Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fill Up The Cup, Part 4

(This is it. The conclusion that all 13 of you readers have been waiting for. If you enjoyed the story you should buy the book. If you didn't enjoy the story you should write a crappy review on amazon. I will have fun taunting you and your poor taste in literature.)

The next day, Greenberg had some explaining to do at the fertility doctor’s office. But before she could start sassing him, he turned the tables on the doctor who majored, and minored, in labia.

“For eight months now I’ve been tugging at myself so we could fill up the turkey baster and for eight months we’ve come up with zilch. Why don’t you tell us what’s going on, Doc? Why are we still here? And why are there two of us when there should be three of us?”

Mrs. Greenberg was taken aback by his forcefulness. And not just a little bit turned on. The gynecologist was thunderstruck. Her tone was decidedly different.

“Well, the science of fertility has never been exact. And it never will be,” she said, adding “perhaps it’s time we take this to the next level.”

Greenberg had no idea what that meant but seemed encouraged that his little burst of anger had elicited a reaction. And some respect.

“Ok,” he said, “what’s the next level?”

“Hormone shots. By enhancing the estrogen levels there’s a good chance we can produce more eggs. And more eggs give us a greater probability of pregnancy. Perhaps even multiple pregnancy, like twins or triplets.”

Greenberg was elated, “Damn, why didn’t we do this before? We could get the whole family thing done in one fell swoop. A package deal, that’s what I’m talking about.”

“The shots are expensive,” said the doctor, “$1,000 each.”

Greenberg reeled at the price. And was even more deflated when he found out they were not reimbursed by his company’s medical insurance.

“But there is a Plan B.”

The doctor explained that while pharmaceutical companies in the US were charging exorbitant fees for the hormone shots, they were also available across the border. She told the Greenbergs that the same $1,000 shot sold at a pharmacy in Santa Monica was being sold in Tijuana for less than one-tenth the cost. They didn’t even need a prescription. They could simply walk into a pharmaceria, lay down a C-note and walk away with the exact same medicine that was under tight FDA restrictions.

“That’s great,” said Greenberg, “we go down to Mexico, get the stuff, bring it back here to your office, and you’ll inject my wife?”

“Uh, not quite.”

Greenberg was not putting one-plus-one together.

“You’re not allowed to bring this medicine back across the border. The injection will have to be administered while you are in Tijuana.”

Greenberg scratched his chin, “So you would come with us down to Mexico? How does that work?”

“Oh no, I’m not going to Tijuana. I once bought a serape down there, thing was infested was fleas. Took me two months of soaking in Calamine lotion to get over that, I don’t do Mexico.”

“Am I hearing this right? You want us to go to Mexico buy the $1,000 hormone for $100 and then you want me to inject my wife with the shot?” asked Greenberg.

“That’s the ticket.”

She could tell from his reaction that was not the ticket.

“I’m not good with needles at all. And needles, in Mexico? In Tijuana? That’s the trifecta of No, No and No.”

“I don’t know what else to tell you, Mr. Greenberg.”

“Well, I have no similar loss of words – Good bye.”

With that Larry Greenberg took hold of his wife’s hand and guided her out of the doctor’s office. As they rode down the elevator she noticed in him a fierce determination. It was as if he knew exactly what they were going to do. She had no idea. He was tight-lipped until they reached the car.

“Your days as a media sales rep are over.”

“I can’t quit my job, we need the money,” said Mrs. Greenberg.

“We can get by on my salary. We’ll tighten the belt, eat out less often and spend more time together at home. We don’t need more money. We need less stress.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ve never been surer.”

“OK, I’ll give my two weeks notice tomorrow.”

“We’re not waiting until tomorrow. And we’re not waiting another two weeks. I want you to quit working so we can start living. As a family.”

He dropped her off at her office. Before he drove away, she grabbed him by the back of the head and kissed him like she hadn’t kissed him in years. If he wasn’t sure about this sudden surge of strong headedness, he was now.

As he got off the elevator at his office, Smithwick strolled up behind him and clutched him by the elbow.

“Where have you been?”

“Personal business.”

“Well, here’s some business you might want to take personally: Coughlin put the account up for review.”

“That bitch!”

For six months Greenberg crisscrossed the country, sat in focus groups, and listened to her dull stories about the new drainage system she was installing at her summer home. He smiled when he didn’t feel like smiling. He made small talk. And did his best to make her feel like there was nowhere else on Earth he’d rather be, when the complete opposite was true. He rewrote copy. He watered down ideas. He swallowed his pride until there was no pride left.

And he did all this while dry humping himself into little plastic cups with the hope of bringing a new Greenberg into this world to experience the same pleasure.

