One paragraph story... August 5 edition

He didn't know how long he was staring at the cup, but it was long enough that the nurse knocked on the door and asked if was okay. He replied in affirmation, and went back to turning the cup over and over in his hand. Plastic like tupperware, that was what he observed. Not a pill bottle- he had figured it would be an orange pill bottle complete with a white child-proof cap. Not this receptacle, it was transparent with a transparent top. He removed the lid and it even burped like tupperware. He closed it and burped it again. Like his mother’s tupperware. His bologna sandwiches from school. He knew that thinking about primary school and his mother would not make it easy for him to make the deposit. He also knew that he was already feeling self conscious about the whole thing, anyway. He had wanted his wife to be there, to help out, to be there, at least so he didn't feel like the nurses were on the other side of the door laughing at him. Giggling to each other that he was naked on the other side of a couple inch thick door, doing the thing he had been raised to keep a secret. He knew it was his turn to go through the metaphorical and figurative microscope. His wife Rhonda had already gone through enough tests, legs hiked up while her doctor poked and prodded his cold instruments deep inside her privates like she was on a coroner’s table. The secret hope that it was her fault, and not his. Not that he wanted there to be a fault, but he also didn't want to find out that he was not capable of doing his duty as a mammal- a man animal- to make a woman animal pregnant. He was already a failure in his other societal expectations; he wasn't into sports, he couldn't change the oil in his Prius, he drove a Prius. Hi flabby belly wasn't even that kind of belly that stuck out over your pants like old men get, it just moulded with his waist like he was a candle that had melted in an awkward way. The last of his manhood, so to speak, was waiting to be burped into this tupperware container that would soon have a sticker with a barcode placed on, and sent to someone who won’t know that he was once shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his first novel Rebecca’s Forgotten Childhood, a lightly veiled fictional biography about his Grandmother’s time in Poland before she was sent to Canada. He was just a random guy, naked in a room, questioning his manliness while he masturbates into a cup, wondering if his wife will leave him if they find out he is incapable of doing that one thing. The one thing that all animals are meant to do, the one single thing that all animals are meant to do to keep the world moving, regardless of whether almost a million people read his almost prize winning novel. He was still just a man worried about his legacy, and it all hinged on one little cup.

James C.