Friday, September 17, 2010

Blood: Needle Games

Jackie, the screener, lanced my fingertip then squeezed the tip. Droplets of blood squirted across the table and at first, I thought, "Jesus, woman. Did you nick and artery?" But as far as I know, and I have not bothered to check, there is no artery in the tip of your ring finger.

Jackie laughed nervously, then began swabbing up the excess blood.

"Looks like you've really been drinking your fluids." As if he squeezing my finger like a pimple had nothing to do with the jet of blood flying across the desk.

She smiled.

"Good thing none of this got on your file. We'd have had to reprint all of that and that would have taken some time."

Her concern was touching.

She marched me through the process and checked my arms for track marks.

"Do you get a lot of people here who use?" I asked.

Jackie's face darkened. She nodded.

"Needles, here?" I asked. It seemed unlikely. Recreational needle use of any kind is frowned upon here, along with gay sodomy (fine, if you're a couple of lesbians doing it), sex for money, and several diseases including, interestingly enough, Mad Cow Disease.

Jackie said, "We see all kinds of people who use all kinds of drugs."

"I can't fathom using needles," I told her, which is true. Half the time now, the initial puncture into my arm hurts, probably because of the scar tissue build up. That doesn't strike me as fun, but lots of things other people don't strike me as fun --watching American Idol for instance doesn't sound like fun, but then I thought, what if I sounded "needle friendly."

"But I've got a couple of close friends who've used," I said and she looked up. "Or they used to. One friend, she used to, you know, use needles."

Jackie looked at me suspiciously.

"What did she use?"

I had no idea. I was making this shit up.

"Oh, everything," I said and she laughed. I was talking out of my ass.

"Yeah, well, I hope she stops," Jackie told me. "It's no good."

Yeah, whatever, and decided I'd try to make up a friend who had Mad Cow Disease.

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