“I jumped out of his reach to where Buck, Washington, and Sasha were. I saw them folding themselves as small as they could and squeezing themselves into the buttons. I was the one that got folded the most and I fit the smallest. The bank manager looked towards the buttons, but he didn’t see us. He just pushed one. That was the one that Buck was in. Buck zoomed back with the button.”
Hi This is Me
Hi. I’m a dollar bill. I’m here to tell you the story of how many homes I travel to. I travel to at least one hundred homes every week! This is the cycle: I go from the MINT, to the floor, to someone’s pocket, to someone’s house, to the store, to someone’s house, to the floor again, and so on. No one could ever find a way to keep me. That’s when I visited a bank. Oh, somebody finally found a way to keep me, and I couldn’t get out! I heard that person’s mom call her Imali. When Imali put me in the bank, I was so happy I finally didn’t have to get thrown around everywhere! I kept on getting folded so I could fit in someone’s pocket. I feel loose now. When I got folded for the first time, I cried. I was so scared that I was gonna die and I was gonna leave my mom, the ten-dollar bill and leave my dad, the twenty-dollar bill, and my brother, the five-dollar bill. Besides, I was the youngest. The one-dollar bill. It’s the one that gets used the most. It’s the one that gets lost in five seconds. It’s the one that no one cares about — except Imali.
Imali is the one that loves one dollar bills. I have a lot of friends now. I’m with them right now. Their names are Washington, Sasha, and Buck. They are also one dollar bills. We usually play robot with the buttons inside the bank. But we still get moved from time to time because some of those buttons that we push aren’t good. I love the bank, and Imali comes to visit us every month to put more one dollar bills in the bank. She has over 250 dollars in one-dollar bills. Not all of them are nice, but I still play with Washington, Sasha, and Buck.
Sasha is my best friend, but Washington and Buck play with us too. When we play robot Buck’s usually the robot, and we push him against the wall playfully. Buck is always the first one to volunteer to be the robot. Washington is more of a learning type, so whenever he plays robots it’s usually just to see what the buttons do, but at least he’s playing. Whenever Imali comes she doesn’t know that we’re alive, she just thinks we’re little pieces of paper that pay for stuff, but we know the truth. Imali still treats us like we’re alive. We can tell she thinks we’re not alive. From the books we’ve heard her read, we’re aliens to her. I’ve heard that aliens are green, and we’re all green. I heard aliens were from space though, we’re from the MINT.
For Washington, he didn’t get thrown around, he didn’t do the money cycle. He just got put straight into Imali’s hands. He tells us stories all about it. Once he said that he was given to Imali. None of us believed him though, and he always tells us that the guy that gave him to Imali was named Benjamin, and I told him that Benjamin was Imali’s dad’s name. Right then and there I had a plan. I was going to write a letter to Imali to ask her if her dad worked at the MINT. Then Sasha told me there was no way to get paper or pen.
Then Buck said, “We’re money. We’re paper.”
Then Sasha said, “But, smarty pants, we don’t have a pen.”
Buck said, “Right, we don’t have a pen! How are we gonna get a pen?”
I said, “I have a plan. When Imali comes next month she’ll probably have a pen. All banks have a pen. Then when she puts some more money in I’ll reach into her shirt pocket and take out a pen. Is there any possibility of anything bad happening?”
Washington said, “Let me calculate that.”
Washington thought for five minutes.
Then he said, “Yes. I’ve thought of at least ten things that can happen badly.”
Sasha said, “Okay, then tell me.”
Washington said, “So one, Imali might not have a pocket on her shirt. Two, even if she does have a pocket on her shirt she might not have a pen on her shirt. Three, if she does have a pocket on her shirt still she might not have a pen there, she might have a pen on her jeans pocket. Four, she might not be wearing jeans, she might be wearing shorts. Five, her mom might put the money in the bank.”
Then Sasha said, “Stop. Her mom definitely has a pen in her purse.”
Washington said, “You just interrupted me. Six, her mom might not be wearing a purse. Seven, you don’t know for sure that her mom’s gonna have a pen in her purse. Eight, even if her mom does have a pen in her purse, how are we going to get in her purse? Nine, even if we can get in her purse we don’t know where she would keep a pen. Ten, we don’t know how long it’s gonna take for either to get the money. They might get up too fast, and we might get stuck with them!”
Why are you so Negative?
I said, “Why are you so negative? All of those have a chance of happening, but that’s because you always say stuff that’s just too worrying.”
“I’m just trying to be safe. You asked if anything wrong could happen, and I told you. Now if you want to do this plan we need to sleep. We’ve stayed up for months.” Washington moaned.
