Writing coaches and English teachers all say to write what you know about. New author Shawn Robert Smith is an accountant so he wrote about…yes, an IRS agent on jury duty. If this sounds weird for a science fiction plot, then know his short story, Under New Leadership, works.
Smith built an intriguing back story that makes me want to learn more. Why are there 10 new alien species all in the United States? How come one (or more) are IRS agents? How does that work? I’m trying to visualize people from really far away and really strange backgrounds learning double entry bookkeeping, auditing, and taxation and coming up a bit short.
I took accounting classes years ago (so as to pass the CPA exam just in case I needed a career change) and can say that one must put a different hat on in order to think in accountant-ese. Accountants measure stuff and record stuff and the biggest conflicts are on how to do it, not whether the thing being measured is worth doing in the first place. Now we’ve aliens who fled to Earth and the US’s welcome worrying whether to double discount depreciation? This is one new back story and it’s lots of fun.
Main character Jrulnik is blessed with super hearing and discovers a plot by criminal masterminds to pool their efforts for greater profit and less bloodshed. He shows up for jury duty but gets bundled into a closet while the supposed jurors agree on new leadership for their cabal before freeing Jrulnik and blithely finding the defendant guilty. All the way through Jrulnik wants to be a good citizen, worries about maintaining the honor of the IRS by performing his juror role with care.
We have lots of mysteries. Who is the girl with purple eyes really? Where did she come from? How did we get 10 alien species all fleeing to Earth? What are they fleeing from and did anyone nefarious follow them? And last, how did the IRS survive and thrive in a world with aliens? (Or is that another way of saying that death and taxes will be with us always?)
Such a simple plot. And so much back story! I look forward to reading the novels Smith will write set in this same world. Right now this story is free on Amazon and I recommend it.