Tax Man

Miles Somerset’s mental map of his briefcase’s contents was as accurate as his dream images of his garden, a place where he’d spent countless hours reading tax law tomes, tracts of tax philosophy, tax themed novels and tax inspired poetry. There was nothing tax related that hadn’t happened there. He’d even hired a beautiful bikini clad woman to tattoo a calculator on to his chest, in the shade of his Frangipani tree and paid cash to avoid the G.S.T. It was arguably his most exciting acts of tax evasion that financial year. Miles occasionally branched out into other topics, but managed to view them all from the perspective of tax.

Overseas holidays hardly dimmed Miles tax obsession. While being treated to panoramic views of the Amazon, he was busy contemplating the tax deductions he could get for the pilot, if he were among his clientele. As he focussed more intently on the shrinking expanse of river riddled jungle, he considered how he could conceivably fatten the tax return of the tour operators below.

Whether viewing a South American jungle or a French mediaeval jail, Miles’ tax dissecting, tax deflecting, tax collecting mind was in overdrive. At the age of twelve, he’d made a conscious decision to leave the spontaneity of childhood behind. He still loved to think on his feet during tax related crises though. Otherwise he wasn’t one to improvise, with the possible exception of his odes to the Medicare levy, which he composed while busking at railway stations with his ancient classical guitar.

For exercise, Miles lifted filing cabinets overladen with tax related documents. He also practised a blend of Brazilian ju-jitsu and free style wrestling, augmented by Thai boxing. One never knew when some aimless thug would need to be disciplined for interrupting Miles almighty schedule. He’d pinned a few would be wallet snatchers to the ground in his time and tortured most of them, usually by quizzing them on the details of their tax return. No matter who their accountant was Miles invariably left them devastated by missed opportunities for deductions.

It was while Miles was seated on a park bench, reading the Financial Review, that he first spotted the hornet like drone in his peripheral vision. It accelerated so rapidly it appeared to vanish from one spot and reappear in another. Miles was too engrossed in an article on the history of taxation in the colony of New South Wales, to notice the hornet like contraption hovering above him. It sent a signal to the interdimensional craft lurking above the clouds. If it weren’t for its radar absorbent force field, it would surely have been confronted by a squadron of fighter planes already. The ship was seen by hundreds of commercial airline passengers, on several flights, but before anyone had time to video or photograph it, it teleported out of range.

Miles finally realized something strange was happening when he was enveloped in a mysterious cloud of luminous gas. By the time his feet left the ground he was in an R.E.M state. He remained so until he was onboard what his nephews would’ve called the mothership. Miles called it an unforeseeable interruption to his schedule, which on his scale of disasters was akin to genocide. The temporary paralysis that fastened him to the gleaming white floor did nothing to improve his mood.

Once he was permitted to sit up and open his eyes, Miles discovered he was in the middle of an indoor stadium built for beings who were two foot tall at most. Unseen instruments scanned his internal organs from a distance. Nanobots piloted submarines through his bloodstream. Literally thousands of tests had been conducted by the time Miles suspected anything odd was afoot.

Miles vaguely humanoid captors possessed noise cancelling translation helmets that could decipher most languages within a one trillion light year radius. They were a vast improvement on the crude sound of primitive Earthling speech intermingled with the translation. Miles skull had been mapped weeks ago, from a distance, by his captors manufacturing robots. The mobile factory they operated had mined, refined and crafted the necessary materials into a custom-made translation helmet that fitted him as snugly as his eyes fitted their sockets.

At first, Miles imagined the translation helmet was protective equipment for an upcoming gladiatorial contest and that the extra terrestrials seated in what he thought was a commentary box, spoke English with a London accent. The truth eventually dawned on him. If he’d had the opportunity to hear his captors language it would’ve sounded vaguely like classical music to his uncomprehending ears.

“I don’t know who you guys are or how you mutated into your current form and quite frankly I don’t give a fuck but if you don’t return me to the park from which you abducted me, right now, I’ll report you to the ATO, the IRS, the IMF and worse” Miles raged.

The aliens didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the level of denial it took for Miles to confuse them with genetically damaged humans. He was far more intelligent than the golden retriever they’d interviewed a few hours ago, but judging by some of his errors one wouldn’t think so. They’d never gotten used to the frequent, out of context, apparently sexual references, typical of English-speaking Earthlings. Their boredom, stemming from being insulted with just one adjective, had grown since they’d had the contrasting pleasure of talking to Robin Williams. They’d been tempted to adopt him as a pet.

Miles threats were even less intimidating, to the diminutive extra-terrestrials,, than the barking of the golden retriever, who had threatened to eat them if they didn’t prepare a banquet for him. They possessed a vast array of weapons that could do everything from programming Miles to tear out his major arteries, with a pair of pliers, to imploding his brain. Their means of activating these highly intelligent weapons were as numerous as the potential causes of death.

