Letterpress List No. 48: Death or Taxes

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

That’s the Incredible Hulk, who turns from mild-mannered geek to gargantuan green ball of vengeance if you happen to step on his shoes in the subway or something. Later, he can’t imagine what he’s done.

Or it could be Mary speaking.

She does the bulk of the prep on our taxes each year, including some pretty tricky deals involving sales tax and the like. Her accountant — who shall remain nameless — handles the forms and makes it all legit. This year, Mary asked her to file an extension, which she promptly did.

Then the accountant disappeared. Like Bermuda Triangle type stuff, you know? Unreachable by phone, e-mail, anything. It was no big deal until August rolled around and we figured it was time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, as going to jail for nonpayment of taxes has never had much appeal.

True story: The first five years we were married, Mary insisted that since she actually did the taxes, her name should appear on top of all the forms. Shop Boy was cool with that. If she didn’t want my last name, great. Her name carried a better credit rating. Uncle Sam? Not so cool. Well, when the federal documents threatening prison time arrived, and Shop Boy the delinquent fell to the floor and assumed the fetal position, Mary went ballistic. And the IRS dude who answered the phone got a quick, loud lesson in equal rights.

It turns out that the good old boys of the IRS had never read past the first line of the form, as the husband was traditionally the top filer. So Shop Boy hadn’t officially paid taxes in five years! Hey, whoever heard of a husband playing second fiddle to some girl. (Men are pigs.)

Ooooooooh, Mary was steaming. It was still coming out of her ears as she helped a trembling Shop Boy up off the floor and assured me that the IRS bogeyman wasn’t going to get me.

Oh, she still puts her name first on the forms, but apparently the tax MAN got the message. And spread the word.

All right, so by last weekend, Mary was tired of waiting. Typecast Press was at stake here, for heaven’s sake.

See, at first, Mary was worried. She fretted that something terrible had happened to the accountant (depression, illness, death or something) and began sending increasingly concerned e-mails. Then, she was a bit irked at the lack of response to any of them. Now she’d discovered — and believe me … don’t try to hide anything from Mary — that a woman by the same name, fitting the same description, at the same home address had received a variance a few months before to open a dog-grooming salon in the same general area.


Hulk … I mean, um, Mary decided it was time to go knock on (or down) a door. We drove out to the lady’s home and Mary hopped out of the truck. “You be my muscle. Look intimidating,” she told Shop Boy.

You’re laughing, right?

Mary marched up the little path toward the front door, peeking around shrubs and flowers and into windows for signs of life. Then she looked back at the intimidating presence of Shop Boy, shrugged and rang the doorbell. The guy who came to the door was impressed neither by Mary, her, um, attack dog nor her impassioned tale of tracking down a missing accountant.

So when he gave our very concerned but aggrieved Mary the “Whatever, weirdo” brush-off …

“Let’s go,” she fumed as she jumped into the truck. “Just go! Turn right at that next street.”

“Um, where are we going?” Shop Boy asked.

Mary’s mouth said: “To a dog-grooming salon. She’s a dog groomer! She wasn’t even going to tell me?”

Her eyes said: “OK, my accountant’s not dead … yet.”

We parked just outside the front door. “I’ll stay here,” Shop Boy said. (I didn’t want to get blood on a favorite shirt — and we’ve already discussed my aversion to prison.)

“And I’ll wait for you while you’re in the slammer!” I called cheerfully.

“Hmmph!” Mary grunted as she turned the knob to the salon door.

Shop Boy sat and waited. And waited. And waited. This was bad. Shop Boy’s been on the sharp end of a few talking-to’s by our Mary Mashburn. She gets into a groove and — ouch! This lady must be getting pounded in there. Maybe I should go in.

I gave her two more minutes. She emerged at 1:59, laughing. Whew!

Shop Boy: “So, is everything OK?”

Mary: “Yes. She was a little stunned that I’d hunted her down. I mean, kind of shocked to see me.”

Shop Boy: “Guess she doesn’t know you very well.”

Mary: “That, Mr. Smarty … and that tax aren’t due until October. They recently extended the deadline.”

Shop Boy: “And she wasn’t going to tell you that either?”

Mary said the accountant explained that she was planning to call once she got back from vacation in a couple of weeks. Can you imagine? Mary would have been climbing the walls! Now, the accountant didn’t say where she was taking this vacation, but Mary’d have found her. Imagine that seaside surprise.

Afterward, even Mary was stunned by her, um, intestinal fortitude:

“I stalked her. I actually stalked her.”

Hey, she was angry.


Letterpress Lost. No. 48

How about an hour’s worth of music to sleuth, to steam or maybe just do your taxes (filing by April 15 is so outdated) by. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great links are to YouTube.

One Way Or AnotherBlondie (She’ll getcha.)
When Will I See You Again?the Three Degrees (Sooner than you think.)
Taxmanthe Beatles (Boys will be boys.)
The Waiting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (It’s the hardest part.)
OperatorJim Croce (Dropping the dime.)
You May Be RightBilly Joel (Madness … in small doses.)
Dog Eat DogTed Nugent (That’s a mess you wouldn’t want to clean up.)
Death & TaxesBreakin’ the Breakdown (Yeah, they’ll make you scream sometimes.)
Watching the DetectivesElvis Costello (Too many TV police shows.)
Tiptoe Thru’ the Tulips With MeTiny Tim (Ukulele is Hawaiian for “jumping flea.” Fleas are killed by this sound.)
Right Place, Wrong TimeDr. John (Suddenly, there was a knock.)
Little Pig, Little PigGreen Jello (Cartoonish anger.)
Break StuffLimp Bizkit (Just one of those days.)
Gimme Three StepsLynyrd Skynyrd (Excuse me?)
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems The Notorious BIG (Having issues.)
The Final CountdownEurope (Things get hairy.)
Mr. ColumbusGrace Potter and the Nocturnals (See you in October.)

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One Response to “Letterpress List No. 48: Death or Taxes”

  1. Phil Says:

    I learned my lesson long ago, when the walls echoed in a stone chapel in Colorado. You don’t mess around with the plans of them Mashburn women.

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