The Money’s Gone by Susan Gibb

They stood together in a circle around a fire that was slowly dying out. The man held out the last bit of paper, a one-dollar bill. He held it by its ends, his fingers trembling slightly, and stretched it out in front of him and stared at it a long time.

The others waited, there was no reason to rush him. He was a banker, yes; they could tell that from his suit now sooty grey. One man who used to be a mechanic on the street that used to be there found it funny that the banker still wore his tie. But then it would come in handy as a tourniquet if needed. Stranger things were being salvaged.

The banker let go of one end of the dollar bill. It flipped in the wind that blew hard and straight off the ocean, having neither trees nor structures left to slow it down. He took a few steps forward, dropped to his haunches and held the bill to the struggling flame. It flared as if it cried out with the metamorphosis into ash.

“Now what?” the former mechanic asked to no one in particular. Though some had looked to the banker as their leader, most had simply followed anyone that appeared to have a place to go.

The banker stood up, looked around beyond the people to the horizon. “I don’t know,” he said. “We just never thought…I just don’t know.”


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14 responses to “The Money’s Gone by Susan Gibb

  1. randalhoule

    “the metamorphosis to ash.” one of so many great images here. I love the halting speech at the end, underscoring the bewilderment.

  2. Thanks, Randal. I think McCarthy’s “Road” will live in my head forever.

  3. Alexandra Pereira

    Liked the images and the flow of this story. The touch of uncertainty, of mystery. Nice. :-)

  4. Nice! The money’s gone indeed! And it was ours… I like how this comes across; and all the relying on the bankers …

  5. guy

    Good one, Susan. The as-yet useless tie and burning dollar bill are powerful images.

    Maybe it’s the Road or maybe it’s the times, but something like this scene is part of our social imaginary. There have been a few stories here in that vein — even i did one back in week 9. I think it’s a good thing to pick it up & hold it to the light, turn it around, think about it.

  6. Such a crisp image, that dollar bill flaring away…

  7. Kim Hutchinson

    Powerful work here, Susan. We’ve always thought dystopia would be triggered by war, but financial collapse is far more probable, and looming. Our possibly misguided faith in money and banks and our financial interconnectedness seems like the danger of our age. Perhaps its the influx of Detroit ruin porn in my mailbox today, but the question that’s nagging me is: If one part of the country or continent falls, what else does it take down with it?

  8. wonderful, lotsa power in this scene. love the characters and the lyrical moments around the hard cash…

  9. great imagery. loved this: “cried out with the metamorphasis of ash…”

  10. Kelly

    nice – believable post-apocalyptic, hehe. So much I like about this – the setting, the pacing, the humor and above all the subtle addition of following people who seemed to have somewhere to go and the now what?

  11. Great world created in such small space, fantastic! Your details are expertly crafted, and the tone and setting is powerfully drawn. I liked the addition of humor, too; created a nice balance.

  12. Barbara Lucy Hosken

    I found it so sad.

  13. powerful, powerful stuff, the symbols, the apocalyptic feel, the desolation and desperation. thoroughly depressed now because this story is NOW. peace…

  14. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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