- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

Bad Form

“Watcha doing?”

 

I was busy and did not want to be disturbed, but it was my partner, Nacho Flaherty, who had spoken. So I laid my pen aside, rubbed my eyes and said, “I’m reviewing these tax forms.”

“At work? You’re doing your taxes at work?”

 

Speaking of work, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a consultant, I carry an ID badge and I was on the job, hunched over a desk that represents my legalized enslavement to both this Large Corporation and the economy.

 

Did you know this? The word economy is defined as ‘the careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor’.

Anything about the way we managed things in the last twenty years strike you as careful or thrifty? How about the way we managed our resources, money, materials, or labor? Did we do a good job with that?

 

Hey now, forget care and thrift or good management, what the heck happened to common sense and decency?

 

“Well,” I said, “unless I’m mistaken, I’ve been paying those taxes while working. A good chunk of my paycheck is missing every week, so it seems to me filling out the forms ought to be done at work.”

“Good point. But what about the filing deadline? I mean, April fifteenth has come and gone.”

I waved a dismissive hand. “That date doesn’t mean anything, not really. It’s more like a line in the sand than a stripe on the road.”

“Oh really?” Nacho said. “Muammar Qaddafi drew a line in the sand, look where it got him.”

I frowned. “Didn’t Ronald Reagan kick that guy’s ass?”

“Rick, you are going to jail. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday you will be hauled off in handcuffs.”

 

I stared at Nacho. He stared at me. Neither of us said a word. This happens a lot, these staring contests. Sometimes they go on for hours. Once, we simultaneously fell asleep while trying to stare each other down over a network cable. To make matters worse, we were awakened at two in the morning by the overnight cleaning crew and we just resumed staring at each other.

 

“Okay, fine,” Nacho said. “Forget that part about the jail you are most definitely going to.

“I’m going to jail? Why?”

“Never mind. What about your taxes?”

“Well,” I said, “now even more of my income will be missing so I can contribute to Washington’s latest quest for ‘reform’, pretty soon doing and paying taxes will simply become my job. Forget home ownership; do and pay is the new American Dream.
 

Nacho shrugged. “I don’t know. That sounds a lot like right-wing banana nut bread talk, frosted with a layer of patent paranoia. You don’t think healthcare is important?”

“Of course it is. The problem isn’t the importance of healthcare. The problem is the one who is meddling in it. That being some guy named Uncle Sam.”

 

Folding his arms, Nacho gave me a look and said, “Uh-huh. What now? Conspiracy theories about whether or not gravity exists, landing on the moon or who shot JR? Come on, let’s have it.”

“Okay, smarty britches, you think the Federal Government understands good stewardship? Consider this: between the early nineteen-nineties and two thousand-four the U.S. Patent Office had a surplus of almost a billion dollars. But Congress decided to butcher that cash cow like an alcoholic given the keys to a liquor store, and now the Patent Office is essentially broke.

“What does that----?” Nacho started to say.

“How about Charlie’s war?” I said, interrupting. “You know, Charlie Wilson, that U.S. senator who sold his soul to the Houston socialite, Joanne Herring, in order to influence untold amounts of cash into the gleeful hands the Afghan freedom fighters who, later on, decided to become the Taliban, who we now call insurgents and are killing U.S. military personnel defending the freedom of the nine or ten decent folks still living in Afghanistan. Are you going to trust anyone, who does those kinds of stupid things, with your health?”

 

“What, on earth,” Nacho said, “does all that have to do with filing your taxes at work and missing the deadline?”

Nacho’s misdirection almost worked. “Nice try,” I said. “But no go.”

“What do you mean, ‘nice try’? I’m reining you in. This ain’t no Free Range corporation, you can’t just run wild.”

 

Just then, someone approached my desk and said, “My computer is not working correctly. Can you help?”

I handed the young man a form and said, “I sure can. Simply fill this out and we’ll get right to it.”

The guy smiled, grateful for my expertise and professionalism. Then he glanced reverently at my ID badge. “Thank you Mister Spinner, I really appreciate it.”

“My pleasure. Serve and repair, it’s what we do.”

 

As the guy walked away Nacho said, “Did you just give him a 1040 form?”

“Yup. Well, it was a 1040A, but we won’t split hairs.”

Nacho gave me a look. “Let me get this straight. One of our customers needs technical assistance and you give him a tax form? What do you do when he brings it back?”

“I mail it to the IRS. What? You think I do my own taxes?”