Bribing An IRS Agent

There’s a knock on the door. It’s an IRS agent who has come to your house to audit your taxes. Knowing that you fudged a few numbers on your forms, you decide to attempt to bribe the agent. Much to your surprise, it’s working, but things take an peculiar turn when the agent makes an odd request. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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232 thoughts on “Bribing An IRS Agent

  1. laurentravian

    “What are you supposed to be? A Wall Street Corporate Executive that keeps the man up, and won’t bring him down?” That was my twin sister, Tara. For Halloween, she was quite aptly dressed as a hippie.
    “Hardly. I am an IRS agent.” That was Wally, the slick kid in the neighborhood who didn’t look like he could hurt you but could punch meaner than a snake bite. I learned that the easy way- talking to Billy Cronen, Wally’s number one target.
    “An IRS agent? You’re a minion of the man! I thought you could at least be the man for Halloween Wally!” That was Tara again. There was a rumor going around that Wally liked her. It was easy to tell us apart now. I was dressed as a traditional witch- minus the green skin, warts, etc. I just wore a witchy dress and hat.
    “Well, you owe me all your candy, Tara Micheals! C’mon, hand it over! You too, Lauren!” Tara frowned. I bit my lip. Can IRS agents collect if we’re only twelve?
    “That’s absurd, Wally!” Tara hugged her candy bucket to her chest. I think that stolen candy is much more sweeter than given candy to Wally. And Wally apparently has a sweet tooth.
    I cleared my throat. “Hey Wally, I’ll offer you a deal.” I went off a little way with him, and whispered, “If you don’t take my candy, I will do my best to get Tara go to the Halloween Dance with you!”
    Wally nodded enthusiastically. “Okay, just agree with what Tara or I say, okay?” Wally nodded. I went over to Tara, and whispered something about Wally ‘being the man, and working up to his character all year long so its realistic.’ She was doubtful, but then I said loudly, “He’s really a perfect gentleman!” Wally had had the good sense to snag some flowers from someone’s garden. And that’s how I saved my candy that year!

  2. MindStorms

    “I am Edward Hollins from the IRS, I am here …” he continued in his monotone voice to recite the laws, god, and country who were behind him on this quest to free the world of scumbags like me.
    He sat as if he were glued to a poll from his butt to the back of his head. It was the kind of posture that made everyone roll their shoulders back and hold their chin higher without realizing they were under the influence of a prick.
    “Can I offer you anything” I said smoothly, “water, beer … money.”
    His eyes flickered.
    “Mr. Trento…”
    “What’s with the formality? Paul’s fine.”
    I tried my best Prince Charming smile and chuckled.
    His eyes flicked up at me and felt the need to dodge a round of bullets from his eyes.
    “Mr. Trenton.” he emphasized, “Please produce the documents.”
    I plopped them in front of him.
    “Your ink is fading,” he said coldly.
    “Yeah, ink costs money. God, it’s expensive, and I am a little tight right now … I’m sure you know how that is,” I said with what I tried as a hint of irony but came out as full on disgust.
    His facial features twitched into an odd mixture of more rage and mischief that gave him the look of one of those scary Chinese opera masks.
    “I do,” he said.
    “Need some green?” I asked as nonchalantly as I possibly could manage.
    His eyes became iron, “Mr. Trenton, are you bribing me?”
    I pursed my lips, then shrugged, “Yes.”
    “That takes balls,” he said, relaxing, “I like that.”
    I tried my best Knight in Shining Amour look. It always seemed to end with the girl twirling on her heel and galloping off into the distance, far, far away from me. But this guy. This guy cocked his head like an idea was coming to him.
    “You’re what, in your 50’s?” he began.
    “Hey, wow now, give a guy some credit. I grayed early.”
    “Listen, I’ll shoot straight, my mom’s been lonely. Keeps calling me all the time to come paint her toenails for her and go grocery shopping for her, and pet her cats. I’ve about had it with that woman.”
    “Now listen here, I think you are a little too young and new at this …”
    “Mr. Trenton I have more money than I know what to do with, bribing me with that isn’t gonna work. You’re going to take my mom on a date, an expensive date at fancy restaurant every day this week. Then, on the weekend, you’re gonna bring her here and make her remember her younger days. You here me? I don’t want that woman calling me for an entire week!”
    I sat, stunned.
    He packed up his things and stuck his hand out. I took it, rather begrudgingly, and he saw himself out.
    He left something in my hand, a card. A phone number scribbled next to the name Martha Hollins.

  3. EmilyB

    “I said; let’s take a drive down Sandalwood. There’s a restaurant at the corner that sells the city’s best liver and onion sandwiches.” The IRS agent, Clifton said slowly, leaning in to make sure I heard correctly.
    I heard what he said; I was just hesitant about his abrupt decision to leave. Additionally since my business was on that same street.
    We were sitting in my kitchen. A tattered vintage table I picked up from the flea market between us. We had been making arrangements for Clifton’s all expenses paid vacation to Morocco for several hours in my attempt to bribe him out of erasing the report on my 8 year tax evasion.
    His request was completely irrelevant to our discussion. We were in a kitchen. If he wanted something to eat I could’ve whipped it up. Had he changed his mind about my proposition so quickly? Or was he celebrating our agreement? I couldn’t tell. His facial expressions were neutral. His reactions subdued as if he was expecting my bribe and was going along with the idea as part of his investigative game.
    Wanting to play it safe, I simply said, “Okay.”
    “We’ll take my car. I want your opinion on how smooth the ride is.” He studied my face, looking for some sign of emotion.
    His car was parked in front of my house on the street, not the driveway. I wondered if it was his way of passively bragging about it without having to verbally.
    It was a silver 2012 Lexus IS 250. Of course it was going to be a smooth ride.
    I nodded approvingly. “Lexus IS. Good choice.”
    “Exceptional choice.” He corrected me.
    I nodded again.
    The drive over was short and silent. Clifton didn’t bother to turn on the radio to alleviate the awkwardness. This made it difficult to control the thoughts crawling into my consciousness, trying to wreak havoc on my emotional well being.
    He drove past the restaurant and continued on towards the commercial complex.
    Dammit. I thought, gripping the clasp to my seat belt tightly.
    He pulled into the circular drive of my business office parking outside the entrance.
    Turning to face me he demanded gruffly, “Sell the business to me and the Moroccan trip and I’ll forget everything.”
    I couldn’t believe my luck.

    “I’ve got 5 million cash in the trunk of this car. Take it then leave town. I’ll handle the rest.” He sounded overly confident about how it was going to play out. Had he been scheming this throughout the extent of his investigation?
    I chuckled weakly. “This is so bizarre.”

    He handed me 2 enormous suitcases along with an envelope labeled ‘tickets.’

    He gestured towards his Lexus. “Take it to the airport. Open the envelope. You’ll find what to do next.”

    I reached out to shake his hand. “Thanks.”

    Pulling away from the scene, I noticed a gas can and a blow torch gun sitting at Clifton’s feet.

    What the hell did I just get myself into?

  4. fuego

    A hasty knock on the door interrupted my coffee break. Before I could peek thru the peephole the person knocked again, which really annoyed me. Who is it? I yelled.
    It’s the IRS, I must speak with you.
    I instantly froze and spilled some coffee. Suddenly, I was not annoyed anymore; I felt uneasy. I opened the door carefully and after the proper introductory protocol I let the agent into the apartment.
    Mr. Jones, I’m here because our records indicate there may be some irregularities with your tax returns.
    Sweat beaded up on my forehead as my body temperature began to drop. I managed to sit down before my legs could collapse.
    Being a freelancer I always gave myself some flexibility during tax season, I knew what I could and could not deduct, but I must admit I always pushed the envelope as I thought of creative ways to maximize my refund. I assumed I knew what I could get away with, until now.
    Do you really need to do this at this moment?
    Yes, Mr. Jones, I must conduct this audit today.
    I bit my lower lip and paused to analyze the situation.
    Listen, as I cleared my throat, I need some time to gather all my returns. Can you come back at a different time?
    No sir, I can start with what you have now, I’ll let you know what is missing and follow up then.
    I reluctantly complied.
    The agent was meticulously examining each document and placing red stickers with notes everywhere while remaining eerily silent. That made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I excused myself and went to get more coffee.
    I’ll be very honest with you, I told the agent. I must admit I may have fudged the figures just a bit – then I had a mental pause, thinking whether it was a good idea to propose something inappropriate to get myself out of trouble, or further into trouble, it was worth the risk – what’s it going to take to work this out with you, today? I took a slow and deliberate sip off my coffee as my index finger explicitly tapped the dollar sign printed on my mug.
    The agent gave me a very stern look, which truly scared the soul out of my body. My blood pressure started to slowly rise as I kept drinking coffee neurotically.
    I know what you are trying to do, sir.
    What do you mean? I replied, nervously.
    You cannot afford my kickback!
    I was a bit surprised by that remark, but I thought for a moment that I could actually get away with the crime. The agent wrote something on the back of a business card, handed it over to me and left my apartment.
    I read the note.
    Meet me tonight at 7pm, lobby of Downtown W. Bring cash only and wear silk boxers!
    I think I was better off with the audit, I said to myself really freaking out this time. I knew I was toast.

  5. EdgarAllanPoe98

    Hey guys,
    This is my first post.I would love any comments or criticism.So here it goes………..

    The doorbell rang.I ran till I was around a metre away from the door.I felt like something was dragging me back-it was probably my integrity and conscience.After all,I was going to lie and possibly bribe an IRS agent.And trust me,lying was NOT my forté.God only knew how many times I was going to have to make donations to my local temple in India to cleanse my ‘sins’.I took a deep breath ,smoothed down my freshly ironed clothes(again),tied my hair and glanced at my neatly laid table that was laden with cookies and flower filled vases.The bell rang again ,disrupting my thoughts.”It’s the IRS,open up”said a raspy voice.I slowly opened the door to it’s owner-a lanky man of around 25 wearing a suit that was two sizes too big for him and sunglasses(that were probably more awkward than him) with light brown hair.After looking at him I felt at ease-he looked like a less geeky version of an extra from ‘The Big Bang Theory’.This was going to be a piece of cake.

    “My name is John Robert Smith II and I’m here to audit your taxes.”said my unwanted visitor.

    Yes,I received the letter.M-yyy name is Aar-rrushi Mohan”I stuttered.All that therapy was a waste-my fear of authority was just as bad as it was 10 years ago.”Please do come in and take a seat.”I offered as jovially
    as possible.He briskly walked in and plonked himself onto my brand new leather couch.My private practice
    was working well for me.

    “Would you like something to drink?I have freshly baked chocolate chip and vanilla cookies.”
    “Water will do.And may I have the vanilla cookies please?”As I walked to the kitchen to get more cookies and a glass of water,my immature-ish visitor began to speak again.”Ma’am,I have found some irregularities in your formCan you please show me your receipts?God,these cookies are good”It was time to set my plan into action.With ‘shaking’ hands,I laid the plate and glass down on the table.
    “After I sent the form,I realised I had made some mathematical mistakes.(cue the crying.)It’s just that….my mom used to do it for me and she died a month back.(cue even more crying.)”
    “Nice try ms.Aarushi but my file says your mother is still alive……..and files don’t lie.It is just sick to kill your mother.”As much as I wanted to yell at mr.judgemental genius,I couldn’t since I was too busy beating myself up for underestimating him.”OK,I’ll do anything to make my problems just vanish.You know what,I’ll even give you the recipes for the cookies.”He grinned.”Deal….”Amateur at bribing and lying,mom?”But I’m ot done just yet….”This was going to be one long day.

    So here I am-at honey puff’s(that’s what I apparently call John Robert Smith II)cousin,Amelia’s wedding wearing a dress that looks like something the Queen wears.I guess mother does know best.

  6. schaerer

    Working on the word limit. Sorry if it is not so great. Any comments are most appreciated.

    Sarah was washing the dishes when she was scared out of her wits by her dog barking bloody murder.

    “Lucy shut-up” she screamed. The dog continued. She went to the front room to see what was up with the little beast. There she was at the front door clawing at it.

    “Do you want to go outside? Hugh, little girl?” She grabbed Lucy’s leash and they started out the front door.

    “Oh sXXt!” she screamed. A man dressed in a cheap 90s suit stood in her doorway.

    “Excuse me! What the hell are you doing looking at my window?” Sarah was scared sick.

    “So…rry. I did not mean to frighten you Mrs. Brighthouse. Cleveland Southerland, from the IRS, you were sent a letter saying that I would come today,” he swiftly took out his identification and waved it in front of Sarah, while he checked her out.

    “No, actually I never got a letter,” she answered annoyed.

    “May I come in?” He paused she did not answer for a few minutes. Then she opened the door and let him in. He looked around noticing it was a nice place.

    “So as you know I am here to discuss your taxes,” he sneered in a sort of sleezy, dirty way.

    “Oh!” she was confused. “Is there a problem?” she loosened her robe.

    “Well, I am sure you are aware. You made a considerable sum last year off your recent sale of some artwork. However, when we compared the deposited amount in your account, versus the bills of sale there were a few (he cleared his throat) zeros missing,” his words oozed out like melting butter in what was clear was a think British accent.

    “Well, Mr. (pause) Southerland ….” she batted her eyes. “Yes, um I am not sure what you are talking about. I don’t have my 1040EZ in front of me, I am an artist and I sell a lot of pieces. Let me go get it.” As she turned her robe opened and the top button of her silk pajama shirt opened. He can see her quite clearly.

