The chief of detectives shoved his hands into the pockets of his trenchcoat and tugged at the brim of his fedora. “We’ve got a murder on our hands, gentlemen.”

“Aw man, on New Year’s Eve? Who’s the stiff?” asked the sidekick character. (One thing about detective stories, starting with Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson and continuing through Kinky Friedman’s Ratso, there’s always a sidekick character.)

“Some guy named Cuts. Bush Tax Cuts. He died right at midnight, and it looks suspicious. And it’s too bad. I mean, it’s usually too bad, and I don’t usually like to get sentimental over stiffs, but it seems like this guy did a lot of good,” said the chief of detectives, fumbling with the wrapper of a Nicorette. (One other thing about detective stories, starting with Sherlock Holmes’ pipe and continuing through Kinky Friedman’s cigar, is that the detective always smokes. But times are changing.)

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said the sidekick. “How old was he?”

“A kid, basically,” replied the chief of detectives. “Depending on how you count, he was either 11 or 9.”

“Wow, that’s young,” said the sidekick.

“Well, yes and no,” said the chief of detectives. “A lot of people thought he was going to get killed about four years ago, or two years ago, but he lasted longer than anyone thought. Even now there’s talk about trying to resurrect or save some parts of him, but if you ask me that’s something different entirely.”

“Huh?” said the sidekick.

“Ah, forget it,” said the chief of detectives. “The truth is, violence runs in the family.”

“Huh?” said the sidekick. (Another thing about detective stories is that the sidekick exists to make the detective look smart by comparison.)

“Remember that Reagan Tax Cut case we had a couple decades back?” the chief asked.

“The one where the vice president did it?” asked the sidekick.

“Yeah. That time around the stiff was just five years old. And the perp in that one was this victim’s pop,” said the chief of detectives.

“Man, so all that stuff they teach at the Harvard School of Public Health about violence running through families over generations and the need for early intervention is actually true,” said the sidekick.

“Hey, watch it. You’re supposed to be the sidekick, not some kind of social worker,” said the chief of detectives.

“Alright, so whodunit?” asked the sidekick.

“You mean, ‘who did it?’” said the chief of detectives.

“I’m just the sidekick, not some kind of endowed professor of grammar and elocution,” said the sidekick.

The chief of detectives shot the sidekick a withering glance from beneath his raised eyebrows and lowered fedora brim, and waited.

“Alright, who did it?” said the sidekick.

“That’s better,” said the chief of detectives.

“Well, there’s a number of possible suspects, starting with the stiff himself.”

“I thought this was a murder, not a suicide,” said the sidekick. “You hauled me out here on New Year’s Eve for a suicide?”

“Well it is true that Bush Tax Cuts had set himself to expire at year end. But the mental health experts say that if they really plan to kill themselves, they don’t talk about it. The talk is just a plea for attention,” said the chief of detectives.

“Now look who’s talking like a social worker,” said the sidekick.

The chief of detectives smiled.

“So if it wasn’t a suicide, whodunit?” asked the sidekick.

The chief of detectives glared at him.

“I mean, who did it?” said the sidekick.

“Well, one suspect is a character called Spending. Government Spending,” said the Chief of Detectives. “Believe me, if Government Spending wasn’t out of control, no one would have wanted to kill Bush Tax Cuts. They needed to kill the Bush Tax Cuts to pay for Government Spending.”

“But wait,” said the sidekick. “If they really needed to kill Bush Tax Cuts to pay for Government Spending, then why this talk about resurrecting or saving part of him? The part they want to leave dead—the top one percent or two percent—wouldn’t really make much of a dent when it comes to paying for Government spending.”

The chief of detectives glared at the sidekick again. “Hey, that kind of deductive reasoning is the work of the lead detective, not the sidekick. Didn’t anyone ever tell you the sidekick exists to make the detective look smart by comparison?”

“So if it wasn’t Government Spending and it wasn’t a suicide, whodunit?—I mean, who did it?” asked the sidekick, catching himself as he saw another glare descending over the chief of detectives’ visage.

“Well, at the moment, the lead suspect is a guy called Obama. Barack Obama,” said the chief of detectives. “It’s actually a pretty clear cut case. We’ve got him on videotape saying he was going to do it. Actually, he uses some milquetoast language like ‘ask the rich to pay a little bit more.’ At the time no one took him seriously. They thought no one would get Bush Tax Cuts, especially after Obama hung around him for four years and never went in for the kill, or at least could never get past Bush Tax Cuts’ bodyguard, House Republicans. But that’s when Bush Tax Cuts got vulnerable. He let his guard down. He thought he’d live forever. ”

“Sounds grim,” said the sidekick.

“It is,” said the chief of detectives. “Maybe the next Tax Cuts will be more careful.”