He took another bite of scone. "So how did they end up in Parker?"
"Travelers," Beth said as she counted the till. "Some people from Phoenix came through town a few months ago. They needed supplies and repairs, and this was what they had for money. Of course, they didn't bother to tell me about the little trick they do."
"Dollars must be pretty much worthless everywhere by now, I guess."
"Well, sure. There's nothing to back them up any more. Not like the L.A. Angels, which are based on the value of an hour's labor, or the Phoenix notes, which are based on the value of a standard basket of locally grown food. But it does present us with a problem."
He looked up. "Oh?"
"Mmm-hmm. Do we honor the narrative that adjusts the value of a Phoenix, or do we continue to accept it at face value?"
Peter raised his eyebrows. "Frank didn't want to do either one."
"I know. And that's why we need to call a town meeting."
"Okay, okay!" the facilitator shrilled, her hands spread for order. "The only way we're going to make any sense out of this is if we give one another a chance to speak." It had taken a few days to get the town meeting scheduled, but only a few moments for it to succumb to chaos. "Elspeth," she said calmly, "you requested this meeting, and it appears that you're the only one with an explanation for what's happening to the money from Phoenix."
She nodded. "That's right."
"Hearsay," someone shouted from across the room. "Where's your proof?"
Peter hopped onto a chair and was about to yell back when Beth tapped him on the leg and he relented.
The facilitator shot the man a dirty look before continuing. "That's as good a place to start as any, I guess," she said amiably. "Beth?"
"It's like this," she said, "I spoke to a man named Norwyn Rosset last week in Lingman. He's one of the people responsible for the fall of the Dollar, and with it, the US government. I'd gotten a lead on his whereabouts from the folks that came through from Phoenix a few months back. It seems that Rosset had been hiding out in Lingman, but then he got stranded when the few people still living there ditched town on him."
"Then let him speak!" someone called out.
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