Excerpt from: The Enchanting Adventures of Dr. Penis
Asher couldn’t figure out where the lupus had come from. He hadn’t found it in the kitchen junk drawer or in between his couch cushions or at the curb on garbage night. It wasn’t even tucked into the branches of his family tree. No, he would have preferred it that way. He just went to the doctor’s office to pick up his test results and it was suddenly all there in the little checkmarked boxes. He’d asked his doctor, Emily, and even his basset hound Dr. Penis, but nobody could really tell him why. Maybe the sunlight, said the doctor, maybe a drug reaction, maybe your genes. Maybe your face, but Asher kept that one to himself. Especially unhelpful was Dr. Penis, who had eaten most of the test results (“You better hope I’m not contagious,” said Asher.)
He had sat on the doctor’s bench, on the crinkly white paper to keep your butt germs from getting on the seat, relieved he didn’t have to wear one of those skimpy gowns. All the same, he felt strangely naked without Dr. Penis, who came with him everywhere since Emily left. But Asher knew that if Dr. Penis was actually there, he would have found a way to get into the container of syringes by the hand-washing sink.
Asher was thinking about how biopsy would be a much funnier word if it was just ‘bipsy’ when the doctor walked in.
“Yep,” said Asher.
And the doctor told him about the lab tests. CBC, ESR, ANA, YMCA. They looked at his pee (which was lacking) and his liver (which was actually okay). And they got results for the biopsy from the rash on his face.
“What rash?” asked Asher.
“The butterfly rash,” said the doctor. “It’s…uh… actually pretty obvious on your face. A common pattern across the face of wome- uh, individuals with lupus.”
“I didn’t think I had a rash,” said Asher, touching his face to make sure. It felt like it did most of the time, which was not all that pleasant.
“You didn’t notice the large splotches of red on your face?”
“Honestly,” said Asher, “I thought it was acne. Jesus. I mean, I knew I hated myself, but I thought maybe my body didn’t hate itself so much.”
“Think about it this way,” said the doctor. “Your body loves you so much that it’s attacking its own tissue in an attempt to protect you”
“That’s not reassuring,” said Asher. The doctor didn’t argue with that one.
Asher’s next question was “Am I gonna die?” Not because he really wanted to know for himself, but he had to figure out who Dr. Penis would live with. Brad was looking after him today because he had a day off, and Brad spent his days off with the boxed DVD set of Will and Grace and some pickles. So Brad was at home anyway, instructed not under any conditions to give Dr. Penis a pickle.
“Everyone’s going to die,” said the doctor, who was in most respects a pretty crappy doctor. “But no, chances are that you won’t die sooner than anyone else. On the other hand, we can give you medicine to manage your symptoms, but it won’t go away for good.”
“Can I still eat ice cream?” asked Asher.
“I guess,” said the doctor.
When Asher got home, he was greeted by Dr. Penis wedging himself between his legs and a muffled “hey, sailor” from behind the door of Brad’s room. Asher tripped over Dr. Penis three times trying to close the door, and when he succeeded in the difficult task, the basset hound unwound himself from Asher’s jeans and started whining for food. Judging by the smell in the room, Brad had caved to Dr. Penis’ water-torture-like howl and given him a pickle. Asher heaved a giant sigh and went to the fridge for Dr. Penis’ can of Monday Brunch.
As Asher opened the fridge, he saw that Brad had spelled out “frantic butt-licking” in magnetic poetry on the freezer door.
And that made everything just a little bit better.