The Unusual Equals a Story Idea

You never know when a story idea will hit you. Open up, look around and be on the lookout for the unusual, the odd, the interesting.

The other day I went into a store and bought an item for 99 cents. I handed the cashier lady a dollar bill. It wasn’t a 99 cent store. The cashier took out a black plastic marker pen that writes with a yellowish ink that they use for checking for counterfeit bills. She checked the one dollar bill. That is odd. Who would counterfeit a dollar bill?

I asked the cashier about checking the bill. She said they check all one dollar bills and they get a lot of counterfeit ones (pun intended).

That doesn’t make sense and that the germ of a story idea.

In a series of stories by Spider Robinson the barkeep would only take one dollar bills for a drink. Yes, the stories were written a long time ago and no I don’t think you could have ever bought a cup of plain coffee at Starbucks for under three dollars. The reasoning was who would brother counterfeiting a one dollar bill. My mother always said don’t miss a payment or cheat for a small amount, if you do they will lock you in prison for life, even if it’s just a dollar. If you steal a couple of million dollars you’ll be elected to congress.

Why is there no profit in counterfeiting dollar bills? It takes a very good printing press or copy machine and very good paper to counterfeit a dollar bill. Poor people, who are the only ones I could think of who would counterfeit a dollar bill, can’t afford the copy machine or the paper. If it takes thirty cents to make a counterfeit dollar bill you are making seventy cents per each bill you pass. It will take forever to make a fortune passing counterfeit dollar bills. The penalty is the same if you’re caught passing a counterfeit dollar bill or a counterfeit hundred dollar bill. They will throw you in jail for passing a counterfeit dollar bill, it’s a federal crime. So only someone in a bind or not quite thinking right would counterfeit a dollar bill.

I read that the counterfeiter gets 50 percent of the face value for a counterfeit bill when he sells them to passers. So the passer gets only 50 cents for each bill he passes.

People who handle money all day will spot a counterfeit bill if the paper is a little bit off in color or doesn’t feel right.People who handle money all day long know the feel of a real bill, so counterfeiters have to use good paper. The news report I heard says that the most counterfeited US bill is the 100 dollar bill, but that’s over seas. That makes a little more sense. Still the risk is high of getting caught.

The story could be about someone who passes counterfeit one dollar bills and why they do it. Or about the person that makes the counterfeit one dollar bills, and why they do it. It would be set in a complicated and dangerous world. Desperate people doing desperate things on the companies super copy machine.

Stay strong, write on.        Professor Hyram Voltage

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