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The glass door whooshed open, and sunlight slipped in.  A smell of chemicals mixed in the air with blood, sweat, and maybe even tears.  Dirty footprints marked the tiled floor right up to the mat under the glass window.  A pad and pen was ready for the visitor, and she signed in.  As she signed her name and time, she grimaced at a broken nail, making a mental note that such a thing had to be fixed and could not be ignored.  As she moved away from the glass window, she made a fist so as not to see such a flaw, but then she saw those in the waiting room staring back at her.

There were only eight chairs.  An elderly woman sat in one, staring off into space.  A mother with two kids occupied three, and her little kid was a monster.  He used the empty chair nearby like you would a pinata, and there was no way in hell that she would sit near him.  An overweight man sat in another chair with a magazine shoved in his face, but he had already looked her over, hoping she would sit next to him.  And then there was the young woman in a brown coat that was way too large for her, and with a heavy sigh, Ashley sat next to her.

“Benjamin,” the nurse bellowed, and the overweight man struggled out of his chair.  He glanced at Ashley, trying to hide his disappointment, but she saw right through him.  “Paperwork?”  He broke his gaze with her and handed the impatient nurse the paperwork from the doctor’s office.  “Just blood work?”  He nodded, and she gestured to the room behind her.  But before following him in, she glanced at the clock on the wall over Ashley’s chair.

Ashley sighed again.  She looked down at her black, high heeled shoes and grimaced at the mud on them.  There was a bathroom to her right.  She could go in there and wash them off, but what was the point?  She would just step in mud and dirt again once she walked outside, and then she looked over at brown coat’s boots.  Winter was over, and it was spring.  Granted, it was raining almost every day now, but who wears boots after winter?  Grow up, and get a pair of shoes.  But something told her that this woman would rather wear sneakers and live in them, and that thought disgusted Ashley.  What a scrub, she thought as she stared at those boots.

“Mary.”  The elderly woman snapped out of her trance and hopped out of her seat, trying to escape the little kid bent on destroying the chair.  “Paperwork?”  She nearly threw it at the nurse, who almost took a step back.  “This way,” and she led the elderly woman inside.  And just as she did, the overweight man struggled to walk past them, and with one last glance at Ashley, he disappeared outside.

Ashley checked her watch.  It was almost one, and the lab would be closing soon.  She had better things to do than waste her Saturday morning, and she was sure that the mother with her two kids was thinking the same thing.  But not brown coat.  She would probably shove cereal in her mouth and enjoy the Saturday morning cartoons.  She barely touched the magazines beside her, and she did not seem like a newspaper reader.  She probably was a Facebook addict, evicted from Myspace, and living the social media life because she didn’t have one.  And this was why Ashley despised the internet.  She didn’t need it to have a life.  Sure, she couldn’t live without her cell phone, but she didn’t give a shit about Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn.  They were for losers, losers like brown coat, and it was pathetic.  And then she saw that broken nail, and it irritated her even more.  She had to get that fixed.  Instead, she was stuck here, sitting next to this woman, and waiting to be called, and she checked her watch again.

“David.”  The little kid started to howl, and his brother stopped playing with his cell phone.  He was barely thirteen, and he looked at his mother, who was occupied with her own cell phone.  “David!”  He lifted his brother up into his arms and carried him over to the nurse.  He handed her the paperwork, and she looked from him to the one in his arms.  “David?”  The little kid whimpered.  “This way,” and she led them inside.

“I feel bad for her,” brown coat muttered.

“I feel bad for you,” Ashley thought, and then she heard the kid scream.  She flinched, but the mother continued playing on her cell phone.  “Jesus,” and she just shook her head.  “Some people just can’t be bothered,” she thought, and then she realized that she was last.  Brown coat was going before her, and she would be stuck waiting on her.  Maybe, she could scratch her name off the pad, but when she looked over at the window, she realized that the pad was gone.  The nurse had taken it while she was occupied with this scrub beside her.  “Damn it,” she muttered, and brown coat finally looked at her.  “Don’t look at me,” Ashley thought.  “Do not dare look at me,” and the little kid screamed again.

The nurse walked the two boys out and gave the mother a disgusted look.  The mother couldn’t care less.  She slipped into her coat, and her barely thirteen-year-old son put the coat on his brother.  He started to slip his own coat on when his mother took his brother’s hand and walked toward the door.  He hurried to follow them, but before he disappeared outside, he too glanced over Ashley.  And she saw right through him.

“Rachel and Ashley.”

“What?”  Ashley stood up from her chair, bumping into brown coat.  “Excuse me,” but brown coat didn’t answer her.  “You want us to go in there together?”

“It’s not a date, honey,” and she took brown coat’s paperwork.  “It’s time to close.  You want to do this now, or during the week?”

“Now,” and Ashley handed her the paperwork.  “Just blood work.”

“Everyone is just blood work today,” and she led the two of them inside.  “Rachel, the chair on the left.  Ashley, the chair on the right.”

Ashley was surprised to see a male nurse standing there.  There were two of them the whole entire time that she was waiting.  She wanted to rip into them.  How could they make everyone wait, if there were two of them?  It was a Saturday.  She had places to go, things to do, and they took one person at a time?  Are you kidding me, and on top of that, the male nurse was going to draw her blood?  Oh, this shit was going to hurt, and then she realized that brown coat was staring at her.  “Could you draw a curtain between us?”

“Do you see a curtain, honey?”  Why did brown coat get the female nurse, but then again, she was a bitch.  Maybe, it would hurt more coming from her, so she was lucky.  And she smiled at that.  “Something funny,” the female nurse asked as she tied a rubber band around brown coat’s fat arm.

“Nope,” and the male nurse did the same, wrapping her arm with a rubber band.  “At least, I’m in shape,” she thought.

“Tiny pinch,” they both said together, and Ashley looked away.  So did brown coat, and they stared at each other.  They both flinched and shut their eyes as the needle buried into their skin.  “Almost done,” the two of them said together again, and they both snapped off the rubber band.  And Ashley and brown coat continued to stare at each other with tears in their eyes.  “Done,” they said.

“Finally.”  Ashley didn’t mean to say that out loud, but she did.  And you know what?  She didn’t care.  Fuck them, she thought.

“Press down,” they said together, and Ashley smiled, thinking of them as nothing more than robots, programmed to suck out their blood.  “All done,” and they backed away.  Mission completed.

“Thank you,” and Ashley hopped out of her chair, hoping to leave before brown coat, but they were walking out together again.  “Excuse me,” and she hurried to cut off brown coat.  “Success,” she thought, but then she tripped on her heel.  And brown coat moved ahead of her.  “Damn it.  I am not having a good day.”

“Have a good day, honey.”  The female nurse was now standing behind her.  “Be careful out there.  Rain’s coming.”

Ashley forced a smile and then walked toward the entrance doors.  She took a breath, calmed herself down, stood up straight, and walked outside.  Brown coat had disappeared, but she didn’t care.  She was done here, done being surrounded by stupid people that did not appreciate her, and then she looked down at her nail.  It had to be fixed.  It could not be ignored, so on to the nail place.  After that, the mall.  She needed to shop.  She needed to feel alive again.  She needed new shoes, and she got into her car, driving as fast as she could away from this horrible place.

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