KANSAS CITY-A mushroom erupted through the Quality Hill District today, damaging several downtown businesses, roads, gas and water conduits. No one was hurt.
Mycologists deployed by the city's Office of Emergency Management have identified the mushroom as neither poisonous nor hallucinogenic, and have begun to coordinate a citywide cleanup operation.
Eyewitness Ken Summer, a medic at St. Mark's Southland Hospital, described the mushroom's sudden appearance:
"I watched as the ivory column grew and changed color. Then the sun disappeared and I couldn't see anything in the dark. There was a strange smell, delicate and musky. I pinched my nose, but I could still smell it. Then a dark rain fell, and marinated the streets."
City authorities suspect that the giant mushroom may be linked to a prizewinning specimen documented in 1897 at a local county fair. "This city was all farmland then," said Department of Agriculture spokesman Ben Soper. "And I'm sure that the recessive giantism gene that harmlessly won the blue ribbon in those days has been dormant in the mushroom population for a century, waiting to strike."
Local leaders remain divided about what to do with the enormous fungus. Real estate developers have been evaluating the cap, which they plan to split into lots for residential and commercial buildings.
"It's like getting a new skyscraper, free of charge," said developer Ross Marti. "And the view of the city from the subdivisions up there is just incomparable. We've got a slogan: 'Move up to the Mushroom: the stakes are too high for you to stay home.'"
Some city authorities look forward to an increase in tourism as a result of the botanical anomaly. But mycologists warn of a 'Mushroom Winter' caused by the mile-wide cap's obstruction of sunlight. And the threat of giant spores looms over the city.
"We just can't handle another mushroom," said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Despite the lack of casualties, the domed fungus deeply frightens many Kansas City residents. One citizen, paralegal Kelly Martin, dreads her next commute, which will bring her within two blocks of the vast mushroom.
"It's forever changed the flavor of this city," she said.
This could totally happen. At least it's not poisonous.