Mellowing out with Mushrooms
Weird looking mushrooms. Those who planted them never intended humans to pick them. The farmer's mushrooms had innocently grown a bit too close to their territory. The mushrooms could have been there for decades or centuries, who knew. However, it was interesting to note that the abandoned house near these mushrooms once belonged to a family of poor Japanese immigrants during the gold rush.
Someone picked the weird mushrooms all the same. To be fair, these mushrooms decided to make themselves blend in with all the ordinary white mushrooms around them just to fit in.
So, the company washed, packaged, shipped, and sold them like all the other mushrooms: destined to be put in soup, salad, or in their particular case, pizza toppings for a restaurant chain. Now, there weren't a lot of the special mushrooms, so they stuck together, making sure they remained in the same basket, same box, same container, until their destiny was upon them.
An order came into the pizza place. A large pizza with mushrooms, green peppers and pepperoni. It happened to be the day that the mushrooms' destiny would make itself known. The clerk in charge of making that particular pizza spread all of the mushrooms across the pizza, all the while having no idea of what he was about to have a part in unleashing.
This order made its way to the Smith residence, home to a family of three. Terry, a man of forty-three years of age and an executive at a local office complex, received the order, making sure to pay the driver a decent tip.
Terry, who kept his suit on despite being home from work, brought the pizza into the kitchen where Vivian, his wife of 21 years, waited with plates and cans of coke. Vivian, also forty-three, was a psychologist and, like Terry, was well dressed. Both she and Terry felt that they needed to set a good example for their son Luke, always emphasising the importance of obeying the rules and staying with tradition.
Luke, who was fifteen years old, had a different outlook on life. While his parents' upbringing thus far had had the effect of keeping Luke out of trouble, he had recently begun to question authority.
Like others his age, he tended to see his parents as boring people that worried too much about rules. Luke usually wore jeans and a navy blue tee shirt. He consented to tucking his shirt in to please his father.
"You guys got pizza! Awesome!" Luke said.
"Ordered, Luke, not 'got.' You need to have proper grammar if you want to get good grades so you can do well in life," Terry said.
"I know, but we don't have to be serious all the time! Even the President gets to have fun sometimes," Luke said.
Luke walked into the kitchen, getting three slices of pizza and a can of coke.
"That's true, but the president didn't get to be president by playing. He had to do a lot of hard work. Hard work has its rewards," Vivian said.
"Come on Mom, I don't want to work all of the time! Homework starts to get lame after a while. People always say that these are the best years of my life. How can they be so great if I'm doing school work all of the time?" Luke asked.
Terry removed two pieces for himself and Vivian before pouring the two remaining cans of coke into two separate glasses. The three sat down at the dinning room table, something Terry insisted on - he felt it wasn't appropriate to eat in bed or in front of the TV or computer. They had told Luke that later in life, when he had a job, he didn't want to get used to eating at his desk; he needed to learn manners while he was younger.
"If you don't do your work, you'll just end up having to pay for it later in life," Terry said.
Luke started to eat his first slice of pizza. He noticed that his parents were using utensils to eat it. He didn't bother to comment as he felt that it was an argument that wouldn't accomplish anything. Why can't they just relax? They're at home, not work! I don't want to end up old and boring, thought Luke.
"You know Terry, perhaps Luke does have a point. I remember when we were younger that we weren't always as concerned about the rules," Vivian said.
Terry ate a few bites of a slice and blinked his eyes. "That's true. We were once your age Luke. I remember how the adults seemed old and boring. We always said that we'd never let ourselves get like that."
Luke was confused. Did his father just say that? He was the last person Luke expected to get nostalgic!
"But if you really want to have fun then why don't you?" Luke asked.
"The truth is," Vivian started before eating another piece of pizza and drinking some of her coke. "Society has rules. Many people would consider your father and I to be too old to do what you'd consider fun. We have reputations to consider."
