Trick or Treat

October 31, 2014 at 2:39 am (Uncategorized)

Let me introduce myself. I am Momolu Bassa, recently returned from a trip to Liberia, the place of my birth. I am a respected doctor in my homeland, and was treating many of my fellow countrymen who are faced with the horrible scourge of the Ebola virus. It is a horrible disease. Very bad. Much vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from many places. For those who could afford my services, I gave them the best treatment possible, and I can proudly say my success rate 50%.

I returned to America where I have my other home, to gather supplies before I make my next return trip to Liberia. Luckily I was not held up at the airport in New Jersey, since I used my other passport from Togo and with the correct amount of persuasion (i.e. dollars) I was able to alter my trip origin. Ah the stupid woman who wanted to take my temperature. What I did to her with my silent curse, she will be feeling my wrath tonight.

But back here in America, I face another scourge. My beautiful green lawn, emerald green from hundreds of hours of labor from my indentured groundskeepers, is again facing an onslaught from hordes of tiny witches and goblins and Captain Americas.

Witches! What do they know of witches? I have been a revered witch doctor for many decades. I have helped in many births, circumcised many females, cured horrible diseases like cancer and diabetes. Families bring their aged loved ones with Alzheimer’s for my blessings. My spells can easily defeat tuberculosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and I was doing very well against smallpox before the white man came with all their needles and serums and vaccines, thank-you very much.

So for these brazen little scourges to show up and try to mimic a witch, before me, a true witch doctor of the African wild. How scurrilous! How indiscreet! How outrageous! How dubious! And then to trample my beautiful green grass while coming to my door to beg for candy treats? How inconsiderate! How ignoble. How unfortunate for those stupid little creatures.

This year I would be ready for them.

First, I have received a bountiful supply of dried monkey bellies that I have ground up mixed into the Riced Krispies treats that I had my cook bake up. Last year the pigeon head cookies did not go over very well, but I researched the solution on the Googles, and found they love this concoction. And of course, anyone worth their gold dust knows what dried monkey bellies do to the intestines of children under the age of twelve, especially when you add copious amounts of iodine and shavings of steel wool.

And for those that stray off the paved path that Americans call a sidewalk, bypassing my residence, and trample the edges of my lawn down by the street, I have imported some vampire bats through my Chinese connections. Yes, the same generous people who buy my rhino horn powder and send me such beautiful ivory carvings packed in those boxes marked kidney donor biological material, where they get these bats beats me. But they swoop down from the trees and take such a quick bite, those little brats know not what hit them, as they run screaming down the street and hopefully into traffic.

But the best I save for last. Blow darts that I give to my pool boy to shoot at anyone that tries to perform a “trick.” Granted, last year’s machete hacking of the boy who TP’ed my mango tree was a little extreme, but his end came quickly and he was disposed of so well down the New Jersey sewer system where I swear they have alligators to eat the evidence. The blow darts will be filled with paralyzing venom from the salamandrid salamander. And the bodies will be carefully petrified into shrunken head dolls and shipped to New Orleans where I get a very good price indeed.

And so the doorbell rings for my first visitor. I grab the tray of cookies from the evening cook and after the butler opens the door and backs away, I bow down low, eyeing their shoes for any signs of grass stains or mud, and unleash my most brilliant smile to greet the-

“Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give us something good to eat!”

Oh. Iron man, a teenage mutant ninja turtle, and a nine year old girl dressed as a whore.

“Greetings young ones,” I say to them, and bow down again to offer my tray of treats.

“What’s that?”

“Riced Krispie treats.”

“Gross. They’re not even in baggies. Who touched them?” asked the little slut who had a Monster Girlz tag hanging from her pink haired wig.

“Why no one-”

“Screw that. You got any Milky Ways or Snickers?” asks Iron Man whose costume is clearly a cheap knock-off from Wal-Mart.

“No. Take these and leave,” I inform them sternly.

“No thank-you,” the turtle creature says, and the three turn and flee back down the main path.

Damn these hell spawn. Luckily for them they did not step on my lawn, as the pool boy and I make eye contact.

Later more of these creatures come. Lady bugs. Ninjas. Wonder woman. Princesses. One older boy was dressed as a doctor suffering from Ebola. I kindly pointed out how incorrectly blood flow from the eyes and ears was depicted. And he didn’t even thank me. And the vomit stains? Where were the vomit stains? After he eats my treats, he will soon be self-educated.

