I pull into the bank parking lot and squeeze my rusty Toyota between a Beemer and a Chevy that looks worse than mine. At least mine still passes inspection. I sigh as I climb out of my car, grateful for the cane that I initially rebelled against when my doctor gave it to me. “I’m not old!” I argued, but he wouldn’t listen.
Too many years chasing bad guys and getting in scrapes has taken its toll. Not to mention that last perp who tried to run me over with my own patrol car which shattered my knee, and it never did heal right. Now I’m looking at medical retirement if I can’t get it repaired…which is more like replaced with nine months of physical therapy. No one can afford that on a cop’s salary, and besides, my insurance will only pay for thirty PT sessions. After that it’s all me.
I drop my car keys in my jacket pocket, then shuffle my way into the building. The door chimes as I enter, but otherwise the room is silent. I look around, my every instinct telling me something isn’t right. There are jackets and purses on desks and chairs, but no people. No sounds of paperwork being shuffled, printers spitting out loan applications, or the click click of ladies’ acrylic nails on keyboards.
I ring the service bell, and hear movement from down the back hall. A young lady emerges, her skin paler than her crisp white shirt. Her eyes are wide, and I can see beads of sweat on her forehead despite the bank’s air conditioning. “C-can I help you, sir?” she asks, her voice hardly audible.
I drop my voice to a whisper. “Are you okay?” She gives a slight shake of her head, a movement so slight I wonder if I imagined it. “Alone?” Same negative. “Watched?” I see her eyes take on a glassy sheen that can only mean she’s on the verge of crying. I clear my throat and return my voice to normal. “I’d like to check my account balance.” I pull my wallet out of my pocket, letting my badge flash for a second as I reach for my bank card. “Is that all you need?”
Her nod is slight, and after pushing two buttons on the keyboard, looks back up at me as she returns my card with a trembling hand. “Your balance is nine hundred eleven dollars and five oh cents.” I nearly smile at her response. Clever girl.
There’s a commotion down the hall as I’m slipping my wallet back in my pocket, and I’m only a little surprised to see a clown storm out. “What’s taking so long?” he demands. With a glance I take in his apparel: baggy ripped jeans, mismatched suspenders, stained white t-shirt, a multi-colored and patterned trench coat, over-sized polka dot bowtie, white gloves, and of course the makeup, nose and hair. He zeroes in on me with a glare behind the blue stars surrounding his eyes. “What do you want?”
“I’m here for a loan.” I fish in my jacket pocket for my cell phone. It’s a relic compared to today’s smart phones. The guys at work are constantly ribbing me that it flips, but I never knew how well that would come to my advantage. Without removing it from my pocket—or even looking down—I dial 9-1-1 and hit send.
He smirks as he reveals the handle of a pistol in his waistband before he points down the hall. “Well I’m your loan officer, Captain Jiggles. We’re all getting money today.”