Before the Audit

17 Dec

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below from my garage.  Enjoy.

Dewey, Cheatham and Howe

 (Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

Dewey, Cheatham and Howe

Attorneys at Law

666 Pale Horse Rd,

Knob Lick, MO 63651

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Kansas City, MO 64999-0002

Dear Sirs,

We are in receipt of your demand for payment of taxes in arrears for the past five years. This is to inform you that after an exhaustive review of our records we feel your demand is unfounded, and further, to restate our contention that getting money out of us will be like trying to shove butter up a wildcat’s ass with a hot icepick.


Dewey, Cheatham and Howe,

Attorneys at Law

IRS #!

77 Responses to “Before the Audit”

  1. rochellewisoff December 17, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Dear Doug,

    How can you tell if a lawyer’s lying? …
    …His lips are moving.

    They’re only old if you’ve heard them. 😉

    I can’t think of a more appropriate story for your (ick) photo.

    Of course my next question would be why you snapped the picture in the first place? No matter. It’s a great one that should inspire some interesting (likely) stories.

    Being a visual, the last sentence took me where I didn’t want to go. (yikes!) How would you shove…never mind.

    With so much between the lines, this one will be hard to top.



    • dmmacilroy December 17, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      I took the picture because it was a very real moment for both the spider and her victim. Then I took two pieces of aluminum stock and clapped them together on both insects, putting one out of his misery and the other out of this world. Do you suppose the karma I earned from the good deed will cancel out the karma from the bad deed?

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • aliciajamtaas December 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

        My thoughts are “never kill a spider” unless it’s poisonous. Don’t know why they’re dear to my heart. We even let them live in our house. Maybe I’m just weird.

      • dmmacilroy December 18, 2014 at 3:56 am #

        For the record, the spider in question was what is known as a Brown Widow. They are poisonous, and though not as virulent as their cousins, the Black Widows, I work in the garage, so that was that. They prosper outside all over the place and I don’t go out of my way to ruin their days out there. Luck of the draw.



      • Bastet December 18, 2014 at 4:33 am #

        Karma is an interesting theory … like butterflies in New Delhi and Hurricanes in Tampa … lovely photo and interesting story. Georgia.

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    I would actually respect lawyers more who could write that last sentence.. (but I actually think the IRS agent have ordered ice-picks to prove a point).. The picture was stunning, but I could only think of one story after seeing it.. Thank you 🙂

    • dmmacilroy December 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Dear Bjorn,

      I agree with you re the lawyers with the stones to write that last line and about the likelihood of the IRS relishing a fight. Your story was far more literary than mine, but, as each was the product of our initial thought upon seeing the picture, they have something in common. I’m glad you liked the photo. I still get chills remembering the moment I stumbled upon that grim little tableau.



  3. Sandra December 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    The imagery left me breathless. I shan’t be able to concentrate for the rest of the day. Great story, great photo. I think your altruism will balance out the bad deed.

    • dmmacilroy December 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      I have never known you not to be able to concentrate. Thanks for reading and commenting. if I come back as a spider in my garage I’ll know where i went wrong.



    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      I’m glad you ‘liked’ the photo. it seemed too good to be true when I saw the grisly tableau quivering in my garage. The rest is history, some good, some bad.

      Thanks for weighing in on the plus side re my karma.

      And for reading and commenting.



  4. sustainabilitea December 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    That law firm was my favorite parts of “Car Talk” and exactly mirrors sentiments about (most) lawyers. Your story was spot on, unfortunately, as was the little meme at the end. Your photo is wonderful and one I would take in a heartbeat were I to see it. Kudos all around and a merry Christmas to all. 🙂


    • dmmacilroy December 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      Merry Christmas to you and yours and thanks for the kudos re the photo and story. I’ll have to Google ‘Car Talk lawyer clips’ to hear what you’re referring to. Those guys were loons but I never heard that bit of schtick from them.



      • sustainabilitea December 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

        It was always at the end, in the “credits.”

