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by Ron Burch

We try rhythm method and temperature measurements.

We meet at scheduled times, usually during lunch, to fornicate.

We take pills and discuss what few options are left.

She lies on her back, naked and crying, her blue fingernails grabbing the air, What the fuck do we have to do? I lay next to her, sweaty and out of breath. I don’t know the answer any more. I am half-hearted about kids to begin with. One, for my own lack of responsibility. Two, for how I see the world disintegrating around me.

It scares me. I wish I could lie and say happy things but it fucking scares me.

We try to not let it affect us. We try to not let us feel less than what we are.

In the morning, she asks if I’ll meet her at the doctor’s.

Of course, I say.

Fourth floor in Beverly Hills. Dr. T. We take more exams. I jerk off into a cup and put it on a metal shelf behind a metal door in the bathroom. I hear the door open from the other side and laughter.

She gets scraped. We get mixed. Nothing.

The doctor tells me my sperm count has seriously decreased. Perhaps, he says, his concern evident, because of my age. Perhaps I am too old. I am several years older than she is. She is, she feels, at the cusp, at that moment, when there is still hope before the eggs die, before the last egg appears, imperial-like, the final answer.

I don’t know, I tell her.

I understand, she says, sliding left of the wet spot. All we can do is try.

I pause, nod in agreement, taking my part in this.

She smiles.

In the morning, we will try again.

Ron Burch’s first novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an executive producer of a DreamWorks Animation TV show. He is also a produced and published playwright. Please visit www.ronburch.com.