The wagon wheels creaked along the crooked path. The giant oaks surrounded the road as far as the tax collector and his guards could see. They stood silent, sentinels hiding what mysteries lay deep inside their ranks. Bursting out of the dense foliage, they, found themselves surrounded by a menacing group of bow wielding ruffians.
The tax man gathered his courage and stood up facing the group, “Oi, what’s this then? Clear off you heathens. We’re on a mission for the King!”
“Mission for the King you say,” replied one of the better dressed men. “Well it’s a sad day for you old fellow. Now hand over your gold! You’ve been captured by Robin Hood and his Merry Band of men.”
“Robin Hood you say?”
“I do indeed, that being I.”
“Well then you’re just the man we’re looking for! Fancy that running into you so easily and such.”
“What? You’re looking for me?”
“We are indeed! You see we’re here about your yearly tax declarations. We’ve had tales of quite a substantial amount of funds passing through your hands and well the King is owed his due! Any man of noble blood should know that. Now if you’ll kindly hand over your tax forms and pay your back fees we’ll be on our way without any unpleasantness.”
“Now see here good man! This is a robbery! Hand over your gold!”
“Now you see here Sir Hood! This is an audit! You must hand over records and gold. Besides, we didn’t bring any with us.”
Robin frowned, lowering his bow in confusion. This was not how this was supposed to go. There was a formula and routine to his way of life. Find tax man or noble, rob said person, taunt merrily, and distribute rewards to the poor. He turned to Little John.
“Oi, John, does the manual say anything about audits?”
Little John frowned and produced a tattered scroll from his haversack.
“Hmm let’s see, robbing, taunting, redistribution of financial assets, witty remarks, hmm. No, Robin, it isn’t in here.”
Robin cursed, kicking at his bow before looking up at the tax collector.
“Well. Hmm, this is something new. Well as for the records. I don’t have any, you see. We don’t really have an income per se. We’re more like middlemen between the rich and poor.”
“Redistributors,” piped in Little John.
“No income?” said the tax man. “Well that’s awfully suspicious don’t you think? We’ve had reports of huge sums of riches passing through your hands.”
“Ah but we donate every penny to charity!”
“To charity, riiiight. No matter Sir Hood, produce the receipts for these donations and I’ll be on my way.”
“Receipts! I already told you we don’t keep records! What are we going to say? Here’s some silver so you can feed your family, oh and can you sign this receipt? That’s totally against what we’re trying to accomplish out here!”
“Look, Sir Hood, I get it. Having a little crusade of our own are we? A little jab in the eye of the system. Well that’s all well and good but it doesn’t excuse you from your financial obligations. So unless you produce these documents, you’ll have to pay all your back taxes. Which come to roughly the sum of 1000 gold pounds.”
“1000 pounds! I don’t have that kind of Capital!”
“Then it’s to the stocks with you I’m afraid. Awfully sorry about this, Sir Hood, it brings me no joy. Before we go, we have to address the work permits for your Merry Men.”
“Oh bloody hell!”