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Strange Stories: Bargain Hunting

“Sell your passport?”

My mum looks shocked.  Well, she’s old fashioned.  She hasn’t yet got used to the new world order.

“Well yeah.  Thing is, Australian passports are worth a lot these days.  It’s the beaches, mostly.  And the sun.  And the fresh air.  And the fact that everyone here is filthy rich is probably a bit of a draw card.”

“But..but..”  Mum can’t quite put it into words.  All that old stuff.  The flag.  The anthem.  The wattle tree.  She reaches for another cup of Lady Grey instead.

“I know.  But I’ve been reading the brochures, and you can get a huge place in the US for what you pay here.  Like, we could buy a big old house somewhere down in Carolina, say, with a porch and magnolias and maybe an ornamental lake with alligators in it? for just about nothing, mum!  And there’s plenty of yanks would pay millions for a passport like ours.”

“But they speak funny!” Mum said, looking nervously at the brochures I’d put on the coffee table.  “Besides, we don’t want a lot of yanks coming here, with their nasty habits and, and..”

“Horse’s bolted, Mum, you know that.  Place is full of yanks.  Anybody with enough money to buy an Aussie passport got out of North America years ago, they’re all either here or in Thailand doing stuff you’d rather not think about to twelve year olds.”

“Well, alright.”  Mum picked up a brochure and flipped the pages, without really looking.  “But I read that England is very nice this time of year.”

“If you like living in a Royal Theme Park.”

“What about China then?  You can get a whole batch of Chinese passports for practically nothing!  I grew up in the GFC, and I know the value of money, and thrift, and..”

I cut her flow off before she could really get going on the Almost Great Depression of the early 21st century.

“That’s because nobody lives more than five years there, even WITH a state-issued gas mask.  You should know mum – remember those bulk continence pads you picked up at the sales last New Year, that swelled up like life jackets when you sat on a damp park bench? – there’s a REASON things are discounted!”

Mum blushed.

“Well if there’s a reason, stands to REASON there’s a reason why American passports are so cheap, right, miss?  If you’re so clever.”

I sighed.  Mum just can’t get used to the idea that these days, countries are for sale like everything else, and it’s a free market.  LOTS of competition.  If you want Islamic purity, you buy an Iranian passport (and they’re PERMANENTLY on sale).  If you want a nice, safe place to settle down and raise kids, well of course Australia and New Zealand are about the only places you can buy into, these days – and bloody expensive they are too!  But if you want good, old fashioned value, and cheap help, the US is the place.  Ever since the crash of 2030, ex-Hollywood mansions are ten for a dollar and the locals are just grateful to be allowed to wash your car and mind the kiddies.  Hoping to save up enough money to have a shot at the good life themselves, I guess, but humble with it, and they do speak good English still.  Or Spanish, of course.  And it’s quite safe, since the Canadians patented vaporisers and the bottom dropped out of the drugs market.

“In my day,” said Mum (oh, here we go, I thought) “America was the richest country on earth.  People would have DIED to get there.”

“Well, now all they have to do is pay a few hundred dollars and they’re in.  Mum, half your friends have bought little cottages there for the summer anyway – and they say the Civil War re-enactments are just darling!”

“I don’t approve of that.”  Mum frowned, but I knew I had her. “War isn’t a game!”

“It is in Iraq – if you like that sort of thing.  Anyway, there’s no hurry.  We can always wait and see if it gets any cheaper.  Or we can rent a beach front place in the Arctic Circle and just sit and watch the world go round.  What do you reckon?”

About butimbeautiful

Rose has two blogs,, and Enjoy!

4 responses »

  1. Ha! Would be even funnier if I couldn’t see it coming true…

    • Well, every great empire since the year dot has had a rise and fall, I don’t think the American empire will be any different. Plus your country has some huge challenges (not that ours doesn’t, too). Maybe Australia will be the next bargain, after China collapses and our resources boom is over!


  2. Hope that this one doesn’t turn out to be prophetic, although if so, your future is bright in Aus. But I still really enjoyed reading this, and I can see that the month of September has been a very creative and productive one for you. At times, you are addictive for me, and if I’m not careful I’ll get lost in your stories, and then the things that need to get done in my “here and now” don’t… But I’m not complaining. Not at all… 🙂


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