by Max Barry

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The Slapstick

The Slapstick, the official currency of Steenia, is so named because in the early days of Steenia's existence the slapstick was made of woods. Various types of rare woods, usually costing more then the currency created from them, were constructed together so that when brought quickly across the palm of the hand they would make distinctive sounds. This "slapping" was done for the benefit of the blind. The blind quickly learned what sound each currency made and thus could tell the values apart.
Unfortunately this effort did not lead to Ray Charles coming to the land of Steenia and becoming naturalized.
I told you it wouldn't work Bob!
As time went by and Bob was fired a young intern pointed out that it would be simpler to merely encode braille into coins and paper bills. Silence followed. Someone said "ummm. . ." There was more silence. A head hit the desk hard.
Over the course of the next five years the Initiative to Protect Our Rare Trees (Iport) began and paper bills with and coins with braille was introduced.
Over time we have, in an effort to save money, made our lower denominations into coins which last longer before they need to be replaced then traditional paper money. For a time these initiatives were opposed by the people of Steenia, but with the rise of sturdier pockets have slowly become accepted.
Now days Steenia boasts coins with braille of values up to the ($ = slapstick) $100 range and bills with braille up to the $1k range. The bills are made with nanofiche that can be read under proper devices to verify authenticity and thus guaranteeing that our bills still cost more to create then they are worth.