(Today is Part 3 of Fill Up The Cup, a story excerpted from my new book, ok not so new anymore, Round Seventeen and 1/2, available for purchase on amazon.com. Why buy the book if Siegel is giving it away for free on his stupid little blog? That's a good question. A very good question)
The next day, Greenberg found himself, with Smithwick and Karen Coughlin, at the Super KMart on the outskirts of Boise. The store was the size of three football stadiums. And sold everything under the sun. Greenberg never understood the novelty of buying your breakfast cereal where you also buy your shotgun ammo.
As the store manager was showing the trio the exclusive end cap aisle display for Nestle Coffee Mate Flavored Creamers, he got a call from his wife. There was a mix up at the Pico Robertson lab and the label on his cup of sperm fell off.
Mrs. Greenberg did not go into too many details. She said what was done, was done. They had to deal with the present. And the present was pressing, as her ovulation kit indicated, time was of the essence.
“The doctor put me in touch with a company that does overnight delivery of medical supplies and equipment.” said Mrs. Greenberg. Adding, “They have special freezing techniques.”
“What?” said Larry.
“I want you to buy a small piece of Tupperware, go back to the hotel, fill the Tupperware, seal it and rush it over to their facility near the airport.”
“You’re not serious, are you?” asked Larry.
“Do I sound not serious?”
Larry wrote down the instructions and was careful to get every detail. He got off the phone and waited for the Super K Mart retail manager to finish his spiel.
“If we add the shelf talkers, I’d recommend the K9000 Series, we think we can increase floor traffic and impulse sales by 27%. You could have your own island of caffeination domination.”
“That’s excellent,” said Ms. Coughlin.
“Of course it all depends on having the right messaging,” added the manager.
“Listen, this is all very encouraging and fascinating too, but I have an emergency and have to get back to the Comfort Suites,” said Larry.
Karen was not happy. “This is important stuff, Larry.”
“It is. And I’d like nothing more than to find new ways of moving the Happy Hazelnut, but like I said it’s an emergency.”
“The Happy Hazelnut, the Vivacious Vanilla and the Mucho Mocha are kind of emergencies, too.”
“I understand that, Karen.”
“I’m not sure you do, Larry,” she pressed. “What is so urgent that you need to rush back to the hotel?”
“It’s a motel not a hotel because your efficiency expert keeps nickel and diming us, so let’s be clear on that. And if you really must know, I need to go back to the motel to masturbate into a little plastic cup.”
Larry realized immediately that he was not using his ‘inside voice’ and many Super KMart shoppers, who had come for the discounted shoes, bulk mayonnaise and two-for-one specials on tube socks, were going home with quite a story to share with friends and family.
An hour later, Larry found himself in the rental car rushing to the airport with his clearly labeled ‘sample’ of little Larrys tucked beneath his T-shirt which, according to his wife, would maintain the proper temperature until it was flash frozen and put on a plane back to Los Angeles.
As he navigated through a fortunate string of green lights his imagination got the worst of him. What if he were to be T-boned by an oncoming car? The first responders would arrive on the scene to find his body covered in glass shards, caked blood and fresh semen. That wouldn’t play well in the papers. And his snarky advertising friends would have a field day.
A Hit Jerk & Run, the headlines would shout.
He eased up on the gas pedal, tightened his seat belt and made a much more attentive check of all his mirrors.
Larry’s boys successfully made the trip from Boise to Los Angeles. They did not, however, complete the journey and finish the last 1/,1,000,000th of a mile to fertilize Mrs. Greenberg’s egg.
The next few months were not kind to Larry Greenberg.
He was doing his best to stave off an account review. That meant endless visits to supermarkets and big box grocery warehouses. Not to mention after-hours research at focus groups, where casual coffee drinkers would drone on about their choice of coffee creamers. A low interest category if there ever was one. Larry was convinced he had discovered the 8th Gate of Hell.
The 9th was not that far behind.
His tour of Southern California’s Whack Shacks grew wider and wider. If there was anything more humiliating than walking into a building, signing some paperwork and then being led off to a room – in most cases by a woman – to milk yourself, he couldn’t imagine what it would be.
On a cold, rainy Sunday morning, Larry found himself snuggled under the covers, looking forward to a hearty breakfast of salty lox, onion bagels and fresh whitefish salad. This would be followed by a lazy day on the couch watching football. Napping. Noshing. And watching more football.
Mrs. Greenberg had just gone to the bathroom. With his head buried under the pillow, Larry could make out the sounds of her unwrapping an ovulation detection kit. He detested that sound. Minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom. And heeding the unmistakable advice of her urine, told him it was once again time to do the one-handed gland dance.
He threw on a pair of sweat pants, went to the computer and found the only clinic that opened their doors on Sunday for jizzness. He grumbled to himself and started to brew a pot of coffee. But Mrs. Greenberg intervened.
“There’s no time for that.”
She nuked what was left in the carafe and shoved him out the door.
As sperm collection centers went, this one, on the north side of Santa Monica, was unusually small. It was almost impossible to find the office, with not much in the way of signage. When Larry walked in it was quiet. A tall blond woman with long, fire-red fingernails sat behind the desk. Suddenly he was not sure that sweatpants had been the right choice of attire.
He smiled at her, she smiled back and handed him a clipboard with a one-page form to fill out. Then she stood up from the counter and led him down the hallway.
She was a full four inches taller than Greenberg. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her legs. Or the black heels she was wearing. They weren’t tall enough to be classified as cheap or trashy, but they were too tall for a Sunday morning, particularly a Sunday when he hadn’t shaved and was wearing a moth-eaten T-shirt.
She led him to a small room and handed him a small plastic cup. He made sure his hand brushed up against hers and wisely made the decision not to crack a joke…
“I might need a bigger specimen cup.”
She pointed out the TV and told him to take as much time as he needed. She closed the door and in a ritual that had become familiar to Greenberg, he double bolted the locks and made sure no one was getting in unannounced.
Greenberg made himself as comfortable as possible. And suddenly the TV screen was flickering. There were no tapes. No awkward choices to make. The porn was simply piped in.
Seven seconds of one couple engaged in oral sex was followed by nine seconds of another couple in a Jacuzzi followed by six seconds of a housewife being drilled by a pizza deliveryman. And then a mailman. And then a plumber. It went on like this for what seemed an eternity.
Greenberg waited. And waited. And waited.
Perhaps the tape was stuck, he thought. Or perhaps this was just an unusually long trailer.
In any case, none of it was helping him get the ball across the finish line. Thankfully, there was no one else in the office but Greenberg and the statuesque blond receptionist/nurse/porn projector. So he did the unthinkable.
He got up from his chair, and with his sweatpants wrapped around his ankles, shuffled over to the door. He flipped the locks and cracked the door open a smidge.
Greenberg inched his face to the crevice.
Then louder, “Excuse me.”
“Yes, Mr. Greenberg, is there a problem?”
“No problem. No problem whatsoever.”
“But you can start now.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“I’m done with the trailers. You can start the movie now.”
A long silent pause.
Followed by some giggling.
“Mr. Greenberg, that is the movie.”
Now realizing his mistake, Larry slowly shut the door. But before he did, he heard the long leggy blond let out an involuntary cackle of laughter.
He tried returning to the mission, but it was not to be. Whether it was the nature of the short clips, the lack of any character or plot development, or the humiliating reaction from the sperm collection vixen, Larry would never say. He only knew the fight or flight response kicked in and he decided his best option was flight.