Finally the last trick-or-treater arrived. A young black girl in a very adorable witches costume. Unusual for this upscale New Jersey suburb. I was taken aback by her beauty and shiny ebony skin. I looked up and saw no adults or other children accompanying her. Ah, this one would be mine.

“Come in, come in,” I ushered her inside, taking her forcibly by the arm and dragging her in. She would make a fine attendant in the upstairs bath. “Come, you can have all the leftover candy and treats.”

She walked forward into the foyer, turned, and pointed her wand at me. What a cute little witch.

“You are a bad man!” she declared loudly.

How adorable. “Yes my little dear, I’ll show you how bad your uncle can be.”

I heard the door open behind me and I turned to look and heard a sudden loud whoosh. Then a sting in my neck. It was the pool boy. He stared at me and I back at him.

What the hell was he doing here? I hadn’t dismissed him from guard duty yet. I was about to protest loudly and dock his salary for the day, when I realized my lips and mouth wouldn’t move. And walking up beside him were the butler and the upstairs maid, the evening cook and the morning cook, and the downstairs maid with her whip marks from this morning still on her face and arms. What were they all doing here? Then I saw the little witch walk up and my butler placed his arms on her shoulders.

“Yes my little Senje. He is a very bad man. Come Sundaygar,” he said to the pool boy, “help me carry him to the basement. We will send his shrunken head back to Liberia and collect a king’s ransom.”

“Trick or treat!” he said to me winking, and taking a bite of a Riced Krispies treat.

***

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Dirt Poor, Filthy Rich

July 21, 2011 at 4:27 am (Uncategorized)

“Is there water here?” Nadif asked the man.

The man snorted without looking up.  He was counting money in a large bundle.  After he was satisfied with his totals, he banded the money and slipped it into a pocket that bulged from his pants.  “Of course we have water.  See that line over there?  Why do you think those people are standing there?  Because they like standing in the sun?  Stupid man, go away, don’t bother me.”

“But we need water.  My daughter is sick.  The last bit of water we had we finished yesterday.  A man said we could find water here. ”

“Stupid man,” the large, heavy set man replied, clearly not suffering from any famine or shortage of food as his waistline showed.  “Can’t you read the sign?  One gallon, one dollar.  You pay me, I give you a ticket and you go stand in line for your turn.  But you have to have your own plastic bottle.  Hakeem over there is selling plastic milk bottles if you don’t have a bottle.  And buckets are not allowed.”

Nadif looked over to the sign that the man was pointing at.  “No, I cannot read.  I am a farmer.”  He paused.  “I was a farmer.  And then the rains stopped.  The crops died.  All of the animals died.  And now my daughter is dying.  And I have no money.”

“Not my problem,” he chortled.  The UN trucks have free water in Kenya, but here in Somalia, you pay, or you don’t drink my well water.”

Nadif’s shoulders slumped, as if they could slump any further on a dejected and broken man.  “Please good sir?  Just a cup for my daughter?  She can’t make the trip to Kenya without some water.  We will go in that direction, but it will take days.”

The man looked down at Nadif with disinterested eyes.  “Then make your way now for Kenya before she dies.  And if she does die, make sure you bury her like a good Muslim, and don’t leave her by the side of the road to stink up the place like the others have.  The buzzards are so full they are letting the bodies rot.”

“Now get out of here stupid man.  You’re bad for business.  This isn’t the line for dirt poor farmers like you.  You want water?  You should have gone to the coast, joined the pirates, lots of water there, a whole ocean of it. Lots of money to be made hijacking ships of the filthy rich people.  They pay through the nose to get their boats and people back.  You should see the pirates when they come through here on their Land Rovers.  They buy all my water and even buy some cows.  Ah, that’s the life.  Now scat.  Stupid man.”

Nadif turned away, and walked slowly back down the road to where he had left his wife in a lean to with his daughter and son.   It took more than two hours, and when he finally arrived back, his little boy Taban ran to greet him and hugged his leg fiercely.  Nadif patted his head and tried to pull him up to give him a hug, but Taban gripped him with a crushing hold like a lion holds the throat of a gazelle.  “What Taban, what is it?  Let go, let me go, I need to go talk to your mother and sister.”

Finally Nadif was able to pry the little boy off.  His son was frail and thin and could only sustain that grip for so long.  Ribs stuck out along his chest from the lack of food the past three months.  Free of Taban, Nadif approached his wife and saw the white cocoon.  Two other women refugees from their village sat with his wife and were rocking back and forth and chanting.  Nadif’s heart sank immediately.

