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The Audit
by Carol A. Cole

“Harry, I’m afraid,” Izolda said as they stood before the huge steel doors with Intergalactic Revenue Services emblazoned in gold lettering. “What if they send us to prisoner colony on another planet?”

“Don’t worry, dear. All our deductions are okay. My lawyer looked them over. He used to work for the IRS.”

“But didn't he get fired?”

“Number four-fifty.” The three-headed clerk called out before Harry could answer. He showed Harry and Izolda into a large corner office.

“Wow, windows; he must be high up in the bureau.” Izolda said as they sat down facing the desk.

A golden-hued alien with large gills strode into the office. “Ah, yes. My two-o’clock appointment. I have all of your records here. There're quite a few deductions that don't meet IRS regulations. I’m afraid we’re looking at deportation to the mining colony on Pluto.”

Izolda started sobbing. “You promised we’d be okay, Harry.”

“My lawyer ensured us that each deduction meets all current regulations.”

Harry patted Izolda on her secondary left arm. “We won’t be deported.”

“This item for medical expenses; six-million credits for an eye-lift. Denied.”

“But my third eye slipped below my right ear instead of being between the others.” Izolda sniffled.

“Not essential. Cosmetic surgery is not deductible.” The agent scanned the forms. “Eighteen-million credits for a weekend cruise to Mars?”

“Yes, I have clients interested in the hot springs there. A valid business deduction.” Harry explained.

“The Terran Spa does not conduct business deals on Mars. That is simply a luxury vacation retreat. Denied.” He shuffled more pages. “A domed environmental cabin on Jupiter’s third moon. Denied.”

“But the second mortgage is deductible.” Sweat beaded on Harry’s face.

“That was disallowed unless you live there at least four months a year. Denied.” He stacked the papers and looked at the couple. “These deductions appeared on your last five returns. You owe one-hundred-forty-four million credits in back taxes. Payment in full is due in thirty days or the sentence is deportation.”

“But, we don’t have that kind of money.” Izolda cried. “Our lawyer said we’d be okay. Isn’t there anything else we could do?”

“You can even volunteer someone in your place.”

“Our lawyer!” Harry and Izolda shouted together.

“An acceptable solution. Just give his name and location to my secretary. We’’ll have him picked up in the morning.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Harry steered Izolda out of the office, stopping at the secretary’s desk to give her the information. “Let’s get the hell out of here before he finds the bill for the personal shuttle.”