HIKER 1: We had no choice.

HIKER 2: There was nothing we could do.

HIKER 3: Hiker 4 knew this was a possibility.

HIKER 2: But, then, we were all conscious of the risks when we agreed to this trip.

HIKER 1: Yes. And for the greater good we must persevere. To demonstrate the versatility of vegans everywhere, while revealing the truth about Meatball Mountain.

HIKER 3: It’s a gaudy, unnecessary place for meat-eaters to worship. Not a hip alternative location for spring break, like the brochure suggests.

HIKER 2: Yeah, down with Meatball Mountain!

HIKER 1: Down with it!

HIKER 3: Pass me a finger, please.

HIKER 1: If we can keep our strength up, I don’t see why we shouldn’t reach the summit tomorrow. Even if we starve to death shortly after our arrival, we’ll still be able to plant our flag.

HIKER 2: You mean the flag with the vegetable-medley portrait stitched on it?

HIKER 1: Yes.

HIKER 2: We ate that last night, when you were urinating.

HIKER 1: Goddamn it.

HIKER 3: We’re terribly sorry. There was just no food left.

HIKER 2: We literally explored every option.

HIKER 2: The whole-wheat bagels with peanut butter ran out days ago.

HIKER 3: And the tofu cubes before that.

HIKER 1: I remember those. How sweet they tasted.

HIKER 2: And the soy!

HIKER 3: Yes. The soy. We’d eaten all the soy.

HIKER 1: The soy was amazing.

HIKER 3: Then the flag, which we ate yesterday, while you were urinating. Since then, we’ve resorted to, well, this.

HIKER 1: Oh, my God!

HIKER 3: What?

HIKER 1: A piece of Hiker 4’s stomach was touching Meatball Mountain and yet you proceeded to bend down, open your mouth, and tear off a piece!

HIKER 3: Who did? Me?

HIKER 1: Yes! You! The stomach wasn’t elevated from Meatball Mountain!

HIKER 3: I—I had no idea.

HIKER 2: Wait a minute. Whose side are you on?

HIKER 1: Seriously, I’m thinking we ate the wrong guy. You fascist!

HIKER 2: Fascist! You’re fucking sick!

HIKER 3: I’m sorry! I didn’t know.

HIKER 1: Just shut up and let me think.

HIKER 2: Here, have a finger while you think.

HIKER 1: Thank you.

HIKER 3: What do you want me to do?

HIKER 1: Hang on. I’m eating.

HIKER 3: …

HIKER 2: …

HIKER 1: OK. You have to prove that you’re still one of us.

HIKER 3: All right. How do I do that?

HIKER 1: To prove you’re truly a vegan, you must eat a piece of Meatball Mountain.

HIKER 3: What? Why?

HIKER 2: Because if he eats from the meat of Meatball Mountain it’ll prove he’s a traitor, and we kill him. Right?

HIKER 1: Precisely. But there is another option. Option 2. You allow us to eat you. Then we’d know you’re the ultimate martyr for vegan lifestyle. We’d sing songs about your courage forever.

HIKER 2: Exactly. Pass one of Hiker 4’s ribs, when you get the chance.

HIKER 1: In a minute. So choose: eat a piece of the mountain and be killed, or let us eat you.

HIKER 3: But surely in both scenarios you’d eat me. And I, for one, refuse to be eaten. What difference does it make if I’d allow you to?

HIKER 1: Oh, that’s ridiculous. We wouldn’t eat you if we killed you first! That’s totally unbecoming of a vegan.

HIKER 2: Hah! That’s the least vegan thing you could do! Eating something you killed against its will.

HIKER 1: Stop stalling. Choose now. Before we kill you. By holding you down and suffocating your passages with meatball.

HIKER 2: Oh, that is an amazing ultimatum.

HIKER 1: Thank you.

HIKER 3: If that’s the case … I choose suffocation.

HIKER 1: All right, then. Onto your belly.

HIKER 3: Hold on. Just, on the off-chance that you’re rescued, tell my family tha—mmph!

HIKER 1: Yeah. Get that meatball in there, Hiker 2.

HIKER 2: Wait, so, since he’s choosing the third option, to be suffocated, can we eat him? I mean, this is humane! We’re not killing him against his will. He chose this.

HIKER 1: Oooh. Good point. I never thought of it like that.

HIKER 2: Exactly, we can still eat—oh, he must have heard me. Look at this.

HIKER 1: Is he … Is he chewing the meatball you stuffed in his mouth?

(HIKER 3 nods.)

HIKER 2: Oh! Disgusting! He can’t do that!

HIKER 1: Choosing a combination of the first option and the third option.

HIKER 2: Can we still eat him if he swallows? He won’t be vegan then, if he eats the meat of Meatball Mountain. And we can’t be cannibals with a carcass that isn’t vegan.

HIKER 1: I’m familiar with the Code! Look at me, Hiker 3. Don’t you swallow that! Don’t you! Hey! Look at me! Spit it! You spit that out, mister!

(HIKER 3 shakes his head no.)

HIKER 2: We’ll decapitate him then, right now, before he swallows. Without his head, the rest of him will remain pure.

HIKER 1: Yes. Good thinking! Get the machete made from 100 percent free-range steel.

HIKER 2: You got it.

(HIKER 2 exits.)

HIKER 1: Buddy, if you swallow that, you’re in deep—

(Suddenly, HIKER 3 grapples HIKER 1 to the ground. The two wrestle until both are covered in meat. HIKER 2 re-enters.)

HIKER 2: Oh, no! They both look the same! I don’t know which is Hiker 1! And to kill a vegan, that’s murder! I can’t live with that.

(HIKER 2 commits vegan hara-kiri, dies.)

HIKER 1: Whoa … Oh wow.

HIKER 3: What a thing to do.

HIKER 1: He died, rather than accidentally kill an uncontaminated vegan.

HIKER 3: He’s the true hero here.

HIKER 1: We’ll eat him next. To gain his courage.

HIKER 3: Yes. Unless … Did you swallow any meat during our fight?

HIKER 1: No! Of course I didn’t swallow meat. I’m vegan!

HIKER 3: Oh. Because (starts to fly) I definitely did.

HIKER 1: You’re dead. Fly lower so I can kill (starts to fly) … you.

HIKER 3: …

HIKER 1: Maybe. Maybe some meat did fall into my mouth.

HIKER 3: Dick.