Recent Work By Erin Denver

My mother is directly responsible for my firm belief that the end of the world is coming soon. It’s not because she personally believes the end of the world is coming soon, but it’s because she believes all manner of other horrible things could take place at any given time — which is a quality she’s gifted me and also why you should be aware that your unfortunate rape and murder is just around the corner. Incidentally, and she’s not saying anything, she’s just saying, “soon your privates might catch cancer.” This is what she tells me yesterday, not for the first time, but for the fortieth time, on the telephone. “Have you gotten that HPV shot? I really think you need to get that HPV shot.”

“Why would I need that HPV shot?” And here, I would like my mother to make some offensive assumptions out loud about how I spend my weekends.

“Because it leads to cervical cancer.”

“What are you doing?”

“Eating a turkey sandwich.”

“Mmm.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“Eating meat probably gives you a better chance of getting cancer than being sexually liberated does.”

“Is that what they are calling it these days?”

“Indeed. ‘Tis.”

“How immature are you?”

“Enough so that I would welcome a cash bribe.”

She sighs, annoyed. I get the distinct feeling she isn’t going to buy me anything or pay me off for taking a very basic step toward my health. “I think the shot might even be free.” She concludes.

“I need to tell you something.” I state. There is silence on the other end of the line as my mother braces herself for something wildly irrational and bad. I lean over the phone and whisper so that other people can prevent feeling offended by my personality, “No one gives a shit about HPV.”

I like to think that doctors are scientists and scientists are Democrats, so I hesitate to say this, but HPV seems like some bullshit a bored southern Republican came up with when he had some downtime from going to church and flirting with little boys. Like he just thought to himself, since they’ve already fallen for the estate tax argument, they’d also probably fall for an STD that has no side effects, takes care of itself, can’t be prevented with condoms and everyone has. This would probably be a great way to inject more shame about sexuality into the culture.  

Unfortunately, my mother has figured out “the google” and is now reading me something from online.  “Could lead to genital warts,” she declares triumphantly, which I must admit seems more tangible than cervical cancer and also more horrible. “And 80% of women have it by age 50.”

“So, you’re trying to tell me that you have HPV?” I ask my mother before doing some googling myself.  “Only 5% will get visible genital warts.” I swear the word visible was in there and I’d like to think that what the Department of Health is saying is, it doesn’t count unless you can see it — in which case, I guess there are a whole gamut of STDs you don’t really need to worry about until some unsettling fluid starts to leave your body.

And nowwwwww it’s time for me to feel triumphant.  “Incidentally, according to the National Cancer Institute, only 5% of cancer is linked to HPV.” Pause. “Mmm.. This is interesting. According to PETA, vegetarians are 40% less likely to get cancer than meat eaters, so you might want to take that turkey sandwich out of your mouth.”

 

LeeAnn Kitts wants to know if we can be Facebook friends.

This is what I learn last Tuesday.

LeeAnn Kitts wants to know if we can be friends and she also cut her hair Annie Lennox short, is posing with what appears to be a one hundred pound rottweiler and seems like she could easily fill the role of Pony Boy Curtis in the movie The Outsiders. That is to say, she likes girls now.

This shouldn’t be that surprising as on more than one occasion in high school, LeeAnn Kitts chased down girls in the hallway, tackled them to the ground and then proceeded to simultaneously feel them up and give them hickies, all the while yelling out, “I’m touching your boobies!!!” and this was as close as people got to being gay in Colorado Springs. In hindsight, that’s actually pretty fucking gay but LeeAnn Kitts was Homecoming Queen, a Christian and very popular, so the mere idea that her shoving her hand up your shirt while licking the side of your face was anything but a fun, innocent game was outside the realm of possibility.

Here’s something else about LeeAnn Kitts: she was annoying. She was more annoying than a bird outside your window at 7:00 A.M on a Saturday. In addition to doing innocent/obviously, super duper, hyper gay stuff in the hallways, she liked to wear XXXL basketball shorts to school and spend the whole day being like, “These are XXXL basketball shorts! They’re huge! They’re huge. Yo. Yo. Yo. Check out my shorts. Yo.” Yep. That was our Homecoming Queen. That was my high school. What could possibly be more hilarious than a soccer player in really large basketball shorts?

She was really popular, so I had to be careful about telling people how fucking annoying I felt she was, but I made a point of sharing this fact with my older brother, Ryan. I don’t believe him, but he insists that he likes everyone and LeeAnn Kitts is no exception to the rule. He makes a disappointed face when I tell him that she asked me to be Facebook friends and after some thought, I denied her. He kind of crosses his arms and gives me a look that I interpret as meaning: what kind of bitch do you have to be to deny a Facebook friend request from someone you haven’t seen in ten years?

“She was annoying,” I respond.

