“Filed Under: Taxes,” by Steve Goldberg

Aug 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

The DMV Statements folder, feeling cornered and bent out of shape, continued screaming at the bulging 2016 Tax Return, whose fat ass was jabbing into DMV’s pale-yellow, elegant edges, smashing the slight, thin folder into the back wall of the second drawer inside the darkened, musty file cabinet.

“I mean, have you ever heard of personal space? Pfffft. You oversized goliaths never consider the needs of those smaller than you!” It felt good to let off some steam, but DMV Statements knew no one else would have his back. Not even the army of empty file folders filling the cabinet’s bottom drawer.

“Stop acting like such a whiny brat, tiny,” 2016 Tax Return said, its booming baritone causing its papery contents to sway inside its green accordion-shaped hanging hammock. “Besides, I’m sure in just 20 or 30 years you’ll grow big enough to give Vet Bills a run for its money!”

The cabinet filled with peals of laughter as all the other file folders knew damn well that DMV Statements would never get any fatter, as their owner had recently signed up for online statements. It was a fear that American Express Statements, Visa Statements and Wells Fargo Statements had harbored for months. None of their folders had gained any new paperwork in recent memory and they wondered if they would be next in line for the shredder.

“What’re you looking at, motherfucker!” DMV Statements turned and snarled at Purchases 2018 — five folders over and bigger by two 8″ x 11″ sheets at best. DMV Statements could kick Purchases 2018’s ass; there was no doubt in its mind. “Just because you’re all organized and coiffed — bridge tolls and restaurant receipts and movie theater stubs all separated into labeled envelopes, doesn’t make you better than me!”

“Respect your elders, you ungrateful tyke!” A deep, scratchy voice echoed from the back of the top drawer. This was followed by at least 30 seconds of continuous, phlegmy hacking.

“Who said that!” demanded DMV Statements, attempting to adjust his hanging folder’s plastic tab to get a better view in the dark. The top horizontal edges of the folder’s contents poked above the lip, blocking its view. “I’m gonna kick your…!”

A cacophony of guffaws echoed in the drawer, the entire swath of tax folders, from 2001 through 2015 doubling over in uncontrollable hysterics, their papery, stubby contents shuffling around like undigested dinner.

“Oh, millennials these days,” grunted 2006 Tax Return, once the last chortle had resolved. “They think they know everything. The narrow blinders of youth.”

“Did you say, narrow binders?” called out 2002 Tax Return, pulling a Blackberry receipt from its ear.

The file cabinet again roared with laughter, even louder than before.


Steve Goldberg is a video editor in the Bay Area who wishes he could make a living writing short stories from the point-of-view of everyday objects and short articles about music. But being a practical and somewhat responsible person, he fits story-making in between going to work and walking the dog and keeping his wife happy and playing tennis. Oh, and watching TV. Too much damn TV. Some of his musical essays have been published at memoirmixtapes.com. The rest can be found at fuzzyswarbles.wordpress.com.

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