My old apartment in Symphony was a total dive. But it wouldn’t have been home if the glass on the security door wasn’t smashed in some new crazy way when we got home. The few homeless people who slept there knew exactly how to pick that door just like they lived upstairs. Mail was never delivered the mailboxes, just left in a heap on the floor for us to sort through. And the fact that the first floor windows were barred pretty much did nothing because the fire escapes could lead anyone up to the top four floors. It was home.

The rather large box sitting there in the entryway was nothing new. Over the course of about a week it was pushed all over the place, kicked, graffitied, and had mail piling up on it. On our way home one afternoon, my roommate and I both decided it was time for the box to get a closer inspection. We checked and noticed it was addressed to someone whos name wasn’t on a mailbox. That was pretty irrelevant, because the return address was what caught our attention the most. An electronic company. We both kind of looked at each other like, “Hmmm, computer equipment?”

A slight kick and we realized the box was strangely light... couldn’t be anything good inside, but we agreed it was worth a carry up the four flights of stairs. The box was put down in the living room like we knew exactly was inside. Coats were shuffled off, computers booted up, cans of coke opened. When we had both finished our getting home routines, we adjourned to the living room and had a good long stare at the box. “Ready?” he asked. “Let’s do it,” I responded. In a few short seconds my roommate’s pocket knife had slid through the measly packing tape.

We pried open one side of the box top and immediately noticed the black trash bag. Trash bag? That’s not exactly standard packing material from a computer company, we were expecting bubble wrap and sealed air pouches. But the other side was opened and we saw it was closed with a ghetto supermarket green tie wrap. More interesting.

Even though it was light, it was firmly packed. So instead of pulling out the trash bag, we kept it in the box and opened the twist tie. When I first noticed what was inside, I didn’t even pause, figuring I had seen what my mind fabricated in a crazy instant. But the more we pulled the trash bag open, the quieter the room became. After sitting there a good five minutes, I said to my roommate, “Those mushrooms are not for cooking.” He was just sitting there with a very stunned look on his face. Even though never being exposed to anything like that, he wasn’t an idiot and knew exactly what I was talking about.

I reached in and pulled out one of the gallon size zip lock bags inside. It was full of mushrooms. Dried mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, probably psilocybin mushrooms, and when I say filled, I mean filled... bulging on all sides, filled to the yellow and blue seal, tightly packed. But that wasn’t the half of it. There were two rows of these bags, five bags to each row, and two layers of rows, twenty gallon sized zip lock bags packed to the brim with mushrooms, all in this black trash bag, inside the box we picked up from the entry way. Which was now in our living room.

It’s hard to describe everything that went through my mind. Everything from holy shit, to oh my god, to the paranoia of having an extremely large quantity of an illegal psychedelic in my house. It went in cycles in my mind, weighing the pros and cons, thinking about what in god’s name we could ever do with them. My roommate started going off, all considerations of being slightly smart about the matter completely gone. He was scheming. Damn we have a ton of drugs here, we could sell these, we could make some sweet cash. Then the True Romance theory entered, selling the box for an insanely low price to someone else, far less risk for us, and we still get a whole lot of cash out of the deal. And damn I was all for it.

We opened up the rest of the box, splayed the twenty gallon bags around the living room. pulled out the trash bag, and at he bottom of the bag, we found five twenty dollar bills. “Do you have a ten?” he asked me. I handed him the ten, he handed me three of the twenties. Our first profit was made, fifty bucks in cash in our pockets. Not a word between us about splitting it up or what else we should be doing with the money, like paying the phone bill. It was found money. Then it was time to realize that in the box, the mushroom bags were all nice and neatly contained. But all over our house they were a nuisance to find homes for. A few went in the top of my closet, a few more under the kitchen sink, we stashed them all over the house and only found room for maybe half of the bags in decently concealed spots. Then more scheming. Damn we shouldn’t have these in our house. Maybe we should get them out of here. Where the hell do you put twenty large bags of mushrooms! We thought of getting lockers at the airport, then realized carrying them on the T would be even more stupid. We were car-less... cab? Naah, I would freak out being in the cab with the box.

