Friday 3rd September 2010
One year ago.
The instructions reiterate that I wash my hands, like I’m not about to touch my own penis. They ask me to print my name on the pot and the consent form. I one-up this by writing my full name, date of birth, ID number, wife’s name, and her ID number.
I’m not taking any chances.
I turn on the TV, and open a web browser.
I Google: ‘Porn’.
I open about ten tabs.
And then I sit there, butt naked, the heater on full, scanning through free porn, in the comfort of my own home, and knob myself.
And I do a very good job.
* * * * *
I head to the bathroom, again slowing as I pass the candle. It flickers as I go. The pot sits in the warm palm of my unused hand while I use the other to clean up. I return to the living room, holding my pot, before re-dressing in the clothes that are strewn across the floor.
The pot goes straight into the jeans pocket.
‘Keep warm after production,’ the instructions warn, ‘but do not heat above body temperature.’
I grab the keys, the consent form and the biological hazard bag, and I jump back in the car.
As I drive back up the road towards the hospital, the sample jar sticks uncomfortably out of my jeans pocket. At the lights, I wrestle it out and check the lid one more time. I hold it up to the light to check the volume, surprised to see a few bubbles. I guess anything liquid that sits in your jeans pocket is likely to bubble a little.
I feel a creeping over me, as I look to my right and see a woman in her car, staring.
Her jaw wide open.
The lights go green, and I floor it round the bend, pressing the jar against my warm palm.
* * * * *
I sit in the same seat, near the receptionist with the allergy to sperm, like I’m waiting to see the principal. Occasionally she looks across at me, forcing a smile when I catch her staring at my Biological Hazard Bag. I keep it on my lap like a loin cloth, ensuring the pot is upright.
My phone rings.
“Hello, is that Mark?”
“This is Dorothy from Monash IVF. I believe you were going to provide us with a sample?”
“I’m holding it in my hands as we speak.”
“Oh. Are you on your way in?”
“I’m here. I’m waiting for someone to come down and collect it.”
“Where are you?”
“In Day Procedure waiting room. My wife is getting her eggs collected right now.”
“And where is your sample?”
“In my hands. I’m holding a jug of sperm in my hands.” The receptionist looks up like I just swore.
“Right. Sorry. I didn’t realise. Someone will be there in a few minutes.”
I hang up and look around. The waiting area is filled with seventy-year olds getting their hips screwed and their colostomies hemmed. Not one other person in the room has a jug of sperm in their hands. I concentrate very hard on the middle distance, staring carefully like there’s something important for me to see.
Eventually, a woman appears.
She beckons me to the same corridor, forty-eight eyes following me as I go.
“Is that the sample?” she asks, pointing from hands hinged close to her body.
She takes out a pair of purple gloves, putting them on theatrically. “Could you repeat your full name?”
“Mark Edward Nethercote.”
“Date of birth?”
“29th May 1975.”
I pull out the card from my wallet, repeating the number.
“Great, thank you.”
“It comforts me that you do that,” I say.
“Check my details. To make sure you’ve got the right person.”
“It’s not something we want to get wrong.”
With that she turns on her heels, and leaves.
I stand there for a moment, before turning back towards the waiting room.
Everyone is watching.
Three of them wave back.
* * * * *