archives, fiction

Her Choices Are Not a Personal Attack on Theirs. {fiction}

The following is a small but powerful work on veganism, “othering” modern tech, and consumption wrapped into a small punch in the face.


The aliens started to arrive — slowly, a few at a time. Communing with them was a natural consequence of her aesthetic: morality, domestic adventure, environmentalism. Why were her friends so surprised she was taking up with them? In her heart, she was an Earthling.

While the transition was logical for her, the process was difficult in ways she hadn’t expected. Societal taboos, the questions, the choices, all functioning as personal attacks. The reality of the cruelty, established lies, cover-ups, conspiracies, and mass-marketing betrayals. All painfully digested.

Those close to her expressed concern, but it was too late. She had been radicalized, or were they? She herself wondered why they hadn’t seen “the light.” They are all intelligent people, and the truth is there for the taking. You’re going to ruin everything. Dinner parties will never be the same. Why?  She always stopped short of the brutal answers to half-asked inquiries.

If they wanted to know, there is always Google. She assumed the questions were an attempt to justify their own choices, as if her choices were a personal attack on theirs. Besides, it wasn’t as if she said she was going to start living off the grid, for God’s sake.

The science is undeniable, but whose? The list of acceptable foods growing shorter. Don’t eat the fish. But, maybe the wild-caught, except for the pharma and the microplastics. Stick to vegetables, but stay clear of the Roundup-infused grains. Don’t even think about those gluten-free pretzels made with unsustainable palm oil.The list of declining species growing longer.

Would it be a disaster of Y2K proportions, or something unimaginable?

As she carefully removed each item from the reusable bag, she considered their presence. Nutritional yeast (for taste); turmeric (to color the “eggs”); Vitamin B12 (which is apparently a necessity); tofu and seitan (some sort of pretend meat); beans and lentils (for gas); faux cheese (voted “most likely to disappoint”).

The alien, vegan items were proudly placed in the cabinets and fridge where they awaited the arrival of the others. They made her feel hopeful and hypocritical. She didn’t drive a Prius, they had a big-ass below-ground pool in the backyard, and she aspired to purchase that cobalt blue sofa from Ethan Allen.

The dichotomy of the two worlds was disturbing and disorienting; so much easier to sublimate real life with Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon Prime. Or whatever the chosen soma placating the masses with additives and algorithms. Consumption premeditated like a Pavlovian dog.


Barbara Prince is currently fulfilling her life-long dream as a mid-level manager for a municipal Department of Public Works whereby she enjoys long chats with those who “pay her salary.” Occasionally, the stories that haunt her find their way to the page.


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