John W Partington
Suspend disbelief - have an adventure

Blood Hunters

“Is this going to hurt?” Jessie asked.

“I promise I won’t feel a thing,” the phlebotomist made a joke. “Seriously, Miss Jayne, it’s a small prick. Is this your first time donating blood?”

“Yes,” Jessie replied.

“Don’t worry. It’s easy. I have to set up some equipment, but while I’m doing that I’ll distract you with small talk. What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a student.”

“Really? Here in town?”

“Yup. I hope to be a lawyer when I graduate.”

“So you go to an ivy league school,” the nurse sighed. “Young, pretty, smart, and rich. You hit the lottery.”

“Young, average, hard work, and a sports scholarship,” Jessie replied.

“What sport? Rowing or basketball?”


“Swimming then? You look like a swimmer.”

“Fencing,” Jessie answered.


“Yup. Fighting with a sword. I hope to make the Olympics in 2028.”

“I wish you luck,” the nurse smiled. “You’re hooked up. The blood is flowing. It should be ten to twenty minutes depending on how much you relax. If you feel faint, let us know and we’ll stop the procedure and help you. You get juice and cookies after this. Do you know your blood type?”

“No,” Jessie admitted. “That’s why the coach wanted us all to donate blood.”

“The coach wants you to know your blood type?”

“We fight with swords. They’re capped, but sometimes accidents happen. It’s best to know your blood type just in case it’s needed.”

“That’s… morbid, but you’re already a fifth of the way full and don’t look flush. Relax dear, it’ll only take a few minutes.”

Jessie waited for fifteen minutes until the bag attached to a rocking mechanism under her chair started to chime. She looked over and saw the bag full of red fluid, and felt faint.

“Whoa,” the phlebotomist eased her back into the seat by the shoulders. “Don’t bend over like that while giving blood.”

“I feel a little woozy,” Jessie admitted.

“You leaned over to take a peek. That put your head on level with your heart and you got the dizzies. Do you normally faint at the sight of blood?”

“No,” Jessie answered.

“We’re typing your blood now from the starter sample. That takes between ten and twenty minutes, so you should know by the time you’re done here. I though you might like to know sooner than the mail system gets it to you, just in case you run into a sword.”

“Thank you,” Jessie smiled. “You mentioned juice and cookies?”

“You have to sit in the rest bay for ten minutes first.” Jessie waited in a lounging chair, and then after a quarter hour was led to a small café-like lounge where there was indeed juice and cookies. She started to munch on a chocolate chip cookie when the nurse who took her blood came over and sat down beside her. The woman put a small stack of pamphlets on the table.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” the nurse said.

“Bad news about donating blood?” Jessie asked.

“Depends on your point of view,” the phlebotomist smiled reassuringly. “You’re blood type is AB negative. That’s as rare as it comes. Only one percent of the world population has AB negative. That means we’d like you to come back as often as possible to donate, but we’re not going to press the issue because the blood affects so few people it’s not worth collecting in large quantities.”

“Is that the good news?” Jessie asked.

“Yes. The bad news is that you’ll need O negative if you ever get in an accident. That’s the universal donor. Anybody can take O negative blood, especially in your case where there isn’t likely to be a supply of AB negative, or perhaps time to match.”

“So the good news is you won’t ask me to donate much and the bad news is I get screwed if hurt because I’m only a match for one percent of the world population?”

“And the seven percent O negative population. Basically, try to lead a charmed life because only eight percent of the possible donors can save you. Quite frankly, it wouldn’t be a problem if everyone who was eligible donated blood, but only about four percent of people who could donate blood do donate blood. It’s a sad state of affairs. You can go now, but please read this information,” she pointed to the pile of pamphlets. “It will provide you with after-care instructions and information about donations. Take it easy for the rest of the day, and possibly tomorrow.”

“I’ve got fencing practice tomorrow,” Jessie sighed. “Easy isn’t an option.”

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