This is not a day for fucking around. Today is a day for fraying steel nerves. Today is a day that snaps twigs like men. Today is a day for only blue or black ink. With a mouthful of coffee, a noseful of shoe-sole glue, and a slap in the face, you greet 6:00am with all smiles, and prepare for work.
No shower today. Last night there was an incident. Contrary to popular belief, you insist that if there ever was a way to visit the real Mario and Luigi, the answer starts in the bathroom. You know Mom and Dad are going to start pointing fingers, so you leave a fake mustache, a plunger, and a plate of spaghetti with meatballs. Maybe, just maybe, the evidence trail will lead to Italian criminals that could benefit from the American justice system.
In a flash, you’ve got your shoes on. Hat on. Coat on. Halfway out the door the feeling hits you: today is a pants day.
Sometimes you have lunch with the owner of BJ-HJ’s Tax Services and Second Hand Watches. BJ-HJ was good at two things, and taxes and puns were neither of them.Fully panted, you push the mechanical limits of your car. The 1954 Studebaker sputters noxious fumes, rambling its way through the early morning grey. It’s like steering a wheeled boat on land. Lately, loneliness is your only passenger. Today, it’s loneliness and a half-eaten, sprinkled donut. You’re going to have to have a little talk with your donutist again. How many times can you request only periwinkle sprinkles before you just friggin lose it?
Not Kent-State-lose-it, but you know, maybe to the point of saying something vulgar. Like ass, when you could have just as easily said patoot.
You park the car in your reserved spot. It’s technically for drivers with physical disabilities, but your boss keeps saying, No really, it’s okay, you’re why we have the spot. Does this mean he likes your moxy? Which reminds you to write to Webster, telling them about your new definition of moxy. The way you say it means hourly Novocaine shots.
Thirty blurred years lie behind you. Some memories stick out, like the missing WMD you recovered from the Cheneys, and the cure you developed where the AIDS virus was infected with people so it could see how it felt. Now here you are, who would have thought it—a tax man? Now who’s having the last laugh? You, that’s who. Not those naysayers, who said, "Nay, toilets aren’t elevators to Super Mario World."
Your nametag almost has the correct spelling of your name ("Yu," sometimes the previous nametag owner brings in the most delicious egg rolls), but it most certainly has your job title correct, "Mister Lead Assistant Lead Manager in Training." Sometimes you have lunch with the owner of BJ-HJ’s Tax Services and Second Hand Watches. Strange enough, BJ-HJ was good at two things, and taxes and puns were neither of them.
You find your office in the corner where you left it. A layer of dust coats the nameplate. You don’t know why, but your first thought is of dead skin cells and pollen particles and lint. Your second thought is that the god of cocaine farted.
Your third thought is of homeless kittens.
But your daydream of toothless, alcoholic kittens will have to wait. The Joneses are already waiting for you. Mrs. Jones stands up and greets you with a firm handshake. The husband, assumingly his name is Mr. Jones, clutches in his arms a manila folder thick with papers. By the looks of it, tax papers. Your tongue involuntarily wets your lips, as your neck glands swell with saliva and other assorted fluids. The manila folder reminds you of Nilla wafers. A lie. It’s the tax papers that remind you of Nilla wafers. Nilla wafers—and they also make you aroused.
"May I see that folder, Mr. Jones?" you ask. He is hesitant. "I wonder if this meeting has all been a big mistake. Were the Joneses not ready to have their taxes done by a professional? Here, I thought that they wanted to be the early adoptors of their neighborhood, making them the standard by which all other neighbors are judged."
Mrs. Jones has never heard of Form E2-2G4Z. Oh, the things you could and would show her if Mr. Jones wasn’t in the picture. "God yes! That’s what I want," Mrs. Jones exclaimed, prodding her husband in the ribs just underneath the armpit.
"Fine, woman! Damn your devil’s finger and sulfurous heart," he bellowed, as snot and tears slickened his handlebar mustache. "Avast with these…these…tax papers."
Mr. Jones tried not to watch as I slowly thumbed through his tax papers. When I took a break to feed my Tamagachi, I noticed that he was looking at me with a dumb, confused look, like a dog that’s bitten into a metal bone.
"I never told you my name was Mr. Jones."
Crap. Soon he will figure out that it has been you who has been sneaking around their house late at night, peering through their windows at their unopened envelopes containing W2s. You could be the one to open them, you thought each night, in the dark. Mustn’t show fear. Also mustn’t speak of fear. Or reek of fear. People can smell it, even when masked with "Pine Tree" or "New Car" smell.
"Lucky guess," you say. But will he buy it? To keep him from seeing the truth, you speak with your eyes closed really tightly.
The rest of the appointment had all the tenseness of a Boy Scout’s drumhead, but in the end the Joneses are happy. With your know-how of American tax code, you end up saving the Joneses seventeen dollars and a mandatory Dane Cook concert. Turns out, Mrs. Jones has never heard of Form E2-2G4Z. Oh, the things you could and would show her if Mr. Jones wasn’t in the picture.
During the wait for the next appointment, you do a couple shots of Novocaine in the mouth, and reflect upon what you call life. It’s a crazy thing isn’t it? Time goes by so fast, you blink and it’s over. A knocking interrupts. Your spit hangs there, a translucent, slippery, jungle vine that dangles from the canopy all the way to the forest floor. It snaps. The receptionist introduces the next appointment: The Smiths, or whatever band it is Morrissey is in.
Three o’clock could not come fast enough. The tax foreman blows the steam whistle, marking the end of the day. In a perfect world, the workday would be punctuated with a slide down the back of a Brontosaurus. Now, modern science proves that The Flintstones aren’t even real. What can you believe anymore? Were there even Brontosauruses?
You get into your car, the donut of loneliness and failure greeting you. "Hey, you," it says, "I know I’m a donut that symbolizes your loneliness and failure, but is there anything you’d like to talk about? You know, get off your chest? I’d be happy to—" You finish it off in two bites.
At home, your parents do the same thing they do every night: sit right where the taxidermist left them. You’re pooped, and you’re gonna have to do it all again tomorrow (yawn). Everyone has taxes. There will always be taxes (yaaaawn). Taxes and loneliness and failed dreams (to sleep).
You dream of kittens willing to work for food.