He was the commissioner of a state highway department and his official okay could clear a voucher for payment.
A contractor sauntered in. “Lovely day,” he said. His hand drew from his pocket a one thousand dollar bill, which he placed in front of the commissioner.
“Have a cigar?” asked the highway commissioner.
“Thanks.” The contractor sniffed the cigar and put it in a cocked angle into his mouth.
The commissioner took out a lighter, lit the one thousand dollar bill, and then extended it to light the contractor’s cigar.
Then he held the burning bill against his own cigar. The charred remains fell into an ashtray on his desk.
Neither man spoke. It was not necessary.