    She turned swiftly and made a B-line for the office. He on the other hand started to “look around.” He occupied himself by looking through books, behind pictures, and inside little table trinkets. Then he was drawn to a small chest in the corner of the room. He made his way toward it and as he was about to open it, Sarah re-emerged with some papers in one hand and a drink in the other.

    “Anything interesting?” she asked seductively.

    “Just a bit of dust. Nothing that we would fine over,” Cleveland turned around quickly to see Sarah in nothing but her birthday suit.

    “Lonely housewife?” he grunted, “Look I am flattered, but I am here to discuss your taxes.”

    “But last year you didn’t mind,” she snapped.

    “Last year I was single, this year I am not,” he said through a smerk. “Can ask instead though….Do you think we could just sit and watch ultimate fighting? My wife doesn’t let me and I would really like to catch up.”

    Sarah slowly edged her way to him like a wild cat seeking its prey. He resisted for a moment, but gave into her advances.

  7. TheAwkwardLlama

    The shabby walls of the AIDS facility, 60 miles or more from Gaborone, loomed up in front of the jeep in the dusk. Greg slowly climbed out; he could feel the ugly looks from the soldiers. Suddenly he was lonely and a little afraid. He was just a glorified IRS agent, too far from home.
    The soldier who had driven spat in the dust and slowly walked up to the door and knocked. A small woman in colorful clothing answered and they spoke in a mixture of Setswana and English. “The holy woman,” Greg heard the soldier say several times. The door closed. A few minutes later a middle-aged blond woman, plain and worn, stepped out.
    “Margaret Willington?” asked Greg, approaching.
    “Yes,” said the woman. “Who are you?”
    “I’m from the IRS. You are being extradited to the United States. According to our records you owe 1.2 million in back taxes and you are accused of having unauthorized foreign, ah, investments.”
    “That is impossible,” said Margaret. She remained calm. “I gave everything away. Three years ago, when I left. I’m sure that’s all tax-deductible.”
    “I’m sorry, ma’am, but our records seem to indicate-“ Greg faltered. Her eyes belied her calm demeanor. She was looking at him with pure…hatred? Margaret Willington was world-famous, “the next Mother Theresa” the news commentators named her. And it was his job to bring her back to the US and lock her up.
    “My work here cannot be interrupted,” she said. “I knew who you were and why you were coming. I am prepared to do anything to make you go away.” She reached to her neck and unclasped the simple locket she wore. She opened the locket. Greg saw a tiny flash, and on her outstretched palm lay a brilliant diamond.
    “Swiss bank accounts? No. This is the only property I kept. I have saved it for just such an occasion. Take this and go.”
    “Ms. Willington, I don’t want to be here. I just want to go home, to my family. There are people far more powerful than you or I who want to see you back in the US. If you’ll just come with me-“
    “There is no one more powerful than God,” she interrupted. “Very well. Take me. Take food from the mouths of infants, caring hands from the bodies of the dying.”
    The soldiers were openly glaring at Greg as they opened the passenger door of the jeep for Margaret. Greg had to scramble unceremoniously into the back seat. “Mme Margaret, you don’t wish to pack?” asked the soldier who had driven.
    “God will take care of me,” she said, smiling at him.
    The ride back to Gaborone was long and silent. After a lifetime they pulled up in front of the hotel. As they exited the jeep Greg found himself face to face with Margaret. “Will you pray for me, Mme?” he blurted out.
    Margaret slapped him across the face. Then she said, “Of course.”

  8. chris

    Just working on my flash fiction; aiming for lowest word count award 🙂

    “Agent Kline, I hope my men didn’t alarm you. One can’t be too cautious these days.”

    “No sir.” Agent Kline sat in the Queen Anne Chair. “You know why I’m here, sir?”

    “For a tax audit.”

    “Yes, sir. You owe sizable moneys to Uncle Sam.”

    “What if I offer not to have you killed?” The portly man unbuttoned his double-breasted suit. “Will you make the audit disappear?”

    “Yes, sir.” Agent Kline wiped his brow with his handkerchief. “But there’ll be others. Tax evasion carries a heavy prison sentence. Might I suggest, you sell your businesses and leave the city?”

    “Ha! The man’s hand brushed his receding hairline; his laugh boomed throughout the marbled floor hotel. Lurking in the shadows, several men snickered.

    “Do you know who I am, Agent Kline?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Then you know, there’s no way Al Capone will ever go to prison for tax evasion!”

      1. chris

        Thanks so much! You’re funny, i suffer too from chronic long-winded syndrome – but hey, that just means the creative juice are flowing. I swear, i spend far more time editing & revising than i do writing.

  9. gygaxx

    Sharon looked about the living room as if she knew it. I caught snapshots of her examining the tile, criticizing the wall color. I couldn’t explain it; she seemed to know this place.

    She was from the IRS and she was here to conduct an audit. About 3 minutes into the conversation she removed her wire-rimmed glasses
    .
    “Mr. Peters, we have reason to believe that the numbers you have provided for the last…” She took a moment to consult her papers, “…for the last five years have been falsified.”

    Beads of sweat started to form on my head and arms. I tried to force a smile, but all I did was portray more guilt. Sharon read me, knew I was covering, knew I was in deep.

    Sharon was good.

    “Mr. Peters” she continued, “It seems legal action may be needed in this situation.” She studied me like a librarian studying a child who was about to lie about paying a fine.

    “This is ridiculous!” I stammered. “I have receipts. I have proof of all the numbers.”
    “No you don’t.”

    The silence in the room was deafening. A fly buzzed in another room. A baby cried a neighborhood away.
    I waited until I could speak without my voice cracking. I was about to talk, to confess to the whole mess and start whatever actions had to be taken for penance when Sharon’s gaze darted over my shoulder. She was looking at something behind me. Her face did not slacken, but stayed stolid, stone-like.

    I knew what she was seeing.

    I leaned back in my chair, cocking my head slightly and studying her. She was horrified, but years of talking to “falsifiers” had given her great practice in keeping face. I almost didn’t catch her fear.

    The ghost moved to the sink, like it always did. I felt the temperature drop from my back and right shoulder, where the sink was. Sharon’s gaze followed, looking past me now.

    The sink turned on behind me, like it always did. Seconds after the apparition would fade into nothingness. But I waited. I waited until Sharon’s expression told me that the ghost was gone and then I spoke.

    “I have to turn off the sink” I said.

    When I returned to the table, Sharon was already gathering her things.

    “Mr. Peters” she said as she fumbled with her papers, “may I come back tomorrow…same time? Let’s just forget about your back taxes.” Tears were forming in her eyes.

    I couldn’t make heads or tails of the situation. “Why?”

    A river of tears exploded from her face as she explained that her daughter had lived in this very apartment some 20 years ago and had died in her sleep.

    So now I let Sharon come see her daughter about once a month and I cheat on my taxes about once a year.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Very interesting take on the prompt. Loved the fly buzzing and the baby crying scene. I could place myself in the room with them. Unfortunately, there had to be a “sum it up” sentence at the end, which for me killed the tension of the story, which was building so nicely. Wish there were another way to end it…

      ~Anne

      1. gygaxx

        I totally agree with you. In fact, toward the end, I just wanted to be done/make sure it fell shy of 500 words. I need patience where it is needed most…at the end.

        Thanks for your reply.

        Mike

    2. chris

      Wow cool story! i didn’t see the ghost twist coming. I’m a fan of stories w/ a lil paranormal in it. The sink going on was cool too. I agree with Anne, you had me into the characters & it kind of felt like author intrusion in the end, just a thought; maybe end with dialogue on the last two lines? – might be more powerful – i.e. maybe have sharon say the ghost was her daughter, or say her name when she sees the ghost etc. Just a thought – really great story and crisp writing!

  10. annefreemanimages

    Thanks for the comments, Chris. I actually worked with an IRS for a few months years back. It all worked out well. She was pretty cool, actually, and changed my perspective a bit. They’re mostly just trying to do their job.

    ~Anne

  11. Nix

    Hey Brian, Can you let me know if I need to Tweak my story I wrote? Mine’s still awaiting approval and a few others that posted after Mine are already up and running. Let me know, Thanks!

  12. firebear369

    He sat across from me, his manicured hands resting casually on the slightly dusty wooden table. His gaze was heavy and more than a little condemning as the little creaks and groans from my otherwise silent house made themselves known. I knew he was trying to force a confession from me. It would not work, of course. Over the years I have been interrogated by far worse methods. This was nothing more than an annoying flea nibbling at my flesh.

    “You do understand that we have a significant issue here,” the auditor said abruptly. I shrugged and pulled one of his obnoxiously neat manila folders towards myself. In the process, I creased one corner of the folder, relishing his displeased reaction at my carelessness. With a minute smile, I opened the folder and pretended to read the pages inside. Financial hodge-podge matters not to me, I have much bigger issue to attend to. The hunger would not stay contained much longer; I would have to act and very soon.

    “I really do have some personal matters to attend to, Mr. Johnson. Could we possibly finish this meeting?” I was trying to be polite, but the scorching ache was crawling its way up my throat. Mr. Johnson was going to be extremely unhappy if I could not attend to my needs.

    He frowned at me and quickly reached across the table to retrieve his damaged folder.

    “Ms. Platt, your personal issues really are no concern of mine,” he stated simply. “This is a courtesy, a chance for you to maybe right some wrongdoings on your part.”

    Rude little pest, I thought. Manners, it would seem, have gone by the wayside over the years. The ache moved higher in my throat, demanding relief. I would have to act soon or risk becoming and uncontrollable beast. Suddenly, I rose, not caring that my speed of my movement would give away my not-quite-human nature. Without a thought, I allowed my beast to escape. In an instant, I was beside him as dust and papers fluttered through the air around us. His mouth opened and shut a few times as his brain tried to process what was happening. Before a word escaped from him, my lips curled back and my teeth breeched the tight flesh of his neck. My body shuddered with climactic joy as his blood coursed down my throat; it was so sweet and hot. As I drained him, I found my hands running across his broad chest and I slowed my feasting. He had an amazing body for a tax collector. Partially satisfied, I stopped drinking his blood long enough to take a good look at his features. Although his eyes were decidedly dull due to my intrusion, they were still piercing.

    “Perhaps I you would make a good companion,” I said aloud. There was no way he could comprehend what I said, no way for him to object. Smiling slightly, I moved him to my bed and awaited his change.

  13. glenda smith

    Boxer slobber greased my thigh as I shoved Tobias over to open the door, “You might as well come on in. This will probably be yours before you’re done,” I stepped aside as the crisp black suit brushed past. He calmly ignored my desperate attempts at flirtation as I wiped a big gob of thick drool off my leg with my hand.

    “You the, hunh-her, LADY of the house?” he coughed while his bright blue eyes rolled up toward the ceiling. He looked like he could singe holes through plaster with those eyes. “er…WHAT will be mine?” his eyes blazed a path down the wall till he glared directly into mine.

    “Anything on your mind, that’s what!” I had long ago lost all modesty when I’d discovered what the mistake on the tax filing had been, “Look. I don’t want to lose my house,” I purposely held my arms up to signify I meant the dwelling around us. I tried to look like Vanna White as I presented the scenery of the castle surrounding us,”This is my home! I’ll do anything to keep it! ANYTHING!”

    The suit looked absolutely enthralled. I swear his eyes turned several shades of blue as he sang out his disgusting request, “Let me see you do it “doggy-style!” His glaring blues settled on Tobias. My face instantly grew hot, my mind racing. I knew what I had to do, “Come here, boy!” I called sweetly, and I dropped to my knees on the carpet. Everything got deathly quiet and I could hear the cheap clock over the fireplace ticking. I shouted again as the suit began to shift impatiently, “TOBIAS!” When I raised up to see if the dog was coming, I heard my kid’s voice from the playroom, “Mommy! Tobias is opening your bureau drawer…and now he’s getting the CUFFS!” The suit was gone when I looked up.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Wild story! Kind of weird that the kid was home, though. Maybe you could have had the dog run into the room with the cuffs without the kid. Would have been just as effective without the weirdness. Anyway, that’s my thought.
      ~Anne

      1. annefreemanimages

        Glenda, I just read your comment, which got bumped ot the end. This story has potential as a dark humor story. Take the kid of the story for good. Have her be a bit more vampy, maybe, and more in control of the situation, instead of him being in control. For example, she could have her dog trained to bring the cuffs as a ploy to get rid of annoying people like this IRS man. She can pull him in to thinking he’s going to get some kinky sex when the dog appears with the cuffs, which freaks him out and he runs out. She pats the dog and praises him for being a good boy and laughs. Something along those lines would be very funny. The key is that she has to be the one in control.