And this is how the world returns the favor?

“Jenkins wants to see you in his office.”

“Probably to talk about how we were going to defend the account. This should be great,” replied Greenberg.

Of course, that’s not what Jenkins had in mind.

Twenty minutes later, Greenberg walked out of his office with a three-week severance check in his back pocket and a sinkhole in his stomach large enough for a small mammal. As he walked to the mailroom to get some empty cardboard boxes, his cell phone rang.

“I did it, honey. I quit. No notice. No questions. No nothing. It was great.”

Greenberg bit his lip.

“I told you. Everything is going to work out,” he assured her.

They made love that night.

And they made a baby, the old fashioned way. The way only two clueless, unemployed people with no foreseeable income and no future in advertising can.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fill Up The Cup Part 3

(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 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.

“Follow me.”

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.

“Excuse me.”

No response.

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.

He pulled his pants up and made a beeline for the exit door.

(Coming up tomorrow, Part 4, the climactic conclusion of a story that involves advertising, porn and the frustration of infertility.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fill Up the Cup, Part 2

(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.”

“Who’s 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.”

Another high-five.

“Motility is…”

“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.


“Hello, Boise.”

(Coming up tomorrow on Fill Up the Cup, Part 3, Sperm Can Fly?)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fill Up The Cup Part 1

(Usually, or at least for the last 6 years, I have taken this time --between Xmas and New Year's--to recharge the batteries and let the reader of RoundSeventeen fend for himself. Or herself. By that I mean I've lazily reprinted posts from the past. But this week I'm doing something different. I've selected a story from the book that you haven't purchased and plan to excerpt it for your reading pleasure. It's my gift to you. It's also my hope that you will be sufficiently enticed to visit the amazon page and plunk down 13 fuckin' dollars. Is that too much to ask?)

“There may be a problem with your sperm.”

This was not the diagnosis Greenberg wanted to hear. He and Mrs. Greenberg had been trying to make a baby for the past two and a half years, since 1995. There were messy ovulation kits. Calendars. Vaginal thermometers. The tiny bathroom in their 3rd floor condominium could barely contain all the over-the-counter fertility paraphernalia.

And yet, for all their efforts, including the obligatory early morning schtupp, they had nothing to show for it. It was all a swing and a miss.

Mrs. Greenberg checked out fine. Her fallopian tubes were fallopianing. Her eggs were good, fertile eggs. And her plumbing system got the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Her lady doctor, who had called for the couple to come in for a joint consultation, pointed the finger at Larry Greenberg. More accurately she pointed the finger towards the region below his belt.

His first trip to a gynecologist went exactly as he thought it might.

If two and a half years of fruitless fornicating didn’t make Greenberg self conscious about his virility, the accusatory sneer of his wife’s (clearly) lesbian doctor surely did. She handed him a business card and instructed him to set up an appointment right away.

“Let’s see what’s going on down there.”

Again she pointed to the area below his belt.

“Or, what’s not going on down there.”

Greenberg knew of the sperm banks discreetly located throughout the Westside of Los Angeles, but he had never been to one. When he first moved to California and took a room as a boarder at a UCLA fraternity house, he met some of the brothers who made a living at the local “whack shack.”

They never studied. They never worked. They drank beer and smoked pot. And had plenty of money to fuel their pastime. All they had to do was walk down Gayley Ave., past the Chabad House, engage in some hand-to-gland combat and collect a check. They invited Greenberg to accompany them on one of their masturbatory sojourns, but he preferred to earn his money the old fashioned way – slaving as a dishwasher at the local Straw Hat Pizza.

Now, 15 years later, against all odds, he found himself in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Medical Services Laboratory. As he filled out the bundle of paperwork attached to the clipboard, his mind wandered.

The rational side of his brain knew that behind the locked doors he would not find a harem of short-skirted, leggy nurses ready to assist him with the precious extraction.

On the other hand, he was in Beverly Hills, a city known to indulge its residents, and suspected the lab had gone to extraordinary lengths to provide a comfortable, even posh, environment that would yield the maximum payload.

He envisioned plush, microfiber couches in a secure dimly lit room. A room endowed with the world’s widest selection of pornographic stimuli. He even pictured a sleek, Japanese-designed custom electronic sleeve that would offer personalized, hands-free collection. The Tugatron 7000™.

All very conceivable for a sperm collection center located in one of the world’s richest zip codes.

But Greenberg was wrong on all counts. Nurse Ratchet -- he decided that was her name the second he saw her -- came to the reception area and called out his name.

“Laaaaary. Laaaarrrry Greenberg.”

