Sunday, March 31, 2013

142. Taxes

C.W. heard me groaning in the next room and walked into the room in the appearance, of all things, a priest. “May I be of help to you my son?” he said.

My mind was far away, not as far as Falloonia, but far away.

“I’m okay,” I said. “Just working on my taxes.”

“Ah taxes,” he said. He sat in a chair near where I was working and folded his hands. “Rendering unto Caesar?”

“You might say.”

“I think taxes are a great way to offer praise,” he said. “So does my church.”

Now I have to admit that he had caught me in a bad mood. “That’s because your church doesn’t have to pay them,” I said.

He crossed himself. “You are forgiven.”

Ignoring him, I went back to my computer.

“So,” he said. “As I understand it, your species uses its system of taxes to help the poor in spirit and, as we say, ‘the least of those among us?’ That’s a blessed approach.”

“Used to be,” I said. “Some of us think it is old-fashioned.”

“Oh? Please explain.”

“Some modern thinkers believe that the poor will be with us always, so we should direct our public resources to helping those who are more, not less, fortunate.”

He thought for a moment. “If you don’t mind my lapsing into the vernacular,” he said. “That doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.”

“Welcome to the modern tax code,” I said. “Aaaargh!” I continued as a figure flashed on my computer screen.

“Peace, my son,” he said. “Think happy thoughts.”

I glared at him. “Don’t tempt me,” I said.

He took on a beatific smile and formed his fingers into the shape of a steeple. “One has to admit …,” he said. He thought for a few seconds and began again. “One has to admit that it is wise of your species to prevent the government from acting unwisely by simply not approving taxes for untoward behavior, say, for casting pearls before swine or starting unnecessary wars.”

I looked up to see if he was serious. “Are you crazy? You think that stops war?”

“How could a country wage war on credit?”

“Wait one,” I said. I punched a few keys and found a “favorite” on the computer. I started it running and turned the screen toward him. It was a scene from a documentary showing the bombs beginning to fall on Baghdad on day one of the “Shock and Awe War.” As explosions rocked a public square, a father ran across the screen holding a young son. A broad stain showed that the lad had soiled himself from fear. “Ask these folks,” I said.

“I see I have angered you,” he said.

“Up yours,” I said.

“I shall leave you to deal with your anger, my son.”

“Pray do.”

“You have inspired me.”

I looked up. “Inspired you?”

“Yes, I’m going to write your congressman and suggest some changes to the tax code.”

“Yes, remembering the church’s admonition to comfort those who hunger, I shall suggest that the drug Viagra be tax deductible.”

“That will make some folks happy,” I said.

“Oh, but remembering our charge to be fruitful and multiply, I have another suggestion.”

Your wars would not be as popular
if they didn't show so well
on the nightly news. - C.W.
“Let me guess.”

“Pray do.”

“Contraceptives won’t be.”

In nomine patre,” he said, extending a hand in benediction.

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