My father called the other day, worried about his taxes. He recently moved to a new "home" and the tax people don't have his address. Would I mind picking up some forms and sending them to him? He can't do it because he doesn't have a car. (He totalled his car last month.)
I could do that, I said, but don't the activities people organize trips to the library? You could pick forms up there.
Those trips to the library cost $7 a pop, he said. It's cheaper for you to send me the forms.
Of course it is.
I said okay, though, because I wanted off the subject. I did his taxes last year and all I can say is never ever ever again. He may not have all his faculties intact, but he can argue.
That's not the only reason I called, my father said. You know I've got a lot of bills right now.
I know, I said. (He's been hospitalized three times in as many months.)
So I was thinking I'd give your mother a call. She owes me something, don't you think? Can you give me her number?
Dad, I said, it's been five years. Let it go.
The people here don't think I should be paying alimony in my condition.
But you don't pay alimony, I reminded him.
A long pause. Okay, he said. I didn't think that would work. What about you? You got any money?
No, I said, I don't. I really really don't.
So how is that book coming? my father asked slyly.
I said what I always say, have been saying for years: It's coming.
Well, my father sighed, I guess you'll just be a one book author.