Love and Taxes

By midnightchan

>My first words to your mother when we ment were, "Lady, ain't no Collins man ever paid his taxes, and I ain't gonna be the first!"

>Of course back then she didn't know that great granddaddy had run with the mob, and old Pa was a drifter

>See she was an IRS auditor, and I was man tryin' to run a business

>so she comes in reading me the riot act about accounting. Me, who's never balanced a checkbook in my life!

>I do what any sane man would do, and you remember this, I tell her "I dare you to prove it"

>I was expecting her to either show some smoking gun and haul me off right there, or if not then to leave

>clearly I had no experience with an Anubis

>what does she do instead? She smiles her business smile, says "That's okay, I've reserved six months"

>Six months! Can you believe it? The last time she took a vacation that long was when your sister was born

>So now I'm stuck. If she didn't have evidence before, she'd have it by the end. I'm not that smart

>What? Don't give me that look, you think I paid? That's crazy, it's blood in the water!

>put it this way, what was your first reaction to that Hellcore band's "apology" online?

>No, what you want to do is keep 'em off balance, get on their good side while you figure out how they tick

>and if there's one thing I knew about the IRS, it's that they're penny pinchers to the core

>I told her forget the crappy roach motel stay, stay with me!

>She hemmed and hawed about "inappropriate gifts", but dammit we've got rights in America, a man's gotta be free to treat a woman right

>Now I know you like to go in with a plan, but here's the trick: guess a little and you can

>Here's how it works

>Your mother's adamant, if it's over $50, $100 tops, it's a bribe

>So I tell her, look it's my house, no price tag unless you're a realtor

>and if you're auditing me, won't you need to look into it anyhow? this way you get more time

>besides, I built it, me and the boys. If you're looking into my costs, you oughta see the raw materials

>All that that you plan just from a job. Auditors need to audit, like lawyers need to be pedantic pricks

>I see her nodding. Time to close, and this is where it gets tricky. Is she single? No ring. I guess yes.

>I say look, if you're taking six months for one job you oughta get something nice, because you're worth it

>And that's my next bit of advice: if a guy doesn't believe you deserve his best, drop him. Because you do

>I'm not saying you need a prince, I'm saying if you pick a punk rocker, he damn better write you a song

>Your mom's not buying it. You know how stubborn she is about this stuff. It's time for the final twist

>"I've got some old lego sets in the attic."

>What happens in a six month audit?

>Well if it's your mother, everything

>she talks to all the boys, all the contractors. Carpenters, plumbers, architects, suppliers

>at the start it's still winter and she's out there in wind and hail as we lay out foundations during thaws

>at the end we're building in the middle of a heat wave and she's there like it's a day at the beach

>when she's not surveying or interviewing, she's tabulating with real weapons-grade autism

>Now how we go from there to tying the knot instead of the noose? You'll like this: more plannig

>See what your mother will never admit is that she wanted to be proven wrong

>You work as an auditor, you see scum of the earth. People who'll sell their clients into debt for a buck

>the wagie cagie is real, and it was invented by people like that

>She wanted to bust those guys, send 'em where the sun don't shine, but nab one and five more spring up in his place.

>It gets old, and it fucks with your mind. Like that for cops too. Does anyone not abuse their spouse?

>do that for a few years and you want so damn bad to just see someone decent for once.

>And you know what helps? Having someone to talk to about it

>Now I'll be honest, when it started I was fishing. Hear how the other guy got dinged and I can avoid it

>but then you start listening and you feel sorry for her

>I could hear how tired she sounded, and this from the woman who worked 11-hour days and then woke up fresh

>I'm thinking geez, if I went through that I'd hardly last a week

>One night I decide to surprise her, make an excuse about a call from a client then grill up a rack of ribs

>actually did talk to an old client, a Kitsune dame who gave me a tip: fried tofu ain't just for foxes

>It was perfect, because ribs give you plausible deniability. Bribery? Naw, I just cooked too much!

>well, dinner leads to talking. And funny thing, we weren't such polar opposites!

