Alison A. Pockat | Author of "Adam's Land" & "Adam's Bubble"


     "Well, Hello there," said a voice. "I'm Fergus. What brings you here?" 

     Adam looked around and saw no one. Nothing was moving at all - not even an insect. "I must have imagined it," He said to himself. "No one is talking to me. How could they?"

     What he did see was truly amazing. He was looking at what appeared to be some kind of flower - at least he thought it was a flower. It had a brown center with many splotches making up the core. Surrounding the center were white feathery hairs. As he looked, Adam could see that there were flower things all around him - hundreds of them. "What are these?" He thought aloud.

    "My brothers and I saw you coming," said Fergus. "They thought that we should ignore you. That you'd go away if we didn't talk to you. But I don't think you are like most people. No one has ever come up for a closer look before."

    "Who are you? What are you?" said Adam.

    "Why I'm a fungi. Humans call me a powdery mildew. They tend to try to kill us - powdery mildew I mean. You aren't going to do that are you? Who taught you the magic of the soap bubbles? Am I talking too much? My brothers keep insisting that I talk too much. They are always telling me to SHUT UP!" said Fergus.

     "Well, you are talking an awful lot." said Adam. "Let me get this straight. You're a fungus - one of many living on this leaf. Right?"


    "And, you fungi are afraid of people because they kill you. Right?"


    "So what about me?" said Adam. "Are you afraid of me?"


    "Why not?" asked Adam.

    "Well, for one thing, you're too small. We might not be able to leave this leaf (Leave this leaf! Ha! Ha! Get it?), but we could still fight you off."

    "Yeh right."

    "We have mycelium - those little hairs your sitting on - you know. We might not be able to walk away, but we can move you around."

    "Hey Fergus. SHUT UP! Can't a fellow enjoy a spring afternoon in peace?"

    "Ah. Just ignore him. That's Mycy. He's got a bad temper. That's the problem with being stuck here in a colony. You can't choose who you share a leaf with. Although most of us are related. And you can't get away from anyone in a bad mood. You just have to let it pass. Although, with some fungi the mood never seems to change."

    "What do you mean by you're mostly related? Aren't you all the same?" asked Adam.

    "Good heavens, NO. We're not even all the same type of fungi." Said Fergus.

    "You're not?"

    "No. See that small colony over there - the group with the black fuzz? They're a smut. They only got here because a fly came up here and walked around on the leaf. He was covered with spores, you know. They do a lot of grumbling, but they're not too bad really. If you could see the edge of the leaf you'd see a colony of mold. They don't talk at all. Couldn't tell you what they are like, and we've been together for months." Fergus was on a roll!

    "Oh no. There's that woman!" Fergus cried.

    "Who? My Mom?"

    "Yeh! Last week she wiped out thousands of colonies of us. She must really HATE fungi. I don't know what she has against us, but she really is a mad killer."

    Adam laughed. The thought of his Mom as some kind of a mad Killer! Then he had a thought. He did remember her going on about needing to get rid of the powdery mildew and how it was way out of control already this spring. She had really sprayed with a vengeance. "Oh, I hope she doesn't spray anything today," Adam thought aloud. "She doesn't even know I'm here. No one does. I can't stay here forever."

    "Hey Fergus? How do I get down?" Asked Adam.

    "Down. No one has ever come up let alone gone down. I suppose you wait for the leaf to fall off like the rest of us." said Fergus.

    "When will that be?"

    "Oh, soon enough. Couple of days maybe." said Fergus. "It's nice up here. I know I'm in no hurry to leave. You see that big green bud on the twig that holds our leaf? The one just where the leaf is attached? That will keep growing and eventually push us off. I'm not sure what happens when we reach the ground. But I've heard some pretty scary stuff. The fly said that there's millions of bugs down there and lots of other kinds of fungi too - and lots of things that eat or kill fungi. I'm not ready for that!"

    "Days!" said Adam. "I can't be up here days! What am I going to do?"

    "Well," said Fergus, "My brothers and I could try pushing you off the leaf. Maybe you'll float back down."