I had always thought replicating currency was the sole domain of shady, extremely successful gangster types so it came as somewhat of a surprise when I was first exposed to dodgy bills by an old man driving a beat-up Holden Gemini while working in a drive-through bottle shop.
An elderly, yet spritely man bounded from his car one morning and proceeded to place about $300 of alcohol on the counter. When I told him the price he smiled and handed me what appeared to be 6 faded pieces of yellow paper. I’m no rocket scientist but even I can distinguish between these floppy urine-coloured bits of paper and our crisp, yellow, polymer plastic $50 notes. He’d just photocopied a $50 note multiple times and thought that’s all you needed to do. I turned the note over and saw that he hadn't even bothered to print anything on the back.
“You can’t pay with this, mate,” I said
"Money is good. Is good. I am labourer. Get paid in gesh. You take gesh? Gesh is good! I no trust banks" he replied in a thick Eastern European accent.
“I don't trust banks either but this isn't even money!”
He seemed to realise I had found out his clever ruse.
“You don’t want my gesh? My gesh not good enough for you? Well, fuck you my friend. Fuck you”
He stomped back to his car and angrily stuffed his crumpled notes into a pillow-case which was overflowing with the pale yellow notes and drove away. I didn't call the police. He’d probably just try to bribe them with gesh and make things worse.