What did frighten the tiny interdimensional travellers was the network of microscopic computers embedded in Miles’ body. Their computer hardware experts confirmed they’d been installed by the Slorg’s, a war mongering Alpha Centaurian species, who possessed the astral projective, psychokinetic and pyrokinetic powers to remould marble statues from light years away. Their extra sensory abilities paled into insignificance, in comparison with their intellects. Interfering with a Slorg research specimen was potentially more dangerous than swimming naked in a volcano. There was no option but to release Miles immediately, draft an apology letter and contemplate the best way to bargain for their lives.

Another mysterious cloud of luminous gas transported Miles back to the park bench, where he’d been relaxing with a copy of the Financial Review. Miles was extremely impressed with his authoritative display onboard the gigantic experimental aircraft. Bowing to his reflection in the duckpond wasn’t enough. He further highlighted his supremacy with a shadow kickboxing exhibition, for the homeless people congregating in the old band stand. What was meant to impress them only served to terrify them. They cheered when Miles finally left the sanctuary of the park for the tax related adventures that awaited him in the office. In response, he raised his arms in triumph.

By the time Miles realized he’d left his copy of the Financial Review on the park bench, he was already in the pedestrian tunnel leading to Somerset Tax Consultants. He ran back to retrieve the newspaper. The thought of going over his media budget by four dollars was intolerable. Miles took no notice of the golden retriever running alongside him until it snatched his newspaper and galloped towards a heavily wooded area of the park. The homeless people in the bandstand laughed uproariously as Miles gave chase. He cursed like a gangster as mud splattered his trousers.

The mischievous Labrador finally dropped the teeth punctured, saliva saturated newspaper at the feet of a pin stripe suit clad oddity. The Slorgs had been too hasty in the development of their new Homo sapien avatars. Their facial expressions weren’t quite natural. They reminded Miles of the sex robot he’d discreetly purchased during his trip to Tokyo.

Miles couldn’t resist the opportunity to do business “Sir, there’s no need to steal my newspaper and corrupt this poor, innocent animal in the process. If you’re looking for a financial adviser, there are several talented associates of mine whom I can recommend, depending on the size of your portfolio and your investment needs.”

“Silence Homo sapien, I have no need for the quaint wealth proliferation strategies your dumbass friends wish to foist on me. I’ll let you in on a little secret, that beautiful tattooist, who illustrated your torso with a calculator, wasn’t really a tattooist, it was one of our I.T specialists. It injected probes into your bloodstream. These probes collected the necessary raw materials from your organs to build a computer network, for the purposes of conducting research into the Homo sapien immune system. We plan to use the resulting discoveries to improve medical treatment for the hundreds of species of hominids on display in the wildlife parks, on our home planet.

“The Orbloober’s, the tiny creatures who abducted you this morning, have been terrified of us ever since we vaporised some of their hospital ships, in response to their unwitting theft of some of our research specimens. They really should be more careful. We’ve had quite enough of reading their apology letters. Anyway, it’s been nice to talking to you, I’ve got things to sabotage, places to be, creatures to kill”

Miles watched in awe,  as a tiny reconnaissance drone, that had been briefly trapped in Gary the golden retriever’s intestinal tract, flew out one of his nostrils.

“I’ve been looking for that for hours. No, it is not food” the Slorg explained to Gary, with what sounded like cacophonous barking to Miles. He was momentarily distracted by the sight of a wedge tailed eagle. When he looked around again the tall, odd looking stranger and Gary the Golden retriever were nowhere to be seen. Miles wondered if he’d inadvertently ingested psychotropic drugs, as he headed back in the direction of Somerset Tax Consultants.

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Bliss

Supply helicopters shrink on the horizon.
A canvas tent,
nestled on a rock formation
strangely like a human hand,
is home until Autumn.

The stony shallows of Lake Bliss,
are aeons from plumes of diesel fumes.
What are the comets of colour,
dancing like avian choreographers
in cobalt blue?
When did they arrive?
They’re communing with me,
like eyes of intelligent creatures.
But all my pupils digest
is swirling light,
compacted into divebombing tadpoles.

Comets and tadpoles of vibrant colour,
bend into leering question marks.
How does an unfathomable light show sneer and leer,
as surely as flitting wrens
grace me with their presence and disappear?
Thoughts terrifying and divine meld with mine.
I see them within, I see them without,
until they’re as disorienting
as the waves of river dolphin and birdsong
by an inexplicable water spout.
It dawns on me,
I’m witnessing aspects of a single aura.
Have I observed the connectedness,
or is it a fallacy implanted by the lights?
They depart.

