Vic shoved open the top of his travel coffin and sat up, blinking and trying to remember where he was. Ugly carpet, uglier bedspreads, and framed prints of ghastly Monet lilies on the walls. A human hotel. That meant he was still on tour.
He got up and wandered into the front room of the suite, where he found Nevin sitting on the sofa, eating something white and gelatinous from a bowl. Vic did a double-take. “Hey, fairy. You turning zombie on us or something?”
Nevin examined his bowl curiously. “This isn’t brains, it’s tofu. And it’s organic.”
“So it has something to do with brains, right? Or by ‘organic’ do you mean some other organ? It’s the wrong color for liver or kidneys.”
“Organic means it was made without pesticides, antibiotics, or other contaminants. It means it’s a clean and healthful product of nature.”
“Oh.” Vic went to the mini-fridge and opened the door.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Vic took out a plastic bag of blood. “A guy’s got to eat.”
“But you have no idea where that blood came from.”
“Sure I do. It came from the blood bank I broke into in Lowry. Don’t you remember how Ricky threw a fit?”
With the exaggerated patience of one explaining something to a child, Nevin said, “But the donor could’ve been taking anti-psychotics or have been exposed to lead or dioxin. There might be artificial preservatives in there, and there are certainly anti-coagulants.”
“I like anti-coagulants. They help it go down smooth and they have an interesting aftertaste.”
“And then there’s the plastic bag itself,” Nevin went on. “It could be leaking phthalates into your food.” He shook his head and bent back over his tofu. “You’re taking a terrible risk with your health.”
Vic tossed the bag into the fridge. “Okay, Tinkerbell. Since you’re so smart, what’s your idea for where I should find a meal?”
“I have no idea,” Nevin said. “But it should be someone who only eats clean organic foods. Like my tofu.”
“And where did you buy the tofu?”
“Compleatly Organic. It’s like a Whole Foods store.”
Vic pondered this, then grabbed his hat and leather coat. He had to entice one of the roadies with an offer to buy him a steak, but he found someone to drive him to Compleatly Organic. After staring in dismay at the bright lights and rows of fruits and vegetables, he grabbed a basket and started walking the aisles.
It took him awhile to find what he was after. The long-haired beauty browsing herbal tinctures reeked of patchouli, and the blonde at the meat counter had the unmistakable scent of AB negative. The women with children in tow were out of the question because he didn’t want witnesses, and the soulful-eyed young man foisting cheese samples on everyone seemed a little too eager to become friends.
Vic was about to give up and to hell with if his blood bags contained trace amounts of mercury, when he saw her. Dark and curvy, she was frowning at something on a high shelf. When she saw Vic round the corner, she waved him over. “Can you reach that for me?”
“What? The lemon soda?” Vic tried not to shudder.
“Yeah. I wish they wouldn’t put the glass bottles up high like that. I can’t reach, and I won’t eat or drink anything that’s been stored in plastic.”
Vic handed her the bottle and nodded wisely. “Phthalates. They’ll mess you up.”
“Yes.” She set the bottle in her cart. “It’s hard to live clean, isn’t it?”
Vic agreed and fell in beside her as she kept up an amiable chatter about how she had cleansed her body of plastics, preservatives, pesticides, and even prescription drugs. “If I get sick, I take organic herbal supplements. But I’m almost never sick. In fact, I’ve never been healthier in my life.”
“And it’s all because of organics?” he asked, moving a little closer so he could take a sniff. “You’re type A.”
“What gave me away? My groceries? You must follow the blood type diet, too.”
“Couldn’t live any other way.” He got into the checkout line with her and waited while she paid for her groceries. “So do you mind if I walk you to your car?”
She hesitated, but then shrugged. “I guess not. But where’s your groceries?”
“I found what I was looking for,” he said, forcing her to look into his eyes so he work his spell upon her. “And it’s all natural.”