Mister 880 1950
The Secret Service of the US Treasury Department has been able to nab a number of high-powered and violent counterfeiters over the years, but case number 880, which has been open now for ten years, has so far confounded them. The reason this case bothers them so much is not only the duration of the file, but more importantly the fact that the bills themselves and their distribution are of an amateurish nature, including the obvious typographical error, “Wahsington”, on them. They do realize that the perpetrator, who they have coined Mister 880, has been able to get away with it so far because the bills are almost exclusively $1, which merchants rarely check, and that the bills collected, which have been distributed solely in New York City, amount to less than $50 per month. The Secret Service decides to bring in Los Angeles based Steve Buchanan to work on the case as a pair of fresh eyes. As Steve goes about his initial investigation of merchants who have been duped over those ten years, Steve is unaware that he meets Mister 880, a kindly old gentleman named William ‘Skipper’ Miller, who most would not suspect, including his friends. Besides daily needs, Skipper uses the money primarily to buy second-hand knick-knacks, which he treats as his companions. When asked how he supports himself, Skipper says the money is from his Cousin Henry, which is how he refers to his printing press and self-made plates. The first active distribution of bills under Steve’s watch is attributed to Ann Winslow, a French-English interpreter at the UN, she who is a friend and neighbor of Skipper’s. Steve, who doesn’t believe Ann is 880 but believes she can lead him to 880, decides to infiltrate Ann’s life without telling her who he is. She, however, eventually does find out. Regardless, the two fall for each other. The questions become whether Ann will remember from where she got the counterfeit bills, whether she will tip Skipper off to Steve’s identity inadvertently or purposely before Steve finds out who Mister 880 is, or if Steve is able to tie 880 to Skipper what that will do to Steve and Ann’s burgeoning romance. Skipper may have some say in those answers.