His wife Ayanna didn’t even look up as his shadow covered her.  “If you brought water, give it to Taban.  Amina has no need of it.  She is with the Prophet.”

Nadif dropped to his knees in anguish.  He grabbed handfuls of dirt and cried silently. He knew this moment was coming, but it was hard anyway.  He would have shed tears as well, but for obvious reasons his face was dry.  Sadly he looked at the white sheet his daughter was wrapped in.

“I have no water,” he said with a parched throat.  “They want a dollar.  I don’t know what a dollar is, but I think it is some kind of money.  We have no money.”

“And you have no daughter now either,” she said bitterly.  The other two women moaned even louder their prayers.

“They say there are refugee camps in Kenya.  The UN people have food and water, and they have Doctors Without Borders come there to help the sick.  They are too afraid to come into Somalia because of the warlords.”

“Damn the warlords!” his wife cried out in anguish.  “Damn the UN and the Doctors and the filthy rich who want dullers for water that god gives us for free.  Damn them all to hell.”  And she too began to rock back and forth next to her daughter with violent abandon.

Nadif said nothing.  He just caressed the feet of his lost daughter, the joy of his life.  And now the joy had gone out of his life.  He looked over at his son who was playing in the dirt, stirring circles in it with his bony fingers.

He made up his mind.  Tomorrow they would go to Kenya, follow the others in their slow trek to find help.  Tomorrow they would start the journey to find this UN and their doctors.  They would find those kind enough to help with food and water and did not ask for dollars in return.  He would do it for his son.  But tonight they would pray and bury his Amina in the same dirt that Taban played with.

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The Androgynous Phlebotomist and more

November 13, 2010 at 3:44 am (Uncategorized)

 

“Hi, I need to have a-“

“Can I see your insurance card?” she cut him off.

“…blood test,” his voice trailed off meekly.

William hesitated, and then looked down as he retrieved his wallet from his back pocket, breaking eye contact with the woman behind the glass window.  She hadn’t let him finish his sentence, and he thought that very rude.  He was nervous since he had several questions he wanted to ask first, but, that look in her eye said, don’t mess with me.  So he meekly acquiesced and pulled out his wallet.  Flipping through credit cards and other grocery store cards, he thumbed for the distinctive blue and white card, taking a while to find it.  It then occurred to him in the pause for searching to seize this same opportunity to continue with his important question.

“The doctor said I needed to fast for 12 hours before this test, and-“

“Did you?” she again cut him off.

Startled, he looked up at her through the sliding glass window, trying to focus through greasy finger prints and nose impressions.  It made her face look pale and slightly… umm, grotesquely misshapen.  He figured it was just an optical illusion.  Or a nasty birth defect.

“Umm, yes, sort of, you see-“

“You either did or you didn’t.  Have you eaten anything in the last 12 hours?” she rebuked him sharply.

Wow, what a- William cut off his own thought, biting the proverbial tongue.  He was a polite kind of person, he scolded himself.  He wouldn’t say the “B” word out loud or even think it unless absolutely necessary.

“Well, it’s 11:30 right now,” he continued with new found persistence, “and last night I had a glass of red wine about 11:00, but I didn’t finish it.  And then as I went to bed after midnight, I drained the last sip from the wine glass before I put it in the kitchen sink.  That shouldn’t matter, should it?”

She looked back at him with her mouth slightly ajar like he was an idiot.  She shook her head, or more like shuddered, and looked away.

“I don’t know,” she muttered to the papers on her desk,. “Ask the technician when you get back there. But it may be a half hour or more before you get in, so it probably won’t matter then anyways.  Can I see you card?”  She looked back up at him, realizing he had not yet complied with the or original demand.

William handed her his insurance card that he had finally located, and she spun in one motion in her swivel chair and rolled to the copier machine, lifted the lid, slapped the card down, dropped the lid, and hit the copy button, all in one motion.  She lifted the lid and flipped the card, repeating the motion while copying the backside of the card.  This was clearly a skill borne of thousands of insurance cards getting bathed in green light.  She was good, he thought to himself.  He’d have to be careful around her.

She slipped the card out and handed it back to him.

“Wait!” she barked, stopping him midstep as he was about to walk away to the chairs in the waiting area.  He obeyed and froze in place.  The “B” was starting to form on his lips.  He glued his tongue to the roof of his mouth in restraint.

She handed him a clipboard with a bevy of forms, and a pen on top.  “I need you to fill these outs, and please sign everywhere I marked with a red X.  Got that?”