I’m alone,
with nothing more than mild anxiety,
slowly melting beneath the caress
of beautiful isolation.
I wander in radiant shallows,
sometimes swimming over ancient valleys.
Cities from forgotten eras
dominate the distant floor.
Walls, paths, steps, as intact as London.
Timbers long since morphed into silt,
fail to bury the grandeur.
Scuba diving apparitions,
venture close enough
to decipher hieroglyphics on marble reliefs.
For fleeting moments I share their gaze.

Nearer shore,
sunlight plays with wavelets
from my feet to the horizon.
The freshwater weeds
are as edible as herb gardens
a continent away.

After a dizzy spell,
I wake inside a gleaming white sphere,
as soft as silicon gel.
Sound beyond the bubble
drips with intrigue.
That’s all I can glean from what’s probably
a form of music, or a spoken language,
but possibly neither.
Perhaps it’s the sound of machinery.
I can’t imagine this place is of human origin.
Have I left the planet as physically
as some presume my mind did long ago,
or are visitors,
with technology beyond the reach
of primitive human imaginings,
residing here?

Murmurs reminiscent of discussion,
accompany pauses between barrages of stimuli.
How many intermingled arguments
dredged from distant memories
can I withstand?
The clockwork rapidity
with which these disturbances come and go,
informs me they’re not my doing.
My pain receptors are stimulated,
until I wonder if my vocal cords will snap,
from the stress of screaming.
Perhaps the battery of tests takes weeks,
but it feels like years.

The dizziness that accompanied my capture
signals my release.
I pat foreshore grass,
like it’s a fragile puppy.
Yams, berries and stone fruits proliferate,
on a farm overrun with an emerging forest.

I’ve heard there’s phone reception,
on the rim of the crater,
but the nearest electronic device
is weeks of climbing, clambering and sliding from here.
Smartphones arrived at the monastery in 2015.

Living Garbage

Thornsword Earwig, telepathically ordered the latest version of Time Optimizer to call his wife. After analysing one hundred and seventy million words of his manual conversations it approximated his personality eerily well.

“A toxic afternoon to you too Jyena. Planet Droom is great babe, it’s a wonderful place to start a family.  Droom’s dominant creatures are anatomically almost identical to Homo sapiens, a typically stupid Earthling primate, but they’re much smarter. Droom is frequented by innumerable impressive species. Its prison population is hardly homogenous either and neither are the participants in its most popular reality television show Living Garbage. It’s a title that reminds me of your friends Jyena. I’ve already given you four extensions for your higher calibre acquaintances project, I look forward to the next update.”

“Returning to a more important subject, every episode of Living Garbage features an astounding array of incarcerated creatures Jyena. They’re the worst imaginable prisoners. A smattering of murderers and rapists, of valuable citizens, walk among the most despicable felons of all, activists. The most notorious is Lomandra Whamboozle. Her diabolical ascent among the ranks of anti juvenile slavery campaigners, resulted in her becoming the most wanted Droomian fugitive.

“No words can convey how grateful I am to those who apprehended her. The thought of having to purchase and insure an expensive robot to perform cleaning, cooking and maintenance tasks sickens me. It’s not necessary to insure juvenile slaves, they’re as replaceable as plastic bags. They can be abducted from planets in neighbouring galaxies thousands at a time. It’s like picking fruit without having to grow the orchards.  Lomandra Whamboozle and her comrades could have ended all that in less than a generation, if most of them hadn’t been so gloriously slain.”

“Like a lot of people, I was ecstatic when I heard Lomandra had been conscripted to appear on Living Garbage. Unbelievably, the multi species attacks on her, since her sentence began, have completely and utterly failed to break her spirit, but the 28th episode of Living Garbage will surely rectify that appallingly frustrating situation. Whamboozle has been led to believe the displaying, whipping, pawing and penetrating of her living carcass isn’t part of the show, that she will be given an opportunity to seek “justice” haha air quotes justice baby, air quotes justice. The Vangtorbs’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s will teach her not to steal my slaves.”

“I’ve got to go Jyena, Living Garbage is about to start. What do you mean you have issues you need to discuss, didn’t you hear me, Living Garbage is about to begin. Cease your self centred whining woman and I will forgive you for speaking without an invitation to do so. Oh, you want a divorce do you? Call me back if you think of something important to discuss. It’s only ten seconds to Living Garbage sweetheart, make sure you call back during an ad break.”

The synthetic version of Thornsword was a tad tactless, but the next software upgrade was nigh. While Time Optimiser did its thing, Thornsword made millions, by more closely monitoring his investments. A few calls to financially influential people, on an intergalactic scale, still trumped automatic trading. Any remotely significant citizen could purchase the best software.

