by Nathan Cromwell
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.
you?" Budweiser asks me again, his reverie
broken by my consumptive coughing. I repeat my
credentials, but as before am cut off after three
of the most talented surgeons in the world. I
have a gift. Any yet . . ." He becomes
morose. More morose, to be exact.
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
Budweiser!" shouts an intern as s/he bursts
into the room. "Emergency pneumatonectomy!
They need you in ops, stat!"
"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 hed 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.