I currently have on hold a man from "The Inland Revenue" who has called to let me know I owe ₤26,000 in tax. I pointed out I live in France and pay my taxes here but he said this was,
"Because of the Brexit"
I am dragging the call out for as long as possible.
As the call is developing my command of the English language is deteriorating so I am forcing him to repeat his questions over and over again. I can hear his blood pressure rising. I just asked him,
"What is a bonk account?"
He shouted at me, I think he's losing it,
" A BANK ACCOUNT, YOUR MONEY BANK ACCOUNT !"
"O" I said, "that makes sense, yes I have a bank account with the International Bank of Neasden"
He's trying to be professional again,
"What is your occupation?
"I breed swans for the Commonwealth of Nations World Championship of Swan Racing."
I've kept them on the line. I have been passed to his 'supervisor' to discuss my "rebates" as I said I didn't think they had been taken into account. He asked what they were,
"Swan food / Swan transportation / Swan accommodation / Swan racing helmets / Swan goggles"
He hasn't given up. I have told them I need a Council Yard Geo Net reference or "cygnet number". He's coming back to me.
Well he was persistent, I think at one point he went off and Googled 'cygnet' because he said,
"that's the big white bird" and I replied, somewhat wistfully
"You should see them racing, it's a sight as they sweep through the final turn six abreast with the sun at their backs"
He tried hard to drag the call back to matters taxation but I wasn't having it. I offered a bribe, if he agreed to "turn a blind eye" to my problem I would provide him with two VIP tickets to the 'Barnsley Open Swan Racing Regatta and Disco Hog Roast' but he wanted money.
I had another suggestion, 'Swan Dollars'.
I said within the Swan racing community Swan Dollars were as good as any other currency and I was sure the 'Inland Revenue' would be happy to accept this. I suggested he check with Department of Money in London to confirm this.
He became insistent,
"No, no sir we must have Pounds or American Dollars" I affected surprise,
"Her Majesty's Government accepts payments in US Dollars but not Imperial Swan Dollars. The ISD has a legacy going back to the days of Edward the Confessor, explain yourself !"
He was close to begging,
"Please sir, please sir we must have proper money, you must pay this bill today to avoid being arrested and your house being taken away"
I gave him a moment,
"House taken away? Well I tell you, you'd be doing me a favour with this dry rot I've got"
While he was still reeling from that I followed up with,
"When the Inland Revenue send me a new house don't forget I need river access and Swan accommodation. Those are both deal breakers for me"
I think I heard him cry a little,
"Please listen sir"
I interrupted him,
"Also no tigers or lions within a 5km radius. Nothing upsets a racing Swan more than big cat growling at night"
He lost patience
"Stop talking and listen, you must pay this money today, do you understand?" he shouted.
"So where are we on the Swan Dollars?"
Remarkably this was still not enough to get him to hang up. He tried another approach,
"Sir, I must call the police now if you do not make this payment"
"Well good luck with that, last week we called them for a stale cheeseburger problem and heard nothing back"
"Sir, I am calling the police now, they will be coming to arrest you and take you to the prison for the night"
I threw him a bone,
"So if I pay now all this goes away?"
"Yes sir, it all goes away" he sighed lightly and became warmer
"OK, then I will come visit you today"
The suggestion of a visit clearly stumped him for a while because there was silence until somewhat warily he said,
"What do you mean?" I perked up.
"I'm less than 10 minutes drive from you, I can call in and pay it straight away. I'm getting my coat now"
"NO SIR - NO SIR!!"
"What's the matter" I said
"We are a special office, you cannot visit any office you must make the payment to us" he was very insistent (and quite shouty)
"No problem - tell me where you are, I will be there today" He didn't like that at all,
"No visits are possible here"
I pushed further,
"Well I have to go into town anyway so I will just call into the local HMRC office anyway to tell them what is happening to stop any police visits. They might well choose to take the money there and save us both the trouble. I want to help you"
"LISTEN TO ME"
He was not happy. Any pretence of composure disappeared,
"Are you an idiot, why don't you listen, I am sending the police now do you hear me?"
I said nothing, I let him calm down and then I said,
"How's the weather in India today?"
The reaction to the question was really quite enjoyable, he ranted, he raved, he called me every swear word imaginable as the reality hit him that I had strung him along for nearly two hours. I didn't help by laughing uproariously all through his rant.
Later he rang back
Seeing the number I was calm as I answered the phone. I adopted an Indian accent,
"This call has been intercepted by the Cyber Crime unit of the Delhi Police, stay on the line an officer will be talking to you in a moment" I heard swearing in Hindi and he put the phone down.