The Phlebotamist

It was a pale young man bending over him, made more pale by the starched white coat he wore over his clothes. “You may feel a pinch,” said the young man. “Just for a minute.”

He nodded and turned his head away, swallowing nervously. He could feel the young man’s eyes on the exposed line of his throat, on the pulse of the blood through his neck.

It was just that: a pinch.

The young man strapped the tube to his arm, the plastic hot on his skin. “There,” he said. “Just relax and everything will be finished in about twenty minutes.” The young man’s lips were dark and bruised looking, shocking in the wanness of his face.

He stared at his arm in sick fascination. He could taste the blood, hot as copper, dry as rust. His head was dizzy and he leaned it back against the headrest. Closed his eyes against the lights.


The young man was bending over him again, his eyes wet and worried, his face and neck flushed. “You okay? You passed out for a second there.”

He tried to nod but it felt like there was something wrong with his neck.

“You just lie still and rest for a few minutes. Do you want anything to drink? You’ve lost a lot of fluids, you need to rebuild your blood supply.”

He shook his head feebly and closed his eyes again. In the darkness he had his last view of the young man’s face, red and worried and wild.