“…and this is the break room,” Ms. Hope said. The pale, frail woman gestured at the two-bedroom sized area with a large stainless steel fridge. Three smallish round tables were set up around the room with four chairs at each. She pointed to the industrial-sized refrigerator. It seemed almost out of place surrounded by chipped, pea-green Formica counter. Six high-end microwaves, three on each side of the fridge, somehow made the old counters look worse. “Make sure you label your lunch clearly. This clan’s good about respecting ownership, but anything not labeled is considered free for all. Any questions before I hand you off to a trainer?” Ms. Hope asked.
“Um..,” Ambrosia gave a puzzled look at the empty break room, then back at Ms. Hope. “This is the end of the tour? Where do we take donations? I didn’t see anything that looked like a lobby.” Throughout the tour Ambrosia clenched her fists and gritted her teeth each time they entered a new room. She wanted to be ready to fight her urges if she needed to. She had no trouble handling blood in general. Bags of it were no more appetizing than a pound of raw meat to a normal person. It’s delicious eventually, but there are a few steps to go through, such as warming it up, to make it enjoyable. However, watching it be harvested hot and fresh from the source was definitely trouble waiting to happen. Ambrosia hoped she could avoid the donation area enough to do her job.
“Oh, we don’t do that here,” Ms. Hope said. Ambrosia felt a wave of relief and she sighed. “Your trainer will have an information packet for you, but I’ll give you some background. This is mostly a logistics office for our parent company, Sharp Medical Services. You’ll be directing, blood flow…,” Ms. Hope giggled “… for donors and buyers but you’ll have very little interaction with the blood itself. Which is probably a good thing,” Ms. Hope gave Ambrosia a friendly smile. “I doubt this crowd would get any work done with a donation station on the premises, right?” she laughed.
Ambrosia didn’t quite get the joke, but she laughed anyway. She assumed it had something to do with them being squeamish, but it made her laugh to think about the difficulty she would have working there.
“Anything else?” Ms. Hope asked.
“Kind of…,” Ambrosia said as she swung her leather bag around to the front and reached in. “I’m ready to meet the trainer, but first.. do you have a pen and a sticky note?” She asked as she retrieved a tin lunchbox from her bag. It was black and red decorated with cartoon vampires on it.
“Oh that’s adorable!” Ms. Hope said. What’s in it?” Ambrosia tilted her head and gave Ms. Hope a confused look. Though, in the back of her mind panic began to flutter. Had she managed to “pack a lunch” wrong somehow? She thought most people would assume a lunchbox contains food. Though, she prayed no one would want a drink from her thermos.
“My lunch?’ she said. It was hard not to sound like a smart ass but Ambrosia hoped she managed it. Instead of taking offense or laughing, Ms. Hope returned the confused look to Ambrosia.
“Really?” she asked. Ms. Hope handed her a pen and sticky pad from a nearby desk. Ambrosia wrote her name on the pad, tore off the top note and stuck it to her lunchbox. Ms. Hope giggled softly when Ambrosia returned the notepad.
“You didn’t read the posting all the way, did you?” Ms. Hope asked, though her confusion transitioned to a friendly smile.
“No, no, of course I did,” Ambrosia lied. The truth was she didn’t even remember applying for the job. She vaguely remembered surfing the web drunk one night and ready for a change. She was surprised the next morning to discover she applied for half a dozen jobs, and further shocked when she landed one with a great salary. Her reasoning was they hired her. She was going to do her best to do the job right, but ultimately if she wasn’t right for the job, that was the employer’s problem. Ms. Hope’s smile grew into a wide ear to ear grin.
“I don’t believe you for a second, but that’s okay,” she said. “This’ll be fun. Go put your lunch away then I’ll introduce you to your trainer.”
“Okay,” Ambrosia nodded. She didn’t know what to make of Ms. Hope, but so far she seemed to be a lenient, chill boss. Ambrosia walked toward the refrigerator. When she got there, she noticed Ms. Hope was sticking close behind her. Ambrosia opened the fridge and her mouth dropped open.
“If you think about it…,” Ms. Hope said behind her. Ambrosia turned away from the fridge full of glass jars, each labeled with a yellow sticky note, and looked at Ms. Hope. Ms. Hope’s fangs were out and her eyes glowed the same dark red as the liquid in the jars. “…who’s going to keep track of every drop of blood better than vampires?”