The old one walked to the door and opened it to another cold, rainy morning, at least today he did not feel like the gloomy weather outside, on the contrary, the old one felt quite good about himself and his spirit was soaring above the clouds.

Today the old one was to ride a Regional transit Authority bus to the Veterans Clinic. There he was to see them for his first health check-up in this new world.

He caught the RTA carriage at its stopping place, he climbed aboard and paid the fare and asked the driver to tell him when they reached 44th Street West. The driver shook his head, “sure will old man,” he said with a grin. Then the old one took a seat and waited. Down the street across the bridge, they traveled the carriage turned left, and then right stopping frequently to pick up and drop off the creatures who rode the carriage. The driver stomped on the brakes and pulled the carriage to a stop, he turned and signaled the old one that this was his stop. “Thanks a lot have a good day,” the old one said, stepping from the carriage to the ground.

In front of him was an imposing beige brick citadel, the sign out front identified this castle as the place the old one was going.

He walked to the door, pulled it open, and entered the clinic. A directory, of all those who inhabited the castle, and what floor they were on, as well as the room number hung on the wall He stopped and read aloud the names that were on the board. He was to go the second floor clinic. The old one pressed the button on the mechanical lift the two iron doors slid open and he stepped into the car and pushed another button. The doors closed and with a mechanical growl and a whine the car began to move upward until it reached its destination when the doors slid open, the old one marveled at this modern device. He followed the signs to the clinic.

He entered the clinic walked to the opening in the wall where a woman sat and he told her his name. She thumbed through a stack of papers and pulled a sheet from the stack she read it and very politely told the old one he was too early for his appointment. She told him he could wait or he could come back at the prescribed time. He asked her if there was a tavern close by. She told him there was a tavern not too far away it was just down the street on the corner.

The old one left the Clinic, he walked down to the corner, and sure enough under the purple awning was the door to the tavern. He entered and took a seat in a booth close to the door. A woman who; was short of stature, was small of breast, narrow of waist, and broad where a woman should be broad came down the aisle and began speaking. She asked if he would like some of this or that, these or those some of … he said he would like two cheeseburger sandwiches garnished with lettuce and tomato, and a very thin slice of onion and some fries. She smiled and thanked him, then turned and walked away. The old one watched the woman walk away; she wiggled where a woman should wiggle. Her pants, stretched tightly across her buttocks, accentuated her wiggle. Moreover, with each step she took, the faster the old ones heart- beat. It was magic to watch her walk.

The old one had not lusted about a woman in years but today he came close to lusting over this one, this woman mesmerized him. His thoughts turned to fancy, but were brought back to reality when a sweet syrupy voice asked if he needed anything else. He finished chewing his food, swallowed, and replied to the woman “I’m good, thank you,” and that was about all he could utter. She smiled, turned around, struck a pose accentuating her buttocks, before walking away or wiggling her way down the aisle. He shook his head and took another bite of his sandwich “Oh! What a good day this will be,” he thought to himself.

The old one finished his meal, paid the check, and left a generous if not absurd amount of money as a gratuity for the woman. She might have thought it was for her outstanding service, but the old one knew he had paid for the entertainment she had provided him.

She knew her wiggles equaled money, and today that was going to pay off nicely for her, she smiled and waved to him as he left the tavern.

The old one left the tavern, there was a spring in his step, and the rainy day did not matter anymore to him, because he had sunshine in his heart. He headed back to the castle and the clinic.

The old one checked into the clinic, they told him to have a seat; the doctor’s assistant would be with him shortly. He sat down, picked up a periodical, thumbed through the pages glancing at the different articles.

The doctor’s assistant a nurse was a rotund woman, younger than the old one and a lot prettier, she told him to come with her. She led him to a set of scales and asked him to step up on them so she could weigh him. He told her he was short and fat. She said that would not fit in the spaces she had to enter numbers into the chart. The old one complied and gave his height in numbers. Then she took his blood pressure and his temperature and with every test, she wrote her finding down in that chart. She asked him what medications he was taking. He pulled a tote sack off his shoulder and spilled the contents onto her desk he had small bottles and large ones, he had tiny boxes, leather pouches, linen bags, the names of each medicine was affixed to the containers with a small golden ribbons. She picked them up one at a time and read the labels then she carefully wrote in her charts the name of each medicine. When she had finished with him, she sent him down the hall to have blood let.

The vampiress set him down; she placed his arm on the chair’s arm the she took a needle and with the softest touch and the greatest precision sunk the needle into his arm piercing the vein, she connected small glass vials to the tube that connected the needle to his vein. His dark red blood slowly filled the vials. She took each vial, carefully wrote his name on it, and then placed them in a tray. The old one mused, they have machines that can do about anything now. Why not have machines to test blood? However, everyone knew that vampires could detect even the smallest minutest trace of anything in the blood and identify it with almost 100% accuracy. They were better than any machine could ever be. He left the room in a hurry he did not trust these creatures not even a little bit.

Then he walked into the doctor’s office she had him sit on a table, she listened to his lungs when he breathed and listened to his heart. She asked him questions about his health and the medicines he took while they were talking the old one placed his right hand on his chest and winced. The alchemist asked him what was wrong the old one told her he had had a chest pain but it was not bad enough to take a nitro tablet.

The doctor rushed to his side she listened to his heart again, she asked him how many nitro tablets he had taken in the last month he said about six or eight he did not remember exactly. “Oh no, no, no, no, that won’t do at all,” she said then added you are going to the hospital right now. She called her assistant and had her call for an ambulance carriage. The doctor waited with the old one, they talked more she made notes she held his hand and comforted him until the medical carriage arrived.

