I was just about to take my booty to the nearest store, when I heard something creeping behind me. I was too afraid to look.

"Uh, hum..." a man coughed, and his voice sounded like nails scratching on a blackboard, amplified at a rock concert.

I turned to face the faceless man in the pin-striped suit.

"IRS," he mumbled and held up a golden card that blinded me and made me fall to my knees.

"Pay any taxes on that money?" he demanded, pointing accusingly at my bag. For some reason I felt tremendously guilty.

"No, sir. You see, I just found this bag of money, and then I gave most of it away ... and ..."

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. I've heard that one before. Let me see the receipts."

"Uh, receipts?"

"Yes, receipts! And your account records, if you will. And your bank statements, ledger books, notary documents, and any other documentation to substantiate your loses and gains, capital and unearned, in conjunction with the monies in question."

"I...I don't think I have any of those... Sir..."

"Just as I thought. You can't hide from Uncle Sam. We always get you in the end."

"I wasn't trying to hide anything. I just..."

"I could throw the book at you."

"But I just found it today, and all those people, and..."

"You could go to jail, you know."

"But I..."

"Well, you're a first offender. We'll go easy on you this time. Just pay what you owe, plus a small penalty, and we'll let it go this one time. But remember, we have our eyes on you, son."

"Uh, thanks, your honor."

"I'm no judge, son. Just a servant of the law. Now hand it over."

"The whole bag, sir?"

"Now, look. The government would never cheat you. You'll get all that you are entitled to."

"Thanks, sir."

I stood and watched as he whipped out a calculator, and a stack of forms and worksheets, a fold-up table and chair, and he was whizzing away on the calculator, spewing out yards of number- filled red calculator tape.

"OK," the IRS agent finally declared, and he folded the collapsible table and slid it into the folds of his jacket. "That about does it," he concluded as he shoved the calculator into his pocket and stuffed the forms and worksheets into a folder labeled with a big "FIRST OFFENDERS," which he slipped into the trap door in his attache case.

"Here you go," he exclaimed as he handed me a slip of paper. "Your receipt. You're OK. Everything checks out. Oh yes," he remembered as he turned to walk back into the building where the grime-covered sign read "IR$" in tiny letters at the bottom left- hand corner of the door. "Don't forget your bag." He handed me the empty sack.

I nodded a feeble thank you.

"Oh, I almost forgot your refund," he added, holding out his hand. And as he uncurled his fist, there was a crumpled one dollar bill, with a moustache drawn on George's face. "Normally you'd receive a post-dated check, which you could only cash at one of our three inconvenient locations, but since you were so cooperative, and since this was your first offense..."

I tried to smile.

"But remember. Next time we won't be so easy on you. Be a conscientious citizen and file a return. Your tax dollars make this country the great corporate military-industrial-complex that it is."

"Thank you, sir," I swallowed, turning away from the faceless man as he disappeared inside the building.



Let Me Be
( Chapter 5 - MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)

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