Tax, Man

Memo from your Internal Revenue Service: 


Dear valued citizen #XXX--XX-2573:
The IRS has received your 2009 tax forms, along with the enclosed loose change. Thank you.  (Please note that we are returning the subway tokens, as they no longer qualify as legal tender). A few matters of concern have arisen that we hope you may be able to address:
While we understand a “freelance haikuist” may deduct certain entertainment costs as part of his business expenses, we must disqualify $467.83 worth of pay-per-view purchases from the Spice Channel—in FY2009Q1 alone, although we recognize that the winter was a long one.
You are required to fill in and calculate sections 43-57; it is not permitted to strikethrough them, and and we do not recognize the disclaimer “Haven’t done math since high school! LOL!”,
Under “Withholding,” you pasted a photo of your girlfriend.  This response must be numerical.
In the section for “Dependents,” you crossed out the “ts,” added “ce." We do not recognize Bud Weiser as a qualified deduction.
We are not qualified to pass judgment on your attached undergraduate honors thesis on political violence in Northern Ireland, but in any case it has nothing to do with line 15a, and you will still be penalized for your early IRA distributions.
Valid attached payments do not include promissory notes from The Game of Life.
Likewise, you may not declare real estate expenses for your three little green houses in Marvin Gardens.
For the third-party designee of another person the IRS may talk to you about your taxes, you listed “Amelie” star Audrey Tautou. We contacted Ms. Tautou, who is a French citizen and thus unable to discuss your taxes.  In addition, her lawyers consider this a violation of the restraining order against you.
Lastly, we are unable to process, under  "amount you owe," the sentence “[Cough] thousand and [cough] hundred dollars.” Please also note that you have been placed on the no-fly list in response to the flight itineraries to the Cayman Islands doodled in the margin of your return (next to the crossed-out words "Or Switzerland?").
An IRS agent will visit your place of residence shortly to discuss these matters and to verify the agricultural subsidies you have claimed for your 10,000-gallon bathroom hydroponic farm.


Teddy Wayne's debut novel, "Kapitoil," will be published by Harper Perennial later this month.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.