I said, “Okay. Let’s go to sleep. See you next month.”
They slept for months and months even though they meant to sleep for one month they slept for five!
When I woke up I saw Imali and she looked way older than she had before. Her mom was singing happy birthday. And after she finished singing that she said she was 11 years old. The last time I saw her she was only 10 and 7 months. And now she’s 11?!
“We must have been sleeping for more than a month,” I told Washington and Sasha.
Sasha said, “Is Buck still sleeping? He’s usually the first one up to play robot. He must have stayed up for years!”
Then Sasha woke up Buck. She said, “How old are you Buck?”
He said, “The same age as Imali. Ten.”
Washington said, “Actually Imali is eleven.”
“What?!” Buck exclaimed.
Then Sasha said, “Today is Imali’s birthday, and we’ve been sleeping for five months.”
Buck said, “Wait, so Imali is older than me?”
Then I said, “Yeah.”
Washington said, “What’s the longest you’ve stayed up for?”
And Buck said, “Why do you need to know?”
“Because you’re usually the first one up, and you were the last one up,” Sasha said.
Buck said, “Okay. The longest I’ve stayed up was seven years.”
Then Washington said, “Seven years? The longest we’ve stayed up was one year! What have you been doing for seven years at night?”
Buck said, “Playing robot.”
“For seven years straight? That’s crazy!” I said.
“She’s right,” Washington said.
Buck said, “Whatever. We need to take the pen and make the note before Imali and her mom leave!”
“Wait that’s not Imali’s mom! That’s her dad.”
Washington said, “And that’s Benjamin!”
Sasha said, “Yay that’s good! Now we don’t have to struggle to make a letter. We know that Benjamin is Imali’s dad and works at the MINT. And we also know that that’s how you didn’t do the money cycle. If you didn’t go through the money cycle how come we all did?”
Washington said, “Because I was the first piece of money Benjamin touched at the MINT, and he knew that Imali loved one dollar bills, so he gave me to her.”
Sasha said, “If you knew that then how come you didn’t tell us the entire time?”
“Cause you never asked,” Washington replied.
“So exact,” Sasha said.
“Do you think that’s why you’re so smart?” I asked.
“Yeah! Because my brain didn’t have to go through the money cycle it’s fresh.”
Sasha said, “I’ve been watching Imali and her dad, and they haven’t left yet.”
I said, “I’m the best at hearing humans, let me hear what they’re saying.”
I listened and I hear Benjamin saying, “I need to take the money. My daughter wants a Fisher Price small car.”
The bank manager said, “Oh! One of those cars that kids can drive themselves?”
Imali said, “Yeah except I want one for big kids.”
“Yeah,” Benjamin said. “She wants a convertible. All the kids in her school want them, and now she has a chance to get one. She thinks it’ll bring her lots of playdates.”
The bank manager said, “Yeah it sure will. My daughter wants one of those too.”
“She has $300 in there,” Benjamin said.
The bank manager said, “That sure is a lot of money for a ten year old. Alright I’ll give you the money.”
Imali said, “Yes! I finally get a car!” And she did her victory dance.
Benjamin said, “Hold on, you didn’t get it yet. We’ll go to the store right after this.”
Then I saw the bank manager walk toward us. I told Washington, Buck, and Sasha to hide behind the buttons, and I jumped to the bottom of the pile of money. I saw the bank manager pick up all the bullies and I felt so relieved. I saw him reach for the last bit of money, and I was getting scared.
I jumped out of his reach to where Buck, Washington, and Sasha were. I saw them folding themselves as small as they could and squeezing themselves into the buttons. I was the one that got folded the most and I fit the smallest. The bank manager looked towards the buttons, but he didn’t see us. He just pushed one. That was the one that Buck was in. Buck zoomed back with the button.
Washington asked, “Why is Buck zooming back? And why is the button zooming back with him?”
Then Sasha said, “Finally, something I know and you don’t! Because the bank manager pressed the buttons too hard.”
Then Washington said, “Hey, just because I’m smart and fresh from the mint doesn’t mean I know everything.”
“I know,” Sasha said.
They heard Buck screaming for help. They heard him saying he was in a different bank account with one-hundred-dollar bills. And they were all mean.
He heard them saying, “Why’s a one-dollar bill in here? You don’t belong in here, we’re one-hundred-dollar bills? You’re a one-dollar bill! My owner doesn’t want one-dollar bills! He only wants one-hundred bills! And if he sees a one-dollar bill in here, he’ll be mad!”
