FREEDOMSVILLE, MIDDLE ‘MURICA – Shock waves are rippling across Chicago farmer’s markets and Native Foods Cafes as news hits that Berry Sprouts, prominent local vegan and Whole Foods cashier, has starved to death. Berry recently traveled down to his girlfriend’s hometown of Freedomsville to stay a few weeks on vacation. The proud animal rights and environmental activist did not return alive. The autopsy report states that Berry simply could not find enough nutrition in the small suburban town, which offered only chain restaurant with no vegan, raw, or gluten-free dietary options.
His girlfriend, Katy Ribeater, was beside herself with grief when we sat down for an interview. “We knew it was going to be difficult when we planned the trip. Hell, he complained about finding dairy-free options when we visited Noshville, and that’s a relatively big city! I tried to tell him that healthy, environmentally friendly food options only get fewer as you travel to smaller towns. I warned him that the only places to eat in Freedomsville were chain restaurants, and that everything on the menu will either be a meat sandwich or cooked in butter, but he didn’t listen.”
As she described their predicament, Katy began to get emotional, “But I thought that either we would find some non-meat option somewhere, or that he would drop his pretentiousness, realize his situation, and just eat a freaking barbecue sandwich for God’s sake! But neither happened, and now he’s dead. Oh Berry! Why did you have to be so self-righteous and uncompromising about your dietary options? WHY!?!”
After a brief crying spell, Katy recounted the hardships they faced trying to find vegan fare during Berry’s final days. “After the first week of politely declining meals, Berry started to get malnourished. We tried ordering veggies at Cracker Barrel, but everything there is cooked in animal lard, so of course he wouldn’t touch that. Even the freezer section of the local Piggly Wiggly had no meat substitute options, so what were we supposed to do?
Berry subsisted on bark and Starbucks coffee packets he brought with him right up until the day he died. On his deathbed, Berry whispered to me ‘hey babe, I might be dying, but I probably set a good example for change down here, eh?’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him it would be a cold day in hell before Freedomsville becomes more vegan-friendly.” After a pause, Katy did find a silver lining in Berry’s death, “I suppose Berry died just like he lived, in his happy little bubble.”