I was limping when I walked through the front door of my apartment. Maggie was on the couch, crocheting an afghan for a friend of ours who was pregnant. She noticed immediately. “What happened?”
I plopped down next to her, relieved to be off my feet. “I met this dude who convinced me to skip class and drive with him to Mt. Hood and go sledding.”
A smile stretched across her face. “Nice one. And you collided with a tree?”
“More or less.”
She had her glasses on, and she was wearing a winter hat with her hair down. She was so cute, sitting there wrapped in a blanket. “Hard day at class?”
“Hard day at life,” I wanted to say. My right leg hurt, I had a massive headache, and I was facing the promise of an unpleasant fight for my life tomorrow. What did I care about class? “What’s for dinner?”
“Not Dogs.” Maggie had recently decided to go vegetarian, and she was slowly taking me with her. It occurred to me this could be my last meal. “You were gonna pick them up, remember?”
There’s this co-op near our apartment that sells all things organic and natural. How Not Dogs are considered natural is beyond me, but at least the name is accurate. They’re definitely not meat. They’re disgusting is what they are.
I truly understand the whole vegetarian impulse – the reluctance to eat something that was once sentient. Maggie has some good arguments. “If you’re not willing to eat a cat or a dog, then why are you willing to eat a pig?” she says.
I get it. But if meat is a travesty, imitation meat is a total perversion. It’s rubbery, dry, and not-of-this-earth.
Maggie was right, though; I was supposed to pick up the Not Dogs. So I hobbled out of our apartment down to the co-op. (Harmony and Balance Co-op, to be precise. Please.) I glanced past the fake cheese, the fake breakfast sausage, and finally found the fake hot dogs. Then I took them to the fake cashier – some white guy with dreadlocks – and got the hell out.
The next perversion was waiting for me outside. It was Jake.