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Accountants Get Their Due
by Dennis Elam, CPA

Everybody is famous for fifteen minutes-Andy Warhol

Everybody else has had their fifteen minutes on television. In spite of the huge spate of lawyer jokes, hey, they look great on television (Law and Order). Policemen (NYPD Blue), doctors (ER), even truck drivers (Claude Akins in Movin' On) have had their moment in the sun. This fall Firemen and Emergency Medical Techs get their due on a new show. Well, enough is enough. It's high time our team got its due. Yep, coming to a network near you is the next season's hard hitting, comedy-drama. Sex, intrigue, gorgeous scenery, the inevitable black and white human dilemmas that turn togray, we'll have it all on--- THE YOUNG ACCOUNTANTS!

Clearly we need a hard driving, six beats to the bar theme song. The one Harold Faltenberg did for Beverly Hills Cop or something akin to the old Mod Squad or Miami Vice shows would be about right. And the opening shots will be catchy and dramatic. No wooden faces or green eye shades here. Let's see, we'll need a dramatic backdrop for our larger than life characters. Maybe a smaller place, allowing for great out door shots. The gang will be so financially successful they can live anywhere they want. So, hmm, how about Santa Fe, New Mexico? Our heroes and heroines will be framed shushing down the slopes, steadily peering at laptop screens while on their cell phones (during a break in a mountain bike race, of course), and, always, emerging triumphant from the IRS offices. Now to flesh out the cast.

Our hero, Braxton Slade (allowing everyone to call him Brax, for short) has graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2.5 years. While there he persuaded the railroad industry to found a $50 million scholarship fund for Indians in memory of those tribes displaced by the Westward move of the rails. He rejected law school to do something "really relevant." His graduate degree is in Forestry while he picked up a CPA after zipping through the review course, finishing in the top ten percent nationally, of course.

Sharon West is tan, firm jawed, and cellulite free. She finished at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she earned a bronze on the US Olympic ski team. Her grad degree is in Public Administration where she served an internship with Colorado's Native American Senator. This guarantees our team special insight and access to government.

Every Lucy needs an Ethel and every Cisco Kid a Pancho. So, Booker T. Washington (allowing him to be called 'Book') is the resident computer guru and detail man. He finished at Grambling while helping to build the computer infrastructure for Black Cable TV. He's hip, he's always cracking jokes, and knows more about the internet than Al Gore ever will.

OK, in our first episode, the gang is logging on to e mail while helping sponsor Special Olympics for Skiing at Vail. Over pumpkin bread and potato soup, Brax sees a distress e mail from Manuel Guiterrez. Manuel runs Santa Fe's oldest custom saddler and is facing eminent domain eviction from the City for yet another civic center / hotel. The gang hops on their King Air,
piloted by ex Viet Nam Ace, Major Skip Chapman, US Air Force Reserve. Manuel is frantic. Brax jogs across the plaza to confront Manuel's lawyer. Bernie Short, Attorney, is hiding behind and almost under his desk. Sweat is pouring off his balding head which features a few wisps of graying hair pulled sideways, Sam Donaldson style. "You can't expect me to go up against City Hall," Short retorts. Besides, the hotel firm is represented by Ketchum and Gigem, the best politically connected firm in the State. Brax does not even deem the plea worthy of comment and spins on the balls of his feet to face Sharon. Her Ray Ban Aviators glisten against her tanned face. Tawny hair falls perfectly across the sheepskin collar of her leather bomber jacket. 'Book already has the answer we need,' she replies. They run from the office and Short collapses into his chair, hands shaking. (The lawyer's hands will shake and heads will perspire a lot, on OUR show.)


Back at the office (an historic pueblo style building once used by Kit Carson as the Territorial Governor), Book already has the National Commission for the Preservation of Historic Places on e mail. Book directs Sharon to the Courthouse where she determines that Manuel is sitting on the very spot where Kit Carson and his old friend Jim Bridger witnessed the official New Mexcio statehood ceremony. The laser printer spits out the form for Manuel's tax rebate on his improvements to his historic site. Brax faxes Ketchum that their client faces Federal fines and prison if they destroy as much as one adobe brick at the saddle company. As word of Manuel's rescue spreads, the Sierra Club recognizes the gang with a special award to protect Historic Environments. The phone rings. The IRS has seized the assets of the National Lead Dogs for the Blind, asserting they are making money. The scene is set for next week's episode....and that's how we'll finally get our fifteen minutes.

Dennis Elam is a CPA lecturing at Southwest Texas University.

He is a regional analyst for the Odessa American.

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