One Week As A Tax Return Associate Working Late At Tanya’s Income Tax Solutions—Vol. 2: The Phone Calls

Monday:
Hey Tanya, I might
No, sure. That’s fine.
Oh, Darren didn’t finish the Gobsons’ returns?
Oh. Okay.
I didn’t realize that.
I’ll do it. Sure.
Tuesday:
Yes, great. But with the wide noodles.
Chicken.
Four stars, or medium, or whatever system you guys use.
Yeah.
Just make it kind of hot.
Wednesday:
Yeah but
Right, I know, I know.
But Tanya
Okay.
I want to finish them as well, it’s just.
Right. Tanya, it’s just that… it’s August.
No, no, I know that it’s a year-round job!
Of course, I totally know that.
[Fuck]
Yes.
Umm-hmm.
[You have to be fucking kidding me]
Yes.
I’m sorry.
I didn’t realize that everyone says that. Of course I didn’t realize that.
Thursday:
Tanya is breaking my balls, dude.
Yeah.
Four nights in a row.
Yeah. Probably tomorrow, too.
Dude, we do tax returns. It’s August.
Alright, talk to you later.
Yeah let’s do it. Saturday, at least right?
Hell yeah.
Friday:
Hey Tanya, what’s going on?
Yeah, I’m still here, just a bit longer, though!
Well, yeah, I hope so!
Yeah, totally.
What? No way.
No.
He said that?
No.
This is the guy who has come in here a few times to see you, right?
Yeah, the short guy with the, uh, funny lip thing?
Sure, cleft, right.
I can’t believe that.
No, I can’t… I can’t fucking believe that Tanya, pardon my French or whatever.
Well, no. Of course you’re not!
No, you can’t. I won’t say it! Ha! No. But you’re not. Trust me.
You really want meseriously?
Okay fine. You’re not a cunt, Tanya. He’s wrong.
Right. One hundred percent.
Okay, see you on Monday. Make sure you get a cab tonight.

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One Week As A Tax Return Associate Working Late At Tanya’s Income Tax Solutions—Vol. 2: The Phone Calls

Monday:
Hey Tanya, I might—
No, sure. That’s fine.
Oh, Darren didn’t finish the Gobsons’ returns?
Oh. Okay.
I didn’t realize that.
I’ll do it. Sure.
Tuesday:
Yes, great. But with the wide noodles.
Chicken.
Four stars, or medium, or whatever system you guys use.
Yeah.
Just make it kind of hot.
Wednesday:
Yeah but—
Right, I know, I know.
But Tanya—
Okay.
I want to finish them as well, it’s just.
Right. Tanya, it’s just that… it’s August.
No, no, I know that it’s a year-round job!
Of course, I totally know that.
[Fuck]
Yes.
Umm-hmm.
[You have to be fucking kidding me]
Yes.
I’m sorry.
I didn’t realize that everyone says that. Of course I didn’t realize that.
Thursday:
Tanya is breaking my balls, dude.
Yeah.
Four nights in a row.
Yeah. Probably tomorrow, too.
Dude, we do tax returns. It’s August.
Alright, talk to you later.
Yeah let’s do it. Saturday, at least right?
Hell yeah.
Friday:
Hey Tanya, what’s going on?
Yeah, I’m still here, just a bit longer, though!
Well, yeah, I hope so!
Yeah, totally.
What? No way.
No.
He said that?
No.
This is the guy who has come in here a few times to see you, right?
Yeah, the short guy with the, uh, funny lip thing?
Sure, cleft, right.
I can’t believe that.
No, I can’t… I can’t fucking believe that Tanya, pardon my French or whatever.
Well, no. Of course you’re not!
No, you can’t. I won’t say it! Ha! No. But you’re not. Trust me.
You really want me to—seriously?
Okay fine. You’re not a cunt, Tanya. He’s wrong.
Right. One hundred percent.
Okay, see you on Monday. Make sure you get a cab tonight.

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A Guide to Modest Masochism: Elderly Edition

1. Put a small piece of aluminum foil on your dental filling. (Please note, Werther’s Originals candy wrappers do not provide a significant source of shock. We recommend the copper-sided foil of Rolos.)

