(Today is Part 2 from Fill Up The Cup, one of the many stories found in the book Round Seventeen and 1/2: The Names have Been Changed to Protect the Inefficient. You know, the book you didn't buy, but would love and read out loud to your friends. Do not proceed until you have read yesterday's post, Part 1 or it won't make any sense. Or maybe it will. What do I know?)
From Beverly Hills, Greenberg drove a short 15 minutes to his office on Wilshire Blvd. He worked at one of the few remaining ad agencies that had not migrated west of Lincoln Blvd. They were an older, established shop with longstanding client relationships, relationships that had stood the test of time. And because they didn’t suffer the wild fluctuations of revenue experienced by other agencies, they rarely had to engage in cutbacks or staff layoffs.
Greenberg grabbed some coffee and settled in behind his desk, hoping the rest of his day would be more routine.
“You’re not going to believe this,” said Sean Smithwick, Greenberg’s management counterpart on the big Nestle account.
“What?” Greenberg shot back.
“They fired Anderson when they found out he was getting kickbacks from the printer. And they put in a new Chief Marketing Officer.”
“Who?” said Greenberg.
“Get this. Coughlin.”
“You know Coughlin, the girl that used to book all of Anderson’s travel, do his timesheets and fill out his expense reports. Coughlin, his Executive Assistant.”
“You gotta be kidding me. She’s a CMO?”
“Who isn’t a CMO these days?” said Smithwick. Adding, “Better strap in, buddy. Gonna get hairy here for the next few months.”
Greenberg folded his arms over his desk and laid his head down for a much-needed rest.
A week later he and his wife were back in the offices of her gynecologist. The lady doctor mulled over the lab report. She did a line item check on every aspect of his manhood. And, as if to add to his agony, let him stew in silence as she carefully took notes and withheld his results. A second before he was about to explode…she cleared her throat.
“It seems the problem is not with you, Larry. Your boys are swimmers.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. Not too heavy, because he didn’t want his wife to notice. But inside, he was thrilled. If he could have high-fived his penis, he would have done so.
“In fact, and I’m wondering if there’s some kind of mistake here. Your sperm count is unusually high.”
“Motility?” asked Larry.
“That’s the sperm’s ability to move. And yours is, again, unusually high, indicating raised levels of testosterone.”
Larry could not help grinning. Particularly as all these results seemed to annoy the lady doctor to no end.
“In fact, many of your sperm cells have extra long tails, which we don’t see that often.”
“Long tails are good?” asked a very inquisitive Larry.
“For impregnation purposes, long tails are excellent. Frankly, these tests results are not at all what I expected.”
If his wife had not been in the room, Larry would have taken little Lawrence out of his pants, laid it on the desk and not put it away until the doctor personally apologized. But his cell phone rang and there was an emergency back at the office that required his immediate attention.
“Before you go back to the office, I need you to stop by the Pico Robertson Lab for another sample,” said the doctor.
“Another sample? I thought you just said my boys weren’t the problem?”
“They’re not. Which means we have to step up to a modified in vitro procedure. And we’ll need to prepare your sperm for an injection.”
“But I have to get back to work.”
“You have some more important work to do first. Pico Robertson Lab. It’s near Doheny.”
Larry stopped at a newsstand. He wasn’t going to have a repeat of his previous unpleasant experience with the U.S. News & World Report. He was going in prepared for the worst. Overcompensating, Larry reached to the top of the rack and grabbed a copy of the filthiest hardcore magazine he could find, Slutty Sluts Get Their Slut On. On the cover, a handcuffed woman in red leather chaps was being force-fed a foot-long Polish sausage.
He wouldn’t need it.
The lab at Pico Robertson, in the heart of Little Jerusalem, was 180 degrees from the sterile surroundings in Beverly Hills. The nurse led him back to a room that looked unlike anything he had ever seen.
The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in black velour. The ceiling was covered with black velour. And the room was glowing with a purplish light from a small lava lamp tucked in the corner.
As he adjusted himself to the surreal, almost womb-like environment the nurse unveiled a credenza featuring a TV monitor, a VCR deck, and no less than 200 VHS tapes of the latest and greatest in porn offerings. The tapes had thoughtfully been arranged in alphabetical order and the selection covered everything from naughty threesomes to milfy MILFs.
The nurse smiled at Larry and left him to the business at hand.
He could hardly believe his good luck. He felt like a kid in a candy store. There was so much to choose from he didn’t know where to start. Then he reminded himself that porn was porn. So he went for the first title that struck his funny bone, Balling for Dollars.
It had some vague connection to bowling and was a clear indication the pornmakers in the San Fernando Valley were running out of ideas. Nevertheless, there were a few steamy scenes of women in bowling shirts briefly getting frisky with the pin-chasers working the machinery behind the alleys.
Upon completion of his duties Greenberg gave serious thought to taking a nap, waking up 20 minutes later and going at it for another round. He had his eye on another movie, In and Out of Africa. Why let all this black velour go to waste, he figured. Why not shock the doctor and fill the cup all the way to the top?
His phone rang. It was Smithwick.
“Where the hell are you? And what’s that moaning?”
“I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
Greenberg drove back to the office along Pico Blvd. where the sidewalks were teeming with large Orthodox Jewish families. Many of the moms were pushing strollers. Behind the strollers there were often gaggles of little girls in long dresses and skinny little boys sporting thick black wool coats and exposed tzitzits. This backward lot of 19th Century holdouts seemed to be fruitful. They were certainly multiplying. Why, he wondered, were he and Mrs. Greenberg unable to make another Greenberg?
“Coughlin’s on a rampage.” said Smithwick. “She wants to know why our Coffee-Mate flavored creamers are not selling in the Midwest and the Northwest territories.”
“They’re not selling because they taste like shit. And they’re expensive. And people are buying their coffee in coffee shops,” Greenberg offered.
“You want to tell her that? Or you want to run home and pack a bag? Because we’re on a plane tonight for a whirlwind tour of the regional offices,” said Smithwick.
(Coming up tomorrow on Fill Up the Cup, Part 3, Sperm Can Fly?)