It is another restless night for The Vegan—humanity’s injustices weigh heaviest on those with a clear conscience. The Vegan toils in the kitchen, dicing crudité to ease his mind. Suddenly, a jostling at the side door. Intruders! The Vegan slowly lifts his paring knife and licks it clean before setting it down in the sink, a sly grin widening across his face. The lock breaks open as The Vegan finishes adorning his fists with sharpened celery stalks.
“Hope you don’t mind a little vitamin K in your knuckle sandwich,” he whispers.
The first two assailants are immediately incapacitated as a spray of concentrated kombucha triggers from The Vegan’s locally sourced tripwire. Before The Vegan can collect his eucalyptus tea breath, a volley of bullets riddle the kitchen.
“Vegan! Give us ze classified recipes and ve vill let you live!” The Vegan’s former best friend-turned-nemesis, General Draganov, shouts.
The Vegan rises, twirling his green onions like a pair of medieval flails.
“Sorry Draganov. Unlike my plant-based homebrew, those recipes aren’t for sale.”
The Vegan’s first scallion swing shatters an approaching commando’s foot. The second penetrates his skull. Draganov turns to additional men to swarm but The Vegan, much like the high cholesterol of his youth, has disappeared.
The Vegan crawls through the vents above his living area to survey the scene. A sentry stationed directly below wipes beads of sweat from his forehead. The rising scent of sodium-rich perspiration transports The Vegan back to his boyhood in Slovakia, where he befriended a young lieutenant named Dimitri Draganov.
Through Draganov, The Vegan became an efficient killing machine. But a failed mission to sabotage the enemy’s beefsteak supply line left The Vegan injured in the High Tatras countryside. It was there he fell in love with a biocyclic farmer who nursed him back to health through the ancient ways of veganing. It was a quiet life that The Vegan knew he didn’t deserve. A life he was robbed of when his beloved was killed in a freak zucchini-picking accident. An accident The Vegan knew was no accident at all, but a targeted hit by Draganov.
The memories weigh heavy and, despite his low BMI, so does The Vegan. The precarious HVAC vent gives out under The Vegan as he tumbles to the room below.
Gunfire riddles the living area. The Vegan holds his injured shoulder, bracing against his eco-minimalist sectional.
“Let's even the odds!” The Vegan yells as he twists open an overripe avocado and tosses the pitted half overhead. The concussive blast and subsequent guaca-melee clear a path for The Vegan to make his way toward his attic’s Ham radio—a lifeline to his ex-military vegan converts, but a tool whose name nauseates him.
The Vegan reaches the radio and attempts to call for help, but the line is dead. General Draganov reveals himself, dangling the radio’s severed battery from his fingers. The Vegan’s former ally smiles and holds up a book in his other hand, “30 Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes To Destabilize Oppressive Governments.”
“Congratulations, Draganov. You’ve found the cookbook. But we both know there’s one ingredient you still need: Vengeance.”
Rain falls upon Draganov and The Vegan. Both men stagger upon the roof, bloodied from an evenly matched bout.
“You vegans. All ze same. Vull of your nutrients. And valse hope!” General Draganov laughs.
“You’re not leaving with those recipes!” The Vegan shouts.
“Your meatless goulash vill annihilate our people! The cookbook must be destroyed!”
“It will unite us, Draganov.” The Vegan winces in pain to produce a pamphlet from his vegan leather bandolier. “Did you know it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef—while producing one pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water?”
“Vat difference does it make? I am but vun man!”
“You’re wrong, Draganov!” The Vegan extends the rain-soaked pamphlet to his nemesis. “Don’t you see? It’s not too late for you!”
For a moment, Draganov seems to consider the gesture before a sinister smile replaces any lingering sentiment. Draganov produces a rope of dried sausage from his trousers before wielding it like deadly nunchucks. “Give it up! You are beaten!”
“No, Dimitri. It is you who is beeten.”
Before Draganov can react, The Vegan spins and sweeps the General’s legs from under him. The fallen Draganov slides perilously down the solar panels and off the roof. The Vegan doesn’t have to look to know his former friend is dead—impaled on the razor-sharp beet stems in the garden below.
The Vegan’s many concubines massage soothing aloe into his wounds. There is no rest for The Vegan. This is the life he chose. Constantly pursued. Never appreciated by his non-vegan parents. But always in the service of the greater good.