He met her eyes and was dying to say it.  Instead he deferred to a simple, “Sure.”  He took the clipboard and went to sit down.

“Wait! Do you have you blood work order?”

“Yes.”  He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the three part perforated edge form and handed it to her as well.

“Okay,” she said after giving the work order a cursory scan, “go ahead and fill that out and please make sure you return my pen.  It’s the last one left this morning.”

He looked back at her but she was already staring down at the papers on her desk.  He mouthed the “B” and added a silent itch, turned, and went to sit down.

God, he hated these forms.  Every medical office he ever went to required they be filled out.  In the age of computers and the Internet, you would think they would have his medical records online somewhere and same him the repetitive fatigue.  But no, pen and paper every visit.  This was possibly the only reason he still knew how to write longhand, not that it was legible in any way.

Fifteen minutes later he had finished filling out the forms.  He had gotten up to ask her one question about previous surgeries, but she brushed him off, saying, “Don’t worry about it, nobody ever reads these things anyway.  It’s the insurance companies that require them.”  Again he had a need to itch.

He finally returned the clipboard, and the pen, which he had added teeth marks to, and left them on the window sill.

She took it like it was the greatest annoyance to her day, and said, “They’ll call you when they’re ready for you.”

With that he sat down to another round of ignonimity.

After about ten minutes he heard a door next to her office open.  He saw a long, slender arm reach in and take the clipboard off of the wall where the receptionist had placed it after transposing everything onto her ancient CRT screen.  Now another door opened and a tall, lanky… something or other stood there reading his recently filled out forms.  Christ, he couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman.  It was tall, thin, no breasts, but there were flat chested women, he mused.  The hair style was short, but women wore that as well as men.  He couldn’t describe her- or him, as anything but androgynous.  He waited for it to speak to make his decision on the sex.

“Mr. uhh, a…”

Whoa, no clue there either.  The voice was slightly high pitched, but it could be an effeminate male or a butch female.  Wow, he had never been so confused about someone’s gender.

William stood up. “Klopitz? Yes? That’s me.”  Of course being the only male in the waiting area precluded he was the mister it was referring to, but what was she or he? A Mister or a Ms.?  It hard a sharp chin and bony arms and very pale skin.

“Hi, I’m Terry,” it reached out its arm to shake as he approached.

Ooh, total limp spaghetti William thought as his hand took the cold skinned appendage.  Still no clue, though he was now leaning toward a woman.  But no makeup. Well, it could be a woman who just likes the natural look.

“Hi,” William replied, smiling.  The eyebrows were natural, not plucked, but still thin.

“Won’t you come back with me?” It turned and William followed.  He checked out the gait… no, nothing there.  No booty shimmy but not exactly powerful strides either.

“Um, I have a question,” William cut in.

“Okay,” it replied over it’s shoulder, the voice slightly sing song.

“I’m supposed to have fasted for 12 hours before this blood test, and it’s not quire noon, but I had a sip of wine a little after midnight.  Unintentionally, I just forgot.  Is that a problem?  Do I need to wait a little longer?”

She- no, it, turned to regard him.

“What kind of wine was it?” it asked.

Startled by the question, he tried to think back to last night.  They had opened a new bottle for dinner, but his wife had only had one glass, he had two, but then he kept drinking as he later surfed the Internet, and then had that one last glass before going to bed, forgetting about this blood test this morning.

“I think it was a Merlot.  My wife had bought it, so I’m not one hundred per cent sure.”

“A Merlot, so it was a red.  Do you know from where?  California?  France?  New York? Chile?  South Australia?”

He was startled.  Did different countries use different additives?

“Umm, I think it was Californian.  I think Ravenswood was the winery.  Yeah, I believe I remember a black raven on the label.”

“Ah,” it gave a knowing nod.  “Do you know the vintage?  The year of the wine?”

William was taken aback.  Geez, he had no idea… wait! “Yes, yes, now I remember, 2007, I was thinking about how we had gone to California to visit in 2007 and I must have been there when the grapes were probably being picked.”

“And how would you rate it on a scale of one to ten?”

That was an odd question, he thought. He shrugged his shoulders. “Mmm, it was excellent.  I’d give it a ten.  That’s why I wanted to finish the bottle.  So, could the wine skew the results of my blood test?”

“Oh no, your blood test will be fine, actually better than normal. I was just thinking of picking up a bottle on my way home tonight because otherwise I would go crazy wondering what you had.  Thanks.  Now follow me.”

