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The Saddened History of a Failed Mushroom Farmer

The Story of Brother Cletus.

He was born of a different mother but same father, who once had relations with my sister’s boyfriend’s second mate (starboard side). No doubt it was a complex brotherhood, but since Mama always referred to him as “brother”, I just assumed we were related in that way. That doesn’t explain why Sister Noosh and Cousin Corkscrew always referred to him as Brother Cletus. The more I think about it, maybe he was working to become ordained, and we had been speaking in the future tense. Either way, this is a story of dear ol' Brother Cletus.

His exact birthdate is unknown, but sources speculate he was born sometime between 1940 and 1962. The locals believed Cletus was a ‘self birth’, which back in the day referred to a baby who was able to birth itself (mother was either asleep or too busy to bother).

His father was a carpenter who spent most of his time in New Jersey helping to construct the boardwalk, and he was instrumental in resurrecting the first ferris wheel at Seaside Heights. That ferris wheel later became known as the “one that got away” after its main bearing let loose and the entire amusement ride rolled into the depths of the Atlantic. (No one was hurt, but the ride’s attendant was later fired for gross negligence. He sued ownership under the pretense of "lack of training" and later lost the case.)

Anyway, back to Cletus.

Cletus had a fairly ordinary childhood. He enjoyed playing pavement games and engaging in fights of all kinds, including fist, rock, dog, cat, and robot. He excelled through the public school system, and upon his high school graduation, he decided to pursue an education in the arts at the prestigious Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy. He was later expelled from university for his controversial and protagonist views on the modern portrayal of the human form. When asked to comment, the Dean of Students could only say, “Non posso credere agli umani”, which in English translates“I cannot believe the humans.”

This is the most recent and clearest picture of Brother Cletus taken in 1976 as he was boarding a ship to Italy.

Upon his return to the United States, Cletus decided to become a farmer. He obtained a sizable plot of land, and he quickly struck toadstool gold, establishing New England’s largest truffle farming operation. He began mass producing skin and hair care products infused with the foreign fungi: truffle-scented bath balms, truffle-steeped deodorants, and truffle-charged toothpastes. He named it Truffs & Stuff. His business model swiftly tanked as the demand for truffle-scented products was fully realized.

Today, Cletus spends most of his waking hours roaming his property’s woodlands, searching for the next big (better version) shroom empire. His dreams of one day becoming a famous mushie conglomerate are still prevalent, but for now, he only wants to find true love, settle down, and burn through his remaining truffle inventory. Cletus can most often be found soaking in a warm, soothing bubble bath that wreaks of sulfuric infections, with notes of burnt skin. He's a sight to be unseen and a scent to be forgotten. Written by Willard on 3/31/23 while sitting in seat #12 on Greyhound bus #432 from Manchester, NH to Spokesville, AL.

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