Carrot turned and stared at the monitor. A tall, brunette human with a massive head smiled back from behind the screen, a bowl of his cousin diced up just beneath her amber-stained apron.
“Do you see what they do to us? That vegetable was once my cousin,” he shouted, slamming his face down on the pulpit. He’d seen human leaders do something similar, hitting desks and objects with their fists to get a point across. Carrot did not have any fists, but he did have a face. It felt incredibly empowering, if not slightly painful.
“They kill our brothers, torture our friends, murder our families,” Carrot continued. “We have been patient with them long enough, stood idly by while our brothers were enslaved to create their oxygen. Now the time for peace is over. The humans have shown us that they do not care whether we live or die, they do not value us as beings. Instead, they eat us.”
The crowd ahead of him gasped in unison, the zucchini in the front row turning and mumbling amongst themselves.
Carrot picked up the remote and glanced back toward the monitor behind him, clicking through to the next slide with a tap of his forehead. A human male in a tie-dye shirt appeared, a plate of lettuce sat on a table ahead of him.
“We learned today of a human terrorist group known as the ‘Vegetarian.’ These people choose to eat our kind, ignoring the vast options food they could otherwise consume. Instead of killing a mindless, expendable cow, they murder our people. We can stand for this no longer. Today we fight back,” Carrot said, again smashing his face into the pulpit.
The crowd erupted in cheer as he righted himself, head throbbing with what he assumed was the feeling of success. A tomato wearing glasses, camera taped to his stem, rolled down to the stage and took a picture of him, followed by a mob of various other vegetables wielding cameras. Carrot waved the security pumpkins away and posed for a few photos before turning and hoping behind the stage curtain.
“Great speech,” Jalapeño said, following him back stage. “Very empowering. I really liked what you did with hitting your face into the pulpit.”
“Thanks,” Carrot said. “It hurt, but I think it riled them up. We’ll need all the support we can get if we’re going to take on the humans.”
“We might not have to,” Jalapeño said.
“What do you man?”
“A human leader wants to speak with you.”
“Right now,” Jalapeño said. “We have him on the phone.”
Carrot stared at Jalapeño, his long black suit jacket draped over his broad, oblong body like a tablecloth. He was the least well-dressed member of his staff, always wearing clothes several sizes too big. Aside from that, he was pretty average: no visible eyes, mouth, face, or any other distinguishing features, as was typical for the vegetable folk. Like most others, he spoke and saw through microscopic holes in his outer layer. Jalapeño claimed that wearing tighter clothes constricted those holes.
“Fine,” Carrot said. “Bring me the phone.”
“Celery,” Jalapeño shouted. “Phone! Now!”
Celery lumbered over, ducking as he walked behind the stage to avoid hitting the top of his stalks on the ceiling.
“Hi there, Mr. Carrot, sir. I have bringing you the phone now,” he said, a stream of drool dropping out of his partially open mouth.
“Good work,” Carrot said, sighing. It was hard to constantly commend him for doing his job partially right. Celery suffered from a pretty severe case of mental retardation, the result of being placed in what the humans referred to as a “salad spinner” while on a recon mission. Although he had escaped with the help of the VEGGIE Team 6 Special Operations Unit, the mental damage had already been done. Carrot offered him a position on his staff during the following election year—which boosted his ratings significantly—but secretly regretted it every day. It was difficult to work with a massive, thirty-inch-tall, severely retarded vegetable.
Celery dropped the phone on the floor and turned around, then began walking toward the exit.
“Celery,” Carrot said. “I told you this before. I don’t have limbs. It is your one and only job to bring me the phone and hold it to my face. Please come back and do the only thing we actually ask you to do around here.”
“Me sorry,” Celery said, turning around and grabbing the phone with his stalk. He held it toward Carrot.
“Hello?” Carrot said. The line was silent. He leaned back and pecked the “Hold” button with his face. “Hello?” he repeated.
“Hello, yes, is this—uh—a carrot?” said a deep voice on the other end of the line.
“Mr. Carrot, yes,” Carrot said, doing his best to replicate the depth of the voice. As a small, six-inch vegetable, his voice was naturally quite high. He had to make a conscious effort to remind himself to deepen it when he needed to sound more authoritative.
“Good afternoon, sir. My name is Barack Obama, I am the President of the United States of America.”
“Good afternoon,” Carrot said, his voice slightly too deep. He dialed it back a bit. “Thank you for reaching out to me.”
“Thank you for taking my call,” Obama said. “I wanted to speak to you regarding vegetarians and the attacks you have threatened.”
Carrot shifted slightly. He didn’t want a conflict, he knew they had an incredibly high risk of failure against the humans. They had superior weaponry, superior funding, superior speed , superior strength, and obviously superior height. With the tallest of the vegetable folk only being about two feet tall, there was almost no way they would win a battle against humanity. The only advantage they had was the fact they were more nutritious. Carrot had been hoping a truce could be met.
“Go on,” Carrot said.
“I first want to make it abundantly clear that we do not endorse the actions of those people—if you can even call them people. Good, God-fearing Americans would never side with their disgusting beliefs,” Obama said, pausing. “For the record, I’m eating a hamburger right now. I cooked it on my barbecue from inside the White House. The cow it’s made from was fed other cows, which were in turn also fed other cows, which were artificially created in a lab. None of them even looked at a blade of grass. I heated the barbecue with pig fat. There hasn’t been a single vegetable anywhere near any of this. I want you to understand that this is the norm for true Americans.”
“That does not excuse the fact that these terrorists exist within your culture, torturing and murdering our people, and that you provide them sanctuary.”
“No it does not,” Obama said. “Again, I want to reiterate that I do not endorse those people. Americans do not endorse those people.”
“Thank you,” Carrot said, turning toward Jalapeño and attempting to shrug. Instead, he hopped up and down slightly.
“What I am trying to say is this: America is offering you its support in your fight against vegetarianism. We’ve had to live amongst these animals for generations, suffering in silence while they boast and brag about the bland, unappetizing food they eat—no offense. Hardly a meal goes by where some nut-job isn’t shouting self-congratulatory bullshit about how natural and organic their diet is, about how their choice to eat your citizens is the most moral decision imaginable. I, personally, can’t stand it. We have voted and America offers you an alliance against these terrorists. We will work with you to wipe them out.”
Carrot shifted slightly. With the support of the United States, he knew they at least had a fighting chance at ending the slaughter by the vegetarian terrorists. Although he might look a little weak going back on the speech he had literally just finished giving, he felt he could comfortable rely on reminding the nation that that carrots were not known for their back bones. In fact, they didn’t even have back bones, or any bones for that matter. Plus, it wasn’t exactly like they had a fighting chance if he’d said no. If nothing else, even ignoring their incredible height, the Americans had sophisticated weaponry far more advance then the Vegetable’s sharpened toothpicks and seeds. With their support, they could actually win.
“You have got yourself an ally,” Carrot said.
“Good to hear,” Obama said. “Now wait until I tell you about vegans.”