The Day of Concern
by Clark Gilbert
part 1 of 2
I woke up on the “day of concern” at 6:03 a.m., as I have done since I was seven years old. I sat on the edge of my bed and counted my teeth with my tongue.
I have a total of thirty teeth. When I was eight, I had thirty-two. When I was fourteen, I had two wisdom teeth removed, leaving me with thirty teeth total.
When I was eight, I read an article that said when aliens remove humans for testing, they will often remove a tooth or two. Since then every morning I count my teeth to make sure I have all thirty-two of them.
When I was fourteen, a dentist — and not some alien — removed the two teeth and left me with thirty teeth. I have known Dr. Paterson, the dentist, all of my life, so I know for sure that he was not an alien.
Dr. Paterson had a dog named Shelly and she would catch a ball in mid-air if you threw it high enough. Shelly lived fourteen years, three months and twenty-five days. I know this because I was there when Shelly was born, and because it was also when Bingo was born.
Bingo was white with some black spots. Bingo lived with Ms. Anderson, who lived across the street and three doors down from Dr. Paterson and Shelly. Bingo lived for nine years, five months and sixteen days. Too short a life for a dog like Bingo.
Bingo was hit by Mr. Addleman’s car while Mr. Addleman drove down the street. I cried, but my mom told me that Bingo was with God, and that made me feel better. Though I don’t understand why God needed Bingo more than Ms. Anderson, since God is supreme and all powerful and Ms. Anderson is an old lady who is lonely most of the day.
But back to that morning when I woke up at 6:03 a.m. and sat on the side of my bed and counted my teeth. I had thirty teeth. I stood up and walked six steps over to the window and looked outside to see what the day was like at 6:04 a.m.
I could see the clouds and that the clouds hung down over town like a heavy woolen blanket, similar to the one I would sit under when I was young and reading my comic books with a flashlight. The woolen blanket would hang on my head and shoulders heavily, like the clouds were hanging heavy and gray and woolen on the town today.
I like cloudy days. They protect me from the sun rays which have a detrimental effect on my skin. I like my skin and wear long-sleeve shirts even in the summer to protect me.
This is going to be a good day, I thought.
After assessing the weather, I checked the position of a feather that I had found on my way home from work thirteen months and seven days ago. I placed it near the window opening so it would have to be moved in the event an alien opened the window and came into my room to perform experiments on me while I slept.
This feather is test number two that I have for detecting intruding aliens in my studio. Test number one is counting my teeth and so far that morning I had passed two of my three tests.
I walked the seven steps to my studio door where I had placed my shoes — black with soft soles because I don’t like to make noise when I walk, especially at night, when aliens might be looking for someone to experiment on.
I placed my shoes in such a position that if the door were to open while I was sleeping, the shoes would ever so slightly move, and I could evaluate by their position if the door had been opened. The shoes where in the same place that they were in when I went to bed.
Test number three had been passed and I was now free to go to the bathroom to do my “business” and take my shower and prepare for the work day. Then I dressed myself, white button-up shirt and black pants, black socks and my black soft-sole shoes.
I have four pairs of black pants and eight white button-up shirts and ten pairs of black socks. It would not be appropriate to tell you about my underwear.
I don’t like to think about what to wear in the morning like my sister did when we were still living at home. She would spend an average of forty-nine minutes each morning determining what to wear, and I would spend two minutes on what to wear.
I have been wearing black pants, a white button-up shirt, black socks and black-soled shoes for the past eighteen years, three months and twenty-three days.
For breakfast I ate my strawberry Pop Tart, which I love, and drank one-and-a-half cups of orange juice fortified with Vitamin D.
I sat and waited for twenty-nine minutes looking through my window blinds across the street at the two-story apartment building made of brick. That building’s address is 732 Langley Street, and my building is 735 Langley Street.
At 8:00 a.m., I left my studio and walked the nine blocks to my work at Mr. Steve’s CPA office. The walk takes me an average of one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one steps.
Mr. Steve is really Mr. Stephen McAllister. I used to call Mr. Steve Mr. McAllister but Mr. Steve told me that it sounded too much like his Dad, and asked me to call him Steve. But I told him that I couldn’t call him just Steve since he was my employer and supervisor, and I would not be comfortable. So he thought about it for forty-six seconds and told me that I could call him Mr. Steve, which I do. I have worked for Mr. Steve for five years, four months and twenty four days. Mr. Steve is kind to me.
I like working in Mr. Steve’s CPA office because I love the Tax Code and all the laws that pertain to taxes. I find the Tax Code very fascinating. The Government of the United States tells us, the citizens, that we must pay taxes, and then the Government of the United States tells us, the citizens, all the ways we can keep from having to pay so many taxes.
Mr. Steve tells me I am gifted with the Tax Code because I have committed the entire code and addendums to memory, even though each year the Government of the United States changes the Tax Codes, usually allowing for even more ways one might not have to pay taxes.
I re-memorize the tax codes each year before tax season begins on January 1. I can answer any question about taxes and recite the Tax Code that pertains to the question.
In my position in Mr. Steve’s office, I evaluate people’s tax returns and assess if they are entitled to all the exemptions that they have asked for in their returns. Mr. Steve tells me that I am better at doing that than a computer. This is due to the fact that I have a “photographic mind.”
During the tax season I review hundreds of tax returns that have been prepared by one of the six tax preparers in Mr. Steve’s CPA Office. If I find something missing or not right, I send the return back to the accountable tax preparer, along with the section of the Tax Code that pertains to the oversight.
I find oversights in seventy-eight point three percent of the tax returns that I evaluate. Mr. Steve tells me I am good for business, as I save his clients money. The six tax preparers don’t talk to me, even when I catch their eye when I go sit at my table in the back of the large office space.
Mr. Steve said he would give me an office with a desk and a computer, but I told him I would not be comfortable in an office, and I would like to sit at the table in the back of the large office, and that I only needed a pencil.
I don’t like computers, and I don’t like being around them when they are on. Mr. Steve said that would be fine and gave me a big box of fifty No. 2 pencils and a battery-operated pencil sharpener. One pencil lasts me nineteen days, and I don’t use the eraser.
The “concern” happened at 2:33 p.m. in the afternoon. I was sitting at my work table doing an evaluation on Mr. and Mrs. Harrison’s return when the sun broke through the clouds, and the sunlight, which concerns me, flooded my work table. I stood and walked the five steps to the window and pulled the blinds down. The sky was mostly blue, and I was concerned with the amount of sunlight that was coming into the office.
One of the tax preparers, Beth, looked at me as I lowered the blinds and asked me if I could leave them up, and I explained that I was concerned for my skin and lowered the blinds. She said, “Whatever.”
At 2:36 p.m., Mr. Steve called me into his office, which was sixteen steps to the right of my work table. I walked up to Mr. Steve’s desk and stood. He offered me a seat, but I always stand in Mr. Steve’s office. He knows that, but he always asks. I thank him and remain standing.
At 2:38 p.m. Mr. Steve asked me a tax question, which is normal for Mr. Steve to do since my job is to answer his questions. As soon as he asked me, I started getting nervous and breathing harder. Mr. Steve recognized my discomfort because I get, as Mr. Steve says, “the look of dread” on my face. I have had “the look of dread” four times since I have been working for Mr. Steve. I don’t like “the look of dread” because I feel so unpleasant at the time.
I stood there thinking really hard, and I could not find the answer to his question. I always know the answer.
Copyright © 2008 by Clark Gilbert