        ~Anne

  14. Isibi

    There’s a knock at the door. You start awake, wondering who would bother you on one of your few days off. You plop on some PJ’s and open the door. An older man wearing a plain black suit, white undershirt and blue checkered tie is at the door. You notice he has bags under his eyes, a slouched posture. He keeps tapping a letter envelope in his hand while giving you a look that says you are a waste of his time.
    “IRS,” the man says flatly. “I need to audit your taxes.”
    Definitely a guy with a problem, but maybe I can make both our problems go away.
    “Are you sure that’s necessary?” You say, leaning against the door. “Couldn’t I just pay you instead?”
    At first he only seems more annoyed, but then it got a little odd. His expression changed, as though something had dawned on him. He tapped his envelope faster.
    “Actually, now that you mention it I think that could be arranged.” He says carefully.
    Wow, didn’t think it would be that easy.
    “But maybe I could get you a discount if you do something small for me.” He says nervously. “Would save me a lot of time.”
    “What is it?”
    “I need you to get this to…my associate.” He says, and offers me the letter. “Greg Slonter, you work for him yes?”
    You take the letter. “Yeah, I can get this to him. Then we call it even?”
    “Done.” And he runs off in a hurry.
    These people really need to quit the cloak and dagger stuff.
    The next day you go into work, a nondescript office building and head to the nondescript mailroom. You grab yours and Mr. Slonter’s mail as usual, slipping the letter on top of the approved pile of mail.
    Same old same old. Hopefully this letter will stir things up. I am in need of a little action here.
    You head into Mr. Slonter’s office, where the deceptively normal looking man sat typing stuff on his computer. You drop the mail on his desk.
    “Thanks.” He says and sips his cup of coffee and grabs the envelope. He squints his eyes in confusion at it, turning it over. Must have seemed safe because he opened it. You watched as he took out a single sheet of computer paper and read it.
    You wouldn’t have noticed if you weren’t watching him. His eyes suddenly rolled back into their sockets, a shiver went through his body and then he slumped a bit, still holding the letter in his hand. You ran over to him.
    “You ok Mr. Slonter?” You ask, being careful to still keep your distance. He looks up at you.
    “Who?”

  15. Isibi

    There’s a knock on the door. It’s anIRS agent who has come to your house to audit your taxes. Knowing that you fudged a few numbers on your forms, you decide to attempt to bribe the agent. Much to your surprise, it’s working, but things take a peculiar turn when the agent makes an odd request. Write this scene.

    There’s a knock at the door. You start awake, wondering who would bother you on one of your few days off. You plop on some PJ’s and open the door. An older man wearing a plain black suit, white undershirt and blue checkered tie is at the door. You notice he has bags under his eyes, a slouched posture. He keeps tapping a letter envelope in his hand while giving you a look that says you are a waste of his time.
    “IRS,” the man says flatly. “I need to audit your taxes.”
    Definitely a guy with a problem, but maybe I can make both our problems go away.
    “Are you sure that’s necessary?” You say, leaning against the door. “Couldn’t I just pay you instead?”
    At first he only seems more annoyed, but then it got a little odd. His expression changed, as though something had dawned on him. He tapped his envelope faster.
    “Actually, now that you mention it I think that could be arranged.” He says carefully.
    Wow, didn’t think it would be that easy.
    “But maybe I could get you a discount if you do something small for me.” He says nervously. “Would save me a lot of time.”
    “What is it?”
    “I need you to get this to…my associate.” He says, and offers me the letter. “Greg Slonter, you work for him yes?”
    You take the letter. “Yeah, I can get this to him. Then we call it even?”
    “Done.” And he runs off in a hurry.
    These people really need to quit the cloak and dagger stuff.
    The next day you go into work, a nondescript office building and head to the nondescript mailroom. You grab yours and Mr. Slonter’s mail as usual, slipping the letter on top of the approved pile of mail.
    Same old same old. Hopefully this letter will stir things up. I am in need of a little action here.
    You head into Mr. Slonter’s office, where the deceptively normal looking man sat typing stuff on his computer. You drop the mail on his desk.
    “Thanks.” He says and sips his cup of coffee and grabs the envelope. He squints his eyes in confusion at it, turning it over. Must have seemed safe because he opened it. You watched as he took out a single sheet of computer paper and read it.
    You wouldn’t have noticed if you weren’t watching him. His eyes suddenly rolled back into their sockets, a shiver went through his body and then he slumped a bit, still holding the letter in his hand. You ran over to him.
    “You ok Mr. Slonter?” You ask, being careful to still keep your distance. He looks up at you.
    “Who?”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Isibi. An interesting story. Kind of like the cloak and dagger stuff. That’s always fun. I suggest that you not use “you” and switch it to “I” instead. The narrator is the main character in this story, and should address himself and his actions as “I.’ For example, “I grabbed mine and Mr. Sonter’s mail, as usual …” Nice job.

      ~Anne

  16. annefreemanimages

    “Taxing Situation”
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman

    I’d heard that the IRS was getting friendlier, but an at-home visit? Anyone I knew who had tax problems went to the local IRS office. I’d fudged a few items on my tax return, but nothing ridiculous – nothing I couldn’t attribute to bad math.

    Ms. Henning was neatly dressed and in her early sixties. I showed her to my kitchen table, where she set a briefcase and pulled out a thick file. Her manner was strange – a weird cross between all business and nervousness. What was that about?

    I offered her some tea or coffee, but she declined.

    “Well, Ms. Bonneville,” she commenced, “there appears to be an irregularity with your travel expenses. They are significantly over the average and that is what triggered this review. You do have receipts?” she asked with doubt in her voice.

    “Of course, Ms. Henning. Do you want originals or will copies do?”

    “I’ll review the originals and bring the copies back with me,” she answered.

    I placed the stack of receipts on the table and Ms. Henning began reviewing them.

    “You seem to travel a lot. You are …” she looked at her file “… a music performer?”

    “Yes. I’m a singer-songwriter.”

    “Really?” She asked with feigned surprise. “Is that why your name is familiar?”

    So that’s what this visit was all about.

    “I’ve had several songs make it to radio.”

    “I know – you’re the singer my granddaughter is so crazy about,” she exclaimed. “She loved the song in that movie … But, I digress. Now, about those travel expense. I guess you have to do a lot of touring. Is that why your travel expenses are so high?

    I got up and walked to my CD file and pulled out a few copies of my most recent CDs and began unwrapping them.

    “I travel a lot to promote a new CD or song, like I did last year. And sometimes I don’t get reimbursed by promoters who promise the world and then don’t deliver on the contracts. Son-of-a-guns probably deduct the travel pay I never received from their taxes, claiming it as an expense.” I took a sharpie off my desk and walked back to the table.

    “Well, I can do something about that, Ms. Bonneville,” she said with righteousness in her voice. She pulled out an iPad from her briefcase. “Do you have Wi-Fi?”

    I logged her in. “What’s your grand-daughter’s name?”

    “Katie,” she replied while typing. “What promoter didn’t pay you?”

    I told her, and then signed the CDs.

    A few moments later, Ms. Henning closed her iPad and packed her briefcase, including the CDs.

    “The owner just received notice that he would be fined for nonpayment of taxes on expenses not paid to any performer for the past five years, unless he could produce proof of payment.

    Ms. Henning smiled and stretched her hand out to shake mine. “Let me know if you don’t receive a check from him within a month. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

    1. chris

      Anne, great take on the story. I liked how no one mentioned the bribe – it was understood. great back & forth too i.e. What’s your grand-daughter’s name? followed by ”What promoter didn’t pay you?”. And Who knew an IRS agent could be an ally?

      1. annefreemanimages

        Thanks for the comments, Chris. I actually worked with an IRS for a few months years back. It all worked out well. She was pretty cool, actually, and changed my perspective a bit. They’re mostly just trying to do their job.

        ~Anne

        1. chris

          Wow, that is a great perspective. i hear ya about misconceptions; i’m in banking; not exactly a popular industry these days. they give us free clothes w/ the bank name on them; never wear them. 🙂

    2. JJerome

      Anne –

      This short story is a good exercise in dialogue creating exposition. One of my favorite writers is Elmore Leonard, who I attribute a lot of my dialogue craft. A reader is much more interested in a character providing backstory and exposition than the writer’s narration.

  17. chris

    No way I’m going to prison. I filled each glass; the green one laced with poison.
    A thunderous knock shook the door.

    “Oh my God!” Tara’s hands trembled; her nervous tick. Her vulnerability bewitched me. “What do we do, Jim?”

    “Don’t worry. I got it.” Tara can’t know about my past or my plan to kill the agent – plausible deniability. She thinks I’m a venture capitalist who met her while vacationing in Newport last August. “Just stay in the kitchen till I give you the sign.”

    “I’m Agent Cronin. I’m here for your audit, Mr. Davis.”

    “I think we both know what we’ll find, Agent. So let’s cut through the malarkey. What do you want?”

    “I want you to kill my wife.” Cronin blurted out; his face stoic yet wounded like a teenage boy stood up at the prom.

    “I’m retired – a changed man.” My left hand tapped the table and on cue, Tara entered with the drinks.

    “Maybe . . . or maybe you lack the motivation. A $300K tax bill and a lifetime of free room and board at a correctional facility might change your mind.”

    Tara set the drinks down. Cronin’s eyes flashed wide at her. I glimpsed her trembling hands and raised my index finger to my lips, to shush the agent.

    “Tara honey, please join us. Agent Cronin, we’ll take the red glasses. Tara always loved the green one.”

    “Newport‘s beautiful in August, don’t you agree Agent?”

    “Yes, it is.” Cronin glared at Tara. Her eyes flickered in shame.

    We gulped the drinks down.

    “Agent Cronin, we have a deal.”

      1. chris

        Thx; i was trying hone my flash fiction skills – i like a quick read with a twist & little expostion. most of my writing has been financial market stuff – brief and almost clinical. I’m new to fiction writing; so lots to learn b/c it’s so different. But the writing on this site has been great to learn from & get ideas on what to work on. Thanks again!

  18. micaheld007

    I must have been crazy for thinking this.
    But I didn’t see myself having that many choices in the matter I was facing. Ms. Gregory, the IRS agent, sparkle her bold emerald eyes at me while leaning back on the couch. Her red lips crossed a smile just for me.
    If only I had the sense to take that consideration.
    No, the only thing that I was capable of thinking of was the abnormal request she asked me. It sounded fair and it didn’t seem like no harm could ever come from it.
    It was just those eyes that kept telling me I was digging myself into a black hole.
    “Well…” Ms. Gregory asked me again, crisscrossing her legs and tapping her pen against her notepad.
    “So – you want me too – keep your cat?” Slowly I asked.
    “Yes, Alex.” She nodded. “Or would you like to be called Mr. Welle?”
    There may not have been many times in my life where I knew if I was endangered or not, but if I had to choose a scenario, it would have been this one.
    “If you’re uncomfortable with this—“
    “NO!” I said louder than I intended. Her smile widened as my detest for her increased. “But why – why do you want me to keep your cat?”
    “Details, details, details.” She said, shaking her head while stepping to the door. “Now if details were your thing, you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. But I guarantee you, ALEX that you’ll have nothing to worry about…as long as you behave…”
    I would have asked her what she meant by that if she didn’t leave the house so quickly. After several deep in thought, I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a drink. I had to get Ms. Gregory and her slithering voice out of my mind.
    But I must have had too many because the next time I opened my eyes, I was lying on the carpet with an orange cat in front of my face.
    It meowed and I groaned.
    I thought it was a dream until the migraines began kicking in. So I scampered to the bathroom to take some pills, forgetting about that orange cat for the moment. Strangely, it followed me and stood at the doorway, starring up at me with its two black orbs.
    How did a freaking cat get into my house I asked myself. Scratching the back of my head, I checked every door and every window.
    They were all locked.
    And yet, here I was, stuck with this orange cat that kept following me. Except there wasn’t just one orange cat this time, there were two, and then three, and now four. Every time I blinked, another stood next to me. I didn’t know what was happening. I had to have been going crazy. Ten, twelve, fifteen cats!
    They all sounded off a cry and I backed off sweating a storm.
    What in the world did this woman give me?

  19. Phoenix_Guitarist

    The Red hybrid he followed stopped at a bar in an old Phoenix, Arizona. Dan parked on the far side of the lot, watching the blonde as she all but danced into the bar. Robin’s blonde hair twirled around her shoulders and he was awe-struck by her beauty. The blue dress fit her perfectly and even from where he sat, he could see the bright red lipstick she wore.

    He checked himself in the mirror before heading inside. The jeans were comfortable but the blazer he wore over an old t-shirt didn’t look right to him. It was a style he never understood but the Auditor assured him it was the type she’d go for.

    “And don’t shave” He added as he left Dan’s house earlier that day, “Robin loves a guy with stubble.”

    He walked inside grabbing a stool at the bar and ordered a Jack n’ Coke. He turned to see Robin sitting at a table a few feet away from him and allowed her to catch him smiling at her. He turned back as if embarrassed and focused on his drink without looking back.

    “Grenadine to a J n’ C?” asked a voice that made him spit his drink all over. “Didn’t mean to scare ya!” She laughed.

    Dan wiped mouth and turned, “It’s OK, you just caught me off guard. The grenadine makes up for the bar’s refusal to stock Cherry Coke”.

    She sat down next to him, “You mind?” She took a drink from his glass, a smear of red lipstick left on it. “I’m not a whiskey girl, but that’s delicious!”

    “We all have our drink” He smiled and ordered another, “You can finish that since you marked it. I’m Dan.” He said with a smile.

    “Robin.” she replied.

    After sharing a few drinks Robin decided she wanted to go to a lake not that far from the bar.

    “It’s beautiful on a clear night like this and I’d love to go swimming right now!” Her green eyes almost sparkled as she looked into Dan’s. She was so beautiful.

    It was a short drive to the the lake and Robin was down to her underwear and in the lake before Dan had even turned off his car. He took off his shirt and pants and threw them into his car, shutting the door. The Moon gave a nice pale shimmer to the lake as he followed the sounds of Robin laughing and splashing ahead of him.

    “I can make your debt go away” The auditors voice was in his head, “But this can’t be tied to me. No one knows I’m here with you.”

    Dan’s breath quickened as he swam to Robin. She threw herself onto him kissing him deeply, the taste of whiskey and cherry making him dizzy.

    “You are so beautiful” He said to her.

    And with all of his strength, he held her under the dark water.