  5. Suzanne Joshi December 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Doug, Thanks for the realistic picture. I also have two more pictures in my mind: the business about the ice pick; the one of the two smashed bugs. Unfortunately, I haven’t had dinner yet. I’m not sure if I’m kidding or not. 🙂 Anyway, hilarious story and well written as usual. 😀 — Susan

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      Dear Susan,

      I hope you managed dinner okay…

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  6. elmowrites December 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    You had me at “Knob Lick”; I so much want that to be a real place, and yes, I’m a twelve-year-old boy at heart! Brilliant use of your 100 words, and I’m certain quite different from most of this week’s offerings.
    Thanks for the picture; if you find my use of it somewhat unmotherly, just remember the twelve-year-old boy struggling to get out!

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Oh, yes, Knob Lick is real and I may move there to retire, just to be able to write that on the return address of all my correspondence. I loved your story this week and praise and encourage the twelve-year-old boy in you. Let him out more often.

      Congratulations and see you next week.



      • elmowrites December 22, 2014 at 3:31 am #

        We all need to tap into our inner immaturity at times, Doug. Helps keep you young, or at least stops you taking things too seriously. If you move to Knob Lick, I need your address so I can join in the fun by addressing post there!

  7. AnElephantCant December 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    AnElephant is hugely entertained by your story.
    But not by your destruction of the spider.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Dear AEC,

      It will all even out in the end. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  8. storydivamg December 17, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    As a longtime resident of the Kansas City area, I have a couple dozen friends who would be mightily offended by your view of the IRS. On the other hand, your snapshot of the attorneys seems spot on.

    Really, I’m just razzing you.

    I like how you’ve taken two institutions that the general public tends to despise and pitted them against one another. It fits your photo prompt nicely. And, as always, the story is tight and well-written.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Dear Marie,

      Sorry to ruffle any of your friends feathers and I hope I haven’t raised my profile with my story. We shall see.

      i’m happy you noticed the juxtaposition of my two characters/organizations. I could not help but write it once the idea whipped into my mind.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  9. lingeringvisions by Dawn December 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Very descriptive. Perhaps too much so for my sensibilities. I think I will have to go watch Ted Talks for a bit to erase the images.
    Ice pick, and a hot one at that? Yikes!

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Sorry to go all ‘eew’ and ‘icky’ on you. I’ll make it up to you next week. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  10. aliciajamtaas December 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    shove butter up a wildcat’s ass I have relatives in Missouri who would definitely say this during dinner. Well done!

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      Dear Alicia,

      It is a rather nice colloquialism, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and commenting.



  11. wildbilbo December 18, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    Spiders and Roaches – Tax & Lawyers.

    As a writer, I’m chuckling, but as a Tax Lawyer, I’m crying inside. 😦

    I’m kidding (about the crying, I really am a Tax Lawyer which means I don’t have feeling to hurt). Nice Epistolary story, and the butter/wildcat thing was awesome.

    • wildbilbo December 18, 2014 at 1:11 am #

      Of course the cockroach and lawyer thing also reminded me of Franz Kafka who was a trained lawyer… or Kafka (esq) if you will.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      Dear KT,

      Tax lawyer in Australia, right? I’m glad you issued me a lawyerly dispensation for my story and that you were able to laugh at it.

      I bet you do have feelings. You’ve rapidly become one of the best writers to grace the FF viral stage and that can’t be done with being human to the nth degree.

      Looking forward to reading your stuff every week. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  12. The Writer's Village December 18, 2014 at 1:00 am #

    Well, I’m certain that that letter will get exactly the results that they seek from the IRS. Ha. Butter up a wildcat’s ass, indeed!

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      Dear Randy,

      Not a likely prospect, is it? Someone’s going down.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  13. J December 18, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    What a hoot! Loved this — so funny — it would take a serious set of stones to say that to the IRS!!!!

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Dear J,

      Glad you liked it. Yes, brass balls would be in order.



