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A voice I never heard before and probably never will hear again rescued me last week while I was taking a dump in the last stall of the bathroom where I work.

“You know you really shouldn’t worry so much about your sperm,” the unfamiliar but comforting voice echo off the pen-scrawled feces-and-urine drossed tiles. I didn’t respond, of course. I figured this fellow in the polished black shoes was talking to someone else. I remained squatting on the toilet, sorting out my thoughts.

“About your abnormal sperm,” the man continued. “You really shouldn’t be obsessing over it the way you have been,” the man said in a familiar voice. “It’s unhealthy.”

He was right. My mind had been filled with strange incoherent images, misshapen planets orbiting this one burning thought: my abnormal sperm, my abnormal sperm, my abnormal sperm....

I had gone to the doctor in the morning. I waited on a couch that felt like the skin of a cheap umbrella, reading inspirational quotes from celebrities that time and the 13-24 year old demographic had long forgotten. I was the only man in the waiting room. Not as easy as it sounds. I tried to concentrate on advice about the importance of happiness and ignore the sanitized tinny Muzak and the thundering ticking hands of a dozen biological clocks. The room stunk with the thick smell of polycystic-desperation. These women would throw a grenade in to a room full of someone else’s children to have one of their own. I could feel it. They made me uncomfortable.

Finally the receptionist called my name. The doctor sat me down and told me the news. My sperm was abnormal.

“What do you mean?”

“Your sperm it is abnormally shaped.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know it could mean a lot of things.”

My sperm did not appeal to the 13-24 year old demographic.

A nurse with a long neck and the look and smell of a healthy uterus handed me a pale blue translucent container I was supposed to go home and fill with a fresh sample of my abnormal sperm. I was repulsed by the idea of masturbating. I didn’t want to get any deformed sperm on me.

Since then I had been daydreaming odd, fantastic thoughts. I imagined an ejaculatory dystopia, a sort of semenal police state where my sperm was rounded up and interred in barb-wired prisons. In another, I blew each individual misshapen sperm to impossibly large proportions and imagined hanging them one from the other like a game of Barrel-O-Monkeys. Next I envisioned a black-and-white image of a beautiful woman in piecing the jagged, angled sperms together like a jigsaw puzzle in the ruins of a derelict mansion

But how did the man in the polished black shoes know about my sperm? More importantly how did he know what I was thinking?

His steps rebounded against the tiles. He turned on the sink and spoke over the gush of water. “Your sperm does not define you. It does not speak to matters of cleanliness. It is a champion of its line.”

I kneeled down craning my neck to catch a glimpse of this mysterious man with the polished black shoes. “Remember what I said,” he barked.

And then the click-clack of the shoes receded and he was gone. The future, for the first time in a long time, seemed uncertain, refreshingly uncertain.

Date Written: August 24, 2004
Author: scoop
Average Vote: 4.1429

08/27/2004 anonymous (4):
08/27/2004 mr.coffee (4): all i can say is this.....you're fucked up man.
08/27/2004 Sc??p: there's something sedaris-like about this. you should be ashamed - it's fit for publication on the back page of the new yorker.
08/27/2004 Ol Summer Sausage: Gee Scoop, can't you be a little more understanding. This short has its own personality that should be embraced.
08/27/2004 qualcomm: yeah
08/27/2004 Ol‘ Summer Sausage: YEAH.
08/27/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): I'm embracing this short. And because of its typos, I would venture to say, I'm really embracing its author, the ole' Scooper.
08/27/2004 Jon Matza (5): Despite a few distractions such as the stranger's voice being described both as unfamiliar & familiar--I realize the latter is meant in the sense of 'in a familiar tone', but still--this has executive quality ideas & lines aplenty. The whole "Barrel-O-Monkeys" graf was sweet manna.
08/27/2004 John Slocum (4): just like my sperm.
08/27/2004 TheBuyer (4): 0001100001100000 0110011000 10011000 11101000100101 01010010 1010 101 01 0 10010010 10 100 10010010000110001110001 001100100 100 01100101
08/27/2004 anonymous: 010010000110010101111001001000000100011000101101010110010 11011110111010100100000010101000110100001100101010000100 11101010111100101100101011100100010110000100000011110010 11011110111010100100000010000110110000101101110011000010 1100100011010010110000101101110001000000111010001101111 011011110110110000101110
08/27/2004 TheBuyer: Ha! No doubt.
08/27/2004 Litcube (4): You two fuckers just fucked up the width of this fucking page. Now Disney is going to have to if (string.getlength() > page.width.GetMax()) string.Clip(page.width.GetMax());
08/28/2004 John Slocum: Scoop: I, Slocum, apologize. I wish I had given you 5 stars. I just re-read this and completely enjoyed it. Great writing, wierd, intense. Nice work. Reminds me domaine peyra's very satisfying single-vineyard cote d'auvergne from the loire valley.
08/28/2004 Litcube: The character's obsession with the trivial in an almost not funny, slightly imbalanced manner is indeed Sedaris-like. I really liked this short. I loik' ut.
08/30/2004 Mr. Pony: I'm glad the guy has abnormal sperm. It'll teach him some lessons. [again, oops]
08/30/2004 Mr. Pony: So scoop, I voted on this using my OSS account. This account is unconfirmed, for some reason, so the comment (and the vote) may be published later. And thus, Mr. Pony withholds his vote so as not to vote twice.