Bernie Sanders was dead. To begin with.
No, not really. Sorry to disappoint. Just in this story. Although he must be old enough to be Noah’s dad. But Sanders was dead. To begin with.
Now when Sanders was alive, he had a friend named Joe.
Joe was very much alive now. Joe also had hairy legs. But the thing that was on Joe’s mind at this time of the year was Winter Tax Day. He didn’t really like it. It was the day upon which everyone rejoiced. Except for Scrooge, I mean Joe. Joe was a mean, tight fisted hand and he didn’t like all the merriment.
It was the day before Winter Tax Day and Joe was in his office counting the hair on his legs when in walked his friend, Alexandria.
“Happy Winter Tax Day, Joe” she said.
“Mah-larkey,” Joe responded without looking up from his legs.
“What is wrong?” Alexandria asked, like an innocent high school girl who doesn’t know anything. Which was pretty easy for her.
“Winter Tax Day is a poor excuse to pick a man’s pocket every December.” Joe looked up from the hair on his legs.
“But, Joe, it is a time of joy and cheer. Everyone sharing and caring and paying taxes.”
“You keep it how you want, Alexandria. And I will keep it how I want.”
“But you don’t keep it,” Alexandria responded.
“Mah-larkey,” Joe answered and returned to counting the hair on his legs.
That night, Joe was at home, eating a bowl of bran. He did that because he was old. Old people do that. He was upstairs in his room wearing his favorite bathrobe. He had just gotten cozy in front of his black and white television. He couldn’t figure out how to turn on Netflix, so he didn’t watch that.
Suddenly there was a loud crash from below and then several thuds on the stairs. It sounded like someone was walking up the steps dragging something.
Then into the room walked an old raggedy figure in chains. It was Bernie Sanders.
Joe sat up and dropped his bowl.
“Sanders, is that you?”
“Yes,” the ghost responded. “I am here to warn you, Joe. You have not been generous on Winter Tax Day. If you don’t pay more taxes then God, er…I mean…uh….the Gov, or someone, after you die will chain you up. It will be terrible for you after you die. If you believe in an afterlife, that is. Look at me! I was a millionaire and I didn’t pay enough taxes. I tried to get everyone else to do that. But I didn’t.”
“But Sanders,” Joe interrupted. “You were the most supportive of Winter Tax Day.”
“I know, but these chains I wear, are what I forged by not paying enough taxes,” Sanders replied. “Joe, before midnight, you will be visited by a ghost. Listen to her.”
Then Sanders was gone. And Joe was all alone. He searched around the room. Under the bed. In the closet. On his legs. Nothing.
“Mah-larkey,” Joe said. And went to sleep.
Joe was awakened by the sound of a bell ringing. He sat up in bed. He looked around.
Suddenly the room was filled with light.
He saw a figure standing before his bed. It was a woman and she had on her head a feather headdress and she wore soft brown moccasins.
“Elizabeth Warren?” Joe asked.
“I am the ghost of Winter Tax Day,” replied the ghost.
“You look just like Elizabeth Warren,” Joe responded.
“No, I don’t,” replied the ghost adjusting her head dress. “Come with me.” She grabbed Joe’s hand and his bedroom disappeared.
Joe found himself in a large town hall meeting room. There was a large audience and in the middle of the room were two figures, laughing and talking. Joe looked around the room. He saw several news reporters.
“Do you recognize this place, Joe?” asked the ghost that was not Elizabeth Warren.
“Yes, I do,” Joe responded. “This was a town hall forum that I did with my old buddy Barack.”
Joe saw a younger version of himself on stage with Barack Obama.
“Good looking guy I was,” Joe commented. “Still had all my leg hairs then!”
“Listen,” the ghost said.
One member of the audience stood up and asked, “What do you think of Winter Tax Day?”
“That’s a good question,” Barack responded. “I am all for it. I think it is a good thing.”
“Really?” Younger Joe responded. “Why do you say that?”
“Well, let’s ask the audience,” Barack responded. “What do you all like about Winter Tax Day?”
People stood up one by one and spoke:
“Winter Tax Day brings us money.”
“It shows how much the government cares for us.”
“Sometimes I wish I could pay more taxes.”
Older Joe listened for a moment and then stood silently in reflection.
“Wow, I didn’t know,” he said.
“See,” said the Ghost that looked like Elizabeth Warren but wasn’t really her. “People like Winter Tax Day. It is a good thing.”
“No,” Joe responded. “I mean I didn’t know I was such a good looking guy.”
“What?” the Ghost responded.
“Oh…um…er…I mean, Winter Tax Day is a great thing.”
“That’s what I thought,” the Ghost responded.
Suddenly, Joe was back in his room. It was morning. Joe looked at his calendar.
“I didn’t miss Winter Tax Day!” He shouted. “Elizabeth…I mean, the Ghost did it all in a few short minutes!”
He knelt down on the floor and said, “I will live in the Winter Tax Holiday. I promise, Spirit.”
Joe rushed to get dressed. Then he ran to his front door and threw it open. He rushed out into the wintry day and off to the nearest tax office.
As Joe walked along the street, he saw a number of people dressed in rags walking around. One old man reached out a hand to Joe.
“Spare some change, sir?” the old man asked.
Joe stopped and looked at the old man.
“Not right now, my friend. But not to worry,” Joe answered. “I am heading out to make my Winter Tax payment! What a wonderful day! The government is so generous. If only everyone were so generous.” Then Joe rushed off.
“Happy Winter Tax Day!” he shouted back over his shoulder.
“Thank you,” the old man in rags answered. “Happy Winter Tax Day!”
And Joe was as good as his word. He always paid taxes and he even gave extra to the government on Winter Tax Day. Everyone agreed that Joe knew how to keep Winter Tax Day the best. He always told people about the generosity of the government. And when he told people, “Gov bless us!” They always responded, “Gov bless us, everyone!”