"Okay, I know you guys maybe can't go rollerblading but how come you won't play video games any more?" Luke asked.
Terry nodded after eating a few more pieces of pizza. "There are times I want to. But I'm just not that good at them any more. It's not as fun when you keep losing. Although, it would be more fun then going to the opera. I mean, the opera is okay to relax, but sometimes I would like to have more fun. "
Vivian nodded. "We all have our urges, sometimes it is healthy to explore them. As long as we're responsible, we can still have fun."
Luke blinked his eyes. He wondered if his parents were joking around with him. However, even then, that would mean they were calming down somewhat. After he finished his first slice of pizza, Luke took a few sips of the coke. He noticed something strange was happening. The thin hair on his arms was getting thicker. He'd heard of sudden changes in puberty but this was excessive.
He would have panicked but a sense of playfulness entered him. He was getting old enough to try to explain such things but now, just the fact that he was growing all this hair was cool! Why worry about the explanation behind it? Luke blinked again. Had even he become more boring as he grew older?
Things became worse or perhaps, Luke wondered, better. His parents suddenly dropped their utensils and started to eat with their hands.
"I can't believe that we were eating with forks and knives!" Terry said.
"We're sorry Luke. You're right, having fun isn't so bad. Growing old may not be an option but that doesn't mean we need to be so boring and uptight as to eat pizza with utensils," Vivian said.
Luke rubbed his eyes. He could have sworn that he saw brown fur growing on his mother's face, forming what looked almost like a mask around her eyes! Like looked at the pizza, wondering if it was magic. Of course, there were more boring explanations for it, but Luke wasn't at all interested in them. So far, this was enjoyable. He started eating the next piece of pizza. Until this experience stopped being enjoyable for Luke, he wasn't going to complain.
"You know, it's getting warm in here. I need to stop wearing suits when I'm home," Terry said.
Standing up, Terry removed his jacket and tie and hung them on the chair. Luke noticed that black fur was sprouting on top of his father's hands! Worse, his mother seemed to be developing a muzzle! If they noticed, they didn't seem to care.
Luke's chest soon began to itch. When he finished the slice he was eating, he looked down his shirt and saw light brown fur sprouting there!
Vivian scratched at her face. Luke expected her to scream or at least say something. His mother's hair used to have some grey in it. Now, there was no sign of it as Vivian smiled, reached up, and undid her hair band to let what her long black hair flow free.
Even if Luke wanted this to shock or surprise him, it wouldn’t. This was too cool to worry it!
"Terry, remember that time we rode your motorcycle up the lookout path and kissed under the moonlight?"
Terry smiled. Luke could see that brown fur was spreading up his father's arms. It was hard to see what else was happening. By now, Luke's arms had so much fur on them that he couldn't see his skin. Despite this, he continued eating the pizza. There was no way he could resist eating magical pizza as long as it was good magic.
"That was more then twenty years ago now. We should do something like that again. We've been too worrisome lately," Terry said.
As if things weren't strange enough already, Luke saw that both of his parents appeared younger! His father's hair, normally laced with grey, was now perfectly brown.
Luke felt warm. He stood up and removed his shirt, feeling much better without it. He wondered why he'd felt more comfortable with it on. Luke saw that light brown fur had almost covered his chest. There was no worry about his parents seeing him like that! For a few seconds, this seemed unusual. Then, something clicked in his mind. He wasn't half-naked; perhaps without the fur he would be, but that was why he had it in the first place.
By this time, Vivian's face was furry and she had a muzzle. Luke could see that her human ears were gone and that pointed, furry ones had replaced them at the top of her head, although it was difficult for Luke to see them through her hair.
"I'm still hungry, what about you?" Vivian asked.
"We should watch our weight..." Terry paused for a moment, looking slightly confused. "...is what I'd be saying if we needed to! Let's get more!" he concluded.
Luke finished off his third slice as he watched his parents bound for the kitchen.
