What is This?

About six months ago, the tunnel courier delivered to me a series of "comedies" written by Ephraim P. Noble from 1968-1974. Maybe there is an older meaning to the word "comedies" that I'm not familiar with, because they seem nothing like comedies to me. In any case, I have scanned the covers of each of these very short stories, and hope to post them here on a regular basis.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Blood Machine

"The Blood Machine"

The nurse who took my blood was a maniac. I won’t say vampire, though I suspected it at the time. A hot May night, 1972. A crushing accident on a bend-in-the-river-road. Her hands were cold. She was taking my blood against my will. I had been thrown clear, loaded into an ambulance with hippie drivers, and was still in a gurney, being pushed down a hospital corridor, stinking of formaldehyde, the overhead hallway lights speeding my like highway lights.

“I’ve already lost blood, don’t take any more,” I tried to say to the nurse, but the words fell out of my mouth like rotten fruit. The instrument she used to take my blood, it didn’t look modern. It was a small glass ball. Like from a museum of medical devices. She inserted a hot glass tube into my arm. It was thin like a tiny straw, and it filled up with red, and then squirted into the glass ball.

She continued this it seemed for miles of hallway. The glass globe took forever to fill with my blood.

“My God, how much do you want!” I said. She smiled and rubbed my forehead with her cool hand. I was sure she would kill me before we reached the room or wherever it was we were going. There seemed to be no other people or voices. I could not turn my head to see who pushed the gurney. The hallways narrowed and widened. They lasted for miles.

The hospital glowed in white, then in green. There were paintings of trees on the wall, like a children’s ward or a forest. I smelled pine. The chirping of distant frogs. The nurse with my blood disappeared. The person pushing my gurney went away. I struggled free of the restraints and sat up.

They had taken care of me; they had saved me. I could walk.

As for my stolen blood?

I would make more.