It was slowly that we started being smarter, and way more paranoid. This was an insane amount of drugs, this was intent to distribute, this was serious trouble. “Dude, we should get these out of our house right now!” I couldn’t agree more. But let’s just keep one bag... I though. And one for Jess, maybe one for Erik... hmm maybe two bags for me, one bag to divide up into eights and sell... it grew from keeping one bag to keeping twenty. And then, bango, paranoia again, “Nope it’s all or nothing,” I said. Eventually all the bags were placed back into the trash bag, back in the box, and the box back downstairs. The cash still in our pockets, of course.

Back we were upstairs. And we didn’t talk about it the rest of the afternoon. Around 7:00PM four of my friends showed up, we were meeting at my house before heading out to get liquored up. They rang the buzzer, and I climbed down the stairs to let them through the smashed, picked, security door... and the whole time, my eyes were on the box. Back in the entry way, same place as it was before, but this time more ominous with the box top not sealed. Hey, what’s up, how ya doin... all of that was exchanged, but I wasn’t leading them up the stairs as usual. After a brief minute of silence, I said, “You guys wanna see something?” Three minutes later the box was back in our living room with four new people in on our secret. And they went through exactly what we did: holy shit... sell them... distribution... trouble... My friend the math major, started figuring... a gallon bag, 128 fluid ounces in a bag, maybe a quarter of that worth of mushrooms, 32 ounces. Two pounds of mushrooms per bag. In case we figured high, we decided to figure half that, a pound of mushrooms per bag, sold in twenty dollar eights, $160 an ounce, 16 ounces in each bag, $2560 per gallon bag, times twenty bags, over $50,000 worth of mushrooms in our living room. The box went back down in the entry way and we all headed out. As much as we all wanted them, we were kids, and decently intelligent ones, and figured the box was more trouble than it was worth.

The whole night we avoided talking about the box. But it was on everyone’s mind. When we parted from the bar, everyone went back to their respective homes. One friend of mine, Heather, as soon as she was home was telling the story to her roommates Kyle and Kevin. Since we stumbled home from the bar right as the T shut down for the night, Kyle and Kevin had to knock on their neighbor’s door to ask for a ride back to my place. For them, the trouble was well worth it. They were going to pick up the box. The two of them with two more of their neighbors showed up at my door around 3:00AM in the morning. Little did they know, when my roommate and I stumbled home from the bar, we too remembered the box, and again, it was back in our living room.

By 3:00AM when the buzzer rang, the twenty zip lock bags were stashed in the house again and we were in bed. The buzzer of course scared the shit out of us, and we decided not to answer. It wasn’t too random of a thing to have the buzzer go off, and when we heard other buzzers around the building going off, we figured it was just someone trying to get in the front door. We weren’t asleep before, but by then we were wide awake. Back in the living room, sell them... distribution... trouble... By 4:00AM the bags were back in the trash bag, back in the box, and in the entry way... Kyle, Kevin and neighbors long gone. When we reached the third floor, it was agreed we shouldn’t leave them in the entry way. Maybe in the morning we would have a better idea, so we put the box in the basement, out of our way, but most importantly, out of our house, so we could sleep.

The next morning, Heather called. Kyle and Kevin wanted to know where the box was. In the basement we told them, but no worries, we had agreed when we woke up, the trouble was worth it. And we were on our way down to the basement shortly. We’d call them back.

Down in the basement, we heard people shuffling around, sounded like the back door was open. And it was, people were down there, but it was no big deal, it was only the trash pick up. The trash pickup?!?!?! Enough said, the box was gone.

We climbed upstairs, too paranoid to ask the trash guys if they had grabbed the box ‘by accident’. Wondering if someone else had found it during the night, or if the trash guys were going to trip their balls off through the rest of their pickups that day. We cursed ourselves for not keeping the box in the apartment. Questioned why we ever thought it was a dumb idea not to keep the box. Our mushrooms were gone.

Trudging back upstairs, we heard the phone ringing from the second floor. When we got upstairs, I told Heather the box was gone, told her about the trash guys, explained I had no idea what actually did happen to it. Her response:

"You didn’t even keep one bag???"

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