I’ve been taking the time to do some basic tending to myself, which includes stuff like blood work to check cholesterol levels and all the normal testing that goes with a tuneup, so I trudged on over to the lab and sat down to wait for my turn at bat with the guys I hate the most. The guys with needles. Eventually a tall young lab tech calls my name and directs me to the creepy place where they harpoon people. He’s readying to draw my blood but stops to stare at my scarred arm. He swabs the dark grooves to be sure it’s not dirt. “Eh, you should probably use the other arm,” I suggest. “That one’s got a lot of road rash since the crash of ’78.” The kid nods and mentions that the last patient had 15 vials taken due to complications after a bike accident and subsequent hospital stay where the lady contracted a blood disease. I ask if he’d left the poor dear any blood at all and techie’s eyes get wide and he turns animated, waving his hands around as he’s pulling on gloves.
“Actually, there are just over four liters in the human body, but you’d die before you even lost half of that.” The kid beams as he asks, “And guess where I learned that fun fact?” I ask, school when he was earning his phlebotomist degree?
“Funny, you’d think that but nope, I did not learn that in school!” He stands and raises his eyebrows in Groucho Marx fashion. “I learned that on a TV show about the differences between vampires and zombies!” He continues his oration in absolute seriousness as he pantomimes his explanation.
“They were measuring the amount of pressure a vampire uses to extract their blood needs against the way zombies would bite your jugular and cause you to bleed out,” he reaches over with a gloved hand and clamps on my neck as if biting. “Zombies actually eat your flesh, as I’m sure you know, whereas vampires just feed on your blood. That’s part of why zombies are so messy; they eat human flesh to feed the virus that turned them into a zombie to begin with. Well, that and the fact that they are literally rotting. Which is pretty gross. They’ve been around since the 700s or so; can you believe it? That’s some really badass virus. They’re not technically dead; you know that, right? An already-dead human cannot turn into a zombie since the zombie virus takes over the body, like a flu, and it turns the brain into an organ that does not need oxygen to function. That’s when the body loses all free will; it just turns into this insatiable thing that feeds on human flesh. You know there’s no cure either, right? Once you’re a zombie, that’s it; you’re toast, man. Much creepier than a vampire in my opinion. But the most interesting thing the doctor on set said was that by the time a vampire got less than two liters of your blood, you would actually be dead, so you don’t technically have to lose all your blood in order to die!” He waves his arm in an arc and follows with, “Fun facts I never knew!”
With that he reached over and deftly jabbed my arm to begin filling my scant two tubes. Mr. Cheerful continues babbling about the show before he suddenly returns to the motorcycle conversation. “So, do you still ride?” I give him the background about my job and not having a car since 2005, which shocks him. He rattles off a subsequent stream of questions before he asks what kind of bike I ride. He’s quiet as I fill in the blanks before he says he’s saving for a motorcycle, too. “It’s one of those really cool ones, like, it’s green. I can never remember all the numbers and stuff, but it’s a Kawasaki. Um… I think so, anyway… maybe it’s a different one. Like, maybe a Suzuki? Can’t remember, but it’s really fast. A friend has one and I just love the way that thing looks. It’s like… mean or something. I dunno; I just want one.” He looks to the ceiling for a second as if looking for an answer, then focuses on my puncture wound. “Yeah, it’s a Kawasaki. But by the time I get the money saved they probably won’t even be making them anymore.” I’m musing over the fact that this guy is saving greenbacks for a motorcycle he knows nothing about other than it’s green, yet he knows the entire genealogical history of zombies and the nocturnal habits of vampires.
Eventually, he takes to taping me up and sending me on my way. As I reach the door he wishes me a nice afternoon before emphatically suggesting that I keep an eye out for creepies because zombie attacks are on the rise in the valley. I thanked him for the warning but sheesh… everyone knows that vampires are a much bigger threat. Vampires ride motorcycles, look like humans and have mental telepathy! Those are the guys who always dress nice, carry on intelligent conversations and blend in at parties. I mean, you’d never know who you’re making out with until you’re already a few pints low, feeling a bit piqued and are part of the undead club. Now that’s scary.