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Rated: E · Short Story · Finance · #2022345
Everyone's favorite show with Xavier Hurn.
“Good evening, ladies and gentleman!” the announcer cried out to an ecstatic crowd.  ”And welcome to tonight’s installment of Food and Taxes! I’m your announcer, Ned Horowitz, and here he is, the man who can balance your diet and your IRS forms, XAVIER HURN!”

The audience went wild as a slightly portly man with slick black hair and a full white outfit stepped out onto the stage, beaming and waving at the crowd.  ”How ya doin’ tonight, everybody?” he shouted, raising his arms high above his head, prompting a loud roar from the crowd.  ”Just as I thought, same as every night.  Bet you lot are pretty darned hungry, right?”  Another roar. “That’s what I thought.  Enough with the pleasantries, let’s get down to cooking. 

“Now last week, I showed you how you can make yourself an absolutely delicious roast, while also taking advantage of your more costly health expenses as write-offs on your 401k.  This week, we’re doing something just a little sweeter.  I’m keeping the tax bit a secret for now, cause I know you folks always like surprises, but this week, we’re gonna be working with one of my favorite dishes.  It’s a Rhubarb-Mascarpone Mousse Cake!”

The audience went wild as Hurn reached around the set, grabbing the ingredients he needed.  ”Now, for this cake,” he began, bringing up a mixing bowl from under the table, “you’ll need all your standard cake ingredients - flower, sugar, whole milk, a few pinches of salt, and of course, your tax forms.”  He pulled out a small stack of papers, and set them alongside everything else.  ”So we’ve got our cake pan set up here, and I’ve already got the oven heating up to save us a little time.  What you want to do is butter the paper, then sift your flower, baking powder, and slat altogether.”  He started doing so, adding a few little flourishing gestures with every little move he made.

“So while we’re beating in the eggs and butter, how about a few small tax tips before we get to the big one?”  A series of enthusiastic agreements rained down on the master chef.  ”Alrighty then, folks!” he said, spreading the batter across the pan as cooking directions for viewers at home ran along the bottom of the screen.  ”So I’m willing to bet that most of you folks don’t like moving much, do ya?  It’s a real hassle in the tuckass, I know, and there’s all the work you have to do with getting settled in and commuting to your new job and… well, it’s just a nightmare,” he said, mixing the cake altogether.

“As a quick aside, what you want to do now is cook for ten minutes, but first, we’ve got a mousse to make.

“So,” he continued, pulling out the rhubarb, “moving stinks.  But there’s a little thing about it most folks don’t know.  If you’re moving more than fifty miles away from your old place of business, you can deduct whatever the cost of moving was from your tax forms.  Pretty neat, huh?” he asked, softening the gelatin he had made with water. 

The speed of Xavier Hurn had while cooking, it should be noted, was nothing short of legendary.  He could whip up a dish and keep the audience enthralled with tax tips such as these for the whole eleven minutes the studio demanded from each segment.

“Now that we’ve got our mousse made, it’s time for us to bake the cake.  And this is where the big tax tip comes in.”  For viewers at home, the “Big Tax Tip” logo flew on screen.  ”It always sucks when you have to go through some big disaster, like a flood or a hurricane, y’know?  I’m pretty sure you folks remember what ol’ Sandy did to this city not half a year back now, right?  Well, something you can do to make things just a little easier on yourself is to deduct those uninsured costs that you paid in order to pick yourself back up.

“So,” he said slyly, reaching under the counter, “to show you how to relate this to your cooking, allow me to demonstrate these damages, and your ability to deduct your recovery costs, by simulating a forest fire.”  With his free hand, Xavier stuffed the tax forms into the cake mixture, and brought a flamethrower out from under the counter.

Several audience members screamed in horror as Hurn torched the set, lighting up the studio kitchen stage and several members of the audience in the process.  The fire alarm went off, and several sprinklers would have as well, had Hurn not disabled them before the show.  ”Now hold on, folks, hold on!” he cried, raising his arms up again and keeping a calm face.  ”We’ve got this all under control.  We know exactly where the fire is gonna burn, and how to put it out.  And don’t worry: those guys in the audience who got burned wer all studio actors, and therefore expendable.”

Pulling out a water canon, Xavier Hurn blasted the flames, putting them out immediately, and drenching a large portion of the audience.  The happy little kitchen set provided by the studio was now a charred mess, with almost nothing salvageable in it.  Hurn said just as much.

“But that there’s the key, folks: almost nothing salvageable.  Because, if we pull out our cake here, and look at it…” He did so, and voila, there stood a perfectly cooked cake, looking as delicious as any of the dishes he had ever prepared for the show.  ”But that’s not all, folks.  Look at these taxes.  Cameraman, pull in a little closer and show our viewers at home the tax form!”

Pushing in, the audience, both in-studio and at home, could see that the costs of repairing the studio, buying new equipment, and compensating for the victims’ families had already been deducted from Hurn’s tax returns.  The crowd went wild.

“You see, folks?  You can do anything, and I do mean anything, as long as you’re a good cook and know just how to work the IRS.  That’ll be all for now, I’ll see you on the other side of the commercial break!”

As he stepped off the stage, Ned Horowitz came in, saying, “Stay tuned after these messages, when Xavier Hurn teaches you how to combine the cake and mousse, as well as how to deduct the costs of giving to charity!”

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