Congratulations to Erin Penn for winning the February Flash Fiction contest.
For the details of the March Flash Fiction Contest, click the link.
My Lifestyle Choice is the Best One, Let Me Tell You About It
“Must I…” Drew eyes went to the apartment’s elevators. “I mean, you can tell her something came up, like the three-D printer for machine parts at work broke again.”
Lactricia tapped her boyfriend’s chest with one long painted nail. “She invited both of us. Both.Of.Us. For the first time since you made that tasteless joke about slaughterhouses.” With each word she tapped a little harder. “She is my best friend. You will come, you will be polite, and you will not say a word out of place. Anything she gives us to eat, you will chew and swallow and thank her.”
“No buts, no excuses.”
Drew inhaled and exhaled, smelling dinner meals being cooked in the surrounding apartments. Italian sausage, spicy tacos, roast chicken, seafood gumbo. “All right. Let’s do this.”
“Fifteen.” Drew muttered.
Courtney perked up. “What is that?”
“Would you like another of the cheese appetizers?” she asked, offering him the tray.
Seeing the evil eye from his girlfriend, Drew took one. “Thank you.”
“The cheese spread is made from almond milk, and I made the crackers myself to avoid butter, animal fats, and any animal products. They are 100% vegan! No slave labor of our animal friends.”
Drew nodded, counting sixteen internally this time, before biting the unnatural concoction.
“What’s for dinner, Courtney?” Trish asked.
With Courtney distracted, Drew slid the rest of the abomination back on the tray.
“You are going to love it! Roasted eggplant with Mediterranean couscous. And for dessert, pomegranate seeds over shaved ice. I outdid myself!” Courtney jumped up, whisking away the abused tree nuts masquerading as a milk product. “Plus I got something very, very special for the both of you!”
“Really?” Trish picked up her glass of wine to follow. “What is it?”
Thanking God Courtney wasn’t a teetotaler as well as a vegan evangelist, Drew drained his beer, leaving the can on a coaster before joining the girls. Only two more hours until the hamburger run.
“Just wait. It’s wonderful!” Courtney rushed around, pulling the eggplant from the oven and plating it over the couscous, delivering it to them at the kitchen-dining room table. “Eat, eat!” she ordered, running into the living room to grab the half-empty Merlot bottle. Dropping it on the table, she then extracted three frosted glasses from the freezer filled with blood-colored seeds and added them to the setting before finally joining them.
Drew cut a piece eggplant and cautiously took a bite. “Tasty.” The comment wasn’t a complete lie. The limp, slightly burnt eggplant would make the perfect side dish for a meat entree.
“Isn’t it? My vegan interactive-cookbook is the bomb. I’ll send the link!” Courtney included both of them in her wide smile. “I can’t tell you how many health benefits you get from going vegan. Plus saving all those animals! No animal needs to be caged ever again. They can all run free!”
A quick kick to his leg reminded Drew to keep his mouth shut. He hastily shoved in another vegetable chunk. Both of the women were on the opposite side of the table, giving Trish an easy angle to keep him in line.
As Trish changed the topic away from veganism for the seventeenth time, Drew’s eyes skimmed the kitchen, stopping on one large appliance whose interior light reflected off the marbled countertops. It looked like an oversized microwave, but a more reasonably sized one was installed over the kitchen stove. He had never seen a bright green boxy kitchen appliance before and wished he could walk around the table to see what else was about to assault his taste buds. The top had three striped cardboard boxes side-by-side, reminding him of the feeder pods for his three-D printer at work. He had managed to stomach most of the couscous and half the eggplant when something dinged.
“It’s ready!” Courtney hopped up and rushed into the kitchen, opening the green appliance, moving a plate over. “Just you wait, this is the coolest thing ever!” Grabbing two forks, she leveraged something heavy onto the plate, although he couldn’t see what because the appliance door was in the way. Moving the plate to the side, Courtney closed the door, then picked up the plate, backing towards them.
“Ta-da!” She announced, spinning around. On the plate was a steak. Not just any steak, but a big, juicy T-bone. Drew’s mouth watered.
Latricia gasped. “But … but … you’re vegan!”
“Isn’t it crazy!” Courtney placed the steak between Trish and Drew. “The Vegan Meat-Maker came on the market last week. It’s like a 3-D printer, for meat! All you got to do is buy a few chemical packs and go.”
“How much did … I mean. Wow.”
“The packs for this steak cost about $50, but you would drop that at a good restaurant, and this is great steak. Programmed to be the best.” Courtney was practically vibrating. “Now you can be vegan and eat meat too!”
“That’s not how it works.” Drew said softly, shaking his head.
“That is exactly how it works now! No more slaughterhouses, no more enslaving bees, no more forcing pregnancy on milk cows. We can just plug in the amino acid packs into the Vegan Meat-Maker and print our food. All our animal friends are free!”
“But where do they get the animo – ow!”
Trish death-rayed him with her eyes; Drew shut up.