Sue walked into the store, bag in hand, poised and ready for shopping. Walking the aisles, she shot quick glances from left to right, hovering over the meat counter, as would a scavenger, frenzied for another taste of flesh. She heard the clock strike seven, another hour of another day much like yesterday, and all too like the future, it seems. Grasping her purchase, she walks to the checkout counter, drops the food down on the horizontal escalator, and slyly peers again from left to right, quick looks. The cashier slides the packaged meat over the little laser thing embedded in the counter. Sue pays with a twenty, gathers her change and walks out, turning around once to see if anyone is following her moves. She has become a bit paranoid as of late. Out she strolls adroitly to her Toyota, gets in, fastens seatbelt, turns key, and screeches out of that lot, a wide grin budding on her face.

Beethoven's ninth symphony plays on her radio, as she turns into the apartment complex, humming to the melodies. She completes her ritual of driving and strolls to her front door. A box from UPS sits by the entrance. She picks it up, enters her apartment, jumps onto the couch, and ogles the package, more correspondence from her friend, Galzey.

There is not much fun in it anymore, although what keeps her humming along is the money. Making a brain surgeon's salary with only a high school education is a thrill. It is also a headache at times, hiding her income from prying eyes, lying on parts of her tax returns, making false statements to attorneys, under oath and on tape. Yes, sin riddles her past. Nevertheless, determined to persevere and earn her keep, Sue struggles on, head high.

Born into a full-fledged crime family, Sue Poseidon grew up in New York City in the '60s. Drugs and gambling, stolen cars and pick pocketing is all she knows. This is her trade, her lifeblood. Reluctant from the beginning, she learned to numb herself of feelings of guilt and remorse, proven by cold-blooded murder of at least two people by her own hands. Now the year 2000 has come so quickly. Poseidon is currently working with a longtime friend on the most intricate scheme she has ever laid eyes on. It is the brainchild of one Marcus Galzey, former computer hacker turned mob boss. Galzey thrives on simplicity and yet is elegant in his procedures all the same. He has a certain yin-yang personality, melding like the salt and pepper of his hair. Hackers round the world adore this legend of computers. Sue now works for this man, entangled within a web of lies, deceit, and most importantly, intense stealth.

Galzey and Poseidon first met in the Bronx, in '79, both in their early twenties. The two hit it off immediately and soon became crime partners, doing odd jobs up and down the east coast. The money they raked in was enough to pay the bills, with a little extra for extravagances: flashy cars and expensive cigars. The game was fun. Now, the partners in crime are working with a knowledge base built on thirty years of creative crime and evasion.

Counterfeiting is now their game. Some claim that almost 5 percent of U.S. currency in circulation is counterfeit. If this statistic is true, Poseidon and Galzey are the top producers, having about 3 percent of this share of counterfeit money. They have been making fake money for 5 years. Their procedures are so high tech that one would be hard pressed to find ANYTHING unusual about this "pseudo-cash". Galzey has been able to perfect the duplication of every bill in the United States' arsenal: tens, twenties, and hundreds, even thousand dollar bills. With the advent of sophisticated color copiers, costing within the twenty thousand dollar range, they can duplicate bills seamlessly with no flaws visible to the naked eye.

It is tedious work for these counterfeiters, truth be told. Galzey prints all of the counterfeit money, and employs Poseidon in getting the sheets of bills "prepped". The easiest method for counterfeiting currency is to locate a stash of pre-1990 bills. These bills do not have the security thread, as do later bills. This aids in the "real" look. Galzey will copy about two thousand dollars in bills at one time. Poseidon then must age the bills; make them look older to add to the realistic effect. Poseidon does all of the dirty work, locating the pre-1990 bills by getting change from numerous areas. She must spend literally hours hovered over a table with an X-Acto knife and a magnifying glass, cutting the sheet of bills precisely. When copying and cutting is finished, she brings them to her clothes dryer in the basement of her SoHo apartment. She takes a large cloth bag, inserts the new counterfeit bills, adds about a cup of coffee beans, and drops this whole recipe into the clothes dryer. The effect of the dryer and the coffee beans fades the bill to a dingy brownish, yellowish color, making the bills look aged. The creation phase is complete.

Poseidon then hitches cab rides around the NYC area, careful not to get the same cab driver twice in one night. She'll pay for her short rides with a twenty, and pocket the change. On a two-hour foray, she has made up to two thousand five hundred dollars riding what she calls the "counterfeit cab carousel".

As one can see, this life of crime can become extremely boring. Sue must continually find new places to get change for her counterfeit currency, so as not to alert authorities. She has literally been in over one thousand businesses, including gas station marts, and department stores from NYC to Maine since the beginning of the operation in '95. Sue is getting tired of this life, tired of the running, the living in fear of being caught. She has been a criminal her whole life, inventing new tricks like the coffee bean dryer recipe for numerous other acts of crime. She contemplates ending the whole thing, not her life, but the life she has made for herself. Lying on her couch gazing at the fireplace and the one thousand dollar candelabras over the mantle, she considers compromising the whole counterfeiting operation, giving up her cover; of course, Galzey would then go down with her, in a blaze of green, so to speak.

She ponders over telling her story, alleviating the stress within her system that has taken its toll over five years of hustling fake bills. Before she can think another thought, a battering ram blows the hinges off her door, she drops the UPS package. She tries to hide herself and all incriminating evidence. It is too late. They already know everything.

Nick Fessel