Money II

They bought OUR bank. It was a hostile takeover. I was scared. Mom was scared, I could see it. Dad had a plan it was simple. We’d just get our money out of the ATMs, you can only get a couple hundred at a time but you can visit a bunch of ATMs right. We drove to the Ugly Teller and I stayed in the car. The first ATM barfed forward a stack of crisp bills. Old ATMs needed really really perfectly flat money so the cash coming out was always PERFECT. FDDDTTTTTDDD it spits the bills forward and they hit the inside of the cash bucket. I can hear it now. Relief. Those bastards won’t have us THIS time.

I play with the radio controls, they have a pretty good feel with they snick off. I’m not even sure what car we’re in here. The Fox? The big yellow truck? I forget. They’re all just knobs and handles to me. American knobs with their fat, wobbling on/off break point and the smooth, logarithmic volume ramp. We’re pre-japanese cars here, none of that perfect snick on/gritty but even volume control. Dragging my fingerprint across the  sharp edge where the chrome ends on the rough casting of the door pulls creates an extraordinarily satisfying tiny chirrup of noise you can feel in your knucklebones. I know how to program the pushbuttons on the radio, and I’ve learned that if I tune buttons 1 and 5 to opposite ends of the dial, I can push between them and make the dial dance back and forth in the middle as long as I didn’t let it get too close to either end. Maybe it was buttons one and four, I forget.

There’s a problem outside. I’ve been dial dancing too long and missed it. Mom’s punching in the pin again. I can’t remember that pin anymore. They all fade together in time. The card comes sliding out. They’re hooked together that’s the problem they pile back in. Which one was closest, we’re at the Basha’s branch now. There’s the one by… I forget where they were. There was one in Tempe, by the mall. That was too far to go for this, wasn’t it? Back to the chrome flakes. If you’re not careful you chip it off and sometimes you cut yourself a little but mostly the problem is you start losing little flakes to rub your finger against and then the doorhandle is just a doorhandle for getting in and out of the car with. We go to another branch, closer. No money. It’s a run on the bank. Our savings, all our money gone. I panic. I imagine the stack of money that my parents managed to salvage out of the first atm, that pathetic stack. That’s all we have left. I can feel my heart racing in my chest but now is not the time to add stress to this situation. They got us. They got it all. Fucking daily ATM limits. IF ONLY WE HAD MORE TIME. MORE DAYS TO WITHDRAW.

We were broke.


Of course if anybody had ever taken even a minute to listen to a news report or read to the end of a newspaper article about this bank closure they’d know that all the money was fine. The FDIC guarantees all that money and the branch opened as normal the next morning as far as I remember. And it wasn’t like this hostile takeover was some fly by night organization, this was Bank of America. But I clearly remember driving around like goons, in the night. Desperate and afraid that all our money was gone because we’d put it into a bank.