Day 100: Counterfeiting day!Posted: April 10, 2011
Today’s task was to pass off an $8 bill – provided by the Book, sort of, in that both the front and the back were on one page, and not even to scale, so some photocopying was required, and the end result was obviously – obviously – a fake, though it looked like a fiver, in that Lincoln was on it – and that’s pretty funny, right, having “Honest Abe” on a fake bill? – I say, today’s task was to pass off this obviously phony $8 bill as real.
I took the fake bill down to my local Starbucks. I ordered a drink – an iced Venti six-shot 1-pump-of-white-mocha whole milk no-whip cinnamon dolce latte – which is a ridiculous drink, I know, but I had eight years to come up with a drink that I could trust a barista I didn’t know to make and not fuck up, because nobody (with a very few exceptions) ever manages to make my drink right, mine in the sense that it’s the one I used to make for myself at 5:30 in the morning so that I could talk to people in a slightly civil tone ——
Wow, I don’t even know how that digression happened.
What’s important here is that I took the fake $8 bill to Starbucks and ordered a drink that costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.53 – so an $8 is the perfect bill to use.
There were a few people in line in front of me, so I had time to size up the woman at the register. Unfortunately for me, she looked like a “no-bullshit” sort: maybe in her mid-forties, a tad brusque, looked like she probably doesn’t laugh much – not the sort of person who would think an $8 bill was funny, or like someone who I might be able to convince that it was actually real (and there are people I could convince of that, because I’m a convincing guy, and people are gullible).
I had to think quickly; how was I going to pull this off? With an avalanche of straight-faced bullshit – how else?
I ordered my drink. She told me the total, marked the cup for the bar person, came back to the register, took the $8 bill, and —
Stopped mid-motion. Looked at the bill. Looked at me. Back to the bill. Back to me.
“What is this?” she asked.
“An eight-dollar bill,” I said.
She looked at me. Didn’t say anything.
I just stared back, maintained eye contact, the faintest flicker of a shit-eating grin on my face. She’d asked a question, I’d answered: the ball was in her court, conversationally speaking. I had to stand my ground until she made a move, and she was in the same boat: we were locked in a game of $8 chicken.
It lasted a minute. Two minutes. Two and a half. Three. Five. No, not really five: probably it was only 90 seconds or so, but it was a really uncomfortable 90 seconds.
The awkward silence was broken by the barista announcing – in the general sort of way that baristas sometimes have – that my drink was ready. I waited a beat, turned, walked purposefully down to the end of the bar, picked up my drink, grabbed a straw, and strolled out of the store.
Like a boss.
…I went back in a few minutes later and paid for it.