Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > SCHROPP INVESTIGATES- Vegan Popcorn Shrimp


By Brian Schropp

“Joe-Joe, come in good buddy, this is ‘Steak and Cheeser One’ giving a shout out.”

Trucker Joe had been out in the Eastern Lankville Plains Region for weeks now, working on some sort of super secret trucking mission. Since my last article (sorry dear readers, the editors of ‘The News’ wanted me to take a small ‘mental health break’) I have done some extensive research on the so-called ‘Vegan Brothers’ and their push to corrupt the Deep Northern Suburban area with this so called ‘vegan food’. Yes, I’m sorry to say these fellas are very real. The brother’s mission you might ask? To replace any sort of real, tasty, delicious, hearty, full of fat, calorie-stuffed cuisine with their soulless, bland, vomit inducing, crud.

I was hoping Joe could be ‘my wheels’ while I checked up on a few leads I had. It seemed that he was still on that mission so I guess he was not an option.


Scott Pizzaman startled me coming out of my basement apartment’s bathroom brushing his teeth with my toothbrush. My former manager at ‘The Pizza-A-Round’, now timeless ‘pizza brother’ has a knack of being able to break into my basement apartment without my parent’s or, for that matter, my own knowledge. I never know when he will suddenly appear.

Scott saw me throw down my walkie talkie. “What’s the matter, bud?”

I explained my further investigation into the vegan situation and how I was looking for a ride. His eyes darkened when I mentioned the brothers. Scott hadn’t forgotten the near death experience we had together having a ‘vegan pizza’. Given the chaotic nature of the man’s soul I was hesitant to get him involved.

“Well Bri, you aren’t the only top notch investigator around. You know, hitting the back alleys, the dark streets, asking around about them guys. Remember that dude I was telling you about, the one who looks like you? That one who sells the shrimp?”

I remembered the blurry camera phone shot all too well. “Scott, he doesn’t look a thing like me!”

“He does!! Has that same purple shirt you always wear and those same fucked up looking glasses! Anyway, I hear he’s somehow associated with those brothers. Selling some sort of ‘vegan shrimp’. We should head over to the Deep Northern Shipyards and have a few words with this dork.”


Scott Pizzaman, my “pizza brother” for life.

My toothbrush dropped out of Scott’s mouth. “Yeah, you know, the Shipyards? The huge dock just a few miles down the road?”


“Bri, you have lived here your entire life, how didn’t you know you were right by this gigantic shipping facility which serves the whole Northern Lankville region?”

“Scott, please don’t get mad but I think I would know if this so called shipyard was even remotely around here.”

So, I would be damned if there wasn’t this mega dockyard right by me all along! It was everything you would expect in an area by the sea- ships from massive luxury liners to small wooden canoes circling each other in a tidal symphony. Seagulls blaring their own sea language. Sailors gutting mounds of fish leaving a certain rank in the air.

We pulled up to a parking area which gave a good overview of the whole yard. He pointed over to one of the piers. “There’s that dork, look!”

Off in the distance was some blundering fool pushing a cart. Even though he was some distance away, if I squinted really hard I guess he did sorta, kinda, in a very loose way, look like me.

Scott didn’t give me a long time to ponder. “You go down and talk to him. Now don’t be all wishy-washy with this joker, get on him like I would and find out about anything ‘vegan’. I’ll secure the rest of the area.”

The parking area was a good distance from this shrimp peddler. Not only was I building up a sweat getting to him but I had countless people/sailors stop and say, “hey, if you’re looking for your brother I think he’s down by the old pier.”

Shrimp salesman Bryant Shrope, who doesn’t really look like me.

I finally made my way down to him and stopped his cart’s motion with my foot. I didn’t say anything at first– just tried to stare into his eyes to get a good measure of this joker. He did have the same type of glasses as me for some reason, lenses which darken with sunlight so it made this task a tad difficult. He generally gave off a slow, not really with it, kind of vibe. In the whole time during this silent ‘showdown’ he just looked at me blankly without saying a word. I guess it would be me who would start.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?!!”

“Uh, selling shrimp.”

“Oh really,” I replied, keeping my foot on the cart. Looking at the side of this slightly rusted contraption, it bore the logo ‘Quick ‘N’ Tasty Seafood Stall’.

“Quick and tasty, huh? What’s your name?”

“Bryant Shrope.”


“So I hear from certain sources that you’re selling vegan shrimp.”


“You heard me, vegan shrimp, is it true?”

“I’m selling Popcorn shrimp.”

“Vegan Popcorn shrimp?”

This idiot had the nerve to laugh at me! “Shrimp can’t be vegan.”

“What?!! Is there something mentally wrong with you?!”

“It just can’t, I mean, it’s shrimp, you know?”

I knocked some cocktail sauce bottles off his cart. “Listen Mr. Smartmouth, I’m not going to stand here and play games. You are going to tell me who gave you this shrimp.”


“Excuse me? Do you know who I am?”

Delicious popcorn shrimp (file photo).


“Brian Schropp with The Lankville Daily News.”

“Oh, that paper interviewed me once.”

“Does it look like I care?!! I’m an investigating reporter who specializes in real cuisine.”

“Craig might have heard of you.”

“Who’s that?”

“My friend who gives me the shrimp.”

“Is his last name Vegan?”

The clueless joker laughed at me again.

“What’s so funny about that?!”

“Sounds like a stupid last name.”

I was about to try and get full ‘Scott mode’ on this poor soul but fate had other plans.

“Bri-Bri, where are you?!!”

It was Scott somewhere further in the yards. I couldn’t help but notice a slight nervousness in his voice.

I pointed at this ‘Bryant Shrope’. “Don’t go too far, I’m not done with you yet!”

“Hey, do you like video games? Do you want to be my friend?”

I had no time for this foolishness. I turned to find Scott, thought for a second, then turned back around.

“So, popcorn shrimp really isn’t vegan?”


I took one of his red and white striped cardboard containers and scooped out a generous helping. “This is on the house if you know what I mean. Remember, I got my eye on you!”


The dastardly Vegan Brothers.

Off I went popping popcorn shrimp in my mouth to pick up some strength. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due, this ‘Craig’s’ deep frying skills with shrimp was on point.

Scott kept calling for me but it was hard to find him in the hustle and bustle of this crowded area of the shipyard. I was able to pinpoint his location by a crowd which gathered around looking up at something. Following their fingertips I gazed on a sight which I thought I would never see.

Scott Pizzaman was duct-taped high on a pole, his arms and legs tangling wildly. “Bri, for Christ’s sake put down that Popcorn shrimp and get me down from here before they get away!!”

I heard laughter coming from the water and turned to see a group of twenty something douchebags speeding away on a small motorboat. They were all smiles, high fiving each other. I knew in my gut who these ‘brothers’ were.

It was a long process getting Scott down. Someone was nice enough to let me use a bunch of cardboard boxes and a really rusted knife. I built a wobbling tower and slowly cut through the tape. It didn’t help that Scott kept flinging around like a rabid mongoose caught in a trap.

Once down, the small motorboat was just a tiny flicker in the sea. This didn’t stop Scott from throwing random dock related objects in the water in some vain attempt to hit them. They also left their ‘calling card’ right by where their boat was docked. It was a tray of vegan cupcakes with a note which read, “With Love, The Vegan Brothers.” Scott kicked the tray full force into the water bouncing off the hull of a passing ‘Lankville O’s’ freight ship.

He turned to me and I saw it all in his eyes, in this war that was brewing between what was right with food and what was vegan, we had lost another battle.

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