The End of Truman Kaputsky

Donald Shephard

Truman Kaputsky, 1910-2104, was born in Slipshod, New Jersey where he returned for the 129 years of his retirement. Having been a shipís carpenter during World War II, he made his postwar living producing wooden stools. The angels simply lost his number. Truman lived to the extraordinary age of 194 before they finally, albeit accidentally, resolved his dilemma.

At 65, Truman was slipping comfortably into decrepitude. He had diverticulosis and took three teaspoons a day of Metamucil. At eighty, his doctor increased the dosage from teaspoons to tablespoons. By that time Truman had had cataract surgery on his eyes, two hip replacements and three knee replacements. Each day Truman swallowed twelve pills of varying color: one red pill for his heart; two green pills for his spleen; three blue pills for his liver; four white pills for arthritis; and two pills to aid in the digestion of all the others.

At one hundred, Truman realized that something was wrong. A significant percentage of his body was either bionic or second hand. He had the organs of a wide variety of cadavers, some of them human. He also had an ox tongue, a dog leg, some cat gut, cow eyes, donkeyís ears and mole skin in areas he kept to himself.

At 110, Mr. Kaputskyís skin had thinned so much that he became a guinea pig in the science of skin replacement. For his first whole body experience he donned the epidermis of a tattooed sailor. It was generally a good fit with the exception of certain areas where the surgeon installed pleats. Truman thought the donor was Australian which accounted for his pouch. Later, he enjoyed changing race, the Asian eyes were rather alluring but Truman would have preferred not to carry the heavy load of the skin of a Sumo wrestler.

By the time Truman was 120 he was consuming 52 pills a day which accounted for twelve percent of his daily allowance. Fifty percent of his diet was Metamucil which increased to 75 per cent at age 140.

That was when Mr. Kaputskyís personal angel realized something was up other than Trumanís number but how could he correct the error? There was no precedent for telling someone their number is up when they did not have one? Trumanís angel took the case to his administrator who referred it to legal which necessitated a long journey down to the place where attorneys go. The affair dragged on for years.

At 160 Truman was consuming a carton of Metamucil a day and having difficulty digesting it. Internet six informed him he had consumed millions of cilium husks. He was eating the outer shell of a grass seed, a diet of cellulose which he equated with wood. He decided to eat termites to digest the wood. Actually, termites outsource the job of digestion to protozoans in their gut. Constant constipation was impacting Trumanís jolly life. He blended termites in his Cuisinart and mixed them with honey but he was still producing wooden stools from his oaken gastric tract.

Meanwhile the administrator of angels collided with the attorney assigned to his case. As she later explained, it is harder than Hades to see and hear amid the fire, smoke and screams down there but, when she asked the attorney if he had a number for Truman, she thinks he made a circle of his thumb and index finger. That is how Truman was given the number zero which was immediately called.

The plastic surgeons reclaimed his skin to repair a cyclist who had taken a bad spill in the Tour díAntartica. His knees and hips are in the Museum of Artificial Body Parts in Gotobed, Tennessee. The animal organs were donated to PETA for sale on eBay. Only his intestines were left when the scavengers were finished. The plastic surgeon gave these solid wooden coils to a Crenovian wood worker who sanded them to a fine finish and hand rubbed them with carnauba wax before applying three coats of polyurethane. He sold his creation to the community of Slipshod for a war memorial for five million world monetary units. Unfortunately, two termites had survived their swim in the Cuisinart and were dining their way down the sculpture leaving only a transparent tube. A small pile of termite frass and their desiccated exoskeletons were all that remained at the base of the structure. That was the end of Truman Kaputsky.

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