Hard Times

Image copyright: Erin Leary

Image copyright: Erin Leary

We all remember the great mushroom disaster in the late nineties – amateur and professional cooks alike tearing their hair out, rewriting recipes, feverishly experimenting with alternative ingredients, while newspaper columnists wasted acres of newsprint analyzing the impact the shortage was having on key financial indicators and interest rates.

What we all missed, though, was the catastrophic effect the fungus failure had on the housing stock in the Otherworld, resulting in countless fairies, sprites and elves becoming homeless, one of the chief causes of the subsequent unrest and ethnic cleansing.

“It were murder,” remarked Petal Cornglimer, a wisp from the east.


Written in response to the weekly picture prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers, found HERE.

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50 Responses to Hard Times

  1. Margaret says:

    Just wonderful. It was clever and entertaining from start to finish. What a fantastic last line!

  2. Very, very fun and nicely rendered. I wonder if the fairies’ houses are actually smaller than mine.

  3. draliman says:

    Love it, made me smile 🙂
    Those poor fairies and other fae creatures. It’s true, I never once spare them a thought while munching down my mushroom-topped pizza.

  4. Loved it, but feel sorrry for the fairies, elves, and sprites. Hope they are no longer homeless. 😉

  5. gahlearner says:

    Oh, I love it. I was a bit tempted to write about fairies and pixies as well, but just couldn’t come up with something nice. This is perfect and fun.

  6. erinleary says:

    Great example of fairy economics. Love it!

  7. mjlstories says:

    Not going to be the first to mention what a fun guy you must be.. Oh dear I just did.
    Just off to the bottom of the garden to check all is well – you’ve worried me.
    Have been trying to write a story for years that essentially suggests the elves and fairies and sprites etc live amongst us plainer folks. (Just get on any London tube if you don’t believe me)
    You might just have inspired me to get going again.
    PS If you fancy a bit of fox watching, please stop by.

    • You’ll find those creatures in the woods easily enough while it’s still cool and damp. In the warm summer they climb up into the upper branches to catch the breeze and only come down when they are warring. They are violent despite their beauty. Tread carefully; know the chants.

  8. Okay, well THAT was different!

  9. rgayer55 says:

    Ah, a Friday Fungi story. And a damn good one too. This is right up there with the great potato famine.

  10. Ah, tis a morning full ‘o’ laughter and frivolity. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face. Thank you indeed

  11. I like a nice curve ball. Well done.

  12. I’ve been saying it for centuries, but no one ever listens to me! Thank you for writing our story in such a beautiful way. 😉

  13. That’s pretty creative, Patrick. The housing bubble that no one thinks of. 🙂

  14. Jan Brown says:

    How sad for them…and for us! Now I know where my fairy godmother has been….

  15. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Patrick,

    This sort of story often engenders short, snappy comments, most of them good, and rightly so. I am going to buck that trend by waxing effusive on your slow build to an otherworldly story and a fantastic conclusion. “It were murder.” is such a great line. I can hear it as the movie opens and see the sprites aflutter with fear and uncertainty. After a long, straight lead in to your story, you swerved suddenly and transported us. That’s what good writers do and you did it well. Outstanding.



  16. Dear Patrick,

    We just don’t think of our actions having an effect on the other world, do we? I loved acres of newspaper. In fact I loved the whole delightful story.



  17. Norma says:

    Patrick, I really enjoyed this story. A very different take on the prompt.

  18. Lots of fun – this. Non one ever thinks about the little people, do they?

  19. OMGosh, Patrick, I never once thought about that! I think I probably lost my green fairy card for my neglect. Thanks ever so much for pointing it out so originally. 🙂


  20. All those little critters depending on decent toadstools .. a sad but rather amusing tale Patrick

  21. storydivamg says:

    What a horrifying yet delightful take on the prompt, Patrick. Nice work.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  22. paulmclem says:

    Weird, but an interesting weird 🙂

  23. karen rawson says:

    Great take on the prompt. I like the voice–want to know what happens next!

  24. Sandra says:

    What a totally original take on the prompt! Well done Patrick.

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