Cesperanza did a small tax challenge, and announced it. eyrea said, in response: "I'm going to hide now. LJ-land is about to be hit by a tsunami of shagging, tax-preparing elves. In Canadian shacks."
And suddenly, in my head, there were elves shagging away in a Canadian shack, surrounded by tax preparations. I may have to kill the both of them. And I need to learn to close my eyes when Cesperanza makes a 500-word challenge of any sort.

written March 28, 2003


Elves. And Taxes. In Canada.

by Arduinna


Cheese sighed. Loudly. "I don't understand why we have to be way on the other side of the world, in the middle of nowhere."

Chalk looked up and said, very, very patiently, "Because the boss wanted us to have some peace and quiet to work on this. Which is what we're supposed to be doing. It's not easy, you know, trying to figure out 40-odd years of taxes for two different countries!"

"But why us? And why here? Why not Cornwall, or something at least within driving distance of civilization? We're in a shack in Canada, Chalk!"

"I know, I know," Chalk soothed. "But we're the only ones can do this job, the boss said so. He needs us, Cheese. We don't have time for a quick shag in front of the fire."

Cheese looked longingly at the pitiful excuse for a fire, thinking what a couple of blankets and a nicely naked Chalk could do to liven it up.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure." Chalk drooped all over, even his ears seeming to point downward. "I've been going through these, and they're in awful shape. Steed never paid a farthing's worth of tax in his life, and he's spending his pension like it's water. Scott, here, paid his taxes all along, but it looks like Robinson kept siphoning his off to support old girlfriends. Still, he's not so bad off; Scott took him in after they retired, they've been sharing quarters."

"Oh?" Cheese said, perking up for the first time.

"Don't you be making assumptions, lad," Chalk said, shaking a severe finger at him. "Not everyone's like us, you know."

"Spoilsport," Cheese muttered. "Okay, go on, who else, then?"

"Ah, it's endless," Chalk said, flinging papers down in his frustration. "Only one out of five ever seems to have even thought of paying taxes, and half of them thought about it and then decided against it, from what I can tell. Every secret agency in Britain and America is about to be done for tax fraud, if we don't get this mess sorted out. And the boss could only buy us 48 hours outside Time to do it in. It's hopeless, Cheese, even for us."

Cheese frowned at him, not liking this new Chalk. "If the boss thinks we can do it, we can do it," he said firmly. "Come on then, who's next? What about our Bodie and Doyle? Mr Cowley wouldn't let them get away with not paying their taxes, surely?"

"No, but the Cow's a master of the fine print," Chalk said glumly. "He told all of his men that CI5 would take care of their taxes for them. They all thought that meant he'd be taking money out of their pay packets every week to cover it. But the tiniest of tiny print said 'CI5 will pay you an agreed-upon wage, out of which you will pay your taxes to Inland Revenue as it becomes due.' Poor lads never stood a chance."

"Oh," Cheese said, wide-eyed.

Chalk nodded, then pulled out the most recent stack of papers, if Cheese was reading the color-coding right. "And here, look -- Hobbes thinks he's paying his taxes, like the law-abiding citizen that he is, but Fawkes has siphoned off the entire Agency's taxes into a numbered account in the Caymans."

Both elves stared glumly at the towering stacks of paper, all with the same stories to tell, then looked at each other.

"So," Cheese said brightly. "Quick shag by the fire, then?"

"Shag it is," Chalk agreed. "Sod 'em all. I'm on holiday, I am."

(597 words)

~ fin ~

Feedback of any sort, from one line to detailed crit, is always welcome, at arduinna at trickster dot org.


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