Three different coffee places in Dubai international airport refused to take my twenty dollar bill.
‘It’s too old.’, they would say.
‘Yeah, but’, I argue in vain, ‘twenty dollar is twenty dollars, it can’t just get old.’
It was not just old, it was dirty and grimed with an immense Zimbabwean history. It had probably been circulating for years paying wages, school fees, folded up in pockets and brassieres, passed from hand to hand, stored and rested in tin cans and exchanged for services, food and beer. In God we trust and God has seen .
I walked to the next shop, and ordered this time an expensive cappuccino from Harkaman and Florence and waited for the thing to be made. And when it stood there the plastified paper cup with its black hat on the counter, the ready made consumable, I handed over the token. The dirty money, no longer old, soiled but wanted. I took the cup and the change in the form of brand new crisp dollar bills.
‘Money laundering’, I thought and smiled.