The woman who lives down the hall from me in my Crown Heights apartment building is a late-middle-age Caribbean islander who spent months telling everyone in my building that I was an undercover K-9 cop sent in by the feds to blend in and gather intelligence on any potential drug dealers who may live in the building. Having lived in the same apartment for the past 30-plus years, she is the queen of the Crown Heights gossip/rumor scene.
That said, I was surprised but not stunned last night when she hit me with this doozie: Brooklyn Jews are peppering the sidewalks with mushroom spores. The reason: to poison the dogs in the neighborhood.
You might be thinking, “Ahhh — the ancient, Hebrew mushroom-spores-on-the-sidewal
The following is what my neighbor — whom
we’ll call Karen — said to me as I walked my dog home from the park
last night (note: after knowing each other for four months — and
speaking multiple times per day — she still calls me Steve or Chris
or Kevin. My name is not Steve or Chris or Kevin):
“Yo Steve! Yo Steve! You’re gonna want to
wash that dog’s feet when you get upstairs — the Jews down the street
are putting poison mushroom spores on the sidewalk to kill dogs. My
friend Yvette’s dog just had a urinary tract infection — thinks it’s the mushrooms . . . yep.”
my first thought was, “Well, I’m gonna have to wash my dog’s feet.” Then
I thought, “Wait — why the fuck would Jews use mushroom spores to kill
So I asked to speak with Yvette, who confirmed that she’d
heard the rumor from “lots of folks” and is convinced the poisonous
spores are what caused her dog’s UTI.
About a block from my
apartment is a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood — the supposed scene
of the alleged sporing of Yvette’s dog. So I asked some of the Orthodox
men hanging out on the sidewalk if they were poisoning dogs with
mushroom spores. To my surprise, they didn’t look at me like I was
“No, no, no — the ladies over there have been
saying for months that we are doing this,” one of the men said. “Why on
earth would we poison dogs with mushrooms? Where would we even get these
mushrooms? Why would they not be making people sick? It’s these ladies
— they keeping telling people [that Jews are poisoning dogs with
mushroom spores] and they are actually believing it.”
His story seemed to check out — Jews waging
biological warfare on the roughly six dogs that live in my neighborhood
makes precisely zero sense.
As for the source of the rumor, Karen says: “It ain’t a rumor — this is real. Why don’t you write one of your articles about it.?”
Done and done.