Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Thank You For Your Sperm by Marcus Speh

After eons of running the world more or less responsibly, the olympic gods have tired of their fates. They seek change.

Mars, god of war, has dropped his shield and sword. He’s fully surrendered to his libido and embarks on a 1000 day fornic-a-thon. When he's done, Venus, his congenial adulterous lover, comes to fetch him: she’s finally left her husband, the vitriolic Vulcan, and bought an apartment in Paris:
“Let’s live there,” she says.
“I’m not sure I can be faithful to you,” says Mars.
“I don’t care,” she says, “this is my town, the city of sin. Let’s not be boring in Paris.”
He asks what everyone’s doing. He’s told that that Minerva is fed up with Athens and its vacuous philosophers. But she’s still not all that interested in sex: she supposedly went to Japan to learn the language.

Apollo runs creative writing classes in NYC by day, and procreates by night, as they all do now, filling the earth with demigods and -godesses.
"What about father Jupiter?” says Mars, "surely he's irate?”
Jupiter has always had his way with humans but sneered at his offspring who do likewise.
"Mum and dad are traveling through homes for the elderly," says Venus, "as sex tourists." They laugh.
She doesn’t mention to him that she is a much sought-after porn actress now; but when Mars, alone with her in the large Paris flat, still weak from too much healing and feeling rather spent and emptied, asks her why she is out working so much, she tells him about her job.
He looks blankly: "Porn?" He has no idea.
She chuckles, “it means that you have sex with one or more humans and it is all recorded for posterity."
"That seems worthy," he says, feeling jealous.
“In this way, millions of them can later watch us perform our magic,” she says.
"That's marvelous," he says politely.
"You could do it, Mars, since you're so well endowed." She smiles appreciatively.

He tries himself in the business, using the stage name “Brad Mars”, but he cannot stomach the presence of other men on the set. And when he realizes how poorly sex films are rated critically, his vanity forbids him to go on.
"I'm a warrior after all," he says to his wife.
She laughs: "Darling, there are no more wars. Mankind has lost its taste for blood and solely delights in sweet love juice now. Battles have given way to pillow fights! All they're interested in now is entertainment and distraction."
"But what about the thirst for knowledge that has made this species so successful. Doesn't Minerva mind?"
"Nobody's heard from her since a particle physicist broke her inexperienced heart in Kyoto. I believe she's gathered her robes and her immense wisdom and is back in Athens sulking for a thousand years."
This was a lie: Minerva, after her encounter with science, was having just as much fun as the other immortals: she was organizing cocaine-infused orgies, but she was also busy writing a book in which Venus was described as the world's sluttiest slut and Mars as her mindless, fuck-crazy toy boy.

* * *

Venus and Mars find themselves on the couch of Dr. Adrian Freudenfeld, the noted sex therapist. The couch is covered in fake leather: you can feel it though you can’t see it because the doctor has hung tapestries over the windows, and the room is bathed in a musty light. The tapestries show painted scenes of acrobatic love play. All male figures have the doctor’s face and enormous cocks.
“The artist is a personal friend,” explains Dr. Freudenfeld. He’s a large man with a paunch, little hair and small round wire-rimmed spectacles. Mars finds that the doctor’s strong German accent distracts from what he has to say. Venus seems to enjoy it: she even adopts the accent when they’re not with their therapist.
“There’s nothing less sexy than a German accent,” says Mars. “It’s like ‘Marschmusik’. Good for bellowing orders, bad for intimate moments.”
“Nonsense,” says Venus, “there’s no sexless accent, not if you know how to use your tongue.”
“You’re such a smut mouth,” he says, “thank god.” That evening turns into a good one. The sessions however don’t really go anywhere, because Mars and Venus cannot stick to the doctor’s homework which involves more than a modicum of abstention from making love, and a commitment to one sex partner only.
“Djoo kahnnt tchit on penetrayshon,” says Dr. Freudenfeld, grinning. Mars feels alarmed.

“He means ‘you can’t cheat on penetration’,” Venus translates.

Mars tries to talk about his central issue: not being able to earn his own living among men makes him feel unmanly. The doctor thinks this may be a good thing because it makes him less threatening to women. Unasked, Freudenfeld shares an anecdote from his own life, which reveals that he enjoys role playing with himself handcuffed in an inferior position. Mars points out that not having a job causes him anxiety and sleeplessness. The doctor sighs and looks at his watch.

“He trained with a pupil of Sigmund Freud,” says Venus later. She doesn’t say that she met the doctor in a fetish dungeon the other day, where he insisted on smelling her armpit.

They break off therapy. Mars asks friends and relatives for practical ideas on a suitable line of work for him.

* * *

Mars' brother Mercury suggests he should go to a clinic to donate his sperm. "There's no point in letting the divine juice go to waste," he says.

The woman who greets him is tall, confident, with a beehive of golden hair, white teeth and a soft touch that makes him feel important and cared about. She reminds him of Venus in the good old days. She speaks slowly and explains everything that he has to do in such detail that he finds it almost arousing.

When he is done, the warrior-god, the dark prince who fought countless battles between earth and sky, the master of fear and terror and indefatigable swordsman, holds the closed cup out to her.

“Careful, this is powerful stuff," he says.

"I'm sure it is, Mr. Mars," she says, a little irritated because the sample is so small, but she smiles: "Thank you for your sperm, and please come back soon."

About the author: Marcus Speh is a German writer who lives in Berlin and writes in English only. His short fiction has been published in elimae, Mad Hatter’s Review, kill author, PANK and elsewhere. First published in 2009 at Metazen, his work has been nominated for a Micro Award, two Pushcart Prizes, two Best of the Net awards and two Million Writers Awards, and was longlisted for the Paris Literary Prize. A staunch supporter of penguins and maitre d' of the late Kaffe in Katmandu, he blogs at