There’s something about standing in your bedroom window, weeping buck naked while holding out an IRS audit letter that drives a killer performance. Last night I reprised my role as “Pathetic Husband” in Theater In The Open Window, a spontaneous performance art that occurs during my wife and my worst moments and with increasing regularity. For those audience members in the hot tub beneath our apartment, the window is no greater proscenium. “But they want ALL of my medical records…” I projected, flaccid though gripping the letter with great fortitude, “I had staph on my ass… the IRS is going to know about my ass staph.”
Performing naked makes one feel even more vulnerable and thus more susceptible to tears, though there is no greater tool in the method actor’s arsenal than looking at your name beneath a list of required documents and demands including, but not limited to, a three-hour interview which may or may not be a Segway into many three-hour interviews at the IRS building. Fear may be an actor’s greatest tool, but to those proud thespians who make young Hispanic children and their parents in the jacuzzi giggle and point there can be no greater muse than those who he is sharing the stage with. “Are you sure it’s an audit letter?” Spoke The Wife. Such an ear for comedic timing, that one.
“No honey, it’s a fucking Christmas letter from the IRS…” I said, extending the letter with gusto, “See where it says ‘Merry Christmas’? Capital A-U-D-I-T?” And the children outside laughed.
I staggered toward the shower, stage right, which had been my original direction prior to removing my clothes. The Wife burst forth with a shrill exclamation of, “Why are you taking this out on me!” As she threw both hands in the air.
And with The Husband’s last bit of dignity, I choked out two angry syllables before collapsing to the floor, curling into a fetal position, then seeing a large cardboard box, then trying to crawl inside the box to hide, then realizing only my torso could fit inside the box, and that my formerly staph-infected ass was probably sticking comically out the back.
“We can get a lawyer,” spake The Wife.
“Where are we going to get the fucking money for that?” I puzzled, retreating to the stage wall where I wept and moaned. It was a moment for the audience to reflect.
“They’re going to dissect me alive,” I said, referring to the three boxes of documents which were piled in the closet from previous years returns. “It doesn’t matter what you have, they’ll find something… they look for any excuse to rip you apart… They’ll take Roxy…” I trailed off, trying to pull our Cocker Spaniel close to my naked bosom as she struggled to get away. “C’mere Roxy… don’t let them take you…”