The Fix

An almost-true story about our money
“Duff, got a five-dollar bill on you?” It was Wib. I hadn’t seen him in ages; last I heard, he was working in Ottawa. He never talked about his work. We often ran into each other at parties, near the baked cheese.

“Oh, you mean that bill you can use to score one Oscar-de- la-Renta-mocharino-with-Smarties-and-skim-Double-Devon at Fasbux?” Trusting soul that I am, I pulled one out and he took it.

Wib held it up. “Check out those kids.”

I was nervous; he was holding it just out of reach, but I squinted at it anyway.

“Kids playing hockey. So what?”

“They’re playing shinny hockey, right? Canadian as a cruller. As Canadian as rock salt on the driveway. You can’t improve on the concept, right?” He twirled some melted cheese around a bread stick and popped it in his mouth.

I wanted the five back safe in my wallet, but I toughed it out.

“But look at their heads. See the helmets . . . csa-certified, right?”

“That’s what it looked like to me. I remember the days when hockey players went maskless and toothless and cupless too. Blood on the ice—that’s what we used to be about. Not a nation of infant car seats.

“Well, we had those helmets added to the original photo,” said Wib. He sounded half-proud, half-wistful. So that was what Wib was up to in the nation’s capital—airbrushing our currency! Censoring the proud, damp foreheads of our youths. I swabbed a triangle of warm pita through the baba ghanouj and tried to quash my dismay.

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