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How I Raised an Asian Baby to be My Accountant Part III
by Michele Christopher
By the time Lester was fifteen, Dysentery Weekly had gone from the nickname for a trip I took to Nicaragua to a poorly-respected publication that had a circulation of 500 people, 400 of those people being inmates at the county prison. I still sucked at math, and Lester had already completed high school, college, his masters, and was studying for the CPA exam while handling the expenses for the magazine, as well as my personal budget.
It wasn’t a huge job, except that Dave the Costa Rican drug dealer was editor in chief, and Lester and I spent most of our time making sure he didn’t spend petty cash on pot or hookers. But my finances were a complete mess, because I hadn’t paid taxes in years. So reconciling back taxes for me had become Lester’s regular job, and after months of working on everything, there was finally an end in sight.
“I think about two more days and I’ll have this all straightened out,” he said one morning as he stared at the reams of scattered paper lying on the table in front of him. “Then we’re going to teach you how to pay taxes so we don’t have to deal with this again.”
“Now Lester,” I said in my fatherly tone, “I didn’t buy you off the black market and raise you to be an accountant just so I could pay my own taxes—that’s your job.”
“But what about when I want to move out on my own?” he said. “I can’t live here with you and Dave for the rest of my life.”
A tear formed in my right eye, and I’m sure I would have had one in my left eye as well, if a transvestite goat herder hadn’t stabbed me in my tear duct back in ’78. I never liked to think about the inevitable day when Lester would move out. We did so much together—walking through the park and pointing at weird people, eating burritos and then riding on the bus and ripping ass, going to Bible study at the methadone clinic. He was my right-hand man, even though he was still technically a boy.
“Well, let’s not think about that right now. Right now, I’m hungry. Let’s go find a drunk hobo and steal his money to get a hot dog—what do you say?”
We headed out of the apartment and down the street. We couldn’t go bug the bums in Hobo City, because the last time I went down there, the head hobo basically put out a fatwa on me. Hoboville was all the way across town, and I was too hungry for that walk. But then, we saw Crazy Randy walking our way, screaming about the end of the world and what that meant for tacos.
“Hey Randy?” I said. “Got any money we can borrow?”
“Money,” he growled. “I’ve got it all. But it’s not good for normal monetary transactions, no? Tracking—they track this money. The numbers are on it, and they know them. Use it for a taco, they know where you live. It’s blasphemy!”
“Uh-huh,” I said. “Yeah, well, so can we have it?”
“Ok then, thanks Randy,” I said as we walked off, nudging Lester, who was trying to stifle his laughter.
“It isn’t nice to laugh at crazy people Lester.”
“I know Dad, but that guy is just too over the top.”
“Who are you to say that he’s not the sane one, and you and me are the crazy ones?”
Lester looked at me. “Dad, have you been eating those brownies Dave baked last night?”
Before I could answer, I remembered something. I hadn’t locked the door. And if I hadn’t locked the door, that means Dave might have wandered into the apartment. And if he was in the apartment, with no supervision…
“You forgot to lock the door, didn’t you?” asked Lester as he noticed the look on my face.
At once, both of us took off in a sprint back towards the apartment.
Outside the door, we could smell lingering marijuana smoke. Ok then. If Dave was just smoking a joint, we were probably alright. I opened the door and stepped into the haze.
“Jesus Christ Dave!” yelled Lester when he walked in. “You on a mission to kill the last of your brain cells?”
“Why don’t you chill out Lester—I’m trying to get in the zone to write my next editorial. I think it’s going to be about the history of midgets. So why don’t you get off my case and have a little smoke.”
“You know I don’t smoke Dave—drugs make you stupid. Just ask my Dad. But use small words.”
I shrugged. “He’s right Dave—if it weren’t for drugs, I probably wouldn’t have to be messing with these back taxes right now.”
Just then, Lester screamed. “MY PAPERS! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PAPERS!”
I looked at the table. Most of Lester’s papers were gone. Then I looked at the honker of a joint that Dave was smoking.
“Dave, what did you roll that thing with?”
Lester looked at him, saw the familiar writing on the outside of the joint, and leapt screaming through the air. “Dave you dipshit!” he yelled. “That’s two months worth of work down the drain!”
“Now Lester,” I said as I pulled him off and calmed him down. “It isn’t Dave’s fault you left sensitive documents out on the table.”
“What do you mean it isn’t his fault?!? You don’t just go into someone’s house and grab the first papers you see to roll up a doobie!”
“I do,” said Dave from the couch.
“Lester,” I said calmly. “You made a mistake. And that’s ok. But now you know how important it is to take all this seriously. After all, you’re dealing with money here, and if you don’t take money seriously, you aren’t going to get very far in this world.”
Still frustrated, but calming down, Lester replied, “I don’t see how any of this has anything to do with me taking money seriously.”
“Oh really?” I said, sitting down in front of him. “Well, then allow me to tell you a little story that may clear it up…”