Money is a Made Up Concept (fiction)

“I wonder if it would work for money, too.” I say to Rachel the next morning.  I’m feeling amazingly well-rested and happy.  There might just be something in this slowing down time for a better sleep or whatever.

She looks at me, ready for the next big idea.

“Well, we made up money, too, didn’t we? If we can make time do what we want, why not money?”

“Wow.  Can you imagine? We could all quit our jobs and live like we wanted to…”

At that point, Lucy bursts through the door carrying three tote bags, a stack of files and a coffee cup.  While texting.

“Oh, Ann.”  She smiles vaguely.  “I was just emailing you.”

I follow her to her office and stand in the doorway while she gets herself settled.

“So where do we stand on the Change Agent campaign?” Lucy asks, staring at her phone. I can see from where I’m standing that it’s just her icons on display. Lucy can’t actually hear when she’s reading anything. Or looking at pictures, but looking at her phone while talking to me gives her the upper hand. It lets me know that she’s more important than I am.

“Be the Change,” I correct her. And then hurry to add. “It’s going well. I’ll have the letter done by lunch time and the newsletter is almost ready to go, I’m just waiting on final numbers from Lou.”

Lou is our accountant and possibly the lynchpin that is keeping the whole organization from being brought up on charges. Lucy doesn’t really understand money or the annual budget. When she wants to buy something for the office, she looks through the monthly statements till she finds a column that has enough cash to cover what she wants to do. Then she writes a cheque.

“But there’s money in the account!” she’ll scream at Lou when he comes in for his monthly consultation.

“That’s the money that we’re sending to the kids!” he’ll remind her.

Their monthly consults make for an excruciating day for the rest of us. On the one hand, it’s the only time that Lucy’s in the office that we can actually be assured of uninterrupted work time. On the other hand, my office is right next to hers and there have been times I’ve wondered if I should call the police as the argument escalates and things fall off the desk.

Many years ago, the Board of Directors realized what she was like and insisted that all cheques must have two signatures, a policy that Lucy tries to ignore or work around every time she has an expensive idea.

“No!” I heard Rachel shout soon after I started. “I can’t sign the cheques. It has to be Lou!”

“It has to be Lou’s name,” Lucy told her.

“I’m not signing Lou’s name!” Rachel insisted. “That would be fraud and you’re not paying me enough for that.”

They didn’t speak for three days and the dream of twice-weekly yoga classes in the board room died a quiet death.

 

Lucy’s cell phone rings. She jumps and stares at it in surprise, as though she’s forgotten that it’s more than just a prop.

“Ron,” she eventually barks into it. Her hand starts to flail in the air as I back out the door and head to my office.

“What do you mean you can’t get him?”

She listens for a moment. “Well tell your boss it’s an emergency.”

I text Rachel: Mum and Dad are fighting again.

She texts back: LOL

“You’re his father!” she screeches. “It’s time you shouldered some of this burden! Fine! I’ll do it! Again.”

And then she’s storming out of the office muttering to Rachel that Dervlin has a dentist appointment and Ron refuses to live up to his responsibilities and she might as well be a single mum for all the help he is.

“Can you believe the nerve?” Rachel says when she’s gone.

“She actually believes that she’s doing all the work. What must it be like to live in that kind of fantasy world?”

“I don’t know,” says Rachel with a laugh, “but I’d sure like to try.”

And because we both know that Lucy won’t be back that day we set to and finish up the Be the Change campaign while we’ve got the window of calm.

 

“So what did you and Rachel talk about today?” Odin asked me that evening as we waited for my tea to brew. He loves hearing about our conversations. I guess philosophy is not a popular topic in his office. It’s mostly sports and how many hours everyone spent last night trying to fix the latest round of bugs in the code.

“Well, we didn’t have a lot of time to go into it, but I was wondering if maybe money works like time?”

“We can speed up money?” he asked with a smile pouring in the milk and adding the honey.

“Ha ha.” I took a sip. “Thank you. You make the best tea.”

“It’s not rocket science.”

“I know. But for some reason, yours always tastes better than mine.”

He smiles modestly and shrugs. “So, money,” he prompts.

“Well. We invented it, too, just like we invented time. So can we make it do what we want?”

“But money’s more tangible than time.”

“Is it? Isn’t that kind of like saying that time is tangible because clocks? I mean, yes there’s bills and coins, but they’re just ways of keeping track of the intangible idea. Just like clocks and timers keep track of intangible time.”

“Hmmm…” he said, reaching for the wine bottle and corkscrew. He likes to let it breathe while I finish my tea and he starts dinner. “So how do we make it do what we want?”

“Well, if I knew that… Besides, we’ve only just started slowing down time.”

“That was fun,” he lifted an eyebrow. I love that he still flirts with me. “Did Rachel have any thoughts? She’s usually up for a challenge.”

“She agreed that money is our invention, but I don’t know that she’ll ever try to work with it. She thinks money is evil or at least that she’s not meant to have any.”

“That’s too bad. She could take over the world if she let herself.”

“I know, right?”

“Guess we’re on our own with this one.”

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

“Well, maybe we can practice slowing down time again later and see what flows from there.”

“I like the way you think.”

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