Twilight Zone

Coffee Anyone? Taxman



Another Kevin Tuma Cartoon



During the early fall months, the break of dawn brings a majestic glow as the sun rises over the mountains. As light brightens, our town of PERFECT starts to come to life. The normal crew wanders over to the Epicurean for their java and the school buses turn over their engines, getting ready for another day. The central school is fondly referred to as think tank in polite company, but sometimes is known as the ‘stink cranks’ among the kids. A fixture at this august pillar of community activities, is the science teacher, Mr Dugood. He is know for his detached and disjoined traits as he adjusts the flame on his bunson burner. Students have been known to boil more than water in those beakers that the good professor organizes so neatly on the classic wood shelves in the lab.

While this school may be old, its better days are not in the past. At least that is the viewpoint of the principal - Ms Shalldew. Both have been friends for years and at times it has been rumored that they have more than a professional relationship. While most conclude that they are peas from the same pod, there are subtle differences in their outlooks. They enjoy a schedule that most would envy. The first meeting is just before lunch and that chemistry class begins around the same time. Today, by chance they have separate visits with Doc. He is the only practitioner in town and all know his gentle hand from babe to those worn by age.

The medical office is a very busy spot. The waiting room can be as engaging as the lounge at the Epicurean. This morning we find Adam, our contractor, as the first patient - looking for treatment for his strained back. Dugood is known to his friends and former students as just Doug. As they wait for Doc, Adam asks - thought that those Republicans wanted to cut the size of government! Why is that Department of Education just getting bigger? While being known as reserved, Doug replies with a detailed dissection why the students need the revenue that the Federal Government provides for the local institution. Bunk says Adam: you are right about the institution part! We were told a long time ago, that department was supposed to have been closed down.

How can you feel that way, Adam? Don’t you want the kids to have a better chance to be more than a nail pounder? Man, you don’t have to get nasty - I pay enough in taxes already, when will it end? But this is different . . . education is the most important part of training for good citizenship. We all have to support socialization programs! Are you crazy? All you ivory tower idealists never did a decent days’ work. Just give me the chance to get you up on a roof and lay down some tar. But Adam, that’s the whole point if you went to college you could be wearing a fedora hat and not a ball cap. The disgust on Adam’s face leads to - "Get Real" pin head !!!

Doc hears this ruckus and cracks open his office door, peaks out and greets Adam and then looks over to Doug. Still doing that weird science at the school? Gee, Doc you know I’ll never leave - they will have to drag me out. It’s been awhile since your last check up, where have you been? Bermuda, Doc - spring break. Adam blows his cool and Doc says calm down Adam, you don’t want the blood pressure to spike again, now do ya?

Before the gang of three could finish, the door opens and Sally strolls in. Hi Sal, hope you can wait - Doug and Adam are next. No one else in town would dare call Ms Shalldew by such a name, but Doc gets away with murder. No problem with waiting, got all morning, Doctor Petaniski. Good . . . Adam you up!

While our ailing jack of all trades gets his examination. Doug and Sally have the chance to compare notes. Sally, dear, I just can never understand these simple folks? We teach them and they learn nothing. Why is it so difficult to get through their thick skulls? Boobse - a name that no one else has ever heard, why do you care, we’re doooing just fine . . .

But Sally, why won’t people just accept that our kids need a first rate education? That sun burnt Adam and has fried his brain. Stop that Doug he will hear you. I just don’t care. I’m sick of simpletons who don’t want to pay their taxes. Where would we get our money if they stopped paying? Don’t worry about that Doug, that can never happen; us girls - you know their wives will make them keep payin.

Ya, I guess you are right, guess that is why you are the Principal. Oh, that’s not the reason I got the job, you remember that policy about quotas, I mean affirmative gender action . . .

About this time Adam exits with his shirt unbuttoned. I’ll see you later Ms Shalldew and he walks out never speaking to Doug. Hey, Doc - what is wrong with that guy? Well, let’s just say he has an overactive deriving from the statistical distribution. Gee, Doc that’s a new one on me, as Doug enters for his check up.

As our school principal gathers herself all alone in the waiting room, she takes out from her brief case a summary from the NEA about projected reductions in the increases for retirement benefits. As she reads on, the pamphlet identifies that without additional federal infusion of a higher percentage of grants, that school boards will be reluctant in raising their share of accelerated premium contributions. Alarmed at such a possibility that - outcome based - educational structure that rewards excellence in longevity, might change she shakes her head and says to herself, when will the public even learn? We need a pay raise!

The door opens; and pops in Destiny. Well, Ms Shalldew how have you been? Just fine, how’s the bank? It’s OK, but I want to finish my college but there is never enough money left over. Yes I know dear, I go through the same thing. If I get turned down on that Pell grant, I might have to quit! At that - a flash of inspiration tweaks as Sally jumps from her seat. I’ll write my Congressman to get increases in those Pell grants included in the Educational budget. Surely no one would oppose helping a nice girl like Destiny. We can afford to help, can’t we?


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