I will tell you what I know of death and taxes: Each year as the filing deadline draws close, I am riddled with anxiety and die innumerable deaths, all of which precipitate a constellation of tragedies.
Two weeks before tax day, I sit immobile, shackled. From under the fake bamboo laminate floorboards, the booming pulse. An echo. Poe’s caged heart. And so begins the merciless clawing—those wretched foolish accountants—whose exegesis scrolls on my bookshelves multiply and resemble nothing less than the Papal catacombs.
I resist sleep, counting the number of times the phone rings or stops ringing before I can answer it. They are calling me, I know it—Internal Revenue agents, hacking into the house phone from their hiding place underneath the lilac bush. Outside my bedroom window, the moon casts her melancholy aura on their silhouettes.
To calm my riddled mind, I persuade myself to think on the bright side. Maybe it’s not the IRS! After all, it could just be my oddly silent neighbor Bob, snipping the lilacs off one by one, in the middle of the night. Never mind—time for another Ambien. Sleep comes at dawn, and only after I clutch my chest to see if I still have a heart.
The eve before the magical midnight postmark, I wisely imbibe an intoxicant. Woozy and somewhat emboldened, I grab that wily ol’ 1040 and scribble random figures: $98.00, $76.00, $54.00. I giggle, roll the dice, and proceed gayly, stopping now and then to sharpen my pencil. Round off to the nearest dollar? No problems here! Did that toss just say to write snake eyes? Somehow, that doesn’t look quite right. But with a quick flick of my pencil, snake eyes might be entirely acceptable, especially if I sketch a cobra’s head around them.
In the morning I review my handiwork. The sun is way too slant (my apologies, dearest Emily D) and that sweet-throated robin heralding dawn should be shot. I seem to have signed my form Benjie. Benjie? The only Benjie I can think of is a shaggy Disney dog. He was responsible for this? Good grief, that would certainly explain the odd piss yellow color pooling outwards on the edges of my form... but will the courteous and helpful men and women of the IRS understand? Somehow, even as I pull the shades tight to block the hour of doom, I think not.
Causes Madeline MacGregor Supports