(Parts 1-4; they start from the bottom!)
“Vegania?” Barry said, a hint of moisture gathering along his sprinkles.
“Yes,” said the Grand Fermenter.
“But Vegania is far lower, under the Permafrostbitten Layer of Perpetual Freezerburn.” Barry’s voice quavered with more than the cold.
“Vegania has grown and conquered many lands, including The Space of High Turnover.”
“What the heck is a Vegania?” Trying to get the sauce off of her hands, Jane ran her hand along the cardboard below her. Until, like some kind of organic soy-based superglue, the thinned stickiness stopped her hand dead. She was stuck.
“Ignorance. Such shocking ignorance.” The Grand Fermenter wiggled his spear in Jane’s direction. “But little can be expected from one so reeking of…animal-based products.”
Jane tried twisting her hand to loosen it, but it stayed put. She made a mental note to check out the box so she could use the sauce for her next glue-based emergency.
“Look here, Grand Fermenter. There hasn’t been any official notice about your kind encroaching–”
“Silence, dairy-based creature!” He blobbed his way closer. “Surround her! You will be taken to the Cruciferous Florets where you will be sentenced for having the audacity to wear those shoes.”
Jane put a little shoulder and arm into it, but still couldn’t pry her hand from the cardboard. “These are synthetic,” she said.
“I know,” said the Grand Fermenter. “They’re just awful.”
“Gotta agree there,” said Barry.
“Seriously, Barry, what is your problem?” Shifting all of her weight to the side, Jane tried to yank her palm away from the floor.
“That you were trying to eat me, maybe?” The ice cream topper on Barry’s cone cocked itself to the side as it raised a single cookie crumb eyebrow.
“You were going to eat him? EAT him?! A sentient dairy creature?” The Grand Fermenter’s olive eyes folded a fraction, giving the effect of them narrowing. He straightened his stovepipe hat with indignation, leaving it more askew.
“In my defense, I had no idea of that at the time.”
“Advance!” the Grand Fermenter jabbed the spear upward, as upward as possible as his semi-solid fingers tried to control it. The other Tofurati glopped their way to Jane, their spears more or less pointed at her, some more, some less.
“Well, this didn’t turn out the way I expected,” said Barry, making sure it could see the goings on without the danger of being in asparagus’ reach.
As they got near enough for her to smell the hint of chili in their sauce sheen, Jane, with one final, massive pull, heard a slow rip. Her hand was up, yes, but now attached to a jagged blade of cardboard.
She looked at the approaching Tofurati, looked at her hand, and smiled.
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