Doing the Right Thing–For Money

29 Aug

“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” I say, shaking my head, also scratching my head, then kissing the palm of my hand and placing it on my forehead, thus also kissing my head.

“When does your job start?” Derek asks.

“A few weeks.”

“A few weeks, eh? Could you float that long?”

Until this point, I had been gazing into the distance, looking at nothing at all. Derek’s question pulls me out of my funk. I sharply turn my gaze to Derek. “No man can float that long, Derek.” Derek looks confused. “They would sink. Unless they had a raft or friends in the sea.”

“I didn’t mean literally float,” Derek says.

“Well then say what you mean, Derek!” I smack my desk and get to my feet. “I have no time for your word games!

“Is a metaphor a word game?”

I shake my head at Derek and storm out of the room. I immediately realize that I had, in fact, stormed out of my own room. Embarrassment. Shame. Sorrow beyond measure.

I walk back in, feigning terror, and tell Derek that I just got a call from the police and that his parents had collided with a tumor and everyone had drowned and that he needs to go identify the bodies immediately (I’m terrible at fictitious disasters). He shakes his head, gets up off my bed, and walks out.

“What to do?” I ask myself. “I need money.” Then, it dawns on me. A friend of mine had sung the praises of plasma donation for some time, citing it as an easy way to make a few bucks.

I set up an appointment and go to the plasma center.

The center is sterile and cold.

I approach the desk and greet the receptionist. “Hello!” I say. “I’m here to donate.” She looks up from her desk.

“Fill this out,” she says. The receptionist is sterile and cold. She’s mad because she can’t have kids and because her face is just “eh.” [Editor’s Note: That’s unfair. You have no grounds to make claims about her fertility.] [Kyle’s Note: Maybe not, but also maybe.]

I fill out the forms and return them to the receptionist. She directs me to sit down in the waiting area, a small area on the left side of the lobby with several metal folding chairs and a coffee table with a variety of magazines fanned out on its surface.

“Mr. Irion?” the receptionist calls. I approach her desk. “We can’t take this.”

“Why not?” I ask.

“Are you serious?” She asks, placing my form before me and turning it so I can read it.

“I don’t see the problem,” I say, clearly seeing the problem(s).

“First, you wrote ‘LOL’ under one of the most important questions on the questionnaire. Secondly, your answer on question four seems to suggest that you have taken illicit drugs–which would merit a ‘yes’ response, but you didn’t mark ‘yes,’ you marked ‘no,’ made some smart-alick remark about being given drugs instead of taking them, and is that a pot leaf?”

“No?”

“What is it?”

“A picture of Jesus.”

“A picture of Jesus.”

“A picture of Jesus after he transformed into a pot leaf.”

“Okay, Mr. Irion, that’s enough,” she says, wadding up my forms and throwing them into the trash. “You can go.”

“No! Please,” I say. “Please. Just give me one more chance. I won’t fuck it up. Just give me another sheet; I’ll do it right this time.”

She looks at me for a moment with unbelieving eyes. Then, I see her ice-cold gaze melt and she reaches under the counter and hands me new, unmarked forms. I fill them out and am led to an examination room for my physical.

“All right Mr. Irion,” a portly, 40-something year old nurse tells me, putting on latex gloves. I start getting hard. “I’m going to check your blood for iron and protein levels.”

Iron levels?” I ask, trying not to respond too excitedly to her clearly referencing my now famous internet moniker.

“Yes, and protein.” I don’t understand what she’s referencing with the protein joke, but before I can ask her, she pricks my finger and steals some of my blood. She puts it in a thing and then it makes a noise and some stuff happens.

In the donation room there is row after row of reclined chairs with large machines beside them.

“Death chamber,” I say to myself. Several of the first time donors seem visibly shaken.

“Please don’t say things like that,” my nurse says as she leads me to my chair. She inserts the needle and begins the process of drawing my blood. I’m immediately greeted with the sensation of light-headedness and nausea.

“Am I going to see Jesus now?” I ask my nurse, my voice trembling. A few of the other donors around me begin to look around, their faces contorted in expressions of concern. I reach my hand out to her. She swats it away.

“Stop. You’re going to be fine. Just relax.”

“Here I come, dad. I’m coming home,” I say at just above a whisper. I begin to make a whooshing noise with my mouth, simulating my soul being whooshed up to heaven.

“Mr. Irion, stop that!” the nurse commands. “You’re disturbing the other donors.” I can hear other members of the nursing staff calming distressed patients.

“All right,” I say. I open my book on my lap and begin reading, ready to really get some quality learning done. “Hey,” I say to the man sitting next to me, six minutes later. “Do you know what they do with this stuff?” I’m leaning as close to him as possible without pulling my IV tube free.

“What?” he asks, afraid.

“I hear they drink it!”

“THAT’S IT!” a nurse screams from across the clinic.

She turns off my machine, they pay me twenty dollars and kick me out. I spend my twenty dollars on new socks and alcohol.

The End.

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