It chucked and William had to think for a second about what it had said.  Oh geez, what an idiot he was.  He finally released a belated chuckle as well.  “You had me there.”  She/he/it was a kidder.  He was just too uptight about these things and needed to relax.

They entered the lab room which was fairly small with all of the typical appointments of a medical technicians room.  Blood pressure cusp and stethoscope hanging on the wall.  Jars of cotton balls and test tubes and other medical implements.  He looked around for a purse or other accessory that might give away the sex.  But he couldn’t locate any personal items.  It was wearing a lab coat over pants, the shoes were unisex sneakers and fairly small.  He was now leaning toward a woman, though pink would have been a gimme.  White told him nothing.

She motioned him to sit down in a large green lab chair with padded armrests.  Or it did.  Had he decided for sure it was a she?

“Have you given blood before Mr. Klopitz?  Or can I just call you William?”

“Um, yes.”

She paused.  “Is that a yes to William or given blood?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said sitting down.  He had been distracted by the dark curtains on the windows, and he realized the walls were a dark crimson color on the far side.  Very odd color choice for a medical office. “No, William is fine and no, I haven’t given blood before.”

“Good, so you’ve got a full tank, and won’t miss a small donation to our laboratory.”

He looked at her, and noticed a slight crimson mote in her left eye.  And jet black pupils that looked dilated.  “Yes, I’m full, but you’re not going to take that much are you?”

“Oh no,” she laughed, “we’ll leave you with plenty.”

Wait, he thought, that laugh was rather deep and throaty.  Maybe it was a he after all.  Damn, he was so confused.  Was that an Adam’s apple, or just a lump in the throat? Should he just ask?  Or was there some kind of generic question he could ask that would give away the gender?  How ’bout them Cowboys?  No, they sucked this year. He couldn’t think of a good one off the top of his head.

While he/she/it busied itself with getting a variety of test tubes, a syringe, and other accessories, William looked around.  There was an office desk with a plush, red velvet chair.  That was odd, for a medical technician.  On the desk, which was quite clean and orderly compared to the one the receptionist had, were some strange objects he couldn’t guess the purpose of.  Hanging from the door was a long, black lab coat.  Or, no, that wasn’t a coat.  What was that?  An x-ray apron?  It looked more like a cape.

He suddenly realized it was staring deep into his eyes.

“Oh, I’m sorry, uh,” William volunteered, startled again, “which arm are you going to use?”

“I was wondering what you were so intently staring at?  You were lost deep in thought,” it said to him.

Woman.  It’s got to be a woman.  Men don’t do deep soul searching looks.

“Oh, nothing,” William shrugged his shoulders.  “You just have some strange contraptions on your desk.  Are those some kind of historical medical pieces?”

It smiled.  “Why yes, yes they are.  Back in the 19th century, most medical professionals still thought the way to cure a human was to bleed them, to let the bad essences out of the body.  Silly idea, such a waste of precious bodily fluids.  Those are blood letting instruments.  Being a phlebotomist, I thought it was neat to posses some of the historical tools of my craft.  Don’t you agree?”

Gadget freak.  Okay, it’s got to be a guy.

“Oh, uh yeah, sounds cool.”

It walked over to the desk and retrieved one of them.  It looked something like a bear trap with sharp serrated teeth and a circular cage, too small to place a normal head in.  Perhaps a child’s head?

“This was a very unusual device.  This was actually placed on a woman’s breast, and then a spring mechanism would release a small razor sharp blade on the underside, slicing the skin effortlessly, where blood would be withdrawn and captured in this tiny culvert which the physician could then inspect.  The incision was made beneath the breast, thus hiding the cut and any possible scar, since having visible cut marks was very unfashionable in Victorian times.”

It placed it’s fist in the device and then pulled a lever.  A blade flicked out beneath just missing the fist.  William flinched.

“Not to worry, I knew that would happen,” it said, “so I kept my fist higher up.  Usually the breast would sag into the chamber.  Wouldn’t want to cut myself.”

“Wow, luckily I don’t have breasts,” William joked.  But that certainly was creepy.

“Yes, luckily you don’t have breasts, so we won’t be using this today.  Instead we’ll be using a syringe and a needle.”  It smiled.

Whoa, William thought, it’s getting creepier and creepier in here.  Okay, from now on he would refer to it as Terry.  So much for trying to guess the sex of this androgynous phlebotomist.

