The Dream Mechanic – Part XXXXIIOct 26th, 2011 | By Tom Fillion | Category: Series, The Dream Mechanic | 309 views
With Balance Due
Two years later. Dave and Margo were in California. I had been working in a convenience store ever since the waterbed business sprang a leak. Julia got me the job.
“Official use only,” was highlighted in red on the mail I received.
The return address: Internal Revenue Service.
I licked the paper cut I received rifling the envelope open, then surveyed the top sheet of the thick mailing. It began with, “Proposed adjustment.” It ended with, “With balance due.”
I stopped reading when it said I owed thousands for non-employee compensation.
”Please let us hear from you within thirty days or pay the tax,” the printout advised. “We will then review your explanation and write to you again. It may take several months before you hear from us,” the printout continued.
My heart thumped and gurgled like the old faucet in the apartment kitchen. An image of Dave Hamilton smoking his pipe and sprawled in the Lazyboy behind his desk flashed in front of me.
“The son of a bitch. Dave. He lied to me!”
I dropped the remainder of the mail on the small dining room table then searched the phone book for the Internal Revenue Service number. It was listed in the United States Government section. My index finger jabbed each number on the dial like a stiletto plunging into Dave. It was four o’clock in the afternoon, and I wanted to clear this matter before the dog races started that evening.
”Do not hang up. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. Thank you for calling the Internal Revenue Service,” a very genteel, feminine voice said in a soothing tone.
Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Oh Candida” serenaded while I waited for my call to be answered in the order it was received according to the recording. My foot began tapping to the beat of “Oh Candida.” When the song finished, I paced over the worn green rug, my head only inches from the low ceiling in the apartment. Finally, someone answered.
I untwisted the long phone cord and waited for her to return. Down below on the first floor Mrs. Simmons began her late afternoon practice on the organ. The whole house shuddered as she shifted pedals on the organ.
”How much you make?” she asked.
”I have no records. You see, Dave Hamilton wrote me a check every time I worked for him. I signed the check, and he cashed it. Usually he gave me an Andy Jackson. He’s got all the checks. I have no proof I ever worked there. Except…”
I pulled the phone cord out of the bedroom into the small dining room and looked across into the living room.
“The only thing I have is a room full of junk that people gave me. Stuff they were throwing out.”
There was barely enough room to walk in the living room anymore. It was all still there. Sheets of paneling, a butt-ugly leisure suit, antique lights, a large obnoxious painting done by Margo Hamilton during her orange period, beer, several cases of Coca Cola, and other things cluttered the room.
”What am I supposed to do?”
”Pay tax and penalties or write ‘splanation to the IRS.”
”What kind of ‘splanation?”
”Splane about the job, the people, what you did and why you did it, etcetera. ‘Splane why no tax taken out, etcetera.”
That’s why I wrote all this down, but in the meantime I called good ol’ Dave.
“I just got a bill from the IRS for back taxes,” I said to Dave over the telephone. “Remember? I wasn’t supposed to exist on paper. I have no records but you do.”
“Those checks are in storage,” Dave replied. “I’m selling utility sheds out here right now, and you know how that is. I’ll have to get the accountant to do it. It’s going to take some time.”
“I have thirty days to send my ‘splanation to the IRS,” I said.
“You need all those checks? Each time I paid you for a setup?” he asked.
“Yep. For the whole time,” I said.
”Wilbur, you’re busting my balls,” Dave complained. “It’s gonna take a coupla weeks to go through all those checks. I don’t know our accountant’s schedule. If you want to come out here and look through them yourself, you can. We’ve got an extra room, or you can bunk with Dad.”
”The Ancient One?”
”Think about it. Rana dumped Kenny. Something about the hat. She and Penelope moved out here and opened a taco business with Mr. Lopez. You know, ol’ buddy, if you play your cards right, you might have an opening with her now that Miguel is out of the picture,” Dave said.
”I’ve been running an ad out here. I need someone to deliver and setup these utility and storage sheds. Business is booming. People don’t know what to do with all the crap they collect. I can’t find good help out here. It’ll be right up your alley. How about it? You’re perfect! A real dream mechanic.”
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