Monday, April 18, 2016

A Very Taxing Day :)

It was tax day, but Bart Maverick wasn't worried. He'd had his taxes done for weeks. He'd taken all the deductions to which he was entitled and had even remembered to report his gambling earnings as income.

Best of all, Bart had already received a fat refund check which he'd just cashed at the Second National Bank in the town of Walnut Hill, Wyoming. He was on his way to a big poker game at the Last Chance Saloon, when he was stopped in the street by a well-dressed man and woman.

"Excuse me, sir--did you just cash a check at the Second National Bank?" the man asked Bart.

"As a matter of fact, I did, although I don't think that's any of your business," Bart replied.

"Oh, but it is, sir," the woman insisted. "You see, we're from the United States Treasury. We've had our eye on this bank because there's been a rash of reports of counterfeit currency."

"Fake money?" Bart asked.

"Exactly," the man answered.

"So, we're here to inspect your money, to ensure that it's genuine," the woman explained.

"Oh, I'm certain it's genuine," the gambler stated. "After all, I've seen more than one $1000 bill in my time."

"$1000?" the woman echoed, her eyes widening.

"I actually have more than $2000 here, so I'm doubly confident that it's real," the gambler stated.

"Then it's mandatory that we inspect your money," the man told Bart. "Any amount over $2000 is subject to automatic inspection."

Bart's eyebrow raised in suspicion.

"How do I know you're really from the Treasury?"

The man quickly flashed a badge which was pinned under the lapel of his fancy suit coat.

"Okay. So, what do I need to do?" Bart asked.

"Just show us the money," the woman smiled.

Bart handed his refund to the woman, who removed a small magnifying glass from her purse and began carefully inspecting the bills.  

"I'm kind of in a hurry--will this take long?" he asked her.

"It shouldn't take any time at all," the man interjected. "Unless..."

"Unless?" Bart repeated.

"Unless it's counterfeit," the man said.

"Then what happens?" Bart asked.

The man paused for a moment and answered, "Then it will be confiscated."


"Oh, but as you said, sir, I'm sure it's genuine," the man assured Bart with a grin.

Suddenly, the woman sighed.

"Oh dear..."

"What's the matter?" Bart asked anxiously.

The woman shook her head and dramatically intoned, "It's just as we feared. Counterfeit. Every last bill!"


Bart felt as if he was about to faint.

"But not to worry, sir. We're going to take this worthless money back to Washington, DC, and have it analyzed by a top team of investigators. Then, we'll track down the culprit who is spreading this counterfeit currency. Why, just think, sir--you're helping the government with an investigation of the utmost importance!" the man told him.

"But, who's going to help me?" Bart asked. "I'm broke!"

"There, there, we'll make sure you're well compensated for your cooperation," the woman cooed.

A loud whistle sounded.

"Please excuse our haste, sir, but we must catch the train back to Washington," the man said, tipping his hat.

The couple hurried to the station and disappeared onto the departing train.

"Wait! Wait!" Bart cried, running after the train. "I don't even know your don't know my am I supposed to be compensated?!"

Bart stopped. He felt like all was lost, until he suddenly remembered: he had a $1000 bill pinned inside his jacket! So, it was off to the poker game after all. He joined the game with his $1000 bill.

A small man with a neat mustache and a derby hat sat across from Bart.

"Hey you!" the man cried. "What makes you think you can come in here with a counterfeit bill?" 

Bart was aghast.


"Where did you get it?" the man demanded.

"In Denver," Bart answered.

"That explains it," the man replied. "There's been a rash of counterfeit currency reported there."

"What about here in Walnut Hill?" Bart asked.

"Naw, there's never been any fake money found here...until just now."

"By any chance, are you with the US Treasury?" Bart asked the man.

"Why, did you know?"

"And, by any chance, do you have a couple other agents, a man and a woman, who are very well-dressed and who go around inspecting people's money?" Bart continued.

"Not that I'm aware of," the little man answered. "But--that description fits a couple of swindlers we've been investigating for some time. Do you know where they are now?" 

"They said they were taking a train to Washington, DC."

"Why, thank you for that information, Mr...?"

"Maverick. Bart Maverick."

"Thank you again, Mr. Maverick. Once those scoundrels are apprehended, we'll make sure you get the reward!"

"Um, could I possibly have an advance on that reward?" Bart asked the Treasury agent. "You see, I've had a very taxing day." ;)