February 25, 2013
On a late July afternoon, two men showed up at the store. I greeted them, an improbable couple that could have passed for Jehovah’s witnesses, in their early forties, grey suits and attaché-cases. They were interested in the fly agaric. “Where can we find some amanites? Can we grow them? Can you find some for us? »
Hrair said he was Armenian, married to a Russian woman whose mother had been a shaman in Siberia. She would have regularly consumed this mushroom to open her frontal chakra. Nothing new here, since this shaman story is mentioned in all works that treat of magic mushrooms. Sony, though, said he was Haitian. Although he did not claim any ascendant to explain his interest, he nevertheless actively joined in this questioning.
We do, indeed, offer growing material, spawn bags, lawful trade if the kit does not contain the forbidden mushroom itself. They seemed fascinated. “How do we go about it? How long does it take? What quantity? How many times? » But, not to the point of purchasing yet: they had to discuss with a third scoundrel, their partner in this adventure. From that moment on, they ironically called themselves « los tres amigos». I soon knew that they would not buy anything. They would reformulate their questions and each time enlarge the field of their investigations. «Do you have anything else that gives a high? Some psilocybin? Where can we find some hallucinogenic mushrooms around here? Where can we get some? Can you show us how to grow them? …grow them for us?»
I would answer using general terms while politely bringing them nearer to the door. They were heading backwards toward the exit door, lingering at a poster showing the well-known magic mushrooms.
I tried to turn their attention toward the djon djon mushroom, emblematic of the West Indies. Of these, the Haitian finally bought a few grams, just enough for a portion of creole rice, at the most. They assured me that they would come back soon, probably accompanied. As soon as they left we started to play the guessing game between us: were they weirdos, criminalized bikers or drug agents? We figured it was the latter.
In the following days, we got a few anonymous calls on the same theme. I answer one of these calls: a fellow with a Haitian accent and who does not identify himself. He comes back with the same tale, mostly wanting to find out where to pick some amanite mushrooms nearby.
«I recognize you, you are Sony, you came by last week. Did you appreciate the djon djon?»
«Yes.» He answered simply. «Could you pick some hallucinogenic mushrooms for us? Could you help us grow the psilocybe, … as a friend?» I then explained that our kits contained clear explanations in English, regarding mushroom growing. «In English? Could you translate them in French for us?» asked the one who had so far always exchanged in English with his stooge. Once more, I told him of a few parks in the region where he would find a variety of mushrooms.
A week later, I find a written note on my desk from Jeff, the manager: «your friends, two of the tres amigos, came by. They were very sorry that you were not here». When we meet a few hours later, I ask him just what went on. In fact, he was terrified by their visit, though this did not show in the note he had left me. Upon entering, they first asked to speak to the boss and said that his (my) son was dead. Jeff had a quick flash and said that I had no children. «No, it’s just a joke», they said. They were carrying a small luggage full of fly agaric, for the purpose of identification only. They went about questioning again. They would come back but before leaving one of them told Jeff, on a tone threatening enough to freeze your blood: « let’s hope nothing bad happens to the boss».
I then went on the assumption that it might be an association between the Russian mafia and a Montreal street gang into drug trafficking and money laundering. I called the local police where I was dispatched to 911. From there, after much dithering, my call is relayed to a third party who seems to take this threat seriously: they would send a patrol right away.
Seven years later, we are still waiting for the patrol and the «tres amigos» never showed up again.
I changed my mind: they were infiltrated agents who would not hesitate to use such manners and threats to compromise an honest mushroom passionate! Unless I was the victim of hallucinations!
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- - The Mycological Society of Montreal
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- - The Mycological Society of Alma
- - The Mycological Society of Québec
- - The Saguenay Mycological Society Inc.
- - The Mycological Society of Sudbury
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- - Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario - Poison Control Center
- - Association des Mycophiles Sylvifrancs
- - Intellicast: accurate precipitation readings of the past 7 days
- - Mycoquébec
- - The Québec Mycoblogue
- - Identification Key of Entolomatacea in the Pacific Northwest
- - A compilation of mycological information found on the internet
- - Benoît Peyre
- - When mushrooms and photography collide
- - General Mushroom Info (France)
- - Steps to identifying your harvest (France)
- - Good advice for finding and identifying (France)
- - The Eguisheim Mushroom Boutique (France)
- - The Villefranche Mushroom Boutique (France)