The two medical carriage attendants arrived, they asked questions. The Doctor answered the questions and gave them all the charts they had made. The medical carriage attendants asked him if he had any chest pain “no,” he said “I don’t have any pain,” and it seemed that every 2 minutes they asked the same question and each time his answer was the same.

The medical carriage raced through the streets, the old one rode in the back of the carriage, strapped to a gurney. The attendants wired the old one up to an electrical device, that in the event his heart was to stop beating, this device would shock his heart to make it beat again, a procedure surely not for the faint of heart.

The carriage swayed from side to side on the curves, nose-dived when the attendant who was driving applied the brakes and would rare up when he pushed down on the accelerator. The old one was not prone to motion sickness, but this time lying flat on his back, he was very close to becoming sick to his stomach, as he had ever been. The carriage nose-dived for the last time and then it stopped at the door to the hospital. The old one was glad the ambulance had stopped; he had, had as much as he could stand.

The rear doors flew open, and he was taken out and rushed into the trauma room where he was pushed up beside another gurney the attendants began to hustle about, ready to transfer him to another gurney. The old one sat up, looked at the two attendants. “I can walk,” the old one snarled. “Move!” he twisted his body around on the gurney then slid off onto the floor and stood up, he motioned for them to move the gurney. He took a few deep breaths to settle the nausea the walked the two steps to the trauma room bed. The old one sat on the bed looked at the two carriage attendants and said to them, “Gentleman thank you, for all your troubles and have a good day.”

The old one had not lain down before the hospital attendants flooded into his small cube. They hooked him up to a monitor and then they prodded, pulled, poked stuck, and interrogated him and they too asked him every few minutes if he had any chest pain, and each time they did he would give them the same answer no not at this time. However, as soon as I have some pain you will be the first to know.

The cardiologist who dealt with hearts and other ailments stopped by he read the charts he read the strip of paper that had come from the monitor. He listened to the old one’s heart and then told him he was admitting him to the hospital they needed to make further tests to find out what was wrong with him. “So hold tight,” he said, “We will get you up to your room as soon as possible.” The old one would never see that doctor again.

The ER admitted him; they took him to a place called PCU on the second floor. The room was nice enough it had a window with a very nice view across the roof of a brick wall, two chairs, and a bed. The bathroom was big enough it had a shower stall, a sink, and a shiny porcelain water closet all the amenities one could ask for or ever want.

The bed was a marvelous device; with the touch of a button you could raise it, lower it, raise the head, or lower the head, you could raise or lower the foot of the bed and you could do the same for the middle of the bed. This bed almost induced sleep, if not just aided it.

An orderly entered the room she took his vitals; temperature, blood pressure, his pulse, and then she scanned the bracelet they had attached to his wrist in the trauma room and then she left.

Another orderly came in this one gave him a bag lunch, a pitcher of water, a plastic jug to urinate in, then asked how he was doing and wanted to know if he had any chest pains. The old one just shook his head.

The nurse came in pulling her electronic computerized cart behind her. She scanned his bracelet with a greenish red pencil thin beam of light her computer bleeped and chirped then a drawer popped open, she pulled out a handful of small plastic bags, scanned them ripped them open and handed them to the old one along with a cup of water. “Take these,” she said. The old one took the pills without question. Then she too left dragging that beeping, chirping cart behind her

A man came in to the room and he introduced himself to the old one as Doctor S He shook the old one’s hand, and told him that they would find out what was wrong with him. They had to make some tests and get some history of his ailment. Then he left

Then the routine began. For the next six days at midnight, at five in the morning, then again at eight, ten o’clock, and let us not forget noontime, two, and six and the last time was around eight in the evening. Then on top of all those visits, and interruptions to his sleep. The doctors would stop in his room to check on him.

It seemed that a continuous line of people, who poked, who pulled, who stuck, who checked, who felt, whom asked questions, which fed him or gave him pills never seemed to stop. By the time, the old one had gotten to sleep someone wanting something from him or wanting to give him something, came in and woke him up. In addition, every day at the most inopportune times a technician would come in and change the round sticky pads they had glued to his chest for the electronic heart monitor he kept in his shirt pocket.

On the sixth day everything changed, they told him he was to have a test done; he could not eat or drink, so there he lay eating nothing, drinking nothing, but the smallest amount of juice, to swallow the pills they gave him.

It was about three in the afternoon, when they came to take him for his test the attendant unhooked him from his monitor. To the old one’s surprise, the attendant started the bed and with a small hand controller, and drove the bed around and through the hallways, in and out of the elevators to the operating room.

There in the operating room they transferred him onto the table of a great very imposing machine where he laid waiting for his test. The attendants started an IV, they gave him a sedative, and when the old one awoke he was back in his room he had no idea what they had done, beside him stood a very pretty nurse who told him not to move, not to sit up, just lie flat. He asked for some water, but the girl politely and sweetly said “No,” Then she added, “No water, no food for a while.” She would check the incision they had made in his groin for signs of bleeding, from the procedure they had performed on him.

It was about nine in the evening, when they allowed him to move about, and gave him a warmed over dinner and a snack. The old one went to sleep but this time he slept until eight the following morning.

On the seventh day, the castle rested, well for the old one it did. The doctor came in to the old one’s room and told what they did and what they found and the new medicines he was to take and for him to come back in a month for a check-up. The doctor said he would discharge the old one soon as soon as possible, so hold tight until they come to get you.

So the old one did just that, he sat patiently, quietly, alone, he watched all those who had regularly come in and checked on him, pass by his door on their way elsewhere. He waited in solitude, for a ride, to come and take him back to where he had begun his journey, the 2100.

He returned to the 2100 and as he entered the door, he realized that the only change that had occurred was time nothing else had changed the 2100 was the same his life was the same nothing had changed well maybe the additional medications he was supposed to take.