page 6

A year after the wedding
Egon found himself feeling uncharacteristically broody. He had done for nearly half a year now, and had been keeping an eye on his feelings the whole time. He hadn't wanted to ask Janine how she felt about it until he knew if it was serious or not.
Evidentally not, but he had to check something first.
For the first time in a long time, Egon Spengler picked up the phone and made a doctor's appointment.
He wanted to have a sperm count.
On the day of the appointment, he told a white lie to the others, saying he was having a general routine check-up, and took a cab there.
When he went in, he told the nurse that, during his six week wait, he had done his best to eat healthy as possible and keep physically fit, as he was keen to promote a good sex life as well as nourish his epididymis. The nurse smiled and told him she was pleased to have such an upfront, unembarrassed patient.
Then, Egon was handed a magazine and left alone in a private room.
That evening, Egon sat with Janine on the sofa, watching TV, working up the courage.
"There might be something better on the other side," Janine said, finishing her popcorn.
"Can we switch off for a moment?" Egon said.
She looked at him, instantly sensing something was up.
"Yeah," She turned off the telly. "Everything ok?"
"It wasn't a general routine checkup I had today," Egon told her, "It was a sperm count,"
"Oh ... Ok," she said, uncertainly.
"The results were very good. I have well over the average count ... Well, two hundred million sperm per millitre to be honest - "
He stopped speaking as her hand had rested on his arm.
The look in her eyes summed up that she knew where he was going with this. In the space of half a minute, Janine went from mouth partly open, to smiling.
Then, her arms were round his neck. He hugged her back, his heart beating like a drum. She kissed his cheek a few times.
"I've been broody for half a year," he breathed, "I just didn't know if you were ready to talk about it,"
"I would love to have a baby with you," she whispered back, "but first we need to know if it's practical. Do we have the time? Do we make enough money? Can we provide everything?"
"I'll work it out,"
"I'm serious, Egon. We need to plan this,"
"So am I,"
Egon took her face in his hands. "I have never been more serious about anything," he said, passionately, "I mean it when I say I will work it out,"
She looked at him, questioningly.
"With a pie chart," he explained, smiling.

Egon got to work on his chart over the following weeks, working out the average of what he did and when across an entire year. He decided a year would be a good judge of how much time he could estimate would be spent on family time.
Family time. Wow! He was so excited by the idea, but when the results were finally in, he felt his heart slow, then falter, and finally sink all the way down into his shoes.
His body followed suit as he slumped into his desk chair, tossed his glasses unceremoneously onto the worktop, and put his face in his hands.
Five minutes later, Winston poked his head round the door, and stopped dead.
He spotted Egon at his desk. He was crying!
Winston's mouth fell open.
"Oh my god, Egon! What's happened, man?"
Winston shut the door and came over.
"Me and Janine can't have babies," Egon said, hoarsely.
Winston's eyebrows jumped to the top of his forehead.
"You've been trying for kids?" he asked, amazed.
"Not yet," Egon said, wiping his eyes, "But I've made a pie chart of how much of my time is taken up by essential routines and there simply isn't time for me to be a good father. Not even close!"
He handed Winston the sheet. Winston looked at it carefully.
Large chunks were taken up by work which had been colour-coded into many segments. Among them was ghostbusting, travelling to and from customer locations, lab work, maintaining the equipment, and maintaining the firehouse. The rest was eating, sleeping, quality time with Janine, and hanging out with Peter, Ray, and himself. There was a slither labelled 'margins of error'.
Winston rubbed his chin, thinking.
"Ok now, brainiac, just wait a minute. Calm down," he said, soothingly, his hand on Egon's shoulder, "If I know you, buddy, I'd say you've gone overboard,"
"What do you mean?" Egon asked, blinking hard.
"Well, you haven't just included the necessary work for this job, have you? You included all the extra work you've been putting in over the past year, you stupid genius!"
Egon looked at Winston as though were Jesus. Without warning, he gave him a big hug.
"Egon!"
"You're brilliant!" Egon blubbered.
Winston laughed, modestly, as the two slapped each other on the back and let go.
Winston grinned from the chart to Egon. "You idiot!" he said, playfully tapping Egon once on the forehead with the palm of his hand.
"Now go make some white 'n' nerdy babies!"

Over the course of a month, Egon and Janine tried for a baby without success.
At the start of it, they both knew the odds of conceiving were unlikely, but from the middle of the month onwards, there was a deflated feeling from both parties.
Egon was unfamiliar with the feeling of his manhood being challenged in such an intimite way. It played games on his mind, making him paranoid.
The fear cancelled out his usual, perfectly logical thinking, and he caught himself thinking the most insecure things like, what if there had been a miscalculation at the hospital and he was actually infertile? What if all his sperm were mutants and none of them tails, or all had three heads, or ...
It must have showed on his face one morning as he and Janine were making breakfast.
"Hey, ' you awake, big guy?" she said, flirtatiously running a hand over his bottom as he stared into space. The surprise touch woke him at once, and he smiled and kissed her. Then, his smile melted as quickly as it had come.
"I was just thinking about ... you know ..."
She looked at him and thought she understood. Janine cupped his face in one hand and turned his head towards her.
"I know it's not working yet. But I want you to know that I don't think any less of you," she said, softly.
He was touched by her kindness, and took her into his arms.

One evening, Egon came home, shut the front door behind him and hung his coat up.
"Janine?" he called.
"I'm up here,"
Egon made his way upstairs, looking for her.
He found her in the bedroom with a strange look on her face, holding a ...
pregnancy test ...
Egon felt as though he had just walked into a wall.
"Are you ... ?" he murmured.
"Yes," she whispered.
He was conscious just long enough to feel his knees give way beneath him.

*

The End

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