>Yeah, I'll never be a numbers guys and she'll never be a people person, but Dwarf Fortress is universal

>she also knew some actually cool sci-fi, which back then I'd written off as nerd bait or capeshit

>And let me say, that's a big one: in romance, go with what you've got

>Chasing a tough guy? Pretty sure you can convince him that Dark Souls is badass and impress him there

>After a quiet nerd? Take the lead, but then ask him to show you what he's interested in

>Really I'm saying is this: look at me, look at your mom, take the good stuff, and do your own for the rest

>Anyways, this continues, and as weeks go by we fall into a pattern. Lego night, movie night, game night.

>even end up with a 'guy's night out' on Fridays because she insists on scheduling it

>we get a system down, first one home cooks if we're separate, 50/50 split on normal days. Enjoy our nights

>can tell she's not faking it by the way her tail starts wagging when we finish dinner

>If you ever do end up like your mother, hide your tail when you're on site for an audit!

>Five months in I think things are going great when she drops a bombshell

<I'm going to have to write you up if this keeps going

>I'm like What? Why? This was in the ruins of the 20s housing bubble. Far as I knew I was still in the red

>she takes out the thickest binder you've ever seen, stuffed to the guts with printouts and annotations

<I-I hate to do this, but after careful analysis I can only conclude these months have been a sham

>I'm crushed. Did she just secretly hate ribs and never feel bold enough to say anything?

>She gets all flustered by that, ears drooping

<N-no, they were great, your barbecue sauce is delicious! I mean no! This is about the business!

>Oh, that's what you meant. Phew, actually had me worried there

<This is serious! How can I trust your intentions when I have proof you lied about your finances!

>Strong words. Gonna need to see that proof.

>So your mother spreads out the entire binder, covers my whole drafting table. Charts for everything!

>We go through them

>Failure to select best contractor for equivalent services

>Failure to negotiate industry standard prices with contractors

>Failure to apply for government incentives even on publicized programs like the Monster Housing Act

>Excessive "freebies" given to large or repeat customers in ways bordering on inappropriate

>Excessive overhead cost due to material delays thanks to lack of a good internal inventory system

>I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting. If you really care, ask your mother

>Me, I'm gobsmacked. 'Noobsmacked?

>ask her about the details

>So the buildings meet all the codes?

<Yes, and in most cases exceed them by an admirable degree

>And no worker or safety violations?

<Certainly not

>So in five months you learned the business, AND figured out how to save me half a million dollars?

<That is the bone of contention here, yes

>Kiddo, times like thems is when you throw out your plans and act

>I hired her on the spot

>Oh she resisted at first

>Improper offer? So finish the next month, file your report, then quit

>Hardly have a plan for how to make the transition? Fine, I'll help you, just tell me what you need

>But construction is a cyclical business, not a thing you build a life out of. Taxes, at least, are certain

>I could tell she wasn't going to budge on this. You don't end up working at the IRS unless you hate risk

>besides, by now I knew her little tells, the way she'd stiffen up and raise her chin before a fight

>and I knew I wasn't smart enough to persuade her on the facts of it

>I try other approaches. What about as a consultant? Part time even? She's still having none of it

>strangely seems more and more disappointed with each suggestion

>What if I branch out? Or, and you know how loathe I am to even suggest this, find a buyer and cash out?

>now she's getting annoyed

>She cuts through it with a simple question: what if she just gives me a copy of her notes?

>Takes a minute for the gears to click, but now it hits me why I was relieved when it was just charts

>It's not about the business at all

>It's her I don't want to lose

>"What if it was with your boyfriend?"



<But I'd do it if it was my husband.

>She sticks her tongue out and turns to leave

>tail's wagging a mile a minute

>Only one thing to do in a situation like this. I chase after her.

>And one day after we were married, cleaning out the old office I found a chart she hadn't shown me

>A timetable from the first dinner, tracking ways and progress towards getting me to confess

>Yep. She'd been sitting on that binder for over a month hoping she wouldn't need to use it.

>Still, I'm thankful that she did, in more ways than one!

>And you know what else?

>I never did pay taxes for that year. Technically still don't. Your mother does all the paperwork now!

>So go out there and grab yourself a boyfriend! And if he's as dense as I was, just remember what your mother taught you.

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