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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Comedy · #2285031
The Writer's Cramp 11-14-22 W/C 491

The Message

I got the message about midnight. My phone pinged to wake me. I cursed that I didn’t turn it off, then I cursed out loud a little louder to read the message from The Frontier Bank of Northern Montana.

‘All accounts at The Frontier Bank of Northern Montana are temporarily frozen. Be assured we are working on the problem.’

“What is going on? My paycheck just cleared, you miserable sons of witches! All my money is in your pockets!”

Now I was awake, and pacing. Dolores woke and started to speak.

“Not now, Dolores. Just a message from the bank. I’m sure it’s the bank’s fault. I’ll take care of it in the morning. Nothing we can do about it at this hour.”

She flopped back on her stomach, pillow over her head, grumbling about the light, the noise.

I wandered to my office, fired up the computer. Sure enough, my account had a big red label: “This Account is Deactivated. Call Customer Support for more information.”

I called the 1-800 number. It rang busy. Of course! Everyone in the 100 mile radius just got the same message. Everyone that is a customer of this crapshoot.

When you live in the back-of-beyond, you have limited options. Our only option for banking is The Frontier Bank of Northern Montana. Of course you can bank by mail, bank by internet. But when you really need that check from Grandma cashed or need cash for the laundromat, you need a real brick-and-mortar bank. A bank you can walk into and the teller knows you by name. This is what I thought we had.

The rest of the night I spent playing internet games. Bingo, CandyCrush, and an old conquer-the-world game I’ve been playing for decades.

Finally the 1-800 number rang and I reached the help-line. Someone named Angus answered.

“Hi there, Angus. Tell me, what is going on? Why is my bank account deactivated?”

“So sorry. We’ve had a lot of complaints about this. What’s your name?”

“Tom Harris.”

“Your account number?”

I gave that, then waited.

“Your credit card number?”

“Why do you need that? You have my account number.”

“Well, Mr. Harris, it’s another layer of security.”

“Huh. So don’t you see my credit card number on my account?”

“My security clearance won’t allow me to go further without that information,” he explained.

“I gotta tell you, I’m a bit leery of letting anyone have that number. Especially someone in the bank that just hijacked my account. Can I talk to your supervisor?”

“There’s no one here that can help you right now. It’s before business hours. If you want to continue, I will need your credit card information.”

My stress level was rising, as was Dolores. She wandered in to see what all the fuss was about. Dolores gently took the phone and hung it up. She kissed me, led me back to bed. The bank problem was forgotten for awhile.

W/C 491
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