Tax Time

“I’m thinking about cheating on my taxes.”

“Why would you tell your next-door neighbor that?”

“Drink loosens my tongue.”

“Are you that hard up for money?”

“It’s not because I need the money, it’s because I don’t agree with the way my tax dollars are being spent.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“Where did that saying come from, anyway? If I believe that my tax money is being spent for evil purposes, and so I don’t give as much as I should, then fewer bad things are done with it. That’s a right, not a wrong, isn’t it?”

“The thing is, there is something called a social contract. You’re part of the country and society, which means that you agree to follow your society’s laws.”

“I never signed a contract. I was born here. This is my country. I don’t demand that everybody obey my laws, but by the same token, I don’t have to obey everyone else’s.”

“It doesn’t work that way in a democracy. You don’t stop obeying the law every time somebody gets elected whom you don’t like… Wait a minute. Why are we even having this conversation? You’re thinking about cheating on your taxes. End of story.”

“I’m just wondering how likely I am to get caught.”

“I have no idea. I doubt you’d get caught. I don’t know how many people cheat on their taxes but I’m sure there are plenty who stretch the truth a little.”

“The government is just borrowing money to stay afloat, anyway. It doesn’t need mine.”

“Will you please stop? You’re making me wonder how honest you are in general. Maybe this is why you always beat me at golf.”

“What? How dare you? I would never cheat at golf. Some things are sacred.”

“Maybe this is why you borrow so many eggs and so much sugar. Maybe this is why you’ve still got that set of Allen wrenches you borrowed from me.”

“Helen cooks more than Sue. Don’t get jealous.”

“But seriously. If you would cheat on your taxes, what else would you cheat on?”

“Don’t get personal. I’m sorry I said that. But now that I’ve finished another one of these drinks, I’ll answer you. We’ve been neighbors for many years. You’re Mister Straight-shooter. Every Sunday you troop out with your family to church. You’ve never borrowed anything from us. Your children never need a haircut. Your dog doesn’t bark. ”

“You do sound a little tipsy.”

“You never get drunk. But what really kills me is, you’re a salesman who doesn’t lie. You’re an honest salesman. How is that even possible?”

“I believe in my product. I’m proud of it.”

“Helen keeps talking about how wonderful you are. Every time you come over, she just lights up. I look over there when you’re at your dinner table and you and Sue look like you’re carved out of ice, but over here, you’re the life of the party.”

“I’m not so perfect. I have my ups and downs.”

“Tell my wife that. She thinks you walk on water.”

“Helen is a fine woman. You’re lucky to have her. And she is a great cook, in addition to her other fine qualities.”

“You’re right about that. Say, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Has anyone heard anything about Fred? Did he ever show up?”

“No. Fred is still missing.”

“I saw his wife out in the yard the other day. What a babe. She didn’t seem unhappy, either. Had a little smile on her face. She was humming as she pruned her roses. You’re friends with her, aren’t you?”

“Yes, we’re good friends.”

“What does she say about her husband?”

“It hasn’t come up.”