  20. JR MacBeth

    A sweet story. The hard-working single mother who seemingly couldn’t catch a break, and finally got one, making for a nice twist at the end. Language sounded good to me, I pictured a small farm somewhere in West Virginia or Kentucky maybe. And an IRS agent with a heart? Creative!

  21. dsjackson221

    Two batches of decorated cupcakes sit on the counter. You see, selling cakes and things on the side is my second business. Waitressing is my first. When Evan died and left me with nothin’ but four kids and a small farm, I had to have more money. Now the IRS was coming to visit. My eyes began to blur. I won’t cry.

    “Mama. Somebody’s here,” Kristina yelled.

    Feeling in my apron pocket, I made sure the ring was there. “You kids ‘member what I said. Y’all sit there and be quiet. And no fightin’ amongst you either.”

    I wiped the sweat from my hands and opened the door.

    “Mrs. Bishop?” asked the young lady holding a briefcase.

    I thought they’d send a man.

    “I’m Ms. Ricketts from the Internal Revenue Service, and I’m here to go over your tax return. Could I please come in?”

    “Of course. Where’s my manners?” I moved over, letting’ her pass. “Everything’s on the kitchen table.” She looked half my age.

    Ms. Ricketts’ heels clicked across the linoleum until one of them caught on the tattered throw rug. She stopped to untangle it, eyeing my kids on the sofa. I looked at them too, sittin’ there all wide-eyed and scared. Jest like me.

    “Can I get you some lemonade and a cupcake?” I asked.

    “What kind do you have?”

    “Carrot and red velvet.”

    “I’ll have one of each, please.” She pulled her calculator from her case.

    Really? Okay, two it is.

    Sitting down at the table, I again felt the ring in my pocket. It had belonged to my grandmother. Should I offer it to this IRS lady? Would she even take it? Would she get in trouble if she did?

    From the living room, four pairs of eyes watched my every move. I knew what I had to do.

    So I spilled my guts. How I needed money. How I cheated on my taxes. How I thought of bribing her with the ring. How I couldn’t do it.

    “Just figer’ what I owe,” I told her.

    That Ms. Ricketts didn’t say a word, jest went back to my papers and her calculator. After a long time of addin’ and such, she looked up.

    “You owe the IRS $681.00.”

    Swallowing the lump in my throat, I asked, “Can I make payments? I have to hock this here ring first.” I showed her the emerald band in my hand.

    She looked at it and went back to figering. “May I have another cupcake, please?”

    I ain’t never seen no girl eat like this skinny one does. She must be hungry.

    When I gave her the cupcake, she tore off a piece of paper and gave me a personal check. For $681.00.

    “So, you want the ring?” I gulped.

    “No.” She looked at my kids again. “This is a deposit for you to cater my parent’s anniversary party… if you would.”

    I said I won’t cry… but I could taste the salt on my lips.

    1. chris

      Nice story! you really captured the sense of poverty. i once knew a single mom who designed the art on b’day cakes; your tale rang true and believable to me – making her a genuinely sympathetic character.

    2. JJerome

      This story is powerful stuff ds – the image of the children on the sofa – undersated. plus the dialogue and the lines from the tax agent…excellent.

      She looked at it and went back to figering. “May I have another cupcake, please?” That line was great. So much going on there, yet so little.

    3. catbr

      Good realistic story. Nice characterizations through dialogue. Unique how you made the tax auditor humane instead of the usual villain. Good writing.

    4. dsjackson221

      Thanks for reading… and all your comments. It’s fun and interesting to read all the different takes on the prompts. There’s a lot of talent here.

  22. JR MacBeth

    BRIBED WITH ETERNAL LIFE…AND THEN SOME

    “Master, he’s here.”

    “Wonderful.  Send him in.”

    “Greetings my son!  Come to me.”

    A young man wearing thick glasses enters the chamber.  His steps echo off the marble walls as he approaches a bearded figure seated behind an enormous desk.

    “Uh, yeah, actually sir, you can just call me Peter.”

    “As you wish, Peter.  Sit.  I appreciate your desire to see me personally.  Of course, our accountant has explained everything I presume?”

    “Well, yes, she’s explained, but more like ‘explained-away’ the situation…”

    “I’m guessing it’s about Our modest fleet of vehicles?”

    “Modest?  Uh, twenty-two Rolls Royces?”

    “Peter, you are not a believer.  Not a true believer.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Do you believe in God?”

    The young man nervously straightens his glasses.  He is determined to look this man in the eye, and get back to business.

    “Actually, I do believe in God.  Went to church and everything…”  He clears his throat.  “Anyway, I really would prefer to talk about your fleet of luxury vehicles.”

    “Of course you would!  Peter, who do people say that I am?”

    “Seriously?  Look, I don’t want to offend…”

    “Offend?  Impossible!  Look at me Peter!  Look into my eyes.”

    “Oh…Jeez, you’re not like, like…trying to…hypnotize me…or something?”

    The bearded man spoke very softly.  “Peter my son, blessed are you!”  Softer still, “You are already hypnotized.”

    The young man continued to stare straight ahead as the older man slowly stepped aside.  The Ancient Flame was no longer hidden behind him.  Now, the dancing flames reflected off the horn-rimmed glasses.

    “Peter, there is no luxury too great for God’s Son.”

    “No luxury too great…”  The words were repeated over, and over.

    ————————————

    A bald man with a mustache slaps a folder down. “Dayton, your report stinks to High Heaven!” 

    “Mr. Blackburn, it’s true.  Those cars are absolutely necessary, Temple business, and their beliefs too, the Son of God should be treated appropriately.”

    “Peter?  What the…?  You didn’t drink their goddamn cool-aid, did you?”

    “Do not curse like that!  You have no problem with a pope-mobile, but if the Divine Master should have…”

    “Divine Master?  Oh my friggin’ God!  That crazy-ass cult leader…”

    “Please do not insult my God!  You have my report, and now you have my resignation too.  I can’t work here anymore!”

    He almost pushes aside his former boss as he heads for the elevator.

    A fat man walks up holding his cup of coffee. “What’s up Blackburn?”

    “That little bastard Dayton.  The fucker just quit on me!”

    “No shit?  What did you do to him?”

    “I didn’t do a goddamn thing!  It’s not like I can spare any bodies right now.  Look, there he is down in the parking lot.  He already had his box of shit all packed up too.  Maybe I should go after him?  What do you think?”

    “Whoa!  That’s some fancy car he’s getting into!  Was he some rich kid or something?”

    The bald man’s mouth drops open.  “Son of a bitch!”

    “Blackburn?  You OK?”

    1. JJerome

      JR – I love the heavenly word play “stinks to high heaven” being one. The themes of God, belief, always a good choice.

      Your dialogue is strong. It creates clear images that other authors would have create in narration.

  23. DMelde

    FAMILY

    (Is that my head pounding? I am NEVER going to drink again. Must not think so loud. I need water.)
    Bob gets up and shuffles to the kitchen. Daylight boils Bob’s brains through bloodshot eyes.
    POUND. POUND. POUND.
    Looking down, Bob makes a startling discovery.
    (Where’s my sock? Why would it leave me? My head. The pounding. Make it stop.)
    POUND. POUND. POUND.
    (Somebody please shoot me.)
    “I can see you Mr. Jones, through the curtains,” shouts the man from outside, “please answer your door.”
    (Is that somebody at the door? Are they pounding on my door? Wait, brain, what?)
    Bob shuffles to the door, then shuffles to the bedroom. Robe. Bob shuffles back to the door.
    KNOCK. KNOCK.
    “Who’s there?” Bob wisecracks.
    “Special Agent Richardson with the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Jones.”
    (I’ve heard better.)
    Bob opens the door, just enough to see. A suit stands there, eloquent, with the somberness of a monk and, Bob guesses, none of his sainthood.
    “Can I see some identification?”
    Agent Richardson shows his badge and picture ID.
    “What do you want?”
    “We have an appointment to review your taxes today. A letter was mailed to you several weeks ago? Along with follow-up letters? Didn’t you receive them, Mr. Jones?”
    Bob turns his head and looks over at his table. A pile of unopened letters stare at him accusingly.
    (Crap! I could use a drink.)
    “No! I’m never drinking again!”
    “What was that, Mr. Jones?”
    (Jeeps, did I say that out loud?)
    “Oh, nothing. Please come in.”
    Bob shuffles over to the table and sits down.
    “I was audited last year.”
    “Yes, and as our letters explained,” Agent Richardson says, pushing at the letters, “we always do an audit again the following year. This is mostly a formality, you understand.”
    “I was wrongly convicted.”
    “You tried to claim your dog as a dependent.”
    “I loved that dog.”
    “Still, not legal. Do you have your forms handy Mr. Jones?”
    Bob gets up and drags a shoe box out of the cabinet.
    “Call me Bob. You want a drink? I can pour you a tall one now, and call you a cab later.”
    “That would be considered a bribe, Mr. Jones.”
    “Is it working?”
    The shoe box is full of crumpled receipts. Agent Richardson frowns.
    “This could take all day. You didn’t try and claim your dog again this year did you?”
    “Dog’s dead. Run over. I’ve been more drunk than sober since.”
    “I’m sorry for your loss.”
    Agent Richardson looks over the forms, glances at the crumpled receipts, looks at Bob, and does some calculating. He’s good at calculating.
    “You’re not ready for this audit, and that’s considered contempt, and a two hundred dollar fine.”
    Bob winces.
    “Tell you what, Mr. Jones, my neighbor’s dog had puppies. You take one of them off their hands, give it a good home, and we’ll consider this case closed. Deal?”
    Bob, straightening his shoulders and looking up from the floor, smiles.
    “I’ll treat ‘em like family.”

  24. jincomt

    I was expecting the knock at the door. At least the IRS had been polite enough to warn me they’d be stopping by and to please have all my papers in order. What papers? Taxes were a best-guess scenario, for me. How much could one out-of-work consultant owe?

    Still, I was apprehensive. Any little amount owed could wipe me out. I had prepared for what I knew I had to do; I was not above a little seductive bribery. But when the knock came unexpectedly, while I was still in my yellow chenille bathrobe with my hair in a messy little top knot, I was completely taken by surprise. Worse, when I opened the door, some lady in a business suit and brief case stood there with a sour look on her face. I was screwed.

    “Come in,” I sighed.

    “I’m Lena Miller. I’m here to sort through this tax debacle with you.” She held out her hand. I stared at it.

    “Have a seat.” My mind scrambled for a solution. My strategy was shot to hell now. To make it worse, it was “that time”, and I had wicked PMS and wasn’t in any mood to negotiate. She started pulling out papers heaving big sighs.

    “Is there anything I can get you?” I asked. Then I took the plunge. “Please, I just need to make this go away.”

    She snorted a bitter laugh. “Look, the only way you’re going to make this disappear is if you can get rid of these damn cramps I have, so let’s get started.”

    That’s when I knew seduction was not out of the question after all.

    “Before we start, come with me.” I led her to the kitchen where, in a cupboard high above the refrigerator, I pulled out a box. I set it on the counter and opened it. It was a long shot, I knew, but I had no choice. Slowly, I pulled out the contents: red wine, dark, rich chocolate, a dvd of “You’ve Got Mail”, two trashy paperback novels, sunscreen, a bottle of Midol, and my secret weapon, a mixed tape of 80’s love songs.

    I looked at her. She bit her lip and gave a slight moan. I knew I had her then. Lena reached a delicate hand out to finger the trashy novels. I slapped her hand softly. “Huh uh,” I said. “Not unless…”

    She looked up at me, her brown eyes panicked. “You wouldn’t.”

    I smiled sweetly. Spreading my hands out over my collection I said, “This could be yours, if…”
    The next thing I knew, she was on the phone. “Yeah, hey look, my car broke down. I think it’s going to be awhile, all morning probably. I’ll be back late this afternoon.” Then she looked at me. “I can reduce the amount owed by half and work out easy payments.”

    “Done,” I said.

    In the art of seduction and a woman in need, my PMS kit was better than any cleavage could ever be.

  25. BlueOrangeBooks

    Lady L.’s Lover

    “Lady Virginia Langley and Mister Bob Stone invite you to join them at the celebration of their marriage.”

    Today my brother is getting married. I turn the card around. Classy with a small white bow. Yeah right. White is the color of purity. As if Lady Langley is still a virgin. She is 83 years old. I wonder if my brother is still a virgin. He must have had some girlfriends by now. Not that he ever introduced any to me. Lady L. is his first. You just don’t talk about these things, do you. Especially not between sisters and brothers, let alone twins. No way. Twins are supposed to sense each other’s emotions. Trust me, I do not want to sense any of his business when he is in the sack with Lady L. I am sorry but I am still having a hard time calling her ‘Virginia’. How do you address a lady more than twice your age by her first name?

    My brother is smitten. That’s for sure. Since he introduced Lady L. to my mom and me he cannot seem to wipe that smile of his face. Man, am I glad that our father is no longer around to see this. He had quiet another woman for Bob in mind. Mom and I, we tried to talk him out of it. Telling him that this is not real love. That Lady L. takes advantage of him. That he is doomed to be a caretaker. But Bob is sure he loves her. So what can you do? Watch and wait and shiver?

