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Counterfeit Bus Pass

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I used to work at a copy store (you know the type, like Kinko's or UPS). We accepted industrial copy jobs. A lot of the work came from small businesses (cheap hand outs, brochures, or flyers). Sometimes we printed out coupons or invitations, but that was about all. It was a silly little job, with hardly any pressure, easy work, and the customers were pretty nice.

One day the owner decided to hire the teenaged son of one of his friends. No one gave this a second thought, just thinking that we are going to have to put up with a high school kid. After about a week, we all gave him the nickname of Mud Skipper, because he had the most annoying habit of jumping in the giant mud puddle that formed in the parking lot, after each rain. He wasn't all there, he seemed to be just a little not right. He was very hyper. He could not sit still. He mostly stayed on the computer and played on the internet. He was prescribed an anti-anxiety pharmaceutical, but he told us that he never took it, because it made him zone out.

He took the bus back and forth to work. He was still too young to drive. He used to ask for change to buy a day pass for public transportation, until one day he had the idea to use our color copier. He would purchase one day pass in the morning, bring it into the store, copy it, then use a precision set of scissors that scrap bookers borrowed when they came in. He started making counterfeit bus day passes, to sell to the the people who used the bus as transportation.

We tried to warn him, that what he was doing was highly illegal, and he could go to jail if he got caught. He just laughed at us. He said that he only sells ten fake bus passes a day, and besides, the money he makes covers the expense of his own bus pass, as well as his lunch from Burger King.

He did not need to do this. His father worked for Northrup Grumman and he was very well off. We were afraid he was going to get arrested. We decided to tactfully talk to the owner, who hired Mud Skipper. The owner was a bit of a drunk, aways sipping Vodka from his flask. We didn't want to get Mud Skipper fired, but there was a good chance that he was going to get caught for making and selling counterfeit bus passes, and arrested. The owner didn't want to hear it, he was too busy staying intoxicated.

We tried calling his parents, again, not to get him in trouble, but to try to prevent him from getting himself into a lot of trouble. His mother answered our call and when we tried to explain, she did not react rationally, just started screaming at us, “You are a liar. You are a horrible horrible person.”

We did not know what to do. So, when Mud Skipper came in to work the next morning, with his real bus pass, which he would use to make ten bus passes, we unplugged the color machine and told him that the copier is not working and we called for a repairman.

Mud Skipper, the rich boy from the rich family, exhaled and voiced a loud “Shit.” He just left the store and walked out. It was kind of frustrating, that he was getting paid ten dollars an hour, a dollar more than the rest of us, simply because he was the son of a friend of the owner. He didn't even need the money. We had car and mortgage payments, and here he was, not even needing the job, getting a paycheck, and after he punched in, he would make color copies of a bus pass, and leave the copy store, not returning until around 3:00 p.m.

Mud Skipper was so determined to make copies of this bus pass, he left our copy store and walked almost a mile away to Kinko's, where he made his copies. Of course, he had to pay for those, because his father's friend didn't own that store.

Every morning when Mud Skipper came in, he wanted to use the color copier. We just kept up the story, telling him that the color copier is not working. We always kept it unplugged, and he never figured it out.

You have to understand, we did not know what else to do. We tried talking to the owner and his parents, and no one paid us any mind. Mud Skipper was a spoiled rich kid, and he had no sense of responsibility. He thought it was so cool that he could make color copies of bus passes, and sell them for half the cost to people who had to use public transportation.

We just kept thinking that if he stayed out of trouble until school started again in September, then all would be right again.

Two or three days later, one of the mass transit customers who purchased a counterfeit bus pass from Mud Skipper got caught and arrested. Apparently, counterfeiting bus passes is a big business and the State of Maryland prosecutes. The person who bought the fake pass from Mud Skipper told the police everything. So, since Mud Skipper was bold and out in the open about selling these, it was a no brainer for the under cover police to just stand at the bus stop and wait for Mud Skipper to come by and offer to sell them a home made bus pass for half the cost of a real one.

Mud Skipper was arrested, but because he was a minor, the charges were dismissed. The judge did sentence him to 1,000 hours of community service. His mother, so twisted, somehow had it in her head that we were responsible for him making these counterfeit bus passes. What a nut case she was. Here we were trying to warn everyone about him, and they flip it around, saying that we gave him the idea in the first place.

That was 8 years ago.

Mud Skipper's mother was arrested for DUI and possession of meth amphedamines.

When Mud Skipper turned 18, his rich father purchased a state of the art, best of the best color printer.

Mud Skipper is now serving 25 years, for counterfeiting money. He will be eligible for parole when he is 30. He teaches graphic arts to the other prisoners, so they can have marketable job skills when they are released.

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