In the attic of the bungalow I now call mine (with the Contessa and our creditors, of course), abandoned beneath the wood beams and moldering in a shroud of cobwebs was a weather-beaten valise. Why I was in the attic is my business (well, my wife’s), but the suitcase, or at least its contents, was once the business of the Treasury Department of the Republic of Blum.
The little suitcase was clearly manufactured in more trusting times – it had no locks, merely a loop of string keeping it secure. In fact, it only had a single working latch, which popped with only the slightest provocation of my pen. This released a torrent of dust, which I let settle with uncharacteristic patience before curiosity commanded my hands to creak the valise open. Inside, bundled in tidy stacks were thousands of individual bills, printed in gaudy hues and limned with the block-print of a dead language.
True, the fabled greenbacks of our nation’s legal tender have traveled little beyond its verdant palette, despite the recent inclusions of anti-counterfeit holographs and the scratch ‘n’ sniff patch (it smells like greed) more suited to the back page of a comic book. By comparison, pre-euro European bills are the comic book – bursting with a riot of dyes and often twice the size of our wee dollar.
The dimensions of the Contessa’s Italian-made wallet suggest it might have once been the leather binding of a slim novella. The trim size of the carefully collated lira it once contained was twice the size of the knotted greenery currently burrowed in its seam. Albeit, there is a natural heft and durability of our rag-stock that suggests it might be worth a smidge more than the paper on which it’s printed – unlike the cigarette papers stamped “Euro” across the pond (though at present writing the latter is worth half as much more).
The musty banknotes I had inherited are as delicate as ash and likely worth just as much. I’d count them out, but no matter the number, it would only confirm that I’m rich with irony. And like that blackhole “zero” on the multiplication table, whenever irony and money are multiplied, it invariably results in zero (I believe this is how hedge funds work). Still, this makes irony totally bankable in my book — far more than your paper money — though it’s precisely why my lender won’t open an escrow line of credit based on the eco-pocalypse going down and my valley abode “appreciating” into beach front property. It’s a wash that leaves one high and dry.