Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
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It’s Delicious!

by Ray Prew

The immunity technology center had only been in operation for a year, but had already collected an eclectic group of employees. The center, on the surface, was seen as a simple collection center for blood plasma. The employees collecting the plasma did indeed process some of it into medicines, but only some. The rest was put to a horrifying use.

My name is Tim Hinwood, but you can call me Riff. I began work at the center as a phlebotomist just a few months ago. In that short time, I have seen things I simply can’t unsee. Some of the things I saw there will haunt me for the rest of my life. I always wanted to live in Florida, and when I saw a website listing a phlebotomist opening in West Palm Beach, I jumped at it. I was hired over the internet by the cooperate headquarters and told to report there by a certain date.

I expected a little ‘new guy’ treatment; that’s normal. At previous jobs, I have pranked people that were new, and in my life, I have been pranked at new jobs. Nothing I experienced prepared me for this place. I thought I was being pranked, but no, what went on behind closed doors was no prank.

I guess at this point I should explain myself. On my first day, the staff seemed friendly enough, just a bit stand offish, but I expected that; after all I was the new guy. However, I couldn’t help but think I was being eyed with suspicion. As each of the technicians collected a bottle of plasma from a donor, they gave it to a processor sitting in a workroom. I did the same; I collected several bottles of the amber colored liquid and turned them over to the processors. I casually glanced at the rack of collected bottles and wondered, why, for so many bottles collected, there weren’t very many on the rack. It’s not my business, I thought, I only do collections, not processing. However, I wondered why the processor almost beamed at me whenever I gave him a bottle. As crazy as it sounds, he looked at the bottle almost as if he was hungry.

The employees seemed to have their own clique but that’s not unusual at all. I expected to be brought into the fold after they became used to me. Usually at the end of the day they closed the center and I was politely shooed out the door while the rest went to the break room. Then came the day the barriers came down, and the director, a pretty woman in her mid-thirties, invited me to an afterhours party. They all smiled the same strange smile as I agreed and followed them in to the break room.

“We have these parties a few times a week,” said Steve, a huge black man that did most of the centers screening of donors, as he pulled out a chair for me.

“We weren’t sure if we could trust you at first,” said Erica, a beautiful redhead that handled some of the collections.
“But, we’ve gotten a feel for you over the last few weeks, and we think you just might fit in.” She said with a smile.

I looked on shocked as a couple of them brought out a few of the bottles of plasma from the refrigeration room. The rest sat down around the table and smiled as Yolanda, an older, petite woman, began pouring some of it into plastic cups. My stomach turned over as they started to drink it! The team leader, Jess, smiled at me as she poured me a cup!
“It’s best at first with a shot or two of rum,” she said as she pulled a whisky flask from her bosom and poured a little into my cup. It looked oily and smelled like piss!

I looked around the room amazed at what I saw, and tried my best not to vomit. The assistant director, Mike, a tall, husky man with an odd haircut and a bad suit, poured his cup over a small bowl of cereal he produced from his lunch box.
“You’re going to keep our secret aren’t you Riff?” he said as he eyed me suspiciously. He began to eat his plasma-laden cereal never taking his eyes off me.
“We’d be very upset if you spoiled our fun by reporting us. We like you Riff, we think you will be a great asset to our little family.”

The director, Wendy, belched and poured herself another cup of plasma. I could smell her breath from across the table and it was abominable.
“Drink up!” she said as she took a sip.
“It’s better than it looks and it’s great for the digestion.”

I looked down at my plasma-filled cup, and the stench was overwhelming.
“No thanks,” I said, “I’m a picky eater with several food allergies. I don’t think this stuff will agree with me.” the rest all looked at me, disappointed I wouldn’t join them.

“But it’s delicious! I agree it’s an acquired taste, but once you get used to it you’ll love it. Once it’s been cooled it makes a great topping for ice cream,” said Raquel, a heavyset blond woman with a girlish face.

I was beginning to think working here wasn’t going to be as much fun as it seemed at first. I got up to leave and said,
“Thanks for including me guys, but I don’t think this is for me. Don’t worry I’ll keep your secret.”

Before I realized it, I was grabbed by Mike and Steve, and they pinned my arms in a double hammerlock! Jess forced my head back as Raquel poured a cup of the vile liquid down my throat!

As the plasma flowed into my stomach, I tried to decide which one of them I would puke on first. They let me go and stood there smiling as I grabbed my stomach and looked wildly around the room. I thought I would vomit, but instead a feeling of warmth flowed over me and I was filled with a sense of peace I had never known before.

At last, I understood why they liked blood plasma so much; it was almost like getting high. I sat back down and let the warmth and giddiness flow over me. I hated to admit it, but it wasn’t so bad after all. I took a sip on my own from my cup and then I took another. I downed the rest and they all laughed as I asked for some more.

“See!” They all said, “It’s delicious!”

Three months later, I learned to mix plasma with different liquors to create different tastes, and I became the centers unofficial bartender. I finally had to agree: it WAS delicious!


2017 Ray Prew

Ray Prew was originally from Rhode Island, but now lives in Florida. He is a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology. Ray has been a blue-collar worker all his life, and started writing as a hobby. He spent 9 enjoyable years as a phone psychic. Ray’s work has been published in Spinetinglers magazine (6 times). One of the stories was used in a trivia quiz. Two Spinetinglers stories are on You Tube, one story called Some Monsters Are Real is narrated by someone, and the other was made into a short video called Let Me Out by Ray Prew. He has been published in Blood Moon Rising (7 times including 2 poems), Aphelion (12 times including 2 poems) and several other magazines. He has an anthology book of published and unpublished stories available on Amazon called Delightful Nightmares. His work has also appeared in the anthology Vicious Circle Season One put out by sinister grin, and one poem in an anthology of vampire poetry called Vampoetry.

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