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The Typo
by Nathan Cromwell

Dr. Foster Addam's Budweiser chews the corpse of his cigar while stabbing his stress ball with a letter opener. He is a man frustrated, and not afraid to let anyone know. His fist hits the desk again: "Damn it! I expect such provincialism in the boondocks, but in the heart of a metropolis? I cannot accept this." He limps to the open window and spits out the remains of his cheroot. Not until a startled, annoyed cry floats up does he return to the interview.

"Who are you?" Budweiser asks me again, his reverie broken by my consumptive coughing. I repeat my credentials, but as before am cut off after three words.

"I'm one of the most talented surgeons in the world. I have a gift. Any yet . . ." He becomes morose. More morose, to be exact.

And not without cause: This surgeon is a maverick's maverick. He has pushed experimental surgery to its limits, redefining invasive procedure in new and often horrifying ways. And when patients or colleagues are hesitant, unwilling, or even violently resistant to his suggestions, he proves them sissies by demonstrating on himself. For example, in May of last year he surgically removed both his feet and grafted in their stead an alligator and a duck. He must be constantly vigilant against his new left foot's frequent attempts to eat his right.

Since his most recent venture has been stymied, his days are penumbrated with cark, and his kith cannot cajole him to toil nor his wife coax him to swive. "It's a ground-breaking operation, never attempted, and no one has the balls to let me do it," he grumbles. "It's remarkably complex and dangerous. Both lives may be lost. And no one will let me try. Not even a little."

He plans to surgically attach separate twins, allowing them to share organs and wear custom-tailored apparel. "Is there any downside to success?" he asks rhetorically, suspecting correctly that I don't care enough to answer. No, what really interests me as a reporter is the apostrophe in his middle name. Ever since I saw it in print my reporter's nose has smelled a story. But I have caught him during a peevish rant and will have to wait until his passion subsides. And unless someone actually lets him cleave two kids his name is the only thing that holds any fascination for me.

"Dr. Budweiser!" shouts an intern as s/he bursts into the room. "Emergency pneumatonectomy! They need you in ops, stat!"

He sighs. "Back to the humdrudgery. See you later, old chap. I'll be back in a trice, or my name isn't Foster A. Budweiser."

It was the last time I saw him alive; I died seconds later. Being a doctor, you would think he’d have noticed when he returned, but no, I had to sit there and listen to him rant for three days, and, each night, to the janitor grouse about duck and alligator poo in the rug.