2. Pluck a small hair from the outside of your nose.

3. Coat your finger with peanut butter and let your dog lick it clean, permitting as much mouth-play as you’re comfortable with. Your goal here is gnawing, but be careful to let him break the skin. That borders on basic masochism, which you’re not ready for yet.

4. Leave your thigh-high compression socks on overnight. This will not cause you lasting harm, but you will suffer slightly.

15-20thigh

5. Use the toilet without the donut seat cushion in place.

6. Dip the end of your tongue into a hot cup of coffee. (It hurts so good.)

7. Place a few sesame seeds between your dentures and gums. It will only take two or three. Five is too many.

8. Put the tennis-ball covered leg of your walker on your gout-ridden toe. Slowly, gently press down.

9. If all else fails, dab a little bit of Preparation H in your eye. But just a touch, now. If you encounter a searing pain, then you’ve gone too far and you need to do an eyewash in the sink.

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Yelp* Review for Stella’s Bistro

Whoever wrapped up my salmon and couscous in aluminum foil did not even try to make the swan’s neck look elegant. Yes there was length to it, but there was no graceful curve, no attempt at beauty. Imagine a duck as he takes off in flight. Imagine the horrible awkwardness of that moment, the desperate jutting of his head as he struggles to lift off the water. That’s what I was given. That’s how my food was treated. If I were the manager and I saw my busboy butcher an aluminum foil swan like this, I wouldn’t just fire him. I’d find something that he loved or held sacred and destroy it. Any good manager knows this.

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Helen Keller’s Fifth Grade Pen Pal

Dear Helen,

My teacher says you can’t see or hear. I get blue and orange mixed up, so maybe we can be friends. Do you know about hippos? They are very dangerous. So are wolverines. They can kill bears. Last week my dad’s sister came to our house because she’s tired of all the bullshit. Do you know what a Fluffer Nutter is? It’s peanut butter and marshmallows on graham crackers. Sometimes I put peanut butter on my cat. He’s old. Have you ever been to a water slide? I bet you can go on those. We should get my dad to take us to Raging Waters. We can get cotton candy and I can spell secret words on your hand. Like congenital. I hope you can spell. My mom’s favorite song is “The Rose” by Bette Midler. I like The Judds. They are a mother and sister group. My mom and me sing when we make Fluffer Nutters for my dad’s sister. She smells like tomato soup.

Talk to you soon,

Rachel Dawkins

Mrs. Stallworth’s Class

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Tangled: My Life As A Power Line Shoe-Tosser

shoes

People are always asking me, Troy, why shoes? Why power lines?

A hanging pair of shoes sends a message. It says, “Welcome to the City. People die here.”

Is it a warning? Yes.

Is it art? Well, now we’re getting into slippery territory. Is Neil Diamond art? Is the Statue of Liberty art? What is courage? Etc. Of course it’s art…to me. It’s my art. It’s my passion.

I can’t call it destiny because what is destiny? Was it my destiny to get those old Reeboks caught on that line near 17th and Jefferson? I didn’t set out to do that this morning. I set out to hit the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s with a ten spot. Did I change course because I wanted to or because it was my destiny? You see where this is going?

Is it dangerous? Well, only when you get them down.

But I don’t get them down. I get them stuck. That’s what I do. I tie shoes together at the laces and toss them at power lines so they will hang and mark that I’ve been there.

My first time? June 20, 1987. Just off Newberry St. near Market. Took me several tosses–it didn’t come easy–but eventually they snagged. I was 13. You never forget your first hanger.

Does this define me? No. And yes.

I’m not just a power line shoe-tosser. I’m a poet. I’m someone’s child. I believe in the sanctity of life, etc.

And yet I am a power line shoe-tosser. It’s in my bones. It’s what I think about when I get up. It’s on my mind as I go to bed. Someday, God-willing, I’ll pass this on to my children. Maybe one of them will land that elusive Timberland boot snag or find a pair of Jordans and get them caught somewhere near downtown.

Where is this going? I don’t know. I’m just one man. One man who steals shoes from Goodwill, from passed out men at the bus station, and ties those laces together to heave skyward. Will it snag? Will it hit the mark and say to the neighborhood, “Drug house, everybody!”? Again, I don’t know.

It gives me purpose.

It’s the flame I protect from the storm.

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