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So it was that Peter finds a dollar bill on the street outside The Sidewalk Café; where Peter runs a tab he pays off once a month; and as he bends down to snatch it up, Peter discovers, other than his chiropractor ‘is an idiot’, that the bill stuck to the gum is not a one, but two dollar bill. Which means like a five-hundred dollar bill.., said so on YouTube.

“It’s worth so much cause so many don’t think it’s worth anything at all.”

Peter goes to a local coin store which he found on a free but infected app still in beta; and took an Uber - who was in on it - to The Dollar Bill Store; and Bill is there with a sleazy smile and sweaty handshake. Peter shows him the two dollar bill and Bill excuses himself to his office, needs to look it up – check the serial number; when two goons, undercover, but still dressed in black – covert casual - enter and tells Peter he’s under arrest for passing counterfeit money.., and if he were to cooperate with them.., you know.., ‘Things might not seem so bad.’”

“They want him to be a snitch?”

“A McCarthyite bitch?”

.., Been entrapped by a sting operation launched from the outer limits of the war on terror; aimed to thwart counterfeiters passing phony bills. Desperate for attention, agents prime the pump planting pretend two dollar bills in the street and wait for the next unsuspecting dupe, with a nagging chronic curve, to bust on at least conspiracy charges.

“They tell but do not show us that counterfeiting stats have grown, just in the last two years, to a point that has become dangerous for national security – an existential threat, to be sure. They re-boot, from old scripts, alleged plans by nefarious state-sponsored actors wanting to bring down freedom and whatever else ‘we all’ stand for; to flood the streets with malicious monies tainting the credibility of our currency with potential rates of decline in confidence that could possibly, and maybe even, exceed the existing sharp decline.

“With some pundits going so far as to suggest that future threats could effect past performance.., hard to show, or even prove any of this.., But we're told – preached to; ‘..,that it’s the lack of proof that is the proof, evidence of the seriously diabolical nature of this evil enterprise.., going undetected while wreaking havoc on our communities, our schools, our churches.., and something must be done.., think of the children.., What are you going to tell the next old lady swindled out of her life’s savings, or retired civil servant with no pension.., if we sit around and do nothing.., we need to become proactive, even pre-emptive; attack before we have to defend.’..,”

“Nobody’s buying that.”

“Fucking pre-mature ejaculation, man.”

“.., Congressman Suchansuch re- tweeted from the House floor; ‘Is it real or is it Memmorex. b/c WTF if it’s real.., WTF if it’s something & not nothing.., SMH. #think of the children."

“And if we were to actually create the problem ourselves, become our own enemy, how much easier, and profitable, it would be to detect and defeat because the threat would be us and how threatening could we be.., by becoming our own threat we remove the threat.., at least nothing a daily fistful of Librium can’t handle.., the choice is clear.”

“Librium? Too old-school.., Why not Xanax?”

“Xanax? Too obvious.., Too status quo.”

“Maybe Fentanyl.., that’s cutting-edge.., Nothing a Fentanyl patch can’t handle.”

“Man, let her finish.” 
The infamous Lee Wakenbush, an ex-intel who flaunted his clout and abused his credibility costing him his post at the Mass Surveillance Agency (MSA), for lying under oath in front of a senate sub-committee, now reborn as a major media consultant - Security Expert - and he tells us; ‘We flood the streets with phony money to stop the spread of phony money.., and they would have you believe, the conspiracy theorists, that we are crazy and/or up to no good.., that’s just unpatriotic. Right now the only phony money out there is ours, nobody else’s.., something must be working.., and a bunch of bad guys are behind bars.., I call that success.., and, for god’s sake, think about the children.‘..,”

“Fucking pedophiles.”

“.., The Agency had found it necessary, in its rabid conquest for justice, to exploit the needs of greed and post YouTube videos - psy-ops - encouraging viewers to ‘like’ and look inward - into their pockets - more specifically, for two dollar bills they say, even when divorced from inflation, are worth, like, five hundred dollars…,”


“That’s not what I heard.”

“.., and it doesn’t even matter if it’s true or not; cause that’s not what it was about.., because if Peter’s not in violation, somebody he knows must be.., maneuvering him into a compromising situation where, it would seem, what they would have him believe; his best play would be for minimum damage.., promising it could either be bad or worse.., Peter will be changed.

“They wanted to see his Facebook account.., didn’t have one. They interrogated Peter’s social media presence; and who do you link and/or subscribe to; who do you follow, who do you like.., but nothing was there. No contacts on his phone and no smart devices in his home.

“They had nothing to show so had to let Peter go, but not without first having him watch a short video on the consequences of compromised confidentiality..,

“And not without a citation, and time-served, for obstructing justice. Reasoning that if Peter hadn’t picked-up the phony bill, maybe someone more easily corruptible would have.., and who can afford a decent attorney, anymore.., unless of course you got rich passing phony money.

“‘Now that is dumb.’ Peter tells them.

“They say they know, but that it’s necessary for security…,”

“They say, ‘they know’…, shit.”

“.., As Peter left the detention center; disheveled and discombobulated, frozen in time and space, craving something salty; absent was the intent needed to pick a path. He sat down on a bus bench, watched as a bus passed him by, and couldn’t help but feel.., alone..,

“So alone.., so insignificant..,”

“Man, insignificant is right. They didn’t even bother torturing him, let alone lock him up; and they’ll lock you up for anything; cause if you are not profiting off yourself, then the market demands, someone else, profit off you.., if you’re not your own guinea pig, you are someone else’s..,”

“C’mon man, Shut-up.., She’s almost finished.., You are almost finished, right?”

“So he can’t get locked-up by authority, but does and has imprisoned himself – isolation, working odd hours from home – has been living like a hermit for years; a choice no longer chosen; doesn’t even know anyone to play solitaire with, anymore..,”


“.., Peter has long since normalized his misery; but now miles from meds, in the face of that which cannot be denied when truth becomes a lost memory.., and.., I don’t know.., I kind of lose it there.., not sure how.., I mean.., he doesn’t even remember; how can he choose if he can’t recall the choices; the context, the..,”

“Make it so he can.”

“And there goes the story.”

“Yeah, but would anybody notice?”

“Look.., what’s Peter’s worth; or anybody’s worth; in and to society, if he remains so insulated – becomes invisible - has grown so anti-social that he doesn’t know at least a few people he could turn and hand-over to the Agency.., get all patriotic and shit..,”

“It takes a village.”

“And these days, in this market, how valuable a resource could that be? Cultivate throw away relationships; patsies like a burner phone, to be tossed when shit gets hot.., wine and dine and maybe even write it off.., a necessary expense.

“If you’re in business you could have a lawyer on retainer and could write that off.., kind of the same thing..., don’t you think?”


“Dude’s got no vision.”

“Is the story even worth saving?

Peter struggled to stand then stepped-to the table of sauced scribes..,

"I got good news and I got bad news..,

"The good news - the story wasn't bad..,

"The bad news - the story wasn't good..,

"Think of the children."

And now freed from the weeds Peter shuffles off down the street; thinking about how much he didn’t want to think about.., And decides - longing for closure – that some things just shouldn’t be put into words.    




© 2018 by Stephen Ian McNaught