    Bob is an IRS agent. As long as I can remember he wanted to be one. Yep, my brother is pretty peculiar. Lady L. and he met when he was assigned to audit her taxes. She’s loaded you know. That’s why the IRS keeps a close eye on her. Bob told me it was love at first sight. I am not saying she is not pretty. Oh no, she is beautiful for her age. But she is just like old. Bob told me how he discovered she fudged a few numbers on the forms. She just wanted to have some fun in her secluded lonely life, Lady L. had told him. He found her explanation hilarious. Not funny to me. Then Bob showed up with a diamond studded Cartier watch she’d bought him. For understanding. Yeah right, for keeping it quiet you mean. Next thing I know he moves in with her. A week later they were engaged. And you know what? He doesn’t even hide it. He wants to give her a good time in the winter of her life. And yes, he likes to be rewarded in return. Not by her body. Oh no. Hard cold cash. I hope his boss doesn’t find out. Hey, maybe I should go and have some tea with the newlyweds soon? I could use a new car …

    1. annefreemanimages

      I enjoyed the reverse role of the gold digger. I’m wondering if Bob had this kind of situation in mind when he got into the IRS? That would be a fun twist – that Bob said he had a plan when he joined, or something like that. I’d like to see a bit more envy from his brother – maybe the brother crowing about how he always got the girls, etc. Lorded it over Bob’s head, and now the tables are turned. Just to give the story a bit more tension. Nice job!

      ~Anne

  26. zzARzz

    In a Ghetto Far, Far Away…

    This apartment screams virgin. I’m not exactly an interior decorator myself, but nailing a bunch of toys to the wall among Star Wars collector’s plates seems a bit tacky. I can feel the little green guy’s eyes following me around the room as I pack the last of the virgin’s cash and jewelry in my duffle bag and it creeps me out.

    I hit this complex about once a month. The neighborhood is so crappy even the police won’t come down here. I never make a haul from the dregs that live in this hole, but it’s enough to keep me from suffering an honest day’s work.

    I figure I have a couple hundred bucks worth of the virgin’s stuff I can pawn, so I open the front door to leave. An overweight man in a cheap suit, clutching a worn pleather briefcase to his chest is standing in the doorway and jumps when he sees me.

    “Oh! Um… Arnold Granger: IRS. Are you Boyd Stumpel?” he mutters as he fumbles for his ID and holds it up with a trembling hand.

    “Something I can do for you?” I ask, wondering in what alternate reality I look like a Boyd Stumpel.

    “Yes, um, I found a few discrepancies in your last tax return and need to ask you a few questions. May I come in?”

    “By all means,” I reply as I step aside with a welcoming sweep of my arm.

    Arnold shuffles past me as he rustles through his briefcase in between wheezing gasps of air. He pulls out a clip board with some very official looking paperwork on it, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never filed taxes in my life. He looks up, gazes around the room and a huge grin widens his already chubby cheeks.

    “Oh! A fellow Star Wars fan, huh? I must have watched the trilogy a thousand times. Empire is still the best one, though. Looks like you have some really nice collectibles.”

    “Yeah, it’s the best. Live long and prosper!”

    Arnold lets out a chuckle; must have been something I said. His eyes lock onto one of the toys stuck to the wall of the virgin’s apartment and he runs up to it much faster than I would have thought him capable.

    “No way! You’ve got a Yak Face still in the original packaging?! Where’d you get it?!”

    “eBay. Yeah, ol’ Yak Face is my pride and joy.” What the hell is a Yak Face?

    “No wonder you had to fudge the numbers on your return. You must have spent a fortune for it!”

    For the first time since this farce started, Arnold has my attention. “So Yak Face is valuable, huh?”

    “Well, yeah! You never see them in the States.” Arnold’s face changes instantly, as if the proverbial light bulb went on over his head. I’ve seen the same look more times than I can count from the cons working the neighborhood. “You know, Mr. Stumpel…” Here it comes. “… You’re in a lot of trouble with the IRS. We have records of fraudulent returns going back years. You could be looking at fines and a prison sentence.” He pauses after the threat, gauging my reaction. I put a little show on for him.

    I open my mouth in feigned disbelief before stammering, “Now, let’s wait a minute, Arnold. Can’t we work something out? I mean, we’re both fans here.”

    In an air of nobility, Arnold coolly says, “Well, I’ve been looking for a Yak Face for years and yours is in perfect condition. I could make this all go away, if you know what I mean.”

    “Oh, come one, Arnold. Not my Yak Face!”

    “Would you rather go to prison, Mr. Stumpel?”

    I pause, letting him believe I’m weighing the pros and cons and finally reply, “Ugh, fine. Take it.”

    Arnold turns to the wall to claim his prize. “You’ve made a wise choice, my young padawan.”

    I grab a plastic spaceship, ball looking thing from a shelf I’m standing next to. “You’ve got that right, Arnold!” I smash it down on Arnold’s bald spot and it shatters, action figures pouring out of it like some nerdy piñata. The Chubby IRS agent collapses into a man-ball and slumps over onto the floor, silent, save a few gurgles and moans. I step over him and pull the much coveted toy from its hook on the wall. “Come here, buddy. Let’s see how much Jimmy Scribbles says a Yak Face is worth.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Interesting and enjoyable take on this prompt. I thought that the bad guy was going to turn good and let the agent take the mask, thinking how he gave the virgin a break. But, your bad guy was truely a bad guy – Enjoyed the dialogue and interactions. Fun story.

      ~Anne

  27. JJerome

    THE TAXMAN COMETH
    She answered the door, wearing a silk robe that threatened to bust open like a love letter from a mistress. Cigarette smoke slinked from her lips and caressed the curves of her hair until it carried her scent to his face as he stood at her doorstep.

    “Are you Claire Cavanog?” he asked, between a slight cough.

    “Cavanaugh,” she said, slowly opening her mouth and enticing him to do the same. “Aww. Cavanaugh.”

    He closed his mouth and cleared his throat. “Well, I was sent by my office…”

    “Come in.” She shoved the door open to give him room into her plush estate. On his way through the foyer, he negotiated around her bare leg as it poked out of her robe like a python squirming out of its cage.

    “Coffee? Iced tea? Something stiff?”

    The visitor mumbled something about just having lunch and asked if he could sit at the table.

    “Sure,” she said, crossing to the liquor cabinet. “You don’t mind if I make myself a little lunch, do you?” She poured herself a little double Scotch. She moved to the table, placed the chair at the corner, and gently touched down to face her visitor. “Give it to me.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Let me have it. I can take it. Besides, it’s Paul, my bastard husband. He and his shyster lawyer should be the one talking to you.”

    “Is your husband here?”

    She drank. “Even if he was, it would be a lie. He cheats at everything. At work, at play, his vows. You want to know a little something about Dr. Cavanaugh? He never craps in his own home. We’ve been married for twenty years, in this beautiful tomb.” She lavishly stretched out her arms to showcase the designer furniture, Italian tile, and original art. Her robe opened and a breast damn near tumbled out. She closed the robe, slowly. “I’ve never seen, heard, smelt his shit anywhere in his palace. How about that?” She eyed his response, hungrily sucking the life out of her cigarette.

    “Is he that constipated?” He spotted something incongruent among the palace furnishings – a mop pail with a handle sticking upright.

    She burst out a hearty laughed and nodded at her visitor. “Nah. Just crooked as hell. Speaking of which, what about his taxes? Honey, you want to hear something smelly about his latest business venture?” She caught him staring at the mop handle again, so she crossed her legs in front of him and casually hiked up the hem of her robe.

    He crossed his legs also, hiding his growing discomfort. The briefcase was now off the table and on his lap. “Let’s get started. Sunstar Publishing is offering an incredible 12% off of twenty of your favorite magazine titles.”

    “You’re not the taxman, are you?”

    He shook his head. “And you’re a …”

    “The maid honey.” She ground the cigarette into a crooked nub.

    He threw back a gulp of her Scotch. “Oh that’s good.”

    “So what do we do now?”

    1. chris

      Great story & twist. i never thought of a woman’s leg as a python before; clever! you capture the essence of the character with her dialogue by showing not telling i.e. never craps in his own house -made the reveal that much better. great writing.

    2. JR MacBeth

      OK JJerome, you got my vote for the best so far! When a character comes to life in so few words, that’s awesome. But she was but the centerpiece in your incredibly vivid scene that literally had me from your perhaps “provocative” title (in retrospect!), to the worthy ending. Thoroughly enjoyable!

  28. catbr

    The knock at the door jolted me from my thoughts. Thoughts about going to jail for not filing my taxes correctly. Earlier in the day there was a knock at the door but I didn’t answer it which was my usual way of dealing with unexpected callers. After the person left I checked the mail box and found an official looking letter from the IRS. Inside was a note from an IRS agent informing me they would be back later in the day to speak with me about my tax return. This made me nervous because I knew some of the amounts on it were not exactly right and I did not have receipts to back it up.

    “Hello Mr. Tax man. Come on in.” I could tell from the stern look on his face that my feeble attempt at humour was not impressing him.

    “The name’s Jack Sprat. Is Delores White home?” He said checking his paper.

    “Hey, that’s funny just like in the nursery rhyme. You know, Jack Sprat could eat no fat… Sorry that would be me.” I smiled a big stupid grin from ear to ear, a nervous habit. I couldn’t help blurting out that line, wishing I could start over. “Come into the living room where it will be more comfortable. By the way could you tell me what this is about?” He looked at me very serious like. I felt like I was going to go to jail. I couldn’t get this thought out of my head.

    “Oh it’s nothing really. We randomly pick tax returns to audit and yours was one of them. If you could just bring me your return for this year and supporting paperwork I’ll get right to it. Do you mind if I move the magazines and things out of the way. I need a little room to spread out the paperwork.”

    “Here, I’ll get that for you. Or would you be more comfortable at the dining room table?”

    “No, this is fine.”

    “Would you like a cup of coffee or a cold drink?” My first born child, $1,000.00? Anything, just don’t send me to prison.

    “No thankyou. I’m fine.”

    After giving Mr. Sprat all the paperwork I sat at the kitchen table trying to think of how to get out of this mess. Maybe I’ll offer to do some work for him for free. After all I was well known for my gardening skills. Everybody likes a well kept beautiful garden, don’t they? Anyway, that’s what I made my mind up to do.

    “Delores, could you come in here now? I’m finished with the audit. I found a few unusual things in you tax return.” Oh my God. This is it. I can’t stand it.

    “Mr. Sprat. I know I didn’t fill out the return right but if you’ll only let me do some gardening for you maybe we could forget about my return. I know it sounds dumb but I really am a good gardener. I could give you the most beautiful garden on your street and I’ll even pay for the flowers and everything.” I pleaded with him like a child trying to get out of being scolded, tears streaming down my face.

    “You can calm down Delores. Your return actually wasn’t that bad. And by the way I live in an apartment, so no need for any of your famous gardening.” He rolled his eyes. “I was willing to overlook the receipts you claimed because of the refund you will be getting back. So I’ve got a better idea. If you split your refund with me I’ll forget about those non existant receipts and you won’t get into any trouble at all.”

    Stunned, I looked at him with a soggy face and red eyes. I should have looked at the refund amount before I agreed to his deal. It appeared that I had made some math errors and was expecting a check of $4,000.00! Laughing on the way out my front door with a $2,000.00 check in his hand, Sprat it seems had a sense of humour after all, the rotten bastard.

    1. JJerome

      Ooh, I hate that jack Sprat scoundrel. 🙁

      Can you write something horrible to happen to him next week? I know, a root canal without a pain killer. To go along with a colonoscopy without a pain killer.

  29. Rachel

    The doorbell rang as I sat at the kitchen table trying to pretend it wasn’t going to play out this way. After the last several years, why even pretend? The mess she left would never end. I got up from the table and with the memory of that bitch’s voicemail I opened the door for the IRS.

    “Mr. Gauthier??” The man at the door in the shiny black suit and sunglasses said darkly.

    “Yes, please come in.” I moved back to let him in. We sat down as he opened his briefcase and began to pull out folders. He began to explain the discrepancies of my last two years tax returns and then went on to explain the consequences of blindly signing tax returns and listening to big breasted blond idiots. Wait, I think that was just in my head. I hadn’t heard a word he had said until I heard the word jail.

    “Listen, isn’t there something we could do here?” I said with sweat pouring down my temples. “I mean to make this go away?”

    “Are you attempting to bribe an agent of the IRS Mr. Gauthier?”

    “I think I am kidding?” I said clasping my hands together and looking down.

    “Maybe there is something we can do.” I looked up with relief in the distance. “ I see that you owe over a hundred thousand which would be the right amount of money needed for a hit job.”

    Did I hear him right? I looked up and he was staring directly at me with those cold blue eyes. After hearing him out and understanding the object of his murderous desire, I finally agreed. I would kill the man about to testify at his fraud trial and he would correct my taxes so that all went away. Hands shook and the deal was done. What was I doing?

    I moved in a fog for the next few days as I studied maps, schedules and photos of the soon to be deceased. Then it came to me, I knew what I had to do to fix everything. The plan was in motion already, might as well run with it.

    The day had finally come and I was scared. Armed with the gun Mr. Agent had given me, I followed his witness to the location that I had carefully planned for and just as I thought at 1:30 PM, in that familiar suburban alley. The Mercedes was there. I walked up and fired two bullets into each of them. I smiled as I watched the blond hair absorb the blood and the shocked look on his face. I pulled off the gloves and wrapped the tape with the fingerprints of the IRS agent on the gun and tossed it.

    The next morning, I drank my coffee and read the insurance policy that would take care of all my problems with pictures of my Ex wife, my CPA and the IRS agent flashing across the TV in the background.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Rachel – cool story. Well-written. My only suggestion is that I was confused at the end with the characters who were killed. His wife and his CPA? Why the CPA? Were they having an affair? Was the CPA also the person who was going to testify at the trial? I can make that assumption, but not sure if I’m correct. A little more direct information about the CPA would have helped me. I had to read the ending a few times to be sure. Great story.

