The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 May 2006

My cash ain't nothin' but trash

This morning's nightmare (I was awake at 4:30, so it had to start after that) repackages a familiar theme in new surroundings.

Unable to obtain any consistent Net connectivity, I had left home and wound up at the door of some humongous concrete box that looked like it had once housed a Wal-Mart, but Beelzebub of Bentonville had evidently fled for larger quarters elsewhere, and so what I found inside looked sort of like a flea market. There were a couple of dozen women near the entrance; I exercised my usual "Talk to one of them, anyway" directive, and got a tight-lipped smile for my trouble.

In the far corner there was an elevated section, about six feet high, and beyond it a breakfast bar. I decided the Net could wait, and loaded up a plate with items of dubious healthfulness. There were about twenty of us chowing down when someone looked up at that elevated section, and there were those women I had seen near the entrance, ready to launch some sort of rally. I never did quite figure out what they were supporting, or opposing; the language started out as some semblance of English and ended up being totally incomprehensible, at least to me. And the thing ground to a halt when it dawned on them that the logistics of their position left a great deal to be desired, inasmuch as those of us down below could quite easily see up their skirts. Sensing the makings of an Incident, I departed quickly.

I made that wrong turn at Albuquerque, or something, and after threading my way through some remarkably ill-marked streets and at least one hardware store, I found myself at the side door to this country-clubbish joint with faux-classic architecture and carpets worn more than you'd think. Curiosity won out over WTF, and I decided to stay for an event, which turned out to be some sort of dance routine (for lack of a better term) for what looked to be the world's smallest dogs. (Breed? They looked like scaled-down papillons, but without that breed's characteristic ear shape.) I paid the admittance fee with Visa and found a spot on a suitably-overstuffed sofa from which to watch the critters, though admittedly I paid more attention to the occasional child wandering through, and even more to the mysterious woman two seats over, wearing long gloves and a full veil — and a form-fitting veil at that. (Think "Claudette Rains".) I got a couple of words out of her, in a gruff Tallulah Bankhead voice, but no more.

Refreshments were served after the dance, and I snagged something vaguely cruller-like. Not wishing to run up my credit card any further, I popped open the other side of my wallet, where the actual bills were. Closer inspection proved them to be bills, but not actual; they were fakes, and not especially convincing fakes at that. (One of them, I swear, looked like its reverse side had been clipped from the Tulsa World.) I scraped together enough change to pay for the donut; amid mumbles of notifying the sheriff, and I just knew it was about me, I decided I'd better get the heck out of there.

Which wasn't going to be quite so easy, inasmuch as I'd found myself in some sort of wax museum, presumably honoring former members of this operation, and the figures, some of which weren't wax at all but bronze, were placed so close together that it was impossible to see the exit, and I don't think I'd ever have found it except that some guy on the next street over decided it was a good morning to fire up his chainsaw and I stumbled out of bed.

I've seen this counterfeit-money bit a couple of times before. Generally, I've attributed it to my own subconscious belief in some sort of caste system, with the implication that my credentials for rising out of my own not-so-lofty social stratum are at least somewhat bogus. Money, of course, is merely a means to an end, unless you're Scrooge McDuck, or perhaps the host of The Money Programme, so I tend to take it as a reminder that social acceptability and cash flow have only a nodding acquaintance at best (cf. "Federline, Britney S.").

Further analysis is left as an exercise for the student.

Posted at 8:23 AM to General Disinterest