Amoeba’s Lorica: The Once and Future Coin

A work of fiction. Standard disclaimers – especially the one about similarity of names to living persons / corporations being for satirical purposes, or coincidental.

FORT KNOX, KY (API*) The economies of the nation and the world continue to reel and totter at this hour, following the sudden and calamitous return to cold hard cash as the only acceptable form of money, as demanded by citizens across the globe. Corporate enterprises and personal fortunes created with, and dependent on, electronic funds are in ruins, their key personnel suddenly destitute, while grandmothers with 50-year-old penny stashes are among the wealthiest persons on the planet.

With specie in critically short supply worldwide, mob assaults on bullion depositories such as the one here at Fort Knox have been widely anticipated. API correspondent Maynard G. ‘Goldbrick’ Crabbe has been tracking developments, and files this report.

“To the great surprise of many, all is quiet here. Through a media assistant, the commander of the Army Garrison told us that, while troops from Fort Knox are ready to assist, with deployment plans in place, the Mint Police have not requested the Army’s assistance, nor have they requested any National Guard presence from the governor of Kentucky. No such assistance is expected to be needed.

“In a Zoom call, the Director of the U. S. Mint argued, ‘We could pile the bullion in Fort Knox outside the gate with a Free Gold sign on it, and there would be no takers. Gold’s antibiotic properties are poor. With the COVID-19 virus running rampant and mutating as it spreads, and with the collapse of the electronic monetary system having brought vaccine distribution to a halt, along with practically everything else needed to support modern medicine, gold as a form of currency may as well be paper or plastic. Silver and copper and brass, all of which kill germs, are the preferred means of exchange. If we had vaults containing these metals, we’d have half the U. S. Army guarding them right now. As it is, this conversation could end at any moment if critical electrical circuits are broken by copper scavengers.’

“This is Maynard G. Crabbe for API, signing off while I still can.”

Indeed, as ‘Goldbrick’ has reported, power, communications, and transportation failures are becoming more widespread, as everything from electric wires to car batteries to silverware is melted down for coinage, or used directly as currency to buy increasingly scarce basic commodities. Symphony and jazz musicians, already reduced to busking on street corners by the pandemic, have been assaulted, and their brass- and silver-plated instruments stolen. Saxophonists, trumpeters, and trombonists have been especially hard hit.

With plastic alternatives to these instruments being denied to their players by the anti-plastics environmental movement, these musicians face destitution. Several are already known to have joined the hordes of people who have flocked to Nevada in search of as-yet undetected lodes of copper or silver ore, risking death from exposure or trespass. Said one as he boarded a bus for Las Vegas, “May as well die in a desert tryin’ somethin’ as die in an alley, just waitin’.”

It is still unclear, at this time, just what actions led to the sudden and total insistence of society on hard money. According to one commonly-told story, a convenience store operator in a burned-out section of New York City near Broadway, already on the verge of bankruptcy and having experienced his fourth interruption in internet service, and therefore access to electronic funds transfers, in as many days, informed his customers that henceforth all transactions would be “Cash only”. His neighbors, in similar straits, rapidly followed suit, and there was little to stop the movement’s momentum, as most if not all of the city’s financial movers and shakers had moved to Austin or Miami. Whatever the exact details of its origin, within weeks the “cash only” movement had swept the nation, and evolved to insist on coin with antiseptic properties. The electronic money infrastructure, beset with computer glitches and hacker intrusions and misappropriation scandals, and increasingly regarded as ‘black magic’ even by its proponents, to say nothing of the conspiracy theorists, could not withstand the tide.

Many of the captains of electronic commerce have disappeared. Mssrs Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison were last seen in or around their compounds on the Hawaiian islands of Kaua‘i and Lana‘i, respectively. Neither has been heard from in the last two weeks, and there has been a disquieting increase in the number of internet searches on ‘cannibalism ancient Hawaii’. Mr Jeff Bezos was last seen in the vicinity of an unexplained bonfire in Seattle’s Gas Works Park over a week ago. Mssrs Larry Page and Sergei Brin were last seen touring Google’s AI Research facilities, and rumors persist that they have been assimilated.

* API = Amoeba Press International. All the News That’s Fit to Fake Print.

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