My Missing Money !!!

Gasper Crasto, gaspersworld, Goan Stories,

A humor story by Gasper Crasto...26.10.2021

Last week, I was in a cafeteria inside a mall, waiting for my wife to finish her ‘boutique’ shopping.

I ordered a coffee, but as I went to pay the bill, I learnt I had no cash to pay. Nothing at all.

My wife had borrowed my debit card, and shockingly a 20 Kuwaiti Dinars note (approx. Rs 5,000/-) that I thought was there in my wallet had gone missing.

So, I had to idle my time fiddling on the phone till my wife returned back and gave me the bank card. As I looked around at people moving, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Seated a few tables away was someone that looked exactly like my dad – reading a newspaper in the most familiar Goan style that I knew of. He had the same hairdo, same narrow mustache, and wearing similar clothes – long sleeve shirt folded high above the elbows in my dad’s 80’s fashion.

I was shocked because my dad had died over 20 years ago.

I did have a moment of temptation that I wanted to go up to the man and ask if he was really Rafael, my dad. I feared that he would answer, “Yes, and what the hell are you doing here?... Chol vos ghara.. !”

That would have convinced me that it was indeed dad.

I just let him sit there and began tinkering on the phone again, trying not even to glance in his direction. 

When I looked back after a while, the person was gone. Just vanished.

How could it be? Where did he go? I looked left and right.

“Perhaps I am just imagining things,” I said to myself, and relaxed. 

My situation might have ‘unconsciously’ reminded me of dad and his entertaining ‘money-missing’ mysteries.

Well, my dad certainly entertained people, especially my mom with his stories. 

I never knew if anyone believed him or not, but nobody ever contradicted him. They listened, laughed, and enjoyed every tale he told – particularly how he won money playing cards, ‘tablam’, lottery, ‘moddko’ or just on bull-fight bets, but then sadly lost all of it somehow.

He always gave you the impression that he wanted to part half the money he won, which captured everyone’s attention with a tinge of greed. 

But he never gave anything, cause he lost all he won. At the end everyone felt sorry for his loss.

LEARNING THE TRICKS

One time, after one of his storytelling episodes, we were out in the ‘balc√£o’ working on some of dad’s carpentry tools. We were alone, so I thought it was a good time to get the scoop on how he won so much money, and surprisingly lost it all - every time.

“Tell me one thing Pa,” I said, “where do you get all these 'feku' stories that you tell us?”

He looked at me, chuckled, and said, “I have to cook the stories yum-yum – especially when I have to explain myself to your mother about where I sloshed all the money.”

Then he looked at me, winked, and said, “Just, remember. There is some truth in every story I tell. It’s up to people to figure out what is truth and what is not. Matter of fact, I’ve lost most money on friends than I won – just throwing parties after each win.”

Then he let a burst of laughter.

WHERZ YOUR MONEY GONE?

Sitting alone at the cafetaria, I spent some time reflecting on my dad's stories, and I was chuckling. His stories never got old, and my laughter never went away remembering him.

He made it look like the money he won was more valuable than the money he lost.

“The lost money, keep that aside – it gets sorted out at the end,” he said, “But the money you have in hand and wish to share, is a story that will catch fire -- ‘uzzo’... it goes on and on. So give importance to that.”

I never could figure out if dad was lying or just exaggerating. Being my father, I gave him the benefit of doubt and just mused on his stories and linked them to my own situation. 

I discovered its correlation with my own money and my wife.

I was scratching my head. Where did I lose my 20 KD? 

Have you ever known you had some money, but for the life of you, you could not find where it disappeared?

I will agree with the fact that occasionally I do have a streak of absent-mindedness running through me. 

I was certain I had an extra 20 dinar note in my wallet. It is what I affectionately referred to as my ‘PDF’ – Personal Disaster Fund, incase anything came up that needed cash to be paid in an emergency.

My wife would be mad if she knew I kept unaccounted PDFs. I do not remember where the particular PDF note came from, but my real problem was, I could not find the note now.

The truth is, my pants rarely see any extra money. If there is an occasion when I do have money in my pocket, my pants get all excited and seem to offload only the fat bills out.

“It can’t be,” I kept saying to myself.

I really remembered putting a 20 KD note in my wallet and playing in my mind what I would do with it. Yes, I clearly remember putting it there. But now, I couldn’t find it.

With a useless look on my face, more useless than normal, I wondered where I put the missing note -- checking all pockets of my jeans -- trying to act ‘natural’ so people in the restaurant would not discover what I was up to.

Obviously, no Kala Academy award would come my way because my acting ‘natural’ was a complete failure. I kept searching my pockets – one after the other – every two minutes.

FLY AWAY LIKE A BATMAN

I was getting agitated sitting there, I just wanted to fly off from there like a Batman. I tried calling my wife a couple of times but no answer. 

When I was around I knew she wouldn't answer thinking am safe; and when am away she never answers anyway thinking she can’t be of any help.

All of a sudden, someone tweaked my ear from behind. For a moment I thought it was my dad; he had that habit of pulling my ears when I was little.

“What are you looking for?” my wife quizzed from nowhere. She was standing right beside. From where she popped up, I had no idea.

“Nothing,” I stammered.

“I wanted to call you,” she said, “the debit card got stuck in the ATM machine.”

Ha. Ha. Ha. I knew it was a joke. Sometimes she thought she was a comedian. I was not laughing. Here I was desperately waiting for her to return my card asap so I could pay my coffee bill, and there she was having fun at my cost?

“One ‘denkso’ (shout) in Konkani and the joke will be on her, I thought looking at her with my eyes wide, Then we will see who is laughing.” 

MY FEARS & TEARS

But I had two fears facing me at that point. First, she was not lying. She was waiting to ask if I had extra money with me?

Second, if I told her I was looking for my lost money, she would want to know where I got that extra money from. If I cannot remember where the money is gone, how in the world was I going to remember where it came from?

Then, she would want to know how much more money I had misplaced elsewhere. Actually, I wanted to know that myself.

If the NCB or CBI wanted to learn a thing or two about torturing people, they could learn an awful lot from my wife. She could torture someone and not lay a hand on them. Of course, it is not her hand I was worried about, it is her interrogation which looks for evidence and admission to a crime that is never committed.

Somehow, my wife always knows when I am lying.

Getting the missing 20 KD back now looked like an international emergency. 

I could offer to split it with anyone in the world if they would help me find it, atleast till I retrieved my ATM card. That would leave me with 10 KD, which was okay.

“10 KD in hand was worth more than the 20 KD that I didn’t know where it was,” I thought.

But then again, I would have had to explain what I needed the 10 KD for. I did have plans for the whole 20 KD, but now, I could not even remember what those plans were.

Before I asked, she said, “Why did you give me 20 KD with your card? It certainly helped.”

That was shocking. And it could have started an endless debate like the Indian court cases.

Explaining something to my wife was a hazardous territory; I could tell her, but I would hear it rest of my life.

“I wanted you to buy yourself a gift with that money; our anniversary is coming up..” words spilled out from my mouth.

That was well-timed and clever, but strangely unusual -- unlike me or my dad.

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