Please enjoy this post-holiday tribute to the day, and the fine work of the teams who discovered this gnarly fungus that eats plastic.
The Toy Farm
Miriam Lueck Avery
When Mom bought the toy farm I thought it would be fun. I thought I’d get first pick of all the deliveries. But the piles of broken dolls and Lego bricks and fast food tchotchkes overwhelmed me. And, we needed the money from every pound of plastic mulched.
Into the trenches they went. We shoveled the heavy fungus-laden dirt over them. Once a week Mom churned it with a big backhoe.
It was two months before I saw the first mushroom ghost. Some toys, they had this plastic that I guess was delicious to our fungal livestock. Ghostly threads of fungus outlined the fashionable toys of years past. Eaten. Replaced. Remade.
I got so freaked out I tried to convince Mom to sell the farm. The pale memories of toys filled my dreams. I tried to beg out of my chores on the farm, which worked for the dead months of November and December.
But January came, and the spring cleaning bump. I couldn’t hold out any longer.
Then, one day, I found her. More eerie than the rest. Also more perfect. The curve of her cheek was dense and soft. Her hair was a delicate fan of pale threads. I thought her name was Mycella. I took her home; dressed her in real doll’s clothes. We held a tea party and invited Mom.
I wasn’t afraid anymore.