"Hey Luke, feel free to put some cartoons on! It's too quiet with the TV off," Vivian said.
Luke cocked his head. Of course! Why hadn't he thought of that? Luke turned the TV on and switched it to the cartoon channel as he felt something push at the back of his pants (which seemed to be getting bigger by the moment).
By the time his parents walked back out, Luke saw that his father had a tail. The tail had four rings and a black tip.
It was obvious to Luke now. They were becoming raccoons or raccoon-like creatures. He was happy to see that magic existed and that the world wasn't as boring as he'd thought.
As for how the pizza was doing this to them, Luke didn't care. It was cool, and that was all that mattered. Who would want to try to figure out why this was happening? Luke knew that would be like asking a magician for the secrets behind their tricks. Knowing took a lot of the fun out of it. Luke wanted to enjoy this without worrying about the details.
"Hey Dad, you know you have a tail, right?" Luke asked.
Terry looked behind him and shrugged his shoulders, moving his new tail back and forth.
"Interesting. The guys at the office would freak out if they saw this. I've been so boring. Well, you were right. It's time to have fun again!"
Vivian appeared seemingly instantly at Terry's right and put her arm around his waist. Luke saw that her hands were sprouting the black fur his father's had.
"We need to have fun again!"
Just then, Luke's pants fell down to his ankles. Surprised at first, Luke realised it was only himself shrinking slightly.
A pressure at the back of his underwear reminded Luke of his still-growing tail. The idea of having a tail was too cool to ignore. Luke didn't think twice before removing his underwear. He had enough fur that he didn't need to worry about modesty anyway!
"Luke has a point honey. We're way overdressed!" Terry said.
As Luke's face began to feel strange, he saw his parents start to disrobe. There was no sense of panic in Luke. People worried too much about that sort of thing anyway. After all, their fur covered everything! Clothes were only necessary if you didn't have fur. The idea of that made Luke shudder. He wondered how he or his parents had made it this far without fur!
By the time they'd discarded their clothing, Luke could feel that his muzzle was almost fully developed. He saw the same thing happening to his father's face. Luke realised how strange his dad had looked without the muzzle. Once they had both finished growing, Luke felt complete.
Luke knew that he was younger, perhaps around eight years old physically. His parents had equally regressed as well, at least in terms of age. Now that they were more willing to play, Luke saw it as them growing up!
He and his parents sat down on the couch in front of the TV. The dinner table was too formal for pizza! Besides, cartoons were much too fun to watch from that distance!
As they finished off the pizza together (after all, what experience isn't better when one can share it with others?) their bodies underwent other changes.
All three shrunk somewhat and became rounder. Vivian didn't mind at all. For a raccoon, being slender was almost a contradiction of terms!
Terry petted his belly and grinned. "Just wait until I show this to the guys! I never realised how serious they can get. They need to have more fun in life. I know, maybe some balloons and streamers will make the office look better! Everyone needs better clothes too. Suits and ties are too boring!"
"Why not throw a big party for everyone?" Luke said.
Terry stroked his chin. "That sounds like a good idea!"
"I have a lot patients that will benefit from this! People say magic isn't real. We're real, so that means magic is real. Just think of all the possibilities!" Vivian said.
"The guys at school will love this! The teachers especially! They teach us to explain everything! Ha, try to explain magic! Maybe some of them will become like us because magic is real and they know it can happen! All those girls that like ponies might become centaurs! That would be so cool!" Luke said.
"Now I understand that there's too little fun in the world! If people were willing to have more fun, maybe they'd stop being so nasty to each other all of the time," Terry said.
"Science does help people, but we shouldn't ignore the other side of it. Maybe so called 'crazy people' aren't crazy. What if they're on to something! And even if they're not, at least I can help them by showing them a good, fun time," Vivian said.
Luke beamed. He didn't know how this happened and he didn't care. All he knew was that the whole world needed this. It was time for everyone to have some fun!