“Our marriage has never been better,” says the widow.
By most accounts, 45-year-old Chaz Krunk was not the pride of Enid, Oklahoma. Retiring early because of a disability, the ex-factory worker spent his time drinking gin, bellowing at people walking past his house, tearing down neighborhood fences in the wee hours of the morning and collecting restraining orders.
Three months ago, after chasing a group of skateboarders down his block, threatening them with a weed whacker, he collapsed; the victim of a large brain fart.
His wife saw Chaz’s death as an opportunity. “We had a pretty rough ride,” said his widow, Elizabeth. “I should have suspected something would go wrong after he said he proposed to me because ‘I knew how to take a punch.’ After his death, I thought to myself, ‘Let’s make things better.’”
“HE’S STILL LIMBER”
The Krunk’s had two children who grew up and moved out. “I contacted my son-in-law, Luis, who designs and repairs toys, and told him my idea. He thought it was great. We had Chaz stuffed but with a few ‘extras.’ He now has arms and legs that are flexible. We can pose him in any pose.
“His face is laminated and stuffed with flexible latex. If I want to punch him in the kisser? I can punch him in the kisser. His face crinkles in but, then, pops back out. I can even hit him with a bat with no damage done.”
The revamped Chaz has been placed on the living room couch. “That’s where he was all day and all night,” said Elizabeth, “when he wasn’t outside barking at people. He’d watch TV all day, guzzling gin. He really liked ‘Law & Order’ reruns. That ‘Ka-Chung’ music drove me crazy. If I tried to turn to another channel? He’d threaten me.”
She smiled sweetly, “Now, he’s watching QVC all the time. My favorite channel. So, the TV is still on. He’s still sitting there. Things are the same but far nicer.”
She began to chuckle. “And, now? The guy who the neighborhood kids used to run from, calling him a ‘rat bastard,’ is their hero. Luis has made sure of that.”
Chaz 2.0. meets the world
Luis Mendoza, a 25-year-old mechanical genius, laughs about the situation. “Chaz was like a junkyard dog until his death. He went after everybody. I saw the chance to improve his personality and invite visitors at the same time. I installed a dozen or so buttons on him that kids can press and watch Chaz 2.0. go into ‘friendly’ action.
“He can blow bubbles out of his mouth and nose. His eyes can roll while steam comes out of his ears. He can have a coiled party streamer shoot out of and, then, back into his mouth. He can sing a half-dozen songs: birthday songs, Christmas songs, a couple of Sly and the Family Stones tunes. Plus, if you push a certain button, he passes gas in three different octaves. People love it! I’m in talks with Elizabeth about renting him out for special occasions.”
As for Elizabeth, she’s not sure about taking Chaz on the road. “Our marriage has never been better,” she says. “And it’s so nice to have people come over the house without police officers at their side. I’m baking, again, so the neighbors always enjoy themselves. I think Chaz would really, really hate what’s going on, now, which makes me very, very happy.”