Buck said, “Well, I didn’t wanna be in here! The bank manager just put me in here.”
A hundred-dollar bill said, “You don’t even know the bank manager’s name? How about this. I’ll give you a hint. It sounds like Larry. Except with an H. And it ends with an I.”
“So, is it L-A-H-R-I?
The hundred-dollar bill said, “Yes.”
Another hundred-dollar bill asked, “Why did you give him such an easy hint? You practically told him how to spell it!”
Buck said, “Whatever. I don’t care. I just want to get back to my friends, Sasha, Washington, and Sika.”
Then, a one-hundred-dollar bill said, “What kind of name is Sika?”
Buck said, “It’s an African language, Akan.”
A hundred-dollar bill said, “How long have you known this girl Sika?”
“Since I went to the bank for the first time. And that was nine years ago. Since she was two. I’m ten, Sika’s twelve, Washington’s thirteen and Sasha is eleven. And our owner’s name is Imani.”
The hundred-dollar bill said, “Why are so many of you named money?”
“What do you mean?” Buck said.
The hundred-dollar bill replied, “Well, you’re named Buck. Buck is one dollar. Washington is on the one-dollar bill. Imani means money in a European language, and I know her dad, and her dad’s name is Benjamin, and Benjamin means a hundred dollars. And the bank manager’s name is Lahri, and that means money in an African language. And Sika means money in Akan language, like you just told me.”
Buck was stumped. He wanted to know too. So he just said, “My friend Washington would know, he’s the smartest dollar ever.”
The hundred-dollar bill gave him a stern look.
Buck said, “But you’re very smart too. You knew that all of those names meant money.”
The hundred-dollar bill was actually liking this guy and wasn’t being mean anymore. Washington, Sika and Sasha didn’t hear him screaming anymore, but they were still thinking of a plan to get Buck out of the other bank account.
“I’ve got a plan,” I said after a long four hours of thinking. “One of us can get a rope and one of us can hold the rope while one us gets Buck and then when one of us gets Buck one of us can pull them back.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Sasha said.
“Yeah,” Washington repeated.
“So who wants to get Buck?” I asked.
Sasha screamed “Me!”
“Okay. I guess that means I’ll hold the rope,” I said.
“Where are we gonna get a rope from?” Washington asked. He paused and said, “Ohh yeah! We can get a rope from the back of the bank account. Lahri always keeps a rope in there in case of a robber.”
Before you could say “Let’s go,” Sasha had the rope and was running down the place that Buck went down.
When she got to Buck she yelled “Pull!” and I pulled them back.
It’s So Scary
“Yay! They’re back. We missed you so much,” Washington said.
“We’re so so happy you’re back!” I said.
“I’m so happy I’m back too because those hundred-dollar bills are kind of mean.”
Sasha me tooed him. None of us noticed the bank manager talking to angry Benjamin.
Benjamin was saying, “My daughter wants that car and she is going to get it, because it’s her birthday. I still need four more dollars.”
Lahri said “Sir, I tried to get all of the money.” Benjamin gave Lahri a look. “But I’ll check again, sir.”
Lahri saw the last four dollars and he didn’t wait a second to get them. The four friends were getting picked up and and they were scared. Two big hands twice the size of them were squeezing them so hard they could throw up. Lahri hands the dollar bills to Benjamin and Imali screams of joy.
She says, “I’m gonna get a ca-ar! I’m gonna get a ca-ar!” Then, they leave the bank and go to the car shop. While they’re going to the car shop, Sika was saying all the reasons why she wanted to stay at the bank. “Reason one: I want to stay at the bank because I’ll be safe from doing the money cycle. Reason two: because I like playing robot. Reason three: Because I won’t ever be able to see my friends again after we’re in the cash register. Reason four: I won’t be able to ask Buck how old he is. Reason five: Sasha won’t be able to say ‘Smarty Pants’ to Buck.”
Then, Washington said, “Why do you have to be so negative? We don’t know that we’re never going to see each other again.”
Then, Sasha said, “How about we do something to keep our minds off of being spent? How about we play robot in the wallet with credit cards?”
And then Buck said, “I want to be the robot!”
We all said simultaneously, “We know!”
Then Buck said, “I was just making sure.”
When we got there, we knew that we were only getting spent for Imali’s birthday, and we were happy for her. She chose a blue convertible and one of her friends was at the shop, too. Her friend asked her for a ride home and that was it. We were going to go through the money cycle again. We were going to get folded again too, but hopefully someone puts us in a bank again, and hopefully that’s a kid, because kids are the best money owners. They’re the most fun.