      ~Anne

      1. Rachel

        Thanks for the comment Anne! Yes, all of your assumptions are correct. The CPA and the now exwife were having an affair and screwed him in the taxes. The CPA was also the witness.. sometimes things just work out???

  30. thesaturnbull

    “Nice ring,” he said. “Wherever did you find it?”

    “Bought it,” I sighed, fed up. It had been hours, and he was here to discuss my messed-up taxes, not my accessories.

    “Not an engagement ring?” He reached out to touch my arm. His hands were warm. I felt the bones in his long fingers, the meat surrounding them having long since dissolved.

    I looked up from the piles of receipts littering my kitchen table.

    Square chin and a day-old shave. Trimmed sideburns, longer than the current style, with thick hair slicked back. He smiled.

    “No,” I whispered. My tongue felt prickly, suddenly thirsty. I should have offered the IRS man some refreshments as soon as he came in the door. Now I felt trapped, caught in his Mediterranean eyes.

    “Interesting.” He raised one perfectly groomed eyebrow, and, gently tugging the knees of his slacks to expose leopard print shoes and socks embellished with hotrod flames, leaned back in his chair.

    Looking down, I pulled my ring slightly forward, just enough to see the tan line, then to the knuckle, before pushing it back. Admired how the little diamond sparkled, even in the mangled lamplight of my crappy, old apartment.

    Family heirloom. Generations old. At least, that was how the flea market woman described it when she sold it to me. I just liked how the simple white gold fit perfectly on my finger. I hadn’t taken it off since I found it, even removed all of my other rings, wanting this one to stand-alone. Don’t really know why it made me so happy. Didn’t really care.

    “She said it was old,” I managed to murmur.

    “She was correct. The ring is very old. Part of a family of four. Two have been lost, some say for all time. A religious man of great influence wears the other. Of the last, I proudly display the faux.” He lifted his left hand. Gracefully wiggled the ring finger. Manicured nails glistened brighter than the diamond attached to the ring identical to mine.

    His nose twitched. He reached into his corduroy jacket, lined with silk, and pulled out a black handkerchief, embroidered with red flames and single letter monogram.

    “Tell me,” he said, smiling, “Would you be willing to trade with me, my ring for yours? I am a very influential… man. Associated with many… companies of power. Do you understand what I am saying?”

    “Yes.” I knew exactly who he was, and what metaphoric direction he had traveled to get here. IRS man my foot.

    “Good. Then please answer: would you be willing to trade my ring for yours?”

    “No.”

    He blinked. Little tribal tattoos on the lids of his eyes waved at me before he spoke again.

    “What is it that you want? I could owe you a favor?” He winked. “Anything, anytime.”

    “In addition to making sure this mess disappears?”

    “Yes,” he purred.

    I thought about it, and then held out my hand.

    “Deal.”

    I really hated doing my taxes.

  31. watekank

    It was an unseasonably hot Spring Day. I was at home lounging in my Leopard Caftan. There was a knock on my door. I said to myself”I’m not expecting company.” I tried to ignore it but my music was kind of loud. Then a voice from the other side of the door said, “Ms. James, it is Agent 007 from from the Internal Revenue Service. I really need to talk to you, I grabbed a gorgeous Blonde wig, put it on and opened the door. The man was six-two and strinkingly handsome.

    He said the amount of money you claimed on your 2011 taxes, as a self-employed hairdresser, is that correct? I said of course I am good.I told him to take his shirt off, I put a shampoo cape on him and did his hair. An hour later he said, “Ok, I will see you next week.

  32. Amy

    In my dream, I’m given two choices, both equally appealing. As is the way with dreams, it’s not clear why these choices are mine to make, but I do know that to choose one would be right, and to choose the other would be wrong.

    A knock on the door awakens me before I can decide. Stumbling from my bunk, I don last night’s costume as the knocking becomes more insistent.

    “Hold your horses,” I shout. I reach the door, flinging it open. There’s a stranger on the other side.

    “Whadaya want?” I ask. I have no patience for circus groupies.

    He had his ID in hand. “I’m Bill Mullah, with the IRS. And you are Ivan Petra, I presume?”

    I puff out my chest, showing my male superiority. “I am,” I admit.

    “Mr. Petra, there are some irregularities on your 2010 tax return.”

    I look at him in his tidy suit and horn-rimmed glasses and realize I probably can’t bluff my way out of this one.

    “Come in,” I say. I hastily clear off the table that serves me as both dining space and desk.
    Mr. Mullah carefully perches on the edge of a chair.

    “Your occupation is listed as Lion Tamer, correct?” he asks, opening his briefcase.

    “Yes,” I answer, wondering where this is going.

    “Are you aware it’s illegal to claim the nine lion cubs in your care as dependants?” he inquires, looking me in the eye.

    “Did I do that?” I splutter.

    “There’s also the matter of unclaimed income,” he told me.

    This was news to me. “Unclaimed income?” I ask.

    “It appears the male lion, Mr. Beasty I believe, is an insomniac who cruises the neighborhood while you slumber, servicing the horny females in the area. Who says size doesn’t matter, eh?” he smirks. “He is being compensated with catnip and T-bones. All unclaimed income.”

    This is ridiculous—I’d no idea.

    “Listen,” I say. “How about I give you and your family free lifetime passes to the circus and you just forget about this. I’d no idea The Beast was such a Casanova.”

    Surprisingly, he said “That might be doable. Now, I have a favor to ask of you.”

    I raise my eyebrow. “Shoot,” I say.

    He blushes. “I’ve wanted to be a circus performer since childhood and obviously, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, professionally. Please let me perform with you and the lions. I want to put my head in Mr. Beasty’s mouth.”

    “What’s the catch?” I ask.

    “If the audience enjoys my antics and applauds me, you must pay your taxes. If they are quiet and appear to dislike me, all is forgiven.”

    The wheels in my mind turn. Is he serious? Seems I have two choices here. I can do the right thing; give him his fifteen minutes and pay up. Or I can tell Mr. Beasty to bite down—hard.

    I smile and extend my hand, which he takes, grinning wide.

    “Deal,” I say.

  33. chris

    “You owe the IRS a lot of money in back-taxes, Mr. Gavin.”

    “Life’s been hard.” (This guy’s a glorified paper-pusher.)

    The agent sauntered through my small but immaculate and pristine place. Arrogant and young, the punk judged me with each gaze. He stopped at the mantle.

    “What’s this?”
    “Don’t touch that!” I grabbed the figure from him. (Obviously, he’s clueless about the finer things.)

    “You’re a little old to be playing with dolls, aren’t you Mr. Gavin?”

    “They’re action-figures!” (You little shit.) “You know . . . Star Wars; I collect them.”

    “Not much here to audit.”

    (If this guy wasn’t an IRS agent, I’d pummel his sorry ass.) “Sorry, I don’t have much.”

    “You do alright. You listed two dependents on your taxes; yet you have no family photos?”
    “I’m not very sentimental.” (He’s a clever little punk – better ease off on the attitude.)

    “Tax fraud is punishable by law with up to ten years in prison.”
    “I’m not lying, sir. I have two precious children who I love dearly.”

    “Sure, Mr. Gavin. And I bet your son looks a lot like me.”

    (Oh shit!) A wave of anxiety crushed me. He flaunted the DNA test I had taken years ago. Convincing me further, was his icy blue eyes mirrored mine, and he wore Tammy’s blonde hair like a toupee.

    “So what do you want, Jake? An after-school-special confession? a kidney? I can get money. I can pay you.”

    Jake removed a folder from his briefcase.

    “You’re kidding? You’re gonna audit me? Ha! Is this revenge for all the missed birthdays? You’re not exactly dispelling the nerdy image of the IRS . . . what’s that?”

    “Facts and figures, Mr. Gavin; to appraise the value of your collection – should be enough to pay for the wedding.”

    “You little shit!” (He probably extorted her too, into marrying him.) “So that’s it? You want me to bankroll your wedding to avoid my audit?”

    “You misunderstand. The money’s for Jenny’s wedding. You do remember your daughter, don’t-cha, dad?”

    (What a manipulative son of a . . .)

    “I’m taking enough stuff to pay for the wedding and pay off mom’s bills. And I’ll forget the poverty; mom’s scars from your beatings; and the feeling as kids, that we weren’t good enough for you.”

    For the first time, I recognized the damage I’d caused – in his eyes. It was unnerving.

    I walked Jake out after he confiscated thousands of dollars worth of my collection. (Hell, the audit would have been less painful.)

    “Don’t ever contact us, dad.”

    (Holy shit; if that wasn’t a stab in the gut . . .) I closed the door behind him, turned to my apartment – empty shelves and pristine white walls. (I have nothing.)

    Bang! (What the hell. . .) I ripped open the door.

    “What the hell do you want?”
    “I’m agent Brian Mitchell from the IRS. I’m here to audit you, Mr. Gavin.”

    (Son of a bitch! That clever little shit!)

      1. chris

        Thank you; my goal was to try & create a bad dude who got his due; w/ ahint of redemption as his kid lays into him; but like most bad dudes, they feel sorry for about 2 seconds and then revert back to self. thx for reading; appreciate the feedback.

  34. Jeremysaysrawr

    He sits down on the very edge of my black leather sofa, takes in the silver coffee table, the plush Persian rugs, and smiles. I offer a cup of coffee, but the IRS agent politely declines.

    “With what you claimed on taxes,” he says, “I don’t see how you afford anything decent.”

    Shit. I knew it I fucking knew it, that I shouldn’t have listened to my accountant. Just fudge a few numbers, he told me. They’re never going to audit you. It’s just a myth.

    He talked me into leaving out half my assets and what I earned, so that I would get back a refund instead of paying in to the IRS bloodsuckers.

    “So, what can I do for you?”

    “First, you could show me the six children that you claimed, the hospital bills, tuition statements…” He prattled on, reading a laundry list of things we did so I could be greedy.

    I pulled out my checkbook. “How much to make you…go away?”

    “Are you offering me a bribe, Mr. Santonio?” he asked. “I need to remind you that I am a federal agent and I cannot be bought.” He paused. “With money.”

    “Then…what do you want?”

    “I know you people like to run in circles. I want you to get me a date with Donald Trump.”

    A date. With the Donald. What the hell?

    “I’m sorry,” I say. “I don’t think I’ve heard you right. You want me to get you a date with Donald Trump?”

    “Yes,” he says, tapping his fingers on the top of his leather attaché case. He looks at his watch. “I think I’ll give you a few more days to come up with the necessary paperwork. I’ll be back Wednesday at ten, and I better have a date if you don’t want to be sodomized by a big guy in jail named Sally May.”

    He stood and walked out the door.

    There is no way I can get him a date with Donald Trump.

    I sigh, walk to my bedroom.

    May as well plan my own date with a Glock .45.

  35. penney

    I had been working as a tax preparer for several years. A pro of the ins and outs of the 1040, my customers sing for joy between January and April. Oddly though, when it comes to my own taxes I can’t get it out of the gate to save my life. I have filed so many extension it’s pathetic. This year, it wasn’t any different, the numbers weren’t adding up and the deductions were evading me at every turn. I was staying up late drinking, crying and screaming in frustration. Why, why is it that I can do other peoples taxes but for me, it pisses in my face?

    This year was different though. I had decided to cut a few corners and make a few nifty adjustments; I was going to get mine this year. I just wanted to get to zero that’s all. Boy oh boy did I get mine. The IRS auditor was coming to run my numbers; they set up your appointment like the cable guy to make you sweat. My time was between 1 and 5pm.

    I was nervous; something told me I wasn’t going to outwit him. In my panic I started thinking of how I could convince him to let it slide or get a reduced sentence. I wondered if I gave him my body or offered some sort of favor he’d let it go. I didn’t even know what he’d look like or whether I was desperate enough to even care.

    I was setting myself up for this horrible humiliation when the doorbell rang. One more gulp of my glass of whiskey and the warmth flowed through me. I opened my robe to let the cool air hit my skin and my breast tighten in response. I was definitely doing this.

    I couldn’t even budge from my spot, doorknob still in hand as I stared at the woman before me.

    “So we’re doing it this way then,” she said as she took in the view.

    “Ah…ah,” I was speechless.

    She walked past me, laid her briefcase next to the sofa eyeing the apartment.

    “Nice. No promises, but I must say, this is a nice change of pace,” she licked her finger and ran it down my front. It was all I could do to stay standing. She cupped my breast, squeezing. The robe was over my shoulders and on the floor before I knew it. I was at her mercy.

    “I’ll do anything,” my voice shaky.

    “Yes you will, honey, yes you will,” she said in a smoky voice.

    I was her tax whore and she knew it. It was only one o’clock, and she had me at least until five.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Nice twist, excellent visuals. Boundaries pushed, yet the erotic elements, while not exactly subtle, still observed a “line” perhaps, that suggested respect for general readership. Loved your final two sentences. Nice work penney!

