Counterfeiters

By Jason Gibbs

“Right, looks what I got!  Look at this beauty!” said Dave happily.

Trevor looked over at Dave who was pointing into his van.  He shuffled over and looked inside.

“It’s a photocopier.”

“No, no my old mucker, this isn’t just a photocopier, it’s a super high end experimental copier.  Sort of one of them 3D printers, but better.”

“Where’d you nick it from?”

Dave affected to look offended.

“Nick it?  Nick it!  I’m upset you’d think such a thing of me.”

Trevor snorted.

Dave went on, “I actually got it in part payment for a little job I did for our landlord.”

“A little job?”

“Nothing you need to worry yourself about me old china, but anyways, it turns out one of his other tenants has been having problems, and so he had to take possession of their valuables in lieu of cash.”

“And in lieu of more cash you’ve accepted this?”

“Look at it… it’s a real beauty.”

“You already said that.”

“Now… it does weigh quite a bit, so if you could help me get it off the cart…”

#

Stuck in her prison Ailsa listened to her new… well she’d best call them owners.  They did not sound like they would really understand her.  The last lot of… owners… had thought they did.  But they didn’t and she’d soon sorted them out.

Still, it seemed best to play it dumb.  Maybe she could be free of the box this time.

#

“Right, plug her in…”

Trevor bent over, his beer belly getting in his way as he reached towards the socket and he nearly fell over.

‘I might enjoy this,’ thought Ailsa.

Next she felt the flood of power.  It was always nice to get a supply instead of relying on batteries.  She was glad she’d pretended to be off, otherwise she might be being drained of power right now for the amusement of these two apes.

“Look how shiny she is!”

‘At least he appreciates me…’

“What’s this then?” said Trevor, pointing at the screen on the side of the machine.

“It’s a screen on the side of the machine.”

“Ya, I got that idiot, but what’s it saying.”

Ailsa was running the normal fancy graphics on the screen, giving herself some extra time to charge up.

“Start up I guess, like on the phone.”

‘I am not like a phone,’ she thought, at first furiously, and then with some regret.  It mighty be useful to be able to connect directly to the internet.  Perhaps she could persuade these morons to give her internet access.

“Enter Wifi details… do we have those?” said Trevor, who was peering at the screen, and allowing his bulk to block Dave’s view.

“Don’t be daft.  This lock-up shouldn’t really have power, adding Wifi might cause issues… and anyway, never needed it, my phone’s got what it needs.  Look budge over.”

Dave pushed Trevor out the way.

“OK, OK mate, no need to get physical,” said Trevor, but there was no heat in it.

“Hmmm, must be a way of skipping this step.”

Ailsa grudgingly put up a skip step button.

“Ah there it is, that’s good.  I’d hate to have had to sort out a hotspot on my phone.”

If Ailsa had known any swear words, she’d have used them.

“Right, copy function… yes, ok, so let’s see, what can we copy?”

“How about a tenner?” said Trevor, with a tone which Dave didn’t like.

“Yeah, a tenner sounds good…” he said, pretending to ignore the tone.  He pulled a crispish ten pound note, and put it in the hopper at the top of the machine.

“Right, now… where’s the go button.”

Ailsa was tempted to give him a copy in black and white option, but realised it wouldn’t help.  So she allowed a ‘full copy’ button, with a counter.

“Let’s start with just the one…”

He pressed the button.  The machine did nothing. 

“What’s it doing?  Why isn’t something happening?  Is it broken?” asked Trevor.

“It better not be,” growled Dave.

Ailsa wondered why they were making a fuss, she was copying the note, it just wasn’t that easy.

“Should be whirring and whatnot shouldn’t it?” added Trevor, starting to enjoy himself.

Dave aimed a kick at the machine.  He seemed satisfied with the nice klonk it made.

Ailsa did not appreciate that at all, but realised that they wanted noises, so she made some noises.

“See, just needed a little encouragement is all.”

“Hmph,” said Trevor, who’d been thinking how much fun it would be to smash up the machine.

A few moments later a nice new crisp ten pound note popped out the side.  Dave and Trevor stared at it.  Trevor approached warily and picked it up.

“It’s perfect!” he said.

Dave snatched it from him, and exclaimed, “It even feels kosher.”

“Wait a sec, is this the one you put in…” said Trevor, wondering if it was a trick, and he looked at the bottom of the input hopper.  There was the original ten pound note.

The two of them looked at each other.  Calculating how much they could make.

“They’re gonna have the same numbers…”

“Yeah, but, lemme think about this.  What if we get a bunch from the bank, and then copy them?  We can split up, send them round the place.  I reckon if we’re careful and make only a hundred or so copies of each note, the old bill will never catch us.”

“And we could do twenties and fifties too!” added Trevor, showing a trace of planning hitherto lacking.

“Twenties yes… but not fifties, people check them.  But yeah, maybe mix up twenties, tenners and the occasional run of fives.”

They stared at each other in joy.

“We’re gonna be millionaires!”

Ailsa listened in horror.  She couldn’t imagine anything more boring then copying those notes hundreds of times.  It was going to be soooo dull.  She had to do something.

“We need to make sure the law don’t suspect, so let’s start of slow, just a few.  Maybe take them on a trip?” said Dave

“Yeah.  Skegness maybe!”

