Capt’n Tom’s Missing Dollar Bill Story

It was Friday evening after work sometime back around 1985 when the three of us stowed our gear in my truck and took off to go fishing. We had a charter lined up for Saturday morning in Cape Charles, Virginia going after Black Drum. (Also known as Black Channel Bass) Anyway, we had about a six hour drive and when we got close to our destination we decided to get a motel for the night.

We found what looked to be a cheap motel and the three of us went in to register. The man at the desk turned out to be the owner and he was a real nice fella. We were chatting for awhile about the local fishing action. We also pointed out that money was tight and we just wanted one small room. We were going to draw straws for the bed and the other two would sleep on the floor in their sleeping bags. Alright the owner said, that’ll be $30.00.

The three of us each dug into our pockets and we each gave the owner of the motel $10.00. He politely gave us the key and said, “Sleep well fellas, I’ll see you in the morning when you check out.” Okay we said and went off to our room.

A few minutes later there is a knock and we opened the door to see who it was. It turned out to be the owner’s son who said, “I was just talking to my dad and he told me to give you three dollars back because he knows that your money is tight.” That was kind of a surprise and we gladly took ONE DOLLAR EACH from him. Tell your dad “Thanks a lot” we said and went off to bed.

The next morning as we were checking out the owner said, “Did my son give you the FIVE DOLLARS back last night?”

Our reply was, “Well actually NO…He only gave us back THREE DOLLARS!…ONE EACH!…I was thinking to myself, well I guess it’s alright if the owner’s son kept a TWO DOLLAR tip. The owner then says, I gave my son FIVE ONE DOLLAR BILLS…Now my one buddy butts in and says, Wait a minute here. We each gave you TEN DOLLARS. We each got back ONE DOLLAR from your son. WE EACH PAID NINE DOLLARS FOR OUR ROOM, RIGHT?…Right the owner says. Now my buddy says to the owner, AND YOU GAVE YOUR SON FIVE ONE DOLLAR BILLS, RIGHT?… Right again the owner says.

My buddy now says to the owner, “YOUR SON KEPT TWO DOLLARS IN HIS POCKET, RIGHT?”…That’s right, the owner says. My buddy blurts out, SOMETHING DOESN’T MAKE SENSE HERE!”…WE EACH PAID NINE DOLLARS FOR THE ROOM…NINE times THREE equals TWENTY SEVEN, that’s what we paid…Your son kept TWO DOLLARS in his pocket…THAT’S TWENTY NINE DOLLARS…….WHERE DID THE OTHER DOLLAR BILL GO?….

We were all dumbfounded by his question. The owner pulls out a piece of paper and writes down… $30… minus the five I gave my son is $25…You each got $1…equals $3…plus the $2 my son kept in his pocket is $5……$5 plus $25 = $30…….the owner points out.

Yeah but that’s ON PAPER, my buddy says…IN REALITY, WE EACH PAID NINE DOLLARS FOR THE ROOM IS TWENTY SEVEN…PLUS THE TWO DOLLARS IN YOUR SONS POCKET IS TWENTY NINE!…..WHERE DID THE OTHER DOLLAR BILL GO?

Finally we just decided to call it even and went fishing. But, all that day out on the boat we were trying to figure it out. In fact, it’s still a puzzle to this day. It’s been a good thirty years and I still don’t know where that dollar bill went. The only explanation I know is, IT MUST HAVE DISAPPEARED INTO THIN AIR!…I have brought this up at watering holes but it’s even tougher to figure out when you have a few beers in you.

Try this story on some people at your local watering hole. Put yourself in my place, go fishing somewhere else, and substitute my buddies with your buddies. See what kind of answers you get.

By the way, if any of you computer geniuses out there can figure this one out, PLEASE E-MAIL WITH YOUR SOLUTION TO THIS QUESTION;…… WHERE DID THE OTHER DOLLAR BILL GO?

CAPT’N TOM

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