  36. Kae Lee

    I sat there holding my breath waiting for Mr. Klein’s response to the idea of him destroying all evidence of the “not so accurate” tax forms he had just flashed in front my face. He sat there with his poker face on making it impossible for me to remain calm.
    “You can breathe Mrs. Devereaux. I completely understand what is going on here. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you had absolutely nothing to do with this and we are fully aware that your husband is responsible for the “error”.”
    I sighed in relief. “What will happen to my husband?”
    “Well, things will not work out so well for him Mrs. Devereaux. He will most likely be incarcerated. This is a serious problem here after all.”
    He licked his lips in anticipation. “Now let us revisit the terms and conditions of that bribe you mentioned,” he said smiling at me like the cat that ate the canary. “Maybe it will be enough to save that husband of yours.” Him mentioning the bribe instantly got me aroused.
    “Well as I said before,” I started to say but he waved his hand in a dismissive motion.
    “Oh no silly, I have no interest in what you are offering. However, I do have something much more entertaining and profitable in mind.”
    I waited to hear what he had to say but before I could speak he began taking his clothes off starting with his expensive shiny black loafers. I sat there baffled for a moment. “But I thought you said you had something else in mind? This seems to be falling awfully close to what I had suggested,” I said with a hint of amusement in my voice.
    Mr. Klein was very good looking indeed and this would be my free pass. How could my husband possibly be angry when I was doing this for him and his freedom? Or at least that was the story he would receive but the truth was, I had wanted to ravish this man since his first visit six months earlier.
    “Okay I’m ready,” he said now that he was standing in my living room stark naked. “Reach inside my briefcase and grab that small leather bag. Everything you need is in it,” he said stretching out across my Persian rug.
    I reached inside, withdrew the soft leather bag and unzipped it. My heart raced with excitement and when I slowly removed tubes of paint, excitement was replaced with instant confusion.
    “Body paint? What the f…,” I began but once again he cut me off.
    “My body is your canvas. Take your time, be creative and for your efforts I will not only pay you a thousand dollars but I will make this problem disappear for both you and your husband. Deal?”

      1. JonCallot

        So what happens next? You leave me hanging. What does she plan paint? Does she eventually throw herself on him. You got some gold here for a good heated story.

  37. Violet43

    Chrissy jumped slightly at the knock at the door. “Who could that be?” She thought. After all the only person that ever comes over is the Superintendent. She shuddered at the thought of what she had to do to pay the rent.

    A second knoce at the door and she jumped again. Pulling her robe tighter, she finally went to answer the door. Chrissy was thirty-three, yet she was still carded when she bought cigarettes. Whenever she went to Kevin’s school she was met with the same remark. “This is your Mother, Kevin!” She found it flattering, Kevin however, seemed distressed.
    She went to the door, looked through the peep hole and saw a rather plain man. He was wearing a surprisingly good looking pair of glasses in contrast to the otherwise unassuming look of him.

    “Who is it? She asked, opening the door slightly. “What do you want?”

    “I’m from the Internal Revenue Service, Miss Larson. I need to speak with you.”

    “The IRS.” She thought, “I’ve never filed a tax return. How does he know my name?” She thought she had better let him in. Then she sighed thinking that Kevin would be angry that she hadn’t ask to see some ID first.

    Belatedly and sweetly she said, “May I please see some identification?”

    “Yes, of course,” he said handing her his wallet, open to some card with his name on it. Chrissy starred at it intently, as though she actually knew what she was looking at. “Well then what is it you want?”

    “It seems you have a son, Kevin Larson.”

    “Oh no, not Kevin, what has that stupid boy done.” She thought, “That’s right he got a job, must have a social security card. Must have filed taxes.” She slipped her hand into her pocket and put it comfortingly around the gun she always kept close.

    “I’m sure we can work something out, if the boy is in trouble.” She moved closer to the man and let her robe fall open slightly. Chrissy could see he was somewhat interested, then he suddenly pulled back and got a grip on himself. “”No, Miss Larson, we don’t need to go there. It is just a small amount of money .”

    Something went SNAP in her head at the word. “MONEY, MONEY, YOU WANT MONEY?” She screeched.

    That’s when she pulled the trigger, right through her favorite robe. “Damn,” she thought, watching the blood pool around the man’s body, all over the floor. “What will Kevin say now? He is so self-righteous, I suppose he’ll be mad, like he was when I robbed the Seven-eleven and then for two weeks he kept leaving the help-wanted ads all over the house.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      I thought that those glasses you mentioned were going to lead to something, because that sentence really stood out – that once she let him in and spoke for a bit, he charisma or personality would sway her over. Interesting take on the prompt.

      ~Anne

  38. Dean Kutzler

    TAX LEVY

    “Sam?” Julia called to her husband. “Someone’s knocking at the door! Can’t you get it? I’m in the middle of finishing the stir-fry! If I stop, the veggies will be soggy! Sam!”

    “I heard it! I heard it! Gimme a sec!” He was setting the table. “Anything thing else Master?”

    “Aaah-yeah! Like: Take out the garbage—clean the garage—fix the deck—mow the lawn so we can find Mrs. Kellerman’s Shih Tzu. Do I really need to continue?”

    “Pffft! Everybody’s a comedian!” He said putting the silverware down, heading for the door.

    “Yeah—and I’m the cook, the maid, the gardener—oh why do I even bother?” She mumbled to herself, stirring the chicken and snow peas.

    Sam peeked through the peephole. It was an older gentleman, dressed in a black suit and tie, briefcase in hand. “Aaaah—be right with ya—I’m getting dressed.” He sprinted to the kitchen.

    “Whoa! Slow down partner!” Julia said holding up a hand. “You can’t be that hungry. Who was at the door? Was it Molly with the Girl Scout Cookies? The were supposed to be here last—“

    “I think it’s the guy from the IRS!” He said cutting her off.

    “The IRS? Oh-my-god! I told you! You never listen!”

    “Everybody says they never check!”

    “Really? A $68,000 charitable tax deduction? For The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Really Sam?”

    “Maybe I shoulda’ said Scientology?” She just looked at him. “Okay—Jules, let’s just deal with this. I’ll invite him in for dinner. He’s an older guy. Maybe you can use your feminine charm on him. If you have any left.” She punched him in the arm. “Oooow!”

    “You get us into the this mess and I’m supposed to clean it up? Like everything else?” She said pulling the wok off the burner.

    “We’re in an open relationship—what’s the difference? We sleep around all the time.”

    “Excuse me? What’s the difference?” She said aiming for his face. He ducked. “We sleep with people we like! People we know! Not because my husband’s a moron!”

    “What choice do we have? We can’t afford the tax—they’ll levy our house! Come on snookums. Just this one time for papa bear?” He sidled up next to her and put his arm around her waist.

    She eyed him through slanted eyelids and turned off the stove. “So help me Sam—You pull another stunt like—“

    He held up his hand. “Scout’s honor.”

    Julia answered the door and invited Mr. Zebar in for dinner. The conversation went well—as did the evening. After dinner, she flirted and made all the right moves. Mr. Zebar was clearly enjoying where it was headed.

    “Mr. Zebar?” She said as she widened the neckline of her shirt to reveal milky cleavage. “There must be something we can do? To fix my silly husbands faux-pas?”

    A slow and steady smile formed on Mr. Zebar’s face. He started to speak, but before he could finish, Julia took his hand and led him to the bedroom. After a few minutes, she came back down, buttoning up her shirt.

    “What happened? A minute man isn’t THAT quick!” Sam said. “Doesn’t he want to do it?”

    “Oh, he does.” She smiled.

    “So what gives? The condoms are in the nightstand!”

    “You’re up papa bear. No difference. Remember?”

    1. DRoberts

      A great entertaining story. “A 68,000 charitable deduction for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” LOL I knew the ending was going to be good after I read that line. Well-written. Well-done.

    2. JJerome

      Dean – The story starts off zanily enough, but once you got to “We’re in an open relationship—what’s the difference? We sleep around all the time.” I knew the story was going to unpredictably zany.

      Great dialogue too!

  39. mhs546

    “He knocked on the door at two thirty in the afternoon, and explained he was coming on behalf of the IRS,” Carrie said. She knew she was sweating in her mothball-scented blouse, but who could blame her? The glaring prosecutor looked like a vampire: pale, with soulless green eyes and thin lips slathered with bright red lipstick.

    “And what happened next?” the vampire woman asked coolly.

    “I…well, he asked me if I knew that I hadn’t paid my taxes yet.”

    “Did you or did you not try to bribe Mr. Bartlett?”

    She wanted to shrink into a little ball before this vampire-woman swooped down and bit her and sucked a confession out. “Yes,” she said in a very small voice. “I offered him cookies.”

    The prosecutor lost her composure for a moment, trying to suppress a smile, then swooped in again. “And did Mr. Bartlett accept this bribe?”

    “Objection!” shouted the tax collector’s defense attorney. “Cookies hardly constitute a bribe! Is the witness’s cooking on trial?”

    The prosecutor faced the judge. “Your Honor, this is extremely relevant towards establishing a timeline of events leading up to the day Mr. Bartlett’s father was killed.”

    The judge drummed his gavel on the desk. “Overruled. The witness may answer.”

    The vampire-lady turned back to me. “No,” Carrie said. “He said he was too old to fall for the cookie trick anymore.”

    “And then?”

    “I asked him if…I asked him if we could do it another time…I offered a few carrot sticks to make him go away until I could get the money together…”

    “Objection! This is clearly not a reliable witness—twice she’s claimed to have tried to bribe the defendant!”

    “The witness is not the defendant here,” the judge snapped. “She has already paid her taxes and a fine for attempted bribery. Overruled.”

    The prosecutor nodded to Carrie. “What happened next?”

    “He said he would love some carrots, but he needed something else from me before he would make my money problems go away.”

    “And what did he ask you to do?”

    She swallowed. “He asked me to speak with his father about a girl he wanted to marry. His father didn’t approve, but he thought that I might be able to reason with him. I…well, I have experience with marriages, seeing as I’ve had three…”

    “And did you try?”

    “I…well, I was going to…but I went to the house the next day looking for him, and—oh God—he was lying dead on the floor!”

    “Do you believe Mr. Bartlett killed his father?”

    Carrie Bartlett gulped and looked at her son, sitting sullenly next to his defense attorney. “Yes.”

    1. DRoberts

      Mhs546,

      I really liked the opening paragraph. “She knew she was sweating in her mothball-scented blouse.” This line made me laugh. And the description of the prosecutor was great. Cookies and carrots for bribes-LOL. I’m with everyone else. The ending was great. Well-written. Well-done.

  40. Bumblebee83959

    The knock frightened me. I knew, before even opening the door, who it was. The IRS agent looked clean and crisp in his polo shirt and khakis. I looked down at my disheveled clothes, all bought with the little spare money I got from my minimum wage job, then back to him. “G-Good afternoon, sir. How may I assist you?” My voice was wavering, but I kept a straight face as he blinked at me, clearly surprised. He was expecting someone more… refined, shall I say.

    “Good after to you too, Miss… Merces. I come from the Internal Revenue Service. I’ve come here to audit your taxes.” He smiled politely, flashing me pearly whites. I cringed at the brightness, taking a step back into my home. What I called a home was really my RV. It had everything I needed to survive, so I didn’t complain. Except for the taxes. Those were a real pain in the ass.

    “O-Oh, well… you see, I…” I began awkwardly, “I was just on my way to work. I-I work as a waitress at the local cafe.” A lightbulb popped in my head. I had the perfect plan to wiggle my way out of this. “Would you care for a free meal?”

    I could see the gears working in his head. Would he accept the bribe or not? I didn’t have much to bribe for, and this was my only shot to get rid of this agent once and for all.

    “I would be delighted. On one condition, though.”

    “And what would that one condition be, Mr.?”

    “Let me take you out on a date. A real one. I bet you haven’t had that in a while.”

    “… A date would be lovely.”

    And that’s how I got rid of my pesky taxes. I didn’t need to worry about them anymore. He took care of them for me.

    1. DRoberts

      Bumblebee83959

      At first I thought the ending was tied up too neatly and then I read it a second time. The IRS agent’s compassion shines through.

    2. annefreemanimages

      Try eliminating the last sentence and have them going out on their first date – with the spark between them. He could say something like – there’s no need for us to talk business anymore, or something that would imply that he was going to “put the tax debt to bed” so to speak. Up to the last sentence, the story was charming and nicely told.

      ~Anne

  41. Imaginalchemy

    Near the Bahamas-1719 A.D.

    After plundering for a few years, I was certain I had seen everything. The near escapes from the royal navy, the brawling and balling in the seediest taverns of the islands…I even swear by the Devil’s horns that I’ve seen the Ghost Ship, crewed by the damned, captained by that black-hearted bastard Death himself.

    But one thing I had never seen was the small skip that was makin’ its way to us that morning.
    “Captain…Jack Rackham?” asked the small mole of a man at the boat’s bow.

    “That’s Calico Jack to you.” I leaned over the railing of my ship. “Odd that you don’t pay heed to advancin’ on a…profiteer’s ship. Perhaps you be thinkin’ to ‘donate’ some of your valuables to my enterprise?”

    “Actually, Captain Rackham,” the man said calmly, adjusting his spectacles. “I come on behalf of our Governor Woodes Rogers, and according to our accounts, you have not been paying your taxes.”

    I was not sure whether to shoot the man from his audacity, or buy him a round at the nearest waterhole for his bravado. “You’re a bold one. But tell me, how you plan to get me to pay those taxes, when I can sink you with a cannonball before you can paddle your raft to safety?”

    The auditor merely gestured behind him. Looking out towards the horizon, I was met with the sight of an impressive fleet of royal ships, and my skin felt a slight crawl. Apparently they were bringing out the big cannons for me—made me feel all warm and tingly inside, to think I was so highly thought of.

    Of course, no man likes to be blasted to Kingdom Come, so I said to the man, “Look, we’re both gentlemen, and we both are simply doin’ our jobs. Surely there’s some understanding we can come to that’ll benefit the both of us? Why, just today I ‘acquired’ a few barrels of coffee, some sugar cane…or maybe something more yellow and shiny would be to your liking.”