My father is having a brief moment of kumbaya and decides to weigh in on the debate. “Are you being a snob again?”

I didn’t point out to my father that snobbery is a thing of stagnance and is not something that comes and goes like an ocean tide, but I also don’t feel the need to justify myself. “It’s not enough for you that I tolerated her in high school? Now, I need to continue to pretend to like her/validate my social status by being friends with her on a social networking site? Do you consider large basketball shorts the makings of high brow humor?”

My father reconsiders. He has a look on his face that suggests he actually doesn’t care.

Two days later I receive another Facebook friend request from a girl I like to call Bushy Brows — whom I don’t remember well from high school, but whom I remember disliking. Seriously disliking. I don’t know why people think the invention of a social networking site will suddenly erase my residual feelings of said person being a total fucking bitch all through high school and so it is with great power that I press decline on the Facebook friend request and sit back in my chair, so smug and self-satisfied. I email my coworker, Trisha, news of said powerful events and her neutralizing response is something along the lines of I bet those people cry themselves to sleep tonight.

To which I reply, You’re my favorite bitch.

To which she replies, At least I’m not part of some retarded networking thing for highschoolers.

I am so hung over Sunday that I vomit and then inexplicably urinate all over my right hand and my right leg.

Also inexplicable is my friend, Whore Bones’, interest in hanging out with me while I’m in this state. Not only does Whore Bones want to hang out but she wants to drive me around town to seek out food and listen to me moan and groan about my headache, while demolishing a 1,000 calorie coffee drink.

I have paused my rant long enough for her to tell me an abbreviated version of her fourth break up with her boyfriend and I’m having trouble following… which is fairly understandable considering I peed all over myself less than a half an hour earlier. What I do hear though is this: “Roman is dead.”

Let me just say this about Roman: he was beautiful. He was cross eyed, but he was beautiful. Let me say this about myself: I like beautiful things. I covet them. I like to spend money on them, wear them once and then grow bored of them. It makes me feel good like a person that’s really done something with her life and not a person that judges people for having stupid ringtones and using cursive fonts in emails. Anyway, Roman is a cat. Roman was my cat and I probably regretted his existence before I even got him in the door. He had looked so much more awesome behind that cage as someone else’s responsibility rather than on the other side of the cage and my responsibility.

Roman did not disappoint. Not only did he take to shitting on the kitchen counter and urinating on my bed when slighted, but he was also a midnight rapist of legs that often took violent exception to one suggesting the sexual assault was unwelcomed.

As the lies of my youth have proven, I have a big heart for animals, but this was enough. An anonymous ad for a new home for Roman posted on Craig’s List resulted in a single response that declared matter-of-factly: “YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT.” I returned with, “But do you want the cat?” and I got nothing back. As amusing as it was to be degraded by a total stranger in a foul mouthed email, I still needed a home for Roman.

I was lucky to find out then that Whore Bones was vulnerable that week. Lonely might even sum it up better. Little did she know that her polite interest would result in non-stop harassment from me until her will buckled and she agreed to adopt a cat that had been described to her as “sweet, beautiful and needy” rather than “malicious, cross eyed and bad for furniture.”

Whore Bones was into this cat for about a week. Whore Bones purchased him a bed and sent out an enthused email about her new pet. I felt like Whore Bones and Roman could really have something until a week later when Whore Bones confessed to me that she felt nothing for the cat. Like myself, not only did she not love this cat, but she could hardly bring herself to acknowledge its existence on this earth. On a positive note, she did not mention Roman soiling any of her furniture.

One week later, I receive a text stating that she had better luck on Craig’s List and Roman now resided with a family in the suburbs that might, possibly, be able to love him. Or acknowledge him.

This is why I am confused when I catch her saying, “Roman is dead.”

“Roman is dead?” I ask.

“No,” Whore Bones is shaking her head back and forth, “No. I don’t know why, but I just told him that.”

“You told your x-boyfriend Roman was dead?”

“Yeah.” Whore Bones is shaking her head back and forth and shrugging. “I don’t know why. I don’t know where it came from, but once I said it I couldn’t take it back. I just told him I came home and he was dead and that it made me really sad.” Pause. “Really sad.”

“Wow, Whore Bones, that is so fucked up.”

“I know!” Her attitude brightens a little bit though and she proceeds to explain to me, “but he bought me all these drinks and dinner and shit because he thought that my cat died.”

“It wasn’t enough for you that neither you nor myself could possibly ever hope to love this animal? In your mind, and more importantly, in your boyfriend’s mind, you had to kill him?”

“I guess.”

“Can I come to your next therapy session?”

“No, and don’t be a bitch.”

“Can I blog about it?”

“Yes.”

“Can I call you Whore Bones just because I like the way it sounds?”

“Sure.”