Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blood: Dog

"Can I call you Bill?"

The question caught me off guard. For over six months I've been dutifully showing up like a cow to the barn to get my bi-weekly milking and it's always been, "William," no matter how many times I say, "Really, just call me Bill."

I didn't know what to say at first. No one had ever asked me that and I guess I'd settled into the routine of being more of a number than anything else, but over the past few months, I know I've grown on some of the staff. They seem pleased to see me when I show up with book in hand. I'm like a neighborhood dog --a familiar and safe face. I don't smell too bad and I don't bite. I also ask for a lot, don't demand attention or whine about how much money we're not getting paid.

"I hear you get more in Huntington," I hear people say. "I wish I could go there."

I have no idea. I'm not driving to Huntington --unless, of course, it's a lot of money, which it never will be.

I also listen. The milkers and the techs are a talkative bunch. They grouse about how little they get paid, about how much they don't like the new company and even how they wished they hadn't had that one more beer the night before. Some of them have, or so they say, pretty wild lives outside of their jobs. They get kicked out of bars and concerts for fighting. They go to parties that take days to recover.

Being asked if I might be called by my own name was kind of novel.

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