IRS LAW CODE
SADLER HIGGINBOTHAM, an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service
AMBROSE PECK, a taxpayer
SADLER: (handing his card to Ambrose) Good afternoon to you, sir.
AMBROSE: And to you.
SADLER: I trust you know the reason for this visit.
AMBROSE: I do indeed. May I offer you some refreshment?
SADLER: That is most generous of you.
AMBROSE: It is easy to be generous when one is already expecting to lose a great deal of money. Your tea.
SADLER: Thank you. But you neednÍt be as pessimistic as that. I am merely here to clarify a few minor tax matters which occasioned question.
AMBROSE: It has been my experience that clarification never works in my favor. Why is it, for example, that whenever one has finally found an agreeable female dinner companion, invariably one is asked to clarify oneÍs feelings about her? It makes a simple relationship so dreadfully awkward.
SADLER: IÍm afraid such questions are out of my purview. But shall we begin?
AMBROSE: I regretfully expect we shall.
SADLER: YouÍve taken rather a lot of deductions here.
AMBROSE: I can explain every last one.
SADLER: IÍm sure you can, and moreÍs the pity. ThereÍs nothing quite so suspicious as having an explanation for something.
AMBROSE: Well, if you would rather not hear them, I am only too happy not to provide them.
SADLER: No, no. It is my burden and I must bear up under it. Now then--these travel expenses.
AMBROSE: Oh, those are quite fraudulent.
SADLER: You surprise me, sir. I thought you had explanations for all these items?
AMBROSE: I do. But not all of them are true.
SADLER: Your honesty does you credit.
AMBROSE: The travel expenses in particular are one of my most extravagant concoctions. You will find that I have claimed business trips to several cities which do not, in point of fact, exist.
SADLER: Really? I confess my expertise in geography is lacking.
AMBROSE: That is only polite. For a man to excel in both mathematics and geography is quite intolerable. It bespeaks a promiscuous nature.
SADLER: How true. Well, it is of no consequence if the cities are fictional. The Internal Revenue Service is not in the business of mapmaking. All that concerns me is whether the trips were business-related.
AMBROSE: I can honestly say that I did nothing on any of those trips that was not business.
SADLER: Very conscientious of you. Are any of the other deductions false?
AMBROSE: It seems as if some of them must be, but my faculty for invention is really quite remarkable. Whatever entries may be false, even I can no longer discern which they are.
SADLER: In that case, let us leave the deductions for a moment.
AMBROSE: Leave them as long as you please.
SADLER: I gather that you are a bachelor.
AMBROSE: I do not deny the fact.
SADLER: How is it, then, that you come by so many dependents?
AMBROSE: My dear fellow, I do not come by them. They come by me. Or, more accurately, my house. They generally appear just before teatime, the scavengers, and invite themselves to stay. Alternatively, they will lurk on the pavement and pounce just as I attempt to board my carriage for dinner. Before I know it, IÍm standing them three courses and drinks.
SADLER: I well know the type. Sadly, such people--as trying as they are--do not fit the legal definition of a dependent.
AMBROSE: How nettlesome!
SADLER: It pains me deeply to be the bearer of such news.
AMBROSE: Is there no remedy you can suggest?
SADLER: Well--of course it will make no difference on last yearÍs return--but you might consider adopting the acquaintances in question.
AMBROSE: Adopt those parasites! I had rather adopt a wood tick.
SADLER: Merely a suggestion.
AMBROSE: Although, were I to adopt them, all my good old friends would suddenly be my good-for-nothing wards. I mean to say, only a cad turns away a friend in need, but fathers are always giving their sons stern speeches about standing on their own two feet. You may have something there after all.
SADLER: It gratifies me to hear it. Sadly, the deductions must still be removed.
AMBROSE: Not to worry. Once I have cut off my impecunious relations-to-be, the money I shall save on dinners should more than make up the difference. Shall I expect a bill by the morning post?
SADLER: You overestimate our efficiency considerably. Besides, given that we shall be charging you interest for your underpayment, it hardly behooves us to bill you promptly.
AMBROSE: Indeed. Compound it how you will; I consider it a gratuity for advice well given.
SADLER: (collecting his hat and coat) Should you find yourself in any similar predicaments, do not hesitate to call on me. My experience in the field is great. I have found, for instance, that hiring a troublesome friend as an employee is a sound method of ensuring that one never sees that person again, and offers several tax benefits as well.
AMBROSE: How fascinating! I feel certain we shall find occasion to speak again soon. It has been a great pleasure.
SADLER: I wholeheartedly concur.
AMBROSE: Good afternoon to you.
SADLER: And congratulations to you.
SADLER: On becoming a father, of course. (They laugh.) Good afternoon.
(Ambrose shuts the door behind Sadler.)
AMBROSE: I now realise the importance of declaring earnings!
Can we discuss
some lovely soaps?
We can't discuss
some silly soaps.
I do not like them,
Shall we catch 'Passions'
on the box?
Or would you rather
flip to FOX?
I won't catch 'Passions'
on the box.
I *would* much rather
flip to FOX.
