Ve-Gun

Interview with a Vegan Assassin

I met her one summer night in a vegan restaurant in Germantown. There I was, enjoying a glass of Kentucky Kombucha, a Beyond Burger on rye with fries when this hot dish stops beside my table and stares, deadpan. After an awkward moment, I say, “Hello,” with an overstuffed mouthful of food.

“May I join you?”

She’s looking at me, but I’m not believing. I look around then point to myself.

A tantalizing smile forms on her face, and she says, “Yeah.”

Dudes, eat your heart out. Here’s a classy chick who could have her pick — and asking to join me? No way. Something’s not kosher. Like, she’s a man-hating serial killer, and I have asshead wrote on my forehead. “Um,” I said.

“Thanks,” says the bombshell, pulls out a chair and sits. “Name’s Strob,” and thrusts her hand across the table.

I don’t shake hands, but this one came with a bang and a boom, so I broke the rule. And with a grip that caused me a grimace. “Peter,” I meant to say, but it came out an unintelligible squeaky sound.

“I know who you are,” she says.

That’s weird, “Oh?” I swallowed.

“I followed you here.”

Definitely a serial killer. I glanced at the door and swallowed again, loud enough for Elvis to hear, and I said, “Um,” for the second time in less than a minute.

“I follow your blog; you’ve got talent.”

Okay. What this doll lacked in artistic taste, she more than made up for in looks. “That’s an overstatement,” I told her, trying for unconvincing.

“I want you to interview me.”

My reply was a raised brow, but my mind churned crazy thoughts, like men’s minds do, twisting wishful fantasy into sexual innuendo that was neither said nor remotely implied. “Interview?” I squirmed.

She grabbed a napkin and wiped the ketchup from my chin. “You and me, a Q and A, tomorrow.”

“Whoa, slow down, babe.” Yeah, I said that. “What’s this all about?” I’m thinking bondage and not in a good way.

Strob looked around the room to see if anyone listened and I caught myself mimicking her. She leaned in and so did I, her breath hot and fatally sweet like nectar and I’m the bee, “I’m an assassin,” she whispered.

Fucking knew it. I sat back.

“A vegan assassin,” she says.

Afraid to ask, I braced myself for a bullet in the head, and said, “You kill vegans?”

She rolled her eyes — and wow, what eyes, “No, dummy, I’m a vegan and an assassin.”

“Oh, right? Any particular targets?” A stupid question, in hindsight.

“Meat-eaters.”

Being more than a just little loopy from her honeysuckle scent, I grinned with grim approval.

“Meet me here,” she wrote on a napkin, a clean one, “tomorrow night, eight o’clock.”

“A hotel on thi-third street?” I said.

“Five-star. Top floor, suite 1804. See you then,” she winked, took a bite of her Beyond Burger, got up, and walked out, leaving her vegan fare mostly untouched. I called for a to-go box. And why not? I’d eat it later and eat after her any day.

The next night I was early and Strob met me in the lobby. Her timing seemed coincidental, but I’m betting not. Something about this dame told me she knew my every move before I did. “Glad you could make it,” she says.

Like a mouse lured to cheese in a body-clenching trap, I went for broke, “Wouldn’t miss it,” I said.

Strob wore a beige, long, and tight-fitting evening dress slit up one side and leaving awful little for the imagination, and I’m damn good at imagining. She was vegan eye candy for every dandy and lady in the joint. And I, grossly underdressed in jeans and sneakers, glance down at my food-stained t-shirt. –Great, another reason to feel inadequate. I scratched at the stain.

In the elevator, we stood pressed shoulder to shoulder. I looked at Strob, and she smiled. I turned away and sucked air to stifle the sensation, whether fear or desire, hard to say but the lady was like a drug. I was hooked and getting higher with each floor.

In the room, she said, “Turn off your phone, no pictures. What I say, you write.”

She poured herself a glass of vegan wine and handed me an imported kombucha, “You don’t drink, I know.”

Assume she knows everything, Peter. “Thanks,” I said, taking the glass. “Shall we start?”

She sat on a love seat with her back to the window. I thought that odd for one in her stated profession, but then there were no positions outside to snipe from, only city lights spread wide across the horizon far below us. I considered the possibility of a helicopter attack, checked the door, and gauged my chances. Strob crossed her legs and revealed … thighs, a lot. I tried going for her eyes but missed the first time, cleared my throat and said, “You’re not what I would expect an assassin to look like.”

“That’s in my favor.”

“You told me yesterday, you kill meat-eaters.”

“Yes, but not just any meat-eater.”

“Oh, a discriminating assassin?”

“My targets are the animal agricultural elite, the CEOs and those holding the higher shares of corporations and industries that profit off animal exploitation, everything from abattoirs to zoos.”

“But aren’t these enterprises simply supplying a demand?”

“A demand they create.”

“Touché,” I said.

She reached in her purse, I froze, “Do you mind if I vape?” she asked.

“It’s your health.”

“My capers will kill me before this will.”

Probably, I didn’t say.

“How many assassinations have you committed?”

“I don’t keep score, but my work takes me around the globe.”

I asked, “Is it fair to say you have no compunctions in killing?”

She said, “Governments kill people, domestic and foreign, and people support their governments. Do either have compunction in murder or murder by proxy?” she asked.

The answer was no, but I said, “It ain’t the same.”

“You’re right. I kill in revenge for the innocent. My targets are evildoers. And my victims don’t suffer long, unlike theirs.”

Moving on. “Speciesism is a term thrown around in vegan circles. Do you consider animals and people as equals?”

“No. I hold animals in higher esteem, they’re guileless, guiltless, and unpretentious. It’s only by an ignorant, brutal arrogance that people regard themselves as superior to the creatures. Where do they get the notion?”

