Boom (7)

We only had two more hunters come back that day. But the next day, they’d gotten the idea. About two dozen people came in to sell their Gennys. They all came to the bar. This was the Exchange. This was the Bourse. This was Ground fucking Zero and I was the one pouring the drinks.

There was still a fever pitch. They were going for thirty, thirty-five a piece. Down to twenty-five by the end of the day. Still, not a bad way to spend the day.

I got an idea. Toyed with it for an hour. It was just too good to be true. I went across to the hotel and went from floor to floor until I found a maid I knew, a local woman named Mary Anna. I told her to take a ten-minute break. I handed her six peeled potatoes that I’d pulled from the kitchen. Told her to come to the bar and say she had six Gennys for sale.

She clearly thought I was insane. Had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I told her it was a joke. But when they gave her a bunch of money, I’d let her keep a hundred bucks.

A hundred bucks was two days’ wages and she had some ungodly number of kids at home. I came back, and twenty minutes later Mary Anna showed up with six potatoes and a look of just total incredulity.

She got mobbed by men and women wearing the nicest business suits she’d ever seen. A little bidding war and six Gennys sold for thirty-two to someone who hadn’t bought a single one yet. He handed her ten grand and put the rest on a cashier’s check. She just stood there and stared, until I called her over and offered to keep it in the safe for her. All except two hundreds which she put in her pocket with her room-cleaning tips.

By the end of the week Mary Anna had quit her job and had pulled all her kids but the youngest out of school. I don’t think she became a millionaire but I don’t think she’s working as a maid anymore. In fact, I don’t think she’s working at all anymore.

The next day the boss showed up. I hadn’t seen him in months. I guess my phone call had been a little strange. He pulled me aside and asked me what the fuck was going on. I showed him the bar receipts for the last week. We were making as much money as we did during the season.

“This is because of a fucking mushroom?” he asked.

I shrugged. “It’s like a truffle. Be gone by next week, I bet. But it’s nice while it’s going on.”

He looked me right in the eye and asked me if I was making money on the side. I met his eyes and said, “Oh, yeah. I’ve made like a thousand bucks.”

He smiled. “Keep it,” he said. “You’re doing a great job.”

I was really glad he lived up in Montreal.

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~ by davekov on 9 March 2014.

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