  14. Bastet December 18, 2014 at 4:37 am #

    ROFL … a lovely story … and a wonderful metaphor – the IRS as a Brown Widow! Merry Christmas Doug, Georgia.

    • dmmacilroy December 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Dear Georgia,

      Thank you and same to you. And a Happy New Year. I look forward to reading another year’s worth of your stories.



      • Bastet December 19, 2014 at 5:47 am #

        And I shall enjoy your Ironwood! Ciao Doug, Georgia.

  15. Weltchysnotebook December 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi Doug. A most amusing story. Though you realise, as others have posted, that Karma dictates that you will become sandwiched between 2 sheets of metal whilst in the deadly embrace of a widow!

    • dmmacilroy December 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Dear Weltchy,

      That fate is going to have to get in line. Lots of other potential ends await me. No matter what happens, it’s been a good ride.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  16. draliman December 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Brilliantly funny! I love the name and address of the lawyers 🙂 And finally some “lawyer talk” that I can understand. Funny little IRS picture too.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Dear Draliman,

      Glad you enjoyed both. Your story this week was brilliant. Well done.



  17. plaridel December 19, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    it looks like the IRS has met its match for a change. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      Dear Plaridel,

      Someone is getting their ass handed to them on a plate. Glad it’s not me. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  18. Margaret December 19, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    Every word made me smile. Very funny, and great take on your picture. I must admit I didn’t even see the spider! I think I was so far into the cockroach zone I couldn’t see past it. Now I’m not even sure it is a cockroach.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Dear Margaret,

      When I first saw these guys hanging in the web between the legs of my telescope’s tripod I did a classic double take and then immediately ran to get my iPad, all the while thinking, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’. It was definitely and ‘Ugh’ moment.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  19. David Stewart December 19, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    This is brilliant and perfect for the prompt, two ugly beasts grappling at each other. I love the metaphor you used. Now, if only we had the IRS’s response. 🙂
    Take care,

    • dmmacilroy December 19, 2014 at 4:43 am #

      Dear David,

      The IRS’s response is the picture. I’m afraid the lawyers are represented by the hapless roach. Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • David Stewart December 19, 2014 at 4:47 am #

        Brilliant response. You cant fight the government, at least not that part of it.

  20. Honie Briggs December 19, 2014 at 4:24 am #


    Laughter IS the best medicine.

    I’m in stitches. Yes, literally too.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Dear Honie,

      Heal fast, stay safe. See you soon.

      Thanks for reading and commenting despite your ‘being put back together’ status.



  21. Horus December 19, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    So it was a spider – seemed more like a roach to me ! – anyway karma laws states that everyone gets what they are destined to get – we are just instruments.. so its not your fault ! 😀

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Dear Horus,

      Thanks for the absolution. And for reading and commenting.



  22. patrickprinsloo December 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Some great language here. I’m not sure if they’ll get away with it – tax authorities don’t give up easily, fortunately/unfortunately.
    (I see that Knob Lick does indeed exist and you’ve actually used their zip code. Delightful!)

    • dmmacilroy December 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      Dear Patrick,

      I owe that sort of detail as munch morsels to everyone who reads my flash fiction stories. At the very least, people (like you) among the FF troop deserve them as reward for reading with a keen eye. Layers, layers and more layers. Each story, every week. If I’m missing from the fray it is because I haven’t managed to write anything worth reading. That, or I am far afield, throwing plastic on a disc golf course in tournament mode.

      Thank you for reading and seeing and commenting. I appreciate it.



  23. Alice Audrey December 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    You had me at the title.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Alice,

      I’m glad you were snared by it.



  24. talesfromthemotherland December 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Doug, I sorely missed your last photo prompt, which I loved… this one is amazing! As soon as I opened my emails on Wednesday, my mind was racing to all kinds of places. This photo: sharp, clear and powerful, lends itself to so many possible stories! Brilliant!

