‘What were you thinking?’

Millie shrugged her shoulders. ‘I didn’t realise anyone was recording me.’

‘You’re a celebrity, Millie. You’re always in the limelight.’ Sienna sighed, then tapped a manicured fingernail onto her phone, bringing the screen to life. ‘It’s nearly 10 am. You’ve got 24 hours to fix this.’


Sienna leaned over the table towards her. ’That’s something for you to work out. The mushroom mascot meeting is tomorrow at 10 am. If there isn’t a turnaround on social media by then, you can kiss that contract goodbye.’

Millie stifled a yawn. ’Does it really matter?’

Sienna slapped the table and Millie jolted back in her seat. ‘As you’ve already spent the advance, it certainly does matter. Unless you can return the money, or fix this mess, you’ll be up for a breach of contract. No one will be interested in you for product endorsements.’

’Can’t I just say I’m sorry?’

Sienna gave her a look.

‘Fine. I’ll work something out. Are you sure you can’t help?’

Sienna stood up, walked over to the door and opened it. ‘Positive.’

Millie gathered up her bag and phone and walked out into the foyer. As she waited for the lift, she scrolled through her news feed again. There had been hundreds of comments on the post before the meeting with Sienna. Now there were thousands. How could a comment made in a private conversation cause such a kerfuffle?

‘Mushroom mascot Millie mauls meat free eaters!’

It was all out of proportion. And many of the comments she scrolled through were nasty. All she’d said was that portobello mushrooms should be called portoblah. It was a joke. She liked mushrooms – it had been one of her posts on Insta showing a triple mushroom omelette that had got her the job with the Mushroom Growers Association. Maybe all she needed to do was to create a post – or a series of posts – showing just how much she loved mushrooms. She could fake enthusiasm when needed.

On a mission, she detoured to the fruitier in the boutique shopping centre next to her apartment. They normally had a great range of produce but there were only a couple of mushroom varieties available today. Millie hesitated, then recalled the cluster of mushrooms she’d glimpsed on her early morning run. She took off, pulling a cap over her trademark hair and donning sunglasses. She’d show Sienna that she could fix this.


Millie was the headline on the next day’s news. The images that she’d crafted of harvesting, cooking and eating mushrooms were flashed on the news reports, followed by a spokesperson from the Mushroom Growers Association warning people to be careful of collecting fungi without knowing the difference between edible and toxic varieties.

Wits on social media soon rebranded Millie as a mushroom martyr. Millie had managed to restore her reputation, but it had cost her more than she could have ever imagined.

The Mushroom Growers Association opted for an animated mascot. They decided not to call it Millie.

This piece was written to a prompt on the Writer’s Digest website. Limelight: an actor has 24 hours to regain their reputation.

Photo: portobello mushrooms