There’s a Beatles song my mother used to sing to me as a child. When I curled up under hand-sewn quilts and rested my weary little head, she would tell me stories of good and evil; dashing heroes striving to save the day; their sexier villainous counterparts seeking glory; and the all-seeing demonic figure who crept silently behind all until they rested at last beneath the earth. I learned that everything has a price. In the end, the Taxman comes for us all. 

Tonight, I have locked my door and shut off the lights. I sit in darkness, watching raindrops fight their way down the windows. I wonder if the other residents of my floor would consider starting a betting pool. “Left drop gaining- no, right drop- Gary. GARY THE DROPS ARE MERGING. I REPEAT, THE DROPS ARE MERGING!!!” Perhaps I’d have better luck with dogfighting — no. I shake my head and resolve to cease all monetary aspirations. I know He is tempting me. The more I profit, the more he can take from me. 

Tax Day approaches. I throw my wallet into an unmarked room in Bausch & Lomb and barricade the entrance. My drawer of receipts gets ritually burned and cleansed with water from the Genesee. My father is calling. He has called sixteen times in the past day. When I pick up, I hear nothing but the whistle of the wind and occasional labored breathing. On the eighteenth call, a metallic, rasping voice answers. “Are you ready?” it asks. “Do you want to be?”

Soon, very soon now, a dark mass shall appear on the horizon. The Taxman will cull every receipt, every donation, every cent of pocket change, until I am no longer. He will peer empty eyes into my soul and bank account and take his due. If I am lucky, I shall merely be robbed of the fruit of my hard-earned labors; if I am not, you shall never see me again. I will go where unlived things must occur, where minds are ruined and born new again until there is nothing but nightmares and blood. 

Please, Taxman, let your vengeance be swift. The IRS will make me into a mockery of a man, but you will kill me every night and leave me incapable of even praying for eternity to end. I am nothing but Fate’s neglected marionette, whimpering softly as her blows land.

A screech echoes through the night. My blood runs cold. Turbotax has betrayed me. 

Scrolls and scrolls of taxes, sharpened to blades, burst through my window. Broken glass flies everywhere; at least I won’t have to face outrageous charges from ResLife when I’ve “mysteriously disappeared” to “brighter pastures.” Tax havens are the greatest lie He ever told. My assailants seize me, by the collar of my shirt, the scruff of my neck, everywhere they can get their punishing hands. 

At last, I am forced, face down, on a bed of rocks. Will they set me on fire? Chain me to a rock and through me out to sea? Demand that I immediately notarize a last will and testament? 

The Taxman cometh. A gloved hand brushes along my jugular; measuring for health and how much I could fetch on the organ donation market, no doubt. He does not speak. I know what he requires. My life will be his final collection.

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