    Your story was wonderful on many fronts: a great homage to Car Talk (a household favorite), and the image of butter up a wild cat’s ass… well, I’m with Rochelle on that one– which puts me in mighty good company! Wonderful story and really incredible prompt! Mahalo, Doug. d

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      I’m glad you like my photo and the story. They were made for each other, all things considered. Turns out I didm’t know the connection between my fictional lawyers and Car Talk. I’ve always grouped Dewey, Cheatham and Howe with other great law firm names, such as Chase and Lynch…

      As the the image of trying to shove butter where I said with the implement in question, well, that’s always been a good visual metaphor for difficulty so it seemed appropriate. I once was able to tell that to a lawyer for a collection agency (I was right. They dropped the claim) and had great time putting it in the letter.

      I appreciate you reading and commenting.



      • talesfromthemotherland December 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        The fact that you did it on your own and were not tempted by Click and Clack makes it all that much more impressive… all things considered. 😉 Oh how you tickle with your clever humor, Douglas. Happy holidays and Mahalo! d

  25. Amy Reese December 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    This photo is quite something, and has brought about quite a variety of stories. So, it’s made an excellent prompt. I would have stayed clear from a brown widow. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Thanks for risking your life taking this shot.

    Way to stick it to them with that last line. They should award points for creativity for that one! Ah, let’s just let this one slide…

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      Dear Amy,

      I’m not sure I was risking my life taking the photo, but I’m glad you liked it. I never knew about brown widows until I saw a relative of the guy in the photo complete with a soft orange hourglass shape on its abdomen. Google and wikipedia clued me in and now I realize that my garage and the yard are home to lots of both of those species. We exist peacefully until they take up residence in plain view. Then its lights out for them.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  26. Ellespeth December 20, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    The name of the law firm has me laughing…and their address! I like the IRS about as much as I like my dentist.
    Great photo 😦

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Dear Ellespeth,

      I’m with you. Oh, wait, no, I mean I love the IRS. Just love them… (Are they listening?) I like them way more than I like my dentist…

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  27. rgayer55 December 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Brilliant, Doug. You captured two blood-suckers in one brief story–the IRS and lawyers. I’d even drive up to Knob Lick to see how that hot ice pick thing turns out.

    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Dear Russell,

      I’m glad you noticed the occupation of my two chitinous characters. Do you actually know where Knob Lick is? I only had to wade through half of the towns in Missouri before I found that gem. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  28. Dee December 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Dear Doug – loved the images you create here. For IRS, here in the UK you would substitute HMRC and they are held in much the same regard!

    Thank you for this


    • bloggedartistry December 21, 2014 at 2:14 am #

      I smiled when I saw the IRS avatar – your words delivered as hoped! Did DC&H originate with the Three Stooges?

      • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 2:48 am #

        Thanks for reading and commenting. I have no idea where DC+H originated. I’ve learned from the comments that they were lawyers for Car Talk, but I’ve known of them for a long time. Hard to tell.



    • dmmacilroy December 21, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Dear Dee,

      Is that who the Beatles were talking about when they wrote their song, Tx Man? Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • Dee December 21, 2014 at 10:56 am #

        I’m sute it was!!
        ‘He’ takes everyones dough if he gets the chance!


  29. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) December 22, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    One day I am going to get you for that disgusting picture! But it was a funny letter.

  30. etiennehanratty December 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Lovely. Was just waiting for them to cite Arkell v Pressdram.

  31. wmqcolby December 23, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Sharing this with my dad who used to work for the gub’ment.

    Five golden rings!

  32. waitingforaname December 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    “trying to shove butter up a wildcat’s ass with a hot icepick”

    That, dear sir, is one impeccable line. Well done.

    • dmmacilroy December 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Dear Lisa,

      Thanks. I’m glad it resonated with you. It doesn’t mince words, does it?

      Mele Kalikimaka and Aloha,


  33. Indira December 28, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    Recovering the money part seems so true. Talking of karma you interfered with nature’s karma. Great story.


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