Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blood: Kevin Bacon

"You," the blond technician (milker) said. "If you're going to sleep, we'll just send you home now with five bucks."

The dozing kid with the shaved head opened his eyes slowly, blinked and nodded in her general direction. His facial expression was slack and he moved as if drugged, but I couldn't say what he might have been on.

He woke up just enough to satisfy the blond milker for the moment then he seemed to quietly drift back under. Nobody said anything to him again. He was still asleep when he filled his bottle.

It was a busy morning. There were a couple of rows of clients (bleeders) and a couple of the milkers were buzzing around like June bugs. A Kevin Bacon movie was playing on one of the plasma screen televisions hanging on the wall and the blond milker was entirely engrossed. She didn't know the name of it.

"I want to rent this one," she said.

It wasn't one of the old, happy-go-lucky Kevin Bacon movies. There was no dancing, no riding around on a bicycle, no fighting giant sand worms. It was a more recent, darker, vengeful Kevin Bacon movie where he's trying to kill drug lords, criminals or maybe just black people wearing sunglasses.

It wasn't entirely clear and the sound was turned down low. I couldn't make out what the hell was going on except Kevin wanted to kill people.

The blond milker watched and went from station to station, plugging the bleeders into the machines.

"Oh shit," I thought. "She's going to stick me."

Generally speaking, I like to bleed fast and get it over with, but I prefer for the milkers to take their time with setting up to draw the blood. I got hurt a few weeks ago after one of them jammed the needle into my arm without apparently giving a shit.

Sure enough, she rushed. She put the cuff around my arm, but didn't ask me to make a fist, didn't really even look at the veins in my arm. Instead she found the puckered, pink scar that appears to be forming in the soft flesh of my inner elbow (my permanent memento), looked down quickly and pushed the needle through.

She barely missed any of the exciting drama taking place just a few feet away on the flat screen.

It hurt, but the stick was clean. The tube started to fill and the machine did its work.

Meanwhile, across from me, Micky was having trouble. His stick hadn't been so clean. It was going slowly. He complained and eventually someone came over and adjusted his needle while Kevin Bacon met some man and told him he wanted to buy some guns.

Finally, I finished and Jo, the young milker who rescued me the one time the needle had been stuck incorrectly, looked over and said, "I'll get you loose in just a second."

She finished unplugging another bleeder then did the same to me, shaking her head.

"It's like I'm the only one working over here today."

Evidently, she's not a Kevin Bacon fan.

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