Saturday, May 25, 2013

Money, Money, Everywhere, and Not a Plank to Walk

Saturday here at the Whineatorium, and have I got a story for you. It's true, of course. Not a dollop of fiction is dished at this establishment.

Yesterday I went to the bank for cash. We operate on a modified cash budget here in Backroads. None of this flipping the debit card all willy-nilly when the mood strikes. No having our identities scammed by the gas pump card-slider. I'm sure it comes as a shock to you that I even utilize a bank, what with this perfectly good backyard and clothes basket full of odd socks willing and able to store our cash reserves.

I am still adjusting to my summer schedule. Which, in all actuality, is like putting a ragtag regiment of two-year-olds, teenagers, and feral cats on a schedule. Nothing really gets done on time. Nothing really gets done. Imagine my shock upon arising at 9:00 a.m. to find a note written on a paper plate declaring that SOMEBODY really needed his Thursday allowance on Friday night, along with bowling money.

The Pony and I hopped into T-Hoe and headed for the ATM. The ATM at our bank, which is a couple of towns over, due to where we lived when we first opened the account, closer ATMs be darned, what with their usage fees of fifty cents or a couple of dollars. To me it makes so much more sense to burn up gas going to my bank ATM. It's the principle of the matter. Even though I should be leery of showing my face there, after that unfortunate incident several years ago when I backed into that crazy meth-beard man with a bulldog on a chain.

We pulled into the lot and noticed a line coming around the corner from the ATM. Well. It WAS Friday. The Friday of a holiday weekend. I waited. The car in front of me pulled out of line and went to the drive-thru lanes. That's when I noticed a truck parked in line with no driver. Huh. Go figure. Must have been some weirdo with a phobia about driving up to ATMs. My own father refused to order at fast-food drive-ups, and made my mom lean across and holler their selections. I couldn't see if anybody was standing at the ATM.

I told The Pony I was driving around through the alley, and to get a glimpse of what that handwritten sign said, taped to a portable stand-up bank traffic sign. He replied that it said, "Walk up ATM only." I glanced over to the back of the building and saw a 3-FOOT DEEP TRENCH from the corner of the bank to a few feet past the ATM. And there was a man in jeans and a faded orange t-shirt sitting on the edge, right beside the ATM, dangling his legs over the side of the trench. There was a piece of plywood in the pile of dirt directly opposite the ATM, like a plank to nowhere. I whipped through the drive-thru lane, made a sharp right to the alley, turned right again through the church parking lot where bank employees park, and back to the front of the bank. Looked like I would be going inside for a withdrawal.

The only open teller asked how she could help me. "I need to make a withdrawal, since I can't use the ATM."

"Oh, you can use the ATM. You just have to walk up."

"No. I can't do that. There's a three-foot trench."

"You walk across the plywood."

"There's no plywood going to the ATM. It's a trench."

"No. The plywood covers the trench."

"Well, I must have looked at it wrong. I need to make a withdrawal, and I don't have any withdrawal slips. I have a deposit slip."

"All I need is your account number." She counted out my money, a bit loudly for my liking, with people behind me waiting to knock me in the head like a thug on a casino parking lot following a winner.

"I'm guessing the ATM will be fixed by next weekend?"

"I hope so. It's been going on for three days. This weekend is not a good weekend for it to be like this."

I stuffed my money in my pocket. No need to carry an envelope advertising a withdrawal. Safely back in T-Hoe, I explained my experience to The Pony. "She told me all I had to do was walk up to the ATM."

"Through that trench?"

"Yeah. That's what I said. She told me across the plywood."

"Um. The plywood did NOT go over the trench."

"That's what I said. But she said it did."

"No. It stopped."

"Yeah. And that guy was sitting right under the ATM, swinging his legs. I'm so sure I was going to lean three feet over a trench and take out money with him sitting there watching me."

We drove around back through the alley to get out. The orange shirt dude was bent over with his butt pointing at us, shoving the plywood across the trench. As if I would stand on a piece of plywood over a three-foot span. Maybe I should have laid down in that trench, pulled the plywood over me, and hollered for help.

There's more than one way to get money out of a bank.


  1. The guy in the orange was the Keeper of the Bridge of Death. He would have asked you three questions. If you didn't know the answers you would have been cast into the Gorge of Eternal Peril. It was a wise choice to go inside and face the Teller of Doom.

  2. I forsee a fiction story evolving from the guy in orange and what layeth eblw the board.

  3. You are a writer, Val, and you unwisely took the path of normalcy.

    If you had stood in the trench and flirted/conversed with the man in the orange get-up, or even was close enough to breathe the same air as he was, you would have undoubtedly had a marvelous story to write.

    Next time, follow the sign pointing to "Whackadooland." You'll end up with some great writing fodder...

  4. I would have thought something more inviting and less dangerous than a piece of plywood could have been used. Really....

  5. Leenie,
    Thankfully, I was psychic! No good comes of messing with a guy in an orange shirt out behind the bank.

    You are confusing me with somebody who has an imagination.

    I sometimes think the signs to Whackadooland have fallen off their posts, and I have ended up there unknowingly. I told my mom about my adventure, and she said, "Is there a story in this?" I would like to think she was talking about actual writing, not inquiring as to whether I had a point.

    Well, maybe in Oregon you have some kind of bank plank building code to protect your limbs and brain. But here in Backroads, we're lucky it wasn't a piece of catgut stretched between two abandoned school buses.