Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life and Taxes

“What do you mean you’re going to kill me?”

“You did not pay the proper fees.  I really have no choice.”

Adam couldn’t believe his luck.  He had always heard that the collectors would come after you if you didn’t pay all of your taxes but he never believed it.  He thought it was just a ghost story.  He had never met anyone who had ever actually met with a collector personally.

As he thought about it he realized maybe that wasn’t a very good sign at all.

“I paid my taxes though!  Well…most of them…”

The cyborg in front of Adam simply shook his head.  Adam saw a slight orange tint light up on the inside of the visor in the collector’s helmet.

Not good.  That had to be Adam’s file.  He must have just pulled it up to cross reference.

“You only paid 82 of the 100 taxes that apply to your current living designation.”

82?  Damn.  He thought he had paid at least 90.  Did he really skip 18 taxes?  No wonder he was talking to a collector. This was bad.  He should have listened to Eve.

“Alright, I admit that I might have skipped paying a few taxes.  However, I had a really good reason for skipping them.”

The collector raised his right hand.  The fingers separated and slid into the wrist.  The wrist then broke into four parts and slid into his arm.  The missing hand was quickly replaced with a plasma rifle barrel.  The collector raised the barrel and pointed at Adam.

“You have 5 minutes to plead your case.  I will judge your answers and determine if a lesser punishment will be more appropriate.  I suggest you speak quickly.  Why did you skip paying 18 of your taxes?”

Adam couldn’t believe his luck.  He had always heard that collectors showed no mercy.  His number could very well be up.  However, at least he had a chance.

“I skipped them because they are stupid.”

The collector tilted his head slightly to the right.

“I suggest you rephrase your argument.”

Adam laughed despite himself.

“Ok, look.  I get that the Federation needs to collect taxes.  I know we’re fighting three wars right now and I know you guys need a solid revenue stream.  However, some of these taxes are just idiotic.  I just didn’t pay the taxes that are beyond stupid.”

The barrel did not move.  The cyborg did not look amused.

“All taxes have a purpose.  They are just and necessary.  You engage in life activities.  These activities are taxed based off their danger levels and general necessity.”

“I get that.  However, you guys also tax me on stuff that I don’t support.  Don’t I have some say on where my money goes?”

“Your elected representative supports your interests.  All money collected is fair and just.”

Adam sighed.  This was not going well.

“Can I get like a printout of what taxes I didn’t pay so I can argue better?”

“I lack that capability.  However, I can display them on the outside of my visor for your viewing needs.”

Adam looked down at his watch.  He had to speed up.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s fine.”

The 18 taxes that Adam didn’t pay displayed on the collector’s visor.

“Ok, what about 45?  Come on, that one is just silly.”

“Mimes are a very real threat.  Your contribution helps to fund the Mime Extermination Fund.  They are enemies of the state.  Their silent protest is a mockery of our great Federation.  Every true citizen should be glad to support the fund without question.”

“They don’t do anything!  They just pretend to be in invisible boxes!  When was the last time a Mime attacked the state?”

“23 years ago.”

“…and how many Mimes were part of that attack?”

“Two individuals.”

“How many Mime attacks have happened since then?”


“So, don’t you think it might have just been an isolated incident?”

The orange glow lit up on the inside of the visor again.  He was reviewing some data.

“This might bear further examination.  I will strip that instance from your list.  That still lists 17 more infractions.  You are still outside of your designated limit to continue existence.”

“I still have more time right?”


“Good, on to the next one then.”

“Very well.”

“Number 13.  Why should I pay taxes on shoe laces?”

“As you know the great shoe rebellion cost the lives of 1.2 million people.  The shoe lace tax is to help fund the rebuilding effort and to help the victims of the rebellion.”

“But I don’t own any shoelaces.  I like Velcro.”

Adam pointed down to his shoes.  His shoes were in fact without laces.

“Current shoe wear is irrelevant.  You may have laced shoes present in your domicile.”

“Care to check?”

A green light flashed out of the visor.  He was scanning the surrounding area.

“That still leaves 16 infractions.  6 more than legally allowed.”

Adam looked at the visor again.  He didn’t have much time left.

“Oh!  Number 46.  I refuse to pay that one due to emotional distress.”

The collector’s voice changed ever so slightly.  It was not quite anger but Adam expected it was the closest thing to anger that he could experience.

“That is blasphemy.  Clowns are a national treasure.  They are our mirth makers.  How could you not want to support the Clown College Growth and Redemption Fund?”

“Clowns killed my parents.  Go ahead.  Check my file.”

The familiar orange glow from under the visor.

“Ah.  I suppose an exception can be made in this instance.  However, I still think you’re a monster.  Clowns are one of the wonders of life.”

Adam didn’t even know what to say.  He didn’t have time to think about it.  He was quickly running out of time and the barrel was now aimed down at his crotch.  The clown thing must have really got under the collector’s skin or dermal plating or whatever.

He was still at 15 infractions.  He had to get 5 taken off and he only had seconds left.  He only had one choice left.  It was risky but he didn’t have anything better.

“Alright, last ones.  96, 97, 98, 99, and 100.  They no longer apply.”

The orange glow again.  This was it.  If he was going to call bullshit this was going to be the time.

“You are no longer single?”

“Nope.  Happily married.”

“I have no records of it.”

“Well, that is because it is so new.  Just did the religions ceremony.  Seems to be working out alright so we are about to file the marriage paperwork this week.”

The cyborg moved his aim.  The plasma rifle was no longer aimed at Adam’s crotch.

“This is to your girlfriend of 3 years Eve?”

The amount of information that the Federation had on people was really scary sometimes.

“Yep!  That’s my gal.  We are now happily married.  She’s just away right now.  She should be back in a few days though.  If you give me a week we can show you the paperwork and everything.”

The plasma rifle went back into the collector’s arm and his hand reappeared.  He put out his hand and Adam shook it nervously.

“I will be back in one week.  I look forward to meeting your wife.  I do not lie so know this.  My hope is that you are lying and that I get to destroy you.  They say we are abominations and yet you are the one that dislikes clowns.”

With that the collector shook his head and walked away.  Adam quickly took out his communicator.

“Hey Baby, what’s up?” came Eve’s sweet voice.

“Hey sweets, you know how you’re always talking about us getting married?”


“Well, funny story…”

Today’s poem link for National Poetry month goes out to Mandy Calvin’s Quill.

Please go and give her some love!

Thanks gang!


  1. "I do not lie so know this. My hope is that you are lying and that I get to destroy you." What a cyborg. This was a very entertaining story. Thank you for sharing it.

    Also thank you for the link, I really appreciate it.

  2. M.C. - I'm glad you liked the story. I had a blast writing it.

    You're also very welcome for the link. Always good to encourage people to check out other writers.