George and his landlord, Mr. Krashinsky, sat at a table in McDonald’s in Paducah, Kentucky.  They were having a coffee.  Krashinsky was talking about fungi, one of his favorite subjects.

    “There are those that are edible and those that aren’t.  The ones that are…”

    George was looking over Krashinsky’s shoulder at the Chinese student sitting at the next table.  The student had stopped eating and seemed to be staring into space.

    “…Which are found in France and which are very expensive, of course…” said Krashinsky.

    And as George watched, the Chinese student slumped down slowly in his chair and seemed to shrink.  His head slowly sank below the table.

    “…Some mushroom pickers make mistakes and pick something poisonous, and then, of course, what can happen is…”

    And the Chinese student sank to the floor and dissolved into a puddle, which evaporated very quickly, leaving only a pile of clothes and a faint stain on the floor.

    “…So you must consult a guidebook to be on the safe side.  One time when I was out picking…” continued Krashinsky.

    A McDonald’s employee cleaned off the table where the Chinese student had been sitting, swept up the clothing from under the table, straightened the chair, and moved on.

    George looked around.  No one had noticed anything.

    “…Isn’t that something?” said Krashinsky.  “Eh?  What do you think?”

    George felt his cup.  “My coffee’s cold.  Can we just leave now?”

    “Sure, sure, if you wish,” said Krashinsky.

    And they got up and walked out.

Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney.  E-mail: