
He’d done coke in Sydney with Mardi Gras queens after a long weekend of taking every other drug he could get his hands on. “You must have put them in the car that way.”
“You must be mistaken.” He’d done MDMA and trips with drag queens in London until the sun came up.
He’d done MDA with drunk girls in Milan. “Ah… er…ah” was all he could manage. He was thinking about the time he got a lift across Milan with a willowy black woman, with bright red lipstick, in a bright red Fiat 500. Was everything suddenly looking red?
“The second bag was what we’d all picked, but I just hadn’t checked it for poison’s rooms.”
“What if I did?” He holds his hands in the air, he’d suddenly exposed an uncomfortable truth about himself.
Tim sucks in breath.
That sucking sound, the only other time he’d heard that was at sex on premises venues with guys sucking cock in the dark areas. He is sure that isn’t good in this situation.
Tim looks into the second bag. “The ratio of poisonous is disturbingly high.” Tim sucks in breath again. “I should take you to get your stomach pumped.” His eyes blink fast. “It would be the kindest thing.”
“What!” Even he hears his own voice squeak.
“Did you eat…” asks Tim. His right hand does a kind of Sale of the Century’s model’s hand gesture to the bag he is holding in his other hand. “These?”
Ambulance. Emergency. ICU. All flash through his mind. “What?”