Shrooming with Miley Cyrus by Sarah Neilson

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. That means this shit didn’t actually happen. It’s not real. It’s a parody. Because First Amendment, bitches. 

I wanted to feel like I was bringing her something, never mind that she could get it from anywhere. So I told Miley Cyrus not to worry about any of it, I would take care of everything, and all she had to do was meet me in the redwoods.  She was punctual.  I brought milk for us to share, protected in a paper bag, and when she saw the shrooms, she smiled that big lipsticked smile somewhere between joyous and unhinged.

            “Sweet,” Miley Cyrus said.  “I’ve never done this much before.  I smoked a joint with some peyote in it once, but it wasn’t enough to do a whole lot.”

I was hoping she’d say hi or use my name to show she remembered it, but when Miley Cyrus doesn’t make you wait you probably shouldn’t ask for anything else. She was touching the trees like they were loved relatives and said it had been a long time since she’d been out in nature that wasn’t the desert.  “The desert is so weird,” she said.  “Meth country.  Meth is so depressing.  It’s so nice to be out here doing real drugs.  You know, nice drugs.”

Her voice is deep, full, self-assured.  She’s wearing a t-shirt and loose parachute pants. She takes off Doc Martins, both melted from the night she fell asleep in front of a fireplace at a house party. Despite her casual clothing, her hair is as meticulously teased as ever, a shimmering golden Mohawk that rises from her head like the breaking surf at sunrise.  We walk without saying much, until we come to a mossy and secluded haven that looks like the forest itself has opened a door for just such secret adventures. “Things like this means the Universe is totally with you on what you do,” she says. We sit down, stretching out our legs.  “Let’s remember our legs,” she says.  “In a minute we might forget.”  My silver crutches are laid down on either side of us, like an unfinished frame.

I lift the milk out of the crumbled bag– the glass is cold and solid, softly curved at its base.  She rips the bag out of my hands and pulls out the  foil inside.  I take a sip from the milk bottle, feeling for one second that it’s urgent I taste the familiar world for the last time.

She hands me a piece of mushroom, saying an absurdist prayer in her own language, and we each take a bite at the same time.  She lays on the ground, looking up at the sky, and I cross my legs as though I’m waiting for something.

Just as I’m starting to realize how comfortable we are not talking, I feel something seize me from the inside, a new pair of eyes maybe, fighting for nerves. I look at the trees and know the faces in the bark are human as I am, alive as I am, telling me something, and I grasp her hand before I know what I’m doing.

“It’s all of them,” I say.

I don’t expect her to answer but she actually does.  “All of who?”

“Everyone.” The smile she gives in response is not the lipsticked entertainer grin but something serene and at peace and knowing.  We can communicate telepathically now.  I think about how much I love her hair and that when she makes it into those sunlit horns she doesn’t look like just any little creature but a mythic trickster from folktales the world over turning our systems inside out and exposing our organs. She says “Oh my god a bleeding heart in the sky” and we both scream. Suddenly I realize that if we could forget our eyes for just one day and see out of other organs we would have a clearer perspective.  On the shit we still carry around.  On everything inside us we pretend isn’t there.

Her hair leaps up curls tightly into those trickster horns, which are now burning with a green light. The light suddenly shoots out of the horns and envelops me, connecting me to the forest and the earth and to her and for just one second, my mind breaks apart, it has to be immense to see everything she’s seeing.  All of them?  All of us.  I am a tree too.  When she touched that bark, she was touching me.  I can still feel it. Feel it.

“Do you see those bendy lines?” she asks.  She’s looking at the sky but it looks more like she’s reading a book.  I tell her I don’t, so she describes them, “like waves except the waves are comets instead of waves and the moon doesn’t control them because the moon is in them too.”

“You’re the moon,” I tell her.

She grabs one of the crutches on the ground, staring at it like a lover. Her long, thick, serpentine tongue trails the length of it and I watch her, mesmerized.  “You look ridiculous!” I cry out.

“I know!” she says. She takes a savage swig of milk, and I guess the look on my face is funny because she starts cracking up and milk squirts out through her nose.  I think about how her tongue could erase all disability prejudice from humanity forever and she says, “What prejudice?” showing how pure she is in her soul, that she couldn’t conceive of it.  It is perhaps this blazing purity that knocks me onto the ground.

“Destiny Hope?” I say.

She shakes her head, her eyes closed, her voice wise and ancient.  “No,” Miley Cyrus says.  “That’s not my name.”

I see the swirls now.  Swirls in colors I didn’t know existed, colors that don’t have names, colors that are flowers birds and frog tongues first and then join the spectrum after. “Is this real?” I ask her.

“This is real,” she says.  “This moment is the only infallible real.”

Like the tattoo on her ribcage instructs, I breathe.  Would I remember how if I didn’t read it on her skin? “Never die,” I tell her. She laughs.


About Sarah Neilson