“That’s weird, normally Jyena would’ve called back already, to apologise for her insolence” Thornsword muttered to himself, as he watched the holographic orgy advertising his favourite brand of toothpaste. It was the first time he’d ever seen an ewok get down and down and dirty with an Andromedan goblin of any sort and he was impressed. As the advertisement receded, the mock courtroom, where Lomandra Whamboozle assumed justice was about to be served, came into focus.

At first, the fake judge spoke Droomian legalese with ease but after a while he sounded like he was referring to a teleprompter. Whamboozle looked confused. Thornsword assumed she was asking herself why on Droom would an experienced judge stumble through a routine part of their job. Suddenly the room inverted. The hem of Lomandra’s translucent floral dress clung to her face as she fell to the padded ceiling. Thornsword whistled in appreciation at her matching floral silk delicates. Lomandra was briefly stuck in the most squishy folds of a vast waterbed, her legs flailing uselessly. The Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s, had anticipated the inversion, so they landed on their equivalent of feet.

Once the briefcases belonging to Lomandra’s pseudo legal team stopped bouncing they opened. There were no documents inside, just a vast array of sex toys. The drooling Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s erotic tentacles were as hideous as tapeworm and as erect as skyscrapers. They were arguably the most disturbing manifestation of predatory euphoria ever seen on Living Garbage.

Lomandra Whamboozle didn’t mince words “In contrast with your kiss, bin juice tastes like heaven. The most wart infested arsehole in the galaxy looks gorgeous beside your plague comet nostrils and pus glacier eyelids” she roared at the biggest Vangtorb in the room. He looked somewhat taken aback.

“How about you drink the dregs of a Slorg Snail swamp and shit yourself to a death as gruesome as your smile” she continued, as though she were as willing to play the game as they.

“We’ve got a feisty one here boys. What shall we do first? Should we bring in the impregnation robots, to plant the seed of the oesophagus tarantula down her throat, the offspring of the sabre fanged glow worm in her entrails and the eggs of the parasitic scorpion in her womb or is that too kind?”

They all agreed it was too kind, even the nice guy among them, whose most heinous hobby was nothing worse than watching babies dissolve in vats of acid.

“Why does she look so confident?” Hoobmafia Gronkbland nervously asked the amorous horde. They didn’t bother to answer. They were too busy encircling and closing in on Ms Whamboozle. The smallest among them was a powerlifter five times her size.

The fleet of butt plugs, double ended dildos and transforming vibrators followed the commands of  Trargchomper, a four hundred kilogram Kraabslarb. He looked like the conductor of an orchestra, as he waved them forward in a variety of swarming formations.

“Exit pseudo co-operation mode” Lomandra commanded. The devices hovered as still as the opals in the wall.

“Enter attack mode!” she spat. Her dildo, butt plug, vibrator and penis pump air force revealed their retractable tranquiliser guns and fired a barrage of automated syringes at Lomandra’s assailants.

“Rape them, rape them, rape them you stupid bitch” Thornsword Earwig yelled at his holographic television. His more explicit instructions made the director of the most nightmarish Earthling porno sound romantic.

“Enter defence mode” Lomandra barked at her sex toy squadrons. Not surprisingly, she ignored the hideous viewer suggestions that were being transmitted into the would be torture chamber, at a rate of fifteen per minute. The overlapping voices were an attempt to simulate schizophrenia. Lomandra’s unconventional bodyguards swarmed around her. The studio guards didn’t dare call for reinforcements, let alone attempt to stop her themselves.

“Enter platform mode” Whamboozle whispered as the last guard slumped to the ground, with a tranquilizer syringe protruding from his buttocks. Lomandra flew over the Living Garbage studio wall, on a magic carpet of penis pumps.”

Thornsword looked so ill that one could be forgiven for thinking he was possessed by a Varkonian Cranium Worm. He’d bet ten times as much money on the outcome of Living Garbage than he’d made by delegating his marriage conversational duties to Time Optimiser. Thanks to Thornsword, Living Garbage’s co-producer, that disinherited loser Vortex Varnisher the 5th, had been able to buy an orbiting bachelor pad. Thornsword asked for nothing more than Vortex Varnisher granting Lomandra Whamboozle access to Living Garbage’s computer network, under the guise of having his way with her in his office.

Apparently Vortex Varnisher had also allowed Whamboozle to change the passwords to the doors between the various layers of the buildings. Why hadn’t Whamboozle taken the opportunity to seek revenge on her leering, pawing, probing fellow contestants? What was wrong with that woman? All she had to do was rape Gronkpanza the Vangtorb and Spewrash the Kraabslarb and that would be five million Droomian dollars split twenty/eighty. With so many episodes left to bet on, he couldn’t afford not to pay her.