J A M E S A N D L E E  17 “Well,” I began, “it seems that old Mrs. Washington has some urgent matter that needs our attention.” “Urgent matter?” questioned Lee as he sniffed the aroma that wafted from the stove. “What kind of urgent matter?” “Don’t know, she did not say. Only that it’s urgent, and that she will expect us first thing this morning. You know how she is. Nothing is truly as urgent as she would have you believe. But still, we should make her our first visit.” “Yes, yes,” said Lee, not truly listening to a word I was saying. He was more concerned with the hot green liquid that I poured into his old, chipped mug. “Here’s your tea,” I said, handing him the mug. Moss tea, one of the few luxuries discovered after humanity retreated under- ground. Even with the total annihilation of all plant life above ground, the earth wisely provided everything we needed below its surface. It was one of the lessons that we learned after the Great Scare. The earth, being created for the divine purpose to support human life, would always provide what we needed, re- gardless of our stupidity. Still, we should help it out when pos- sible…like not blowing it up. Besides moss, there was an abundance of nutrition just wait- ing to be discovered in the depth of the earth’s crust. Granted, it took a generation or two to find out what was edible and what was painfully sickening and toxic. But after some trial and error, a list of enjoyable and healthy foods came into existence. The list includes such things as moss, various species of mushrooms, roots and tubers, rats, mice, moles, bats, grubs, earthworms, cockroaches, and hundreds of other creeping, crawling insects, most of which taste best when fried. “Mmm…moss,” moaned Lee after his first sip. “James, no one makes a cup of tea like you.” “And no one drinks it quite like you, Lee. By the way, you’ve got moss hanging from your mouth.”