A Summer at Shiloh Grove (Part 5)

With one more admonition that it was okay to turn back now - although he would always be considered under confidence - Brother V agreed to give some blood. After all, he was going to be a server in the restaurant and such a position gave no leave time for the scientific backwoods with which Dr. Brum concerned himself. 

Brum had an exceedingly wide array of interests. People in the international community who criticized him had usually only seen one video or heard one sound clip on a subject with which they were passionate about but disagreed with his take on. Such people then assumed Dr. Brum to be the greatest scoundrel who ever lived. Had they heard his take on any number of other subjects previously, however, he may have endeared himself to them. The complexity of the individual was his specialty, and not whatever subject he had off-the-cuff answered a question about that happened to be filmed or recorded. 

Brother V assumed that Dr. Brum had shared this information with him out of a childish glee at his own interests, rather than looking for outside eyes or a research partner. People like Dr. Brum were interested in everything and couldn’t help bursting at the seams.

So Brother V gave the blood and thought little of it. He was given a granola bar and a soda afterwards to get his sugar back up. More people should give blood, Dr. Brum explained. It’s the only place in modern days where you’re encouraged to eat cookies and drink soda. Brother V was encouraged to take it easy the rest of the day so he did.

The results came in the mail along with a form to fill out for new hires. Brother V was ecstatic, filled out the form and took it to the deserted restaurant where he was told he would find a staffing office. He followed the directions to the compounds out back and was almost approached by two different suited guards before he found the right path on the map. A receptionist took his paperwork and told him to have a seat, the nurse would be with him shortly.

Nurse? asked Brother V. The secretary explained that he was there to give blood. Brother V explained that he had just given blood the other day, the results were with his sheets, he didn’t see the need to bring them. The nurse had his results on the screen and told him yes, everything he said was true, and he was here to continue the treatment. Treatment for what?

A scampering sound, like shuffling papers, stopped their conversation. The receptionist asked him to be still a moment. Ludvig was nearby. A movement caught the eyes of Brother V. Around the edge of the desk, an iguana made its way across the floor, its toenails had pierced some paper from the recycling and it rubbed the last remnants off against the side of the desk. The reptile walked in between Brother V’s legs and the desk. 

Although he took it for an iguana, its skin was not a uniform leafy-green, but was rather rainbow patched. These patches were more of the oil-on-water variety rather than colors on the skin and Brother V wondered whether it was just a trick of the light. While Ludvig’s face was the most reptilian that Brother V had seen thus far, his arms were muscular like a bodybuilders and his stomach lurched as he crossed the carpet, due to large hanging sacs of skin like a series of testicles along his lower belly. The receptionist watched this as well. Ludvig crossed the room at an ambling pace until he came to a series of branches beneath a heat-lamp that Brother V had assumed were for decoration. Ludvig, in a snakelike motion, bent back on his hind legs, then reached with his buff arms to a lower branch and hauled himself up. From there he began making his way closer to the heat-lamp.

A nurse opened the door. She summoned Brother V in and he made his way back, politely informing her as well of his test just the other day. She knew all about that and they were there to continue the treatment. This time, since he was giving more blood and it had only been a few days, they would be giving him a supplement to drink. 

“Vitamins, sugars and proteins. It’s better for you than soda,” she said with a wink. She was young, as young as you could be to have gone through a nursing program.

They passed through a hallway with several closed doors, each with a series of color coded signs in the front indicating what procedure was being performed and the sounds of medical activity. Brother V asked if other new employees like him were here now.

“Oh yes,” the nurse answered, “we’re busy staffing for the upcoming negotiation season. Personally, I’m relieved we’re getting started this early. You’ll all have plenty of time to complete your training before being thrust into the maws of those animals.” She gestured vaguely in the direction of the hotel and Brother V heard a loud squawk from behind a closed door.

“Is one of the new employees perchance, a parrot?” he asked.

The young nurse laughed in her musical tones. “No silly, that’s Herbet. He’s a Parisian Wildflume.” she lowered her voice to a whisper. “But he’s not a bird. Although he can fly. He’s an amphibian. They’re so delicate now with all the pollution that humans engage in.”

She sat him in an exam room with the familiar blood-sucking vampire machine and swabbed his arm. She had him lay back and talked to him briefly about local sports, of which he knew nothing, and trees being cut down around her apartment which depressed her. He learned a lot about her without having to ask a single question, although he desperately wanted to ask questions. Around ten minutes later, she cut off the feed and promised to be back in just a moment. Upon her return she brought a clear glass of dark-blue fluid which reminded Brother V of gatorade, but had some brownish silt floating in it which reminded him of pond scum. He drank the whole thing really fast, found that although he wanted to think it was disgusting, he couldn’t really place it and that perhaps its rather alien taste was the thing which promoted an initial revulsion to which he later felt was unjustified given its rather neutral character on the palate. 

On the way out, the receptionist handed him some papers regarding his start date and where to report. Finally, thought Brother V, this is happening. He felt invigorated rather than drained and had an evening out with friends that night. Old restaurant friends who were still stuck in their haunts and wanted to hear everything about his current status. He encouraged them to apply if they felt they were up to it, but none of them were. They all had their own dreams which a demanding job like his would only get in the way of.