    The man paused, and glanced back at the fleet in the distance. He scratched his chin. “Actually, Captain Jack, there is something you may be able to offer that would convince me to repeal my obligation to collect your debt, and allow us an opportunity to evade my escorts.”

    I was a bit surprised at his willingness to comply, but I did not bat an eye. “Do tell.”

    “I…don’t suppose you would have room for one more in your crew? Honestly, after having been spat on, shot at, and threatened by every tax dodger under the sun, I think I’m due for a change of career, yes?”

    What can I say, I had a bit of sympathy for the man, and I was in the market for a bookkeeper, to make sure no one on my crew was skimmin’ a bit off the top for himself. And really, what’s the difference between an auditor and a pirate anyway?

  42. JRSimmang

    May 12th, the worst day of the year. It was also the same day my refund was expected and the man knocked on the door.
    I saw him pull up into the driveway, a sleek ’02 Cadillac, black. He wore his pinstriped suit, black. He had sunglasses, black, and his Tag Hauer watch glinted black in the sun, black as the color of death.
    Then, the knock.
    I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Hell, I’m surprised it didn’t come sooner. For the past 17 years, I had put aside 0.02% from all transactions by my employer into a separate off shore banking account. Needless to say, I have well over a couple life’s worth in my account. I could purchase my own island.
    Well, I thought I’d be on my way off to Graceland Island when I retired. Unfortunately, things don’t work out the way we plan. I had to move all funds to several Swedish banks and a couple in-country banks due to the unforeseen destruction of my previous bank. I had a feeling someone would notice.
    Right, the knock.
    I edged over to the door.
    “Mr Wallace, may we have a word with you?”
    “Who are you?”
    “My name is Eric Penderson. I’m an adjustor.”
    “No.”
    “No what?”
    “No you can’t have a word with me.”
    “We’re going to have to one way or another. You can either let us in now, or let us in later.”
    “It’s not going to happen at all, you… you jerks!” Jerks? I couldn’t think of anything better?
    I heard some sort of sigh. Then, the door crashed open. I guess that other fellow was a cop.
    “Thanks, Bill. You can leave now. I can handle it from here.” The officer went back to the car.
    “My door!”
    “We’ll replace it.”
    I looked past Mr Penderson to Bill. He settled back into his seat and turned on the music. “That was entirely unneccessary.”
    “We need to chat.”
    I threw myself into the chair. “Okay, tell you what. I have over a million waiting for you if you just let this slide under.” Bribe. I was bribing the IRS.
    Mr Penderson opened his mouth to say something, closed it, furrowed his brow, raised his finger, dropped hs finger, and said, “Uh, no. That would be unethical.”
    “Unethical? Two million.”
    Again, he pantomimed his strange dance. “Well…”
    “Three million and you can visit my island whenever you want.” I had my hands clasped, begging.
    He peeked back out the door to Bill, who gave the thumbs up.
    “Okay, Mr Wallace. It looks like we have a deal.”
    “Ohthankyoujesus.” I got up and hugged Mr Penderson.
    “Fine. Fine.” He slowly pushed me away. “Just one more thing.”
    “Sure,” I reeled. “Anything.”
    “Just don’t tell the IRS I was here.”
    “Hm? Don’t you have to report all instances?”
    “Um, yeah.”
    “So…”
    “It would just be best if this was kept ‘under cover’.” He turned to leave. “We’ll be in touch.”
    With that, Mr Penderson left.
    Later that night, I was sitting on my couch, a smug grin on my face. That’s when I heard the voice.
    “Do you think he knew we weren’t with the IRS?”
    “Not a clue.”
    I looked at the floor. Mr Penderson’s earpiece lay in silent confession on the floor.

    1. DRoberts

      JRSimmang,

      I liked your story. Great ending. I wonder; was Penderson and his partner from the previous bank where Wallace had his accounts? Thus, “I had a feeling someone would notice.”

      One comment: The first two sentences seemed a bit awkward. I think just a little tweeking would make it read a bit better. Overall, nice job.

      1. JRSimmang

        I agree with the beginning. I wrote the first two sentences thinking I was going to take the story in another direction and didn’t go back to fix it when I wrote the final lines.
        Thanks for the comment. This one’s going in my collection when it’s finished.

    2. JonCallot

      I thought your dialogue was good. I would heighten the tension in that first part. I don’t get the sense of dread in it as I got from the dialogue. Overall good story.

  43. Icabu

    Spritzing on her perfume, made specially to enhance her seducing pheromones, Lorena Whitcomb opened the door. She smiled. For a lowly government agent, IRS at that, he had some redeeming qualities. She escorted him into the library, her spike heels clipping across the gleaming hardwood floor. Motioning him toward the large leather couch, she poured them brandies at the sidebar.

    She joined him on the couch, nearly sitting on his lap. Her short, snug skirt hiked up when she crossed her legs. Sipping her brandy, Lorena held the other out.

    “Ms. Whitcomb,” he started.

    “Please, it’s Lorena.” Her leg brushed his as he leaned forward and fumbled in his briefcase.

    “I’m on duty, Ms. … Lorena.” He hefted a full folder and placed it on the table, setting the brandy snifter beside it. “There are some serious issues with your federal returns.”

    “I have a lot of serious issues, Agent.” She leaned against him, ran her hand across his chest, reaching for the badge clipped to his shirt pocket. “Alex Martin.” She smiled at him, placed her drink on the table, and slowly slipped the straps of her dress off her shoulders. “I’m sure we can work out these issues to a mutually satisfying resolution.”

    Still panting and flushed from the energetic tussle on the couch, Alex reached into his briefcase, pulling out a multipart form and a pen. He shoved them at the languishing Lorena Whitcomb. “Sign.”

    “What’s this?”

    Alex smiled at Lorena’s confusion. “It’s all there.” He motioned to the form. When she looked up at him with a lost look on her face, he laughed. “It’s an electronic funds transfer authorization form. Ten G a month.”

    “What?”

    With her continued confusion, Alex knew he’d given as good as he’d received – which was pretty damned good. But, business was business. “That’s for me to make sure that your returns pass the audits. It’s much less than the IRS would be taking and it keeps you out of jail for tax evasion.”

    “Why … this is blackmail.”

    “I like to refer to it as a mutually satisfying resolution.” He picked up his brandy and savored a mouthful, watching as her color drained as she read the form.

    “I won’t sign this.” She fidgeted. “It’s not worth it.”

    “It’s also insurance for the video I shot of our resolution. I’m sure you want it to remain safely secured.” He motioned to his open briefcase on the coffee table. “It’s worth it.”

    Lorena leaned forward, seeing the small camera. It made sense now – all the different positions. There would be no doubt it was her, most embarrassingly her. She signed and shoved the papers at him. She saw three other papers like hers in his briefcase as he added hers and closed the case.

    She watched out the window as he left. She had resources. She’d find the other three he was blackmailing. Together they’d get him. She’d personally show him what ruthlessness was really like.

    1. DRoberts

      Icabu,

      Great story from beginning to end. Great writing. I hope we hear from Lorena again with the other three who were blackmailed. I’d like to find out what they have in store for the Alex Martin. 🙂
      Well-done.

    2. chris

      Note to self: Apologize to girlfriend for every mistake i’ve ever made. Geez, alex is in for some rough days ahead; great ending! i like how you weaved her wealth & status seamlessly in the opening and it ties up well w/ the end. great job!

    3. JJerome

      Icabu – The story builds to a…uh…really satisfying…ummm…naah. Too easy.

      Good tension, and I like her resolve at the end. It makes me root for her, very important for a protagonist with really great legs.

    4. JonCallot

      I liked it. You had me going one way and then pulled the rug out from under me. I got a little lost with the head hopping when you shifted from Lorena’s POV to Alex’s, and then back to Lorena’s again. Other than that, good. I love to see Lorena develop that ruthlessness.

  44. danmcgrath

    “And if you could just overlook this little problem, I could make it worth your while?” I said to the IRS agent exactly 2 hours ago. I kept myself as still as possible to keep from looking nervous. The lack of a surprised look told me I wasn’t the first person who trotted out the offer of making it worth her while before. Given her looks are somewhere between gorgeous and ‘Oh my god I want to lose myself in your arms for the rest of my life’; I suspect the offers tended to run towards the carnal.

    It all started so well as I started off my bribe with a smile, I didn’t want to insult her so I deliberately left the negotiations open to her interpretation. She smiled back and titled her head at me and I nearly lost my breathe at the cascade of her thick auburn hair down onto her shoulder. The eyes that she pierced me with for what seemed like the exact prolonged and nerve wracking period of time that it took for mankind to evolve from pond-slime to fully walking and upright human beings capable of screwing up our taxes. The long glare should have been my first clue, but I was desperate, and who isn’t in the face of the IRS?

    “So you know it’s a Federal Crime to bribe an IRS agent?” she asked.

    “Oh don’t call this a bribe, think of it more as a personal favor,” I replied as I turned on my charm and probably looking like someone who just got caught stealing pudding from small children.

    “I’m inclined to grant you this ‘favor’, but I need you to do something for me,” she asked.

    “Like what?”

    The lovely female IRS agent looked at me again, for a very long time, which gave me the impression she was dissecting me. After giving me the full visual vivisection she finally said, “I want you to go down to my office and deliver a message to my boss for me. If you do this, you will never see me again.”

    “What sort of message?”

    “I can’t tell you that. If you open the envelope he’ll know,” she replied casually as she twirled a lock of her hair with a finger.

    “Will this get me arrested?”

    “Absolutely not, if anything, it’ll get me in trouble if something happens. Just do not open the envelope and wait for an answer from my boss,” she replied.

    “Deal, when do you want me to go?” I asked eagerly thinking my problem was about to be solved.

    She took out a piece of paper, wrote a note on it, and slid it into an envelope. She sealed it with a bit of tape and a signature. After she reminded me not to open it and she shooed me out of my own house after stating her favorite daytime program was about to come on. The last I saw of her was through my front window as I watched her prop her feet up on my living room table to watch television.

    Without wanting to waste anymore time I went down to the IRS office. My heart was rattling away with it’s very own offbeat tune. To be precise, I’d have to say my heart sounded like a badger thrown into a washing machine after being forced to snort a line of cocaine the length of a football field. The wait crawled by in minutes, seconds, fraction of seconds, and was given a full orchestrated accompaniment of my nervous fright induced sweat dripping away like a water main that exploded.

    “Yes can I help you,” the IRS Agent’s boss asked me.

    “I am supposed to deliver this to you?” I asked.

    “Thank you, take a seat,” he said as I sat down. He opened the envelope and read the letter. He looked at me and said, “It says here you owe 1500 dollars and that you want to pay in full today? Excellent, we take checks.”

    1. DRoberts

      danmcgrath,

      Great ending. You kept the reader guessing what was written on that note. I had no clue or a guess.

      Just a few suggestions. The third sentence in the second paragraph might read better if it were split into two sentences or parts of it left out. I think the description of her stare would have more affect with minimal description. The part of man evolving… I think distracts from the tense moment. Sometimes less is more with descriptions. I would have to say the same for the sentence that describes his heart “like a badger thrown ….” The sentence prior to this “My heart was rattling away with it’s very own offbeat tune” describes how he is feeling beautifully. That sentence is really good and the following bit with the badger sort of takes away from it. Just my thoughts. Doesn’t mean it will read the same for others. Overall, good writing and I liked your story.

  45. onaway

    She was the most beautiful taxman I had ever seen. She was at my door, with her briefcase and skirt, her hair tied up and serious black-rimmed glasses. She’s wanting to know about my money. There is no money. Somehow I need to get rid of her so I invited her into my apartment and offered her a seat at the table.

    “I like your lawn furniture.” She said.

    “Thanks. The roof leaks.” I had all the furniture from the deck in the apartment.

    So your occupation as writer,” she began as she set up her adding machine. “You work from home?”

    “Yes. And there is no money in it so it is difficult to tax. Can I offer you some coffee, or vodka?”

    “Maybe later. How are you able to afford living expenses with no income?”

    “Well, mainly from robbing banks.” She looked straight into my eyes and I stared straight back at her.

    “I see. And just how much did you acquire last quarter?”

    “Uhhh… maybe,” I gazed up at the cracks in the plaster ceiling. Any number would do I guess. “Maybe 50.”

    “Fifty thousand?”

    “No, fifty dollars.” It was a bad quarter.

    “I see.” I needed a tactic to distract her from this. Anyone could look around my apartment and see the trappings of high society among the pizza boxes, beer cans and name brand cigarette butts. I also owned a microwave and a color tv. Obviously I was made of money but she wasn’t interested. I flashed her some leg. Her eyes shot down to my ankles, which were covered by yesterday’s gray sweat socks. She slowly removed her glasses and set them on the table.
    We both stared at each other, neither wanting to break the spell. I could see the cursor of the adding machine blinking like a heartbeat, waiting for me to speak.

    “You had me at ‘hello I’m from the IRS’…” I whispered.

    “Was that a hammock I saw in the living room?” She whispered back.

    But a hammock is too taxing, so we bounced checks in the bedroom.

    1. danmcgrath

      A writer with lawn furniture for his living room? Sounds about right. 🙂

      Also, congrats, I was shooting for first post this week, YOU FOILED ME!

      And:

      “But a hammock is too taxing, so we bounced checks in the bedroom.”

      I like this play on words. It has a nice touch.

    2. DRoberts

      Onaway,

      You had me at “I flashed her some leg. Her eyes shot down to my ankles, which were covered by yesterday’s gray sweat socks.” LOL

      Your story was very entertaining.

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