The Soupster greets a secretive new Senior.
There in order to pay her utility bills, Betty graciously held the door open for the Soupster, who was exiting City Hall. They exchanged greetings and the Soupster ambled off easterly toward the center of Our Town.
Betty was relieved the Soupster didn’t know it was her birthday. She wasn’t sure how she felt about turning 65. Although she had been enjoying a few over-55 senior discounts in the Lower 48, Our Town didn’t offer any benefits until 65. And, oh boy, did they then!
At sixty-five, a resident of Our Town enjoyed exemption from the dreaded sales tax that buzzed around every monetary transaction like a mosquito. That’s why on Tax Free Day in the fall, everybody acted like someone who could walk in the woods at dusk in short sleeves without wearing bug dope.
By accepting the exemption, you had to declare yourself a Senior (Citizen) once and for all. Betty wasn’t quite sure she was ready to do that. Still, not to claim the discount she was allowed? She stayed comfortable enough, as long as she watched pennies. But she wasn’t so rich she could turn her back on a 5 percent discount on the entirety of Our Town.
Betty had barely made it inside City Hall when Leah of the Big Smile accosted her. “Howdy, Betty, whatcha doin?” Leah pronounced it “Beddy.”
“Here to pay your utility bill?” said Leah, flashing seriously white choppers. “Bills going up and up. What a pain! And then they charge you sales tax on top of it. We’re all going to sit in the dark and shiver someday soon, you mark my words.”
“Well, taxes are important,” said Betty, hoping she didn’t sound like a Public Service Announcement. “The library and hospital, roads and schools – you know what I mean. It’s how we pool all our money together to do the things we need to do.”
“You have a good attitude,” said Leah, pronouncing it “additude.” You’d almost think you didn’t have to, personally, pay the sales tax.”
Then, Betty’s husband’s friend Mick, who worked in Planning, came down the stairs and whizzed past the two stationary women, saying: “Hi, Leah. And hello, Birthday Girl! I told your husband to get you something nice.”
“Birthday Girl?” asked Leah of the Big Smile. “Today is your birthday? How old are you?”
“Sixty-five,” Betty squeaked.
Although it seemed anatomically impossible, Leah smiled even wider.
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