by Jake Christie

CAPITAL IDEA.
a story.

Every piece of money the government minted that year was edible – and, truth be told, quite tasty. It would have been a beautiful little piece of marketing if the money tasted like mint, but it was somewhere between French bread and whole wheat. Besides, the treasury didn't really want to publicize the new edible currency. The change was supposed to be a gradual one, a slow phasing-in of the new money and phasing-out of the old. They didn't expect anyone to discover what they were doing – and why would they? As the old phrase goes, “you can't eat money.”

Somebody found out, of course. It's not clear how or why they decided to try and eat their money, because it was indistinguishable from the old – designed and tested to feel, smell, and look the same, and to last just as long. But some genius took a bite out of a twenty, then went to town on his change jar, and the next thing you know he'd posted a video of the whole thing on the internet.

As the news spread people split into two camps: hoarders and eaters. The eaters made a run on the banks, taking out new ones by the sheet and new pennies by the roll. Why spend that money on food when they could cut out the middle man? The hoarders, on the other hand, realized that the more money the eaters devoured, the more value their hoards would accrue. And besides, if things really broke down and went to Hell, they'd have a ready supply of food in their safes.

So the government's big plan to give money more tangible value, a secondary value, worked, in a way. They wanted real money to mean something more, and all of a sudden it did. The only caveat was that they could never go back. The prevailing knowledge, money's value in the citizenry's consciousness, had changed. Having physical cash in hand took on a whole new meaning, because if worse came to worse, hey – you could always eat money.


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