She led him back behind a wall of clear acrylic that had the appearance and thickness of bulletproof glass. They zigzagged down a hallway lined with paintings, the kind of paintings you would only find in a medical laboratory hallway. The nurse opened the door to what looked to be a regular bathroom, an oversized regular bathroom with no special accommodations, with the exception of a tubular stainless steel handrail built to comply with the state’s code for the handicapped.

“Wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Then, get it all in the cup.”

“Wait, this must be a mistake,” he thought.

“And no lubricant. None,” she said before shutting the door behind her.

The room was exceedingly bright. The fluorescent light ricocheted off the cinder block walls. Dimensionally, it was not that far off from the standard two-person jail cell one might find at Folsom or San Quentin. There was nothing but a sink, a toilet, an all-aluminum table chair and a long narrow table that spanned the length of the tiny room.

Atop the table, there were three magazines.

They didn’t put a lot of thought into the design of this room. Nor did they seem to consider its rather unique function. But at least they had the foresight to provide something in the way of visual stimulation.

Suddenly there was the roar of a toilet flush from the bathroom on the other side of the cinder blocks.

Greenberg looked at the three magazine covers spaced evenly across the long table.

The Economist

U.S. News & World Report

Harvard Business Review

One part of Larry Greenberg wanted to scream. The other, more sensible part of Larry knew that screaming would draw unwarranted attention and in effect say, “I can’t make babies. Something is going on with my little men. So now I’m in a refurbished janitor’s closet where they want me to dry hump myself into a little plastic cup!”

He didn’t want to do that.

He locked the door. And then he threw the deadbolt into place. The last thing he needed was some overly inquisitive lab technician with a corridor key to accidentally walk in on him while he was flying solo.

He yanked about a dozen and a half paper towels from the dispenser above the sink, crumpled them up, wet them down, and stuffed them in the crevice between the bottom of the door and the floor stop. His mind raced with ugly possibilities. Somebody could be walking in the hallway, drop their car keys or a quarter, bend over to pick it up, peer through the crack under the door and spot Greenberg solus in flagrante delecto.

Not only could that happen, the way the morning was transpiring, Greenberg fully expected it to happen.

Acting out of extreme precaution, he pushed the featherweight aluminum chair against the back of the door. Greenberg would often tell people, “If he was in for a dime he was in for a dollar.” And on the issue of self-pleasuring privacy in a public setting, he was in for a buck seventy-five.

Before the mission began he took one last meticulous look at the cinder block wall. He slowly and carefully scanned the wall with the palm of his hand, delicately searching for any pinholes, where a hidden camera with a full battery and ample memory could be placed.

What if, again his mind raced, the Beverly Hills Medical Lab was an elaborate front? Maybe they were secretly selling footage of their patients masturbating? Could be an entire underground operation. Perhaps supplying the filthy tapes to fetishists in Cambodia? Or Laos?

Laos always seemed to Greenberg to be a place where old men, tired of the jungle, the red sticky mud, the constant monsoonal rain, and the day in/day out consumption of boiled monkey liver and rice, would entertain the notion of watching affluent and unsuspecting Americans jerking off behind closed doors.

Satisfied that the room was clean, it was time to get down to business.

Greenberg picked up the U.S. News & World Report. It was the magazine with the least written and the most photographic material. He threw it on the floor in front of him, undid the buckle of his pants and squatted on the cold aluminum chair.

In a feat of flexibility he did not know he had, Greenberg spread his legs wide, so that he could keep one foot solidly on the wall and the other wedged into the doorway, in case the lock, the deadbolt and the forest of wet crumpled paper towels did not suffice.

He fiddled through the pages hoping to find a picture of Madonna or Princess Diana, or some up-and-coming actress of the time, but could only find a spread on Queen Elizabeth. And an in-depth interview with Hillary Clinton.

Her Royal Highness was sporting a pink dress that bared the bottom half of her 70-year-old gams. The First Lady was wearing one of her signature pantsuits. Out of respect for the crown, Greenberg went with the younger lass from Arkansas.

A full 30 minutes later, the tug of war was over. Later, he joked he spent more ‘sexy time’ with Hilary Clinton than he had ever done with his own wife.

He gingerly screwed the cap on the plastic cup and placed it in the pass-thru vault, per the instructions of Nurse Ratchet. He double-checked the label on the cup. If some medical assistant were to make a mistake, he’d have to repeat the most humiliating, most joyless experience he’d ever had with his penis.

As he exited the clinic he drew his baseball cap tight across his brow in the hope no one would recognize him. The last thing he wanted was to run into a friend or a colleague and engage in some street side chitchat, particularly when he was sporting that telltale face that screams, “I just masturbated into a plastic cup.”

(Coming up tomorrow, Fill Up the Cup, Part 2, Balling For Dollars)