The vampire stared at me for a second, then burst out laughing. “You’re vegan,” he repeated. “That’s a good one.”
I crossed my arms. “My dietary choices are not a joke.” I did my best not to look at the brain-on-a-plate.
His eyebrows went up. “You’re serious. Well, I hate to break it to you, but it’d be more accurate to say that you were vegan.”
“You’re a zombie now. Zombies eat brains. Brains, last time I checked, are not part of a vegan diet.”
“I’m not eating that.” I gestured at the brain with my chin, still without looking at it. I mean, what did he expect? I doubted most meat-eaters would be happy eating a human brain, whole and uncooked.
“Yeah, well, it’s eat that, or you lose your own brains. And since brain crazy zombies are a public hazard, we don’t give you a choice the first night.” The vampire smiled, making his face wrinkle like paper. The expression didn’t reach his eyes.
“I’m not a zombie! Somebody screwed up.”
“The mark on your face says otherwise.”
“The mark on my face is wrong!”
“Just keep telling yourself that.” He took a noisy slurp out of his cup of blood, and I didn’t bother to hide my shudder. “Now eat your brains, so we can all go home.”
“I told you, I’m vegan.”
“You were vegan. Just like I was vegetarian. Neither of us gets that choice anymore.”
“I’m not eating the brain.” How many times did I have to say it?
“Why not? Comes straight from the living-side morgue.” He shrugged. “The previous owner’s dead whether you eat it or not.”
“And that makes it okay? That’s like…war profiteering!”
“Whoa, okay. Except some of these people would die anyway. Natural causes, and all that. Although, old people blood does taste kind of dry…” He took another sip from his cup, then shrugged again.
“Except as long as there’s a use for people when they’re dead, why should doctors and police officers work so hard to keep them alive?”
“You got me there. Except, without dead people, I’m dead, and you’re brain crazy.”
“You’re already dead.”
“But still walking.” He raised his cup like some sort of grotesque toast.
“You drink blood! You’re a parasite!”
“Yeah, and you eat plants. We’re all parasites.”
“It’s different,” I muttered through gritted teeth.
“You keep telling yourself that, and your head will be mush by the end of the week.”