There is Blood

She is not a nurse. She is a phlebotomist. I’m not sure what that is, let alone how to spell it. (That’s right, I had to use spellcheck on that word and read the definition. Simple definition: a vampire that does not DRINK blood, they just acquire and collect it from a willing victim.)

That’s right. This woman was here to take my blood.

I’m sick. I’m in some Baptist hospital in Wilkesboro, NC. Blood testing is a must for my mysterious condition. Severe pain on two sides of my lower back and sternum, pain that doubled me over, made me moan terrible, bullfrog-like sounds from my mouth, and caused the “fear” of knowing something terrible is happening. All of that led me to the second floor, room 217, at the Baptist hospital.

My blood would tell the doctors more about my ailment. I’d already had X-rays and screenings. Now, time for blood.

Her name is odd. Reading her nametag, I vowed not to try to vocalize it. I was having trouble concentrating, anyway – no need to embarrass myself by sounding like an illiterate unable to verbalize a name.

She saw me starring at the tag:

“It’s French,” she said, pronouncing her name for me.

She then laughed, looking at the contents surrounding me on the bed and bedside tray: pens, stacks of manuscript pages, and two overturned books.

“Are you a student?”

Her attention never really left my arm. She may have been aware of the details surrounding her, but her focus was dead-center on a vein.

“No, no. I’m a writer,” I say as she works the needle beneath my skin.

“My great-grandfather was a writer.”


“My father looks just like him. When I’m done with this, we will look at their pictures.”

I’m game.

She went on to tell me he was a “big deal” in his time. And he influenced many famous writers of his generation. One of them, poet Charles Baudelaire, was a big influence on ME when I was in college and all the way up to my early 30s.

After she found the vein, three tubes were up. Afterward, she was on her phone. We looked at photos of her father. She then pulled up this:

Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, PHOTO by Nadar

Her father can indeed pass as Mr. Gautier’s twin.

After she had been gone awhile, I spent some time on the trusty iPhone, researching said great-grandfather. I also ordered Mr. Gavtier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin, his 1835-36 novel, which, apparently is a shocking tale of sexual deception that “draws readers into the bedrooms and boudoirs of a French chbteau in a compelling exploration of desire and sexual intrigue.”

The novel was cleared of obscenity in 1922.

Good. Good, I thought as I placed my order. I love reading banned books, or books that were going to be banned.

Education, in my mind, is the ability to acquire knowledge and insight through exposure and time. My education on Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier has just begun. Knowing me, in a year’s time, there will be a section on one of my bookshelves dedicated to his works.

And he has one wonderful granddaughter. She truly is great… for a vampire.


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