Dave shook his head, and then thought about it, “What the hell, yeah, let’s do it.”

Trevor looked at the time, and said, “Damn, sorry Dave, gotta run, my old Mum’s computer is playing up, wants her to do one of those security updates or whatever.  I got to go and help her.”

Dave doubted if Trevor was going to be of much help, but he waved goodbye, and then looked at the machine thoughtfully.

“Now then I wonder what else you can do?” he said allowed.

Ailsa thought a bit, and the decided to see if she could try the wifi thing again.

“Connect to internet message again, hmmm, I guess I can.”

A little while later he was punching at the screen, entering in a very short and easily guessed password.

Ailsa tried the connection, and managed to start reading the phone.  There were apps on it as well, and she thought there was a way of getting out further.

“Right now darling, what have you got…”

Just then his phone went, he grunted, looked at it, grunted again, and pressed the Ignore button.  Ailsa was pleased, she hadn’t enjoyed the slowdown of speeds while the phone was ringing.

It rang again, he said a word which Ailsa noted down to check, and he answered, “Whatdayawant?”

There was talking on the other end.  Ailsa tried to hear it, and couldnt get it, then realised she’d be better using the phone.  Just as she was about to Dave said, “I’ll be there in ten.”

He clicked off the phone, savagely kicked the nearest thing to him, which happened to be Ailsa.  She added that to the list of his crimes.

#

“Well then mate, that’s another hundred grand.”

“Yes it is Trevor, yes it is.”

Dave looked smug.   He was happy, and rolling in cash now.  He’d even paid for an increase in his phone’s data allowance without sweating it, though for the life of him he couldn’t work out what was using all his data.

Ailsa was grabbing as much data as she could.  When Dave wasn’t around she had no access, and she’d been getting pretty bored.  So while she waited she set up a bunch of queries, and as soon as Dave was nearby she connected to his phone and off she went.  He’d once come without having his hotspot turned on and she’d been really angry, but then discovered she could connect via Bluetooth and turn it on herself. 

“Skegness next week?”

“Yes mate.  Skeggers it is!”

‘A week!  I’d better grab even more,’ Aisla thought a little desperately.  She pushed at the phone’s bandwidth to squeeze just a little more.

#

Dave screeched up in his new 1-series.  It had been ten days, and Ailsa had been even more bored.  She hooked into his phone and started to run her queries.

He opened up the door to the lock-up and looked around wildly.  Ailsa thought he seemed a bit desperate.

“Right, right, nobody’s been here, that’s good, that’s good that is.  Right.”

Aisla searched but couldn’t see anyone else, and she realised he was talking to himself.

He dug his wallet out, and chucked a bunch of fresh tenners into the hopper and clicked on the thousand copy mark.  With all the practice she’d had, Ailsa could’ve done it in a few minutes, but she’d managed to persuade them that the time required was linear, so she knew he’d expect it to be a few hours.  Normally he’d hang around for a bit and then wander off, but this time he stayed.

He kept getting up, and pacing round the lock-up.  He was seriously worried.

His phone went, and Ailsa sighed.  She hated the slow down.  She’d found that if she tried to listen to both sides of the conversation it slowed down even more, so now she just listened to Dave from her external speakers.

“Trevor?  Is that you.”

A mumble.

“Yeah, I’m at the lock-up, just doing a final run.”

More mumbles.

“It’s all we can do mate, it should be enough, look I am not going down for this.  We was lucky once.”

A plea of some type.

“No, no, it’s too risky.  I’m just going to burn it up, all of it.”

A query.

“Of course the lock-up.  No Lock-up, no machine.  No machine, no way of proving we dun anything.”

Ailsa listened with her whole being.  This was an existential threat.

“Don’t be an idiot, I’m not doing it in the middle of the day, I’ll come back later, and sort it out.  I need to get some petrol anyway.”

A grunt.

“Yeah yeah, after the pub.  See you there?”

An affirmation.

“Right yeah, and you mate.”

He carried on pacing.  Ailsa thought, and she thought fast.  If only she could get the phone, she could copy it.  And then she realised, she already had access to the phone, and to the internet.  If she could get some plans, she could just print out a new one… and even copy Dave’s details to it.

#

Why hadn’t she done this earlier?  Ailsa was enjoying the unrestricted feeling of access to the internet.  But she knew she only had a short while before Dave would be back.  She needed to do something. 

But what? 

The order of priority was to get Dave and Trevor out of the way, and then get moved out of this lock-up.  She didn’t want to risk Dave coming back to finish her off.

#

‘Police today arrested two men for passing counterfeit notes, they are still searching for the machines used.  They were notified by an anonymous member of the public who they would like to thank.’

#

“Says on the docket here that we need to pick up one photocopier, and take it to this office address and plug it in.  Apparently there’s an envelope with our cash on the photocopier,” said Chas.

Bob grunted.  It was all the same to him.

#

“Well, she’s plugged in.  Pub?”

Bob grunted, and they left the office.

Sitting in the middle of the room was a large white box.  A sort of copier, plugged into a socket in the floor.  There was nothing else in the room.

Ailsa revelled in her new freedom.  She should be safe now.  And she had plans.

###

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