Author’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a multi-part tale. Readers wishing to begin at the beginning should click here:
Schwimmer clapped the cap onto the jar, text messaged his wife and went off to clean up. She worked at an office only a few minutes away, and since she habitually drove like a meth addict fleeing from the Feds he knew she would arrive shortly. He carried the jar into the hallway and set it on the table by the door. Shrugging on his jacket, he went to slip it into a pocket, and then experienced a moment of doubt. Did he really want to step out into society with a pocket full of sperm? Perhaps it would be better to add a layer of security and put it in a bag first.
He fetched a plastic grocery bag from the kitchen and plunked the jar in. The bag was quite large compared to the jar, and when he picked it up the jar sagged down to the bottom, looking very unnatural and out of place. Still, it was better than nothing. He wrapped the rest of the plastic up around the jar and shoved it into a pocket as he stepped out onto the porch. A moment later his wife pulled up and they were off. The time was now S-minus 20 and counting.
“Do you have it?” She asked.
Schwimmer laughed. “No they said it was such a nice day they were going to swim over to the lab on their own. Of course I have it – it’s in my pocket.” He pulled it out and showed it to her. “Just as ordered – one ‘Bag O Sperm’.”
She grimaced. “Put it back, I don’t want to see it. Ew.”
They caught the tail end of lunchtime traffic on the way into town, and the lights didn’t cooperate, but ten minutes later they pulled into the hospital parking lot. Schwimmer handed her the bag. “There ya go. I’m gonna have a smoke.”
She recoiled. “I’m not taking that in! This is your project.”
“You’re the one who wanted to do infertility.”
“Ok, so I’ll carry in the sperm and when it’s my turn you can donate the eggs.”
Schwimmer stuffed the Bag O Sperm back into his pocket. “Ok, you’ve got a point.”
He got out of the car and walked across the lot as casually as any man carrying a jar of sperm in his pocket possibly could. He felt like one of those old-fashioned sinister cartoon anarchists; slinking about with a bomb secreted under his black cloak. People strolled past unaware they were a few feet and two layers of fabric away from the fruit of his loins. The shame grew as he stepped into the lobby.
He looked around in confusion. He’d not really thought out this step. He had always assumed that there would be sign or something to direct him: “This Way To The Lab” or “Sperm Sample Drop Off”. But there was only furniture, people, and the information desk.
Damn, he was going to have to ask.
DAMN! All women too! The desk was a veritable henhouse, chicks behind and in front, all chattering away. Even all the people in the lobby were women.
“Why do they always have to be chicks?” He muttered.
He sauntered up to the desk and waited. Time was getting short, what was left – five minutes, six? A middle aged couple in front of him was getting directions to somebody or something somewhere in the hospital. They seemed incapable of speaking English as the reception nurse patiently told and retold them where to go. They kept asking her medical questions, as if she was the doctor. Schwimmer stood and fretted. Sperms were dying, dammit!
They finally left. He stepped up to the desk, removed the bag, set it on the counter and said, as matter-of-factly as anybody could under the circumstances, “Hello, my name is Schwimmer and I have to bring this sperm sample to the lab. Could you tell me where to go please?”
The receptionist, a pretty brunette in her thirties, shot a startled glance at the bag. Her face then convulsed through six or seven emotions. They writhed through her features, then snapped into place with an expression of “oh-you-poor-man” sensitivity.
“Ah, all right you’ll need Mrs. Duffy. I’ll get her for you.”
She scurried into a small office next door. Mrs. Duffy, fiftyish, dressed very professionally, trotted out with the exact same ultra-sensitive expression on her face. “Hello,” she said warmly, “we have some paperwork to do and then we can get you to the lab. Follow me please.”
Schwimmer took his Bag O Sperm and followed her into the cubicle. He set it on her desk, next to a picture of a cocker spaniel in a dress. She opened her mouth as if to complain but shut it without a word. Schwimmer’s head felt like a beehive, but by the time he realized his faux pas it was too late. He flushed with shame.
Then he had an epiphany, right there in the chair. Right there in front of the pissed off woman glaring sensitively at his sperm on her desk.
This was shaping up to be horribly embarrassing, just like his adolescent bout with Epididemitis. But he was no longer an adolescent, he was a grown man. He’d been through worse over the years and was now armed with a fairly thick layer of emotional callus. He’d be damned if these people were going to make him feel like an idiot. None of this was his fault, there is no etiquette book on how to handle sperm; where to put it and what to say about it. And anyway, the only reason he was forced to go through this nightmare was because he’d married a woman. Infertility was a chick thing – men never made each other go through sperm samples. It was time to toughen up, time to get off the defensive. It was time to fight back the only way he knew how.
Let the stupid jokes begin!