I do not like your crummy soaps.
I do not like them, Daytime Dope!
Will 'Young & Restless'
fit your mood?
My mother says
it's really good.
No, 'Young & Restless' is quite crass,
So tell your mom I'll have to pass.
Both it and 'Passions' are a pain
And urge me to turn off my brain.
I do not like your crummy soaps!
Go ramble elsewhere, Daytime Dope!
'All My Children',
would you dare?
'All My Children',
on this chair?
Please, 'All My Children'? Very lame...
Not even worth a drinking game.
I'm sorry if I'm unreserved,
But you are getting on my nerves.
So take your 'Restless' - 'Passions' too -
And bother Horton Hears A Who.
I do not like your crummy soaps,
Now cease your babble, Daytime Dope!
And 'Melrose Place'? Quite sexy stuff.
Come on, let's watch it in the buff!
No 'Melrose Place'! The actors blow,
Plus it was cancelled years ago.
And as for baring all, I fear
I do not swing that way, my dear.
No 'Passions', 'Restless', 'A.M.C.',
All sudsers bug me! Let me be!
I do not like your crummy soaps,
So off you go then, Daytime Dope!
'Days of Our Lives'! It's on the air!
Try once, and then I'll leave, I swear.
...Say! I LOVE 'Days of Our Lives'!
A shame its ratings took a dive,
But I will watch it on the air
And with your mom, and on this chair,
And maybe even in the buff.
What an engaging piece of fluff!
I'll always catch it on the box
And never *ever* flip to FOX.
I like 'Days of Our Lives' a lot...
That Christie Clark is really hot!
[Enter TEIRESIAS, led by a labrador.]
Teiresias, sightless seer of everything!
Creon, the brother to my queen, and I
Must bring before thee a most urgent plea.
Not many days agone, a fatal crash
Bereaved me of a loyal terrier;
To lift a Theban curse, I must unearth
The murderer of my beloved dog.
Do call upon thy gift to cure us all!
Alas, alas, I cannot! Let me leave,
Lest what I know and say defeats us both.
Reveal thy secret claim! Be vain no more.
Not vain, but craven at the face of truth.
Art thou a Theban patriot or not?
What means thy cruel betrayal? Tell me now!
Thou art the man who slew thine animal.
Let him say his piece.
Creon, thou always wert a man of cats!
I'm weary of Teiresias and thou both.
I'll buy another mutt, a mix of breeds,
And name it Wayne or Fido. Maybe Rex.
No more of them! The gods declared a ban.
From this day on, Thebes must be canine-free!
A labrador is by thy side!
Sirrah, for every query a reply...
But *I* alone replied the Sphinx, not thou.
Forgive me, Oedipus, that tale's too vague.
My tale evaded thine all-seeing eyes?
They also failed thee when the monster posed
A question that could baffle deities:
"What creature in the morning goes on four,
At noon on two, and in the eve on three?"
At once I came upon the true retort,
It was: "A man-obeying, well-trained dog"...
But O! My roar contained a fearsome tone,
For when I said my first two words, "A man-",
The monster fled! Now do the same; Begone.
I cannot bear thy bark of bitter grief!
A brutal fate awaits to bite thy rear.
[Exeunt TEIRESIAS and CREON. Enter MESSENGER.]
My liege! A second messenger arrives.
Not much of an announcement. He comes now.
[Enter SECOND MESSENGER.]
My liege! I see another man draw near.
What are these taunts? Have I no eyes nor ears?!
[Enter THIRD MESSENGER.]
Bring news, or suffer death by axe.
Yea, I bring news, but of a grievous sort.
A servant fixed thy faulty chariot
But found a collar clinging to a wheel.
Those spikes! It all proved true, and I have slain
My terrier, a pet for many years,
My one true friend! I cannot bear it all.
Curse an annoyance of a canine-ban!
Aha! That heavy hand of fate!
We'd quail and quiver at a date
That birthed a fierce Divine Decree.
Can Thebes endure if canine-free?
I come to frame a most horrific scene,
Lone Oedipus, so overcome by grief,
Employed that blood-stained collar's many spikes
And stabbed his eyeballs! Oh, in seconds time
A gory torrent emanated forth;
A certain substance streaming out in... Halt!
My story proves too horrid for the scribe!
I hope none read it in a future school.
O, 'tis a sullen tale! We fear to look.
Ah woe is me! For I am blinded too...
But notably, the blind need leading-pets.
I crave a beagle! Fetch me one, but first,
Please boil Teiresias and his pet in oil.
A HONK JEST
O Harpo! Were I cheerful as thou art -
Not in mute splendour forced to act charades,
And riding, silent, on a serving cart
To chase a very anxious chambermaid.
The moving fingers on thy harp can play,
Yet thou, O funnyman, can only mime
Or cross thine eyes in an amusing way
Or fling banana peels to foil a crime...
No--yet still quiet, still a speechless man,
Employ that tooting staff against thy leg
To make me snort as only Marxes can
By ordering another hard boiled egg;
Still, still I hear, till early rays of morn,
The blares and honks of thine exquisite horn.