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Friday, March 1, 2024

F³ Greenbacks 54

             Mei moved the cookie sheet, joss money, and figurine gently to a wide place on the floor. I smiled at that. This wouldn’t have been possible except that she had cleaned up her grandfather’s shop. The lighter sparked a flame and the thin sheet of incense paper quickly caught. We both stood back, watching the flame slowly consume the paper underneath the jade figure.

Neither of us knew what to expect. Magic, despite Hollywood’s insistence, didn’t come with crazy special effects, musical accompaniment, or usually anything spectacular. In this case, nothing happened. The last bit of flame died out, leaving gray and black ash smudging the figure.

            “It didn’t work,” Mei said softly.

            “Yeah.”

            “We were wrong.”

            “Maybe,” I said. I quickly scrolled back up the page of funeral rites.

            “What do you mean?”

            “Different money,” I said. “The different spirits get different kinds of money.”

            “Yes,” she said, holding up different kinds of paper. “That’s why I burned one of each.”

            “Right, but this is a special case. I’m willing to bet that there’s a specific paper just for these.”

            She looked down at the paper she held. “With different printing on them, made from different materials. . . . jade. Jade!”

            “What?”

            “Jade Girl and Golden Boy. It’s in the name of the story!”

            I looked at the figure, the paper, and then the web page. “Oh, you’re good. That may be it.”

            “Really? You think so?”

            “I think we’re looking for joss paper made from powdered jade and gold leaf.” I thought about it a second, then chuckled. “Greenbacks.”

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