Rolling In It

January 27th, 2006 by Potato

He walked down the corridor, listening to what his coworkers were saying. As he walked by Naomi’s door, she heard her talking about him. “Oh, have you seen the car he drives? He must be literally rolling in money to afford that!” He thought that they must be talking about the wrong guy, until her friend said “I don’t think he’s all that rich: he’s had that scrape on the bumper for years without getting it painted!”

That was his car, all right. He pictured it in his head. Sure, it was a very nice car for a grad student to drive, a solid piece of sensible Japanese engineering; but it was bought used and had earned nearly 100 000 kilometers since then (on top of the 90 000 it came with). Was Naomi jealous? Possible: she did drive a Jetta. Or was this some sarcastic usage that he didn’t understand due to the part of the conversation he had missed? The puzzle would have to remain unsolved, as he couldn’t get past how much he hated the way she habitually abused the word “literally.”

Nevertheless, the idea intrigued him. The next day he went down to the bank and withdrew one quarter of his savings in 5 and 10 dollar bills (the smallest practical denomination the bank had on hand since the introduction of the $2 coin). He went home, and pulled the top sheet off his bed and carefully laid out the 21 $5 bills and the 32 $10 bills and proceeded to frolic and roll merrily, creating a great disorder and a bevy of colour. The noise of crinkling paper aroused the curiosity of the cat, who came to investigate. She jumped on the bed and was immediately put off by the shaking and rolling, and despite appearing to be perfectly happy with her lot in life, had no desire to frolic.

He also thought that the whole adventure was not nearly as satisfying as he had hoped — certainly not to the point where it deserved its own figure of speech. “Ah, I know what’s missing” he said aloud (he would say it was to the cat if anyone caught him at it), “there’s only blue and purple here. I should throw in a nice green twenty.” So he went to his wallet and pulled out the only twenty dollar bill in there, and neatly laid the crisp green bill right in the centre. Then, with great gusto and joyous intentions, he “steam-rolled” right from one end of the bed to the other, falling right off the other side.

Still, the experience left much to be desired. He briefly tried jumping on the bed, but found he was too worried about his great bulk damaging the bed frame, or jumping on a bill funny and ripping it, or losing money between the bed and the wall. He got down and collected the money making sure to keep all the heads facing towards him (there’s just something reassuring about the look Prime Minister Laurier gives you… and the geek in him always likes to picture him with pointy ears and a new haircut… and a tricorder, but you can’t really see that in the portrait on the bill).

After counting it three times to make sure the cat hadn’t run off with any, he tried to think of what to do with all that cash. Spending it frivulously was out of the question: it was too large a portion of his savings. But he didn’t want to go right back to the bank with a bunch of cash. He briefly considered using the money to pay his landlord, but it wasn’t quite enough for a month’s rent, and more importantly, didn’t want to give his landlord the wrong impression (who pays rent in cash these days anyway?). Which left the only reasonable alternative: put the money away in a safe place, and simply use the cache to refill the small amount he carried around in his wallet every day. It made a lot of sense, and required the least amount of effort: it even absolved him of the need to ever visit an ATM for the next few months.

As he opened his “safe” (really just a cardboard file box with something heavy on it to make it hard to open), and was rifling through the backup CDs of his master’s thesis to squirrel the money away, he had a fun idea. Taking out 12 of the $5 bills, he quickly stashed the rest away between the May 12 and June 3 backup CDs, and closed up the box. Running to the kitchen, he put a $5 bill in the Christmas coffee mug, and put it back on the shelf. Another bill he taped to the bottom of the fancy wine glasses that hadn’t been used in a year. He put one in the pockets of each of his two light rain jackets (this being parka weather, brrr). One was tightly folded and placed into the battery compartment of the remote control for the TV. He thought hard for a minute, and then raced to his bedroom, where he carefully placed two bills on the toner cartridge for the laser printer (ensuring that in that position they wouldn’t cause a paper jam): that would make a nice surprise the next time the toner ran low and he had to give it a shake and get black stuff all over his hands. He put a bill under the teddy bear his girlfriend gave him (the one he picked up and hugged tightly whenever she acted dumb and made him sad; it was very dusty, which in his mind was a good sign). Two went into drawer where the cold medicines were kept, one into the box with the tiny bottles of paint for his models, and the last one he put on top of his shorts, in anticipation of summer.

Then he trusted his memory to forget each and every one of those places, since there are few feelings better than finding money you didn’t even know you had lost.

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