Monday, August 23, 2010

Blood: Gray

"So, are you going to yell at me?"

It was a threat and a challenge, but I had no intention of yelling at her.

She was standing on the other side of the pay window, where we go to collect our checks after the milkers get our plasma. On the counter next to her was a little basket, containing my donor folder and a tall, plastic container, about the size of a sports bottle, full of dirty-looking, amber liquid. The liquid was me or had been. This was my essence rendered into raw form.

"Who is yelling at you?" I asked.

"Everybody," she said and shook her head.

She was young, perky and cute in a pixie-ish kind of way. In a distant life, she might have been a junior varsity cheerleader.

"I'm not going to yell at you," I told her. "Why would I want to?"

"They do it," she complained. "They take it out on me. They think it's OK."

Evidently, it is against the rules for the milkers to yell back at the bleeders, though I'd been not more than twenty feet from this window. I didn't recall anybody raising their voice, but of course, I hadn't been paying a lot of attention. There was a shitty basketball movie playing on the big screens about a kid with magic Michael Jordan shoes and I had a book besides, but I hadn't heard any shouting.

"If my boyfriend did that," she said and shook her head. "He knows better."

I nodded, having no idea what that had to do with anything.

She verified my name and donor information then scrawled out a check. Usually, the machine prints them out. She pushed it across the counter and I looked at it.

"Is the printer down?"

She scowled. I had better not start.

I shrugged. Whatever. As long as the bank takes it.

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