I Think I Maybe Want to be a Scammer, I Promise?

by BronyWriter

Miss Happy Day

Just punch in the next number. Just punch in the next number. It'll be easy. No problem.

Hard Head quietly groaned to himself as he looked at the latest number on his list. The last nine calls hadn't been successful in the slightest, but that was to be expected. None of them had been as disastrous as his calls to Ponyville and Canterlot. Most of them just hung up on him, with one or two yelling. No lawn mowers, though, so that was an obvious improvement.

Hard Head took a deep breath and slowly started typing in the numbers for the latest call. He twitched slightly when it rang. He'd get past the nerves eventually. He just needed a good score to show that everything was going to be fine. Once he was comfortable in his job, he'd be good at it. The best, even. Then he could put Ponyville and all that baggage behind him.

The phone rang a few times before Hard Head heard the click of somepony answering the phone.

"Hello? This is Happy Day, wishing you a happy day yourself. Who am I talking to?"

Hard Head grimaced. From the sound of her voice, she was an older mare. Probably had a gray mane and baked cookies for her grandfoals when they came over on the weekend. Hard Head couldn't shake the image of his own grandmother as he cleared his throat and glanced down at his script.

"Er, yes, hello. My name is Legit Collector and... and I'm calling you from the offices of the Equestrian Revenue Service. According to our records you have not paid your income tax for the past three years. As such, you owe the Equestrian government three thousand, nine hundred and fifty-five bit and forty-five cents. A lawsuit has been filed against you, and failure to pay will result in your arrest, as well as the seizure of all of your assets including bank accounts, passports and property in order to pay off your debt."

Hard Head didn't hear a response for a few moments. Only silence came from the other side of the phone line. Hard Head opened his mouth to keep talking, but he was cut off when Happy Day finally spoke.

"Wh... what?" she croaked. "I don't understand. I haven't had a job for nine years! I'm a retired elementary school teacher. I always made sure to pay my taxes on time."

Hard Head's jaw tightened. "I... yes, well, our records indicate that the discrepancy happened during the years when you were still making an income from your job. I must ask you if this was a deliberate action on your part to defraud the Equestrian government, or if you merely made a mistake in filing then during the years of two-thousand and ten to two thousand and twelve."

"It must be some mistake! I always made sure to file my taxes right on the first of the year, and I never got anything saying that I'd misfiled, or anything." Hard Head's ear twitched when he heard Happy Day start to sniffle. "I never wanted to steal or anything. Honest to Celestia, I've spent the past sixty-three years being the best pony that I can be!"

"Yes, well, even the best of us make mistakes. It is good that you haven't done this intentionally. However, intentions do not change the law. You must still pay your income tax."

Hard Head's heart started beating a little faster. This was it; the call he'd been trying to get for his entire scamming career. A scared old pony who was willing to pay anything to stay out of trouble. The perfect mark. He just needed to tune out his conscience screaming at him that he was being a horrible pony. Things would get easier after the first time.

"I don't know how I can pay," Happy Day moaned. "I'm on a fixed income, and I need that money for things like medication and doctor's appointments. If I pay the full amount, I won't be able to afford things like that."

"Ma'am, which would you prefer? If you don't pay your income tax then you won't get your medication in prison, but if you, then you'll be out of prison and can maybe have ponies around you help pay for your medication and doctor's appointments."

"Maybe... is it possible that I can go on some sort of payment plan? Maybe twenty or thirty bits a month until I can get it paid off."

Hard Head quietly sighed, a small ball of pressure slowly building up in his chest. The hopeful tone she had at the payment plan idea wasn't helping matters much. Hard Head briefly considered it. Twenty bits was better than nothing, and he wouldn't have to destroy this mare's life. But no, if she had family, then they would take care of her. Maybe... maybe she could even get help from Princess Celestia or somepony like that. They had to have... something for her. Yes. Certainly. Hard Head adjusted his headset and took a deep breath.

"Ma'am, I'm afraid that I cannot do that. Our policy forbids that for the purposes of making sure that suspects do not default on their payment plans. Besides, even we did set up a plan, there would be an interest rate of between thirty-six and fifty-five percent based on the individual case, compounding, I'm afraid, and given your situation, I am of the belief that the number would be closer to the fifty-five. I'm sorry, Ma'am, but we need the full amount."

Hard Head only heard crying on the other side of the headset, and the ball of pressure increased. He cleared his throat and began rubbing it away while waiting for her to calm down. He waited for a solid five minutes before Happy Day finally calmed down enough to speak again.

"So..." She sniffled again. "So what do I have to do?"

Hard Head tightened his jaw. "Er... firstly, do you have a Barnyard Bargains around? Something that... that..." He quietly groaned. "Er... I'll be right back. I must remind you that if you disconnect the line then we shall send the warrant to your local police department to have you arrested for tax evasion."

"O-okay. I won't move, I promise! I'll be right here. I'm a good pony."

"Er... yes."

Hard Head pressed the hold button and slid the headset off. He glanced around at the ponies in the cubicles around him. They were all in the middle of their own scams. They were smiling as they went about ruining ponies' lives. One or two of them were even standing behind a co-worker high-hooving each other at her successes. They all looked so happy; like this was some kind of a game to them. Fast Talker was walking down the rows giving his support and encouragement.

As he watched, the feeling of needing to take a good, long cold shower started creeping up.

There was still a pony on the line.

Hard Head sighed and put the headset back on before turning the hold button off. "Er... Miss Happy Day?"

"Yes?" Happy Day said weakly.

"I have been talking to my manager about your case, and... and... youdon'toweusanythinghaveagoodday."

There was a pause. "I'm... sorry? What did you say?"

"I said..." Hard Head glanced back. Fast Talker was coming up to his cubicle. He had to work fast. "I said that I've been talking to my manager... and we've decided to forgive your debt so you don't owe us anything and you never really did, but--"

Happy Day gasped and began crying again, but this time Hard Head heard joy in it. "Oh, oh Celestia bless you, sir! Oh, you have done a great thing for an old mare."

"Uh-huh," Hard Head muttered.

"You're so kind and generous. It warms my old heart to see ponies like you and your generous manager as well. You are a good pony."

"That is incorrect now never accept a call from this number again."

With that, Hard Head pressed the button to hang up just as Fast Talker reached his cubicle with that oily smile of his. Hard Head's desire for a shower was increasing.

"Hard Head, my boy! How is it?" Fast Talker slapped Hard Head on the back. "Thought I heard you say to never call us back."

"Er, yes, scambaiter," Hard Head said with a forced smile. "Completely gave me the runaround for a few moments, but it didn't take me too long to figure it out." Hard Head pressed a button on his phone. "Just blocked the number so nopony else here can call her and we don't waste time."

"Yeah, we get those every now and again," Fast Talker said, a scowl crossing his face. "Some of them are really good. Disgusting, is what it is. We're working hard and they're mocking us! We have better things to do with our time."

"Uh, I can think of worse things to happen during calls besides scambaiters," Hard Head replied, glancing at the floor. "Much, much worse."

"Well, in any case, back to it," Fast Talker said, motioning to the list. You're on for another seven hours, so there's a lot of money to be made!"

"Oh, of course," Hard Head said, forcing a smile on his face. "I look forward to bringing you my results at the end of the day."

"As do I," Fast Talker said, slapping Hard Head on the back hard enough to knock the wind out of him for a moment. "Let us know if you need anything."

"Yeah..." Hard Head tightened his jaw and wheeled his chair back to watch Fast Talker continue going down the line. He went back to his desk and looked at the next number. Maybe it wouldn't be a frail old mare next time.