"So, you're really sticking with this?" Gina asked, chewing her chicken salad thoughtfully.
"Yup," I grinned. "Still 100% vegan and going strong."
Gina shook her head in disbelief. "Unbelievable. I've gotta be honest, I'm a little disappointed in you."
I swallowed a mouthful of my sandwich, choking slightly. "What?. . .why? I've made a positive lifestyle choice, my health has never been better, I. . .wait a minute. You lost a bet, didn't you?"
"Twenty bucks", Gina sighed ruefully. "And to my HUSBAND no less."
I stared incredulously. "Alex was in on this too? How long did you guys think I'd stick with it?"
"I gave you a week." Gina shrugged. "Alex was more benevolent; he gave you a month."
I turned to Kelly in disgust. "Can you BELIEVE this, Kell? Seriously, I'm a little ticked off here, not gonna lie."
"How do you think I feel?" Kelly countered. "I only had you down for ten days."
"You guys suck." I glowered. "With your mouths." Then, dropping my napkin, I pointed at Kelly's smug face. "And YOU! You're the one who encouraged me to go vegan! You're the one who took me shopping and designed my meal plans and everything else! And you've been betting against me the whole time?"
Kelly shrugged. "Hey, twenty bucks is twenty bucks."
"I hate your faces." I muttered, morosely pushing the rest of my lunch around my plate.
"Hey, c'mon," Gina soothed, patting my hand. "It wasn't that I didn't believe in YOU, per se. It's just that I didn't believe that ANYONE could subsist on that horseshit for more than seven days."
Kelly bristled defensively. "Hold on; vegan food is not 'horseshit'. It's natural and plant-based and like any other food it can be absolutely amazing if it's prepared well."
"Yeah," I agreed, pushing my plate toward Gina. "you should try this grilled seitan. It's rad...it tastes just like chicken."
"That’s OK," Gina replied, "I have something that tastes just like chicken…it’s called ‘chicken’.
Kelly rolled her jade green eyes. "Oh, please. You liked the vegan enchiladas I made last week. And what about Native Foods? You said you LOVED the jackfruit fritters."
"Yeah, well, vegan food is like having sex with a guy who has a small penis." Gina retorted. "Even when it’s good it still kinda sucks."
Kelly sighed, brushing her glossy dark hair over her shoulder. "OK, whatever. . .just try to stick to organic at least. I try to buy only organic when possible."
"I know." Gina said with a roll of her eyes. "I've been shopping with you. It's like an episode of 'What Not To Wear' only with less actual fashion sense and more tree-huggy bullshit."
I nodded in agreement. "At least I have her buying decent cosmetics now, instead of that Peruvian hempseed douchebaggery she was smearing on her face."
"Ooh! And don't forget the crystal deodorant!" Gina chimed in.
"Yeah," I replied with a shake of my head. "How does that shit even WORK?"
"It doesn't." Gina stated with a shake of her head. "Kelly smelled like she had a day-old burrito under one arm and a decomposing corpse under the other."
Kelly sputtered a mouthful of her iced tea in indignation. "ExCUSE me! It is a lot better than clogging your pores with chemicals and carcinogens!"
I rolled my eyes. "Dude, it’s not like a crystal ball. You don’t rub it under your arms and a magical genie pops out and makes your pits smell like daisies. You rub it under your arms and twenty minutes later you smell like rotting cheese and apathy."
Kelly snorted ruefully. "OK, fine. Jen at least found me some cruelty-free products, I'll give you both that. But do you know what's in that expensive name-brand exfolient YOU use?" she pointed at Gina with disgust. "Animal urine. You are slathering piss on your face every day in quest of beauty."
Gina shrugged nonchalantly. "Meh...I have no problem treating my body like a Japanese businessman's face if it's going to shave ten years off of my perceived age."
Kelly gave Gina a sarcastic s-l-o-w c-l-a-p. "That was beautiful, Geen. I may even make that my next tattoo."
"What?" Gina asked with a shake of her head. "Your NEXT tattoo? You already have an EXISTING tattoo?"
"Three, actually." Kelly replied with a smug grin. "I just have them strategically located so only very, very intimate friends can see them."
Gina shook her head slowly. "I'm astounded. Jen, did YOU know about Kelly's tattoos?"
I popped a sweet potato fry in my mouth and nodded earnestly. "Yup. We went to a spa together. Not a lot of secrets in the hot tub."
"Do YOU have any tattoos?" Gina inquired with a smirk.
I nodded slowly. "Yes. . .yes I do."
Gina gasped. "Where is it?"
"On my ass." I answered.
"WHAT is it?" Gina chortled.
"The Chinese symbol for vodka and bad decisions." I replied.
Gina slowly shook her head in amazement. "That. Is. Amazing."
I snorted contemptuously. "Don't be too impressed; I'm having it removed next month."
Gina pouted prettily. "Don't I get to see it first?"
"Oh, sure!" I cried. "We'll just saunter into the bathroom together and I'll whip off my pants."
"So, basically, a typical Friday night for you." Kelly queried with a grin.
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, right. Wanna know how I'm spending my Friday night? The same way I spend EVERY Friday night. Eating take out from New Seasons and watching shitty reality TV while I ponder how pathetic it is that I'm spending Friday night eating take out from New Seasons and watching reality TV."
Gina furrowed her brow. "That is the saddest thing I've ever heard."
"Yes, well, I like to shower you all with these little vignettes of my daily existence so you can all feel better about your life choices." I smiled.
"That's beautiful." Kelly sighed, stroking my hair.
Yeah. . .that's me. . .I'm a "giver".
Hope you all had a more thrilling weekend than I,