“Some say God, Genesis, 1:28.”

“That’s convenient.”

I was trying to play the Devil’s advocate, but finding it difficult. I needed to change tack, discredit her. “If you are a vegan assassin, shouldn’t your exploits have made world news?”

“I’m a professional, Peter. My work appears as accidents, car crashes, bad drug deals and overdoses, suicides, jealous lovers. Except for the presumed hunting accidents, I seldom shoot anyone.”

“We’ll verify your claims later. But, why this interview?”

“I’m changing strategy. I want the assheads to know their lives are in danger. I want them looking over their shoulders at every moment. I want them double checking locks and leaving on lights. I want them scared as hell, just like their victims.

“Then tell it to a mainstream journalist, not some obscure blogger.”

“I trust you, your passion is clear. And they’d paint me as a criminal.”

Well, you are, I thought.

“And vegans should know someone’s doing more than abstaining.”

“Murder is more,” I said, and not too gingerly, “I’m not sure they’d approve.”

“I’m not looking for approval, from you or anyone else.”

Ouch. Strob was calm but steely, and my fear of imminent death drew near.

I tried placating, “Nonviolent resistance is …”

“Doing nothing,” she interjected.

That made it worse.

“The number of animals slaughtered increases each year. If it were vegans they were killing, we’d all be fighting real fights. What’s the difference, to a self-proclaimed non-speciesist?”

She was right, I wouldn’t argue facts; my hypocrisy is an open sore.

“I’m advancing the vegan revolution by hundreds of years, but it’s not enough. The enemy is bigger than me and growing. I hope to be the inspiration to spark a greater revolt. And someday, when I’m too old or too dead, I’ll need successors.”

She looked at me with that look. “Sweetheart, I’m already too old,” I said.

“Don’t sell yourself short,” she says, “I’ve seen you shoot and throw an ax.”

“Um,” Yeah, I throw an ax quite regularly, but I hadn’t been to the gun range in a year.

She read my thought, “You should stay practiced.”

After the interview, we reviewed the “accidents” of several muckety-mucks around the world. Strob stared out the window or walked around the room telling me names, dates, and other specifics as I researched the web. With a hundred percent accuracy, she either owned an uncanny ability to remember people, places, events, details, and incidentals, or she was telling the truth.

That morning I awoke, and she was gone without a trace or a farewell note. Relieved to see she left my clothes, I stayed in bed a moment longer to snuggle her scent.

22 Comments

  1. Wonderfully written, dangedly dramatic, seriously suspenseful, intensely inspiring…BillZiegler1947
    You have a marvelous gift for dialogue, Peter, something I’ve never seemed to write successfully. Most importantly, the veganarchist “thrust” moves the plot forward with aplomb, perhaps even with a plum. Strom is out there, so death dealers beware. Now I can’t get my mind off honeysuckle snuggles. Perhaps I frequent the wrong environs when I gad about in my Ve-gun hoodie.
    Strom bless us, every one 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the praise, Bill. I was arguing with myself; taking the position of what any of us might do had we the talent, know-how, courage, and resources, and arguing the point.

      “…frequent the wrong environs when I gad about in my Ve-gun hoodie.” Funny.

      I absolutely love your new gravatar pic! And it looks even better on your website. –VA, ve-gun assassin!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d been kicking around the ve-gun assassin thing for months, and somehow, mysteriously came up with this; it was like a Bogart possession. Anyway, I sat on it for a time, considering whether to publish or delete or it. Of course, you see I decided to brave it out. 😉

      Thanks for the great comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Noir was the perfect genre choice for this tale, I’m so glad you braved it out. The clipped dialog, ambiguity in that culpability question: who is the criminal? where is the danger? what constitutes a crime scene? how long are the shadows?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Gigi. About the time you stopped coming by I had lost a few followers. I thought I had offended them because around that time one had harped on my “vegan hypocrisy” in a post on their blog. It stung and I still wear the scar. I never expected that from this person. So, I thought well if I annoyed them I did the others too. And I get it, I can be a cocksure, arrogant, annoying ass at times. That’s not a lament, by the way. Nonetheless, I never unfollowed anyone, my respect remains untainted, everyone’s entitled to their opinion of me and long as they don’t hurt the animals I’m good. Besides, I still find their blogs informing and entertaining, although it wouldn’t do to comment or like their posts, I think.

      I’m happy to know this wasn’t the case with you.

      Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Peter and Gigi (apologies for the interruption),
        I observed the same happen to me too. I then remembered that WP sometimes “changes” my e-mail alert settings (it’s a pet peeve) so when I checked, I could see that the email alert settings had been switched off. (Maybe a conspiracy?) So, I changed the setttings again and now receive the email alerts again. As a result, I now regularly “check” to see if the settings have changed, especially for my favourite blogs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “A cocksure, arrogant, annoying ass” sounds like my sort of vegan 🙂 Now following. Btw – is that ‘ass’ as in donkey, or ‘ass’ as in arse? Not that it matters – either is works for me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Katrina! My term of ass has evolved to asshead to exclude any reference to animals. And what can easily be mistaken for asset. For example: Yeah, dude, your a real asshead (asset). And smile. 🙂

          Like

  2. I thought you were taking a break. I checked and it says I’m still following you, so I’m not sure what’s going on but a friend asked if I had seen your blog and I said yes, so I came back and you were still posting. Anyway, I would never leave because of ANYTHING you said. Not ever. I’m with you all the way. Hope all is well and so glad you’re still here. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve had exactly the same experience, Gigi. You wait on word from the press for a headline from Crowsnest Center, you look around the mailbox and don’t see any unopened envelopes on the ground, you actually go over to the nest and find an egg or two there. WTF. What gives? Whaaaat?
      The moral of the story: notifications don’t always happen, I guess 🙂 ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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