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The Plushie Tycoon Taxman’s Feelings


by illusique

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“Please state your name for the record…”

     “I am the Plushie Tycoon Taxman”

     “...and how are you feeling today?”

     “Not too bad.” I say as I rest my head on the Luxurious Sofa as I prop my legs up. “Wow..” I thought to myself. “For 1,400np this is really comfortable!” The leather is cooling on my skin, the soft cushions blended in the right positions with my body. I feel an imminent slumber creeping towards me as my eyes grow heavy.

     “Would you like to tell me about your week?”

     I snap back into reality and my eyes widen. “It’s the same as last week.” I blurt. “People were avoiding me like a plague, nobody made eye contact with me, and I could always hear people whispering about me on the NeoBoards.”

     Let me explain a little bit more about my job. I collect tax from players from Plushie Tycoon every 7 days, from the moment they begin their game, right down to the minute and second. Whenever they have more than 50,000 nps on hand, I come in and take away a certain proportion, depending on how much they have. It’s usually 5% but it ranges up to 48% when they have more than 10,000,000 nps.

     Sometimes I arrive a few minutes earlier and I just wait outside their Home Page. Oh I hear them all, the things they say… screaming to their managers to hire more workers and the rush to purchase more raw materials. All the effort they’re putting in just to ensure I don’t take any neopoints from them. Sometimes they call me names… nothing that I can’t just brush off.

     But some days… they hurt.

     “This is how my week started….”

     Sunday morning, I brushed my teeth, took a shower, put on my clothes and opened up my planner. I was scheduled to make 4 visits in the morning and 7 in the afternoon.

     The first shop I went to was really nice. They had top-notch advertisements such as Calendar Flyers, and they were giving out the most expensive candy - Chocolates. They had Cardboard Stands for their in-store promotions and they even put out a Half Page Colour Ad in the Neopian Times.

     Shop was beautiful… Deluxe Plush Carpet, Fluorescent Track Lightning, the latest Motion Sensor 4000x Store Security and a Marquee for their Front Sign.

     As I walked in… silence fell. Everyone in the shop, customers and staff, eyed me as I went from the entrance to the cashier. The owner looked at me. ‘Ah yes. I was expecting you… come with me.’

     He led me to the back room where he offered me a seat and a glass of water. He had a sly grin and looked like he was bursting with joy. He opened the cabinet behind him and took out a large ring file. Flipped it open to the first page and passed it to me.

     Purchase of Yellow Cloth… okay.

     Upgraded Store Security… okay.

     Sold 5000 Plushies… okay.

     …

     ...

     Revenue minus cost…? Cash On Hand… 49,750nps. ‘That works out to be 0nps of tax for this week, right?’ He beamed at me from across the table.

     I glanced through yesterday’s log and saw multiple purchases of raw materials in bulk… amounting to almost 7,000,000nps.

     ‘He really has gotten better at how he manages his finances. Good for him!’ I thought to myself as I stood up. ‘You’re in the clear Mr. Shray, I’ll see you next week!’

     He walked me out the door and bade me goodbye.

     Mr Shray has been a regular for the past 8 months. Week in and week out I visit his shop to collect tax… only to find out he doesn’t need to pay any. The first few months, though, he struggled. He paid tax week after week, and some weeks even went bankrupt and lost the game for that particular month. But he continued and got better and better at it. Even after earning the avatar and gold trophy he continued.

     But many others are not like him.

     …

     “That sounds like an interesting Monday! Wouldn’t you say?” the therapist says.

     “It was alright.” I say. “The highlight wasn’t Sunday, but it was on Monday, the 31st, the last day of the month.”

     The usual players who play throughout the month because they enjoy the game either pay little or no tax, but that’s beside the point, because I see them regularly. I’m sure of their existence, and I’m sure that they are contributing back to the economy by purchasing raw materials and paying their workers and rent regularly.

     The ones that I’m unsure of, are the ones who start the game 6 days before the end of the month. Rumour says that there are Plushie Tycoon guides out there that guarantee at least the avatar, if not the gold trophy as well, in a 6-day game.

     The guide teaches these players the perfect combination of managers to workers, what upgrades to purchase for their shops, what types of raw materials to buy, the crowd's favourite plushies to create so that they sell out fast. They use terms such as ‘cascading’ and ‘super stable’ and they have tricks on how to avoid paying their rents and meeting me.

     … but what happens when I come to collect tax?

     There’s nobody in sight. On the last day of the month, I’m rummaging through every single shop and it’s dead quiet. All the plushies are sold, their factories are empty, their shops are quiet, there’s nobody in their warehouses. This means the money is on their hands. Their Cash on Hands must be well over millions.

     So what… all they play for is the avatar and the gold trophy? Do they not care about the rest of us? How the neopoints don’t recirculate into the system for the raw materials? Do the graduates, trainees and managers no longer get paid for their time in factories? Just because the players do not visit their Home Page when it resets?

     They come in, and they leave, without a trace. Nothing to show for their time here, but something was taken away from us. On the 2nd day of the new month, they get a shiny new trophy and a brand spanking new avatar. And what do we get? Nothing… nothing at all.

     “That’s… unfortunate.” he chimes in. “It was only a matter of time when people managed to find out how the system works and formulate an optimal solution.”

     “That is true. But never did I expect it to make me feel so hollow. It makes my role seem like a bad person. When all I do is try and bring balance.”

     “You are not the bad person in this situation. You are just doing your job.” he ensures me. “The fault lies in those who circumvent the rules, avoid paying their rents and taxes, yet reaping the rewards from the game.”

     “Thanks doc. I feel a lot better.”

     “You’re very welcome. Maybe you should find a way to address the newer players who wish to try Plushie Tycoon. Let them know the truth behind the taxes and how you feel about this. Maybe things will get better. Have a good rest and I’ll see you at the same time, same place next week.”

     I step out of the building, look up into the sky where the leaderboard was at, all the names of the winners showing. I remember their names, and next time, should there be a next time, I will make sure to knock on their doors.

     I make my way to the Home Page to reset everything, and to prepare the entire system for another month of games, another month of learning how to do business and ultimately, how to become a Plushie Tycoon.

     ……

     I proceed to write a letter to the Neopian Times, to all aspiring Plushie Tycoons out there:

     If you’re interested, do give it a try because it awards you with an avatar if you win the game, and a shiny new trophy if you meet the requirements. There’re many guides out there to learn from and they’re easy to use. But remember, oh, do remember, to listen for my knock on every 7th day from the time you started the game.

     Pay your taxes!”

     Sincerely,

     The Plushie Tycoon Taxman.

     The End.

 
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