Terry instructed William to make a fist and squeeze on one of those squishy gel filled balls at the same time.  He couldn’t help but think how it reminded him a bit of a soft breast.  At this moment not a very sexy thought. And Terry struck him as possibly a creepy kind of sadomasochistic person.  Breast slicer indeed.

William made the fist with the quasi boob while Terry prepped his arm with alcohol and then tied a rubbed cord around his upper arm.

“Mmm, what nice veins you have.  So big.  Makes my job easier.  I could find these in the dark.”

William said nothing.

“Okay, this is going to sting just a bit.”  The needle slid in, and William was about to wince, but he didn’t feel a thing.

“Hmm, no, no pain at all,” he informed Terry.

But Terry’s mind was elsewhere as it pulled the syringe stopper out and inserted a plastic tube.  Slowly blood filled the tube.  “Nice, that is so nice.  I never tire of seeing a good… blood letting.”  It looked up at William.  “That’s just my job.  I just enjoy when it goes well.”

“Well, I’m glad too.  Wouldn’t want to bleed all over the place.”

“Oh my no, we wouldn’t want that.  I wouldn’t be able to contain myself.  So, you’re being tested for a variety of things, so I have to take several tubes.  You can relax the fist now,” it said, removing the rubber tube.  “Just relax,” it said as the tube filled, and Terry pulled it out and inserted another one in it’s place at the base of the syringe and the new tube began to slowly fill.  Terry then took the first tube and placed a stopper on it and began to label the blood sample, holding it up to the light and admiring the dark crimson liquid.  “Nice,” it said.

Creepy, William almost said out loud.  Enjoying your work is one thing, but this was just-

“Now you just relax, close your eyes, and it will go quicker if you remain calm,” Terry said, placing a hand on William’s shoulder.  Sounds like a girl, William thought to himself.

William took the advice and relaxed back into the cushioned chair back, even closing his eyes.  He suddenly realized music was playing in the background, kind of like elevator music, soothing classical strains that really did help him relax. He could feel Terry pulling out the second tube and inserting another one.  William felt at ease, relaxed, and…

Suddenly William opened his eyes, and saw the top of Terry’s head barely above his arm.  William went rigid.  And Terry suddenly lifted it’s head and met his eyes with a big smile.

“All done!  Oh, don’t look so frightened, I was just inspecting the needle marks up close to make sure they were closed up.  I placed a band-aid over them.  They should heal nicely.”

“Marks?  There was more than one?”

“Yes, the first needle was draining too slowly, so I removed it and inserted a second one and that went much faster.  Don’t you remember?  I explained it all to you.  You were rather quiet.  Did you doze off?”

“I- I don’t remember, I must have.”  William looked down and saw four small tubes of his blood in the tray rack.  Had it taken that long? He looked back up at Terry and- Terry had just licked his lips.  That red splotch, was that-

“You’re all done now.  Ready to go?”

William nodded his head yes.  This was so eerie.  He went to stand up but almost lost his balance.  Vertigo rushed in and made him swoon. Terry grabbed hold of him by the arm and held him up.  Whoa again.  Gone was the limp spaghetti handshake person and now a powerful grip kept him from falling.

“Are you feeling dizzy?  I didn’t take that much blood.  Just a little, see?” Suddenly Terry let out a small burp.  “Oh, excuse me. Let’s walk out together to the reception room.  Maybe you’re having a bit of a feinting spell at the sight of blood.  It’s very common.”

“No, I’ve seen blood before.  I’m not normally bothered by it.  But wow, I sure do feel light headed.”

“Feint and dizzy? It’s common.  Happens all the time,” Terry said.  “You’ll be fine.  Probably skipping lunch has drained you.  Your body will replenish this in no time.  Stop somewhere on the way home and get some lunch.  And eat lots of red meat.  Hamburger, roast beef, anything like that.  You’ll be fine in no time.”

“Okay.”  William was amazed at how lightheaded he felt, but the two of them slowly made it out to the reception room without William embarrassing himself and falling down.  Gradually he was feeling a little more steady on his feet, but sitting down in the car would be a welcome respite when he got there from being in this creepy office.  “Okay, so you’ll send the results to my doctor?”

“Yes, we’ll take care of everything.  And you take care too.”

“Okay, good-bye,” William said, trying to shake the cobwebs out of his head, walking out the door.  God was he glad to be out of there.  Too creepy.

“Oh, and Mr. Klopitz,” Terry called behind him as the door was swinging shut. “Excellent choice of wine.”  For a moment there, William thought he saw Terry lick it’s lips.

William said nothing as the door slammed shut.

 

***

 

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