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Coin-hiding industry booming

End-of-year fiscal reports have proved what many already suspected: our national coin-hiding industry is at an all-time high.

"This has been a sensational year for coin-hiding, and we confidently expect the trend to continue," said the happy CEO of Dispersal Inc, one of Fantasy's largest coin-hiding firms. "We have had to take on more staff. Dispersal Inc now covers the entire country with its friendly, professional service, and we are looking at expanding our business into other worlds." Dispersal Inc has become famous for its innovative choice of locations and the difficulty of some of its placements. In the Year of the Leech, they made coin-hiding history by becoming the first company to hide coins at the bottom of the ocean.

Dispersal's chief accountant added proudly that the company is now almost bankrupt, due to the fact that all staff members have to be paid at least six times over for the same week's work, since payroll staff hide the money so well that none of the employees can find it. "And we had to pay our taxes no less than fourteen times this year before the government found it," he boasted. "With compound interest and non-payment fines, we lost over nine hundred thousand gold pieces in that coup, and we only owed $131.54 to begin with. I think that shows the level of commitment we have here."

Professional coin-hiders usually complete two years of academic and practical training before taking their final examination and receiving a license to practice. Over 90% of Fantasy's coin-hiding needs are met by just three companies -- Dispersal Inc, its subsidiary Gone!, and the long-established and more traditional EcoGnomy. Small independent businesses have also moved into the market, such as Finders Keepers, which specializes in non-typical currency such as silver, dollar bills, and dirt-encrusted small change. "We found a niche," says the owner of Finders Keepers. "And we hid a coin in it."

Gone! has pushed back the boundaries with its innovative "interactive hide," in which coins are not merely hidden in the landscape, but are actually held by a person, who will give it to the finder if certain conditions are met. Sparkle-Blossom Funbeam, a pixie who is employed by Gone! in this capacity, describes her work. "I am very conscious that this is a huge step into the future for coin-hiding," she said to our interviewer in the Enchanted Forest today. "I am well aware of my responsibility, and I take my job very, very, very seriously. I practise my inane giggling and incoherent squealing in front of a mirror twice a week, and I am always careful to present the right image. For example, I don't wear my steel-capped boots to work, and I only chain-smoke cigars while on my break. My doctoral thesis in string theory is being published under an assumed name."

At a press conference yesterday, a national campaign was launched which will encourage talented youngsters to consider a career in coin-hiding. It also aims to encourage more applications from minority groups. For this reason, the "face" of the campaign is a cartoon human who will tell of his adventures in coin-hiding via posters and pamphlets. "Many people still have an outdated idea of coin-hiding as a boring, fuddy-duddy profession dominated by elderly gnomes," explained an industry press release. "The truth is that this is an exciting lifestyle which, in the modern world, is open to all. You don't have to be small and nocturnal to be a successful coin-hider -- as shown by the fact that this year's ten top-performing hiders at the Industry Awards included no less than three humans and one ogre. Right now, we have more hiding than we can keep up with, and we are looking forward to an even busier time next year."

With such optimistic forecasts, it seems Fantasy's citizens will be hearing, more and more, that delightful announcement "You found a gold coin!"

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Article by C. Patrick.