Last night I had to go out. I’d been on my own for too many days trying to make a decision. My body is starting to fail. It needs more protein and iron. You don’t make it easy though. It seems my only choices are to eat someone or work out the complexities of combining non-meat foods. And to cap it all, the google box tells me the production of rice and vegetables causes lots of deaths.
I went back to the bar on the corner. As soon as I walked through the door the familiar smell of the sweat and the thrilling sound of life being lived made my hearts beat faster. The barman poured my usual pint of sweet dark beer and I strolled over to Tommy and his friends in their alcove.
‘Hey, Purple. Haven’t seen you for a while. How are you?’ he said.
‘Better for seeing you guys.’
‘You look a bit pale, if that’s possible.’
‘My body’s not reacting well to the food.’ I sat down. ‘That’s partly why I’m here. I need some advice.’
‘From us?’ He laughed.
‘Lads, he needs our collective wisdom.’ They stopped talking and focussed their attention.
‘My problem…’ I paused to think about how to explain it simply. ‘My problem is that I need more iron and protein, but I can’t eat your meat.’
‘Eat spinach then,’ said one of Tommy’s friends.
‘That doesn’t work. In fact it has the opposite effect. I wish you grew meat rather than insisting it comes from living beings.’
‘That’s disgusting,’ said Tommy’s friend.
‘Vegetables and rice for you then,’ said Tommy.
‘But even the production of those causes quite a lot of deaths.’
‘Yeah. But nothing that matters.’
‘The lower classes?’
‘You call them insects and rodents.’
‘Exactly. Not important.’
‘What about fish?’ asked Tommy’s friend.
‘They’re sentient beings.’
Tommy’s friend was getting agitated. ‘For crying out loud, Purple. It’s the natural order of things. Do you think they’d be as bothered about eating you, given half a chance?’
‘So many deaths just to keep me alive. It’s not right. Look at that plate of food. Whitebait isn’t it?’
‘Yeah. What of it?’
‘I’d call it carnage. There must be a hundred dead beings on that plate.’
Tommy rolled his eyes. ‘Maybe you should only eat steak. That’s only a small chunk of one being,’ he said, accentuating the word maybe to stress his sarcasm.
‘Good point. At least the deaths per calorie would be small compared to those,’ I said, pointing at the plate of fish. ‘Those babies with bones still soft enough to eat.’
We finished our drinks in silence.