5. NEVER, EVER TRY TO HIDE ANYTHING FROM THE IRS...
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
"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."
"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."
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."
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."
"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
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
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.