`DOWN here, Poobie!''
Oh no! It was Emma calling to me from down in the basement of her house. Emma's mother, Mrs. Mack, grew all sorts of mushrooms down there in the dark. Grew them and sold them, every last one. Mushrooms. Why, the kids in the neighborhood almost never went down there, for who knew what creatures were hiding under all that dirt? Besides, the place smelled like an overturned chemistry set. And you could hear things growing from the top of the stairs, where I was now.
``Come on up, Emma.''
``No, I need your help down here.''
Down? The basement door was open, and up came a fungusy green light. My whole body started to itch. I made a face.
``Is your mom down there?'' I asked.
``No, but she'll be back soon. Hurry!''
My best friend sounded worried. Down I went, trying not to touch anything, not even the railing, which was sure to be slimy. The place was warm and damp.
``Over here, Poobie.''
I followed her voice around to the back of the stairs, where she was standing in front of long rows of what looked like wooden window boxes on a table. Two light bulbs shone down from the ceiling, making everything green - even Emma's face, her cobweb earrings, and her baseball cap.
She was wearing a pair of gardening gloves. ``Careful not to touch anything,'' she warned.
``Don't worry,'' I said.
How could I with my hands inside my pockets?
``So, what's up, Emma?''
``It's like this,'' she said in a rush. ``My sisters' birthday is tomorrow, and Mom told me to make them a mushroom pie, only I'm not sure which mushrooms'd go best, be tastiest.''
The funny noise that came out of my mouth stopped her. ``Emma, er ... a mushroom pie? For a birthday? Even teenagers don't like mushrooms that much, do they?''
I was confused, and so was Emma.
She said, ``Got me. I wouldn't eat it.''
Her twin sisters were weird, but not that weird.
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